Parish Register Newsletter: May 2009

Welcome to the parishregister May Newsletter. Once again thank you to all of you who sent in positive feedback on my April newsletter; I must say it's most encouraging to know I'm hitting the right spot, as it were! Let's hope you enjoy this one!

Search Tips

I've been mulling over an idea recently about gathering information on streets in particular parishes, listing who lived in each house over a period of time which I thought might appeal to historians. In due course I think I'll produce a CD and see if anyone shows an interest; if they do I could then make more. At the moment, not being an expert on databases (unlike James), I'm encountering technical problems, although I'm sure they are overcomable (I bet that's not a word). Anyway, in doing so I've noticed that many of you might be missing out on possible ancestors because the person recording the baptism has miss-pelt the child's surname. I've noticed quite a few common occurrences. One is that 'y' can be replaced by an 'e' or vice versa. So for Legon it might be recorded as Lygon (which has happened). Another is that a 'y' can be replaced with an 'i'. Other common occurrences are letters in the middle of names being doubled, or one left out (Legon becomes Leggon); letters being missed off the end of a name, and in many cases a random letter being inserted or left out. I suppose, if you are feeling flush, the best thing to do, I suppose, is to buy the CD as it only cost a smidgen more than the cost of two searches.

To search the site click here

New CDs

Miscallaneous Catholic London District Baptism, Marriages and Burials Vol 1

27 indexed transcriptions of Catholic Parish registers from churches, chapels and missions in the county of Middlesex
Bavarian Embassy Baptisms 1748-1838
Bavarian Embassy Marriages 1747-1840
St Aloysius Baptisms 1802-1839 and Confirmations 1808-1820
St Boniface Baptisms 1812-1862
St Mary Moorfields Baptisms 1763-1839
St Moorfield Marriages 1777-1821
St Mary Moorfields Burials 1819-1853
Virginia Street Chapel, Wapping, Baptisms 1789-1800
Westminster St Mary Baptisms 1809-1838

This CD contains approximately 50000 entries and is excellent value at £7.95

To buy this CD please click here

St Dunstan Stepney 1835-1837 CD 3288 entries

To buy this CD please click here

St Mary Whitechapel  1775-1792 CD 17493 entries

To buy this CD please click here

More about: St Mary Moorfields

The roots of the parish of St Mary Moorfields go back to several chapels that sprang up in the area in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The chapels were known locally as ‘Penny Hotels’, as people had to pay a penny to a man behind a grill in the door before they were allowed in.

These were hard times for Catholics. In 1736, for example, the Gordon Rioters attacked the chapel in Ropemakers Alley, ripping out its altar, fittings and crucifixes. Following the Catholic Relief Act of 1791, Catholics were permitted to worship in public. And in 1820 the first church of St Mary Moorfields opened in Finsbury Circus. As the permanent seat of the Vicar Apostolic, it served as Cardinal Wiseman's pro-cathedral from 1850 to 1869.

The church was pulled down in 1899 and replaced by the present church in Eldon Street, which was opened on 25th March 1903. The architect was George Sherrin, who also designed the dome of the London Oratory as well as several Underground stations.

Coming soon

The Merchant Taylors 1520 to 1929 and a new page on the website all about the Merchant Taylors The database has been completed and we are now in the process of devising a way in which the results will give variations on the surname you are looking for, thus getting round the problems I've just discussed. It will include information on; surname and forename, how admitted, forename and surname of the master or father, date of freedom and date of livery. The CD is now near production and the searchable database should be ready shortly.

Now in transcription are:  

Different transcribers work at different speeds according to their level of experience and the time they have available. Some of you have been enquiring about when new databases are coming on-line, so I'll try and indicate this below. (Please note however, these are not binding, just a rough guide!)

Christ Church Spitalfields 1729-1763 (should be on-line and searchable in June)

Christ Church Spitalfields 1763-1795 (should be on-line and searchable in June/July)

St George in the East 1848-1861 (should be on-line and searchable around August)

St George in the East 1861-1877 (should be on-line and searchable around August)

St Dunstan Stepney 1837-1848 (tbc)

Other selected products

East of London FHS Publications

CDs which include records of marriages, burials and census information dating back as far as the 1500s. They also have for sale a CD containing the first 100 editions of Cockney Ancestors and another, the Frogley Index and Manuscript, which has approximately three thousand names and nearly 1400 place names and should be of great interest to those researching the history of Barking.


Docklands Ancestors Parish Register CDs

Docklands Ancestors Parish Register CDs - Compendiums

Thames & River Medway Series - Single Parish CDs

There are now 80 CDs in this series!

