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Mon Aug 5, 2013, 07:26 PM

Ordered certificates from the British General Records Office

And I'm kind of disappointed.

The first certificate I received was from Lincolnshire for death of the brother of my gr-gr-gr-grandmother. While I knew their father's name, I don't have their mother's name, not even her first name. I was hoping that the death certificate would have some information. Nothing, not even the relationship of the person providing the little information on the death certificate. All I got was the exact date of death rather than the quarter of the year in which he died.

Then I got the birth certificate for my great grandfather from Wales. The birth date I had in my records was actually the date his birth was registered and not his birthday! While it verified his parents' names it didn't add a lot but I didn't expect much more.

I also got his parents' wedding certificate and the wedding certificate for his father when he remarried after my great grandmother died. The new information I got was the actual wedding date, which we didn't previously have, the church where they married (the only church in the tiny village where they lived), and both fathers' names. No mothers' names, which is disappointing. Their wedding certificate does not even have their birth dates or ages, which would have been nice - they are just listed as "of age"!

The wedding certificate for my great grandfather's second wedding does list his age and since his father's name is the same and he's listed as a widower, it verifies that it is the same man. I was not sure - nothing in our family history had him remarrying, so it's nice to be sure.

Now to see if I can leverage these little tidbits into going back another generation. Looking for Mary Morgan in Wales is harder than sorting out John Smiths in this country - knowing that her father was named David might possibly help.

The big problem is that that next generation puts me back before Great Britain kept official records. I guess I need to find out how to get the parish records from that church in that little village....

At roughly 10 Euros per certificate, I wish I had gotten more for my money but at least not all the certificates were a total waste of money.

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Reply Ordered certificates from the British General Records Office (Original post)
csziggy Aug 2013 OP
Spider Jerusalem Aug 2013 #1
csziggy Aug 2013 #2
Spider Jerusalem Aug 2013 #3

Response to csziggy (Original post)

Thu Aug 8, 2013, 11:26 AM

1. Records were, generally, much less detailed until the mid to late 19th century

you're going to have a hard time finding a particular Mary Morgan in Wales, and I wouldn't expect that it'll be any easier if her father is called David--David is the patron saint of Wales; David or Daffyd is a very, very common Christian name in Wales and is the origin of the nickname "Taffy" for "Welshman".

If you know where your Mary Morgan was born then that may be of some help; the best place to look for parish record transcriptions is probably going to be familysearch.org--I've had good luck there, although parish records are very scarce or missing altogether in some places, and if your ancestors were nonconformists then there's much less chance of there being a record.

(Also, 9.25 per certificate? The UK isn't on the euro.)

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 8, 2013, 05:17 PM

2. I have been shocked at how poor British records are!

I've been spoiled by my family lines in Massachusetts and Connecticut with excellent town records back to the beginning of the colonies. Sure, there are some "lost" generations as more people arrived, more children were born, more towns were founded, and fewer records were kept, but for many of the lines, there are complete records back to when they got off the ships.

My Mary in the 1851 census said she was born in Llanbadarn and in 1861 in Llanbadarnfawr. The 1841 census only asked if she were born in the county and she indicated she was born in Cardiganshire. For all the census, her estimated birth year would have been 1814.

I do have three Mary Morgans, daughters of David Morgans, from my FamilySearch.org. The three Marys are:
Born 18 Jul 1813 in Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn; father David, mother Chatherine
Born 6 Mar 1815 in Llanbadarnfawr; father David, mother Catherine
Born 10 Dec 1815 in Llanbadarn Odwyn; father David, mother Eleanor

They do not make clear if these are birth or baptism records. I'm tempted to throw out the one with mother Eleanor - the village is not in the same immediate area as where my records show they lived. Both records with David & Catherine/Chatherine are for christenings. The 1815 record matches where my Mary Morgan said she was born in the census records, so that may very well be my Mary!

It's time to find where to order parish records. Those may be my best chance of getting more information. According to a local Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn website, the records for the church there have been transcribed, but I didn't see how to request the information. I might have to join the local history/genealogical society to get access.

Yeah - I was thinking of the wrong thing with the Euros.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 8, 2013, 05:39 PM

3. You may try findmypast.co.uk, as well

they have transcriptions and images for many parish registers.

There appear to be quite a few more possibles in the area than those you listed, too; a quick search returns:

Mary Morgan, chr. 4 Apr 1813, Llanbadarn Trefeglwys, Cardiganshire, father, David, mother, Anne

Mary Morgan, chr. 5 Apr 1816, Llanbadarnfawr, Cardiganshire, father, David, mother, Jane

Those would all be christening records; birth records weren't kept until some time later, in most cases. Those are all from parish records, in most cases it's safe to assume the actual birthdate is some six weeks before the date of christening.

British records are very indifferent in some cases, because prior to say the 1800's most of the population would have been agricultural labourers in rural areas. With the Industrial Revolution and urbanisation and increasing literacy, better records were kept, but in most cases the furthest back you can expect to trace someone in Britain is back to the time of the earliest parish records (which in some cases go back as far as the 1500's). This is somewhat complicated by the fact that parish records are the only record for most places, and they were not infrequently lost due to fires (or destroyed in the Civil War...there cna be significant gaps for the 1650's), or, in some cases, the incumbent vicar refuses to release the parish register for transcription. And in some cases records just simply weren't kept up very well (except for the upper classes).

And on edit, here (parish records search at findmypast.co.uk): http://www.findmypast.co.uk/search/parish-records/baptisms

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