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Effective family research requires understanding the historic events that affected your family and the records about them. Learning about wars, migrations, settlement patterns, and economic or religious trends may help you understand family movements. Your ancestors may be more interesting to you if you learn about the events that shaped their lives.  
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''[[England]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[England_History|History]]''
  
Some key dates and events in English history are:
+
Effective family history research requires an understanding of the historical events that affected your ancestors and record keeping. Learning about wars, local events, laws, migrations, settlement patterns, and economic or religious trends may help you understand family movements. These events may have led to the creation of records, such as settlement certificates or military records that mention your ancestors. Your family history research will be more interesting if you learn about the events that shaped your ancestors' lives.
  
'''1300 BC''' The genealogy of the Druid Kings of Britain begins with '''Aedd Mawr and his son Brydain '''in 1300 BC. Brydain named the Islands after himself-Britain.  Britain means "Covenant Race".  The complete genealogy is printed out on the chart "One Royal Line of Judah" by Albert F. Schmuhl.
+
__TOC__
  
'''1113 BC Brutus of Troy '''conquered King Pandrasus of Greece, married his daughter and took a group of Trojans and Greeks to Gaul.  Brutus conquered the King of Gaul and founded Tours.  Brutus then brought his group of Trojans, Greeks and Celts to Britain.  He conquered the indigenous race of giants who lived on the Islands.  In this record Brutus claims naming the Islands Britain. Ref. "Victoria County History of Lancanshire pp. 1-20"   
+
=== Historical Timeline  ===
  
In Camden's History of England, Britain was settled by the descendants of Japeth who went into Europe, Gaul and into Britain. Camden wrote his history 450 years after Jeffery of Monmouth, Archdeacon of Monmouth. By the time Camden wrote his history, the records from which Jeffery of Monmouth quoted were destroyed. but Jeffery's  written history of England survived. 
+
Here is a list of some key dates and events in English history. For more detail, see [[England Historical Overview|England Historical Overview]].  
  
