Category Archives: English Ancestors

CAGGNI Program -Tracing Your WWI Immigrant Ancestors in “Alien Papers”- Feb. 17, 2018

Vicki’s note – the latest CAGGNI Computer Assisted Genealogy Group in Northern Illinois program.


Upcoming event information:
Tracing Your WWI Immigrant Ancestors in “Alien Papers” Schaumburg Township District Library,
Date: 17 Feb 2018 10:30 AM CST

Tracing Your WWI Immigrant Ancestors in “Alien Papers”

by Debra Dudek

Learn what primary and secondary sources have become available and how to access them. Keep up to date on the constantly changing face of British Isles research by learning about recently released original records, new indexes, books and web sites.

Debra Dudek is head of Adult and Teen Services at the Fountaindale Public Library District in Bolingbrook, IL.  Ms. Dudek specializes in British genealogy and technology topics.  She is currently pursuing a second masters degree in Genealogical, Palaeographic & Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

For more information: Tracing Your WWI Immigrant Ancestors in “Alien Papers”

Best regards,


Vital Records from GRO of England and Wales

Vicki’s note: 1-17-2018   

article from Legacy Tree Genealogists:


Ordering Records from the General Register Office of England and Wales

If you have British ancestry and have done any research on those family lines, you’ve probably noticed that the index information for vital records doesn’t provide you with a lot of details – usually not even the exact date of the event. However, the actual records themselves can contain quite a bit of helpful information, and are almost always worth the time and effort to obtain them from the General Register Office (GRO). In this article, we’ll share how to request these records in order to extend your family history.

Mandatory civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths in England and Wales began in 1837, and these records can be ordered online through the General Register Office (GRO). Before you can place your order you will need to create a free account. Once you’ve registered you can either order a record right away, or search the index for a reference number before ordering. Although supplying the GRO reference number when placing an order does not change the cost, it does change how quickly your order is processed. Records are processed by the General Register Office in 4 business days if you send them the reference number, while orders without the reference number take 15 business days to process. Once processed, the certificates are mailed out and take anywhere between three and ten business days to arrive, depending on the destination.

Indexes to General Register Office reference numbers can be found in several different places online. Currently, you can search indexes of births (1837-1916) and deaths (1837-1957) directly on the GRO website when you log into your account. One advantage of searching the indexes directly on the General Register Office website is that you can order a certificate directly from the index entry and reference information will be added automatically on the order form. The General Register Office does not have indexes of marriage records.

Another website to access civil registration index reference numbers is FreeBMD. Users can start searching immediately, as the website does not require a login. As expressed in its name, FreeBMD is a free website which contains indexed references for civil births, marriages, and deaths. Most birth and marriage entries have been indexed for 1837 to 1983, but index coverage after 1983 is only mostly complete.[1] Index coverage of death records 1837 to 1974 is complete with partial coverage of 1975 to 1983.[2]


Click here for the rest of the article:


Here is more about FreeBMD; click here for the website:

FreeBMD is an ongoing project, the aim of which is to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales, and to provide free Internet access to the transcribed records. It is a part of the Free UK Genealogy family, which also includes FreeCEN (Census data) and FreeREG (Parish Registers). To search the records that have so far been transcribed by FreeBMD click on the Search button below.

The recording of births, marriages and deaths was started in 1837 and is one of the most significant resources for genealogical research. The transcribing of the records is carried out by teams of dedicated volunteers and contains index information for the period 1837-1983, BUT WE HAVE NOT YET TRANSCRIBED THE WHOLE PERIOD. A breakdown by event and year can be viewed here.

FreeBMD is exactly that – FREE. We do not make any charge whatsoever for use of the site. FreeBMD is a registered charity and our objective is to provide free online access to the GRO Index. However, FreeBMD costs money to run and if you would like to make a donation, by PayPal or other methods, please see here.

Two Additional Genealogy Programs by Vicki Ruthe Hahn – Sept. 25 and Oct. 23, 2017 at NSLD, IL.

Two Additional Genealogy Programs by Vicki Ruthe Hahn –

Sept. 25 and Oct. 23, 2017 at NSLD, North Suburban Library District, Illinois:

These are both free 1 hour classes available to all.

NSLD/Loves Park

6340 N. Second St.

Loves Park, IL 61111



5562 Clayton Circle

Roscoe, IL 61073


“Family History for Beginners, and Detective Techniques for Experienced Genealogists”

Monday, September 25 from 2-3pm at NSLD Roscoe, Illinois


Effectively find the most that you can about your family history with hands-on exercises, and examples.  Be successful using basic genealogy research methods. Learn how to: search archives and on-line, record evidence, organize your genealogy, use timelines and “FAN” clubs, analyze records, and find missing clues based on what you know, etc.



