This is a family history of one Howard Family from Thames Ditton, Surrey. I have called them the Thames Ditton Howards as they appear to have had their roots in an area close to present day Thames Ditton along the banks of the river Thames, close to the market town of Kingston-upon-Thames. In the accompanying web pages you will find details of my family history which I began researching in 1994. Please read the Notes on genealogy databases and file formats. You may also find the information on naming conventions and value of pound interesting.
Starting is the hardest bit ....
Like most amateur genealogist I started by researching the birth, marriage and death records now located at the Family Records Center, in Mydleton Road, London. I was able to establish a line back to 1837 when the registration process in England first began. I then discovered the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This a microfiche based index of Baptism and Marriage records from something like 90% of UK Parishes arranged by county. It covers a period to about 1875 and therefore overlaps with and complements the index lists of Birth, Marriage and Death records at the Family Records Center. It is now available on line through the LDS website FamilySearch. With the help of this valuable tool I was able to identify interesting entries in Parish Registers dating back to mid 17th century which pointed me towards the relevant Parish Registers, now held at the Surrey History Center at Woking, Surrey. I was able to trace my direct Howard line back to one James Howard [P91] who was buried in Parish of St. Nicholas, Thames Ditton, Surrey on the 27th November 1782. Another burial entry for a James Howard [P81] is also recorded in the registers, buried on 29th January 1837 aged 82. This would put the birth of the earlier James Howard [P81] to circa 1755/56.
... or so I thought ...
To my dismay, I discovered there was a huge gap in the parish records prior to 1755, in fact no records existed during the period 1695-1756, due to fire or water damage and those that do exist are somewhat sparse to say the least. So where did this trail lead me?To find out read the next part of the story by clicking on Early Howards
To find out more of the origins of the Howard surname and some of its more notable historical figures, click on Howard Surname
Other links in the left-hand panel will take you to lists of Surnames and People included in this Family Tree. Just follow the Surname Button, locate the Surname you are interested in and follow the links through to the individual person/family details listed in the database (over 900 people and approximately 300 families listed).
To help you locate other interesting Howard Genealogy resources on the internet I have included a Howard Links page. If your web site contains matter that you think is compatible with the Howard Links Page, please e-mail me and I will add a link to your site.
Some notes on Computer software, file formats and data exchange
As with many applications involving large amounts of data, I have found that a computer is a very useful tool with which to store and cross reference genealogy records. I maintain my genealogy records on a computer and there are a wide range of software packages to choose from. The software I use is called Kith and Kin and Treedraw both by Nick Hunter of SpanSoft. I recommend this software without hesitation to anyone wishing to move their data from notebooks to a computer. A visit to the SpanSoft web site would be a worthwhile visit for any aspiring genealogist venturing into this field. The best bit about this software is that both items are shareware, which means you can download them for free, try them and then when you have evaluated them you can buy them.
Kith and Kin, like many other genealogy software packages, can export the stored data in a file format called GEDCOM - an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmmunications. Nearly all recent genealogy software provide the facility to import/export data from/to a GEDCOM file (*.GED) format. The GEDCOM standard allocates unique reference numbers to Persons and Families stored in the database which is a helpful identifier when dealing with a common names such as James Howard. To identify a specific James Howard in these web pages I have used the Kith and Kin reference system e.g. [P81] signifies Person 81 in the Person Index. Similarly [F14] refers to Family 14.
The genealogy data available at this web site has been generated using a program called GED2HTML by Eugene Stark at Gendex.com. This neat program converts a GEDCOM database file to HTML pages. You can download a copy of GED2HTML by visiting Eugene Stark's Web site.
You can download a copy of my GEDCOM database file. The file was last updated on 9th July 2000 and now contains details of 850 people and 280 families. The file has been cleaned using the shareware package GEDClean which enables the user to withhold details of living persons included in a distributed GEDCOM file. Please also note the following conditions of use which apply to the downloading of this file.
Conditions of Use
Permission is given to download the Howard.ged GEDCOM file hosted at this site for your personal use only, in connection with your own personal family history interests. It may not be downloaded by anyone who wishes to use it for any other purpose. Permission is expressly withheld from anyone wishing to duplicate, copy, publish or otherwise distribute the contents of this file. By downloading this file you are signifying your agreement to the foregoing conditions. You should also note that a server access.log is kept on this server which records the distribution of this file.
Download Graham's zipped GEDCOM file (58K).
Naming conventions in use in 18th and 19th Century Britain
As a general statement, families traditionally named their children in a specific pattern as follows:-