'''750 BC''' '''The tribe of Judah '''invaded Ireland and the British Isles.  They established their Kings and people in in Ireland and Britain.  The tribe of Judah is represented  in the Royal Coat of Arms of England by the rampant lion.The Irish Kings decending from Judah through Ireland are printed out on the chart"One Royal Line of Judah" by Albert F. Schmuhl.  
+
*'''c. 480''' Angles, Saxons, and Jutes arrived in England.
 +
*'''1066''' Norman Conquest. William of Normandy (the Conqueror) invaded and was crowned King of England.
 +
*'''1215''' The Great Charter. Barons forced King John I to sign the Magna Carta.
 +
*'''1455-1485''' Wars of the Roses. These ongoing wars involved mostly knights pledged to lords or vassals. Few commoners were involved, and few records were kept.
 +
*'''1531''' Henry VIII recognized as head of the newly created Church of England. All ties with the Pope and the church in Rome severed.  
 +
*'''1535/6''' England and Wales united politically.
 +
*'''1538''' Thomas Cromwell ordered all parish ministers to keep records of christenings, marriages, and burials. These records became known as parish registers.
 +
*'''1559''' From this date, various Acts of Parliament excluded Roman Catholics from governmental offices and fined them for not attending Church of England services.
 +
*'''1568''' Some Puritans ordained their own ministers and tried unsuccessfully to separate from the Church of England. The Puritan movement split in two: becoming the Presbyterians and the Separatists.
 +
*'''1580''' Robert Browne, a separatist, and his followers became known as Independents or Congregationalists.
 +
*'''1598''' Parish ministers were required to keep their registers on parchment, and previous registers were copied onto parchment. Parish ministers were also required to send copies of their registers to the bishop of the diocese. These became known as bishops' transcripts.
 +
*'''1606''' A law required Roman Catholics to be baptised and married by Church of England clergy and to be buried in the churchyard. A fine was imposed for not complying. Many people obeyed regarding burials, but Roman Catholic baptisms and marriages continued in secret.  
 +
*'''1612''' The first General Baptist church was organized.
 +
*'''1620''' A group of Congregationalists sailed on the Mayflower to the New World.
 +
*'''1630''' Puritans seeking church reform left for New England under the leadership of John Winthrop.
 +
*'''1642-1660''' Civil War took place in England. Charles I was executed in 1649. Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England. Bishop's courts were abolished. Civil war caused political and religious upheaval. Parish registers were poorly kept. Many other changes affected record keeping. During this period an attempt was made to create a civil registration of births and marriages but it was not very successful.
 +
*'''1644''' Presbyterian and Independent records began, but many of these early records no longer exist.
 +
*'''1656''' Society of Friends (Quaker) records began. These records are unique among English religious records because they are so thorough.
 +
*'''1660''' Charles II was restored as monarch, ending civil strife. Bishop's courts were restored.
 +
*'''1665-1666''' The Great Plague struck England. London and other larger cities were hardest hit. This affected record keeping. The Great Fire of London followed the plague and destroyed many churches and their registers.
 +
*'''1685''' The migration of Huguenot refugees to England, mainly from France, increased considerably.
 +
*'''1688-89''' William of Orange from Holland was crowned King of England.
 +
*'''1695-1706''' A tax was assessed on parish register entries. To avoid the tax, some people did not register events.
 +
*'''1707''' England and Wales united with Scotland to form the United Kingdom.
 +
*'''1733''' English replaced Latin in official records.
 +
*'''1735''' The Wesleyan Methodist group was started by John Wesley and others. It didn't separate from the Church of England until about 1800. The earliest records date from about 1790.
 +
*'''1752''' England adopted the new Gregorian calendar. The first day of the year changed from 25 March (Lady's Day) to 1 January. See Calendar Changes.
 +
*'''1754''' Lord Hardwicke's Act outlawed marriage outside the Church of England (except for Quakers and Jews) and required that separate registers for marriages be kept. Common law marriages were also outlawed.
 +
*'''1756-1762''' The Seven Years War, called the French and Indian War in North America, involved 120,000 British soldiers and began a continuous series of army records.
 +
*'''1756-1765''' The first English navigation canals appeared. The industrial revolution began, and cities grew with the invention of the steam engine and the spinning jenny.
 +
*'''1775-1783''' The American revolution occurred. The British army had 135,000 men in North America when fighting broke out. Some men remained in Canada after the war, but most returned to England. Records of Loyalists and others who remained in Canada are separate from other military records.
 +
*'''1778''' Laws against Roman Catholics were repealed, and many priests started to keep records.
 +
*'''1783-1794''' The Stamp Duty Act again assessed a tax on parish register entries. Only paupers were exempt, so many people were recorded as paupers when they were not. Others did not have their children baptized until after the act was repealed.
 +
*'''1800''' Ireland became part of the United Kingdom.
 +
*'''1803-1815''' The Napoleonic Wars occurred. Numerous battles across Europe involved 365,000 British soldiers and 300,000 seamen. These battles included the Peninsular Wars in Portugal and Spain. When the wars ended, the soldiers returned to Britain to find that many traditional occupations had been eliminated by the Industrial Revolution.  
 +
*'''1812''' The George Rose Act required Church of England christening, marriage, and burial records to be kept in separate registers on preprinted forms, starting 1 January 1813.
 +
*'''1830''' The first railways appeared in England.
 +
*'''1834''' Poor law unions took poor relief responsibilities away from parishes. Workhouses were established.
 +
*'''1837''' Civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths began on 1 July. However, events could still be recorded in parish registers. Bishops' transcripts were kept less frequently. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901.First missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began preaching in the Preston, Lancashire area.
 +
*'''1841''' The first genealogically useful census was taken by the government.
 +
*'''1854-1856''' 225,000 troops were involved in the Crimean war (by the Black Sea).
 +
*'''1857''' The Matrimonial Causes Act created divorce courts and made it easier for unhappy couples to obtain a divorce.
 +
*'''1857-1858''' The Indian Mutiny occurred. Many of the troops discharged after the Crimean War were recalled to quell the revolt in India.
 +
*'''1858''' Principal Probate Registry began handling all English probates.
 +
*'''1877-1902''' The Boer Wars occurred. The first Anglo-Boer War led to South African independence in 1881. The second Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902) led to the unification of South Africa in 1910.
 +
*'''1882''' Married women were given the right to use and dispose of their own property.
 +
*'''1914–1918''' About 3 million English troops served in World War I. 750,000 died.
 +
*'''1939–1945''' More than 1 million British soldiers and civilians died in World War II.
  