Research Your Overseas Ancestors Without Going ‘Across the Pond’”

Monday, October 23 from 2-3 at NSLD Loves Park, Illinois


Learn how to find your immigrant ancestors’ information in U.S. records, in over-seas on-line genealogy databases, and in other, mostly-free, resources. How histories and maps help track their immigrations. What to do about language barriers. 


statelinegenealogyclub @ Beloit Public Library - Vicki RUTHE HAHN

Vicki Ruthe Hahn  – Public Services Librarian, Beloit Public Library, WI – BA and MLIS University of Illinois.  Blog creator of “” 2014 ; founder of Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library 2012.  “Stateline Genealogy Sorter” SGS, with a background in Anthropology, History, clothing history, and teaching, she sorts out mysteries, rediscovers histories, weaves stories, and helps people with their family genealogy and local history,  specializing from Central Illinois to Central Wisconsin. 


Heraldry and Titles of Rank

∞ Vicki’s note –

You get two related articles/sources in one Posting:

Interesting to read that Coat of Arms does not = Surname.  I still claim the few  Coats of Arms that I know associated with some of my ancestor’s surnames, and “my” Muir family castle in Ireland.

I think in America (U.S.A), that we don’t concern ourselves much with the conventions of heraldry and distinctions of  titles of rank.  I even saw places on-line where anyone can buy title of rank, so I think that the whole world’s attitude toward the (mostly former) formal distinctions is relaxing.

This is not to insult my BLOG’s British, Scottish, and Irish, etc. viewers.  I do realize that titles of rank are still very important and current in your cultures.

I am adding all of these links to my BLOG “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps” page.


Wow – look at the rare gem of a website that I found today.

Read more about the Titles of Rank in this really extensive website.  After reading through these lists, I may have to reconsider my statement about “mostly former distinctions” above.  My anthropological and history background reminds me that humans have set up hierarchies and named distinctions as an on-going aspect of being part of human cultures.

There are a lot of wide-ranging lists here at –

That website includes:

“Ranks of All Nations Possible” historic & modern – i.e.

Royal and Noble Ranks, Modern and Historic Military Ranks, Modern and Historic Political Ranks,  Modern and Historic Religious Hierarchy, Monastic ranks, Knights/Militant Ranks,  Historical Titles and Classes, Scots, Welsh, Irish, British, Byzantine, Estonian, French, Germanic, German, Saxon, Gothic, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Languedoc (Southern French), Norse, Roman Empire, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Egyptian (Ancient), Hausa & Mali, Hindustani,  Islamic/Religious, Japanese, Mongol, Moorish, Persian, Semitic & Hebrew, Swahili, Turkic, Turkish, Chileno, United States, and Miscellaneous Ranks

The first part of that website states:

Titles of Rank

Ranks and their Definitions:

The following social ranks are given from highest to lowest instead of alphabetically.  The titles given are first male then female, and the etymology is terrestrial.  


“Heraldry Websites for Genealogy”

is an article from  on a topic that we don’t often see. Read the whole article here:


Myth: Many surnames have a coat of arms.

Fact: Coats of arms are not attached to a surname, but rather to an individual. People with the same surname may be entitled to different coats of arms, or not have one at all, unless they can prove that they are directly descended from a legitimate male member of that line – or one is granted to them.

The American Heraldry Society


College of Arms

Heraldry for Genealogists 

Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies—UK

American College of Heraldry

Coats of Arms from Ireland

 Game of Thrones.

The British Are Less British Than We Think

Vicki’s note – article from Facebook/  I kept thinking that my (mostly British) DNA would show some Viking blood, but I got Iberian Peninsula instead!:

How British are the British? Seems like a brain teaser, but it’s actually a surprising fact.


AncestryDNA’s new study revealed the average UK resident is only about 37% British!

Let’s look at some of the unexpected findings of this study – and what it means to you if you have British heritage.

What are the Brits if not Mostly British?

Anglo Saxons inhabited Great Britain from the 5th century. But based on the AncestryDNA study of the UK’s ethnicity dating back from 500 years, their genetic legacy may have well been diluted.


Today the average UK resident is:

  • 36.94% British (Anglo Saxon)
  • 21.59% Irish (Celtic)
  • 19.91% Western European (France/Germany)

Some Brits Are More British

Not all areas of the UK are of course equally diverse. Depending on what region you or your ancestors are from in England, for example, you may well be more (or less) British than average.

  • The most British people in England are found in Yorkshire (41.17% Anglo Saxon)
  • The most Scandinavian people in England are in the East Midlands (10.37% Scandinavia)
  • The most Western European people in England are in the East of England  (22.52%  France/Germany)


How British Are You?

Are your ancestors from the UK?

Like today’s UK residents, you could well be more diverse than you think.

