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Frequently Asked Questions
Just a few of the questions I've been asked over the years that I've done my best to provide an answer to
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Interested in old unusual words? See the Glossary of Derbyshire Parishes, 1811. It covers Advowson to Wapentakes, and includes Domesday.

If you have a query I haven't answered but you would like addressed, or a subject you think I should include something about, please email


  1. Is the date of baptism the same as the date of birth?

    Not usually. It depended when the vicar was available, how far the family lived from the nearest church, and even whether they wanted the child baptized at the time. The parents may have been Nonconformists. There were adult baptisms and batch baptisms where several children were baptized together. It is easy to mistake batch baptisms for the baptisms of twins or triplets. Batch baptisms were quite frequent in the nineteenth century. After the beginning of National Registration fewer children were baptized, though initially people thought they could get away with baptizing a child and not registering the birth.

    So you may be lucky pre July 1837 and find a date of birth written alongside the baptism in the parish register but the incumbent did not always do this as he was not required to. I've heard people say the average wait was six weeks before baptism, but people could have been baptized at any age, from a few minutes old until the day they died. A register sometimes records a baptism amongst the burials where, for example, a child was born and died the same day - though vicars also made mistakes and wrote the event in the wrong section.

  2. How do I find a baptism?

    Check the parish register or BTs. Matlock Bishop's Transcripts have been transcribed.
    Baptisms, Marriages and Burials are on this website

    For non Matlock marriages you can also check the parish registers or BTs, but you might like to use a finding aid to help you first of all. So why don't you:

    . Check the IGI to see if you can find the baptism of the person you are seeking. If so then you can order in the microfilm of the parish records and look at the full details. If his parents came from the same area then they may have married in the same church.

    b. If the IGI doesn't help you, check the British Vital Records - available on CD ROM.

    c. Not every parish record pre 1837 is in the IGI or the BVR - and for Derbyshire you are most likely looking at BTs - so your next step is to look in the various parish registers within the time frame. This is the last option as it could prove really time consuming.

    If you are lucky enough to find who you are looking for quickly having used either 'a' or 'b' above successfully then you may want to obtain a copy of the register from the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock. It may give you additional information such as the father's occupation and sometimes the date of birth.
    But not everyone is successful. Unfortunately, it is occasionally extremely difficult to get much further back in time with your research because of late baptisms, nonconformity, lack of wills or even baptisms taking place in people's homes and not recorded by the incumbent.

  3. In the registers the word 'spurious' is written against a child's baptism.

    The child was illegitimate. Quite often both parents are named in the register and they were married later.

  4. What is a half child?

    This also means illegitimate.
Also see Civil Registration below


  1. What was burial in woollen?

    Laws were passed in 1666 and 1678 to help the woollen industry. People had to be buried in a woollen shroud and the vicar signed an affidavit (this was of a sworn oath) which could be rather wordy. The Act was finally repealed in 1814.

  2. An ancestor was buried in the chancel. Where is this?

    He or she was buried inside the church. The chancel is the part of the church used by the choir and from where the clergy officiate.

  3. There's a burial on the very edge of the churchyard. Why?

    Was this person buried in an area reserved for Nonconformists? Had he/she committed a crime and been hung? Sometimes criminals were buried outside the churchyard. Perhaps the church has extended the boundaries?

  4. What about a headstone?

    If your ancestor's living relatives could afford to pay for one, there may have been a headstone or plaque to commemorate the deceased. This may no longer be readable. Paupers would not have had a memorial erected; some were buried in mass graves.

  5. How to I find the place where someone is buried, if there is no headstone?

    If you know the name of the cemetery of churchyard, records are likely to exist. To locate the exact spot or find out more you may have to pay a search fee. A cemetery - or the ones that have been opened in the more recent past - will have a grave book and a plan, so you can find the grave or burial plot number and perhaps additional information. Churchyard plans may be slightly different and may not be complete. Some churches recorded the burial plots on linen scrolls. If this information isn't at County Record Offices, it will be held by the church or churchwardens and they may need to be contacted but try the local Record Office before you contact the church.

