Researching in Ely, Cambridgeshire

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Photographs of Old Ely   A selection of old black and white photographs    


Pictures with kind permission from Paul the Gargoyle

I have lived in Ely since I was about 11 years old. One of the first things I did was to visit Ely Cathedral and even now it still fascinates me. Ely Cathedral, often referred to as "Ship of the Fens", is considered to be among the finest architecture in England. The length of the nave is one of its most striking features. The attractive painted ceiling of the nave is worth noting, the work was mainly carried out by amateurs in the 19th century. Ely Cathedral's most distinctive feature is the octagon, the inspiration of Alan of Walsingham over 600 years ago. 

If you want to find out more about the history of Ely (and about Gargoyles!) visit Paul's interesting site. For current information on Ely there is Ely Online.

 Ely Library has a selection of Family History Resources. You can look at the 1881 British Census on CD (handy if you have found your family in the 1901 census!) and if your family were living in Ely there are the 1891 & 1851 census microfiche to browse through. Also there are the Chettisham Parish Records and Ely Cathedral Registers. Unfortunately it doesn't have the parish records for Ely Holy Trinity (the originals are kept at Cambridge Records Office). But it does have on microfiche the parish records for Ely St Mary's where I found the following.......

1749 Nov 7  John TUCKERS alias VICARS was hanged at Ely for murdering his wife. Mary HUTCHINSON was buried alive for poisoning her husband. Both suffered on the same day.

I have transcribed most of the readable headstones at St Mary's Church, Ely in the churchyard.  See if there any of your ancestor's there!

Ely Museum is also worth a visit to get a feel for what it was like to live in Ely years ago. It is housed in the Old Gaol. Also visit  Oliver Cromwell's house which houses the Tourist Information Centre where you can get a free information pack!  If you feel like a detective now and really want to pad out your research the Cambridgeshire Collection is a major research library established in 1855 and has detailed catalogues and indexes. The Collection comprises of books, newspapers, maps, illustrations, handbills and tape recordings. It is housed in Cambridge Central Library

If you do find out your ancestor's were from Cambridgeshire I would recommend joining the Cambridgeshire Family History Society which is excellent value and a wealth of information and help.


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