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Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century


Join Else Churchill for an important 9-week course on Zoom. To help you take your family tree back into the 1700s, Else covers all the essential resources and techniques to find ancestors back in time. 

Yes, the 18th century did begin on 1 January 1701. But, when it comes to history, it’s sometimes useful to think in wider terms so that we can understand why things happened and what happened next. Many British historians do this for what is called ‘the long 18th century’, starting at about 1690 and running through to 1837.  

To get full value from this course, you are expected to have used genealogical sources, such as parish records. You must also be reasonably familiar with the major genealogy websites, such as FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindmyPast, and archive catalogues. 

Else covers the documents, the sources and the resources for the period, to give you the knowledge and the context you need to continue to build your family tree. She also introduces the FAN method (Family, Association, Network). This gives you a genealogical technique to enable you to research the period in different ways, such as family reconstruction, or strategies for searching baptisms and marriages. 

A nine-week evening course on Wednesday evenings with tutor Else Churchill, cost £180.00/£144.00 SoG members. All classes will be recorded and available to those who book a place for two weeks. Bookings accepted until 1 November.

All students will receive a reading list to further enhance learning opportunities.  Each class will include discussion and the chance to ask questions. Bring along your research queries. 


  1. Setting the Scene: Time-lines. Georgian life. Early Newspapers, Magazines and Periodicals
  2. Parish Life. Problems and solutions with using 18th century parish records. Looking for missing baptisms and marriages, Search strategies, the 18th Century Poor.
  3. Voting Rights and Responsibilities Poll Books, Jurors Lists, Borough Records, City Freemen and Associated Records.
  4. Tax and Town.  Directories and Almanacks, Rate Books, Land and Window Tax, Assessed Taxes, Insurance Records and Tontines.
  5. Property and Probate. Wills and Associated Probate Records and Disputes. Deeds Registries, Manorial and Estate Records. Enclosure, Tithes and Tenants.
  6. Court Records – Criminal Assises, Old Bailey. Common Law, Equity and Civil Courts.
  7. A Country at War Militias, Volunteers and Fencibles.
  8. Monuments and Memorials, Graveyard Inscriptions, Hatchments and Monuments inside the Church. Obituaries, Diaries and Biographies.
  9. The Rise of the Professional Classes, Universities and Schools, Church, Law and Medicine, Politicians, Civils Servants, the Armed Services, Royal Household and East India Company Servants. 

About the tutor:  Else Churchill is the Genealogist at the Society Genealogists in London and a has over 30 years of experience as a genealogist.

Formerly a professional genealogical librarian and researcher, Else has worked for the SoG since 1994. She now leads on external liaison, representation and communications; the Society's education and publishing programmes as well as being the Society's subject specialist.

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