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Chasing your Ancestors: A guide to exploring your family history by Robert Parker

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Cover for Chasing your Ancestors by Robert Parker
Cover for Chasing your Ancestors
by Robert Parker

An essential guide for novices and the more experienced researchers into genealogy.

Using his family’s past as an example, Robert Parker introduces you to the basics of chasing your ancestors.

He then expands your knowledge with insights on how to get the best out of online records and those in public archives.

With this book by your side, you choose which chapters are most relevant to your needs at any one time when you are chasing YOUR ancestors.

To purchase a copy, please email us at and we will pass on your request.

ISBN: 978-1-911526-56-8

RRP: £16.00 (Plus P&P)


The author v
Editor’s notes vi
How to use this book vii


1 Why research your family history? 6
Why research a family history? 7
Why are YOU researching your family history? 9
To Do list 10
Top Tips 12
Where to next? 12

2 Creating your family tree 13
Get started 14
Types of family tree 14
Expanding the basic family tree 16
Creating a relationship chart 17
Top Tips 20
Where to next? 20

3 Getting started in your family history research 21
My Nan, Doris Mary Nash 23
Marriage indexes and certificates 23
Family letters 25
UK birth indexes and census 26
Family stories 28
Death 30
An addition to my tree 31
The personal impact 32
Getting started 34
It’s all in the name! 35
Keeping your own records 36
Parish registers 37
Bishops’ transcripts 37
Accessing the UK census 37
Civil registration 39
Scottish and Irish civil registration 47
Top Tips 48
Where to next? 50

4 Key websites – UK genealogy 51
The internet and family history 52
UK and Ireland based archives 53
Other international archives 57
A note of caution 59
To Do 60
Top Tips 60
Where to next? 61

5 Making sense of the UK census 62
Introduction 63
A practical example of using the censuses 64
How census information was collected 73
General use of censuses 74
Useful websites for the census 75
Information recorded by the UK census from 1841 onwards 75
Making more use of pre-1841 UK censuses 77
Even earlier? 80
To Do 81
Top Tips 81
Where to next 84

6 Nonconformist records 85
Nonconformists 86
Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753 88
The Wesleyan Methodist Registry 90
The Protestant Dissenters Registry 91
To Do 93
Top Tips 94
Where to next? 95

7 Hands-on in the archives 96
Visiting your archives 98
A visit to the Cambridgeshire Archives 98
Parish baptism 101
Settlement 102
Bastardy 103
Military records 104
Manorial/estate records 105
Manorial court records 106
Rate books 108
Doctors’ handwriting? 108
To Do 109
Top Tips 110

8 Using English parish registers 112
A brief history 114
Example 1: Charles Parker, 2x great grandfather 115
Example 2: Mary Hart 118
Example 3: George Needs, on my grandmother’s side 120
To Do 122
Top Tips 123
Where to next? 126

9 Preserving documents 127
Scanning or photocopying documents 128
Labelling, storage and handling of old photographs 129
Caring for family heirlooms 129
To Do 130
Top Tips 130
Where to next? 132

10 Occupations – Malster to Mariner 133
Prickwillow 134
Encountering Edward 135
‘Ag lab’ – Edward’s father 136
Information on the birth certificate 136
Information on the marriage certificate 137
Edward the Malster 138
Edward is missing! 141
Edward the Mariner 142
To Do 143
Top Tips 144
Where to next? 145

11 Occupations – The Railway Man 146
Trade directories 148
UK Railway Employment Records 149
Two marriages 150
On burials and graves 150
Retirement 151
The RCA (Railway Clerks Association) 153
To Do 155
Top Tips 155
Where to next? 159

12 Occupations – Policeman 160
Ambition – Policeman 161
Family memories 163
The census 164
A full life 165
A final mystery 165
Further sources for your police ancestors 166
To Do 167
Top Tips 167
Where to next? 168

13 Occupations – The Letter Carrier 169
Robert’s marriage 171
The Letter Carrier 172
To Do 175
Top Tips 175
Where to next? 177

