The Journey to a Specific Project (3)

Created by Julie Goucher, 2022 using Wordclouds

You can read other posts Journey to a Specific Project HERE.

Last time I talked about how we did a One-Name Study in the “old days” and whilst they were great genealogical days, the modern times are great too.

The amount of material online is phenomenal, but that is only a fraction of what is available. Our local studies libraries, record offices and archives centres are in many instances fighting for their survival, and we must use these outstanding organisations, or risk loosing them, or at the very least loosing the fantastic archivists and their knowledge, from these organisations.

I have talked quite a lot about how I started researching; the catalyst was seeing my great Grandmother, who we all called Granny on the 1881 Census. In fact I wrote quite about it during the recent Census Series, but how did I get to see the Census in the first place?

I knew the library had a local studies facility, as a student I had often used the “quiet” seating upstairs and would see others arrive and visit that element of the library. I subsequently found myself during the summer, with a little free time, so I ventured to the local studies library, entering through that “magic door”. On duty was a really enthusiastic librarian or archivist, called M.

M listened to me and asked a few key questions, and took me to a filing system, extracting a roll of film, taking me to a reader, threaded the film to the reader and told me which dial to turn, telling me what I was to look out for. M then walked away and left me to read the film. Suddenly I spotted this:

Puttenham 1881 Census – Surrey History Centre – RG11; Piece: 780; Folio: 86; Page: 7

I already knew that my great, great Grandparents were Henry Harris and Caroline (formerly Ellis) from listening to my great Aunt, who was the eldest daughter of Annie P. I also knew where the family were living.

M came back to see how I was getting on, each time she would produce a film, thread it to the reader and off I would go, following the family from 1881 which was the last census available at the time, back through the decades to 1841. Over time, I learnt what films were where, how to thread the reader, and much more besides.

M eventually retired, but she had done so much more that day than just get me started looking at a census. Her kindness and enthusiasm went far beyond just doing her job, more than she would ever know.

At the time, the Surrey Records Office was in Kingston upon Thames, with further records held at the Surrey Muniment Room which was located at the building of  Guildford Museum, and as I described the Local History Library which was held at the library at Guildford. The Surrey History Centre was built at Woking and brought together all those facilities.

In modern times, Surrey material can be found online at a variety of sites. You can see what is available and where it is HERE. Surrey History Centre has a number of research guides online and these can be downloaded free of charge.

As I researched my generations of Surrey (and Sussex, and Hampshire) ancestors I was able to expand on that research and focus on my One-Name Study for the surname of Butcher. Despite several decades of research, I only registered it with the Guild of One-Name Studies in 2017 and I am currently revisiting my earlier research, focusing on what information I know, what I don’t know and what I need to access or locate to move my research forward.

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
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