Friday, 30 March 2012

Civil Registration UK

Civil Registration, is basically the registration of Birth, Marriage & Deaths. In England & Wales it started on the 1st July 1837 (Scotland in 1855 & Ireland in 1864 (This doesn’t include non-Catholic marriages, for which registration began in 1845 in Ireland)). 
Birth, Marriage & Death’s (or BMD’s) are one of the vital Official Documents to the Family Historian as they give detailed information about a Person/s at three of the most important times of their lives. 

You can’t view the BMD Certificates online in the UK but you can view the BMD Indexes on various Family History Sites, such as,, & and at various Archives across the country. Now you don’t necessarily need these Indexes but they do make it easier and quicker to get the Birth, Marriage or Death Certificate that you’re after. On the website for the General Register Office for England & Wales ( it can take 15 working days for a Certificate to be despatched on a standard delivery without the Indexes but with the Indexes it’ll take 4 working days and this is why I, personally, use them and the price of each Certificate is £9.25 for the standard service & £23.40 for the priority service (prices are believed to be correct as of 29th March 2012). 

If you’d rather obtain a certificate by filling a paper form then you be able to get the relevant form from your local Council and prices may differ so please check with them beforehand to confirm prices and whether they give out forms for e.g. Leicestershire County Council charge £9.00 for a Birth Certificate via a form. 

The Indexes are spilt into two sets; one by your local register office & one by the General Register Office. So effectively the General Register Office holds a national index and your local register office holds a local index are in Book form but copies have been made into Microfilm and/or Microfiche and local Archives will hold these copies. Don’t let this put you off. All Indexes are featured in the National Indexes but each County/District holds copies for their own County/District and places like,, & all hold the National Indexes. It’s just worth bearing this in mind if you decide to visit places like a local archive or library as they’ll only have indexes relevant to their County or District. But it’s worth pointing out that a lot of places require a subscription or credits to view BMD Indexes. The best way, I think, around this is to visit who offer, as you may have gathered by its name, BMD Indexes for free. also offer free BMD indexes between 1837 & 1915 but these were transcribed by FreeBMD and then used on Ancestry. If you want to use for BMD Indexes then you may be able to use it for free at your local library if you’re a member but check with them to see if they offer this service.
Another good place to find BMD’s for free is
What’s on the Indexes?
Well, they all are pretty much all the same but differ slightly for each life event but each Index, are organised by Birth, Marriage or Death and Year, Quarter & Surname. The Quarter is referred to as a quarter in a year divided by 1) January, February March 2) April, March, June 3) July, August, September & 4) October, November, December.
After each name it has ‘District Name’, Volume No.’ & ‘Page No’. On top of this:

Birth Indexes from (1912) onwards include the Mother’s Maiden Name.

Marriage Indexes from (1912) onwards include the Spouses Surname/Maiden Name but both people have their name entered in the Index in separate places according to their surname but have the same Index Number (a handy way to check spouses name to see if it matches so you know if you have the right People).

Death Indexes include the age of the at the time of passing from 1866 onwards
Please note that these are records are compiled by when a person was registered for a Birth, Marriage or Death and not when the person was born, married or died but the actual Certificates tell you the date of the event. So if you someone was born on 25th June 1890 but not registered until the 6th July 1890 then they’ll appear in the July, August, September Quarter of 1890.

Useful Links:

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Bird (Surname) Meaning & Origin


The surname Bird is English. It derives from the pre 7th century word bridde, meaning a bird, or nestling, and as a surname was originally given as a nickname to one thought to bear a fancied resemblance to a bird. This may have been from bright dress, or bright eyed and active, or perhaps to some one with a beautiful singing voice. It may also be derived from the Old English burde, meaning maiden or girl and used as a derisory nickname. The surname was first recorded towards the end of the 12th century.

Variations: Byrd, Byrde, Bride

Jewish- translation of various Ashkenazic surnames meaning bird, such as Vogel

Taken from:


English and Scottish: from Middle English bird, brid ‘nestling’, ‘young bird’ (Old English bridd), applied as a nickname or perhaps occasionally as a metonymic occupational name for a bird catcher. The metathesized form is first found in the Northumbrian dialect of Middle English, but the surname is more common in central and southern England. It may possibly also be derived from Old English burde ‘maiden’, ‘girl’, applied as a derisory nickname.Irish: Anglicization of Gaelic Ó hÉanacháin or Ó hÉinigh, in which the first element (after Ó) has been taken as Gaelic éan ‘bird’ (see Heneghan).Jewish: translation of various Ashkenazic surnames meaning ‘bird’, as for example Vogel.

