Monday, April 25, 2011

Family History Missionaries and British History


Dear Family and Friends,

Effective family history research in Great Britain requires an understanding of the historical events taking place that affected the people living during that time period. Just a few examples:

1531 Henry VIII was recognized as head of the newly created Church of England. All ties with the Pope and the church in Rome were severed.

1538 Thomas Cromwell ordered all parish ministers to keep records of christenings, marriages, and burials. These records became known as parish registers. In our family history Centre we have over 60,000 microfilms of these records. During the course of a day we are constantly running out to the garage where these films are kept and then returning them after the patrons  finish. We have the capability to make scans and print these records. Most of our patrons come to search the films. We have parish records for Jamaica and India as well as the British Isles. Many of our patrons are from Jamaica.

1568 Some Puritans ordained their own ministers and tried to separate from the Church of England. All churches that were not Church of England were called nonconformists. The nonconformist records were kept differently from the Church of England records.We need to search in different data bases to find them.

1642-1660 Civil War took place in England. Charles I was executed in 1649 and Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England. Civil war caused political and religious upheaval. Parish registers were poorly kept. Many other changes affected record keeping.

1812 The George Rose Act required Church of England christening, marriage, and burial records to be kept in separate registers on preprinted forms, starting 1 January 1813. I always love it when we are scanning parish records after 1813. The preprinted forms are so much easier to read. Some of the older records are in Latin.

1837 Civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths began on 1 July. However, events could still be recorded in parish registers.

So you see that it becomes necessary to become somewhat of a historian to serve on this family history mission! We are giving our first ‘talk’ which is a power point presentation on Tuesday. It’s titled Searching English Records in FamilySearch and we have spent an enormous amount of time preparing it.



On Good Friday the Centre was closed. That morning we, along with The Crandalls and Robertsons, took the train to Dover. Dover is a town and major ferry port in the county of Kent. It faces France along the narrowest part of the English Channel. We were able to take a short boat tour along the coast and then a bus tour that took us to the top of the white cliffs.


Dover is filled with history. People inhabited it since the stone age and it was actually was actually a Roman fortified port. Forts were built above the port; lighthouses were constructed to guide ships. We were able to see one of the light houses that remains and also a Roman villa that was discover just a few years ago. Dover Castle is medieval and is the largest castle in England. 




Dover has  served as a defense against various attackers: the French during the Napoleonic Wars; and against Germany during World War II. There is a system of military tunnels cut into the white chalk cliffs that go back to the Napoleonic War and World War II. Dover is also famous for Operation Dynamo. The little ships of Dunkirk, 700 private boats sailed from England to Dunkirk in France between May 26 and June 4, 1940 as part of Operation Dynamo, the rescue of more than 338,000 British and French soldiers, who were trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk during the Second World War.  Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay, from his headquarters in the tunnels beneath Dover Castle, directed the evacuation. A picture of his statue is below.



A room in Dover Castle                  Ken beside the Roman lighthouse


Another room in the castle       9th century Saxon church


It was strange not spending Easter Sunday with our family. We rode the bus and underground to the North London Ward. I taught a lesson on the crucifixion and resurrection to the children. The are so sweet and have such a good understanding of the things we talked about. We have English, African, Chinese and American children in our Primary. They are teaching me so much.


It was a beautiful Easter morning. We were so excited to talk with most of our family either on Saturday or Sunday and to wish them a happy Easter. It made us happy that the big Fugal Easter Egg Hunt went on as usual in our back yard. We were even able to see a video of it. We miss you sweet grandchildren!


Abby, Avery, Emily, April and Elizabeth


Baby Riley

And everyone else: Kayleigh, Josh, Nick, Drew, Bryan, Matthew, Joseph, Spencer, Ryan and Carter.

And a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our oldest grandson Josh, who will be 14 on Saturday. We are so proud of you Josh. You are such a good example to your brothers, sister and cousins.


Our best to all of you!
Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom  and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)


  1. Wonderful post. I love the history that you talked about. We are enjoying the grandkids next door for you.

  2. Hi, I just found your blog and I am so excited. My own parents are serving a mission in Moscow, Russia. They are the executive secretaries to the area authority there. Anyway, we are going on a trip there to visit them, and from there we will go to London, Wales, and then for the duration to Ireland to do family history. I have tons of questions about doing research in Ireland. Is this something you can help me with? I just would hate to travel all the way from Utah to Ireland to do research and not make the best of my time there, so I'm trying to get as much information as possible. Please let me know if you can help. Thank you so much! Katie

    allenfamily2 (at) hotmail (dot) com