View 500 years of family history at Aylsham Church
Church Records dating back over 500 years have been made freely available at Aylsham Parish Church, helping people to research their family history. Tony Rothe reports.
Family historians, whether local or based anywhere in the world, can now do a quick simple search on the internet or in person at the church to see whether there is a physical record of their ancestors. The information on over 1000 individual graves and memorial plaques in the parish church dating from 1490 to 2019 have been collated into one easily searched document.
The first attempt to record the memorials was started in 1807 by Francis Blomefield. Nearly 200 years later, in the 1980s, members of the WI nationally had a campaign to record memorials in churchyards across the country.
At that time, the memorial inscriptions on the graves, on the war memorial and on plaques inside Aylsham Parish Church were recorded. Many of the gravestones in the churchyard were worn, dirty or broken and difficult to read. In that ”pre-computer” age the transcribers carefully wrote out all the information by hand.
Over the last two years a dedicated and highly organised volunteer, Val Root, has digitised all the records and made hundreds of new discoveries available online on the church website. The information is also recorded in a printed book available to view in the church (which is open every day).
Revd Canon Andrew Beane, Team Rector of the Aylsham Team of Churches said:
“Family history is very popular. People regularly come from near and far to find out if their ancestors are buried in Aylsham Parish Church. This is an amazing achievement and I am enormously grateful to Val who has worked so hard bringing together the records of so many memorials. The work will provide to be so helpful into the future as people explore their family history and I am delighted that we are able to offer access to the records for free.
“Churchyards are amazing places to explore - Not only do they contain headstones and memorials, but are places where social history is recorded, wildlife flourishes and peace can be enjoyed.”
Access to the online documents can be found at www.aylshamparishchurch.org.uk/aylshamrecords
Aylsham Parish Church is part of the Aylsham & District Team Ministry, a group of 18 Church of England parish churches working together across rural Norfolk centred around the beautiful market town of Aylsham.
To find out what is happening there,
visit : www.aylshamparishchurch.org.uk
or : www.facebook.com/aylshamparishchurch
The image above is courtesy of http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk
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