  1. How often have censuses been held in England and Wales and when did they begin?

    A census has been held every ten years in since 1801, apart from during WW2; no census took place in 1941. The census returns from 1801 - 1831 were little more than head counts.

  2. Why bother to use the 1841 census? I understand it doesn't say much.

    It may not be as informative as later census returns but is well worth looking at. It was the first full record of everyone alive in the country.
    Notes on the 1841 Census of England and Wales has more information

  3. Can I obtain a copy of the original schedule to check what my ancestor actually wrote and whether he/she filled out the form?

    After the Census Enumerator had collected the completed forms from each household he copied the results into books that are now held by The National Archives. It is the Enumerator's handwriting that is in these books, not the householder's. The original householders' schedules were destroyed.

  4. How did the Enumerator manage to spell the name incorrectly?

    Enumerators only recorded what they were told, so it could be that he didn't hear properly if he had to write the information down himself or that couldn't read what the head of the household had written. But if you are looking at a transcript of a particular census, before you assume that the Enumerator was at fault can I suggest you make sure you have seen the enumerator's original version (on microfilm or microfiche, depending on the year). It could be that the enumerator was correct, but the transcriber had some difficulty reading the film.

  5. How do I find what is included in a census as I am not sure if a transcript I have has everything that was recorded?

    Have a look at:
    What's included in the census return transcripts on this website
    There's an example of the page header from the 1871 census at the bottom of the page.

  6. I've discovered someone with the occupation given as Accountant in the census.

    Are you sure you've read this correctly? It is quite likely to be an Annuitant.
    See Status below
Civil Registration

  1. When did Civil Registration begin in England and Wales?

    National registration began in July 1837; before then no birth, marriage or death certificates were issued.

  2. What about people born, marrying or dying in, say, the 1700's?

    For people born, married or dying before July 1837 you would need to check the baptism, burial or marriage in the church register. See Baptism and Burial above and Marriage & Marital Status below. The parish register sometimes contains the date of birth alongside the baptism, or date of death with the burial date.

  3. What Registration District is Matlock part of?

    Matlock is part of the Bakewell Registration District. However, when Civil Registration first began, and for a very few years afterwards, Matlock was actually the Registration District.

  4. What is information is given on a full English or Welsh Birth Certificate?

    An individual's full name, the date and place of birth (on early certificates the address information may be scanty), the child's sex, the name of the mother, the father's name and his occupation (unless the child was illegitimate in which case this box is left blank) and the person who informed the registrar of the birth. Also the Registration District and the signature of the Registrar. A birth certificate does not give the date or place of baptism.

  5. Why is the time of birth is shown on the Birth Certificate?

    It wasn't usual for the time of birth to be given. If a time is given it may indicate that the individual was a twin, in which case the GRO reference will be exactly the same for the sibling. You would need to check the GRO indexes in the same year and quarter to see if anyone else was born with the surname who was given an identical reference. To be completely certain you would then need to and obtain a certificate to check the child had the same parents.

  6. What is information is given on an English or Welsh Death Certificate?

    The full name of the deceased, when and where they died (on early certificates the address information may be scanty), their sex and age, the cause of death and whether the cause was certified, the signature and address of the informant with a description (i.e. in attendance or similar) when the death was registered. Also the Registration District and the signature of the Registrar. The informant was supposed to be a close relative unless the deceased person had died in somewhere like the workhouse. From 1975 onwards the date of birth is also included. A death certificate does not give the date or place of burial.

  7. What is information is given on an English or Welsh Marriage Certificate?

    As well as the name and surname of the man and woman, their ages, condition (e.g. bachelor or spinster), occupation, residence at the time of marriage, father's name and his occupation is given. It also gives the date and place of the marriage. The bride and groom would have signed the register (people who could not write put a mark against their name, usually a X). The signatures or names and marks of two or more witnesses are given, plus the name of the Minister.

