Parish Register Newsletter: October 2009


Greetings Subscriber!

Welcome to the parishregister Christmas edition! No, no, I'm only joking, but many aren't with Christmas advertising  starting earlier and earlier nowadays. Let's put Christmas to the back of our minds for a few weeks yet and get down to business.  It's been a busy month this month and you'll notice we have two new databases for you to search and two new CDs available as well as three special offers this month.

Searchable Databases 

Recently uploaded

Christ Church Spitalfields 1729-1763   9734 entries

Christ Church Spitalfields 1763-1795  9747 entries 

New this month:

St George in the East 1861-1877   6384 entries

St Dunstan Stepney 1837-1848   8679 entries

 I make that an extra 35000 odd entries recently uploaded, so it's well worth checking out!

To search the site click here

Merchant Taylors 1530-1928 - to search click here Merchant Taylors 

As a matter of interest we now have  a website devoted exclusively to the Merchant Taylors desinged by Simon (well done-great job!) so if you'd like to take a quick look, then click here

New CDs

The Merchant Taylors 1520-1929 (Exclusive to Docklands Ancestors!)

To purchase this CD please click here:  Merchant Taylors

Volume 64 Christ Church Spitalfields 1729-1763 9734 entries

To buy this CD please click here Vol 64

Volume 65 Christ Church Spitalfields 1763-1795 9747 entries

To buy this CD please click here Vol 65

Next month: Volume 66 St George in the East 1861-1877

In transcription

St George in the East 1848-1861

St John Wapping 1665-1707

St John Wapping 1737-1780

I got an e-mail from Jim the other day and he found this little gem whilst transcribing St John: 06 Oct, 1775 John, son of the Lord above knows who (and as he so rightly said, James would have loved this one)

St Matthew 1799-1819

More about St Matthew:

St Matthew's Parish was the parish from which other churches were established. Many of these have now closed. Within, or on the edge, of the current parochial boundaries were the churches of:

• Holy Trinity, Old Nichol Street
• St Andrew, Viaduct Place
• St James the Great, Bethnal Green Road
• St Jude, Old Bethnal Green Road
• St Matthias, Cheshire Street
• St Paul, Virginia Road

St James's is the only building left. It is now a residential building on Bethnal Green Road. It was officially closed for worship in 1984.

The churchyard was used for burials until 1877. There are only two graves left in the churchyard, one of the Huguenot family of Peter Renvoize and the other of Joseph Merceron, an infamous 19th century Churchwarden. All other gravestones have been either damaged or removed. There is a map of the graveyard, along with a register of inscriptions as could be discerned in 1896, which are both lodged with the London Metropolitan Archives.  (from

Other selected products

Thames & River Medway Series


Volume 10 Christchurch, Milton-next-Gravesend. 1857-1875 baptisms;St.George, Gravesend. 1837-1876 marriages & burials;Gravesend & Milton cemetery company records 1839-1876; St.Dunstans Stepney 1813-1837 burials only.CD-ROM for use with Adobe Acrobat (supplied).Transcribed by Robert J.Cottrell.
This is one of 15 compilation CDs, to buy this one please click here Volume 10  

Other Selected Products:

SS. Mary and Joseph, Poplar Roman Catholic Chapel.

Marriages and Baptisms 1818 - 1856

To buy this CD please click here: Catholic1

Misc 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

To buy this CD please click here: Catholic 2

The Registers of the Sardinian Embassy Chapel, London, 1772 - 1841(Church of SS Anselm and Cecilia in Holborn).

This comprises indexed transcriptions of over 22,000 baptisms hitherto unpublished, a work which has taken them about 10 years to produce!! In total there are 60000 odd entries on this CD, a bargain at £7.95!

To buy this CD please click here: Catholic 3

Watermen & Lightermen

Selected products:


Vols 1 Apprenticeship Bindings from 1692-1716.
Indexed from the original register at Waterman's Hall

This is volume one (of 9) and is priced at a very reasonable £4.95, if you'd like to purchase this CD then click here ABVol1

Also at the same price is:

Apprenticeship Bindings 1925-1949

Indexed from the original register at Waterman's Hall, these records take the total coverage of the apprenticeship bindings from 1692 to 1949.
There were 3505 apprentices bound between 1925 and 1949. A typical entry reads as follows:

with the first name being the apprentice and the latter his master. The first date is the binding date, the second the freedom date.

