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English Genealogy Before 1837

Researching pre-Victorian Records

Battle of Waterloo, via wikipedia.

Join us for a full day with two outstanding experts in the field of English genealogy.  International lecturer and author Paul Milner and our own James F.S. Thomson will help us move back in time before civil registration and censuses to trace our English ancestors in pre-Victorian records.  Ideally suited to the intermediate or advanced level researcher.
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2018
Location: Lansing United Church, Toronto (Poyntz Avenue and Beecroft Road)
Cost:  $95  ($75 for OGS members)
Registration is required.  Click here for tickets.


8:30 – 9:00   Registration

9:00 – 9:15     Welcome

9:15 – 10:15    English Parish Registers: How to Access, Use and Interpret – Paul Milner
Learn how to access, use and correctly interpret the information found in the christening, marriage and burial registers of the English parish church. See examples of the problems to watch for and the clues given for further research. Learn what to do when your ancestor is not found.

10:30 – 11:30   Researching Pre-1837 English Records from the GTA – James F.S. Thomson
Discover invaluable resources accessible in or from the Greater Toronto Area which you may not be aware of or be exploring systematically. Celebrate immensely exciting developments in the past year which vastly enhance access from the GTA to a previously undreamed-of range of pre-1837 English records.

1:00 – 2:00    Buried Treasures: What’s in the English Parish Chest – Paul Milner
The English parish was both an ecclesiastical and a civil jurisdiction. Both jurisdictions created informative records and kept them in the Parish Chest.  This presentation will examine the breadth and wealth of information that can be found, going well beyond the baptism, marriage and burial registers.

2:15 – 3:15    Armed Forces Records of the Napoleonic Era – James F.S. Thomson
Between 1799 and 1815, huge numbers of English families included at least one member who served in the British Army, Royal Navy or related services, and records of their participation can be invaluable for family historians. Learn about places to look for evidence of such service, with special attention to records which are newly-accessible from Toronto or found in resources which may be under-appreciated.

3:30 – 4:30   Finding Your 18th Century Ancestors in England – Paul Milner
Identify the best genealogical resources, original and published, to use for 18th Century research in England. Learn how to overcome the problems created by large movements of population in some parts of the country created by the industrial revolution.


Paul Milner, FUGA, M.Div.
A native of northern England, Paul Milner is a professional genealogist and international lecturer. He has taught week long English and Scottish research tracks at the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR), Salt Lake Institute  of Genealogy (SLIG), and the British Institute. He is the author of six publications – Buried Treasures: what’s in the English parish chest (UnlockThePast, 2015); Discover English Census Records (UnlockThePast, 2014),  Discover English Parish Records (UnlockThePast, 2014), Genealogy at a Glance: England Research (Genealogical Publishing Co, 2011), plus co-author with Linda Jonas of A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage (Betterway Books, 2000), and A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your Scottish Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage (Betterway Books, 2002).  He is currently the book review editor for the BIGWILL newsletter and recently retired review editor of the FGS FORUM. He is the past-president of the British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois (BIGWILL), and a past board member of the APG, FGS and GSG. Paul focuses on British Isles resources and methodology on his blog at

 James F. S. Thomson
James F. S. Thomson has designed and taught over a dozen advanced and expert-level family history courses co-sponsored by Toronto Branch OGS and the Toronto Public Library. For these courses and in his articles and presentations at conferences and workshops, as well as in his capacity as a University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies instructor, James draws on over thirty years of experience of family and local history research.


Lansing United Church is located at the corner of Poyntz Avenue and Beecroft Road, near Yonge and Sheppard in Toronto.

By subway:  Take the Line 1 (Yonge-University) or Line 4 (Sheppard) and exit at Sheppard-Yonge Station.  Walk one block west on Sheppard Avenue to Beecroft Road and two blocks south to Poyntz Avenue.

By car:  Poyntz Avenue is two blocks south of Sheppard Avenue, north of the 401. Lansing United Church is one block west of Yonge Street. On weekends there is some street parking available, and there are three parking lots close by.

Lansing United Church  is wheelchair accessible. For more information about our policies on accessibility, visit our policies page.

For assistance with a specific accommodation request, please send an email message to