  8. I've been unable to find a GRO reference for a birth or death that occurred after June 1837.

    If you can't find a birth certificate for the surname you are seeking it is be worth checking under the mother's maiden name just in case the child was born before his or her parents married. It is also possible that the birth may be recorded by the local Superintendent Registrar but is not in the National GRO indexes. You should also check for a 'late' entry in case the parents were slow to register the birth of their child - in some cases late registration meant that the information given may not have been accurate as the parents may have wanted to avoid being fined! But some births were never registered, especially in the early days of Civil Registration, and you may have to look for a baptism.

    After June 1837 a death certificate had to be produced before burial could take place and it is less likely that deaths weren't registered. But some passed through the net nevertheless. In my personal research I've seen one parish register where the incumbent saw very few death certificates before he allowed the burial - the register says so quite clearly. I was fortunate to obtain the date of death from the will of the deceased. It was also on his gravestone but a memorial inscription is less reliable as a source as it may have been commissioned some years after the death.

  9. If births and deaths are missing, what about marriages?

    Some spouse names are not in the GRO indexes. You may need to check locally. Fortunately, some Family History Societies are cooperating with Superintendent Registrars and are jointly checking through the local registers. Cheshire's scheme has been under way for some years and Lancashire followed suit. Both have searchable indexes available on the Internet. Derbyshire FHS is undertaking a similar project and the result of their work is available on the FFHS Pay-Per-View site.
    Links to Useful Genealogy Sources - look under each county for links.

  10. All the children of a couple have birth certificates showing the father and the mother, and the mother's maiden name appears on the certificates as well as against the baptisms in the parish registers. I've searched both the parish registers and the GRO indexes for a marriage, but haven't found one.

    Have you looked over a long enough period? Maybe one of the couple had been married before and it was a 'mistake'. It wasn't all that easy in the past to get out of a marriage where one or the other of the couple was unhappy and divorce was expensive. So if the first wife, whom one or other of the couple had separated from, was still alive they couldn't legally marry. They just had to wait if they couldn't afford to go through with a divorce. If the first spouse was fit and healthy the couple may have had to wait a long time indeed before he/she died.

  11. What about divorce?

    See the above question and answer. Before 1857 divorce had to be obtained through an Act of Parliament. Even after 1857 it wasn't easy to obtain a divorce. Divorce records exist at London Probate Department, London. They are not open to the public, but a search may be conducted upon payment of a fee.
Derbyshire Neck
What is Derbyshire Neck?

It is a medical condition, known as goitre, caused by an iodine deficiency. Whilst not as common today, it occurred in Derbyshire's limestone districts and there have been a number of cases of it in Matlock Bath over the last two centuries. A medic visiting to Matlock Bath in 1835, for example, noted that it was then endemic and a problem that mostly affected females. He encountered one lady who was suffering from what he described as a protuberance in the throat, or goitre, and the whole of the thyroid gland was enlarged. Five of her sisters suffered from the same problem. This is the most specific reference to its occurrence in the Matlocks but there have been a number of cases over time. Anyone suffering from this today should visit their doctor.

Post operative advice given to patients in the 1950s, something that is readily available in shops, was to use iodized salt to make up for the deficiency.

See Derbyshire Neck and Iodine Deficiency by Gerard Slavin, 2012

The subject was also discussed in 1811. See Derbyshire Parishes, 1811 - Derbyshire : Atmosphere and Climate
Fealty and obligations to the Lord of the Manor / King

What was fealty?

A feudal tenant's obligation of fidelity to his lord.
There may have been an extra service (such as hay making, plowing, reaping) required by a feudal lord of his tenants. This was boon (bon / bone) work, so you may come across ploughbon, sikel ~.
In return, the lord may have supplied bone-kake, boon loaf (i.e. bread) for boon work undertaken
Or money may have been exchanged in lieu of boon work, so ~ penny, ~ silver

With thanks to Beverley for an interesting discussion on this and for then checking the online MED
Framework Knitting

Was it a rough existence?

