At this stage, it seemed worthwhile to explore the reasons for the scattering of the Boughtons from the possible sources previously identified by looking at the places where key events for a particular male lineage occurred. Obviously this includes births, christenings, marriages and deaths but also any other significant event that might have been recorded that gives some indication of where they were, what they were doing and the sort of life they were having. While it would be most unlikely that this could be followed through many generations, some picture of regional movement, perhaps linked to occupation may be of value in establishing the source of the name.
This did seem to be an achievable goal, bearing in mind that the work carried out on the telephone directories in Part 1 shows that the name Boughton is relatively rare, with only a few areas of the country showing a present day concentration.
Yes, I know the easiest thing is to go along to the nearest L.D.S. Family History Centre and download the I.G.I. CD-ROM by county, BUT you may not know that for the counties in East Anglia, many of the parish registers, Bishop's Transcripts, etc., have yet to be included. There are always a lot of people doing just that whenever I go into the Norfolk Record Office, but there are a very large number of churches and villages in East Anglia. So I have, over the years, made my own abstracts from these particular sources.
Clearly there are going to be many starting points, but hopefully by using a suitable database, some names, dates and places will be seen to overlap or link up. Some of the starting points were:-
The 1881 Census Index (then on CD-ROM, now free to all on the Internet) was very useful in attempting to fill in some gaps and certainly is a must if you have some clues as to date and place of birth. This is especially true if they have strayed or moved around. Even more fortunate sometimes is to find grandchildren or aged parents living at the family home. However, you do need to be careful since too wide a search eg the whole county, puts together all of those with the same name and you do need another clue (ideally two) to resolve this particular problem.
An index for the 1851 Census is also available on CD-ROM/Microfiche for Devon, Norfolk and Warwickshire. This takes you back a generation and should enable you to be more confident about searching Parish Records for births and marriages. Now overtaken by the availability of all the enumerators' records online, which you must pay for.
One point worth mentioning is that with all of the above sources you should make a note of the reference numbers for the microfilm of the census enumerator's return for future detailed examination. Not only should you double check the computer entry against the source, but the source gives you the address and occasionally more information. Also it's worth noting that the enumerator's handwriting while rarely defeating those preparing these indexes is open to interpretation in some cases. Which really means that the indexer, lacking any knowledge of the family that you know, probably got it wrong.
The information collected so far seems to indicate a considerable amount of movement. This happens to be very different from other studies I have carried out on another surname where the family remained closely knit and in the same area for five generations, then moved 40 miles (for work) and remained in the same city for another five generations.
The social and economic history of these two areas may have been different during the 1700's and they may have been in different occupations, but is there a pattern in the movement of Boughtons? Perhaps there were good reasons for moving on.
In Norfolk and Cambridgeshire I have not found a Boughton family line that has continued for more than a few generations at a time, let alone been resident in the same area. Yes, I have put that in to challenge anyone who has researched the name and already proved a line of Boughtons of six or more generations. If you have done so, then why not e-mail me with details?
So where am I now?
The current situation is that there are many possible lines and links but I am not going to jump to any unjustified conclusions. As I carry on filling in some of the gaps hopefully it will lead to some explanations. And I will be putting them in here as I go on so that you can see the progress I am making.
The 1998 IGI and the new Vital Records Index did come up with a number of Boughtons in various parishes in Norfolk. There were some links of interest to families in Norwich, Pulham St. Mary and a few in Lakenham. So I have been looking at the connections in more detail and trying to fill in some of the gaps by referring to parish records. Some of them are my own line but there are the usual problems of sons and daughters being named after their parents and much movement. With a number of Boughton families living in the same village or area there is always the risk of following the wrong line.
All made more difficult by the fact that in some cases there does not appear to be 100% agreement between the Archbishop's Transcripts and the Parish Register and the problem of the original records being damaged by rain or floods.
Another step was to try and develop the little knowledge I had about the families joined by marriage. While the woman's father is usually given in parish records, it does not always include the mother's name. Then it is necessary to search the 1851 Census and sort out the family of interest to give their ages and places of birth. Then it's back to their parishes to see if their parents are recorded. And so on and so on.
I am still looking at the Boughton families in Norwich and Pulham St. Mary as far back as I can go, but it is a very slow process.
I'm not putting in a link back to the previous section here because you can click on the back button. But if you want to jump back to the Index page directly, that was the link.
Part 4...Searchable online documents.
Part 5...The IGI and other comprehensive sources.
Part 6...Links to Surname Lists.
Part 7 Loose Ends.
Part 8...Trees and Tables. (First tree added 28/4/02).
Part 9 Useful References.