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Frequently Asked Questions
about Norfolk genealogical research
from the Norfolk-L Genealogy Mailing List

The Norfolk-L Genealogy Mailing List is an e-mail list for anyone with genealogical interests in the county of Norfolk in England. Questions on the Mailing List are often repeatedly asked regarding specific topics related to Norfolk genealogical research. This FAQ is an attempt to capture and answer those questions.

Index

Norfolk Census Questions

What are the Family History Library catalog numbers for the 1881 Census Index for Norfolk?

What are the Family History Library catalog numbers for the 1851 Census Index for Norfolk?

Is there an index to the 1891 census for the City of Norwich?

How can I find the census microfilm which contains a specific street in a Norfolk city if all I have is the street name?

Miscellaneous Norfolk Questions

What are the names of the parishes within the City of Norwich?

Why can't I find civil registration records for my Norfolk ancestors who lived west of Kings Lynn in Norfolk?

Why am I unable to locate my Norfolk ancestors on the International Genealogical Index (IGI)?

What are the Women's Institute Churchyard Surveys?

Where can I search for past topics discussed on the Norfolk-L Genealogy Mailing List?

General UK Research Questions

Where can I find genealogical mailing lists for the other counties in the United Kingdom?

What do all the acronyms and jargon used in UK and Norfolk research mean?

What might I find using manorial court records?

Overseas Research Related Questions

What is the best way to send payments to the United Kingdom from abroad?

What is the proper format for addressing a "snail mail" letter to a foreign country?


The FAQs

What are the Family History Library catalog numbers for the 1881 Census Index for Norfolk?

The 1881 Census Index is one of the most useful tools for Norfolk genealogists. As a joint project of the Federation of Family History Societies and the Genealogical Society of Utah, this project produced computer output microfiche indexes for the 1881 Census returns from all the counties of England & Wales, including Norfolk.

Note that the 1881 Census is now available for purchase on CD-ROM from the LDS' FamilySearch web site.

This microfiche is available from local LDS Family History Centers for permanent loan at very low cost. The Family History Library catalog numbers which are required to order these microfiche through the Family History Centers from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City are:

Surname index (on 20 pieces of microfiche)6086369
Birthplace index (on 20 pieces of microfiche)6086370
Census place index (on 20 pieces of microfiche)6086371
Census as enumerated (on 20 pieces of microfiche)6086372
Miscellaneous notes (on 1 piece of microfiche)6086373
Vessels/ships in port (on 1 piece of microfiche)6086374
List of institutions (on 1 piece of microfiche)6086375

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What are the Family History Library catalog numbers for the 1851 Census Index for Norfolk?

Norfolk researchers are extremely fortunate in the fact that Norfolk was one of three counties (Devon & Warwickshire being the others) used to produce an 1851 Census Index. This project was a pilot program for the 1881 Census Index Project and its output is similar in format to that described above.

This microfiche is available from local LDS Family History Centers for permanent loan at very low cost. The Family History Library catalog numbers which are required to order these microfiche through the Family History Centers from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City are:

Surname index (on 20 pieces of microfiche)6115160
Birthplace index (on 20 pieces of microfiche)6115161
Census place index (on 20 pieces of microfiche)6115162
Census as enumerated (on 20 pieces of microfiche)6115163
Miscellaneous notes (on 1 piece of microfiche)6115164
List of institutions (on 1 piece of microfiche)6115165

The 1851 Census Index is also available for private purchase on CD-ROM. See The 1851 British Census Index on CD-ROM - Its availability & usage web page hosted by the Internet Branch of the Norfolk Family History Society. It can be ordered directly from the LDS' FamilySearch web site.

Note: As of October, 1997, the above numbers have not yet been updated in the Family History Library catalog distributed to the Family History Centers. Although not yet in the catalog, these are the correct numbers from Salt Lake City.

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Is there an index to the 1891 census for the City of Norwich?

There is an effort to index the 1891 census for Norwich being undertaken by Trevor Read. Trevor may be contacted and the following indexes ordered at:

Trevor Read
1 Chester Close
Greenham, Newbury
Berkshire RG14 7RR
UK

In the 1891 Census, Norwich was covered by fifteen Piece Numbers: RG12/1518 to RG12/1532. The following indexes are currently available:

RG12/1523St George Tombland, St Peter per Mountergate,
St John Timberhill, All Saints, St Michael at Thorne (part)
RG12/1524St Julian, St Etheldred, St Peter Southgate,
St John Sepulchre, Trowse-Millgate, Carrow and Bracondale
RG12/1525Lakenham
RG12/1526Eaton St Andrew, Town Close, St Giles
RG12/1527St Stephen, St Peter Mancroft
RG12/1531Heigham
RG12/1532Heigham, Earlham

Please note that Heigham is covered by RG12/1528 to RG12/1532 and thus Heigham has not yet been completely indexed.

