For my book on Researching Gloucestershire Ancestors, I have nearly completed the chapter on pre-1841 Gloucestershire censuses and population lists and have found 16 parishes with, at least, names of the householders and numbers of occupants and, in some cases, full details of the families living there. I would hate to omit a parish by mistake so if anyone knows of a parish with either a census or a population list for the period 1780 to 1840, please let me know. I will work on earlier population lists in a later chapter.
Having been asked about existing early (pre-1841) censuses and population lists with names in Worcestershire, I remembered Colin Chapman’s book on the subject and found the following for Gloucestershire:
And, of course, in Gloucestershire , we have Smith’s Men and Armour for 1608 which lists all the adult males as well as some females.
Well, I have another session at the Archives tonight on my Gwinnett research. I am considering some sort of publication, either a book or a web site, that involves the history of the Gwinnett family, combined with researching your ancestors in and around Gloucestershire – basically a how-to-do-it book. The latest version of ‘Gloucestershire Family History’ written by M E Richards and produced by the then Gloucestershire Record Office is 15 years old now and a lot has happened in genealogy since then. It has been mentioned a few times that it needs updating ….. So, my problem is threefold: do I write the family story from when the Gwinnetts arrived in Gloucestershire in the 16th century using documents to illustrate what can be found – the most logical way from the family point of view; do I begin with the most recent Gwinnett and work back though his family as one does when tracing ancestors; or do I take topics for research such as parish registers, probate, etc., and describe the family via that means? Any suggestions from those who have been along this route already? It’s all a bit overwhelming at the moment.
As part of my New Year’s resolution to spend more time on my own research, I am starting a session at the Gloucestershire Archives this evening when I can concentrate on my ancestors, the Gwinnetts. They appeared in the Badgeworth area of the county in the second half of the sixteenth century. The earliest reference I have found for them so far is 1575. The document is actually in the manorial records and the entry is dated 1579 but it mentions that George Gwinnett had been there for four years. Does anyone have an earlier date for them?
Yesterday, I had cause to look at a book entitled ‘Men and Armour for Gloucestershire in 1608′. by John Smith. It is a transcript of the information produced by a military survey of the county of Gloucesteshire in that year. As such, it lists, under hundreds, manors and tithings, the name, occupation or description of each person in the county capable of bearing arms or, if incapacitated, the armour he can contribute. Thus, it contains a list of all the men from the ages of 16 to 60 in Gloucestershire in 1608 and is particularly useful for tracing ancestors in the early 17th century. Also included is a code for the age and another for the stature of the man concerned. For instance, the entry for one man is:
Richard Gwynnett, husbandman, 2, m., tr. hath a musket furnished.
The ’2′ tells us that he is about 40 years (as opposed to 20 or 50-60)
The ‘m’ means that he is of middle stature ‘fitt to make a musketyer’.
Finally, the ‘tr’ means he was a trained soldier at that time.
The best feature of the book is that it has an excellent index which makes searching for your ancestors in the early seventeenth century very easy.