Frame work knitters were desperately poor in the nineteenth century; conditions were especially bad in the 1840's and many depended on parish relief. High taxation, bad harvests, over production, and a decrease in demand (the closure of the American market) all contributed. A framework knitter could work for 17 or 18 hours a day, often finishing at 11 o'clock at night. He'd probably have had very little to eat and would possibly have had starving children. It was piece work and the knitter was dependent on a master hosier. He (the knitter) often had to waste an enormous amount of time going into a nearby town to take the hose in, collect his wages and more yarn. At one time, apprentices in this industry had to go up to London at the end of their seven year apprenticeship - what an expense for someone living in the East Midlands. Despite a lengthy investigation in 1844, nothing was done to improve the lot of a FWK for another thirty years.
Gregorian Calendar (7ber, 8ber, 9ber, 10ber)

Found 7ber, 8ber, 9ber in parish registers?

These refer to months of the year, although not to the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th months of the year that we know today:
7ber = September;
8ber = October;
9ber = November;
10ber = December. Sometimes written a Xber.
Hurker Hall

Hurker Hall is mentioned in every census between 1851 and 1891 as being a landmark on the boundary between Darley and Matlock

See Darley Dale, Hurker Hall (Farley) in another part of this web site)

Infant Mortality

This was high, especially in large towns and cities during the nineteenth century. Check both baptisms and burial records to ensure the child you think might be your ancestor hasn't died either in infancy or as a child. Parish registers record burials of infants with their mothers, where both had died from complications in childbirth. There are also some records showing a baptism and burial at the same time. Stillborn children may only be buried, not baptised. Sometimes no name is recorded and the register merely states that there had been a burial of a /child / son / daughter / infant of Mr. X.

  1. What is an acre?

    An acre is standardized today to 43,560 square feet (160 square rods).

  2. And a 'bovate'?

    A 'bovate' was what one ox could plough in a year. The area of land (i.e. acre) was later limited by statute to a piece of land 40 poles long by 4 broad (=4840 sq. yds) or its equivalent. According to one dictionary we have (1946 Edition) the 'so-called Scotch acre contains about 6,150 square yards and the Irish acre 7,840. There are various special or local acres in England (as in Cheshire or among the hop-growers), varying from 440 to more than 10,000 square yards'.

  3. Plough and plough-land?

    A plough was as much as a yoke of oxen could plough in a day. Plough-land was the amount of land a team of eight oxen could plough in a year.

  4. What is a rood or rod?

    A quarter of an acre - or 0.25 of an acre.
Latin - a few words explained*

  actuarius -   a notary
adventus - Advent or arrival
agricola - husbandman or farmer
agricultor - husbandman
argentum - silver
armiger - esquire, squire (given after a name)

baptisma -

baptism, christening
bastardus - bastard, illegitimate


to constitute, appoint, establish, decide, agree on
contractitio -   marriage or marriage contract
cultor - farmer or farm labourer

filia -

filiola - small daughter
filiolus - small son
filius - son
filius or filia nulli - illegitimate, bastard (son or daughter of no-one)
filius or filia populi - illegitimate, bastard (son or daughter of the people)
firmarius - renter, farmer

generosa -

lady, gentlewoman
gnothus - illegitimate, bastard

imprimis -

in the first place, firstly. You'll often see this in a will

mater -

marigatum - marriage etc.
maritus - husband
meretrix - harlot, prostitute, whore
mensis - month
mortuus - dead

naturalis -

natural (used to describe a relationship, so a natural child is one related by blood and could either be legitimate or illegitimate)
notorius - a notary
nunc - now
nunquam - never

obiit -

(either he or she) died

pater -


sepultus -
sepultus fuit -

was buried

testor -

to witness

uxor -


*Highly recommended for amateur genealogists and local historians to have on their shelves is:
Morris, Janet (March 1995) "A Latin Glossary for Family and Local Historians" pub. Federation of Family History Societies (Publications) Ltd ISBN 0 907099 89 0.
[Although published over 25 years ago, this book is still available on line]

Marriage and Marital Status

  1. What was the Hardwicke Marriage Act, 1753?

    It was designed to prevent clandestine marriages. From then on marriages had to take place in the parish church and banns were to be published or a marriage licence obtained. A register of banns had then to be kept. Pre-Hardwicke the marriages were entered into registers on blank sheets of paper but post-Hardwicke printed forms were supposed to be used and status, groom's occupation, consent of parents if one of the couple was a minor, signatures (or marks) of the couple and witnesses were written down.

