Seeking English
6/12/2014
There Will Always Be An England in the Ancestry of Millions of Americans. Here's How to Get Started Tracing and Celebrating Your English Roots.

Find it on the web

MAPS

Ordnance Survey <www.ordsvy.gov.uk/home/>: Britain's national mapping agency.

Ordnance Survey Gazetteer <www.ordsvy.gov.uk/products/Landranger/ lrmsearch.cfm>: Search for locations.

Alan Godfrey Maps <www.alangodfreymaps.co.uk/>: Catalog of detailed maps from the late 19th and early 20th century.

UK Street Maps <www.streetmap.co.uk/>: Online street maps for greater London and road maps for the rest of the country.

ORGANIZATIONS

British Isles Family History Society-USA <www.rootsweb.com/~bifhsusa>: Includes a guide to research, publications for sale and links to more. You can also write: 2531 Sawtelle Blvd. PMB 134, Los Angeles, CA 90064.

Federation of Family History Societies <www.ffhs.org.uk/members/England.htm>: Every county has a society that is a member of the federation; most produce a useful journal and have additional research resources.

RESEARCH HELP

FamilySearch <www.familysearch.org/sg/ht_list.html>: Under "England," you'll find the LDS Research Outline for England, maps, census worksheet and guide to the 1881 British census.

GENUKI <www.genuki.org.uk>: Virtual reference library on English genealogy, with a wealth of information on history, places and records.

RECORDS RESOURCES

Public Record Office <www.pro.gov.uk/finding/catalogue/>: Online catalog of the largest repository of original English documents. Other useful resources here include Family Fact Sheets <www.pro.gov.uk/genealogy/familyfacts.htm> and Research Information Leaflets <www.pro.gov.uk/leaflets.default.htm>.

Family Records Centre <www.pro.gov.uk/about/frc>: How to order records from England. You can also write: 1 Myddleton St., London EC1R 1UW, England.

Office for National Statistics <www.ons.gov.uk>: You can download a form for ordering birth certificates by mail (order only the full certificate, not the "short" certificate). The address for correspondence is: General Register Office, PO Box 2, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 2JD, England.

• County Record Offices <www.oz.net/~markhow/englishros.htm>: Links to sites for individual English counties.

MAGAZINES

Family Tree (UK) <www.family-tree.co.uk>: Not to be confused with the US-published magazine you're holding in your hands, this is the leading British-interest genealogy publication.

British Heritage <www.thehistorynet.com/BritishHeritage/>: Celebrating all things British.

LINKS AND LISTS

Cyndi's List <www.CyndisList.com/england.htm>: Some 500 links to English genealogy sites.

Yahoo! <uk.dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Humanities/History/Genealogy/>: More than 2,500 genealogy-related links.

UK Mailing Lists <members.aol.com/gfsjohnf/gen_mail_country-unk.html>: Huge list of Internet mailing lists (LISTSERVs).

Preserve Your Past for Generations to Come with the Writing Your Life Stories Workshop


On the bookshelf

• A Genealogical Gazetteer of England by Frank Smith (Genealogical Publishing Co., $35)

• The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers by Cecil Humphrey-Smith (Phillimore, out of print)

• Basic Facts About Using the Family Records Centre by Audrey Collins (Federation of Family History Societies, $1.50)

• Never Been Here Before? A Genealogist's Guide to the Family Records Centre by Jane Cox and Stella Colwell (PRO Publication #17, $12.95)

• Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History by Mark D. Herber (Genealogical Publishing Co., $34.95)

• An Introduction to the Census Returns of England and Wales (Federation of Family History Societies, $1.25)

• The Family Tree Detective: Tracing Your Ancestors in England and Wales by Colin D. Rogers (Manchester University Press, $19.95)

ENGLISH HISTORY TIMELINE

[trip Tips]

Even though you can do much of your English genealogy right here in the former colonies, there's nothing like visiting in person to get in touch with your roots. To make sure you have a jolly good time in England, consider these details as you plan your trip:

PASSPORT US citizens need passports valid for a minimum of six months beyond their planned length of stay.

BRITISH TOURIST AUTHORITY Contact the New York City office of the British Tourist Authority for hugely helpful tourist information packets. 551 Fifth Ave., 7th floor, New York, NY 10176, (212)986-2200, <www.visitbritain.com>.

BRING LOTS OF MONEY England, particularly London, is among the most expensive destinations in Europe. Expect to spend at least 30 pounds sterling per person each day — and that's for modest accommodations and no-frills meals.

