Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: London in 1700

Waller, Maureen. 1700:  Scenes from London Life. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2000.

Most of my English ancestors are from rural areas. What I know about London life I learned from Oliver Twist and Tim Cratchit.  I needed a book to fill in some details and found the one above at a used book sale. The first five chapter headings were intriguing and should catch the eye of all genealogists: marriage, childbirth, childhood, disease and death.
I am not surprised to find that the author wrote an entire book about marriage after reading the first few pages of this book’s ‘Marriage’ chapter. She points out the constraints put on marrying couples by the church, including the costs. People were put off by the reading of the banns, seeing them as an invasion of privacy. Since this practice continued into my lifetime in my childhood church, I never really gave it any thought. Waller describes the clandestine marriage mills in London where about one-third of the ceremonies in 1700 were performed, in order to avoid the church requirements.
Waller later wrote a book that used all the information she gathered about London in 1700 called Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father’s Crown. This book is about the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Mary II and Queen Anne whose reign ended in 1714.

            Other books by Maureen Waller:
The English Marriage: Tales of Love, Money and Adultery
London 1945: Life in the Debris of War
A Family in Wartime: How the Second World War Shaped the Lives of a Generation
Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father’s Crown
Sovereign Ladies: Sex, Sacrifice and Power – The Six Reigning Queens of England

All of the books are available on amazon.com.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: Welsh Surnames

Rowlands, John and Sheila. The Surnames of Wales. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2014. (New Edition) $39.95 www.genealogical.com

First published in 1996 and recently revised in a new edition, The Surnames of Wales has been considered the go-to guide on this subject. The publisher promises a new updated and expanded resource seeking to dispel many of the myths that surround names in Wales. It is illustrated by evidence taken from a survey involving more than 270,000 surnames found in parish records throughout the country.

There are four new chapters including a groundbreaking survey and glossary of Welsh given games, an important addition to the text because the geographical distribution of given names can provide clues to the origins of early patronymic surnames.

From the publisher: The first chapters “give a historical overview of Welsh names, dealing in particular with the patronymic naming system and the gradual adoption of surnames. The central chapters include a comprehensive survey of Welsh surnames and an all-important glossary of surnames…also show[ing] the distribution and incidence of surnames throughout Wales. The final chapters cover the distribution of surnames derived from the ‘ap’ prefix, the incidence of surnames derived from Old Testament names, and surname evidence for the presence of people of Welsh origin in populations outside Wales.”