Continuing the weekly theme, inspired by Family History Across the Seas
Civil Registration in the UK did not begin until 1837 and even then that is not a absolute certainty that you are going to find the person you are seeking. Victorians were uncomfortable with sharing data for the Civil Registration and therefore some did not comply.
Beyond that attention must be turned to the Parish. Have records survived? and how much further you can research will vary parish to parish. Sometimes, it is necessary to look at the parish in a wider context.
My family were in the village of Puttenham Surrey from around 1724. We know this from the Church Records, with a Baptism of Martha Budd in 1724 which reads daughter of Henry and Martha “First of the Budd’s”. That indicates that the Budd’s were elsewhere prior to 1724 and this is confirmed in the church records. Certainly the marriage of Henry and Martha is not in Puttenham, it was found in the parish of Chertsey in 1723, which was the bride’s place of birth.
On seeking a birth place for Henry I used a map and gradually searched each and every parish within a 5 then 10 mile radius. Given the proximity to the border with Hampshire I concurred that he came from the parish of Binsted and was born 1699, but I can not prove that this is “my Henry” on that there was a Henry in Binsted in 1699. Sometimes, there is a gut feeling that what documentation is found is not actually correct. I added a tentative Henry born circa 1699 to my working model tree, along with a question mark and carried on researching.
A chance posting on a mailing list mentioned a Henry Budd in a nearby parish to Puttenham. In reviewing my notes with a map realised that I had overlooked the records for Shackleford, a village a few miles across the fields. Shackleford is linked to Peper Harrow and the survival of records prior to 1837 is scanty. I have since established that a Henry Budd in 1720 was in Elstead, (another local village within walking distance), witnessing a marriage. I have also established that a Henry Budd was living in Shackleford, at a house called Cobblers in 1720. My gut feeling tells me that this is my Henry, but I need further proof to confirm this.
In this instance, it is important to look beyond the immediate Parish Records for that named person, perhaps your ancestor like mine appears on a parish record as a witness to someone else’s happy day.
Hugh Wallis’s fabulous and very useful set of links relating to the various parishes within Family Search is invaluable.
The details for Puttenham Surrey are available HERE. It is also worth checking if there is a One Place Study for a particular parish via the Index site HERE and some parishes are covered by the relevant County On line Parish Clerk Scheme. These have been rather usefully linked into the One Place Study site.