14 Military – World War I – Alfred Hatton 178
Where to start? 180
When was Alfred’s recorded death? 180
World War I service and operational records 182
Casualty records 183
Rolls of Honour 184
The search continues – The war diaries 185
Missing, presumed dead 186
To Do 187
Top Tips 188
Where to next? 189

15 Military – WWII – Uncle Eddie 190
Edward David Nash 191
Army service records 194
Annual report and employment sheet (regular Army only) 198
Emigration plans 198
Eddie’s last days 199
Inquisition document 201
To Do 202
Top Tips 203
Where to next? 206

16 Your enslaved ancestors 207
Slavery in the UK 208
Slavery in the US 209
Finding records of slave ancestors 210
Can DNA tests help? 213
To Do 214
Top Tips 214
Where to Next? 214

17 Your criminal ancestors 215
How to trace your criminal ancestors 216
Newspapers 216
The Courts 217
Subscription websites 219
Further information and links 220
Sources 224

18 Obituaries and wills 225
Obituaries 226
Wills 226
Writing wills 227
Finding wills and inheritance 228
Wills 1858 onwards 229
Wills pre 1858 229
How to break through your brick walls when searching for wills 230
Finding wills II 231
To Do 232
Top Tips 232

19 William – Lost relative in Australia 233
BMD and service records 235
Western Australian Post Office Directories 236
State Library of Western Australia 237
Rockingham Museum Australia 238
To Do 239
Top Tips 240
Where to next? 241

20 Going beyond the dates 242
Nature or nurture? 243
DNA testing 243
Dates: Not the kind you eat, or ‘blind dates’ but dates! 248
The College of Arms 250
Other sources of information 251
General research and context: 252
Recommended reading 253
To Do 254
Top Tips 254
Where to next? 255

21 Keeping up to date 256
The Family History Site (FHS) 257
TV and radio 257
Family history fairs 258
To Do 259
Top Tips 259
Where to next? 260


22 Your ancestors in Wales 263
Wales 263
Surnames 264
BMD 264
Census 264
The National Library of Wales 265
Other useful websites 265

23 Your ancestors in Scotland 266
Scotland 266
Scotland’s people 267
Other records 268

24 Your ancestors in Northern Ireland 269
Northern Ireland 269
Introduction 270
BMD 270
Census 271
Parish registers 272
Key contacts and useful websites 272
Recommended text: 272

25 Your ancestors in Ireland 273
Ireland 273
Introduction 274
BMD 275
Census 275
Key contacts 275
Recommended text: 276
Other useful websites 276

26 Your ancestors in Europe 277
British Records 277
Huguenot Society 278
Naturalisation 278
European sources 279
Further help 280

27 Your ancestors in Andorra 282
Andorra 282
Introduction 286
BMD 286
Census 288
Emigrants and immigrants 289
Parish registers 290
Key contacts and useful websites 292

28 Your ancestors in Austria 293
Austria 293
Introduction 294
BMD 296
Census 296

29 Your ancestors in Belgium 298
Belgium 298
Introduction 300
BMD 300
Census 301
Emigrants and immigrants 302
Parish registers 303
Key contacts and useful websites 304
Recommended text: 304

30 Your ancestors in Cyprus 305
Cyprus 305
BMD 305
Further Cyprus resources: 306

31 Your ancestors in Czechia (currently The Czech Republic) 307
Czechia (The Czech Republic) 307
Introduction 309
BMD 309
Census 310
Emigrants and immigrants 311
Parish registers 312
Key contacts and useful websites 313

32 Your ancestors in France 314
France 314
Introduction 316
BMD 316
Census 317
Emigrants and immigrants 318
Parish registers 319
Key contacts and useful websites 320

33 Your ancestors in Germany 321
History 321
Introduction 323
BMD 323
Census 325
Emigrants and immigrants 326
Parish registers 327
Key contacts and useful websites 329

34 Your ancestors in Greece 330
Greece 330
Introduction 332
BMD 333
Census 335
Emigrants and immigrants 337
Parish registers 338
Key contacts and useful websites 340

35 Your ancestors in Hungary 341
History 341
Introduction 343
BMD 343
Census 345
Emigrants and immigrants 345
Parish registers 346
Key contacts and useful websites 348

