Nathan W. Murphy and Dr. Cynthia Doxey, Church History and Doctrine
I accomplished the objectives of my genealogical research trip to England. Historical sources available only in the British Isles greatly facilitated research on my Highley family and BYU’s British Emigrants Project. The experience convinced me to pursue a graduate degree at an English university.
The English Highley family is now better sorted out. I found many unique sources at the Society of Genealogists’ (SOG) Library available only in their facility. I located the ancestral parish of one of the families I sought: St. James Parish, Poole, England. The original sixteenth century parish register has not been microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, so it proved a great blessing to visit this library which holds a copy. In addition, in their collection I found research notes compiled by a genealogist 100 years ago on this very family. Attending their genealogical conference exposed me to several of the professional family history organizations in Great Britain. The results of my research on the Highley family are available at the WorldConnect website:
http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?surname=Hiley&given=Haviland. Following this visit, I am now inspired to serve my internship at the SOG Library in London as a major requirement.
The trip to Liverpool produced tremendous results for BYU’s Center for Family History and Genealogy British Emigrants Project. Reading old Liverpool newspapers, shipping lists, passenger lists, emigration finding aids, apprenticeship to foreign master records, and poor law union sources vivified the emigration experience. What an amazing sight to look out into the ocean from whence so many of my ancestors caught their final glimpse of the Old Country. Unfortunately, no emigration record exists documenting the departure of my ancestor, William Highley, from Liverpool restricting my ability to identify his parentage. Additional research will be required to crack this puzzling case.
Research in London yielded abundant new information. At the Public Record Office (the National Archives of Great Britain (PRO)), we received a warm welcome and a special behind the scenes guest tour of their lovely facility. The staff demonstrated sources ranging from thirteenth century manorial court rolls to the most recently released 1901 British Census. I also had the noteworthy experience, together with the other members of the research crew, to meet Peter W. Coldham, a renowned British emigration specialist. He will be a valuable contact for my future academic pursuits. This research will provide the framework for the next research team who plan to visit to the British Isles in the spring of 2004. In addition, at the PRO I secured high quality digital images of Latin texts to be implemented in BYU’s Latin for Genealogists course.
Exposure to many of the top archives in England will serve as a priceless experience throughout my career. Among the repositories I visited included: the British Library, Public Record Office, Guildhall Library, Society of Genealogist’s Library, Merseyside Maritime Museum, University of Liverpool Special Collections, Liverpool Central Library, Liverpool Record Office, Family Records Centre, and London Metropolitan Archives.
In addition, my mentor, Professor Cynthia Doxey, secured space in the prestigious Utah Genealogical Association Journal to publish my finds on British emigration sources. This will look impressive on future graduate school applications and resumes.
This research fine-tuned my ideas for graduate school thesis topics. I now wish to seek an MA in English Local History at the University of Leicester, in Leicester, England. It provided the framework for a Fulbright Scholarship application which I recently submitted. This trip has greatly guided my path towards a successful future career.