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London Ancestors

As anyone with ancestors in the London area knows, research there can be a nightmare. There are different records offices for the City of London, Westminster, Greater London, parishes in the pre-1888 counties of Surrey and Kent, as well as a multitude of local history libraries. If a family moved only a few streets, it can mean decamping from one repository to another to track them. This is time-consuming enough for Londoners but for those elsewhere the time and travel expenses are multiplied. Two of S&N's publications go some way to overcoming the obstacles for those working on the mid-nineteenth century, when people were flooding into London from all over the country. The London 1852 Directory can help to pinpoint where an ancestor lived because it would have been compiled in the census year. The set of two CD-ROMs making up the London 1851 Census should locate him or her in this important census, the first to require place of birth. The 31 discs include a street index.

The whole of the 1851 census for London, digitised from microfiche and supplemented where necessary from the original books, is included. As there is no complete index, S&N are encouraging people to help produce one by including an Excel spreadsheet in this pack and showing which areas have been already done on their website. S&N also have a CD-ROM containing the 1851 index at its current state, which can be accessed for the same price at TheGenealogist. Some areas have been indexed and are available from the volunteers that created them, usually local family history societies.

Even if your ancestors were not skilled enough to be included in the Directory or you don't know exactly which street they lived in, clicking through a district of the census at home is certainly preferable to traveling to the FRC to use the microfilms. It will also probably be cheaper than making several trips to London if you live outside.

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