Trace your East Riding ancestors
visits the city of Hull and the historic East Riding of Yorkshire
The Archives' Petty Session records include notorious names such as Dick Turpin
One day, if the author of this article gets his way, someone will install a giant ‘Angel of the North’-style statue of cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott, standing in the forward defensive position, somewhere along the boundary of the great county of Yorkshire.
Until that time we have genealogical research to carry out, and this month we visit the main repositories for family historians interested in exploring their East Yorkshire roots, namely the East Riding and Hull city collections.
We begin with East Riding Archives and Local Studies Service, based at the Treasure House in Beverley, where it looks after the kind of genealogical bread-and-butter sources that you will need to consult in order to go further back in time.
To begin with these include parish registers for the East Riding Archdeaconry. As ecclesiastical boundaries are different to local authority boundaries, it’s important to remember that the Archdeaconry does not cover the whole of the East Riding.
Archivist Lizzy Baker says: “The most exciting project we have worked on recently is the appearance of our historic parish registers on Findmypast. We hope this will help lots of people to find their East Riding ancestors and inspire them to find out more about their lives and the history of the area.”
The Archives also looks after records of nonconformist churches, school records, cemetery records, electoral registers and poll books, records of the police and coroner, records created by local government, plus trade directories and material relating to clubs, societies and groups. And, of course, there are Quarter and Petty Sessions records.
Lizzy says: “I think family historians often underestimate just how much detail can be found in Petty and Quarter Sessions records, which can help you to really put some leaves on the family tree and learn more about the lives of your ancestors.
“I was astonished to see eight different accusations of people stealing feather beds in our records. They also include some notorious names – Dick Turpin was caught in the East Riding and makes an appearance in the Quarter Sessions records under the alias John Palmer.”
One of the most important resources held here is the East Riding Register of Deeds. This was established in 1708 and contains copies of deeds for the East Riding and Hull up to April 1974. Lizzy says: “The Register is a valuable source for legal searches, house history and family history. Although it was never compulsory to register deeds it was common and there are more than one million deeds included.”
As the East Riding is a very rural area much of the population relied on agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods, which traditionally do not leave behind much of a paper trail. But there were significant pockets of industry and many important
collections relating to local businesses do survive. Beverley itself, for example, was known for both shipbuilding and tanning.
Lizzy says: “We hold the records of businesses such as Hodgson’s Tannery [1812-1975] and the Cook, Welton and Gemmell Shipbuilding Company [1885-1971].” The Archives also has lots of material relating to smaller businesses including EW and G Osgerby, coach builders established in Beverley in 1863, and John Cherry Limited, millwrights and engineers of Beverley.
“In the 20th century, Hornsea in the East Riding was home of the famous Hornsea Pottery Company, which at its height was a major employer in the town. We hold records of the company dating from 1953 to 2000.”
The Trinity House muster rolls offer a remarkable insight into the personnel of Hull's seagoing trade
East Riding Archives also preserves film and sound archives and recently began uploading films to YouTube. These can be viewed at youtube.com/user/ eastridingyorkshire by selecting the Archives’ playlist.
Highlights include a drive through Beverley in 1964 and a road safety film from 1946. Last year they also launched a First World War Lives project, which involved a team of research volunteers finding out more about the local soldiers and writing pen portraits of the men. These feature in a display that is updated every week.
The Borthwick Institute for ArchivesA at the University of York alsoa has several important local anda Yorkshire-wide collections.c These in nclude original parishp registers, Bishops’B Transcripts, marriagem bonds and allegations, ti ithe maps, family and estate re ecords, plus probate records for mostm of Yorkshire from between 12191 and 1858.
Meanwhile, the Hull History CentreC brings together material heldh by the City Archives and LocalL Studies Library with those heldh by the University of Hull. TheseT include the City’s borough archivesa (dating back to 1299), re ecords of local businesses, nonconformistn churches, organisationso and individuals, and important records relating to the port and docks of Hull.
City Archivist Martin Taylor says: “The Trinity House muster rolls – effectively records of an 18th-century contributory pension scheme for merchant seamen – offer a remarkable insight into the personnel of Hull’s seagoing trade.”
These Trinity House muster rolls (1747-1851) are just part of the wider maritime collections preserved here, which also include fishing vessel crew lists (18841914) and the records of Hull’s biggest shipping line, Ellerman’s Wilson. Alongside there are records relating to other city industries, most of which relied on the docks in some way, processing the raw materials that were imported. These included seed crushing, paint manufacture, timber merchants, engineering and shipbuilding.
Hull was the most heavily bombed city for its size in the UK during the Second World War and the pioneering preparations for, and administration of, the crisis are well reflected in the City Council records.
“We are nearing completion of a huge volunteer project that has seen more than 70,000 civil defence personnel index cards catalogued online,” adds Martin. “We’re very excited by a new development building on the recently catalogued archives of the local architectural practice of Francis Johnson – using Minecraft to create virtual buildings inspired by Johnson’s designs. We call it HullCraft ( hullcraft.com). We see it as a great opportunity to inspire young people to take an interest in the archival heritage and are hoping to develop it further.”
Detail from a British Railways
( Eastern Region) poster of North Landing, Flamborough
The Old Dock in Hull was renamed Queen's Dock in 1855 in honour of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's visit to the city the previous year
Kingston-upon- Hull is on the north shore of the