  2. Why have I found banns listed as being called and not found a marriage?

    Maybe one of the pair intending to marry got cold feet so they decided not to marry. Perhaps someone intervened as the marriage was unsuitable for any number of reasons, including the marriage of a minor.

  3. The word 'spurious' is written against a child's baptism but I know his parents married.

    The parents were married after the child was baptized. See baptism above.

  4. There is no father recorded against the bride/groom on the marriage certificate.

    It is likely that the person getting married was illegitimate.

  5. Although there was no father's name recorded the first time my ancestor married he/she seems to have had a father when he/she married his/her second wife.

    It is likely he/she was illegitimate. Claiming a father wasn't uncommon. It is hard to know why someone would put down a person they were not related to but maybe they were trying to impress the new spouse or their family. Maybe it was the actual father. Perhaps, too, they were ashamed of their illegitimacy.

  6. An ancestor married again, even though his first wife was alive so does that make him a bigamist?

    This prompts a string of questions, all about ensuring that you've explored all the options before you can be totally sure that someone was a bigamist. Did he divorce his first wife? Divorce did exist and is a reason for someone remarrying. Are you sure he actually married before - have you found the marriage? Can you be completely sure it was him who married the first wife and not a mistake by the incumbent? You may need to check parish registers, Bishops Transcripts, marriage licences if they existed, baptisms of other children and parental occupation.

  7. Divorce?

    See the section on Civil Registration

  8. Wife selling - did it really happen?

    Thomas Hardy's classic, "The Mayor of Casterbridge", is a tale about a wife being sold and the unhappy consequences of that action. Yes, it happened. The sale in Hardy's book took place at a fair, but such sales could have been anywhere where things were bought and sold - so at a market or beside the local Cross.

  9. I've found a marriage for the right people but they should have been married during the Commonwealth Period. It must be a mistake.

    No, not necessarily. During the Commonwealth Period following the English Civil War marriages weren't supposed to take place in the church. So there are gaps in the parish registers for this period. It is quite possible that the couple had actually married but it wasn't written in the parish register until after the Restoration of the King.

The most informed book on marriage and marriage law is:
Probert, Rebecca (2012), "Marriage Law for Genealogists, the definitive guide", Takeaway (publishing), ISBN 978-0-9563847-1-3

Also see Matlock St Giles' Church Marriages, 1637 - 1837.

Memorial Inscriptions

Are they accurate?

Occasionally memorials may differ slightly from other records. It takes some time for a mason to carve a headstone and he may have to rely on slightly inaccurate information from the relatives or others who are dealing with a person's estate. So check burial and perhaps probate records for dates of death as well.
Surname Indexes for Matlock and Matlock Bath MIs, plus transcripts of some inscriptions in full, are available on this website


  1. What is carding?

    Preparing wool, flax or cotton fibres before drawing or spinning.
    Also have a look at the Cotton Manufacture section of
    'Beauties of England & Wales'

  2. What about combing?

    Straightening out or untangling the fibres. It was done by using a combing machine which had combing needles on the cylinder.

  3. What is meant by fulling?

    Fulling is the process of cleansing and thickening cloth, making it more compact, by beating and washing. It causes felting of the fibres.

  1. What are or were £ s d?

    Before decimalization took place, English money was divided into pounds, shillings and pence (or LSD as it was sometimes referred to). There were 12 pennies to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound. Pence were divided into the even smaller units of farthing (¼d), ha'penny (½d) and three farthings (¾d) although farthings were discontinued in the mid twentieth century. A regularly used abbreviation for shillings was /-, so 10 shillings was written as 10/-.

  2. What was a guinea [gn.]?

    A guinea was worth twenty one shillings, though there have been no coins made since 1813. When it was first struck the value was 20s, but it became 21s in 1717. A gentleman was able to use a guinea coin to include the tip when he was charged 20s.

