Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Napoleonic Ancestors

If you have ancestors in the Napoleonic Wars you may find this post interesting and helpful in finding more online information on ancestors who served in them.

The conflict between Britain and France ran from 1803 to 1815. Although the French defeat at the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June 1815 was regarded as the end of the wars the conflict continued in small pockets. Even Napoleon’s abdication on the 22nd June did not cease the hostilities with Napoleon still clinging to the hope he could win. Sporadic warfare continued along the eastern borders and on the outskirts of Paris until the signing of a cease-fire on 4th July 1815. On 15th July, Napoleon finally surrendered himself to the British squadron at Rochefort.

To find detailed useful information on the Napoleonic wars, battles, campaigns visit:

You can also find names of those who served at The National Archives

Soldier’s documents from 1760 until 1854 can be found in WO 97/1-1271 and searched by name. Also discharge documents usually relating to pensions from 1782 until 1833 in WO 121.

Family Tree Folk

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Finding your ancestors home – Modern “Domesday”

Although the 1911 census is the most comprehensive census to date with useful information to the family historian a lesser known survey was taken at the same time. This survey known as the “Domesday Books” can provide far more information where your ancestors lived.

In the UK in 1911 a valuation of property was carried out and sometimes referred to as “Lloyd-George’s Domesday”. A new tax imposed under the Finance Act 1909 -1910 called Incremental Value Duty was to counter rising property values. This was so that all properties were re assessed and when sold or inherited this additional tax could be imposed on any increase in value.

The records of this survey were known by the name of the parish and provided:

Domesday Books
These were registers of every property (or hereditament) within each Valuation District. Every property was given a number and individual record. The numbering in each parish was not set geographically so the use of Ordinance Survey maps would be needed.

The information given is the number of assessment, number of Poor Rate, the Christian names and Surnames of the owners (with their residences) and a description of the property. Also given is the gross annual value and rateable value.

Working Plans and Record Plans
The Working Plans were used by the valuers to make a revised assessment based on earlier valuations by the Inland Revenue or Guardians of the Poor. These are generally found at local Archive Offices.

Record Plans are found in TNA (The National Archives) followed the Working Plans and contain additional information such as new housing developments and sale prices.

Field Books
These were created after the Domesday Books and often show changes that occurred between 1910 and 1915. They also can contain additional information obtained from the owners or tenants and record sales. This information can provide a great deal of information on two double pages for each property.
·       Name and address of owner (if they were executors of a will it would also contain the name of the testator)
·       Changes of tenants between 1910 and 1920
·       Rent, rates, taxes and insurance (and by whom it was paid)
·       Construction of the property (brick, tile, slate etc)
·       Room by room description of the house, garden and land if a farm
·       Valuers judgement on condition of property
·       A simple plan on squared paper showing outbuildings and livestock etc
·       Business information for shops and public houses (even providing the turnover of ale by the inn!)

The National Archives TNA hold -
Domesday Books for London & Westminster under IR91
Record Plans under IR121 to IR135
Field Books under IR58

Local Archives will hold relevant Domesday Books and Working Plans for local parishes.

The Finance Act in 1909 -1910 applied to all the UK so Scottish records will be found at the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) and the Irish records at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

Family Tree Folk