Each Piece covers about 6000 people and is indexed separately, listing surnames and forenames (in alphabetical order), age, folio and page number. The introduction gives general notes and a transcription of the enumerator district descriptions. Each index is available in A4 printed format or on IBM PC MS-DOS comptaible computer disk (3.5" only). The data files are in ASCII text format with no page breaks. Included on the disk is a simple program which allows the user to display the data on the screen, although the data is importable into most word processors. Instructions for use with Windows 95, Windows 3 and DOS are included. Each index (Piece Number) is priced at 3.50 for the printed version and 3.00 for the disk version (please state whether DD (720K) or HD (1440K) disk required). Prices include UK postage and packing.

As an experiment, RG12/1531 is also available on microfiche at 2.00 (including UK postage and packing). Should this format prove popular, future indexes will be made available on fiche and previous indexes will be transferred over a period of time.

Work is currently progressing on RG12/1530 Heigham, which should be available at the end of 1997.

Thanks to Paul Durrant for obtaining this information from Trevor Read!

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How can I find the census microfilm which contains a specific street in a Norfolk city if all I have is the street name?

The Public Record Office created (and the Family History Library has filmed) a series of Census Street Index for the 1841 through 1881 censuses. These street indexes are a finding aid which allow the researcher to locate the exact Family History Library film number on which a particular street name will appear on a specific census.

To use the Census Street Indexes, find the city in which you're interested for that census year. Please note that coverage varies widely on which Norfolk cities were indexed. Once you've found your city name on the index, find your street name of interest. The streets are listed alphabetically. Then find the PRO reference number associated with that particular street. Return to the beginning of the alphabetical street listing for that city to find the key. This key correlates the PRO reference number given for that street with the Family History Library microfilm number on which it appears. Be aware that some streets might wind through more than one FHL microfilm.

The Family History Library microfilm numbers below are for the Census Street Indexes for various Norfolk cities:

1841 CensusNo Norfolk cities are indexed
1851 CensusNorwich6054475, page 1
1851 CensusKings Lynn6054475, page 1
1851 CensusGreat Yarmouth6054475, page 5
1861 CensusNorwich6026702, parts 4-5
1861 CensusKings LynnNot indexed
1861 CensusGreat YarmouthNot indexed
1871 CensusNorwich6054453, part 1
1871 CensusKings LynnNot indexed
1871 CensusGreat Yarmouth6054453, parts 1-2
1881 CensusNorwich6026715, parts 11-12
1881 CensusKings LynnNot indexed
1881 CensusGreat YarmouthNot indexed

For specific infomation on the 1881 Census Street Index, see also Finding an address in the transcription of the 1881 census of England and Wales.

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What are the names of the parishes within the City of Norwich?

Within the ancient boundaries of the City of Norwich, there are 37 parishes. A list of their names may be found at Norfolk: Norwich: Church of England from the Norfolk GENUKI web pages. Knowing the parish in which your ancestors lived facilitates accessing parish records to find your ancestors' baptisms, banns, marriages, and burials.

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Why can't I find civil registration records for my Norfolk ancestors who lived west of Kings Lynn in Norfolk?

Because the civil registration district for that area is Wisbech in Cambridgeshire. Don't forget, when looking for civil registration records (birth, marriage, & death) or for parish records (baptism, banns, marriage, & burial) that Norfolk is bordered by three other counties. These are Suffolk to the south, Cambridgeshire to the west, and a small sliver of Lincolnshire to the northwest. If your Norfolk ancestors lived near the county borders, be sure to search the neighboring areas across the county line.

Thanks to Rod Neep for this tip!

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Why am I unable to locate my Norfolk ancestors on the International Genealogical Index (IGI)?

The IGI is a valuable finding aid for genealogists. Millions of individuals have had their baptisms & marriages extracted from parish records and transcribed to the IGI's microfiche and CD-ROM formats. Unfortunately, the IGI is not a complete extraction of all available records.

Norfolk has over 750 individual parishes. Of these parishes, only about 145 have had some or all of their parish records entered in the IGI. So you have less than a 1 in 5 chance of finding your Norfolk ancestor extracted into the IGI. Note that the City of Norwich's parishes are well represented in the IGI with 31 of 37 parishes extracted.

Remember, the IGI is a finding aid - not an original source of information. Approach the IGI as a tool to access the original records themselves. For more information on the IGI, see Dr. Ashton Emery's A-Z of British Genealogical Research.

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What are the Women's Institute Churchyard Surveys?

The Women's Institute (WI) is a women's benevolent society which is also involved in preservation work. Among other good works, they have conducted churchyard surveys in the United Kingdom. These surveys include recording the surviving tombstone inscriptions (commonly called monumental inscriptions or MIs) of the churchyards surveyed.

The Norfolk Federation of Women's Institutes began a project of recording Norfolk churchyard inscriptions in 1980. Copies of these surveys are available at the Norfolk Record Office. About one third of all Norfolk parishes have been surveyed by the WI.

The Norfolk Federation of Women's Institutes' "Catalog of transcriptions of monumental inscriptions in Norfolk" is available from local LDS Family History Centers. The Family History Library catalog number is 1471496, Item 12.

Thanks to Pauline Dodd & Anne Ringer for this information!

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Where can I search for past topics discussed on the Norfolk-L Genealogy Mailing List?

Subscribers often ask how they can relocate past messages which have appeared on the Norfolk-L Genealogy Mailing List.

