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…
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. http://www.yorkfamilyhistory.org.uk/
Genuki: A longstanding reference and gateway site maintained by volunteers. Regional coverage varies. http://www.genuki.org.uk/index.php
Family History Library Catalogue: An excellent source for English records on microfilm and sometimes digitized. Links to the FamilySearch wiki. https://familysearch.org/catalog/search
FindMyPast: Search indexes and see digital images of many records. Fee required. http://www.findmypast.com/
Ancestry: Search indexes and see digital images of many records. Fee required. http://www.ancestry.com/
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. http://www.parishfinder.co.uk/
FamilySearch England & Wales Jurisdictions 1851: A fabulous map tool that shows parish and other jurisdictional boundaries overlaid on old ordnance survey and current maps. http://maps.familysearch.org/
Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York: The official depository for Yorkshire parish registers and many other records: https://www.york.ac.uk/borthwick/
Guild Hall Library/ London Metropolitan Archives: A vast array of London parish registers and other records. http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitan-archives
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. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/manor-search and http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/mdr-map-16.pdf
Hull University Archives: Manorial records may be in an archives far from the manor. The only manorial records for Ryther are here. http://www.hullhistorycentre.org.uk/
Yorkshire Wills: This FamilySearch wiki page is a good place to start. https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Yorkshire_Probate_Records
Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills: Are at The National Archives.
- The National Archives (indexes are free, download the will for a fee): http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/wills-1384-1858/
- Ancestry has the index and images. Subscription needed.
- FamilySearch has the wills on microfilm. (Use The National Archives Index.)
Wikipedia page for St. Bartholomew the Great: Wikipedia is usually a pretty good place to start for any prominent parish. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bartholomew-the-Great
Parish site for St. Bartholomew the Great: http://www.greatstbarts.com/
Flickering Lamps: A wonderful long-form blog that talks about places in London and England generally. https://flickeringlamps.com/
Spitalfields Life: Another great blog, concentrating on London’s East End. http://spitalfieldslife.com/
British History Online: An online library of key sources. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/
Essex Record Office: http://www.essexrecordoffice.co.uk/ with a very good online database here http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/ 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: http://georgianlondon.com/
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: http://www.londonlives.org/
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. https://books.google.ca/books?id=D7hjAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q&f=false