Most family researchers are happy if they can locate ancestors back 100 – 150 years. That is an accomplishment verifying actual relatives who were 2 to 4 generations back. There are others doing their family tree that can take the lineage back even further– even to 17th through 14th century.
Now available through the United Kingdom National Archives is a large database that is fully searchable with some 64,000 names in England between 1330 and 1550. What is unique about the database is it represents during those years, people who were listed as migrating to England from other European lands.
During the Middle Ages, there was a movement of people due to wars, the ‘black plaque’ or the religious reformation to other regions of Europe, especially to England. There were no passports but rather this database was created using taxation records / assessments, license and grant records as well as letters of denization (where an individual was permanently a resident in a foreign country and held certain rights of citizenship). The type of information is offers can vary on its source, but any beyond what you might have had can be a treasure.
Now there can be variations in surname spellings, so do take that into account. Also where a family was living in 1500 can be quite different from where they lived in 1850, even in England. However, families did tend to remain in a specific region for decades.
Using the search box in the upper right corner can get you started. Place a surname, changing any various spellings. A reminder that numerous towns and villages had a surname as it name, so will appear also.
The information in the database has been transcribed so you won’t need read over Old English. You might have a long list of old English ancestors, so you might enjoy seeing what you can locate on this very vintage database of information in England.
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