POUND STERLING/EURO While the Euro is encroaching, the pound sterling is still around. A pound is divided into 100 pence, with paper bills in denominations of £5, 10, 20 and 50 and coins worth £ 1 and 2, 5,10, 20 and 50 pence.

BRITRAIL PASS There aren't many bargains in England, but the BritRail Pass qualifies. Passes must be purchased before you go — call your travel agent — and are available for unlimited travel on consecutive days or a specified number of days in a two-month period. Seniors and students ages 16-25 get additional discounts; kids ages 5-15 are half price, <www.britrail.co.uk>

NATIONAL TRUST If your trip will include visits to Britain's historic castles and gardens, definitely get a National Trust membership. (Non-members pay entrance fees of about £6.) Contact the American affiliate of the National Trust: The Royal Oak Foundation, 285 W. Broadway, Suite 400, New York, NY 10013, (212)966-6565.

THINK METRIC Here's a silly verse for thinking like you're European: "A meter measures 3-foot-3, it's longer than a yard, you see. Two-and-a-quarter pounds of jam weighs about a kilogram." A mile equals 1.6 kilometers.

BRING AN ADAPTER If you want to use your hair dryer or laptop, remember that the current is 240 volts AC, 50 Hz. Buy a plug adapter before you leave home.

BEHIND THE WHEEL Drive on the left, pass on the right. And the steering wheel is on the right side of the car.

TIME ZONE The United Kingdom runs on Greenwich Mean Time, which is five hours ahead of New York City and eight hours ahead of Los Angeles.

UMBRELLA? Nah. The average January temperature in London is 40 degrees (F); in July, 64. You always hear about London's fog and rain, but it's generally less overcast than Seattle.

TIPPING Plan on tipping in England much as you would in the United Stages. General rules: 10-15 percent at restaurants and for taxi drivers; £1 per suitcase for bellhops.

- PATRICIA ANN MCMORROW
 
 
 
 
 

[THE NEW BRITISH INVASION]

You can get a taste of English culture without ever leaving home — just sample these recent British "imports":

• The Pokemon craze seemingly cut short Po, Laa Laa, Dipsy and Tinky Winky's day in the sun. Which maybe isn't so bad! Check the official British Broadcasting Company "Teletubbies" Web site for more <www.bbc.co.uk/education/teletubbies/>.

• Regis Philbin is riding on the coattails of the original British version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" (Note that the US version of the show assaulted the Queen's English by dropping the question mark.) Here's the Web site for the real McCoy: <www.phone-a-friend.com/data/main_f.htm>.

• You don't have to travel to England anymore to buy a tea towel in Harrod's green and gold: Harrod's went online last fall <www.harrodsonline.com>.

• British author J.K. Rowling was an unemployed single mom when she invented junior wizard Harry Potter. She said the character popped into her head during an "interminable Manchester-London train journey." The rest is bestseller history. (The fourth Harry Potter book is due this summer.) For an interview with Rowling, see <www.writersdigest.com/wd2000/rowling.html>.

• Blame the Brits for creating that controversy at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It was the museum's exhibit titled "Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection" that caused all the fuss, <www.brooklynart.org> -PATRICIA ANN MCMORROW
 
 
 
 
 
 

[PILGRIM PRIDE]

Did your ancestors come over on the Mayflower? A quarter of Americans believe that they are descendants of the 26 Englishmen who came over on the Mayflower, survived a harsh winter and celebrated the first Thanksgiving at Massachusetts' Plymouth Colony in 1621, according to a recent Scripps-Howard News Service/Ohio University poll. But fewer than half of those who think they're descendants of the original Pilgrims can possibly be right. According to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, the best estimates indicate that more than 35 million people worldwide can count at least one of those 26 Pilgrims as an ancestor. That's a huge number of descendants. But consider that one-quarter of the US population would be roughly 70 million people, twice the total number of actual Mayflower descendants worldwide. It gets worse: The society has only about 25,000 members who've been able to document their ancestry to meet modern research requirements. For more information, see the society's Web site at <www.mayflower.org>. A history of the Pilgrims is at <www.rootsweb. com/~mosmd/>. You can find links to other Pilgrim genealogy sites at <pilgrims.net/plymouth/ROOTS/>.

