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Lancashire is one of the most complex and challenging counties of all of England in which to conduct ancestral research. This is one of England's most populated counties, and by the mid-18th century it was hit perhaps the hardest at the height of England's Industrial Revolution.  In droves, hordes from England's countryside, from with its own county boundaries, and from far away, came to settle within its larger industrial and manufacturing townships and cities. From a basically agricultural county, Lancashire grew exponentially into England's major manufacturing centre.

As a result of this sudden population explosion, authorities within the Church of England were constantly assessing, devising and drawing up boundary lines for new ecclesiastical parishes.  For nearly a century and a half, Lancashire's civil parishes were continually being subdivided into new ecclesiastical units called Chapelries.  Lancashire's former tapestry of its ancient parishes, instead had now become dotted with four to five time's it's number, in Chapelries. Some of Lancashire's largest township parishes had as many as 30 plus Chapelries within their boundaries, such as, for example, Rochdale parish with nearly 15 Chapelries, and Liverpool with about 48 Chapelries within their respective parish boundaries.


Herein lies the problem and the challenge to most Lancashire researchers: "My ancestor was born in Rochdale but I searched the ancient parish of St. Chad's Rochdale and his baptism was not found there.  So I'm going to select the next parish to search to find him." Therein lies a fallacy in this thinking and an accompanying approach to researching this county! Hence, in especially Lancashire research what easily gets ignored are the 14 or 15 Chapelries that were also all part of and within the boundaries all Rochdale.  ALL Chapelries associated with and lying within each of Lancashire's ancient parishes must be searched in order to conduct thorough genealogical research in this county--whether it's 1 or 2, or 48 or 49 chapelries!  To neglect researching even ONE chapelry is to short shrift your family's genealogical research and will thus compromise proper standards in research procedure.


 

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