'''700-600 BC Celts from Gaul '''invade Britain and take control of the country.&nbsp; The Druid priests presided in their culture, but were not warriors.&nbsp; The Druid priests educated their people and officated in the religious practices.<br>The Druid priests were the ruling community officals and religious leaders.&nbsp; The commanding warriors were a part of the community council.&nbsp; The Celts were of the tribe of Ephraim and are represented in the Royal Coat of Arms of England by the white unicorn.
+
=== Historical Sources  ===
  
'''37 AD Joseph of Arimathea '''and his group of 11 other adults landed at Glastonbury. They built the first Christain Church in the world named St. Mary.&nbsp; King Avairgas gave 12 hides of land to the Church of St. Mary at Glastonbury to be held tax free forever. These 12 hides and Church of Glastonbury were listed in the Doomesday Book of William the Conqueror.&nbsp; Joseph's daughter Anna married Bran the Blessed and they became the progenators of the royal lienage of Wales.&nbsp; In 1954, the government authorized an archeological excavation of the site.&nbsp; The foundations of the orginal church were found to measure 37' X 50 ' long.&nbsp; A stone was found with the inscription of Jesus/Maria, the Challess Well, and six wattle homes all dating to the time period.&nbsp; The tomb of Joseph of Arimathea was also found with the body placed in a silver casket in the Church&nbsp;of&nbsp;St. John the Baptist.&nbsp;The tomb of King Arthur was previously found and his body enturned in London.&nbsp; Despite the archeological evidence, modern day historians call this story a myth. I have included this history because Lawrence Gardner, the Royal Genealogist of England includes the genealogy of Joseph of Arimathea as one of the Royal ancestors of England and Wales.&nbsp; These genealogies are printed out in his book, "Bloodline of the Holy Grail".
+
The following are a few of the historical sources available at the Family History Library:
  
'''43 AD&nbsp;Rome invaded Britain '''and conquered the souther part of Britain before their army was recalled to Gaul.The Celts of Gaul were such fierce fighters that it took the who army of Rome to finally conqueror the blue painted warriors. After the war was ended in 44 AD, Mary Magdalene went to Gaul to live where her descendants became the Fisher Kings of Gaul.  
+
*''British [or English] Historical Facts'' by Chris Cook, et. al. Five volumes covering 1485-1900, lists key dates, offices, and office holders in history.
 +
*''The Oxford History of England.'' Fifteen volumes organized by period and covers from 100 B.C. to A.D. 1945.
 +
*''Record Sources for Local History'' by Phillip Riden. Explains governmental changes and how they affect local and family history.
 +
*''Sources for English Local History'' by W. B. Stephens, explains historical records and lists sources with more detailed information.
 +
*''Chronicle of Britain: incorporating a chronicle of Ireland'' edited by Henrietta Heald. Arranged by year, it gives information about major events in the British Isles from the Ice Age to 1992.
  
'''65-68 AD Rome''' invaded Britain but were repulsed by the fighting Islanders.  
+
Similar sources may be available at public and university libraries.  
  
'''100 AD Rome invaded and finally conquered Britain'''.&nbsp; Many Christains were fed to the lions and killed by the gladiators.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; '''325 AD Council of Nicea'''.&nbsp;&nbsp;The British bishops attended the Council of Nicea and since Britain had built the first Christain church, the British bishops were given first priority to speak.&nbsp; They presented their concept of the Godhead, but the Greek concept was accepted by Constantine.&nbsp; As a result of the Niceen Creed and the Roman rule, Catholic Bishops replaced the British ones and taught the country Catholic doctrine.&nbsp; The country gradually converted to the Catholic religion.&nbsp; However many held on to their Celtic beliefs.
+
=== Local Histories  ===
  
