Now that I’ve shown you what civil registration, census records, parish registers, and wills are all about in the United Kingdom and specifically England, it’s time to put it all into practice with help of Ancestry.com’s collections. We will do a case study of a family in Hazelbury Bryan, Dorset.
We started with just a little information: Archelaus Upshall, the son of David and Priscilla Upshall, was born about 1828 in Hazelbury Bryan, Dorset. By using all the information we’ve learned, we should be able to trace Archelaus through his life in England.
Civil registration in England didn’t start until July 1837; Archelaus’s birth will not be found in the Civil Registration Birth Index. By searching Ancestry’s collection of Dorset, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906, we were able to find an Archelaus Upshall baptized on 1 May 1828 in Haselbury Bryan, Dorset.1 His parents were recorded as David, a mason, and Priscilla Upshall, which matched the information we previously knew. Make sure you keep track of what you’ve found and cite all your sources!
By confirming Archelaus’s place of origin in Dorset, research could continue into the census to help fill in the family. UK census records can be found here. Because Archelaus’s name is so unique, it was important to find him in the household with his parents, up at least until he was married:
1841 Census2: On this census, Archelaus was living with his parents, David and Priscilla Upshall in Haselbury Bryan, Dorset. No other children were in the household. David was also a mason within the parish, which matched the information from Archelaus’s baptism record. Keep note that the 1841 census does not give relationships.
1851 Census3: Archelaus was still living with his parents, David and Priscilla Upshall in Haselbury Bryan, Dorset in 1851. Both Archelaus and David were both working as masons within the parish.
1861 Census4: By 1861, Archelaus was not living with his parents, but was living with his wife, Jane in Haselbury Bryan, Dorset.
It was likely that Archelaus married Jane between 1851 and 1861. At this point, you could either look for a marriage in the parish registers, or in civil registration. Both will give similar information. As Dorset’s parish registers are online, I first looked for a marriage between Archelaus Upshall and a Jane. A match was found, which recorded Archelaus married to Jane Hine on 1 October 1860 in Pulham, Dorset.5
Marriages recorded in parish registers after 1813 are required to record father’s name and occupation; on this record, Archelaus’s father was David Upshall, a builder, which matches previously found information. This same marriage was also found on the England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837-1915. The original record can be ordered from England directly.
1871 Census6: On the 1871 census, Archelaus was living with his wife, Jane, his children, and his parents, David and Priscilla in Haselbury Bryan, Dorset.
1881 Census7: In 1881, Archelaus was living with his wife, Jane, his children, and his widowed mother, Priscilla in Haselbury Bryan, Dorset.
1891 Census8: In 1891, Archelaus was still living with Jane, his children, and his widowed mother, Priscilla in Haselbury Bryan, Dorset.
Archelaus was not found in the 1901 England census; he most likely died between 1891 and 1901. An entry in the Civil Registration Death Index shows that Archelaus, born about 1828, had his death registered in 4th Quarter of 1900 in Sturminster District, Dorset. This record could be ordered to confirm his death, or you could find his burial in parish registers. I was able to find his burial record in Ancestry’s collection of Dorset, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-2001, which recorded his burial on 16 October 1900 in Haselbury Bryan, Dorset.9
National Probate Calendar
While not everyone in the UK left a will, Archelaus left a will that was indexed in the National Probate Calendar. According to the index, Archelaus Upshall died 13 October 1900 in Haselbury Bryan, Dorset, and left a will that was probated on 19 January 1901 in the Blandford Registry. You could also get the original of the will to see who granted his estate to.10
By using civil registration, census records, parish registers and probate records, we were able to collect over ten documents relating to Archelaus Upshall, who spent his entire life in Hazelbury Bryan, Dorset. You can find more about his parents, or maybe his siblings, wife, or children to help round out the family group.
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