Trac­ing Your Non­con­formist An­ces­tors

Your Family History - - Reviews -

Au­thor: Stuart A Ray­mond Pub­lisher: Pen & Sword w. www.pen-and-sword.co.uk ISBN: 9781473883451 Price: £14.99 (PB)

Ac­cord­ing the Stuart Ray­mond, al­most half of the English pop­u­la­tion in the mid-19th cen­tury were Non­con­formists. So, even if you are used to pur­su­ing your fore­bears through gen­er­a­tion af­ter gen­er­a­tion of stan­dard C of E par­ish records, there’s a high prob­a­bil­ity that some of your fore­bears will not be in them.

The good news is that Non­con­formist de­nom­i­na­tions – among them Methodists, Quak­ers, Bap­tists, Con­gre­ga­tion­al­ists and Pres­by­te­ri­ans – of­ten kept bet­ter records than the Angli­cans, and in­deed sev­eral web­sites have digi­tised The Na­tional Ar­chives’ ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of them.

Ray­mond gives us a his­tory of Non­con­for­mity be­fore ex­plor­ing the sources them­selves, where his list is very help­ful, typ­i­cal of his en­cy­clo­pe­dic style in other books; thus we have pe­ri­od­i­cals, school records, mis­sion­ary records and nu­mer­ous oth­ers be­yond the ex­pected BMDs.

The ma­jor­ity of the book then looks at each de­nom­i­na­tion in turn, en­com­pass­ing smaller groups such as Mo­ra­vians, Chris­tadel­phi­ans and Mug­gle­to­ni­ans, as well as the larger de­nom­i­na­tions listed above, and more fa­mil­iar groups such as the Sal­va­tion Army and Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses.

This is an ex­cel­lent guide to the sub­ject: Ray­mond is par­tic­u­larly care­ful with his ter­mi­nol­ogy, thus Ro­man Catholics are not in­cluded, even if they have some­times his­tor­i­cally been lumped to­gether with Non­con­formism by the law (his next books will cover Ro­man Catholic and C of E an­ces­try, so are worth watch­ing for); and he ex­plains the uses of terms such as Dis­senter and ‘sep­a­ratist’ clearly. Rea­d­it­for: Awor­thyguidetoNon­con­formis­mi­nal­lits­man­i­fes­ta­tions, andthere­cord­sitkept

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