History News

News on useful information to help you research your Essex ancestors

More Wills at the Essex Record Office

The Essex Record Office (ERO) has just announced a recent new upload of 22,500 wills to their Essex Ancestors service. You can now view online Wills which were created before c.1720 and now held in the ERO. The remaining Wills from c.1720-1858 are to be uploaded in the near future. Essex Ancestors is a pay to view service, but reasonable day or week rates are available.

The Wills are from the following ecclesiastical courts:

  • Archdeaconry of Colchester
  • Archdeaconry of Essex
  • Archdeaconry of Middlesex (Essex & Herts. Division)
  • Bishop of London’s Commissary (Essex & Herts. Division)
  • Peculiar of the Deanery of Bocking
  • Peculiar of Good Easter
  • Peculiar of the Liberty of the Sokens
  • Peculiar of Writtle with Roxwell

For more information Wills and your Essex ancestors see our Wills before 1858 page.

Posted in Essex History, Essex Resources | Leave a comment

Have you researched the Huguenots of Colchester?

Have you researched the Huguenots of Colchester? The Friends of Colchester Museums are hosting an event in September 2015 on the subject of the Huguenot migration to England during the 16th – 17th centuries and are looking for a speaker with local knowledge of the Huguenots in Colchester.

The event will commence with a speaker from the Huguenot Society who will talk of the background to the Huguenots in England generally. After this it is hoped another speaker can be found who can provide information on the Huguenots who came to live in Colchester.

Ideally they are looking for someone who has relevant knowledge of the Huguenots in Colchester (not the Flemish/Dutch of which there were many more). Perhaps someone who has discovered and researched their Huguenot ancestors in Colchester, or has discovered a Huguenot connection to North East Essex.

If you think you can help in anyway or you know of someone who may be able to help then contact History House and we will forward on the information.

Posted in Essex History, UK History | Leave a comment

Radio Times Archive

The BBC has launched their Genome Project. They’ve scanned the back catalogue of the Radio Times and particularly the listings information between 1923 and 2009. A good source of information if your ancestor or living relation was involved as an actor, presenter, etc. Or just go down memory lane: what was I watching in 1967?

For more background information on the Radio Times, see the BBC website on the history of the Radio Times.

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Were your Victorian ancestors servants?

female house servant

Did your ancestor live or work in a grand house in the Victorian era? Was one of your ancestors a butler or a hall boy? Was your greatgrandmother a housemaid or a cook? Did your forebears employ domestic staff?

Whatever your family’s link to the past, TV Aspect, a TV production company, would love to hear from you. They are looking to speak to people of all ages who have a direct family connection to a historic house.They would like to hear what you know about their lives and see any photos or letters you may have.
If you have any information for the producers please contact:
Alice Ankeny
Tiger Aspect, Factual Department
4th Floor, Shepherds Building Central
Charecroft Way
London W14 OEE
Tel: 0208 222 4909

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Kelvedon Hatch, 1840 – 1920: A Guided Tour

Book cover: Kelvedon Hatch, 1840 - 1920

History House is pleased to announce the publication of a new book: Kelvedon Hatch, 1840 – 1920: A Guided Tour.

The book takes you on a guided tour of Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, during the 19th and early 20th centuries. With the help of photographs, newspapers, parish records and census returns, the story of each house is revealed, as are the lives of some of their occupants.

It was a parish of many contrasts: from wealthy land-owners living in grand Georgian mansions with numerous servants, to agricultural workers struggling against poverty in overcrowded and dilapidated cottages. Discover how the landscape changed after the common land was enclosed, and how farmers struggled to cope with the agricultural depression. Find out about the role of the parish in WW1 when it was at the front line of Britain’s fight against the Zeppelins. See how the new school was established and functioned, and why a new parish church was built. There are stories of crime, bankruptcy, poverty, scandal, revenge, leisure and migration.

Even if you have never been to Kelvedon Hatch, with the help of detailed maps and photographs, you will find yourself immersed in its history.
Contains 128 pages, 11 maps and diagrams, 77 black and white photographs.

Buy this book on Lulu.

Also available on Amazon and other online bookstores.

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Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills

A new and important collection of Wills has just been added on Ancestry.co.uk: the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills from 1384 to 1858.

According to Ancestry, “Prior to 12 January 1858, wills in England and Wales were proved in ecclesiastical courts. This indexed collection contains images of wills as they were copied into the registers of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC). The PCC, for the most part, handled probates from southern England and Wales, for individuals who owned property in both the Province of York and the Province of Canterbury, or those who died outside of England and Wales. Most of the wills in this collection will be for members of the middle and upper classes.”

What you will be able to see are the registered copies of the Wills which have been written out by the church clerks and bound in large volumes. As a consequence, the handwriting is sometimes difficult to read or may be in Latin. However, this is a great resource so don’t be put off by the challenge of trying to read the handwriting. Take a piece of paper and line by line identify the words you can read and leave gaps for those you cannot. Look out for the squiggles at the beginning and end of the lines, they were added to ensure there were no blank spaces. Now look at the writing you know and from the handwriting style try and guess the words you don’t. Many of the Wills will contain standard preambles. Look on the internet for examples of transcribed Wills. Also see our page on reading Latin and old handwriting.

Posted in Essex Resources, Miscellaneous | 2 Comments

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