Updated 29 Mar 2009

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Background to INCE's "Pedigrees"

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Thomas Norris INCE was a solicitor in Wirksworth born 1799 and died 1860. During his working life he compiled a 484 page handwritten book entitled:

PEDIGREES & sketches of pedigrees
of families
and other places thereabouts
compiled from abstracts of Title, Wills, Deeds
and other documents, church & churchyard notes,
Bible entries, Court rolls and from information
of various people as to their descent.
Thomas Norris Ince of Wirksworth
begun in 1824 & continued at Wakefield
to 1860

The book found its way into "The Devonshire Collection" belonging to His Grace the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth House, who later presented it to the Derby Free Library.
The book is a potential goldmine for local genealogy because of its circumstances and date. It contains some 1,000 Pedigrees and mentions about 20,000 people with sometimes a lot of personal detail.
Some Background to Ince
"Pedigrees" is written from the point of view of a lawyer. A large percentage of the information comes from Wills, Deeds, Purchases and other legal documents. However, invaluable verbal information is included as well as dates and relations from tombstones (that may not now exist) and Parish Registers (that are now much older and more difficult to read). In the book, the text is written within the diagram, and so is very cramped, small and full of abbreviations (many legal). None of the transcribers are lawyers, but familiarity has helped understand most abbreviations. Transcribers comments and observations are in italic font and between square brackets [comments and observations are like this] Ince's handwriting is generally easy to read and the condition of the pages good. However Ince's page numbering system is somewhat chaotic due to expansion over 40 years, and a new system has been introduced for this transcription. The new system begins with page 001a and finishes at page 121d.
Anne Andrews writes:I decided to telephone the Derby LSL myself to see if they could provide any answers to help me clarify my own thoughts before I responded to you. Derby LSL has a book for public usage that is made up of photocopies from the Ince Collection. This has been done because the original is in such poor condition, and I assume is why the film was made. So requests for copies are being taken from a photocopy, which is I assume the reason for the less than perfect quality of reproduction. The Pedigrees are no longer in book form anyway. The volume has been unbound, put into protective sleeves and these are stored together in a box in their vaults.
"Pedigrees" has never been fully transcribed before. However, an International group of Transcribers has now completed work, and all of Ince's Pedigrees is on this website. The group are:

John Palmer of Dorset, England.
Kathryn Farrell of Danvers, Massachusetts USA
Sonia Addis-Smith of Bedford, England.

The group have worked at home from identical microfiches, are connected by e-mail, checked each other's work via the Internet and have published on this website. All their work is available free in the public domain. I estimate 1,500 hours transcribing have been required.
Photocopies of parts of "Pedigrees" can be ordered from:

Linda Owen
Local Studies Library
25b Irongate
tel: 01332-25-53-93

Derby also have Pedigrees on microfilm. The manuscript reference is "Local No 8022" and photocopy reference H929.2. The text and diagrams in "Pedigrees" must be viewed "up, down and sideways" which requires either a rotateable microfilm reader or a fiche reader. Although the readability of "Pedigrees" is good, the transcription has been arduous because of the quantity of information and the presence of large numbers of Tree diagrams and abbreviations.

In Retrospect
Decisions made early which proved correct in practice:

Should anyone have queries about the Transcribing process, please contact me on
Copyright © 2000, John Palmer, All Rights Reserved.