To purchase this CD please click here AB2

Devastated London - The Bombed City As Seen From A Barrage Balloon


To buy this (folded) map click here: Devastated London

Ecclesiastical Map-County of London 1903 

 Price: £5.00 To buy this map please click here

London and It's Environs 1813


Price: £3.95 To buy this map please click here

Rocque's 1745 Survey of London


Price: £7.95 To buy this map please click here

To view our comprehensive Alan Godfrey maps collection please click here

Docklands Ancestors Parish Register CDs (65 CDs now to choose from)

Docklands Ancestors Parish Register CDs - Compendiums

Special offer! Compendium 5 (Volumes 51 -60), normal price £49.95 (this was obviously a bargain already as the ten separate CDs would cost around £80) now only £29.95, a saving of £20 or £50 which ever way you want to look at it!! Stocks are running out (Yvonne tells me there's a couple left!), once they're gone, then it's back to the old price I'm afraid.

If you'd like to take advantage of this amazing, once in a lifetime offer, please click here  special offer

Yet another special offer! Compedium 1, which is actually 20 volumes (1-20) is now on sale for an incredible £39.99, that's £10 off the original bargain price, and is equivalent to just £2 for each CD!

To snap up this bargain click here Comp1

Final call on another special offer!

St George in the East Parish Registers Part I 1729-1826 This CD is also on offer at £10 off this month, that's 7 CDs for just £19.95!!! This will be the last month this CD is on offer, so if you want it, come and get it!

Other compendiums:

Southwark Parish Registers 

Isle of Dogs Parish Registers

Limehouse Parish Registers

Stepney Parish Registers

Wapping Parish Registers 

Docklands Ancestors Compendium CD2: Vols 21-30

Docklands Ancestors Compendium CD3: Vols 31-40

Docklands Ancestors Compendium CD4: Vols 41-50

Compendium CDs 1-4

This is a special offer price for customers who wish to buy the first four of our Compendium CDs.

The four CDs comprise volumes 1-50 of the Docklands Ancestors Series of parish register transcriptions.
Altogether, there are approx. 300,000 entries

Book Shop

This month I thought the book shop would go on a tour of the East End!

Around Poplar and Limehouse, by Gavin Stirling.

This absorbing pictorial history traces some of the changes and developments that have taken place in Poplar and Limehouse during the last century, and also looks at the histories of some of the surrounding communities, including Wapping, Millwall and Blackwall.

With over 170 illustrations this collection highlights the important events that have occurred in this part of East London during this time, from the opening of the Thames Tunnel in 1843 to George VI's Coronation celebrations in 1937. Aspects of everyday life are featured, from schools and churches, shops and businesses to shipbuilding at Limehouse and barges transporting wares to London Dock.

Around Plaistow (Archive Photographs) by George Taylor

This collection of photographs represents a unique record of life in and around old Plaistow, principally but not entirely in the mid-1930s, which were taken by one man who grew up there, George Taylor. A very early interest in photography led him to make prints by sunlight in the school playground at ten years of age. Later, from his early 20s until he moved away in 1939, he recorded his home streets, his family, friends and neighbours on film, in a set of pictures that now form a remarkable archive of the district at that time.

An important feature of this collection is a sequence of photographs taken at the street parties and celebrations for the Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary in 1935, many examples of which are included here. His exceptional skill as a photographer is best demonstrated in these photographs which were taken when he was still a very young man. An exhibition of some of these prints at the Newham Library in 1977 caused much interest and led to reunions of prewar neighbours and a BBC TV programme which saw the author revisiting the old streets and comparing modern Plaistow with his childhood memories and his photographs.

Chapters include Living in Plaistow, Jubilee Day, Re-union, Out from Plaistow, To the Docks, River and Woolwich, To London.