36 Your ancestors in The Netherlands 349
The Netherlands 349
Introduction 352
BMD 352
Census 354
Emigrants and immigrants 356
Emigration records (Emigratie registers) 357
Parish registers 358
Membership records (Lidmaten) 360
Key contacts and useful websites 361

37 Your ancestors in Poland 362
Poland 362
Introduction 363
BMD 364
Census 367
Emigrants and immigrants 369
Parish registers 370
Key contacts and useful websites 372

38 Your ancestors in Slovakia 373
Slovak Republic 373
BMD 375
Census 376
Emigrants and immigrants 376
Parish registers 377
Key contacts and useful websites 378

39 Your ancestors in Slovenia 379
Republic of Slovenia 379
Introduction 381
BMD 381
Census 382
Emigrants and immigrants 383
Parish registers 384
Key contacts and useful websites 385

40 Your ancestors in Switzerland 386
Switzerland 386
Introduction 389
BMD 389
Census 390
Emigrants and immigrants 390
Parish registers 391
Key contacts and useful websites 394

41 Your ancestors in Asia 395
China 396
Sources: 396
Indonesia 397
Israel 398
Japan 400
Malaysia 402
Russia 403
Thailand 405

42 Your ancestors in India 407
States and territories 408
Honourable East India Company (HEIC) records 408
The National Archives of India 408
Civil registration 409
British military records 409
Further sources of help 410

43 Your ancestors in Australia 411
How track your Australian ancestors 411
BMD 412
Migration records 413
Convicts 414

44 Your ancestors in New Zealand 416
The land of the long, white cloud 416
Background to immigration 417
Birth, marriage and death (BMD) records 419
Other useful websites 419
Sources for this blog: 420

45 Your ancestors in the USA 421
USA 421
Introduction 422
BMD 422
Census 424
Emigrants 424
Key contacts and useful websites 425
Book 425

46 The Cigar Maker and the Hungarian-American Photographer 426
Marriage and children 426
American cousins? 427
New York, New York 429
Kornel W Beniczky 430
Make contact 432
Sources 433

47 O Canada! Land of our ancestors 435
Introduction 435
Records 436
Birth, marriage and death (BMD) 436
Parish registers 437
Census 437
Immigration 438
Archives 439
Sources and further websites 440

48 Country not mentioned? 441
Africa 441
Asia 443
Australasia/Oceania 444
Europe 445
North America (and Central America) 447
South America 447
End notes 449

Pursued by the Soul Destroyer by D J Hawkins

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Cover of Pursued by the Soul Destroyer by D J Hawkins

This is a true story, deeply anchored in the supernatural. Harrowing experiences led Deborah into a hopeless situation.

Only a fraction of her sanity remained. Recovery was deemed impossible – until a miracle occurred.

The book is split into three parts. Part 3 will challenge your understanding and perceptions as well as offer encouragement and guidance.

To purchase a copy, please email

ISBN: 978-1-911526-55-1

Paperback. 270 pages. RRP: £12.00 plus P&P

  • 1st class post UK £15.90
  • 2nd class post UK £15.00
  • Available as a Kindle ebook, £7.99

Audio version planned

PART 3 CONTENTS – Special section

Part Three
Tying up loose ends
Alcohol – A Deadly Toxin
Church v Recovery
Back on Track
A Vision is Born
Number 3
What’s wrong with the occult?
The character of Satan
God Cannot Be Mocked
False Idols
The dangers of the occult
The Living Word of God
God’s power changing lives
Three Divine Appointments
Story One – Joniva’s story:
Story Two – Christian meets Satanist:
Story Three. A Busker set free
Points to Consider
Secular Systems
Does Satan exist?
Made in God’s image
Looking after your temple
The sound of hooves
Fear of coming into the light
Be a free woman
Only accountable to God
Catholicism v Christianity
Torniquet on the Holy Spirit
Deception and Syncretism
Don’t remain an overfed baby
A false Holy Spirit at work
The Impact of Anger
Abusive Partners – Woman Know Your Worth
Fear, Anxiety and Depression
Using The Arts
Coping Strategies
Examine Your Own Heart
Sixty guidance tips
Books I recommend
About the author Deborah J Hawkins
Reality Check
Be Encouraged
My thanks to God
To my brothers and sisters in Christ
For the soul that sits on the fence

In the Wilderness of Spirits by Mark Rimmington

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Cover for In the Wilderness of Spirits

In the Wilderness of Spirits author, Mark Rimmington, describes his journey through life. Temptation and evil exerted their presence and sought to corrupt his soul whilst he was trying to find God, making his journey an often troubled and twisted path.

