Chapter 2 : Research Sources

National and local records

This chapter lists and discusses the sources used in this project. There are two broad categories.

  1. National, such as the censuses, the central records of births, marriages and deaths, and certain military records. They can be consulted in central locations, such as the National Archives at Kew, near London, and the Family Records Centre at Islington in London, and increasingly on the Internet. Subsets of some of these may also be held locally at county records offices.
  2. Local, including parish records (of baptisms, marriages, burials), Kelly's directories of local residents and businesses, the electoral registers, school records, and sometimes other documents such as wills and property deeds, memorials such as grave-stones in cemeteries. These are usually to be found in county records offices, public libraries, ecclesiastical parishes, churchyards etc.

Many of the records, especially those at county offices, are in the form of microfilm and microfiche in various stages of legibility. In a substantial proportion of the cases one accesses an original document which may be in a very delicate condition.
We have worked exhaustively through national records, but access to local records has necessarily been restricted mainly to Gloucestershire, where the researchers have been based, and to a certain extent the records offices of the neighbouring counties of Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. This explains the depth of detail on those of the Fardons who remained in the Gloucestershire area. Similar detail is no doubt available in other areas to where Fardons moved, such as Nottinghamshire, Luton, various parts of London, Devon. This is still virgin territory which potential researchers in those areas may like to explore; perhaps the descriptions of the various local sources given below may be of assistance.

Although there is a multitude of sources the jigsaw is not always easy to construct - sometimes pieces are missing, sometimes pieces do not fit together (when sources provide conflicting information). Each source has its constraints, some of which may be summarised as follows:-

Source codings
The Sources section of each chapter lists chronologically the information that has been found for each person. Each piece of information is allocated a source, designated as follows (an asterisk indicates discussion of the sources below):

cem gravestones in cemeteries
cen * English census records 1841-1901
cenUS US census records, various years from 1880
cert * copies of birth, marriage and death certificate
dir * commercial directories, mainly Kelly's
doc * one-off document, as often specified in comments column
er * electoral registers
fam information received from living members of the Fardon family
gro * General record office central records if births, marriages, deaths
mem (military) memorials
mil * from military sources
par * parish records (baptisms. marriages, burials)
prb the national probate records
pre press notices
sch * school documents
tel telephone directories
US information from US contacts
var multiple sources as usually specified in the comments column

The census (cen)
(held at the Family Records Office, available online, and with local subsets at county records offices)
A population census has been taken in the UK every ten years since 1801, except in 1941 (during World War 2). Those for 1801-1831 were purely population counts and have no relevance here. Those since 1841 list names, by town and parish, together with increasing amounts of data as time has progressed:
address (though not always given, especially in villages)/names/relationship to head of household (eg wife, son, servant, boarder, visitor etc)/married status/age/occupation/where born/whether deaf and dumb, a lunatic, imbecile and in the later censes whether an employer of worker, and whether working from home .
It is important to remember that the census reflects the people who are in the house at midnight on census day, usually a Saturday in March or April. It is thus not necessarily a picture of a family unit, since family members who are absent are counted at the address where they are staying. .
Censuses normally remain closed to the public for 100 years, but that for 1911 was released three years early and is thus now the latest available.
All the censuses so far issued are now available on-line. However, searches by name when using this source are subject to transcription errors, and it may sometimes be necessary to use a certain amount of ingenuity to find the required person. It is then possible to find and display not only the transcribed record but also the relevant original census pages.

Births/baptisms, marriages and deaths/burials (gro, cert, par)
There are various sources for the "family events". Each covers a different aspect of the same event (for example, three different sources provide information on birth, registration of birth and baptism). In the Sources listings of each chapter the source of any line of information is shown by an abbreviation, such as par (=parish records), cert (=birth/marriage/death certificate). It is important to interpret this correctly. Thus:-

Notes: Clearly the certificates give the greatest and most exact information. A large number of these were acquired. However, because of the cost, which would have been a few thousand pounds for a compete set, reliance has been made on gro and par records in many cases. The points made here about differences in dates and places between different types of records need to be remembered.

Trade Directories (dir)
(held at county records offices)
During the second half the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, commercial directories were regularly published for towns and cities through the country. Initially there were a number of publishers but eventually there seems to have been just Kelly, and the directories are often known as just "Kellys". Those available to the researchers provided information for every four to five years from about 1860 to 1939.
Each directory covers one county, dealing with each of the towns and villages in the county. Among the information is first a list of "private residents", which seem to be the "great and the good" of society, and secondly a list of traders. Among the latter were farmers, innkeepers, shopkeepers, craftsmen like tailors, carpenters, blacksmiths. Fardons often appear in the latter category, occasionally in the former. One word of caution is that the information may sometimes be out of date, for example where a person remains in the list a year or two after his death. Presumably this reflects shortcomings in the supply of information to the compeers.

