While I have been using the Cornwall Record Office and the National Archives of the United Kingdom in my genealogy work for many years now, I have just realized that there are other, equally wonderful regional archives within the UK that can be a huge help!
One of these is are the three offices in Devon, such as the Plymouth and West Devon County Record Office. From my experiences so far, I can say that at least the West Devon office is smashing!
There are three office for the County of Devon archives. There is Plymouth and West Devon, there is the Devon office in Exeter, and the North Devon Office in Barnstaple. Each of these have a search engine on their website and each of them are wonderful!
The county is doing a great job, at least so it seems to me, in preserving their local history.
As a matter of fact, it is the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office archive is the only place that I have discovered the journals of Caroline Treby, who married my ancestor, Thomas John Phillipps. Now this wonder woman kept a daily journal from her 18th year until her death at 41. How I would love to spend a week there reading all that! But one especially caught my eye. A volume all its’ own entitled ‘The mispent (sic) time of Thomas John Phillipps”. That really has my interest bubbling! I wonder what could be found there? I don’t know yet, but an trying to figure out how to!
If you click on the link above for Thomas John Phillipps you can see how much additional information there is in the abstract of this single record.
While I was looking at the North Devon office site I even came across some wonderful gravestone photographs that they hold. The one below is a sample of one from my Cottle line in Launceston.
Another wonderful feature is the work being done by the Friends of the Devon Archive, a charitable group. They have begun an earnest effort to save documents of historic and genealogical importance. I love their card idea, which you can see below:
This is how they explain their program:
Devon Document Donor Card
“The DEVON DOCUMENT DONOR CARD is the first initiative of its kind in Britain aimed at stopping the loss of our historic written heritage. The intention is to end the needless destruction of valuable documents during house clearances when heirs and executors often do not have sufficient time to read through the great accumulation of papers. Important papers are often unknowingly destroyed and this card aims to pre-empt that process. Copies of the cards are available from the record offices and we hope to have the cards in local libraries shortly.”
So this is a terrific resource and a wonderful group of holdings that can greatly help if you are doing genealogy in the county of Devon in the United Kingdom.
I’ve used them and I have found the staff to be highly knowledgeable and helpful. A super combo!
Give their search functions a try sometime!
Onward To Our Past,