Before 1837, when you find a person’s marriage and death in a parish but no baptism, what is the next step? The advice hasn’t changed in years – look at records in abutting parishes and if you don’t find them there, keep enlarging the ring outward until you find them. How you carry out this advice has changed dramatically in recent years.A handy online tool is the map of ‘English Jurisdictions in 1851’ at the site – www.maps.familysearch.org. On a basic map of England (not Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) you can select boundary lines for parishes, counties, Civil Registration Districts, Poor Law Unions, diocese, rural deanery, province, hundred, division and probate. When I introduced this site to my UK Special Interest Group last month, one man asked how I would use it. I have to admit that I think it is pretty slick in and of itself and thought it was fun to show that the Poor Law Unions followed the boundaries of the old ‘hundreds’ to a great extent.
Here is an attempt at a more practical use. When you have an ancestor whose BMD records are not all in one parish, this map is helpful by showing the contiguous parishes and by showing the relative distances between parishes. Lists of contiguous parishes have been in print for hundreds of years, but the computer makes this search quick and easy.For example, Clement Laws was married in Necton, Norfolk in 1851 and buried there on 31 Jul 1772. His age at death was given as ‘about 40’. He was not baptized in the parish.
By a name search on www.familysearch.org, I found a baptism for Clement Laws, son of Clement and Mary Laws 2 Apr 1730 in Wendling, Norfolk. I had no idea where Wendling is, but found it two towns away from Necton using the familysearch.org map. I think I’m onto something here. Although I cannot find a marriage for the parents, Clement and Mary Laws, in Wendling, I did find baptisms for two more children. This is the first time I found the given name, Clement, in Norfolk but in Wendling, there is at least one family with the surname, Clements, so maybe that is how father and son received their unusual first names.
©2011, Susan Lewis Well