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Berkshire Family Historian
March 2002

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Berkshire Family Historian
Main Page, March 2002 Contents

Have you lost anyone?

Margaret Young

James West, aged 23, of Brightwell, a groom in Thame, Oxfordshire in 1851.

Frederick Wilson, aged 15, a page at Brighton, Sussex in 1871, he came from Berkshire.

Henry Breadmore of Hun gerford married at Hoxton, London, in 1881.

In 1891 Herbert Batten, aged 25, a teacher from Twyford, was living in Paddington, London.

Do you recognise any of these people? Have you lost someone from Berkshire and can't find them anywhere? These are just four examples taken from the new Berkshire Strays database.

What is a Stray? 'A stray is a recorded event in which a person is described in the record as being from, or connected with, a place outside an area in which they normally lived'. The Federation of Family History Societies maintains a site devoted to strays at

James West, Frederick Wilson, Henry Breadmore and Herbert Batten were all originally from Berkshire but at some point in their lives were absent from the county when an event was recorded, three of them were shown in a census and the fourth from his marriage certificate. They are therefore 'Berkshire Strays'.

People from Abingdon have strayed to Bury St Edmonds; from Aldermaston to Bristol; Hungerford to Hastings; Maidenhead to New Zealand; Newbury to Yorkshire and so on. There are thousands more, some may be connected to your family.

Why a database? All information received about a stray is entered into a computer database which can be searched by name, date, age, occupation, event, place and county and place of origin. This will form an index which will be user-friendly and easily accessible.

How will it help me? Eventually it is expected that the database will be available for researchers to use at the Research Centre, and for the Society to provide a service for those not able to visit the Centre themselves. But that is all some way off. With only 1400 entries at present the likelihood of finding your ancestor is remote. However, when there are many more entries the database will give researchers an indication of where their ancestors might have been, or in some cases exactly where they were, at a certain period. In other words instead of looking for a needle in a haystack it will act like a magnet and find it for you.

How can I help the index? Send me your strays or any that you find in the course of your research. Look through your notes and your family tree to find anyone that left Berkshire. Look at other entries on the copies of the census, not just your family, as neighbours may also be strays from Berkshire.

The only strays that are not required are those on the 1881 Census as the information it contains is readily available to most people.

What information do I need to send? Details required are surname (preferably in capitals), event, year, place of sighting of the person, place of origin (i.e. their Berkshire home town/village) and the source of the information (e.g. census, parish records, marriage certificate etc.).

Other useful, but not essential, details would be forename, age, marital status, occupation, relationship, full date and any other details you may have.


Sample stray Jas Sherman

Sample stray Stephen Perry


If you find any Berkshire strays eMail them to.

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Berkshire Family History Society 2002

updated 28th May 2002