Taken from: - Bird

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Census UK

The Census in the UK was introduced in 1801 and has occurred every 10 years since, excluding the 1941 Census due to World War Two, but it’s only since the 1841 Census that they have any real use to the Family Historian as before this it was merely a basic head count with few personal details other than numbers in a Household. In Ireland, the first census was taken 20 years later than England, Wales & Scotland in 1821

The Census returns that are currently available to the public to search are the 1841 to 1911 Census’. Each Census Return has a 100 year privacy law so won’t be released to the Public (via Libraries, Record Offices or Online etc.) until 100 years after the Census was conducted.  
Each Census records the details of a Household on one day/night  every ten years, usually at the end of March/beginning of April in the respective census year. It would usually be the Head of the Household that would fill in the Census Form but if they weren’t able to read or write then the Enumerator (the person who distributed the forms) would help them fill in the Form, which were generally helpful but could lead to inaccuracies in the data, such as misspelling of a Person/s name, incorrect age etc. because they might not have heard the Person correctly.
There are various places that you can search the Census, including, but not limited to,,,,,  &
Most census’ have more detail with every Census taken, so there is more detail about a Household in the 1911 Census then there is in the 1841 Census, for example.  But all the Census Returns include the Area where a Household lived, the names of the People in the Household, their age and their profession (if any) . From 1851 onwards Census included the names and relationship of every individual to the Head of the Household, I.e. Wife, Son, Daughter, Lodger, Servant etc. The Census didn’t just record your average House either, it recorded, Hospitals, Workhouses, Asylums, Orphanages & Prisons.

The Census Returns in Ireland were, unfortunately, largely destroyed in 1922, in the fire at the Public Record Office. But the Census for 1901 & 1911 weren’t destroyed and are available to view for free at  this includes a transcription of the Census Returns and a digital copy of the original Census Forms.

The People that brought you are also branching out and have created to help provided Free to View Census Returns (along with for Parish Registers). This is a volunteer based Project that’s still a work in progress but definitely worth checking out and is updated frequently, so if what you are after isn’t the site yet, keep checking back and it will end up being put on the site.

Another great way to view the Census is to visit your local library or Record Office. Some (but not all) Libraries & Record Offices/Archives have free access to Ancestry Library Edition for its members and joining a Library and/or Record Office is generally free. Ancestry Library Edition is basically for Libraries there are few differences (if any) that I’ve noticed between Ancestry Library Edition & I would suggest checking with your local library and Record Offices before venturing out to use Ancestry Library Edition just in case they don’t have it. Also it may be worth booking a Computer in advance, if possible, to make sure you’re able to use their Computers when you want to use them, but your local Library may have Drop-In Computers that you wouldn’t need to book but you may have to wait depending on how many people wait to use them at the time.

If you cannot find an Ancestor in a Census then there are few reasons why and how you can try to find them. The some common reasons why People can’t find their relatives is because:
1.    Misspelling of a name – Try a variation of the original name you entered as their name may have been misheard or misspelled  during transcription to Family History Websites. For example Jones may become Johns, or Wilder may become Wilde.

2.    There visiting a friend, neighbour or relative – Check on the Census Neighbours, Friends and Relatives (if possible) to see if your Ancestor shows up there instead. Up until the 1911 Census, the Census Records are written by Street, making it a little easier to search for Neighbours.

3.    Moving House – There is 10 years between each Census and some families may move around a fair bit either for Employment or to somewhere more affordable. Check nearby to see if they’ve house but stayed in the local area and try to match up what you already know with what you’ve found.

4.    Age Alteration – Sometimes People will lie about their age for one reason or another or even sometimes, especially in the earlier Census’ they just won’t know. Try using an age bracket when searching, say +/- 2 for example

Useful Links:

Monday, 26 March 2012

Elizabeth (Surname) Meaning & Origin

From Ελισαβετ (Elisabet), the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva') meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance". The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist.
Among Christians, this name was originally more common in Eastern Europe. It was borne in the 12th century by Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, a daughter of King Andrew II who used her wealth to help the poor. In medieval England it was occasionally used in honour of the saint, though the form Isabel (from Provençal and Spanish) was more common. It has been very popular in England since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. Famous modern bearers include the British queen Elizabeth II (1926-) and actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011).

