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Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2001-08 > 0999207246

From: Chris Collin <>
Subject: Re: Pre 1700 relationships?
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 17:34:06 -0400
References: <>

Peter Whybrow wrote:

> Greetings all.
> Over the years I have noticed that several listers have stated that they
> have traced their genealogy back to the 1500's and late 1600's.
> I am interested to know how this has been achieved.
> With a relatively uncommon surname and with a core family who did not move
> out of four contiguous parishes until the early 1800's it has, for me, been
> relatively straightforward to get back to the early 1700's.
> However, pre-1700 becomes difficult mainly because of the Commonwealth
> Period, its lack of marriage registers and the fact that recorded
> forenames, such as John, Elizabeth, Mary and so on, with the same surname
> are common and scattered over a largish area of northwest Essex.
> So, can anyone please enlighten me on how they have got over the lack of
> source material (or when it exists the multiple choice of any relationship)
> to enable a link back to the 16th century?
> Many thanks,
> Peter J Whybrow

I was very fortunate to be able to go back to 1400.

My aunt had been in contact with a cousin that I was completely unaware of, in
London. He has a manuscript that was written in the mid-late 1800's, which
detailed the family from 1400 until then. This was a goldmine! However, like
any mine, there are cave-ins, unused explosives, dangerous areas, and other

As was typical at the time, the eldest son inherited everything, so there is
often scant information regarding younger sons, and often none at all regarding
sisters. Some branches and generations are well detailed, especially when the
bride came from a notable family. Others are barely mentioned.

There is a continous line from 1400 to the late 1500's, and then 5 John
COLLIN's in a row. The text continues with "John, the one mentioned above,
had..." and the line continues. I am still trying to figure out just which
John this is! (I'm guessing the 3rd one, but...).

The writer was a lawyer in London, and likely had access to records, and the
skills for research. And, it seems our family was always prominent enough to
be included in records, but not enough to become political enemies of what ever
power was then in vogue. Thus, we seem to have survived troubled times, but
leaving enough records for others to find.

Of course, proving all the information is hard! Especially as I live in
Canada. I am trying to prove my right to the arms that were recorded in the
visitation of Essex in 1634, that my ancestors neglected to update since that
time. Based on the manuscript (and other family stories), I appears that I am
indeed the heir (oldest son, of the oldest son, etc...), but proving it will
take a lot more work.

I guess the moral of my story is - ask all your relatives about your family,
especially older ones. Do not put it off. Much the same sort of thing
happened with my wife's family. I attended a re-union of hers, and pestered
everyone I could find. I was rewarded with lots of good information - enough
that three generations of her family fills my database as much as 17
generations of mine!

Chris Collin
Researching COLLIN NW Essex 1400-1900

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