Were your British ancestors born in the English county of Derbyshire? The records may reveal your relative’s name, baptism date, and details of their parents, which will allow you to delve further back into your family tree. This collection is published in partnership with Derbyshire Family History Society and the Family History Federation.
Each record contains the transcription of an original parish record. The information contained varies but you could be able to find out the following about your ancestor:
A small number of records will also include an image. These records were provided by the College of Arms, the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and much of the Commonwealth including Australia and New Zealand.
Derbyshire is a county in the East Midlands of England. The county borders on Greater Manchester to the northwest, West Yorkshire to the north, South Yorkshire to the northeast, Nottinghamshire to the east, Leicestershire to the southeast, Staffordshire to the west and southwest and Cheshire to the west. A large part of the Peak District National Park lies within the county and the southern extremity of the Pennine range of hills extends into the north of the county.
The area has been inhabited since the Stone Age. Deposits of lead ore in the county’s limestone hills attracted the Romans. During the Industrial Revolution, fast-flowing rivers allowed for a proliferation of water-powered mills, such as those designed by Richard Arkwright.
Children born outside marriage
In England, the 1235 Statute of Merton states that “He is a bastard that is born before the marriage of his parents.” The use of the word “bastard” continued through the 16th century, with the Poor Law of 1576 forming the basis of English bastardy law. It aimed to punish the child’s unmarried mother and putative father and to relieve the parish from the cost of supporting the mother and child. Early records also refer to the child of unmarried parents as “spurious.” The language changed in the 20th century, with the introduction of the Legitimacy Act 1926, which legitimized the birth of a child in England and Wales if the parents later married each other. The act refers to the child of unmarried parents as “the illegitimate person.”
In the ‘Relationship’ field in these records, there are a number of references to “illegitimate,” “bastarde,” and “spurious” children. You can almost hear the hellfire and brimstone in the phrase: “Ye spurious son of . . “ There is a mysterious case in 1807 of the “twin sons illigte [illegitimate] of” Elizabeth Bullock, but three sons were baptised on 27 September: Robert, William, and Joseph. Each of the sons were referred to as twin sons; perhaps the word twin was mistakenly used instead of triplet.
In the records - Jedediah Buxton
Jedediah Buxton, born in 1707, was a famed mental calculator who measured the entire lordship of Elmton (about 1,000 acres) simply by walking over it. Buxton calculated the area in acres, roods, perches, square inches, and even square hairs’ breadths. He also calculated the product of a farthing doubled 139 times. In 1754, Buxton’s mental acuity was tested by the Royal Society in London, and he was given a handsome gratuity. During this visit, he was taken to see Shakespeare’s Richard III at Drury Lane Theatre, but his focus was entirely on counting the words spoken by David Garrick, who played the titular role. A plaque was erected in Buxton’s honour in Elmton in 2011. Elmton is a village in the Bolsover district of Derbyshire. Bolsover is a local government district. Derbyshire is a county in the East Midlands of England.