VARIANTS: Elisabeth, Elsabeth, Elyzabeth (English), Elisabeth (Biblical)

Friday, 23 March 2012

Herbert (Surname) Meaning & Origin

Herbert (Surname) Meaning & Origin

- It originally comes from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements:
   Heri, hari (army) + berht(bright, famous).
- Somewhere along the way, someone began using it as a surname. That usually happened when
     someone would say, "My name is Jean, son of Hebert." The father's given name would become
     the son's surname.

In France ---
     It appears to have spread throughout northwestern France.  The following HEBERTs appear in early times:
Girard and Gabriel HEBERT (of Canchy)
Guillaume and Jacques HEBERT (of St. Malo)
Louis and Jean Francois HEBERT 
     (of Colombieres)
Michael HEBERT (of Isigny) 
Herve and Henri HEBERT
     (of Torigny, Bayeux in 1543)
Gabriel and Francois HEBERT (of Escrameville)
Jacques and Pierre HEBERT (of Tour)
Jean HEBERT (of Tour)
Daniel, Etienne, and Adrien HEBERT (of Cambe)
Jean HEBERT (of Varaville, in Caen)
Charles HEBERT (of Gonneville, 
     Sieur de Varaville around 1548).
    As we approach the Acadian time period, we find Jean HEBERT, Seigneur of Boulon, at Caen at the beginning of the 17th century. 

In England ---      This Old French name was brought to Britain by the Normans, where the most common variant was HERBERT. The surname HERBERT first appeared in the Domesday Book of 1086. Some say it also derived from the given name, Hubert. The earliest use in England is by William, son of Herbert, who was granted the manor of Norbury, Derbys., in 1125 and was the first to use it as a surname.      In the 13th century, names such as Adam HEBERT and Henry HEBERD start appearing in records. The first record of HEBERT being used as a surname is a roll of Oxfordshire, England in 1279, which lists a Reginald HEBERT.

Taken from:

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Gann (Surname) Meaning & Origin

Gann Meaning & Origin

The meaning of Gann come may come from a profession, such as the name "Gardener" which was given to people of that profession. Some of these profession-based last names might be a profession in a different language. For this reason it is useful to know the ethnicity of a name, and the languages spoken by it's family members. Many modern names like Gann are inspired by religious texts like the Bhagavadgītā, the Bible, the Quran, and so forth. Commonly these names relate to a religious phrase such as "Worthy of praise".

Evolution of the Gann name

The evolution of Gann starts with it's early ancestors, when the name was created. Even in the early generations of a name there are variations in that single name simply because family names were infrequently written down at that stage in history.
Gann ancestors have moved across various regions all throughout history. It was commonplace for a last name to change as it enters a new country or language. As families, tribes, and clans moved between countries and languages, the Gann name may have changed with them.

Gann country of origin

The nationality of Gann can be complicated to determine in cases which country boundaries change over time, making the original nationality a mystery. The original ethnicity of Gann may be in dispute based on whether the name came in to being naturally and independently in multiple locales; e.g. in the case of surnames that are based on a craft, which can crop up in multiple places independently (such as the last name "Gardener" which was given to people of that profession).

Taken from

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Finding Lost/Living Relatives

All Family Historians have gone out to find our Ancestors, whether it’s through the Census, Civil Registration or Parish Registers, to name a few but what about living relatives? We’ve all got cousins, Aunts, Uncles etc. however distant they may be, somewhere out there.  

Everyone has their reasons for researching their Family History, whether it be a love of History or wanting to know where you came from but you could be onto a winner if you look for those Long Lost relatives or those ‘how come I never knew about you’ relatives. It’s an unfortunate truth that families grow apart leading to having distant relations that you’ve never heard, whatever the reason for Families growing apart, it could definitely be worth looking for living relatives. 

If you are able to get in touch with another branch of your family then they could very well add to your knowledge of your family history by filling in any gaps, there may be stories, facts and other relations that they know of that for one reason or another weren’t passed down through your side of the family. They could fill gaps like when Great Uncle Bob was born or where Great, Great Granddad Arthur worked in his 20’s and so on. You could perhaps even discover another Genealogist within the family.

One thing to try is to see if anyone else is researching the same Family, and if you come across anyone then chances are they’ll be some sort of relation to yourself. You may be able to connect with other Family Historians and see if they are researching the same Family on websites like,,, or to name a few. Many People have uploaded their family trees to these sites, so you will be able to search through them to see if there might any family links. You might have to register to see these but registration is usually free. Once registered and searched through any of trees, you should be able to contact the owner of the tree if you come across any possible ancestors so you can share information to try and establish any family connections. 

Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates could prove useful in finding living relatives, but it might not be a straightforward as working backwards in time to find Ancestors. The main trouble with working forwards in time instead of backwards, for example, is that if you use a Birth Certificate it won’t tell you when a person will be married whereas if you used birth and marriage certificates whilst working backwards in time then you can get a rough idea of when and where a person was born.  But there can be a way around it, from 1911, in England & Wales, 1903 in Ireland and 1929 in Scotland, the maiden name of a mother appears on the Birth Indexes, so this can make a little easier to determine the likely references any brothers & sisters of any given ancestor, it’s not fool-proof and you can’t take it as 100% but it might give you a starting point, it’ll be more feasible if your ancestor had a distinctive name.

If you’ve found a living relation but not their address there are online resources to help find out their addresses:

Phone Directories are a handy first point of call: for addresses and telephone numbers and it’s free but drawback to this site is that names are listed as first initial and last name NOT the full name. is the telephone directory for the Republic of Ireland is directory that offers free and pay-per-view searches of resources. They have listings for the telephone directory and business listings and both are free to search but you have to buy credits or a subscription if you want to search through the Electoral Roll information. has archived the Electoral Roll information from 2002 to the present so you can look back on previous years to help locate your relatives.

Useful links:

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Slocomb Surname Meaning & Origin

The background of last names split and recombine over time and are not necessarily tied to hereditary relations because not all family names are passed down from parent to child. Actually, names like SLOCOMB are given for reasons completely unrelated to bloodlines. The SLOCOMB surname has a long and varied history which spans many generations.

The early origin of SLOCOMB dates back several hundreds of years, making most of the details of the family name difficult to trace accurately. As the community approaches the history of a last name in this manner, a page like this one becomes a living document to people researching SLOCOMB history. Uncovering the origin of any family name is a fuzzy, but highly rewarding endeavor. Because of this, we depends on contributions from users like you to paint a complete picture of the origins of this surname.

SLOCOMB meaning

The meaning of SLOCOMB come may come from a craft, such as the name "Bishop" which may have been taken by church officials. Many of these craft-based last names can be a profession in a different language. Because of this it is essential to understand the country of origin of a name, and the languages spoken by it's progenitors. Many modern names like SLOCOMB are inspired by religious texts like the Bhagavadgītā, the Quran, the Bible, and so on. Commonly these family names are shortened versions of a religious sentiment such as "Lamb of God".

Evolution of the SLOCOMB name

The evolution of SLOCOMB begins with the origins of thefamily name, when the name was first taken. Even in the earliest days of a name there have been different spellings of that name simply because last names were infrequently written down back when few people could write.

It was not unusual for a surname to change as it enters a new country or language. As these families emigrated between countries, the SLOCOMB name may have changed with them. SLOCOMB family members have migrated across various regions all throughout history.

SLOCOMB spelling variations

In early history when few people could write, names such as SLOCOMB were transliterated based on how they sounded when people's names were written in public records. This could have led to misspellings of SLOCOMB. Knowing misspellings and alternate spellings of the SLOCOMB last name are important to understanding the possible origins of the name. Family names like SLOCOMB transform in their spelling as they travel across villages, family unions, and countries across time.

SLOCOMB country of origin

The nationality of SLOCOMB may be very difficult to determine in cases which regional boundaries change over time, making the nation of origin indeterminate. The original ethnicity of SLOCOMB may be in dispute as result of whether the surname came in to being naturally and independently in various locales; for example, in the case of names that come from a professional trade, which can appear in multiple places independently (such as the surname "Bishop" which may have been taken by church officials).

Surnames related to SLOCOMB

Related surnames are distinctly different from names related through marriage. Those types of lineages are best expressed with a SLOCOMB family tree, rather than the list format shown here. Sometimes last names like SLOCOMB can transform into other surnames when they migrate into different countries, are used in multiple languages, or split into multiple branches for any of a number of reasons.

Taken from:

Monday, 12 March 2012

STEVENS/STEVENSON - Name Meaning & Origin

STEVENS/STEVENSON - Name Meaning & Origin

A variant of Stephens, derived from the given name Stephen, meaning "crown, wreath, or garland." A patronymic name for "son of Stephen."