Hackney Memories by Alan Wilson.

The 1930s were a troubled era, and England at this time was a land of contrasts. In Hackney Memories, Alan Wilson gives us a vivid impression of growing up in a working-class family in the East End at this time. Trapped by poverty, his family lived in a world that seems very alien to us now: here it is vividly recalled, set against a backdrop of rapidly developing national events. Alan Wilson's informative text, together with a selection of well-chosen photographs, will make fascinating reading for anyone who remembers the interwar years, and anyone interested in London's social history.

Poplar Memories  by John Hector

Poplar Memories ia a vivid impression of Cockney London before and during the Second World War, set in a teeming, rundown docklands neighbourhood famous for being, well, one end of the Blackwall Tunnel. John Hector's spellbinding account of his early life in the 1920s and 30s conjures up a vanished era when simplicity and happiness went hand-in-hand. Halcyon days of 'talking pictures'and pavement buskers, Saturday night knees-ups round the piano, eel and pie stalls, chimneysweeps, 'boxers', Clarnico's toffees and Lloyd Loom furniture, and a little shop called Woolworth's selling 'nothing over sixpence'- unless it's a shilling. All this was to disappear forever in the horrors of the Blitz. The author,now 85, was disabled by infantile paralysis-yet he became School Captain and embarked on a successful career at 14, surviving extreme poverty, panel doctors, dockers' riots and Hitler's Luftwaffe with an unshakeable belief in the ordinary people of Poplar.

Romford Photographic Memories

Lavishly illustrated with fine quality photographs from the world-famous Francis Frith Collection. Rich in detail this is a fascinating portrait of life and times long since changed.

Silvertown:An East End Family Memoir by Melanie McGrath.

Silvertown teems with stories of life in the docks and pubs and dog tracks of the old East End where Melanie McGrath's grandparents, Jenny and Len Page, scraped a living. Here are the bustling alleys where, in 1914, eleven year old Jenny watches the men go off to fight; Jenny having her teeth pulled out on her seventeenth birthday; the Cosy Corner Cafe, opened full of hope by Jenny and Len; and an East End Landscape altered forever by the closure of the docks.

After reading this book it makes you want to jump in your van and hoof it down to Silvertown. The silent, brooding, desolate Royal Docks brings home how much life has changed in the East End over the last 50 years.

One of the things that really made an impression on me was the poverty of people. No work, no food, starving. The other was the description by Jenny of the working class, divided into 'respectable' and 'common'. Nowadays we're all supposed to be middle class and the notion of the respectable working class has all but disappeared. A good thing? Reading this book, you might well think so.

I know a book is good when I have to stay up all night to finish it. I did with this one.

Other selected Titles

The Plagues of London                                                     Thames Ship Towage 1933-1992 by J. E. Reynolds

the_plagues_of_London.jpg                                                                    thames_towage.jpg

The Coat:The Origin and Times of Doggett's Famous Wager    Changing Times: Southwark Remembered                                                                                                          by John D Beasley.

TheCoat.jpg                                                                                       southwark_remembered.jpg

Maritime Greenwich By David Ramzan                         Greenwich: Center of the World (Images of England)

maritime greenwich.jpg                                                                             Greenwich_Center.jpg

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


One-Off Books (used, all good condition)

A Potted History of Ilford by Norman Gunby.  Copy no: 330 1st edition 1991 paperback (I've checked this book out, all of the copies seem to be signed by the author, so it's nothing extraordinary if you see one for sale 'signed by the author'. Anyway, the first page of this book is missing and I assume this is where he signed it!) To reflect the fact that this page is missing we're selling this book for £6 plus P & P (it is a rare book!)

Step By-Step Guide to Tracing Your Ancestors by D.M.Field (£3.50 plus p & p)

The City London's Square Mile by Alan Jenkins (£4 plus p & p)

The chapels in the Tower of London (The chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula and the Chapel of St.John The Evangelist by The Reverend John F.M.Llewellyn (£3 plus p & p)

These second-hand titles are not on the site so if you would like to buy one please e-mail Yvonne at (first come first served!) and payment is by cheque only.

