Most family history researchers have at least one thing in common - they all wish they had asked their parents more about their lives, and about the lives of their parents and grandparents, when they had the opportunity.
Some answers can be found, at least in part, through the local newspapers of the day. Reports of social activities give us a look back in time at how our Wiltshire ancestors spent their high days and holidays; court proceedings show how they were treated when charged with a crime; family announcements give a moving account of how bereft they felt when they lost a loved one, none more so than during the Great War.
At Wiltshire Footprints we have scoured newspapers from the late 1700’s through to the mid 1900’s extracting articles for the parishes in the menu at the top of this page to provide family history and social researchers with an immense amount of information.
We've found everything from murder to maypole dancing; poaching to ploughing matches; highway robbery to horticultural shows often with lists of competition winners - perhaps your ancestor won first prize for his cauliflowers or sweet peas? Leave no stone unturned when searching for your ancestor's footprints - they could quite literally be anywhere!
We have extracts from school log books and admissions registers (most entries include dates of birth); inquests and obituaries that often give not only the names of mourners at funerals but also their relationship to the deceased; censuses, church registers, paternity claims, WW1 casualty biopics, Kelly's Directories, electoral registers, voters lists and much much more. A good spattering of local history, old picture postcards and detailed maps help to build up a picture of the parishes as they were when our ancestors lived there.
South West Wiltshire lies in the Cranbourne Chase, a nationally designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
"a precious landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding
that it is in the nation's interest to safeguard them"
Our history is a treasure with memories sewn throughout
Each picture weaves a story to show what we're about
Each page is pieced together with moments from the past
Our history re-created to help the memories last
Family & Parish History in south-west Wiltshire
In loving memory
This website was created by Jan Oliver, who died suddenly on 9th June 2016, and will be very sadly missed. It is the culmination of years of work, researching, exploring, transcribing, and interviewing.
As her children, we are incredibly proud of her achievements and this website. This opportunity and valuable resource Jan created, will be maintained in her memory, and will continue to be publicly available, as would have been her wish.
Deborah & Richard Oliver
“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children.
One of these is roots; the other, wings.”
- W.Hodding Carter