Friday, 17 February 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 7 - Historical Documents

Week 7 - Historical Documents - Which historical documents in your possession are you happy to have? How did you acquire this item? What does it reveal about your ancestors?

Challenge open from Sunday February 12th  - Saturday 18th February 2012

My Great Grandfather, Charles Butcher (1858 - 1943) was a good old fashioned "Ag Lab". Rewind the genealogical clock to around 1750 and the Butcher family were fairly wealthy land owners. By owning land and property they left a wonderful paper trail. The papers are in the Surrey Records Centre in Woking, but when I saw them they were in the previous records depositary in Guildford. 

I ordered the documents and they arrived. They were gently unrolled and presented in front of me on the desk. I remember feeling overwhelmed, with what to look at first. I did read as much as I could, but I ordered two copies of everything. I remember going back a few days later to collect the paper bundle and paying about £20. It was the best money I could have spent. 

When I got home, I unwrapped the documents and divided the copies into two identical piles. Each document was placed, one for my archive with the individual reference number and the other copy was attached together with tape for me to read and make pencil notes on. They now live in my filing cabinet in a A3 ring binder. 

Much of the Butcher wealth was inherited, in some cases the bequeathing of the money and buildings is understood, in some other cases, there is a document to show the bequeathing of the money or buildings, but what is unclear is the why. Of course, some of the why's will never be understood and that is the beauty of genealogy!

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