 Just a quick reminder about our research services, which is Esme's department. If you'd like more details on research then click here: research


Interesting Sites

History Trails Victorian Britain  
I've just found this BBC site which I've found really interesting and which will take up quite a bit more of my weekend! Here's one article I found particularly interesting.
London's 'Great Stink' and Victorian Urban Planning

By Professor Martin Daunton

Cholera epidemics, the 'Great Stink' and miasmas combined to create a death rate in Britain's cities higher than at any time since the Black Death. The Government was forced to face up to the need for an urban planning policy.

The census of 1851 recorded half of the population of Britain as living in towns - the first society in human history to do so. Over the previous 70 years, the population of Britain had risen at an unprecedented rate, passing the levels reached in an earlier period of growth, in the early 14th century, when the population had been decimated by epidemics such as the Black Death.

'... with death from sickness at a level not seen since the Black Death.'

But was there any reason for optimism? The towns offered a better chance of work and higher wages than the countryside, where many families were trapped in dire poverty and seasonal employment. On the other hand, the countryside was healthier. A baby born in a large town with a population of more than 100,000 in the 1820s might expect to live to 35 - in the 1830s, life expectancy was down to a miserable 29.

A comparison between a desperately unhealthy large town and a small market town shows the costs of migrating in search of work and prosperity. In 1851, a boy born in inner Liverpool had a life expectancy of only 26 years, compared with a boy born in the small market town of Okehampton, who could expect to live to 57.

Large towns were thus desperately unhealthy, with death from sickness at a level not seen since the Black Death. New epidemics were stalking the cities - cholera and typhoid were carried by polluted water, typhus was spread by lice, and 'summer diarrhoea' was caused by swarms of flies feeding on horse manure and human waste....

There are loads more topics and resources and there's also a feature on researching your family history

I thought I'd just slip this site in as well:

Directory of London and Westminster, & Borough of Southwark

SOURCE: Kent's Directory for the Year 1794. Cities of London and Westminster, & Borough of Southwark.

An alphabetical List of the Names and Places of Abode of the Directors of Companies, Persons in Public Business, Merchants, and other eminent Traders in the Cities of London and Westminster, and Borough of Southwark.


Ramblings from the Council Estate

Before I forget it I'd like to share with you a funny conversation I had with young Pat (aged about 80) who lives just round the corner from young Nell (aged 80 plus). Unfortunately he's not been too well recently and after a visit to his doctor has been referred to two separate hospitals for tests. Every time I see him he updates me on his condition. 'How's it going Pat?' I asked this time. 'I don't know really, letters from the hospital aren't getting through 'cause of the strike so I've been telephoning them. Last time I called I couldn't understand a word the woman was saying, but I think I need to go in for an autopsy then once they know the result of that they'll do something else.' Well, all I know is that for a dead man he was holding up pretty well!

Would you believe it, another misunderstanding! I was at school the other day and a child told me he had four new books. I asked him where he got them from, and he said his mum got him one, one was from the school library and the other two from the book fairy! 'What like the tooth fairy??' I asked, then his teacher intervened to clear up the confusion, 'No, from the book fair!' he said.

I've also been carrying out a not very scientific study on the gullability of children the last week or so. It goes like this: I work with two children at a time at a small table, sometimes in a room on the second floor, and sometimes in a corridor, where there's not enough room to swing a cat. Well, after 25 minutes or so, I come out with something like, 'Mind the cat under the table!' and without fail every child has looked and a couple have even jumped up in fright! Not one has ignored me or said 'don't be silly', (maybe they'ree scared of me?!)

Feedback on the quotes from the courtroom last month was positive, so I thought I'd give you a couple more, so here goes:

Attorney: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

Witness: Are you qualified to ask that question?


Attorney: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?

Witness: He said, 'Where am I Cathy?'

Attorney: And why did that upset you?

Witness: My name is Susan!

 Keep safe, all the best

Jonathan and the team

Before you go have a look at this dog hitting itself!


-A Passion For Family History-

© Docklands Ancestors Ltd.