Friday, September 2, 2011

Missing items in North Molton Parish Registers and Open Files at The National Archives

Still working on the North Molton Parish Registers and up until 1571 baptisms, marriages and burials were all recorded. However, beginning in 1572 only baptisms are recorded and that has continued to the end of 1578 where I now am. There are now 900 baptisms, 144 marriages and 325 burials. One is left to ponder whether North Molton is that very exceptional parish where there are 50% fewer burials than anywhere else. Up to 1571 the baptisms outnumbered the burials 2:1 approximately. A very healthy sign but unusual for the time period.

A few new names in the parish but the names there in the late 1530s continue also in the parish. There is an increase in baptisms from the early register.

The National Archives is offering for the moment downloads of particular microfilm sets (with a suggestion that transcriptions of these items would be welcomed and could be placed on the "Your Archives" website) and this information can be found

Quoted from the above mentioned website:  "Digital Microfilm allows you to search and download some of The National Archives' most popular records, which were previously available on microfilm. The National Archives has a large collection of microfilmed records, and we hope that making these available online will increase their accessibility. This will ultimately allow the microfilm readers used at The National Archives, Kew to be retired. Many of the records are indexes and we hope that these will be helpful in locating other relevant records.

The Digital Microfilm method of delivery is by using very large pdfs. Each download contains a whole piece, which could be up to 800 pages long. This means that Digital Microfilm is only available to online users with a broadband connection, and to users in the Research and Enquiries Room at The National Archives.
These records have not been indexed and so you will need to scroll through the pdfs, much as you would when using a microfilm. However, we would be more than happy for users to transcribe any of the Digital Microfilm content and post it on Your Archives, The National Archives' online community of records users.
These documents are currently free of charge to download."

The list of items available is fairly lengthy and I was very pleased to find the Wills from the pre Commonwealth period online:

"PROB 10 Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Other Probate Jurisdictions: Bundles of Original Wills and Sentences -These are the Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills for 1643-6 proved at Oxford, for which there are no copies in PROB 11. The wills are pieces PROB 10/639-642."

The four files found there are huge as a warning but should prove to be very interesting in looking at my husband's Royalist ancestors who came to America in the 1630s, 1640s and 1650s. Each file is around 800 pages.

I also downloaded a couple of Indenture files to see if I can discover anything about my London families - Buller, Beard, Hemsley, Roland, Cole.

I have so much transcription and reading to do that purchasing more documents almost seems strange. Nevertheless I have now ordered the Pincombe document that pertains to the lands that were transferred from John Pincombe Merchant South Molton to his son John Pincombe Merchant South Molton in 1605. This father and son died within half of a year or so of each other with the son dying after the father. I am hoping that by the land I might be able to look more closely at this early Pincombe family and separate out lines that do not easily separate out any other way. I was able to purchase the document from the John Rylands University Library at the University of Manchester as two *.tif although must wait until they have time to do the two files for me. I am of course most anxious to see it but I imagine they are busy this time of year with student affairs as the new school year advances.

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