Friday, 22 April 2011

1700 census: Finished!

Today I completed transcribing the 1700 census of Ottery St Mary.  It has taken me about 6 weeks.  I have sent the transcription to Brian Randell of GENUKI; it will form part of the "Pre-1841 Devon Censuses and Population Listings" project on the GENUKI pages, and will (hopefully) be a help to anyone researching their ancestors who came from the area.

The census itself was not like the later ones, where families were listed, their ages, where they were born and so on.  No, this was merely a list of the men (and sometimes widows or wives living alone); no families, no ages, no places of birth.  So some may say it won't be of much use to anybody.  Well, actually, I beg to differ.  If you suspected your ancestor came from that area, but weren't too sure, it may help you pinpoint him (or her).  And then again, it is just so special for we genealogists who love that sort of thing: to be able to see your ancestor's name - it gives you a sense of connection to the past that we thrive on.  I have found my 8th great grandfather there - and just to see his name gave me a shiver.  You may have heard of the "genealogy happy dance" - well, now here's the "genealogy shiver" !  Here he is: Walter Bastyn:


and I came across many familiar names, whose descendants I have met across the decades in other censuses - they may be 'nothing to do with me', but they are so familiar, they might just as well be friends.  Who knows? they might even have been my ancestors' friends, too! The Peryams, the Menifeys, the Eveleighs, the Churchills, the Blackmores all appear - and I know that the Hudys and the Norringtons are part of my family tree.

I have loved deciphering the Secretary Hand that the document was written in.  As soon as I have finished transcribing the 1841 census for Ottery St Mary, I might just go back for more, and transcribe another parish.

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