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Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century


This series of classes will look at resources and techniques for researching ancestors in what is called the long 18th Century from c 1690-1837. Students are expected to have used genealogical sources such as parish records and be reasonably familiar with major genealogy websites such as FamilySearch, Ancestry FindmyPast and archive catalogues. In addition to looking at documents, sources and resources for the period we will explore genealogical techniques of help in this period such as family reconstruction; baptism and marriage search strategies. The FAN (family, Association and Network) method.

Students enrolled in this course will additionally receive a special online talk for the SoG  by Ian Mortimer author of a Time Travellers Guide to Regency Britain.



  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.
  10. Time Traveller's Guide to Regency Britain (special talk by Dr Ian Mortimer)


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.


About our special guest speaker: Dr Ian Mortimer is the author of twelve history books, two volumes of historical documents, four novels, three other books, and numerous articles on the history of England between the tenth and twentieth centuries. In total, his books have sold more than a million copies and been translated into fifteen languages. He is best known, however, as the author of the four Time Traveller's Guides - to Medieval England, Elizabethan England, Restoration Britain and Regency Britain.

As well as a historian, he is a qualified archivist and has two doctorates from the University of Exeter. His PhD was on the subject of 'Medical assistance to the dying in provincial southern England, c. 1570-1720'. Between 1991 and 2003 he worked for Devon Record Office, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts and the universities of Exeter and Reading. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.



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