Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Wee Bit of Genealogical Information

The choices that we make in life are not unique to us.They are a distillation of all that has come before us. The more we become aware of our ancestral lineage, the more freedom we will have to honor what is best and let go of the rest.

This past Saturday I was just about to leave to go shopping when hubby came out and told me to put on the History Channel, that the show was about my ancestors. Indeed it was. Of course I had to take my jacket off and watch--'Barbarians II: Saxons'. Great show. It focused on basically one area, East Angolia which originally consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk. The earliest sign of man in this area-dates back to 9000-5000 BC. During the Iron Age, the area was settled by Celtic tribes, in particular the Iceni (people of the horse) whose queen, Boadicea, led a great rebellion against the Romans 

 The fact is, many of my ancestors stem from Norfolk, England--Stalham, Barton Turf, Thetford, North Walsham, Lessingham, etc.  When working on our genealogy many of  us tend to focus on those family we can name and add to our tree, but forget about their history.  What of those who came before? Where did they come from?  What is their history?  Aren't my distant ancestors  a part of my history as well? Just because I have been unable to give them a name doesn't mean that the weren't there. Finding records that far back can be pretty darned impossible, but we can understand our ancestors by learning about how they lived.  One great book I found about the history of early Norfolk was 'Seahenge: a quest for life and death in Bronze Age Britain' by Francis Pryor.
My great grandmother, Mary Constance, from Stalham. I believe that I met her once before she passed away in 1956. I remember my dad taking me to see two older ladies with an accent. Now I know they were British accents. When my mom found out, she blew a gasket, and that was the last time I saw Mary Constance, by I know she has been with me throughout the years. I remember when hubby and I moved to the house with the huge backyard. I decided I wanted to grow vegetables even though I had never done so. It grew so well that I began to call it my magical garden. Couldn't understand it, though. Never had a garden a day in my life. And then I saw the picture of her, standing in the middle of her garden, proudly showing off a huge tomato she had grown. 
As I began doing some research over the weekend, I did find a DNA project in process that was identifying those whose ancestors stemmed from the Iceni tribe.  Although I cannot participate because only male DNA is used for this project, I did find one of my family names on the list of those already identified--Harmer. Before that I can find no record, but I've not given up.  Ancestry has a new DNA test for both male and female that will provide me with a full breakdown of my genetic ethnicity. I am so excited.  My kit should arrive by Friday and in a few weeks I should have a pretty detailed history of who I am.

Below I have listed some free genealogy sites for anyone who might have ancestors from Norfolk.

A really great site is the Norfolk Transcription Archive.  Although they are no longer posting information, the site remains standing with thousands of names and records and can be found at Norfolk Transcription Archive

Another site you can gleam information from is Genuki: UK and Ireland Genealogy 

For cemetery records you might try Norfolk County Cemetery Records  

You can find free census records at Free Cen

And birth, marriage, and death records can be found at FreeBMD  

as well as at   FreeReg

Genuki, FreeCen, and FreeBMD can be used for all of England. Enjoy


  1. I bet you're a descendant of mighty Boadicea herself! She's my favourite warrior queen. Seriously kicked Roman ass!

  2. Definitely going to have to check out your links Sister/Friend-Distant Cousin by lineage, lol. I will have to go to the History Channel and watch the show myself as I've many ancestors from that area as well. Thanks for sharing this vital info. I've still not gotten the DNA testing done but it remains on my 'to do list.'
    Don't you just love these cool nights and sunny days?
    I'm reveling in them and have been quite busy...late this afternoon my son is taking me to a nearby cemetary where I finally found my Great Grandfather Clarke...I'd been searching for so long and now I want photos of his and my Great Grandmother Dora's headstones for FindAGrave as his has not been documented before this. So exciting times are in the air for me, however I know it will be wistful and melancholy too. It's all good though! Here's to happy geneology hunting!!! :)
    Sending you my love and blessings (((Mary)))

  3. excited for you Mary hope you find all you hoped x just shows green fingers run in the family :)

  4. Thanks for taking of your good time to try to steer us in the direction of our ancestry Mary. (((hugs)))