  3. What was a sovereign?

    After 1817 it was worth 20s, but gold sovereigns were first in use from the time of Henry VIII until the reign of Charles I. They were worth 22s 6d originally, but later were worth 10s or 11s

  4. What does it mean when there is 'li' next to a number?

    li = £ (from librae), s = shillings (from solidi) and d = pennies (from denarii)

  5. In old wills and inventories some of the numbers look a bit like Roman numerals, but why is a 'j' included?

    It is really a long 'i'. So ij means 2, iij means 3, iiij means 4. Roman numerals were used in such documents.
Petrify, Petrifaction (Petrification), Petrifactioner

Articles are 'petrified'' when they are seemingly changed into a stone or stone substance. The original material is covered, and sometimes replaced, by a calcareous or other mineral deposit. Depending what the original object was, the inside may not be there at the end of the petrifaction process. So a shoe might be covered but would break down and disappear over the years whereas metal objects may still exist underneath, even if they have rusted. [Note: to literally turn objects into stone would be alchemy, rather like trying to turn lead into gold.]

So to petrify is to cover the outside of an object with a layer (of stone), petrifaction (petrification) is the act or process and a petrifactioner is someone who owns or works with objects that are to be, are being or have been subject to petrifaction.

The first use of the word is given in the Oxford English Dictionary as 1646.

The water that percolates through the tufa in Matlock Bath dissolves tiny particles of minerals from the rock which are then re-deposited when the water drips onto whatever object is placed beneath it. This is a lengthy process, in some cases taking several years to complete.

"The water soaking through the Matlock [Bath] rocks are strongly charged with carbonic acid, which dissolves the limestone through which it passes as surely as water dissolves sugar. When the limestone laden water emerges into the open, some of the carbonic acid gas escapes. Unable, in consequence, to hold in solution the whole of the lime, the water throws off the excess upon anything that it touches, coating the object with a strong layer. Thus are formed the petrified objects so curious to visitors and so lucrative to the natives"
(from Ward Lock & Co's "Guide to Matlock, Dovedale, Etc.", Illustrated Guide Books of England and Wales (Guide Series 1903-4), p.18).

Probably the earliest comprehensive description of the process is found in William Adam's book "Gem of the Peak" of 1840. He mentions a variety of items being petrified, ranging from birds' nests and birds' eggs to wigs. There were also some more unusual items. He notes that these articles "must be shifted every now and then to prevent them sticking to each other, or to the bottom". Moss, leaves and even branches of trees have all been "petrified" over the years.

Local people took advantage of the process, as Ward Lock's Guide indicates, and there were several petrifying wells along the Tufa Terrace of Matlock Bath.

There are a few documentary references to people being petrifactioners, some in parish registers, wills and some in trades directories. The last time the word petrifaction was used in a trade directory was in White's Directory, 1862. It is possible that birth, death or marriage certificates (after July 1937) may have used the word for someone's occupation. The last reference the web mistress has found in a newspaper was to Joseph Dakin of Matlock Bath, petrifactioner in 1893 ("Commercial Gazette" (London), 3 May 1893) in an action of a County Court Judgement.

Petrifactioners would have owned the business, but not the premises.

Also see Tufa below

Extracts from "Gem of the Peak" are elsewhere on this website
Read the transcript of Croston's "On Foot Through the Peak" on this website. Chapter 14 provides an interesting description of the process
See: Petrifying Well, nineteenth century Stereoview
The Great Petrifying Well
Matlock Bath: Mr. Buxton's Royal Museum & the Great Petrifying Well
Petrifying Well, nineteenth century Stereoview
Earlier nineteenth century onsite directories give the names of other petrifactioners.


What is meant by the following
  1. Close?

    A piece of land that was enclosed, with perhaps a fence, hedge or wall around it.

  2. Cot?

  3. A small, humble house; a cottage; a hut.

  4. Croft?

    A croft is a small field, or piece of enclosed land near a residence, house or messuage [see below]

  5. Hovel?

    Depending on the use it was put to, it could have been a fairly miserable dwelling, an open shed, an outhouse used for cattle, or somewhere for tools or grain.

  6. Messuage?

    Originally this was the portion of land intended for a dwelling but became the term used for a dwelling house itself, usually with adjacent outbuildings, a garden, land etc.