But the thread of God had been with Mark from his first memory. As Mark says, “God has been very patient with me and on more than one occasion saved my life and stopped me ending up in jail.”

This is also a story of redemption, finding a greater peace of mind, true love and a firm faith in God.

“So, I thank God for saving my body and soul, and I try to live a life of humble service. As I listen to the radio and hear of the atrocities around the world, I realise people may wonder, “Where is God?” Life on earth was not meant to be perfect, it is a battleground between good and evil, and one day, the battle will be won by God, in God’s time.”

“I hope this book will be read by someone and they also come to Christ.”

Any profits from the sale of this book will go the The Cambridge Churches Homeless Project.

Paperback, 66 pages

ISBN: 978-1-911526-54-4

Price: £5.00 (plus P&P)

To purchase a copy, please email and we will pass your request to the author.

Unusual Occurrences at Hall End by Chris Thomas

Cover for Unusual Occurrences at Hall End

In 2015, Chris looked out and down the close of Hall End in Milton and wondered what unusual events might be happening there, if you only had the imagination to see them.

The result has been a record of the ‘Unusual Occurrences at Hall End’ in this limited edition of 108 books.

This book includes 51 of the events, from the first arrival and partying of the pothole trolls in the rather damaged 2015 road, to the ritual slaying of a COVID virus in 2021. Hall End has had its fair share of visitors, from a diplodocus, a couple of mammoths, and the occasional clutch of benign human clones. When the weather gets too bad, it can be changed. Chris has repaired the moon and even assisted in a solar eclipse. And when the road floods, well, let’s just say that things happen!

This book was part of Chris’s 2021 July Cambridge Open Studios exhibition, where a collection of the ‘Unusual Occurrences’ photos were displayed for the first time.

The A4 paperback book is available from Chris. Email him at

ISBN: 978-1-911526-52-0

Price: £10.00 plus P&P

Arabella and the Blue Dove by Gloria Loring

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Arabella receives an urgent call to return to The Beautiful Garden

After helping Betty and her family find safety in London just as war broke, Arabella receives an urgent call from Betty, now an elderly woman. She returns once again to the Beautiful Garden.

Arabella’s attempts to help are obstructed by Fly from Sixth Heaven, until Blue Dove whispers a Divine message in her ear.

Arabella returns to Betty’s side knowing that with Blue Dove’s guidance she cannot fail.

This is another magical story, illustrated with Gloria’s own wonderful paintings that bring her characters to life.

ISBN: 978-1-911526-45-2

50 pages with colour illustrations

RRP: £14

If you would like to know more or to order a copy, please email Gloria at

To find out more about Gloria’s other books and art, please visit or

Bits & Bobs: From the Life of a Royal Navy Engine Room Artificer by Robert Hedger

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Cover image Bits & Bobs

‘January 17th, 1945; it was cold and bleak, but dry, and I was shivering in my short sleeved shirt, whilst waiting on the snow-covered parade-ground of my new home-to-be for the next four years. There were about sixty of us, all different shapes and sizes, similarly waiting, though most, I noticed, better dressed than I. My life had inexorably changed. I was 15 and I was in the Royal Navy!’

Robert Hedger gives us insights and humour with his sea-going tales and memories of time spent in The Royal Navy. He travelled the world, seeing new places, meeting new friends and sharing it all with the love of his life, Clarissa!

He describes the reality of getting a ship ready for the conflict in Suez, life in Malta, being an experimental subject in Hong Kong, sailing to Scandinavia and working on the Royal Yacht Britannia! He played hockey for the Royal Navy and still is a Scottish country dancer.

