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What’s New

  1. 19 Apr 2009 ENGLAND: Land from Medieval to Present Day — More about medieval terms for land.
  2. Apr 2009 — We are in process of another re-organisation of our Combs &c. England pages — including but not limited to adding divisions (hundreds, wapentakes & lathes) to our Shire index pages. Parishes will be added to their respective divisions as Combs &c. records added.
  3. Special Index to Combs &c. entries from the PRO Catalogue (numbering in the thousands - from medieval times to present)
  4. 21 Jan 2001 Derbyshire has been added (minimal records), and over half the remaining shires updated (reminder: it will take a week or two for the search engines to catch up).
  5. 02 Jan 2001 The all-new British Isles Search Engine is finally here! You can now search all of the British Isles, or by country (England and Ireland so far) or, in the case of England, by shire, or by family (See below).
  6. Recent updates include over 250 new shire and parish/town reports, a new Freedom of the City report for London, as well as major updates to the Drapers Guild, Oxford and Cambridge University and more (too many to list here… we heartily recommend the new custom search engines as navigational aids).
  7. A brand new site for Archdale-Archdall &c. Families
  8. Devonshire: 1332 Devonshire Lay Subsidy Rolls; Devonshire Combs and Domesday; and The History of Devonshire.

Research Notes: For those researchers unfamiliar with the English Counties (Shires) we recommend the British Isles Map (new URL) and England Gazeteer, both provided by Gen-UKI for an overview and British Site Finder, an interactive atlas of Great Britain. See also county-wide gazettes and maps provided on those pages.

Also Note:

  1. Our primary source for geographical data is A Topographical Dictionary of England, Samuel Lewis, S. Lewis and Company, London, 1831 (See Also Combs Bibliography) Secondary source: infoparish.mdb (used for distance and direction as needed).
  2. In some counties, IGI selected entries have been included for “bookmarks only” (We continue to make every effort to use our own transcriptions from copies of originals whenever possible). See Combs &c. Research and the LDS International Genealogical Index (IGI) for additional information abut the LDS Family History Centers, the Index, and keys to entry abbreviations.
See also Combs &c. of the Military for more English Military Records.

Index to English Combs Counties

The added geographical data below references various selected English Counties/Shires, Ridings, Divisions, Towns with emphasis on early Counties and their boundaries (pre-1974, for research purposes). This data is not official; and is being developed as a tool for our Combs &c. Researchers. (See Also English Regnal Years and Combs &c. Place Names). Combs Research reports do not yet exist for those Counties/Shires which are not hot-linked.

- Divisions
County TownsComments
BedfordshireBDFBedforda.k.a. Beds.
BerkshireBRKReadinga.k.a. Berks.
Bristol-----BristolFormerly City/County
BuckinghamshireBKMAylesburya.k.a. Bucks. Buckingham was once the county town
CambridgeshireCAMCambridgeand Isle of Ely; a.k.a. Cambs.
CornwallCONTruroand Isles of Scilly
Devon (Devonshire)DEVExeter
Dorset (Dorsetshire)DORDorchester
DurhamDURDurhamOfficially “County Durham”
GloucestershireGLSGloucestera.k.a. Gloucs.
HampshireHAMWinchestera.k.a. Hants, a southern county which now includes the town of Southampton; as well as the Isle of Wight (IOW); also a.k.a. Hantshaving?
HertfordshireHRTHertforda.k.a. Herts
Isle of WightIOWSee Hampshire & Southampton
LancashireLANLancastera.k.a. Lancs.
LeicestershireLEILeicestera.k.a. Leics.
LincolnshireLINLincolna.k.a. Lincs.
(Greater) ManchesterGTM
MiddlesexMDXNonea.k.a. Middx, included much of London, is no longer existent. The ancient polling centre was Brentford.
NorthamptonshireNTHNorthamptona.k.a. Northants, in the English Midlands
NottinghamshireNTTNottinghama.k.a. Notts.
OxfordshireOXFOxforda.k.a. Oxon
ShropshireSALShrewsburya.k.a. Shrops. Salop is sometimes used as a.k.a. for Shrewsbury, but may also refer to Shropshire.
Southamptonshire-----SouthamptonNow part of Hamptonshire
StaffordshireSTSStafforda.k.a. Staffs.
East SussexSXE
West SussexSXW
WarwickshireWARWarwicka.k.a. Warwicks, Warks.
WorcestershireWORWorcestera.k.a. Wigorn
North RidingNRYNorthallerton
East RidingERYBeverley
West RidingWRYWakefield