'''400 AD Abbott Bean''' of Glastonbury wrote five volumes of "Britain's History Prior to Christainity"&nbsp; He had a library of over 200 books.&nbsp; Glastonbury Church of St. Mary with its library was enlarged to become the largest churchin the British Isles.&nbsp; It trained priests like St. Patrick who took Christanity to Ireland.&nbsp;The church and its vast library was burned in 1184 to destroy the records of the inferior race which William the Conqueror subugated.&nbsp; King William gave orders that once the Norman Churches were constructed the Saxon churches were to be burnt.&nbsp; Before it was burnt, William of Malmsbury read the records of the library and recorded the history from Joseph of Arimathea to the 1100's. William of Malmsbury made a historical summary of Glastonbury.
+
A local history describes the economy, prominent families, and the founding of churches, hospitals, schools, and businesses in a specific area. Even if a local history does not mention your ancestor, you may find important clues that suggest other records to search. Local histories also provide background information about your family's lifestyle, community, and environment.  
  
'''603 AD King Arthur''', his knights, and army had successfullt defeated the invasions of the Saxons over the years.A family war between King Arthur and his son near Hadrians Wall took the British armies to the north.&nbsp; Both were killed in the battle.&nbsp; King Arthur's body was taken back to Glastonbury, Somersetshire to be buried.&nbsp; While their family was embattled in war, the Saxons conquered Britain.&nbsp;&nbsp;
+
For many localities, there may be more than one history. There are hundreds of histories about English parishes. The Family History Library has many histories, and they will be listed in the Family History Library Catalog. Use the Place Search and type a locality. Histories are often available at major public and university libraries and archives.  
  
'''603 AD&nbsp;Saxons conquered Britain'''.&nbsp; The Saxons set up&nbsp;their own Kings and rulers in Britain.&nbsp; The Saxons named their newly conquered land '''England'''.&nbsp; They moved all their people from Germany to England.&nbsp; The Saxons were from the tribe of Ephraim mixed with some of Judah.&nbsp;&nbsp;
+
The 'Victoria County Histories' is an important ongoing series of local histories for most counties. Each entry includes general background and history from pre-Roman times and individual chapters on industry, economy, and history. Pedigrees or histories of prominent individuals and occupants of historic homes are often included. Call numbers for these histories are found in the [https://www.familysearch.org/#form=catalog Family History Library Catalog]. Use the Place-name search, search for a county, and select the topic of History.  
  
'''740 AD The Norwegian Vikings '''invaded England and fought for 40 years before being defeated.&nbsp; Part of the army returned to Norway and part was incorporated in the peoples of England.&nbsp; The fusion of the Vikings into England brought about another infusion of the tribe of Ephraim into England.
+
=== Calendar Changes  ===
  
'''865 AD The Danish Vikings '''invaded both France and England.&nbsp; They forcibly took one forth of France and set up Normandy as their new conquered kingdom.&nbsp; The Danish&nbsp;kings gave descent to William the Conquerer who ruled one forth of France with his brothers.&nbsp; In England, the Danish vikings conquered three forths of England before being defeated in 698 AD.&nbsp; The Danes made York, Yorkshire&nbsp;their headquarters.&nbsp; Their army was incorporated into England giving rise to names with "son" suffixes like Rawson, Dawson, Anderson, and Janson.&nbsp; This incorporations of the Danish army gave England another infusion of the tribe of Ephraim.  
+
The Gregorian calendar, the one commonly used today, is a correction of the Julian calendar, which, because of miscalculated leap years, was 11 days behind the solar year by 1752.  
  
'''1050 AD The Danish Vikings''' invade and conqueror England.&nbsp; King Harold fought off an invasion by his brother in 1066 AD with his army marching to northern England. After defeating his brothers army, King Harold marched his army south to meet the army of William the Conqueror. The armies met at Hastings and fought a bloody battle in which King Harold was killed and his army defeated.&nbsp;Duke William conquered England in 1066.
+
England began using the new calendar in 1752. Eleven days were omitted to bring the calendar in line with the solar year. The day after Wednesday, 2 September 1752, became Thursday, 14 September 1752.  
  