Watermen & Lightermen

This section includes amongst others; Apprenticeships Bindings Index 1692-1908 (Vols 1-9) over 65,000 names from 1692 to 1908; 1628 Admiralty Muster of Watermen The earliest Company record is dated 1692, so this is a wonderful resource for possibly pushing your history further back in time; 1648 Petition of Watermen for the King This document records the names of 2,026 watermen from the last year of the reign of Charles I. The Petition is the vital link between the earlier 1628 Admiralty Muster and the beginnings of the Company's records in 1692. Also included on the CD are an index to the names, commentary & analysis by James and image samples of the original 350 year old scroll together with a 1673 list of Watermen in the Tower of London.

Alan Godfrey maps


Ecclesiastical Map-County of London 1903

A Map of the Ecclesiastical Divisions within the County of London 1903. The map shows all Church of England parish boundaries in the London County Council area.


Rocque's 1745 Survey of London


This poster map shows London in 1745 in extraordinary detail.
To buy this map click here

London and its Environs 1813


London and its Environs 1813. Reproduction map from an engraving by Henry Cooper, published by Sherwood, Neely and Jones. To buy this map click here

Research Services

Our particular areas of expertise include the Company of Watermen and Lightermen Archives and Parish Records for both the City of London and the East End. However, we undertake all aspects of research including Census Data, Electoral Rolls, Wills, Newspaper Searches etc.
If you think we might be able to help you then do contact us. Email Esme at We will discuss your requirements and advise on options. If you want us to undertake research on your behalf, we will agree a proposal and a price. Typically, you will receive a written report, setting out the objectives, itemising in detail the sources and documents searched and discussing the results (both positive and negative). Photocopies of relevant entries will be included.
Our hourly rate is £15.00  plus expenses. For UK Clients we prefer payment by UK cheque, made out to E K Richardson. For overseas Clients, we can arrange for payment to be made by credit card through the Worldpay facility on this web site.

If nothing has tickled your fancy but still would like to look around our shop, click on this picture:

  DA shop.jpg

Book Reviews

Newham Dockland (Images of England S.) by Howard Bloch

Until less than twenty years ago Newham Dockland was focused around the Royal Group of Docks and included Beckton Gasworks, both of which were among the largest in the world. Behind the imposing dock walls and fences was a separate bustling world, where thousands serviced the ships which brought cargoes, seamen and travellers from many lands.
Through a fascinating collection of 200 images this book reveals a vanished world, which few people knew. To buy this book please click here

Liquid History,The Thames Through Time, by Stephen Croad

The London Stone at Staines marks the ancient western boundary of the jurisdication of the City of London. The Lord Mayor and Corporation’s conservancy of the Thames extended east from there as far as Yantlet in Kent. This is the stretch of the river documented in Liquid History. Drawing on the resources of the National Monument Record, English Heritage’s public archive, the book records a journey of almost 100 miles and 150 years. Featuring the work of photographic pioneers and some of the great topographical photographers of the 20th century, and with a fascinating commentary by Stephen Croad, Liquid History chronicles the ebb and flow of the life of the river.

Excellent Thames book,including much of interest for those with Watermen connections.

To buy this book please click here

Memories of Wapping 1900-1960 'couldn't afford the Eels'

Memories of Wapping 1900-1960 'couldn't afford the Eels' by Martha Leigh.
For nearly two centuries, the port of london was the busiest in the world. And right at its heart was the small community of Wapping. Wapping made a vital contribution to the nation's trading prosperity until the port was closed in the late sixties. This book contains old memories and old photos of the lives of the families that had been there for generations.

To buy this book please click here

Other selected titles

My Ancestors were Thames Watermen: A Guide to Tracing your Thames Waterman and Lighterman(by James Legon)

The City Of London by Brian Girling

Thames: Sacred River (Hardcover)
by Peter Ackroyd

A Dictionary of Old Trades, Titles and Occupations By Colin Waters

Disorderly Women in Eighteenth-century London: Prostitution and the Metropolis, 1730-1830 (Women And Men In History) by Tony Henderson

Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth

Collectable Books

London's East End (Life & Traditions)  

Lavishly illustrated throughout, the wealth of detail is quite breathtaking. Highly Recommended by James, website founder.

Under Oars: Reminiscences of a Thames Lighterman, 1894-1909

An incredibly rare book about the arduous job of working on the river.

East End: Four Centuries of London

This study examines the evolution of the Tower Hamlets and sifts through the facts relating to an area notorious for its violent crime, political unrest and poverty.

