Family History Research, Chesterton, Cambridge, England
I have a personal interest in the area of Chesterton, Cambridge as that is where my immediate ancestors came from and lived and I am currently researching their family history in the Chesterton area.
This page contains information that is useful if you are researching ancestors in the Chesterton, Cambridge area. Hopefully, just the resources you are after.
Chesterton was a small place just outside of Cambridge until the early 1900s, after that date a few families seem to have had a lot of children - resulting in repeat names appearing. As happens in a lot of family research this can be annoying if there are 10 people registered as being born with the one name you are after :)
Below are the best sites for researching people in Chesterton.
You should bear in mind that even though these resources are specifically for Chesterton, Cambridge - the resources will apply almost equally for other parishes and areas in and around Cambridge and Cambridgeshire as the sites mentioned are highly likely to contain the same type/format of records because they will have been compiled similarly and for a similar audience.
Get to Know the Area
You really need to visualise the area you are searching in order to maximise the enjoyment and understanding.
- There are often some great postcards for sale on ebay for any area of any country - why not buy a couple and prop them up by your PC as you research.
- Get a couple of local guide books and flick through them.
- Get yourself a copy of an old map that covers the period of time that you are researching, so you can understand the geography of the area. Make sure you know the local towns and villages close by as they'll have been working in those, or visiting them - and might even be marrying there or moving around locally.
By doing all of the above you will be immersing yourself in the subject and you'll start to "live the life" of your missing relatives and feel more connected to them.
Contiguous Parishes to Chesterton, Cambridge
If you are doing searches, then you might want to extend the search to the next parish. Contiguous parishes are adjoining the parish you are interested in.
The contiguous parishes for Chesterton are:
- Fen Ditton
- Cambridge St Andrew Less
- Cambridge St Clement
- Cambridge St Giles
There is a really good map to find parishes on the FamilySearch website. You type in the parish name and a list appears (hopefully a list of one). When you click on that link, the map zooms to the area and gives you an overview of the number/dates of records the family search site has got for that parish - but if you close that box then behind it is a zoomable map of the parish and it's surrounding areas. This can also be handy to see if you're crossing borders into adjoining counties. Maps: http://maps.familysearch.org/
Chesterton Births, Marriages and Deaths
Records in Cheterton are kept by parishes. A parish has a church. There are three parishes within Chesterton, although St Luke is right on the boundary of Cambridge, so mostly the real Chesterton people were using St Andrew and St George churches.
- St Andrew
- St George
- St Luke
You will see these referred to in census data too.
For electorial rolls, the area is divided into two sections:
- East Chesterton
- West Chesterton
When researching records for Chesterton, Cambridge, you'll quickly discover a bunch of research annoyances:
- There is a well-known author whose surname is Chesterton (I won't name him here else this page will also contain this annoyance)
- There are other places called Chesterton in England.
- There are places called Chesterton in other countries, typically America.
This means that high dependency on search engines will have you ploughing through pages of irrelevant potential sources.
It is mostly because of these annoyances that this page on Chesterton, Cambridge was created.
Chesterton Birth Records
- Camdex - Search
Camdex, Births, Marriages and Deaths Indices for Cambridgeshire,
Chesterton Birth Records: 1837-Now
I find the quickest and easiest way to do a search is by using the County Council CAMDEX system.
You simply choose births in the first box, a minimum of the first three characters of a surname.a year, and +/- up to 10 years. Of course you can be very specific, but sometimes you've just got partial information. Note: I do sometimes find that if I don't put a great deal of information in, it can produce an error message, but simply trying again gets the results.
The information you get is: The record reference number, the surname and first names of the birth, the year of birth.
You can choose just Cambridge, or ALL from the selection - and there is a Soundex (sounds like/similar to) fuzzy logic search feature too.
Records cover all years from present back to 1837.
With this one, to narrow it down to Chesterton, Cambridge, results, choose England, Cambridgeshire. There's no way of filtering down further by area - but there is an additional option of inserting the mother's maiden name. Note: I find that when I do this it doesn't give me "people with a surname of X whose mother's maiden name is Y", but gives me the bigger list of "people with a surname of X -as well as- people whose mother's maiden name is Y". This can give a false result if you expect the results to be only those with name=X whose mother's name was Y - this can even give you the idea that your own mother had more children than you knew about :)
The information you get is: Surname and first names, year, district, county.
This site contains some really useful and extended information. Compiled by the Church of the Latter Day Saints as part of their beliefs, all members of the church have an obligation to transcribe and compile some genealogical information and their intention is to make all information available online, for free, worldwide. They're a long way off that, but the records can give great results.
In particular, I find that searching for the Chesterton census data in the 1800s easily showed me the household information, so I instantly found my Great-Grandfather's mother/father and siblings - and from that could instantly discover when my G-G-GF wedding and wife's maiden name.
Well worth a look.
Hugh Wallis IGI Indexes
- Hugh Wallis's IGI Indexes for FamilySearch
Handily created batch number links for specific data sets in Chesterton.
