Lincolnshire is my adopted county. I’ve been living in Lincolnshire for four years, and I love it, although I don’t think I will live here long enough to be considered a local! I have several Lincolnshire ancestors myself, the most annoying of which is Charles Markham, an Ostler, who told the census enumerator he was born in Lincolnshire. Unfortunately I have followed up all the Charles Markhams I can find, nearly all of which were born in Lincolnshire and died in Lincolnshire, and he isn’t any of them! I now have a whole book of research into the Charles Markhams of Lincolnshire born at the beginning of the 19th century.
This is a pattern I have seen over and over with Lincolnshire genealogy. Where my family is scattered over half the counties in England in the 19th century, many people with Lincolnshire roots will find that their ancestors stayed put in the same village or group of villages, for their whole lives, often being born, married and dying, in the same parish.
I did a family history for a local gentleman, whose family were farmers in my area of Lincolnshire. I expected that they might have quite a Lincolnshire-centric family tree, but wasn’t prepared for how concentrated it was. You had to go back to the 18th century to find any incomers to his tree, and then only two: a Nottinghamshire lass who married in, and a daughter of one of the Flemish people who were brought over to England to try to drain the Fens in Cambridgeshire.
That kind of family tree can be a blessing or a curse. Of course it can make family history a lot easier if a family has stayed in the same place, you can search the parish records and build up a fairly complex family tree. But if they name successive generations with the same first names, that can muddy the waters terribly if they are all living in the same place, particularly if no ages are given at death.
Lincolnshire has a long history, but it is still fairly young in internet terms – often there is a big blank nothing where you would expect information about Lincolnshire. I sometimes wonder if there is a deliberate conspiracy to stop the rest of the country finding out how varied and beautiful Lincolnshire is, and that this “radio silence” is all a part of that.
However, there is a Lincolnshire Family History Society which can be joined for the princely annual fee of £12.50, and many Lincolnshire history groups and ancestry groups on Facebook and online. If your ancestors came from a particular town in Lincolnshire, you may find that there is a town memories page for the history of the town. There’s one for Market Rasen and one for Caistor locally to me.
I’ve already mentioned the Rod Collins blog in another post, which has all sorts of interesting articles about Lincolnshire (although he has taken some of them down). I must also mention the wonderful Lincs to the Past site, which is part of the archive services, and from which you can order digital copies of document. Parish records are available to view free of charge on that site. There is a page about the Lincolnshire Archives at Lincoln here, with contact details and a list of things which can be searched in person there.
If you need help with your Lincolnshire ancestors, why not contact me through the link above?
The photograph above was taken by Berit Wallenberg in 1929 and shows a sight which is virtual identical today, of the 12th century Norman house at the intersection of Christ’s Hospital and Steep Hill in Lincoln. Lincoln is unusual for the number of mediaeval buildings which are still in use as shops and lodgings, and the Norman house is one of the oldest surviving domestic dwellings in England.