Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"English Research" presentation by June Hanson

June Hanson was our speaker today at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society monthly meeting. Her topic was "English Research." June's CV is posted at

June provided an overview of research techniques and resources for England and Wales. Not for Scotland or Ireland. She used overheads sparingly to illustrate different types of records. June's outline of English Research included:

* Find United States records that provide clues for English ancestors and localities - vital, immigration, census, church, land, probate, newspapers, cemeteries, etc.

* Use Civil Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths in England and Wales - 1837 to the present. She described the process of finding names in the indexes, then obtaining the records by mail from England for a price. There is no other way. The indexes are available on microfilm at the FHC, on Rootsweb at or Certificates with the vital record information cost 10 pounds each and can be ordered online for delivery by mail at

* Census data is available from 1841 to 1901, with 1911 coming online soon. The census indexes and images are available in the Ancestry World subscription (free at the FHC), in the Ancestry Library Edition (free at some local libraries, including San Diego and Chula Vista) and on English commercial sites like

* Church records are the most complete source for christenings, marriages and burials from 1538 to 1837, and even later. Most church Parish records have been filmed by the LDS and are available on microfilm. Some parish records have been extracted and are in the LDS IGI. There are other church records that may be helpful if they are available - Bishops' Transcripts, Vestry Minutes, Welfare, etc.

* Probate records are excellent if they can be found, since only about 10% of people left wills. Until 1858, wills were handled by the Prerogative Courts of York and Canterbury. Canterbury wills have been filmed by the LDS, and can be searched at After 1858, the government has archived wills.

* Other sources mentioned were Victoria County Histories (in San Diego, available at UCSD and SDSU libraries), Local English Genealogical and Historical Societies, Manor Court Rolls, Monumental Inscriptions, Newspapers, etc.

June covered a lot of ground in one hour and didn't delve into these topics in much detail. It was an excellent summary of how to do English research. A number of our newer members (and many of our older members) have English ancestry, so this was a useful presentation for all in attendance.

June didn't mention it, but the local British Isles Genealogical Research Association (BIGRA) maintains a collection of books, magazines, periodicals, research guides, and other research aids at the San Diego Family History Center in Mission Valley.

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