There are two methods for reviewing past messages on this mailing list. Both of which are excellent research tools for finding information on past discussions of particular surnames, places, and events if you were not subscribed at the time the discussions occurred.

  1. The basic searchable archives for the Norfolk-L Genealogy Mailing List have been automatically archived since 1997. You can search these archives (or any other RootsWeb mailing list which as been archived) by the keywords which your are interested in. Point your web browser at:

    RootsWeb Mailing List Search: Norfolk

    You will then see a new page on which you can enter your specific query in the Query box provided. Your query should be a simple one or two word search. Radio buttons will allow you to select the year in which you wish to search. Then press the Search button and you will receive a new page with up to 50 results which match your query. Select the Full link below each result returned to view the entire message.

  2. The Threaded Archives for the Norfolk-L Genealogy Mailing List have been archived since April of 1999. Threaded means that they are loosely organized by discussion topic. This is done by an automated system which looks for similar subject lines in messages and groups them together.

    To access the Threaded Archives for the first time, point your web browser at:

    The RootsWeb Threaded Archives

    and follow the "Everyone should go here first" link. RootsWeb has instituted a user name and password scheme in order to keep spammers from harvesting e-mail addresses from the threaded archives. This is purely for the protection of your own privacy. Pick a good user name and password (do not use any that you may currently be using with your ISP or others). Each time you visit, you will be asked for this user ID / password combination so make it something memorable.

    For the Norfolk Threaded Archives, point your web browser at:

    NORFOLK-L Mailing List Archives

    Select the month you wish to view and browse away. From each of these pages, you can search the entire Threaded Archives of the RootsWeb mailing lists or all the Threaded Archives of Norfolk-L using the search boxes at the top of each page.

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Where can I find genealogical mailing lists for the other counties in the United Kingdom?

The most complete and up-to-date descriptions of genealogy mailing lists for UK counties, regions, and interests - complete with subscription instructions - can be found at John Fuller's Genealogy Resources on the Internet - UK Mailing Lists.

Genealogy mailing lists for UK and Ireland counties may also be found on a county-by-county basis at GENUKI's Genealogy Mailing Lists page.

Other genealogy mailing lists covering part or all of Norfolk are:

the Docking genealogy mailing list;
the ENG-EAST-ANGLIA genealogical mailing list;
the ENG-WISBECH-AREA-L genealogical mailing list;

The genealogy mailing lists for Norfolk's neighboring counties are:

the Suffolk genealogy mailing list;
the English-Fens (Cambridgeshire) genealogy mailing list;
the ENG-LINCSGEN (Lincolnshire) mailing list.

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What do all the acronyms and jargon used in UK and Norfolk research mean?

Like any other specialty hobby, genealogy has a list of acronyms, shorthand phrases, jargon, and slang which can be confusing to the "uninitiated". Here are links to some resources which can help clear up any confusion.

UK Genealogy - Common Acronyms & Jargon

Norfolk Genealogy - Common Acronyms & Jargon

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What might I find using manorial court records?

The manor was the primary unit of estate administration from 1066 up to the 1700s. An important part of manorial administration was the manor court. This was a periodic meeting of the tenants conducted by the lord of the manor or his steward. These courts considered both judicial and administrative matters. The customs of the courts varied from manor to manor and obviously the records made also varied. Below are one researcher's notes on the usefulness of the manorial court records for Kenninghall in Norfolk.

Thanks to John Foyster for this information!

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What is the best way to send payments to the United Kingdom from abroad?

Genealogists outside the United Kingdom often find a need to send pounds sterling to organizations in the UK for society memberships, subscriptions, books, birth registration certificates, etc.

Some organizations will accept credit card payments using VISA or Mastercard. These types of payments often have the advantage of the most favorable rate of exchange.

For situations where this is not the case, several American genealogists have recommended using Ruesch International Monetary Services, Inc., as providing the cheapest and most convenient way of sending small payments abroad. They have offices in Washington, D.C. New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. In the US, call 1-800-424-2923 and tell them what currency and how much of it you want and they will inform you of the cost. The conversion fee is US$15.00. You then mail them a check for the dollar amount and they will send you their check in whatever currency you have requested in return. This information was obtained from the Researching From Abroad GENUKI web page.

Travelers to the United Kingdom may wish to open a low cost checking account with a UK bank during their visit. Upon their return home, such an account allows the holder to send checks denominated in pounds sterling when required. The account can then be replenished by mail.

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What is the proper format for addressing a "snail mail" letter to a foreign country?

Even in the age of the Internet, genealogists write lots of plain old-fashion postal letters. Sometimes, the proper format of an address to a foreign country can be difficult to determine. Below are some links to the official mail carriers of several countries which provide their instructions for proper letter addressing.

For addressing mail to the United Kingdom, see the Royal Mail's Addressing.

For addressing mail to Australia, see Australia Post's Correct Addressing.

For addressing mail to the United States, see the U.S. Postal Service's Addressing Mail.

If your letter overseas requires a response, be courteous to your correspondent and include International Reply Coupons to defray their expense of a reply. See the British Embassy's Reply Postage for additional information.

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Last updated June 5, 2002