October 27, 2020

South Yorkshire Archives

This week I’ve been trying to identify an early emigrant to Australia and to do so I needed to visit a couple of archives in South Yorkshire.

Now I spend most of time researching in York so I have to remind myself what records are where when it comes to South Yorkshire and this isn’t as easy as you would think.

The chap I needed to find records for evidently came from Tickhill which is a parish near Doncaster. The most likely candidates for his parents married in the parish of Ecclesfield, his father’s most likely birth was in Sheffield and census records showed his mother was from Rawmarsh. Other parishes that came up in the investigation were Maltby and Whiston.

All these places are in really close proximity to each other as the map below shows, but when I checked what records were where I found I had to visit Doncaster Archives, Sheffield Archives and possibly Rotherham Archives.

Parishes in the Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster Area

Parishes in the Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster Area

Also, as you can see, Tickhill borders on to Derbyshire, whilst Sheffield borders on to Nottinghamshire. So if I needed to widen my search at all that brings two more counties into play and possibly requiring visits to Nottinghamshire County Record Office in Nottingham and Derbyshire Record office in Matlock. Phew!

Anyway, first I went to Doncaster Archives to collect names from the Tickhill registers. Doncaster Archives is located about 15 minutes walk from the train station and the train journey from York is only 20 minutes, so I could get there and back in just over one hours total travelling time. The archives are in an old School building which also conveniently houses the Doncaster Family History Society.

Doncaster Archives Building

Doncaster Archives Building

Tickhill parish records have been well transcribed for the period I was looking at so I had the luxury of an index to find the names I wanted and also follow up any other leads – a few hours saved there!

Having a bit of time to spare I popped in to Doncaster library on the way back to the station to see if I could find a newspaper article covering the emigration but unfortunately didn’t turn up anything. A local newspaper article alng the lines of “Tickhill man emigrates” would have been nice but I wasn’t that lucky.

Next, I went to Sheffield Archives which are about two minutes from Sheffield train station. So the train journey was longer but the walk was shorter which is exactly how I like it.

Sheffield Archives Building

Sheffield Archives Building

I spent the whole day at Sheffield finding names, putting family groups together, noting relationships and following people from parish to parish where I could.

Out of all of thisĀ  I think we have shown that the chap born in Tickhill is actually the chap that went to Australia in 1836. I don’t think we have absolute conclusive proof of the link but in cases like this elimination of other possibles together with building up evidence is generally as close as you can get.

But the whole experience shows that tracing ancestors in a small area is not always straightforward, particularly given a mobile population and when administrative areas overlap and county boundaries come into play.

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