- -JIM FABER
 
 
 
 
 

[chapman County Codes]

These three-letter abbreviations identify English counties (pre-1974):

BDF Bedfordshire
Berkshire BRK
BKM Buckinghamshire
Cambridgeshire CAM
CHS Cheshire
Cornwall CON
CUL Cumberland
DBY Derbyshire
Devon DEV
DOR Dorset
Durham DUR
ESS Essex
CLS Gloucestershire
HAM Hampshire
HEF Herefordshire
HRT Hertfordshire
Huntingdonshire HUN
KEN Kent
Lancashire LAN
Leicestershire LEI
LIN Lincolnshire
London (city only) LND
Middlesex MDX
NFK Norfolk
Northamptonshire NTH
NBL Northumberland
Nottinghamshire NTT
Oxfordshire OXF
RUT Rutland
SAL Shropshire (Salop)
SOM Somerset
Staffordshire STS
SFK Suffolk
Surrey SRY
SSX Sussex
Warwickshire WAR
WES Westmorland
Wiltshire WIL
WOR Worcestershire
YKS Yorkshire
ERY Yorkshire-East Riding
Yorkshire-North Riding NRY
Yorkshire-West Riding WRY


 
 

[COLOURFUL ATTRACTIONS]

Americans changed the side of the road they drive on, modified the traditional British spellings of "flavour" and "saviour" and quit calling potato chips "crisps," but there's still plenty of England alive in the United States. So if you can't muster the pounds to cross the pond, check out these British-themed attractions and events:

MAGNA CARTA King John's 1215 agreement to grant rights and liberties to all "free men in the kingdom" lives now with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the National Archives Rotunda, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408 <www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/ magnacarta/magrnain.html>.

D. H. LAWRENCE RANCH/HOTEL LA FONDA

When Lady Chatterly's Lover and D.H. Lawrence's nude oil paintings were banned in England in 1929, he sought refuge in lovely Taos, N.M. Some of his formerly scurrilous works are on display at Hotel La Fonda (108 South Taos Plaza, Taos, NM 87571. 505-758-2211). Lawrence's ashes are enshrined at his ranch, atop Lobo Mountain off Highway 64.

LONDON BRIDGE The very same London Bridge that spanned the River Thames from the 1830s until 1968 now connects Lake Havasu City, Ariz., with the rest of the world. It took three years and $7 million - in 1968 dollars — to get the bridge across the pond. For information, contact the Lake Havasu Tourism Bureau at (800) 242-8278 or check <www.arizonaguide. com/cities/ lakehavasu/london.htmb.>

QUEEN MARY The city of Long Beach, Calif., bought the enormous British ocean liner after its last voyage in 1967 and turned it into a floating museum. Now it's more of a wedding-reception/fancy-party place, but if you take the Shipwalk Tour, make sure to visit the Isolation Wards and aft Machine Rooms. For hours and admission, call (562) 435-3511 or check the Web <www.queenmary.com>.

BEATLES IN NEW YORK The Fab Four turned the Big Apple on its ear with their 1965 show at Shea Stadium (12601 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing, NY, 718-699-4220). And of course there's the Dakota (1 W 72nd St.), where John Lennon's life ended tragically on Dec. 8, 1980. Across from the Dakota, though, is Strawberry Fields in Central Park South (at West 72nd Street).

VICTORIAN HOME WALK During a two-hour walking tour of San Francisco's posh Victorian neighborhoods you'll learn to tell a Queen Anne from an Edwardian and an Italianate. The tours start daily at 11 a.m. at the Weston St. Francis Hotel at Union Square. For more information, call (415) 252-9485 or see the Web <www.victorianwalk.com>.

STRATFORD FESTIVAL OF CANADA (Stratford, Ontario, Canada): Shakespeare himself surely would be impressed with this internationally renowned celebration of his words. The 2000 season runs from May 3 to Nov. 5 in Stratford, Ont. For more information, call (800) 567-1600 or see <www.stratford-festival. on.ca/>.

BOSTON TEA PARTY SHIP AND MUSEUM In addition to learning more about the political and economic turmoil that boiled into the American Revolution, you can toss a bale of tea over the side of the Brig Beaver II, a full-size replica of one of the three original Boston Tea Party ships. For more information, hours and ticket prices, call (617) 338-1773 or see <www.historic tours.com/boston/ teaparty.htm>.

PAUL REVERE HOUSE If only Paul Revere knew his midnight ride on April 18, 1775, would turn him into a legend.... Today his home is a national historic landmark and downtown Boston's oldest building. Take a tour and imagine what it was like to live in colonial America. For visitor hours and information on special programs, call (617) 523-2338, write Paul Revere House, 19 North Square, Boston, MA 02113, or see the Web <www.paulreverehouse.org/>.

DICKENS ON THE STRAND The Galveston (Texas) Historical Society turns its Historic Landmark District into a maze of men in tophats and kids with soot-streaked faces during the first weekend in December. It's a great day of juggling, penny-whistle playing and street music. For more information, call (409) 765-7834 or check out Galveston's Web site <www.galveston.com>.

-PATRICIA ANN MCMORROW

 
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