Thame Local History
The 18th Century Research Project
The information in the
Thame History Database
includes very little from the the 18th century.
The 18th Century Research Project is currently being undertaken by Dave Bretherton and Allan Hickman, and aims to complete as much of the picture as possible.
If detailed information relating to property and people can be gathered from the 18th century, then it may form a link between the information already held from the 17th century and that available via Census Returns and Trade Directories from the 19th century. This will move us closer to the goal of tracing the Occupation History of the Town Burgage Plots.
The 18th Century Research Project is however a huge undertaking, and will take many month to complete.
Work on the 18th Century Project has recently started at the Family Records Centre, near Farringdon, north London. Wills proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury are held there, although they are not indexed by town and so a great deal of searching is needed to find those relating to Thame.
However, these wills may yield valuable information on property transfers and chains of ownership.
Inventories relating to the above wills are held at the The Public Record Office at Kew in London. Some documents have already been obtained by post using the PRO's internet search and order facility, but this is expensive.
Wills proved at the Thame Peculiar Court are held at the Oxfordshire County Record Office, as are a great many property deeds relating to Thame. These are more accessible.
The records of births, marriages and deaths for 18th century Thame have been transcribed by the Oxfordshire Family History Society, but these are on microfiche and will need to be uploaded to the database.
Dave and Allan are both well versed in this type of research, but any additional help would be invaluable.
The best way to pick up skills such as reading old documents and navigating record office indexes and retrieval systems is to do it, with help and guidance from those already in the know. It does require real commitment, however.
There is another source of information that could be of invaluable help to the 18th Century Research Project, and research in general.
Documents held locally, or even further afield by people with family or property links to Thame, may contain very specific information relating to property transfers. This is particularly true of a legal document called an Abstract of Title, that often lists many previous owners of a particular property.
If anyone has any such Property Deeds and is willing to allow the Research Group access to them, they would be doing us a very valuable service, and may help the 18th Century Research Project reach its goal.