Data­base shows di­verse past

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - ON THE RECORD -

The sur­pris­ingly di­verse her­itage of our me­dieval an­ces­tors can now be ex­plored on the web fol­low­ing the cre­ation of a new data­base.

Launched in Fe­bru­ary, Eng­land’s Im­mi­grants ( eng­land­sim­mi­grants. com) pro­vides the names of more than 64,000 for­eign per­sons who trav­elled to live in the coun­try, cov­er­ing ev­ery sin­gle county be­tween 1330 and 1550.

Com­piled from an ar­ray of archival sources, an im­pres­sive 14,500 peo­ple are recorded in 1440 alone, de­spite Eng­land hav­ing a to­tal pop­u­la­tion of just two mil­lion at the time.

The free re­source also car­ries in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing oc­cu­pa­tions, re­veal­ing trends within im­mi­grant groups, such as Flem­ish weavers and French ser­vants who were brought back to Eng­land af­ter the Hun­dred Years War.

The data­base is the re­sult of a pro­ject spear­headed by the Univer­sity of York in part­ner­ship with the Hu­man­i­ties Re­search In­sti­tute at the Univer­sity of Sh­effield and The Na­tional Ar­chives.

“The Eng­land’s Im­mi­grants pro­ject trans­forms our un­der­stand­ing of the way that English peo­ple and for­eign na­tion­als, of all lev­els of so­ci­ety, lived and worked to­gether in the era of the Plan­ta­genets and early Tu­dors,” said the Univer­sity of York’s Pro­fes­sor Mark Orm­rod, who led the pro­ject.

“It pro­vides a deep his­tor­i­cal con­text for mod­ern de­bates about the move­ment of peo­ples and the state’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to reg­u­late im­mi­gra­tion.”

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