Surname Origin: English


Taken from:

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Towers Surname, Meaning & Origin

Towers Surname, Meaning & Origin:

A link to to the Towers Meaning & Origin can be found here at Towers - Due to what possibly seems like Copyright, I am unable to copy & paste the details in here but it seems like it gives the most detailed information on the surname compared to other sites.

But a brief description in my own words is that it appears to have come over to the UK/British Isles during the Norman Conquest in 1066 and is of French/European Origin. There are various different spellings of the Surname, including but not limited to, Tower, Toures & Toure. In the British Isles the surname settled in Lancashire and seems to indicate that the original bearer of the surname lived in a Tower of a Castle, in Lancashire.

Friday, 9 March 2012

GIBSON - Name Meaning & Origin

GIBSON - Name Meaning & Origin:

Definition: A patronymic name meaning "son of Gibb," which in Middle English was a familiar term for a cat.

Surname Origin: English, Scottish

Alternate Surname Spellings: GIBBS, GIBBES

Above taken from:

Thursday, 8 March 2012

RMS Titanic - National Archives UK

The people at the National Archives in Kew have created a section in the News section on their Website to commorate the centenary of the RMS Titanic. The page provides a link to an image gallery and a link to section if you're planning a visit to Kew. The National Archives hold records on the RMS Titanic, including passenger lists, crew lists and the Board of Trade inquiry into the sinking amongst others.

MARTIN Surname Meaning & Origin

MARTIN Surname Meaning & Origin:

Martin is a patronymic surname taken from the ancient Latin given name Martinus, derived from Mars, the Roman god of fertility and war.

Surname Origin:

English, French, Scottish, Irish, German and others

Alternate Surname Spellings:


Fun Facts About the Martin Surname:

One of the early notable English MARTIN families was a strong seafaring family residing primarily in Leicester, England. Representatives include Admiral Sir Thomas Martin, Captain Matthew Martin and John Martin who sailed around the world with Sir Francis Drake.

Taken from:

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

CARTER Surname Meaning & Origin

CARTER Surname Meaning & Origin:

Carter is an English occupational name for the transporter of goods by cart or wagon. From the Anglo-Norman French "caretier," a derivative of Old French "caret" which originally meant "carrier."

Another possible derivation comes from "cairtear," a Gaelic term for tourist or sojourner.

Carter is the 46th most popular surname in the United States and the 54th most common surname in England.

Surname Origin:


Alternate Surname Spellings:

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

LEWIS - Name Meaning & Origin

LEWIS - Name Meaning & Origin

The Lewis surname is generally derived from the Germanic given name Lewis (Lowis, Lodovicus), meaning "reknowned, famous battle," from the Germanic elements hlod ‘fame’ + wig ‘war’.

In Wales, the Lewis surname may have derived from an Anglicized form of the personal name Llywelyn.

As an Irish or Scottish surname, Lewis can be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Lughaidh, meaning "son of Lughaidh," derived from Lugh 'brightness.'

Lewis is also a common Americanization of several similar sounding Jewish surnames, such as Levy and Lewin.

Lewis is the 26th most popular surname in the United States and the 21st most common surname in England.

Surname Origin:


Alternate Surname Spellings:


Sunday, 4 March 2012

WHITE Surname Meaning & Origin

WHITE Surname Meaning & Origin:

A descriptive or nickname given to a person with very light hair or complexion, from the Middle English "whit," meaning "white." The name may be also local, derived from the Isle of Wight, on the coast of Hampshire.

In addition, some Whites originally were Wights, from the Anglo-Saxon "wiht" meaning valiant.

Surname Origin:

English, Scottish, Irish

Alternate Surname Spellings:

Friday, 2 March 2012

HILL Surname Meaning & Origin

HILL Surname Meaning & Origin:

1) The most common origin of the surname Hill is as a topographic or place name for one who lives on or near a hill, derived from the Old English hyll.

2) A corruption of the German hild, meaning "battle."

3) From the medieval given name Hill, a short form of the personal name Hilary, from the Latin hilaris, meaning cheerful or glad.

Hill is the 31st most popular surname in the United States and the 19th most common surname in Scotland.

Surname Origin:


Alternate Surname Spellings:

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Surname Origins

Over time, I plan to link up each Surname that I am researching that are featured in the Surnames tab (which is featured at the top of this blog underneath the header) of my Blog to previous blog posts that explain the origins of that Surname. I will link back to all websites from where I found the information, so you can view where I found the information. In some cases there may be more than one possible origin of a Surname, in which I'll try inform you of this in my Blog Posts.

Hopefully this will be of use to you all.
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