Want to know when I write?

Upcoming Events

7:00 pm Life on the Farm
Life on the Farm
May 16 @ 7:00 pm
Life on the Farm @ Uxbridge Public Library | Uxbridge | Ontario | Canada
LIFE ON THE FARM: YOUR ANCESTOR’S PLACE IN ONTARIO AGRICULTURE Meeting of Uxbridge Genealogy Group We often think of farming as a traditional occupation—something that hasn’t really changed much. But that is not and was[...]
website security

The Search for Alban Leaf: Notes

My presentation “The Search for Alban Leaf” demonstrates the use of many English record types—in a period well before census and civil registration. The search for the subject of this case history, Alban Leaf (1681–1756), took me from manorial records and parish registers in Yorkshire, to an ancient church in London, to manors in rural Essex, to intriguing records of inheritance in all locations.

Following are brief notes about some of the sources and reference tools that I think will be useful to other researchers. No single source is the answer. It is a matter of following clues and creative thinking about sources in hand and others yet to be found. And it is such fun…

Alban Leaf held an under-lease of the York waterworks in 1739.

Londoner Alban Leaf held an under-lease of the York waterworks in 1739.

City of York and District Family History Society: Always a good policy to connect with the local family history society that covers your area of interest.

Genuki: A longstanding reference and gateway site maintained by volunteers. Regional coverage varies.

Family History Library Catalogue: An excellent source for English records on microfilm and sometimes digitized. Links to the FamilySearch wiki.

FindMyPast: Search indexes and see digital images of many records. Fee required.

Ancestry: Search indexes and see digital images of many records. Fee required.

Parish Finder: A longstanding tool to find parishes within a specified radius. Bear in mind that the distances are calculated from the centre of what might be a very oddly shaped or non-contiguous parish.

FamilySearch England & Wales Jurisdictions 1851: A fabulous map tool that shows parish and other jurisdictional boundaries overlaid on old ordnance survey and current maps.

Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York: The official depository for Yorkshire parish registers and many other records:

Guild Hall Library/ London Metropolitan Archives: A vast array of London parish registers and other records.

Manorial Documents Register: The official index to English and Welsh manorial records in public and private hands. The index for many counties is online. For other counties, visit The National Archives or contact them for a look up. and

Hull University Archives: Manorial records may be in an archives far from the manor. The only manorial records for Ryther are here.

Yorkshire Wills: This FamilySearch wiki page is a good place to start.

Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills: Are at The National Archives.

Wikipedia page for St. Bartholomew the Great: Wikipedia is usually a pretty good place to start for any prominent parish.

Parish site for St. Bartholomew the Great:

Flickering Lamps: A wonderful long-form blog that talks about places in London and England generally.

Spitalfields Life: Another great blog, concentrating on London’s East End.

British History Online: An online library of key sources.

Essex Record Office: with a very good online database here and lots of images of parish registers and wills available for a timed subscription.

Mr. Pepys’ Small Change: 17th Century London Trade Tokens

Georgian London, a blog by author Lucy Inglis:

London Lives 1690 to 1800: searchable index of 240,000 manuscripts from 8 archives and 15 datasets. You can register and link documents in a personal workspace:

Names and Descriptions of the Proprietors of Unclaimed Dividends on Bank Stock, which became due before the 10th October 1780, and remained unpaid the 30th September 1790. London: Bank of England, 1791.

2 comments to The Search for Alban Leaf: Notes

  • Hi Jane
    I am planning to link this page to our English placename database on Hope this is okay with you.

    This is a section of our website which I have been expanding parish by parish for the past couple of years. A great number of your sources are familiar to me, but not necessarily to our newer users or those just finding their English roots. I find “Jurisdictions 1851” to be very useful, especially for large towns and cities with “internal” parishes. Do you know of ”A Vision of Britain through Time” ( Its organization is not the easiest, but it lists (just about) every parish in the UK complete with its ties to other administrations over a long time span that, unfortunately, ends in 1974 when there was a major reorganization of local government (explained in Wikipedia). Genuki also has this time barrier.

    WeRelate also has a large source database, most taken from the Family History Library Catalogue. These sources are tied to individual parishes in our database (and updated where necessary to link to modern parish name spellings and new administration links such as Middlesex to London).


    • Jane E. MacNamara

      Thanks, Pat. I do know “Vision of Britain”, but it was not particularly useful for my Alban Leaf research. For some places, like Evesham, Worcestershire, the links to historical writing are very interesting.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.