Friday, September 17, 2010

Whittle Birth and Marriage Records in England

Continuing my Whittle research saga - previous posts are at the bottom of this post.

At this time, I know that Alexander Whittle was born in about 1818, to parents Alexander and Margaret (Mansley) Whittle, in Lancashire, perhaps near Bolton. Is there a birth or christening record for him?

Back into the FamilySearch Beta English Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 Collection (with over 65 million entries) and found this record:

Alexander Whittle was born or christened on 4 January 1818 in Chorley in Lancashire. Chorley is very close to Bolton. This certainly appears to be him - he's in the right place at the right time with the right parents names (although it doesn't list his mother's maiden name).

I found at least ten other children baptized in Chorley in the 1798-1818 time frame to Alexander and Margaret Whittle. Is there a marriage record for Alexander Whittle and Margaret Mansley? The English Marriages, 1538-1973 collection (over 18 million entries) on FamilySearch Beta has this entry:

So Alexander Whittle and Margaret Mansley married on 4 July 1797 in Chorley in Lancashire. So far, everything seems to hand together here. Can I go back one more generation?

The marriage record doesn't provide an age for Alexander and Margaret, but a reasonable guess is to search the English Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 Collection for Alexander's birth in the 1565 to 1575 time frame. Here is the screen with the 5 matches for this search:

I learned today that if you click on the little down arrow to the right of the list of matches that you can see the index summary of the record without clicking on the person's name. This is a fantastic shortcut, if it doesn't hide important information. I clicked on Alexander Whittle's name in the screen above and saw:

There appears to be no difference in the information provided on the results page using the down arrow and the information in the record. I haven't checked yet to see if the information is different on the Marriage and Death collections.

The father, Alexander Whittle was born or christened on 9 January 1774 in Chorley, Lancashire to John and Ann Whittle. All of the above was really pretty easy - I was able to find information on Alexander Whittle's (born 1818) parents and grandparents names, and his parents marriage date and his siblings.

I know from experience (plenty of parish register experience in Wiltshire working on my Richman ancestors) that:

* Not every birth or christening was recorded in a parish register
* Some parish registers are unavailable due to various reasons
* Some parish registers are very sparse in some time periods due to inattention by the rector or priest
* Not all parish registers are available on FHL microfilm
* Not all parish registers on FHL microfilm have been extracted or indexed, and put on the International Genealogical Index or the FamilySearch collections on FamilySearch Beta.

In this case, they have been extracted and indexed. The records in these English vital records collections have reference data in the form of an FHL Batch number and an FHL Microfilm number. For the marriage of Aelxander Whittle and Margaret Mansley, the Batch number is M00570-1 and the FHL Film number is 94,272. I can go to the FamilySearch Library Catalog and enter the film number and determine the source of the record shown on the FamilySearch collection. In this case, it is:
Original Wills 1524-1602, FHL BRITISH Film 94272"

Oops, that doesn't make sense! I double checked the marriage record image and the number says 94272. It must be an error...

I searched for the marriage of Alexander Whittle and Margaret Mansley on the FamilySearch IGI site, and found the record easily - the Batch number is M005701 and the FHL Film number is 93,705 for the period 1754-1827. The source for these records is:

Parish registers for St. Laurence's Church, Chorley, 1653-1947 Church of England. St. Laurence's Church (Chorley, Lancashire) "

The Notes for this film says:

"Microfilm of original records at the Lancashire Record Office, Preston. High reduction (42X) microfilm. Use high magnification reader.Lancashire Record Office no.: PR 2799/1a-15; 3120/1/1-3, 5-7"

The records extracted by the LDS and placed in the IGI, and included in the English Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 Collection on FamilySearch Beta are a derivative source (since someone had to read and interpret the entries on the microfilm), but the microfilm of the original source records archived in the Lancashire Record Office is an image copy of the original source. If I ordered that microfilm and read the records on it, that is as close as most researchers can get to the original record without going to Lancashire.

The surprise here was the error in the Microfilm number on the marriage record. That's the first one I've ever found. I wonder if other entries in the specific batch also have the wrong microfilm number?

While this research trail was fairly easy to pursue, the records for Rachel Morley were a little more difficult. Next time...

Earlier posts in this series include:

* I Found Rachel in the 1852 California Census where I found Rachel "Wadle" and three children in San Francisco in the 1852 California State Census on

* Jane's Birth Record, and more... - I found out that Jane's parents were Alexander and Rachel Whittle, not Joseph and Rachel.

* Finding the Whittles in Australia highlighted some of the newspaper articles about the family in The Sydney Morning Herald in the 1840 to 1850 time frame from the Historic Australian Newspapers , 1803-1954, Trove website.

* The Whittles Migrating to Australia - a Forrest Gump Genealogy Moment in which the immigration record was found and analyzed.

* Lesson Learned - Check the Image too! in which I learned that not all information on the immigration record was in the FamilySearch index entry.

* Whittle Marriage Record in England - I found the marriage of Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley in Lancashire in two places online - the English Civil Registrations and the LDS IGI (and on the site).

* Whittle Birth Records in Australia - birth records for the Whittle children were online in the FamilySearch Beta Australian Birth and Baptism collection

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