  7. Toft?

    Two meanings. Either a grove of trees or, most likely, land once occupied as a messuage on which the buildings have decayed, fallen into disrepair or even been burned.
Property, Ownership of

My ancestors are supposed to have owned a house in Matlock Bath during the nineteenth century, although they only used it during the summer months. However, I have no further information.

The census returns aren't necessarily going to be very helpful, unfortunately, as not all addresses were included for Matlock and Matlock Bath. However, it is worth checking the returns for a particular name, despite many censuses actually taking place in March or early April (apart from 1841).
Check these via the Historical Records

If the you draw a blank with the census returns try the Trade Directories as it is likely the head of the house would have advertised as they would not have been poor.
Check Trade Directories in the Historical Records

Also have a look at:
The Return of the Owners of Land (1873)
Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock

Old Maps (Locating)

How do I find old maps for ...?

For Matlock and District Maps try Derbyshire Record Office or County Hall Local Studies Library.

For non - Matlock or Derbyshire Maps try your local Record Office or Local Studies Library.

If you want to search for extremely old maps for all of the above, you could also try the likes of the National Archive at Kew.

Contact information and web site URLs for all of the above can be found on:
Matlock References

There are also two good on-line resources for old maps.
Go to our Useful Sources Page and scroll down the section of Other Resources until you reach the letter O.


  1. What does it mean when there is a reference to someone being 'Senior' or 'Junior'?

    This was used to differentiate between a father and son with the same name. However, this wasn't the only way the words were used. The vicar sometimes used the terms to show the differences between two males who bore the same name, but were not father and son and in this instance the occupation, or class (such as Yeoman) was often given.

  2. Is an 'annuitant' a pensioner?

    An annuitant is not a pensioner. The description could be applied to anyone who was in receipt of an annuity (annual income) - even an 18 year old. It is easy to misread this in a census return and assume the word is 'accountant'.

  1. I'm interested in tracing or contacting friends/relatives who live in Matlock.

    You could always write to or advertise in one of the local newspapers.
    Contact details are on site

  2. My surname is MATLOCK so I wonder if my ancestors were born in Matlock, Derbyshire, England?

    Please see The Surname MATLOCK

  3. My surname is ---- so I wonder how far back the name goes?

    Go to: The Surname Matlock as there is a little bit about the derivation of all surnames, not just the name MATLOCK

  4. I've found an ancestor who has a surname as a middle name so what does this mean?

    There is a little bit about this at the beginning of Memorial Inscriptions Surnames Index : Surnames as Christian Names

  5. The middle name of my ancestor looks like a surname; the child was illegitimate but I think the child's father was a man whose surname was that name?

    Not necessarily, though I make a few suggestions at the beginning of Memorial Inscriptions Surnames Index : Surnames as Christian Names. However, amongst personal research I've encountered surnames as Christian names where the surname had absolutely nothing to do with the family and the child was either named after a hero, such as Nelson, or after a someone as a mark of gratitude by the parent[s]. I also have come across one family where, unusual as it may be, all the children had the surname of their aunt's husband as a middle name.
    See Memorial Inscriptions Surnames Index : Surnames as Christian Names

What was a Temperance House? There seems to have been one in Matlock.

No alcohol would have been available on the premises. In the nineteenth century there were Temperance Leagues/Societies and a Temperance Movement. The English dictionary gives an example with the date 1836. The Temperance Movement was a reaction, in many ways, to the heavy drinking that occurred in some places at that time. In isolated communities there may have been little else to do. Delirium Tremens was a fairly common cause of death.

There is an advertisement for the Temperance Hotel at Matlock Bridge onsite. By 1895 Matlock's Temperance Hotel had changed proprietor and was renamed The Trevelyan, advertising 'every convenience for cyclists'.


What is Tufa?

Matlock Bath's tufa beds were formed as the result of calcium carbonate being deposited from the village's limestone streams and springs. The stone has a cellular structure, created where the undersurface of moss and other vegetation eventually rots away. Tufa still "grows" in the village, mostly as an ornamental stone these days, though much of the large bed that extended from the New Bath to the former Royal Hotel (now the Temple car park) has either been quarried for rockery stone or was removed when the A6 was widened.