Document (doc)
This catch-all is for one-off documents that do not fit elsewhere. For example, copies of wills, apprenticeship documents etc found in records offices, press releases for example of funerals, documents provided by family. The prevenance will normally be shown in the comments section of the entry.

Electoral registers (er)
(held at local records offices and public libraries)
The electoral registers are compiled each year as the basis of the local voting list. Until recently they were compiled in the autumn for validity for one year from the following February, and can thus become increasingly out of date during their period of validity. In the Fardon study only the registers from 1901 onwards have been used, to give continuity after the last available census (1901). Those up to 1939 have been looked at in detail, but because of the difficulty (access and time constraints) those from 1948 have only been sampled.
The registers, which are arranged by town or parish, list only the names and addresses of those within the voting area. They thus contain much less information than the census, but they do provide an annual, rather than a ten-yearly record of change. There are other limitations in that they list only those entitled to vote, thus:-

In Gloucestershire, and no doubt elsewhere, the lists in the large towns (Gloucester, Cheltenham, Cirencester) were arranged geographically, by parish and street address. It is thus very difficult to find a specific name unless the address is known. Elsewhere, in the smaller towns and villages the lists are alphabetic and there is no problem in finding named individuals. Here those having the same surname are shown in alphabetical order of first name or initial, except that a wife is listed immediately after her husband. By observing the listing in this context married couples can be identified, and even newly widowed women (when they move into their correct alphabetical sequence). Status can also be established by observing the voting qualifications, which are listed next to each name.
Until after the Second War the addresses of most of those in the villages were not shown (in fact they probably did not have a specific address)

Military sources (mil)
The main military sources used are records held at the National Archives, Kew, and by the online records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
At Kew there are the military records of serving soldiers going back, as far as the Fardons are concerned, to the middle of the nineteenth century. For example, we were able to find details of the military service of George Hobbs Hunt, husband of Emily Amelia, in the South African (Boer) War at the turn of the 19th/20th century, and this to have a greater understanding of Emily's life.
But the largest source are the World War 1 records. The medals cards show: -

Also at Kew are the so-called burnt documents, described in Appendix A. Material relating to some of the Temple Guiting Fardons has been found here, with a particularly full account of the Joshua who died on the Western Front at the age of 19. With the military obsession for keeping detailed records on just about everything, useful personal information is available from this source (eg date of birth, address, name of spouse, civilian occupation, date of marriage, name of spouse, names, dates and places of birth of children etc)
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission keeps details of those with graves or other monuments in British War Cemeteries, at home and abroad. There are a number of Fardons among them, for both world wars.
The military material of interest is shown in detail in Appendix A.

Schools (sch)
(this relates only to the situation in Gloucestershire, where extensive records are available at the County Records Office)
Many of the church and state schools have deposited their records here, some of them going back to the 1870s. But the records are not complete, with some of the earlier records not available. One access restriction is that, like the census, more recent records have not yet been released. This seems to be for 30 or 50 years after the last entry date, which will, of course, be rather longer from the first date. There is thus more material to be released, some of it going back into the first half of the 20th century..
For each school there may be two records - a school log and registration records of pupils. At least the school log was written and maintained by the headmaster/mistress, and the amount of detail depended on how diligent the compiler was; it varied from school to school, and indeed from one head-teacher to another at the same school. The school log, for which the normal update seems to have been weekly, was an administrative account of the day-to-day running of the school, such as staff absences, visits to the school, outings by pupils, attendance figures, and so on. There is seldom much pupil information, except perhaps where a pupil won a prize or a scholarship to another school (both of which featured Fardons), or was a troublemaker or had to undergo punishment (no Fardons here), or was absent (Fardons sometimes).
In the pupil listing there was one line for each pupil across two pages of a large ledger. The record was started when the pupil joined the school and theoretically followed the pupil's progress through the school. If all columns were filled in (which was seldom the case) this record would show: - name/date of joining the school/address at joining/name of parent or guardian/ occupation of parent or guardian/date of birth/previous school/progression through the grades/date of leaving school/reason for leaving school.

This document Last Updated 4 February 2009