Discs of Delight
Professional people, poll books and parish registers all appear in this month's CD round-up by Kathy Charter.
For anyone with ancestors who served in the Anglican Church, the regular volumes of Crockford's Clerical Directory are an invaluable source. Crockford's Clerical Directory 1929 (S&N, £17.45) details the careers of clergymen in the British Isles and overseas, along with what they earned from their livings and their addresses.
The Army List, published in different forms for some 250 years, contains details of officers in the regular and Territorial Armies. S&N has now issued the 1900 Army List, along with the 1929 Army List and the 1932 Army List, each costing £19.95. They include officers in the Indian Army, along with those who served in the colonies and protectorates, plus a list of recent deaths.
S&N has also republished a number of Navy Lists, which similarly name officers in the Royal Navy, including those for the years 1874, 1915, and1935. They cost £19.95 each, and there are more Army Lists and Navy Lists in the pipeline.
This year sees the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade. The Yorkshire Poll Book 1807 (S&N, £9.95) is of particular interest in this context as William Wilberforce, who spearheaded the Parliamentary campaign for abolition, was a candidate in the 1807 elections for Hull, and family historians can see whether of not their ancestors supported him. A particularly useful section of the book covers those who lived outside the county but had the franchise through owning property in Yorkshire.
In 1841 three candidate stood in the general election for two MPs to represent the seat of Westminster. As there was no secret ballot then, the voting preferences of all those with the franchise were known and published. The Westminster Poll Book 1841 (S&N, £10.95) is arranged by parish, with voters and their addresses listed alphabetically.
There's an analysis of the poll, showing the winning candidates, plus a useful appendix listing every contested election in Westminster from 1774. This will indicate which other poll books to check out for ancestors with the right to vote in this part of London. Remeber that men had to own or rent property of a certain value to be able to vote, so some voters did not live where they cast their vote.
In 1867 the franchise was extended to men paying £10 or more a year for housing in towns, and men paying £50 or more per annum in rent for a building or land. This means the York Poll Book 1868 (S&N, £14.95) lists even larger numbers of voters of the city of York in the general election of that year, along with their preferred candidate and their addresses. This allows researchers to discover where their ancestors were living, along with some indication of their likely income and political views.
When it comes to hatches, matches and despatches, there are many unsung transcribers whose efforts make it easier to trace your family tree. If, for instance, you had ancestors who worshipped at St. Michael's parish in Cambridge, where Gonville College and Caius College were situated, you can view the registers on Cambridge Antiquarian Society, St. Michael's Parish BMDs 1538-1837 (S&N, £17.45).
Mark Herber's transcriptions of the scrappy records of the most notorious place in England for dubious weddings have long been a godsend to family historians. Now Clandestine Marriages in the Chapel and Rules of the Fleet Prison 1680-1754, Volumes 1-3 (S&N, £19.95) has been published on disc, making it even easier to findout whether an ancestor chose thie venue to tie the knot, although you will have to work out their motives for yourself. The Find/Search facility will also help demographers discover whether certain couples from certain areas of the country were particularly liable to marry here.