Ancestry.co.uk have announced that part of the 1910 Land Valuation Survey is now available for keying in the Ancestry World Archives Project. The 1910 Land Valuation Survey is a massive collection, which is of interest to local and house historians as well as genealogists.
Before you get too excited, the records currently available for indexing (known as the Domesday Books) are just a small part of the complete survey. Those currently being indexed cover “land in the City of London and Paddington”. Other Domesday Books, if they have survived, are available at local record offices.
You can find out more about the survey on The National Archives website where they have a research guide which covers the subject. The most important part of the survey are the field books (in IR58) which contain a wealth of details on the land and property involved, but usually very little information about the people involved. According the research guide:
The amount of information entered in the Field Books varies considerably, but usually includes the names of owner and occupier; the owner’s interest (freehold, copyhold, etc.); details of tenancy (term and rent); and the area covered by the property. Other details recorded may include the date of erection of buildings, number of rooms, state of repair, liability for rates, insurance and repairs, date(s) of previous sale(s) and, sometimes, a sketch-plan of the property
It can take some work in finding the correct field book (using maps) but it is usually well worth the effort. The indexing of the Domesday Books (IR91) will help make access easier for those areas covered.
I can only hope that this is the start of a much larger project to digitise the entire survey including the field books and maps.
Some of the podcasts published by The National Archives are of more interest to genealogists than others. The National Archives contains a wide variety of record types, so naturally their talks (and subsequent podcasts) try to reflect this.
The latest podcast Counting the People is a real gem, and will be of interest to any family historian with an interest in finding out what it took to actually make the census happen.
Audrey Collins gives a sometimes humorous “behind the scenes” look at some of the people involved, some of the problems encountered in taking the census and many other aspects of the decennial census.
I would recommend this podcast (just over an hour long) and the accompanying notes to all family historians, as it will help explain why we may not always find what we are looking for on the census, as well as describing how the whole enumeration process worked.
My research into the GEERINGs of Hailsham, Sussex is proving to be both rewarding and challenging, and I might even go as far as to say exciting.
I am exploring new areas, both in geographical terms and in terms of sources I can use. I am fortunate of course that Hailsham is not too far away (less than two hours by bus and train) and the records even closer (mostly at the East Sussex Record Office in Lewes).
I am also fortunate that there seems to be plenty of records for Hailsham that have survived. For example this is the first time I have been researching in a parish where there is a pre-1841 census still in existence.
Hailsham actually has two, the 1821 and 1831. Of course the details will be very limited (just the head of household) but the very fact that an ancestor should be listed in a pre-1841 census that has survived got me quite excited!
The weak link in my research is proving that James GEERING (the father of my 4x great-grandfather) is the same James GEERING who was the son of Richard and Mary “the old druggist” GEERING. I am hoping that the comment by Thomas Geering in his book Our Sussex Parish that James was a barrack-sergeant might lead to more information (time for a visit to The National Archives).
It seems a long time since I got so deeply wrapped up in a piece of research, and it feels so good! The only problem is that there seems so much to do, but oddly enough this seems to be working in my favour as well, because it is forcing me to be more methodical and better prepared for when I do get to visit an archive.
The first chunk of Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760 to 1913 have been released on Findmypast.co.uk today. The records released today are a small part of the whole collection, covering men discharged in the period between 1883 and 1900.
Findmypast.co.uk have provided some useful resources for understanding these records, which is just as well. Even the words "Chelsea Pensioners" are a bit misleading, they were not necessarily residents of The Royal Hospital at Chelsea, but received a pension that was administered by the hospital.
Like any database it is important to know what is and isn’t included, why would a soldier be in this collection? For example, according to the website it "doesn’t contain the records of soldiers who died in service or who took an early discharge because they didn’t receive a pension."
Having used these records in their paper form I can safely say that they are real goldmines of information, of course the contents do vary from soldier to soldier, but they contain detailed descriptions of soldiers along with relationship information (next of kin), not just details of their army service.
The records are not that different from the WW1 Service Records (1914-1920) previously released on Ancestry.co.uk, expect of course the condition and the fact that the vast majority have survived.
For my own research I know there will be several relations contained within this release, although I am in no rush to get their details yet. It is another database that I will need to check regularly as I go through my family history, like I already do with the WW1 Service Records. I am sure lots of previously unknown soldiers will turn up, filling in some gaps in my database.
I am writing this post sitting in the cyber cafe at The National Archives in Kew. I fell slightly guilty because it is lovely outside and I really ought to be out walking, enjoying the summer sun, but the chance to head to the archives was too good an opportunity to miss.
I have just stopped for lunch after a surprisingly productive morning, mostly spent looking at original documents, and mostly working on the GASSON side of the family. Clearing some old to-do items from my list!
The best discovery so far was a tiny snippet of information on my 3x great grandfather Thomas GASSON. I have found when he was dismissed from the Metropolitan Police, it was in 1861 and the reason, drunk on duty. At least I now have found one end of his police career, but I suspect I am unlikely to find much more.
I have also found the military service record for Thomas’ son Alfred GASSON. I think he is the only professional soldier I have found in my research, all the others only serving in times of war when they were called upon.
I have lots on images on my digital camera, and hopefully they will be readable on the big screen. I have made a note of the most important details just in case, like the fact that Alfred served in South Africa and got a campaign medal for it. I wonder where that is now?
I have about two and a half hours left before I have to make my way back to the railway station, make that two hours because I need to allow plenty of time to browse the bookshop before I go. This afternoon is probably going to be devoted to Wybrants KINGHORN and his criminal career, but I might try and find out about Alfred’s campaign medal as well while I am here.