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Heritage Books Archives: English Parish Records, Volume 1 Published by Heritage Books, 1540-E Pointer Ridge Pl., Bowie MD 20716. 2000. $31

This CD-ROM contains electronic image reprints in .pdf format of the following six publications:

The Parish Registers of St. Antholin, Budge Row, London, containing the Marriages, Baptisms, and Burials from 1538 to 1754; and of St. John Baptist on Wallbrook, London, containing the Baptisms and Burials from 1682 to 1754 - Joseph Lemuel Chester, D.C.L., LL.D. & Geo. J. Armytage, F.S.A. (1883). A transcription of the records chronologically arranged with an index to people and places.

Index to the First Volume of the Parish Registers of Gainford in the County of Durham (England): Part I, Baptisms 1560-1784; Part II, Marriages 1569-1761; Part III, Burials 1569-1784 - Elliot Stock (1889-90). Transcriptions of the records alphabetically arranged.

Little Saxham Parish Registers: Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, with Appendices, Biographies, etc., 1559-1850 - S.H.A.H. (1901). Contains the vital statistics, inscriptions from within the church and churchyard; tax lists 1327-1670, and genealogies of the Lucas & Croft(s) families.

West Stow Parish Registers, 1558-1850 and Wordwell Parish Registers, 1580-1850 with Sundry Notes - S.H.A.H (1903). Covers baptisms, marriages, and burials, supplemented by inscriptions from memorial plaques and gravestones. Among the "sundry" items are studies of prominent families, parish histories, etc.

The Publications of the Thoresby Society, Vol. 1, Leeds Parish Church Registers, First and Second Books (1571-1612) - The Thoresby Society (1891). The baptisms, marriages, and burials recorded in the first two books transcribed in chronological order and indexed.

T. Bulmer & Co.'s History, Topography, and Directory of Lancaster & District - J. Bulmer (c1912). A brief history of Lancaster, with descriptions of each parish and township within sixteen miles. Gives the names, occupations, and addresses of all residents; also identifies tradesmen, businesses, and local officials.

This is an eclectic mixture of books with one for each of the counties of London, Durham Yorkshire and Lancashire and two volumes for Suffolk. The titles hint at the contents and typically provide transcriptions of the christening, marriage and burial registers. However, they may contain a lot more. For example, the West Stow book includes in the miscellaneous records section transcriptions of the Lay Subsidies, Hearth Taxes, wills, Inquisitio Post Mortem, lists of lost tombstones, and family histories of the Lucas, Croft, Proger, Fowke, and Edwards families, plus much more information about the parish. The value of this book is increased with the addition of the book of parish records for Little Saxham which is only 4 miles away.

The .pdf file format enables the files to be read by Adobe Acrobat on both IBM compatibles and MAC computers. The CD comes with Adobe Acrobat 3.01. I had version 4.0 already on my computer and had no problems reading the files. The pages of the books are read sequentially like the original book, but bookmarks enable you to skip from one volume or section to another. Searches are made using the original tables of contents and indexes. No modern electronic indexes are provided.

This CD is valuable because it makes these old and rare publications easily accessible to the modern researcher. However, gathering a collection of publications from the same region or county of England would make subsequent volumes of even greater value to the modern researcher.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.5, 2000