Looking for connections
Start collecting everyone with the surname of the family you’re researching in the area as there may be connections further back that an exhaustive set of searches will uncover. Don’t be too concerned about variant spellings of the surname either; collect them all.
You may find yourself building trees for people who are not related to you, or for whom you haven’t yet found a family link to your tree, but that is all part of the fun.
The major sets of records you need to find are: baptisms, marriages and burials, and the bishops’ transcripts, plus the nonconformist equivalent; probate records (wills and administrations and inventories); Poor Law documents such as settlement examinations and removal orders, churchwardens’ accounts and overseers’ accounts; Quarter Sessions; marriage bonds and allegations; manorial records; and estate records for the large landowners in the area.
Also useful are these other various types of record: tithe records, trade directories, poll books, freemen lists, burgess rolls, hearth tax, Protestation oath, other tax records, business records, and records of the Court of Chancery and Equity Courts.
Finally, in some cases it may appear that records are missing, but in fact it is just that a family are missing from the records. Often this is for one very good reason: the family you’re looking for are in a totally different place. Such ‘negative searches’ can tell you useful things, so pay heed and record them.
Negative searches can tell you useful things, so pay heed to them