Tales of a Thames Lighterman

When the last London Lighterman's as dead as the dodo, stuffed under glass in the new Dockland Museum, with his Waterman's badge, cloth cap and choker, tourists may wonder what he was, what he did, and where he went. This is his story - a tale of the Thames in days past.
This book is incredibly rare and this is possibly the only copy on the market.
This book has been published in a Limited Edition of which the book on sale is Number 233

Thomas Doggett Pictur'd

This is a rare first edition,
'An enquiry into the claims to authenticity of the few supposed representations from life of this famous comedian and such idea of his physical appearance and personality as can be derived from contemporary descriptions (including his own)'

Useful Sites (Tower Hamlets births, deaths and marriages)
All the years covered by the site are constantly being updated, and with each register containing 500 entries, as many as 8,000 entries may be added each month. On a recent visit to the site I found a marriage of a Susannah Legon that wasn't on my family tree) so it's worth another look if you haven't checked the site out for a while).
What a site! Just type in a surname and Bob's your uncle (or father, mother...), up comes hundreds (in my case) of articles related to that name. I found lots of interesting articles on Legons, including one poor (literally) couple who repeatedly found themselves in court for bad debts. It's free, so what have you got to lose?
A really useful site which provides maps of where parishes are located, which parishes surround them and useful information about the parish.
The other day I had the privilege of going with a class to the Ragged school museum which was fascinating, as is the history of its origins. 'It is housed in a group of three canalside buildings which once formed the largest “ragged” or free school in London. When Thomas Barnardo came to London from his home city of Dublin in 1866, intending to train as a doctor and then become a missionary in China, he was confronted by a city where disease was rife, poverty and overcrowding endemic and educational opportunities for the poor were non-existent. He gave up his medical training to pursue his local missionary works and in 1867 opened his first "ragged school" where children could gain a free basic education.' (from Ragged School Museum Site). If you think one of your relatives may have attended this school then contact the charity Barnardo's on 020 8550 8822 and ask to speak with their Archive department.

Ramblings from the Council Estate

I've been trying to add names, and information, to my family tree recently. Thanks to a couple of distant cousins, Gemma and Sue, I've been able to add quite a few without any work at all. This must be one of the best ways of finding ancestors! I've also found the London Gazette site recently (see above). I just typed in the name Legon and up came hundreds of articles about Legons dating back to the nineteeenth century.

The book 'Growing up in a war' had me thinking about the number of Legons killed in both wars. Close examination of the family tree and the records found in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site revealed that well over a dozen Legons were killed in both wars. I suppose this must be quite typical for many families but the thought definitely fills me with a certain degree of sadness. I noticed one particular Legon mother and father lost their only two sons in a short period of time in the first world war, I can just imagine how they must have felt when they received the dreaded knock on the door or letter drop on the door mat!

I have to admit that I have been referred to as Victor Meldrew once or twice as, like the character, I like a bit of a moan every now and again! Recently as I've been running along the canal I've been forming a top ten of my favourite pet hates. So now I thought I'd share it with you.

1. Chewing gum (I hate seeing people chew, and I hate it on the bottom of my shoe)

2. Members of Parliament-greedy ....(how can you put cleaning a moat down as an expense that is essential for carrying out your Parliamentary duties?)

3. Rude people on the buses

4. AOL

5. Adverts on the box

6. Popcorn in cinemas

7. Loud neighbours

8. Sweetcorn-can't stand the smell

9. Queues; for buses, in banks, in Tescos...

10. Jonathan Ross

Do any of these strike a chord with you too?

Talking about AOL, as you may have guessed, I turned down their ludicrous offer and the matter has now gone to appeal with CISAS (not sure what this means) and hopefully they'll send me enough compo to afford a slap-up meal to celebrate little David defeating Goliath!

I'm in fitness mode now; I'm up to running about 8 miles a couple of times a week, for as long as my knees, back, ankle and big toe hold out! To give myself some kind of incentive I'm going to sign up for the Sheffield half marathon next year, along with James (my nephew, 21, and hopefully William, 39) and beat them both! (I'm 46 now!) Of course my sponsorship money will all go to the British Heart Foundation.

What else have I been up to? Well yesterday I boldly went where no man has gone before, to the I-Max to watch the new Star Trek movie, well worth a watch I think. Oh yes, and a last thank you to my other half. A few months ago she asked if I wanted to see Blood Brothers,so I said of course I would and she booked the tickets. It's only now that I have realised that it's the same afternoon as the cup final! What do I do???

(Sorry about any differences in font sizes, the software has defeated me, I've tried for hours to correct them but to no avail!)

Here's your customary joke: A skeleton walks into a bar and says, 'I'll have a pint of beer and a mop!'

All the best

Jonathan and the team


-A Passion For Family History-

© Docklands Ancestors Ltd.