Proceeds from the book will go to the AT Society.

Paperback, 146 pages, Colour and Black & White photographs

ISBN: 978-1-911526-41-4

RRP: £12.00

To purchase a copy, please contact and we will pass your request to the author.

The Cat that Sat by Jane Thomas

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Cover for The Cat that Sat

The Cat that Sat sits in the window and watches the world go by

The Cat that Sat is a short story for reading aloud to young children and for those who love cats!

The Cat that Sat sits on the windowsill and spends the day watching the world go by, pondering whether to venture out to join in or not.

Every page is illustrated with Jane’s own images, created using a mixture of photographs, watercolours and computer graphics.

ISBN: 978-1-911526-40-7

Fully illustrated picture book

20 pages

RRP: £6.00 plus P&P

To purchase a copy, please email

Arabella in London by Gloria Loring

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Cover for Arabella in London

Arabella returns to the Beautiful Garden just as war is breaking out and, with the support of her friends, helps a young girl find safety.

In this sixth volume of the Beautiful Garden, Arabella is called to serve others and discover more about her own identity. She looks down from the Heavens and her eyes are drawn to a small child with curly brown hair, standing patiently on a roof terrace in London.

Arabella returns to the Garden just as war is breaking out and, with the support of her friends, Sparrow and Elwen, helps a young girl and her family find safety from the impending darkness.

Beautifully illustrated with Gloria’s paintings, this story leaves you wondering what happens next …

ISBN: 978-1-911526-38-4

Paperback – 44 pages with colour illustrations

RRP: £10.00

To order a copy or to contact Gloria, please email her at

To find out more about Gloria’s work, visit her website:

The Knit & Natter Club by Gillian Grinham

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Cover for The Knit & Natter Club

Archie thought he would be bored staying on the North Norfolk coast, but that was before Grandma’s knitting bag revealed some very interesting stories!

Fancy having to spend time with your Grandparents instead of going to a Holiday Hockey Club! Archie thought he would be bored staying on the North Norfolk coast as he recovered from chickenpox.

That was before Grandma’s knitting bag revealed some very interesting stories. Green, purple, yellow, cream – each ball of wool had a tale to tell and time flew by as Archie discovered.

Author Gillian Grinham loves North Norfolk, knitting and nattering (she even buys her wool at Owl Tree Crafts), so these lovely short stories wrote themselves.

Suitable for children and adults alike.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Pitt Hopkins UK. For more information about Pitt Hopkins, please visit their website:

Paperback, 42 pages, with illustrations

ISBN: 978-1-911526-37-7

RRP: £6.00

To purchase a copy, please contact Gillian directly:

The History of Cambridge Open Studios by Chris Thomas

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Cover for The History of Cambridge Open Studios

With a foreword by Dame Evelyn Glennie, The History of Cambridge Open Studios is both an archival record of this Cambridgeshire annual arts event and an insight into the people actively involved within living memory. It is for artists, those who are interested in how artists work, those running or thinking of setting up their own Open Studios, and historians.

The book charts the successes and the trials and tribulations of Cambridge Open Studios, run by members for members as a co-operative or mutual benefit company over the past 45 years, with almost 1800 artists taking part (listed in the appendix). It interweaves its record with the often inspirational personal stories of the key individuals who helped steer the organisation. Their lives show that there are many ways to becoming an artist.

We see Cambridge Open Studios in context with other Open Studios in the UK and in Cambridgeshire. It covers past and potential visitor numbers, how we try to reach out to them and what the future may hold.

You can look inside the first 10% of the book here on ISSUU:

ISBN 978-1-911526-34-6

The History of Cambridge Open Studios by Chris Thomas
Published by Milton Contact Ltd, 2019
210 mm x 210 mm
Full colour
268 pages

RRP: £36
Limited first print run 100 copies
To purchase a copy if based in the UK click here: UK purchase, includes postage.
To obtain a copy from outside of UK, contact Chris at

Now also available as a Kindle e-book:

ISBN: 978-1-911526-42-1

Available from Amazon

Price: £25.00