'''1066<nowiki>:&nbsp; Norman Conquest. William of Normandy (the Conqueror) invaded and was crowned King of England.&nbsp;</nowiki>'''
+
Also at that time, the first day of the year changed to 1 January. Before 1752, the first day of the year was 25 March.  
  
1077 Provost Alwin Child came from France and set up churches and religious Cluny orders of monks.
+
Pre-1752 dates may be confusing. For example, the day after 24 March 1565 was 25 March 1566. Dates between 1 January and 24 March are often recorded using a technique called double dating. An example of double dating is 16 February 1696/7.  
  
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The cluny Church of France was the largest church in the world with the largest library built in the 800
+
For more information, see ''Handbook of Dates for Students of English History'', by C. R. Cheney.
  
 +
=== Websites  ===
  
 +
*[http://www.google.com/archivesearch?q=england+census+records&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&scoring=t&ei=6CTeSeTzBY2OMt6z6VI&sa=X&oi=timeline_result&resnum=11&ct=title 1000 AD-2009]
 +
*http://www.historyofengland.net/
 +
*http://www.britainexpress.com/History/index.htm
 +
*http://www.britannia.com/history/narintrohist.html
 +
*http://home.earthlink.net/~lfdean/austen/history/index.html
  
 
+
[[Category:England]]
 
+
 
+
'''1215:&nbsp; The Great Charter.&nbsp; Barons forced King John I to sign the Magna Carta.'''
+
 
+
'''1536<nowiki>:&nbsp; England and Wales united politically.&nbsp;</nowiki>'''
+
 
+
'''1642–1660:&nbsp; Civil War.&nbsp; Charles I was executed in 1649.&nbsp; Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England.&nbsp; Bishop’s courts were abolished.&nbsp; Many other changes affected record-keeping.'''
+
 
+
'''1660<nowiki>:&nbsp; Charles II restored as monarch, ending civil strife. Bishop’s courts restored.&nbsp;</nowiki>'''
+
 
+
'''1688–1689:&nbsp; William of Orange from Holland crowned King of England.'''
+
 
+
'''1707:&nbsp; England and Wales united with Scotland to form the United Kingdom.'''
+
 
+
'''1733:&nbsp;English replaced Latin in official records.'''
+
 
+
'''1752:&nbsp; England adopted the new Gregorian calendar.&nbsp; The first day of the year started on 1 January.'''
+
 
+
'''1756–1765<nowiki>:&nbsp; The first English navigation canals appeared.&nbsp; The Industrial Revolution began and cities grew with the invention of the steam engine and the spinning jenny.&nbsp;</nowiki>'''
+
 
+
'''1800:&nbsp; Ireland became part of the United Kingdom.'''
+
 
+
'''1830<nowiki>:&nbsp; First railways appeared in England.</nowiki>'''
+
 
+
'''1834:&nbsp; Poor law unions took poor relief responsibilities away from parishes.&nbsp; Workhouses established.'''
+
 
+
'''1837:&nbsp; Civil registration began on 1 July.&nbsp; Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901.'''
+
 
+
'''1841<nowiki>:&nbsp; The first genealogically useful census taken.&nbsp;</nowiki>'''
+
 
+
'''1858:&nbsp; Principal Probate Registry began handling all English probates.'''
+
 
+
'''1882:&nbsp; Married women were given the right to use and dispose of their own property.'''
+
 
+
=== '''Websites'''  ===
+
 
+
*'''http://www.historyofengland.net/'''
+
*'''http://www.britainexpress.com/History/index.htm'''
+
*'''http://www.britannia.com/history/narintrohist.html'''
+
*'''http://home.earthlink.net/~lfdean/austen/history/index.html'''
+
 
+
[[Category:England|'''England''']]
+

Latest revision as of 16:29, 3 July 2012

England Gotoarrow.png History

Effective family history research requires an understanding of the historical events that affected your ancestors and record keeping. Learning about wars, local events, laws, migrations, settlement patterns, and economic or religious trends may help you understand family movements. These events may have led to the creation of records, such as settlement certificates or military records that mention your ancestors. Your family history research will be more interesting if you learn about the events that shaped your ancestors' lives.

