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Saturday, 25 October 2008

Spotlight on: Clergy of the Church of England Database

If you discover you are descended from an Anglican clergyman, there is an excellent database online which you can use to find out more about your ancestor. The Clergy of the Church of England database is free to search and in many cases the information provided is very detailed.

The link above will take you to the home page, from there click the link marked 'Database Home' in the left sidebar and then 'Search' on the subsequent page. Type your search into the box provided and if there is a match you will see the results in a list in the left sidebar. You simply click on a name to open up the full results.

I just tried a sample search using the surname 'Wigmore'. There are four results - all related to me, although, I'm not sure how one chap fits in - opening up the file for my great x 10 grandfather, Gilbert Wigmore, gives me some really useful information about him. For example, it tells me when he graduated from university and which college, when he was ordained, which ranks he held and in which parishes. This is all really useful stuff to know, and a great starting point for further research.

Looking at the dates pertaining to Gilbert, it is quite apparent that he would have served as a rector during the years of the English Civil War - and that opens up a whole new area of research. Which side was he on? Or did he do what many country vicars did, and try to stay out of it? I'm not sure if I will ever be able to answer those questions, but knowing what kind of environment he lived and worked in is very useful and does help to add some background and colour to the simple dates and statistics I already have.
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