Like the rest of the world, I was at home during lock down, the furthest I went for 4 months was the end of the drive or the garden, so I had plenty of time to ponder and look at my genealogy. I even managed to whizz the vacuum cleaner round every now and again 🙂
Having made a mess of the marriage spreadsheet (and back-up) for England and Wales for my BUTCHER one-name study, I needed to spend about 20 hours fixing it. (Though as I typed this, I put years instead of hours, which is probably more accurate! 🙂 ). This was added to the list.
The next thing I wanted to get done was to do a data extraction from the catalogue of the Records Office for those counties in the south east in England – Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, and Kent, before moving onto other regions. The reason I started in this region was because my own Butcher family came from Surrey and Sussex, so with the material that I already had, I wanted to retrace my steps and see what I had and what I needed to obtain.
Sussex is a large county and has two records offices, West Sussex Records Office and East Sussex Records Office. The records office that is the most likely to hold material relating to my own family is the West Sussex records office and that is where I started my quest. I actually spent the entire lock down working on West Sussex material, the reason for which is two fold, firstly the catalogue system they use is called Calm and the descriptions they provided for each document is excellent.
In some cases, with material from their catalogue and my existing research I was able to build a substantial family tree, because all the data, when looked at, as a whole enabled me to confirm an already formed hypothesis or when considered with my own family knowledge confirmation of a family grouping. Of course, I still need to see the documents located at the records office, but the description being so comprehensive is the next best thing. I also used the time to focus on my to do list and see if there were any links between that and the catalogue extraction.
The issue of working in a surname project such as this means that you likely have individuals within a county who do not necessarily connect to your family, but what I did do was to focus on one town within the county, which in my case was Rudgwick. I then was able to use the material I had already from earlier research, family knowledge, parish records and the data extraction and to bring those different elements together. I will talk on this in the coming weeks as currently this piece of work is on a series of index cards!
Lockdown coincided with the breaking open of a new notebook. I may have mentioned before that I had used a Moleskine expanded – 400 pages. The notebook was used from the 24 March through until 28 July and contains the work from the West Sussex records office, which is rather handy. My current notebook is the regular size and I am likely to finish that by the end of the month. The next expanded sitting on my desk, primed for action! The next records office to tackle is East Sussex and I shall not only extract notes of the surname Butcher, but also the house names and Rudgwick, in case there are some overlaps. Something to remember is that current boundaries do not reflect what was, therefore it is important to search both records offices and that means extending the search words.