Contents


Historical Timeline

Here is a list of some key dates and events in English history. For more detail, see England Historical Overview.

  • c. 480 Angles, Saxons, and Jutes arrived in England.
  • 1066 Norman Conquest. William of Normandy (the Conqueror) invaded and was crowned King of England.
  • 1215 The Great Charter. Barons forced King John I to sign the Magna Carta.
  • 1455-1485 Wars of the Roses. These ongoing wars involved mostly knights pledged to lords or vassals. Few commoners were involved, and few records were kept.
  • 1531 Henry VIII recognized as head of the newly created Church of England. All ties with the Pope and the church in Rome severed.
  • 1535/6 England and Wales united politically.
  • 1538 Thomas Cromwell ordered all parish ministers to keep records of christenings, marriages, and burials. These records became known as parish registers.
  • 1559 From this date, various Acts of Parliament excluded Roman Catholics from governmental offices and fined them for not attending Church of England services.
  • 1568 Some Puritans ordained their own ministers and tried unsuccessfully to separate from the Church of England. The Puritan movement split in two: becoming the Presbyterians and the Separatists.
  • 1580 Robert Browne, a separatist, and his followers became known as Independents or Congregationalists.
  • 1598 Parish ministers were required to keep their registers on parchment, and previous registers were copied onto parchment. Parish ministers were also required to send copies of their registers to the bishop of the diocese. These became known as bishops' transcripts.
  • 1606 A law required Roman Catholics to be baptised and married by Church of England clergy and to be buried in the churchyard. A fine was imposed for not complying. Many people obeyed regarding burials, but Roman Catholic baptisms and marriages continued in secret.
  • 1612 The first General Baptist church was organized.
  • 1620 A group of Congregationalists sailed on the Mayflower to the New World.
  • 1630 Puritans seeking church reform left for New England under the leadership of John Winthrop.
  • 1642-1660 Civil War took place in England. Charles I was executed in 1649. Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England. Bishop's courts were abolished. Civil war caused political and religious upheaval. Parish registers were poorly kept. Many other changes affected record keeping. During this period an attempt was made to create a civil registration of births and marriages but it was not very successful.
  • 1644 Presbyterian and Independent records began, but many of these early records no longer exist.
  • 1656 Society of Friends (Quaker) records began. These records are unique among English religious records because they are so thorough.
  • 1660 Charles II was restored as monarch, ending civil strife. Bishop's courts were restored.
  • 1665-1666 The Great Plague struck England. London and other larger cities were hardest hit. This affected record keeping. The Great Fire of London followed the plague and destroyed many churches and their registers.
  • 1685 The migration of Huguenot refugees to England, mainly from France, increased considerably.
  • 1688-89 William of Orange from Holland was crowned King of England.
  • 1695-1706 A tax was assessed on parish register entries. To avoid the tax, some people did not register events.
  • 1707 England and Wales united with Scotland to form the United Kingdom.
  • 1733 English replaced Latin in official records.
  • 1735 The Wesleyan Methodist group was started by John Wesley and others. It didn't separate from the Church of England until about 1800. The earliest records date from about 1790.
  • 1752 England adopted the new Gregorian calendar. The first day of the year changed from 25 March (Lady's Day) to 1 January. See Calendar Changes.
  • 1754 Lord Hardwicke's Act outlawed marriage outside the Church of England (except for Quakers and Jews) and required that separate registers for marriages be kept. Common law marriages were also outlawed.
  • 1756-1762 The Seven Years War, called the French and Indian War in North America, involved 120,000 British soldiers and began a continuous series of army records.
  • 1756-1765 The first English navigation canals appeared. The industrial revolution began, and cities grew with the invention of the steam engine and the spinning jenny.
  • 1775-1783 The American revolution occurred. The British army had 135,000 men in North America when fighting broke out. Some men remained in Canada after the war, but most returned to England. Records of Loyalists and others who remained in Canada are separate from other military records.
  • 1778 Laws against Roman Catholics were repealed, and many priests started to keep records.
  • 1783-1794 The Stamp Duty Act again assessed a tax on parish register entries. Only paupers were exempt, so many people were recorded as paupers when they were not. Others did not have their children baptized until after the act was repealed.
  • 1800 Ireland became part of the United Kingdom.
  • 1803-1815 The Napoleonic Wars occurred. Numerous battles across Europe involved 365,000 British soldiers and 300,000 seamen. These battles included the Peninsular Wars in Portugal and Spain. When the wars ended, the soldiers returned to Britain to find that many traditional occupations had been eliminated by the Industrial Revolution.
  • 1812 The George Rose Act required Church of England christening, marriage, and burial records to be kept in separate registers on preprinted forms, starting 1 January 1813.
  • 1830 The first railways appeared in England.
  • 1834 Poor law unions took poor relief responsibilities away from parishes. Workhouses were established.
  • 1837 Civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths began on 1 July. However, events could still be recorded in parish registers. Bishops' transcripts were kept less frequently. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901.First missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began preaching in the Preston, Lancashire area.
  • 1841 The first genealogically useful census was taken by the government.
  • 1854-1856 225,000 troops were involved in the Crimean war (by the Black Sea).
  • 1857 The Matrimonial Causes Act created divorce courts and made it easier for unhappy couples to obtain a divorce.
  • 1857-1858 The Indian Mutiny occurred. Many of the troops discharged after the Crimean War were recalled to quell the revolt in India.
  • 1858 Principal Probate Registry began handling all English probates.
  • 1877-1902 The Boer Wars occurred. The first Anglo-Boer War led to South African independence in 1881. The second Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902) led to the unification of South Africa in 1910.
  • 1882 Married women were given the right to use and dispose of their own property.
  • 1914–1918 About 3 million English troops served in World War I. 750,000 died.
  • 1939–1945 More than 1 million British soldiers and civilians died in World War II.