Primary Sources: (1) Extracted by Archdale-Combs Researcher Peter Archdale from the “THE COUNTIES & SHIRES OF ENGLAND By Roy Stockdill, Copyright Roy Stockdill 1997”; (2) Combs Researchers Pete Coombs and Barbara Jones.

Note: Does not include England’s “new counties of 1974” i.e., Humberside (HUM), Cleveland (CLV), Avon (AVN), West Midlands (West Mids), Cumbria (CMA), Tyne & Wear (T&W) and Merseyside (MSY) which, according to Stockdill, can be almost totally ignored for genealogical purposes. Also according to Stockdill: The county town is the principal town or city of the county where the major centre of administration is usually located.

Two English counties, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, were so large that they were both sub-divided into three ancient divisions:

Yorkshire was divided by the Danes into Ridings, a riding being taken from a Danish word, “thriding”, meaning a third part. The Ridings were the North Riding, East Riding and West Riding (There has never been a South Riding although today an administrative county called South Yorkshire has existed since the 1974 reorganisation). Yorkshire, in its entire ancient area, is the largest county in the land and occupies approximately one-eighth of the land area of England and one-tenth of the population.

Lincolnshire was sub-divided into three ancient Divisions called Holland, Lindsey and Kesteven.

Early Record Holdings

Most early wills were probated by the Church of England, and it is necessary to determine the appropriate “diocese of record” (based on parishes as well as hundreds and counties).

Return to Combs &c. of England

Return to Combs &c. of England

The St. Catherine’s Index
(General Register Office, formerly at St. Catherine’s Street)

This Index, started on 1 Jul 1837, includes births, marriages and deaths.

Researcher Andrew Coombs has extracted all St. Catherine’s House Coombs and Coombes Marriage Index entries as follows:

1837-1899 Marriage - COOMBS and COOMBES
1875-1899 Deaths - COOMBS and COOMBES

Andrew’s research continues and additions are being made regularly to this site, which also includes Andrews’ own Wiltshire Coombs line.

Coomber Researcher Richard Coomber adds: According to “Ancestral Trails” by Mark D Herber: “The original registers that record births, marriages and deaths cannot be inspected by the public. However the entries are listed in GRO national indexes for each of births, marriages and deaths… Birth, marriage and death certificates are most commonly obtained by personal attendance at the GRO search room. This is on the ground floor of Family Records Centre at 1 Myddleton Street London EC1R 1UW, tel 0171 233 9233… You can apply for certificates by post from the General Register Office, PO Box 2, Southport, Merseyside PR8 2JD (application forms are available from the same address). If you have already found the index reference of a birth, marriage or death, you include the reference on the form. If you do not have the index reference, you can request a search of the GRO indexes to be undertaken. You should specify as closely as possible the date and place of the relevant information (and the ONS staff will search up to five years of the indexes). Over half the fee is foreited if the search is unsuccessful. Unfortunately, the cost of postal applications (even with the index references) is about twice the cost of applications made in person… “The major difficulty in obtaining civil registration certificates is finding the correct index entry. To put into perspective, your search for the record of a birth, marriage or death that took place in about 1838, you should bear in mind that the indexes for the first year of registration contain 958,630 entries of births, marriages and deaths… By 1987 GRO held records of about 260 million births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales since 1837 and there are now about 9,000 volumes of indexes.” Also note that deaths were registered in the district where they occurred, which many not have been either where the deceased resided or was buried.