- source: Family History Library Catalog
- the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia
St. Mary Cray is now an area of southeast Greater London, and is part of the London Borough of Bromley. It was an ancient parish in the county of Kent, that was absorbed by Orpington Urban District in 1934 and has formed part of Greater London since 1965. It is located 13 miles (21 km) southeast of Charing Cross (a point considered to be the centre of London from which distances are measured).
- the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia
St Mary Cray became a market town in the thirteenth century. The privilege of holding a market on Wednesdays was granted by Edward I (1272 - 1307). Three mills are mentioned in Domesday Book of 1086.
The district being an agricultural one, the small population worked on its many fruit farms and hopfields.
The most famous of the early non-agricultural industries were the 17th-century foundries of Hodson and Hull where several famous bells were cast. Christopher Hodson made bells for Canterbury Cathedral and Oxford.
The advent of the Industrial Revolution saw brewing and paper manufacturing grow into principal industries beside the River Cray. From the early 1800s until the Depression in the 1930s, many local workers were employed at the Joynson and the William Nash paper mills.
With the expansion of the railways, the population increased rapidly.
In the 1930s the farmlands of Poverest on the west side of the river were turned over to the construction of industrial and office buildings. The factories along Cray Avenue were engaged in industries ranging from paint and ink manufacture to baking and preserved foods.
During and after the Second World War, Star Lane cemetery was to become the burial ground for several airmen of the RAF and Commonwealth Air Forces. Three Polish airmen were also buried here.
St Mary Cray has the largest groups of settled Romani and Irish Travellers in the UK. In the past, hop and soft fruit farms in the area employed large numbers of itinerant workers.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article St Mary Cray.
Kent Research Tips
This list has been taken from GENUKI where more places and websites for researching are listed.
Archives and Libraries
Civil Registration and Census
- Steve Archer has produced a very useful round-up of the available census records for Kent - and where/from whom they are available.
- Registration Districts in Kent for the period 1837 to the present. By drilling down through the links you can follow any parish through the registration districts to which it was attached.
Family History Societies
Most of the county is divided between the Kent FHS and the North West Kent FHS.
Kent Probate Records Numerous links provided by Maureen Rawson
Greater London Research Tips
- See wiki.familysearch.org under "London" and also under "Middlesex", "Surrey" and "Kent" for key information about Greater London's jurisdictions and records, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
- The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London. Ancestry (subscription necessary) has produced transcriptions and provides images of lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials in churches across Greater London. These lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century.
- GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (The list from GENUKI is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website.)
- GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
- The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. An e-book available online through Google, originally published by Pan Macmillan. There is a search box in the left-hand pane.
- London Lives. A very useful free website for anyone researching their London ancestors between the years 1690-1800. This is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.
- London Ancestor, a website belonging to one of the London family history societies, has a list of transcriptions of directories from the 18th century, listing in one case "all the squares, streets, lanes, courts, yards, alleys, &C. in and about Five Miles of the Metropolis..." In other parts of the same website are maps of various parts of 19th century London and Middlesex.
- The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, 1674-1913. A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This website is free to use.
- Registration Districts in London, Registration Districts in Middlesex, Registration Districts in Surrey, Registration Districts in Kent, are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet.