British Ancestry



It is amazing how many people communicate with me, having been assured that all they want to know about their ancestry is on the Internet. So they have drawn up a full family tree. Again and again, I find, that they have been right to be doubtful of the results. How many times do I have to repeat the words of W.H.Whitmore, "Do not insult your true progenitors with false claims to others." Likewise, I remind them once again that people of the same name are not necessary related by blood. Because they bear a similar name no conclusion should be drawn without evidence.

IN THE PRESSyou will have read the you could enjoy a massive family get-together this last Christmas! We sincerely hope you did. Do write and tell me about it. I might publish the result in FAMILY HISTORY.

But you have been told:- Its never been easier to trace your family tree on line. "It is all on the Internet." "You can find every single name in every single county in England and Wales via six full censuses back to 1851."

That is far from true. You may not be able find the name you want because it may have been spelled incorrectly, or it may not be there at all. The Censuses list names of people who did not exist and names may be put in the wrong places or unexpected places. Much the same applies to Birth, Marriage and Death records from 1837 to the present day and to Parochial and Probate sources. All such sources require considerable skill to search, and time, that is not readily available on the Internet. So often researchers imagine that people of the same name are necessarily related. That, too, can be misleading.

Do read my essay, EVIDENCE on this site. You do not wish to be related to people who do not connect to your roots, do you? So, make sure that your research is accurate and trustworthy by going about it properly; and, if you need assistance, ensure that it comes from properly qualified researchers. We do have a register of such persons, and you can check with us in confidence.

Apart from keeping an eye on the additions and alterations on this site, do subscribe to FAMILY HISTORY. It is the journal of The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, first published in 1962. Details of the contents, and published family histories, may be obtained from the Registrar, IHGS, Northgate, Canterbury, CT1 1BA (1st class stamps welcome). There is a feast of good ideas for research in each issue of the journal. This is based upon the work of others who have gone about their researches in a thorough way.

FAMILY HISTORY,will consider some family histories for publication.

MAPS and PLANS. Research among the records of the counties and parishes is hardly possible without appropriate maps. The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies has produced parish maps of individual counties for all of England, Scotland and Wales. These also disclose probate and other jurisdictions. The series was begun in 1959 and is continually updated. Cecil Humphery-Smith is the author and editor of The Index and Atlas of Parishes published by Phillimore. It is available from the FAMILY HISTORY BOOKSHOP 01227 768664 or Plans of estates, copyholds,parochial boundaries can prove equally important, and many are held at the Institute.

DIRECTORIES. The Institute in Canterbury has one of the largest collection of Directories in any private library along with many rare almanacs, School, Alumni, Military, Naval, Medical and professional lists and biographies.

PARISH REGISTERS and PARISH CHEST RECORDS. Copies of many of parochial records are held in the Institute's library. These and those in other repositories can be examined. Many of these documents are written in old hands and Latin. You can learn the skills to read them in courses at the Institute, or we shall be able to transcribe documents for you.

MONUMENTAL INSCIPTIONS. As pioneers in collection of monumental inscriptions and coats of arms from grave and tomb stones, and monuments in churches, there is a large collection that has been built up in the Institute's library.

MANORIAL and LAND TENURE DOCUMENTS. This is a further field of study that we have pioneered having collected hundreds of original and rare documents. Advise can be given in their study and interpretation. Classes on reading these records are run regularly at the Institute, and through the Correspondence course.

ROYAL, NOBLE, AND GENTLE ANCESTORS. The royalty, nobility, and gentry of Europe are covered in depth by volumes in the library at the Institute that also houses one of the most comprehensive collections of HERALDRY in the world, including a complete set of all Siebmacher volumes and many other British, European and Japanese armorials. We can arrange for reports, and give further advice to be prepared.

TRACING YOUR ANCESTRY FOR YOURSELF. * Ask for a check list for interviewing relatives. * Let us tell you how to compile your history. * Keeping records of research is essential. * Identifying family photographs and pictures. * Getting started. * Has it been done before? * Getting help.

The Institute has an archive of tens of thousands of genealogical research results and pedigree work done for clients over the past fifty years, plus the Culleton, Andrews, Phillimore and other collections dating back to the nineteenth century.

ACHIEVEMENTS. You would expect us to recommend Achievements before any other genealogical research organisation since we founded it to become the research body supporting The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. Your greatest advantage in using the services of Achievements is that it has more qualified researchers and greater experience than any other. With the most experience in record searching and interpretation and the finest facilities of any comparable organisation, Achievements provides the very best service in tracing your complete ancestral story on any one or more lines.

RESEARCH SERVICES. Whatever records or documentation you may wish to have searched, the experienced team of Achievements is ready to assist you reliably and to your satisfaction. The Company will carry out instructions, or advise you on the most appropriate sources to search. Achievements is a not-for-profit organisation supporting the Institute Trust. There are no shareholders or directors taking any funds from it. If Achievments does manage to make a profit that goes towards improving the facilities of the The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies.
7 July 2007

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