As Brad Argent from AncestryDNA remarked:

“The UK has been a cultural and ethnic melting pot for not just generations, but centuries, and…while it’s fascinating looking at this data on a national scale, the fun really starts when you test your own DNA…”

Finding and Understanding Removal Orders in England

Finding and Understanding Removal Orders in England


A search of the National Archives United Kingdom website can provide many interesting documents for genealogy research. One of the items I found was a Removal Order for my 5th great grandfather Thomas Blanden. Thomas was born in Wenhaston, Suffolk, England in 1739, enlisted in the Suffolk Militia as a drummer at the age of 20, and was discharged in bad health 28 years later.

removal order thomas blandon mary jackson-1

Removal Order FC189/G4/14. Suffolk, Ipswich Branch, Wenhaston Paris Records Date: 1778

Removal Orders were new to me so after ordering the documents from the Archives I did my homework and researched the history of Removal Orders. In 1662 England, an Act of Settlement was passed to define which parish had responsibility for a poor person. A child’s birthplace was its place of settlement, unless its mother had a settlement certificate from somewhere else stating that the unborn child was included on the certificate. From the age of 7 the child could have been apprenticed and gained a settlement for himself or he could have obtained settlement for himself by service by the time he was 16.

After 1697, the poor were allowed to enter any parish in search of work, as long as they had a Settlement Certificate signed by the church wardens and overseers of their place of settlement and two magistrates guaranteeing to receive them back should they become chargeable. No one was allowed to move from town to town without the appropriate documentation.

If a person entered a parish in which he did not have official settlement, and if it seemed likely he might become chargeable to the new parish, then an examination would be made by the justices or parish overseers. From this examination on oath, the justices would determine if that person had the means to sustain himself and, if not, which was that person’s parish of settlement. As a result of the examination the intruder would then either be allowed to stay, or would be removed by means of what was known as a Removal Order.

A Removal Order was sometimes accompanied by a written pass to the parish of settlement showing the route to be taken. This would apply even within a city or town which consisted of more than one parish. Your parish of settlement was obliged to take you back.

Removal Orders would often take a person or a family back to a place of settlement miles across the country, sometimes to a parish they had only known briefly as a small child. It was not uncommon for a husband and wife to have their children taken from them, each being removed to separate scattered parishes.

On 18 May 1778, a Removal Order was served on my 5th Great Grandfather who was recorded as Thomas Blandon, Drummer in the Western Battalion Militia of Suffolk. Thomas, Mary, his wife, and their children Mary, Elizabeth, Ann, Thomas & Susannah were ordered removed from St. James, Bury St. Edmunds and sent to Wenhaston.

The order made me wonder what the circumstances were surrounding Thomas and his run of bad luck. Having found a Chelsea Pensioner record for Thomas dated 1787 I knew that he had been in the Army for 28 years and was being discharged with “bad eyes” and “worn out.” No doubt he couldn’t provide much, if any, income to support his family and thus the Parish did not want to accept responsibility for supporting them.


Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners WO 121/1/38

Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners WO 121/1/38

A Settlement Certificate would have more genealogical information but since I did not find one for Thomas I was happy to see that the Removal Order gave the ages of each of Thomas and Mary’s children – they were aged 1 to 13 years old. How difficult it must have been to be uprooted from friends and neighbours, and sent from the Parish of St. James back to the parish of Thomas’ birth in Wenhaston.

To my surprise the Removal Order was a form with blanks to fill in by the clerk recording the details, which indicates to me that there must have been a lot of them served! What a wonderful item to find. If you have English ancestors, why not have a look on the National Archives website? You might be surprised at what is there. If you have not used this resource, see How to Use the National Archives United Kingdom Website to Obtain Ancestor Documents.

UPDATE: Thanks to Helen Smith for pointing out that most settlement examinations, removal orders will be found in parish chest material for individual parishes so should be found in County Archives rather than in the UK National Archive. Genealogists can use the Discovery Search Engine at the UK National Archives but if a search does not return results they are advised to go directly to the county Archive of interest.


Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.


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Very interesting. Brings to mind a question, having to do with the poor in English towns/villages.

Does anyone know of a central repository that would have custody of Bastardy papers for English towns/villages? I am looking for Bastardy papers for a village in Cambridgeshire and having no luck whatsoever.

I have a digital copy of a settlement examination for my 3 x by grandmother. I managed to see the original record at the archives. It was most revealing and I have written about it on my blog.

Most bastardry bonds and settlement examinations, removal orders will be in Parish Chest material so can be found in the County Archive rather than the National archive. Linda check out he Cambridgeshire County archive for material relating to your parish.

Thank you Helen for the correction. I found mine by searching on the UK National Archives and the results took me to the County Archive that held them.

If you look in the FamilySearch catalog some parishes have an item under “Poorhouses, poor law, etc.” of Parish Chest Records. So worth a look to see if there’s any records on film.

So, Robert Frost was right:

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

-The Death of the Hired Man (1905 or 1906, published 1914)