Genealogy Tip O’ the Day: Get off your duff to find the really good stuff!
I’ll be the first to say I love how much genealogy information is on the Internet now. It’s lovely and it certainly is a load of great information online. However, my Genealogy Tip O’ the Day for today is: Get off your duff to find the really good stuff!
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
My Phillipps family tree has a long and deep taproot in the rocky soil of Cornwall. While I am still working on it, I know my 13x great grandfather came from Cornwall and my family didn’t budge until my grandfather left in 1911. That is a bit over 425 years that I have researched and documented of our family being in Cornwall. I guess you could say my love of pasty is genetic…because it is.
While some of my work has been done online, the truly great material I have been able to gather came from work and effort on site, not online.
Take for example one little Cornish parish church, St. Julitta in Lanteglos by Camelford. Tucked into a lovely glen outside of town this single church held numerous marvelous family genealogy gems for me.
I could read online Reverend William Phillipps (1723 – 1794) was the Rector for the church of St. Julitta in Lanteglos by Camelford for the seventeen years from 1777 to 1794. That is what first led me to investigate this Cornish parish. Lanteglos by Camelford, by the way, is located deep in the heart of the area known as the home of the legendary Cornishman we all know, King Arthur. But it wasn’t until burning some shoe leather St. Julitta’s Phillipps family genealogical gems came to light.
Our first discovery was the wonderful stone memorial markers on the walls of St. Julitta. There behind the organ and the choir area were gravestones for not only Rev. Phillipps, but also for additional family members. The stone reads that it was placed by the nephew of Rev. Phillipps, John Phillipps Carpenter. The etching in the stone goes on to state that in addition to marking the grave of Rev. Phillipps, it also marks the graves for John Phillips, Esquire, his wife, Elizabeth, and their children John, Elizabeth and Charles. Adjacent to this monument was a second marker in the name of Christian Carpenter, another family member.
But our discoveries were not done. Not by a long shot.
We were lucky to be allowed to walk up the bell tower in St. Julitta and our next discovery was found right about the halfway mark on the stairs. Nailed to the stone wall was an old wooden sign. Warping and fading, but it didn’t take any work at all to read that this sign began with the following:
“The sixth of October 1804 Charles Phillipps, Gentlemen one of the Aldermen of the Borough of Camelford….”
The sign goes on to explain Charles had left a legacy in his will to be sued for the poor of the community of Camelford. And that he left his bequest to Charles Carpenter, Esquire, yet another family member.
We continued up to the top of the bell tower for no other reason than to take in the view of the surrounding area when we were treated to yet another family history gem, this time an item that was a first in my genealogy experiences. As we reached the top of the tower we were able to see the huge bells. It didn’t take me long to read the words cast into the first bell “1783” and “William Phillipps, Rector” and a second bell with the same date Charles Phillipps. What a thrill to see our family’s names on the bells.
The view was wonderful, but I have to admit it was second to the genealogy discoveries that were still exciting me!
We were additionally blessed when we happened to be introduced to a fellow working in the churchyard. We became fast friends and soon he had shared a map from an old book he had found in the archives in Camelford, which showed all the land holds of the Phillipps family from 1753 and he let us in on a secret that he had obtained the handwritten burial book of the St. Julitta Sexton and was going to share that with us as well.
Our further research found us identifying the Phillipps family homestead of Melorne, which lies on the boarder of Camelford and the adjoining parish of St. Teath. This location is now an active archeological dig site under the auspices of North Cornwall Heritage group.
I can’t get there now, but it’s on my list and one day I’ll be there, trowel in hand, digging into the home of my family from the 1500s.
So remember to augment your online work by getting off your duff every so often to find the really good stuff!
Onward To Our Past®