There are a number of very good images of large pieces of tufa, the tufa beds and buildings and walls of tufa, some of which no longer exist:
The Fish Pond, Matlock Bath, about 1920 (one of a number of images) | The Promenade, Matlock Bath |
Matlock Bath: Old Bath Hotel Engraving, 1776 | Matlock Bath from Lovers' Walk, 1779 |
Matlock Bath: New Bath Hotel (6) (see bottom image) | Matlock Bath: Children's Corner, Grand Pavilion, 1923 |
Matlock Bath: The Royal Hotel - the Royal or Radium Well

Also see Petrify, Petrifaction (Petrification), Petrifactioner above.


What was a Visitation?

To quote the reference in the Oxford English Dictionary, it was:

'A periodic visit made to a district by heralds to examine and enrol arms and pedigrees'.

The Harleian Manuscripts contain early Derbyshire pedigrees. They give a description of the arms and an outline of the family at the time. Sometimes it tells you when the arms were granted. So looking at Visitations can be quite useful.

The Visitation of Derbyshire 1662 - 1664 has been published by the Harleian Society - New Series Volume 8 (1988). There's a copy available at the Society of Genealogists.

You will also come across 'visitations' noted in parish records when a bishop or archdeacon will have visited the parish or religious institution to check it out.

Wars and War Deaths

What regiments did Matlock or people from elsewhere in Derbyshire normally joined in WW1

They joined a variety regiments, though many joined the Sherwood Foresters. To give you examples from my own family, one was in the Grenadier Guards as he was over 6' 4" (there was a height stipulation) and later went into the Royal Flying Corps as one of the earliest recruits. Another had been in the Derbyshire Yeomanry but, as they were not due to go to France until 1915, he chose to join a regiment that was to go to France at the very outbreak of war. They'd all thought the war would be over quickly and they'd be home by Christmas.

Some men and boys from the little villages may all have joined one regiment - these were sometimes known as 'Pals'. In one Derbyshire village, all the young lads joined together after being encouraged to do so from the pulpit and most were wiped out within around four months. A whole generation of the village's young men.

West Derby

West Derby - where is it in Derbyshire?

West Derby is in Merseyside, actually on the outskirts of Liverpool. It is also a Registration District for Births, Marriages and Deaths. So if you have an address in West Derby or have the reference for a birth, marriage or death that includes West Derby you are need to look in Lancashire and not in Derbyshire. This is a very common misunderstanding.

Having said that, if you have an address in West Derbys it could indicate that the place is within west Derbyshire i.e. Matlock, Ashbourne, Bakewell, etc. You may need to just check the address again to make sure.

West Derbyshire was, for many years, the name of the Parliamentary Constituency that covered the western part of the county of Derbyshire, including the towns and villages around Matlock, Ashbourne and Bakewell. This Constituency has, in relatively recent times (2010), been renamed and has become the Derbyshire Dales Parliamentary Constituency.

Willersley Castle, born at

One of my relatives was born at Willersley Castle. Are we related to the Arkwrights?

It depends when this was. Willersley Castle was used as a Salvation Army maternity home during and just after the Second World War.
See Willersley Castle.

Wills and Letters of Administration (adms/admons)

What are these and how do I find those about my ancestors?

There is on site info about wills, and where to find them


What happened to the paupers?

Until 1834 Matlock paupers were sent to the Ashover House of Industry, and those who lived in the parish contributed towards this. Pauper children were apprenticed to either local farmers or to trades. After that date, Matlock was part of the Bakewell Union and so the poor then were sent from Matlock, and also from Matlock Bath when it became a separate parish, to Bakewell. The Union Workhouse was erected in 1841. In 1850 the Governor was Thomas Gratton and Catherine Gratton was the Matron (names from Slater's Directory). Inmates were often only listed by the initial of their surname.

Proposed House of Industry, 1831-2 for Matlock.
Before the Board at Bakewell, 1838 - 1841
There is a map for 1908 that shows the location of the Bakewell Workhouse in the Derbyshire Maps section of this site.