In an earlier post I talked about strategy, breaking it down into ten segments. Today I am going to write a about deciding on a project, essentially segment one.
There can be a whole host of reasons for embarking on such a project, perhaps even more than one reason. Perhaps your ancestors resided in a small geographical area and inter marrying across families was rife. Perhaps you have “misplaced” an ancestor – essentially they are not where you expect them to be. Or perhaps you can not find someone or you have found two someones with the same name, born around the same time, in the same general area. I feel your pain on all of those different reasons!
I am going to talk about my One-Place study, for the rural parish of Puttenham in Surrey and the neighbouring village of Wanborough, which is separated from Puttenham by way of the A31 road, or as the locals know it, the Hogs Back. My maternal Grandfather was born in Wanborough, his father, Charles Butcher from Wonersh, Surrey and his mother Annie Prudence Harris from Puttenham. In turn, Annie’s parents were from Elstead and Frensham, both Surrey villages and all of these within 19th Century England easy travelling distance and within easy reach of villages in the neighbouring counties of Sussex and Hampshire.
The photo here of Puttenham, shows the font where generations of my family were Christened from 1724.
As I worked back through the generations of ancestors, from Annie, I was repeatedly faced with marriages and liaisons of individuals with the same surnames, all in the same areas. I recall several weeks where all I did was extract material from the Puttenham parish records, which was frustrating. As a way of removing the frustration, I extracted the complete parish records and other information besides.
Looking back, I did not set out to undertake a One-Place Study, it simply seemed a logical progression to my research and as a way of avoiding me becoming totally frustrated. Now this was the days before the internet, so there was no Ancestry or Google. It was all undertaken by visiting repositories and seeing the original document or a microfilm of the original document.
In the modern age with the use of the internet, such a project is actually much easier to undertake, whether you are focusing on a place or a surnames and especially if undertaking a large study although the approach might in fact be very different now compared with the late 1980’s when my studies began. Don’t misunderstand, not all records are online, but a good many are, and in a variety of places.
As I worked back through the Puttenham records, I came across a Butcher family. I already knew that my own line hailed from Wonersh, but now contemplated if this family were connected to my own. That was probably the moment the Butcher One-Name Study was devised, although at the time I did not recognise it as that.
I will be back, looking at how we can achieve such a project.