Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Researching Gravestones

One of the features of my website is the photographs and transcriptions of gravestones and monumental inscriptions from the North Devon parishes of St Giles in the Wood, Yarnscombe, High Bickington, Atherington and Tawstock. With each photograph and transcription, I have included some basic biographical information. Surprisingly, the research required is usually fairly straightforward and actually takes only a few minutes.

Consider the photograph of the gravestone of Richard CONGRAM (1787-1858) of Atherington which was recently added to my website. The first step was to check the transcription of Atherington burials available online through Devon Heritage. The burial register usually confirms the information on the gravestone but sometimes there are descrepancies. For example the year on the gravestone may not match the year in the burial register. In Richard's case, he was buried five days after his death and was 71 years of age when he died.

The next step was to check census data to find out where Richard was born. According to the 1851 Census he was born in the neighbouring parish of Chittlehampton. Armed with a location and an approximate year of birth it was time to use the International Genealogical Index (IGI) to find a baptism. While the IGI can be accessed directly online, it was more effective to go through Hugh Wallis's website and search by surname and batch number. Sure enough I found a Richard, son of William CONGRAM and Margareth, baptised at Chittlehampton in 1787.

Whenever possible I also try to include information about the parents. Using the Deanery of Barnstaple CD published by the Devon Family History Society, I found a 1781 marriage at Chittlehampton between William CONGRAM and Margareth SQUIRE, but unfortunately was not able to learn much more. There is a baptism at Chittlehampton for Margareth SQUIRES in 1757, but I did not find a likely candidate for William CONGRAM. It also seems likely that both of Richard's parents died before 1813 since neither burial is listed in the Deanery of Barnstaple CD.

Richard's son, Thomas CONGRAM (1823-1903) is also buried at Atherington.

No comments:

Post a Comment