FamilySearch - and Hugh Wallis' Batch Numbers
I also discovered that a chap called Hugh Wallis had been discovering specific batch numbers for records uploaded. This means that for a couple of parish registers in Chesterton you can go straight into the familysearch website using the batch numbers.
Using these links you can end up at:
- Batch C130632 - the IGI Batch Number for baptisms and births between 1564-1876
- Batch M130631 - the IGI Batch Number for marriages 1559-1840
See Hugh's page at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hughwallis/IGIBatchNumbers/CountyCambridge.htm#PageTitle search for Chesterton and click on the batch links.
Middle Name Index
He has also created a curious "middle name index" which you can find for the County of Cambridgeshire here: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hughwallis/CambridgeMiddleNamesIGI.htm#PageTitle
Using this, you select the county (already done in the url above), then choose the starting letter of a middle name and it lists the main name of the person.
This has limited use, but I'm sure when you do only have middle initials it might be just what you want.
The Free Projects
- FreeCEN: UK Free Census Online Project
FreeCEN:19th Century U.K. Census Transcription Project;
- FreeREG: Search UK Parish Register Indices
The FreeREG Project's objective is to provide free Internet searches of baptism, marriage, and burial records, which have been transcribed from English parish registers.
- FreeBMD: Search Births, Marriages, Burials
Search Births, Marriages, Burials transcribed from parish registers in England and Wales
Chesterton Online Parish Register and FreeBMD, FreeREG, FreeCEN
There was never a Chesterton OPC started in the first place. OPC has now been superceded by entirely different collaborative projects all with similar names of FreeBMD (births, marriages, deaths), FreeREG (parish records), FreeCEN (census) information.
While these projects look good for the future, at the moment they are a low yielder of results.
- FreeBMD: Transcribing the Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales.
- FreeREG: Free Internet searches of baptism, marriage, and burial records, that have been transcribed from parish and non-conformist registers of the U.K
- FreeCEN: Making high quality primary (or near-primary) records of relevance to UK genealogy conveniently and freely available online, in a coherent, easy to access and search, information retrieval system.
At the time of writing, these are in their infancy, so limited records available.
FreeCEN will contain the 1861 Census data and 1891 Census data for Fulbourn (which includes Chesterton), but it doesn't look like they have made a start yet on either of them. http://www.freecen.org.uk/coverage-CAM.html#1861
FreeBMD alleges to have Chesterton up to 1935, although doesn't mention the start date but probably 1837. Just choose Chesterton in the top right box. http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl - the search results give you the month of birth for all of them and the mother's maiden name since 1912. I did notice that the record for the person I tested it with wasn't listed, the results seemed to stop after 1922.
FreeREG. You can choose Chesterton, Cambridge in the "PLACE" box - but you also have to choose Cambridgeshire in the county box. It searches for baptisms, marriages and burials. There is a soundex option (sounds like/similar to) and you can search +/- 10 years of a date. The test burial I entered, for 1907/08 didn't give me a result even using soundex. I then tested it for a burial I know happened in 1961 and that wasn't listed either. Clearly this index is lacking at present.
When I dug deeper, it seemed that the FreeREG, at the time of writing, have only got the parish records for St Andrews online for the following types/years:
- Births: 1564-1876
- Marriages: 1564-1875
- Burials: 1568-1876
Chesterton Workhouse 1881 Census
- 1881 Census: Residents of Chesterton Union Workhouse
A full list of all 146 inmates at Chesterton Workhouse when the 1881 Census was taken.
Chesterton had a workhouse. When the 1881 Census was taken there were 146 'inmates'. There's a freely available list so you can check if your disappearing ancestor had fallen on bad times and ended up at the workhouse!
Chesterton has its own page on the Workhouses website: http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Chesterton/
Good Links for Chesterton, Cambridge Research
- Free Family History and Genealogy Records
Compiled by the Church of the Latter Day Saints, there are some Chesterton people in here. For Country Type/Choose England. Contains census data that shows others in the same household, which is handy,
- Historical Directories
To find items with Chesterton, choose Find by Keywords and type Chesterton, Cambridge in to search. A good range of Kellys Directories and Post Office Directories - you can view all the pages for free on this site.
- GENUKI: Chesterton, Cambridgeshire
Genealogical and general information about the parish of Chesterton, Cambridgeshire, England.
Resources of Limited Use
There is a website showing a complete list of all surnames in Chesterton, Cambridge from the 1881 Census. Although interesting as you can see how many people of a particular name were on the Census in that area that year, the site has no further use for Chesterton researchers as the site is more about the popularity of names of people than any serious research.
I've added it here anyway as it can be useful to know the range of names and how many people had that name in Chesterton in that Census.
Overall, using these sites above, I've managed to quickly track down a lot of free information. Obviously free information is limited to assumptions and guesses - and for any real research you'd need to get your hands on proof and certificates. But there's certainly enough information available to be able to feel confident at going back 200 years so long as your people didn't move about a lot.
Using a mixture and mix of the sites - and checking all of these sites for each item you're trying to tie down, can give you a really detailed and broad set of facts.
I wish you well in your family tree research - and I'll be adding any more good links I find that are specifically for Chesterton to this list in the future. It's a never-ending project once you start researching your family history!