By Vona Williams
Have you ever wanted to find a map showing the parish where your ancestor lived but weren’t sure where to go to find one? Have you ever needed to know the surrounding or contiguous parishes to the parish where your ancestor lived? Have you wished you knew what court to look in to find a will? Now, right at your fingertips, in the comfort of your own home, you can find answers to these questions and many more.
The England Jurisdictions, 1851 mapping system provides a wealth of information about places in England which until now was only found by using many different sources.
One of the first steps in searching for a family in the British Isles is to determine in which parish the family lived. If you have a place name, you can use England Jurisdictions, 1851, to find out about that place. By entering the name of a place in the search box and clicking “Search”, you begin an adventure that allows you to see the place on a map and learn about that place. To begin, you can learn whether it is a parish, town, hamlet or village, which county it belongs to, and if it is not a parish, the parish to which it belongs.
After you have determined the parish where your ancestor lived, you need to find the records that will provide information about your ancestor. If your ancestor lived after 1837, you can find a birth, marriage, or death record in the records of Civil Registration. In order to use Civil Registration effectively, you must know a district. On this website, once you have clicked on a parish a bubble will appear containing information such as the jurisdictions for the parish. One of the jurisdictions will be the Civil Registration district.
Church of England records are a major source to use for finding ancestors especially before 1837. This mapping system provides dates when the parish registers and bishops’ transcripts begin. If you don’t find your people in Church of England records, use the list of other denominations known to exist in the parish to determine other churches where you might find your ancestors. A link is also provided to the Family History Library Catalog where you will find call numbers to the church records and other records available through the Family History Library.
Finding a will for an ancestor or an ancestor’s family is a very important part of the research process. It is necessary to know the court where your ancestor would most likely have had a will probated. Wills in England could be probated in many different courts, making it difficult to identify where a will might be found. The jurisdictions table on the site tells you the most likely court to use for the place where your ancestor lived.
At times, you do not find your ancestors in the parish where you thought they lived. It is necessary to search in the surrounding or contiguous parishes for them. England Jurisdictions, 1851 provides a map showing those parishes and will print a list of them for you to use. You can also create a list of parishes within a radius of ¼ mile, 5 miles, 10 miles, or 15 miles of the parish you are searching. A simple click on a parish will provide information for that parish.
To effectively research your ancestors, it is important that you find a topographical map of the area where your ancestors lived. It is good to see the relationship between your ancestors’ parish and the rivers, streams, roads, mountains, etc. You can choose to use an Ordnance Survey Map underlay to see that detail.
Maps and information can be printed so you can take them with you as you work away from a computer. You might want a map, a list of the parishes within a county, a list of parishes within a certain radius of the ancestor’s parish, or a list of parishes within a certain jurisdiction such as a civil registration district. These lists and more can be printed.
The England Jurisdictions, 1851 mapping system is a quick and easy way to find answers for many of the questions you have regarding the places where your ancestors lived. Find the answers to your questions by going to http://maps.familysearch.org.