Historical Sources

The following are a few of the historical sources available at the Family History Library:

  • British [or English] Historical Facts by Chris Cook, et. al. Five volumes covering 1485-1900, lists key dates, offices, and office holders in history.
  • The Oxford History of England. Fifteen volumes organized by period and covers from 100 B.C. to A.D. 1945.
  • Record Sources for Local History by Phillip Riden. Explains governmental changes and how they affect local and family history.
  • Sources for English Local History by W. B. Stephens, explains historical records and lists sources with more detailed information.
  • Chronicle of Britain: incorporating a chronicle of Ireland edited by Henrietta Heald. Arranged by year, it gives information about major events in the British Isles from the Ice Age to 1992.

Similar sources may be available at public and university libraries.

Local Histories

A local history describes the economy, prominent families, and the founding of churches, hospitals, schools, and businesses in a specific area. Even if a local history does not mention your ancestor, you may find important clues that suggest other records to search. Local histories also provide background information about your family's lifestyle, community, and environment.

For many localities, there may be more than one history. There are hundreds of histories about English parishes. The Family History Library has many histories, and they will be listed in the Family History Library Catalog. Use the Place Search and type a locality. Histories are often available at major public and university libraries and archives.

The 'Victoria County Histories' is an important ongoing series of local histories for most counties. Each entry includes general background and history from pre-Roman times and individual chapters on industry, economy, and history. Pedigrees or histories of prominent individuals and occupants of historic homes are often included. Call numbers for these histories are found in the Family History Library Catalog. Use the Place-name search, search for a county, and select the topic of History.

Calendar Changes

The Gregorian calendar, the one commonly used today, is a correction of the Julian calendar, which, because of miscalculated leap years, was 11 days behind the solar year by 1752.

England began using the new calendar in 1752. Eleven days were omitted to bring the calendar in line with the solar year. The day after Wednesday, 2 September 1752, became Thursday, 14 September 1752.

Also at that time, the first day of the year changed to 1 January. Before 1752, the first day of the year was 25 March.

Pre-1752 dates may be confusing. For example, the day after 24 March 1565 was 25 March 1566. Dates between 1 January and 24 March are often recorded using a technique called double dating. An example of double dating is 16 February 1696/7.

For more information, see Handbook of Dates for Students of English History, by C. R. Cheney.

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