It would probably be most sensible from a research point of view to concentrate on one geographical area at a time and not move on until one is complete, or one sort of data at a time. However, competing with the most logical plan for research are time, cost and opportunity. Efficiency: Within England, some resources are held and searchable at a country level, others at a county level. It would be silly and inefficient time-wise to ignore all references that weren't, say, to Devon because I was working on that area. Also, although my crystal ball is not entirely clear, I do think some sources are likely to be digitalised relatively soon, others not for a good while. I don't intend to spend many hours in record offices far from home searching through parish registers that will soon be browsable online, just because I am researching that area. Economy: Some subscriptions include access to data in other countries; it would be silly not to search for Go(a)thams oversees when I have such a sub. because my main focus is on England. Opportunity: Lastly, some English Go(a)thams lived in areas distant from where I live. It would silly not to take the opportunity to visit them should I find myself in those parts of the country, simply because I am not actively researching the area at that time. Hence you can expect to find some information about Go(a)thams appearing on this website in what may appear a random order. That said, I do have a very approximate plan for the order in which I intend to concentrate my research:
- English Go(a)thams
- Kent As this is the part that is definitely part of my family tree I have done much of this already. Most research to be done consists of 'fleshing out' the tree, and seeing original documents (or images of them) where I have only seen transcribed data.
- Devon Research on the Devon Gothams is well underway. I gathered some information about Devon Gothams while researching my Kent relations, and because a quarter of my ancestry is from Devon I already have a fair knowledge of the resources for the county and have bought quite a few books, CDs etc. which will help. Devon Gothams are also of particular interest to me because it seems possible the Kent Goathams descend from them. Images of most of the Parish Registers held at the PWDRO in Plymouth and the DHC in Exeter have been added to FindMyPast with an index. I have extracted details from the indexed entries, but the index is far from error free, and I have more browsing to do. I hope the remaining parishes will be added there soon (Abbotskerswell will be of particular interest, though the baptisms and marriages are indexed on FamilySearch). They do not, though, have BTs which I need to see for a number of parishes whose PRs only survive from a relatively late date. Most Gothams whose baptisms, marriages or burials occured in Devon and are recorded in surviving PRs should be on the Gothams tree; where the events are in later PRs that have not been indexed the individuals are likely to be included from censues and/or the BMD registration index. Some Devon Gothams for whom none of these records exist are also on the Gothams tree, with data from other sources. I have transcribed a number of wills, and have started on some Court of Chancery documents and similar, but most have yet to be added. Of course documents of wives families can be very useful, for example a maternal grandfather may mention his Gotham grandchildren. This information can not only help build up a picture of the lives of those involved, but also help with the construction of trees. I have started looking at the wives of Gothams, but still have more to do.
- the rest of England I have extracted BMD entries for the rest of England, plus a handfull of other entries, and located most census entries for those Gothams recorded in them. I have added many of these to my tree but this exercise is not yet complete. I have also found some PR entries for Liverpool, Staffordshire and Shropshire Gothams, the Liverpool ones on Ancestry, the others on FindMyPast (all with images of the PR entry). Unfortunately I have not yet found how complete the FMP coverage is; it is clearly not complete and I have some other information for these counties from FreeReg and FamilySearch. I have no prior experience of research in Lancashire, Staffordshire or Shropshire which would give me knowledge of other surviving sources for these counties and have not yet sought out any such county-specific resources.
- Any others in the rest of the UK (which, at the time of writing, includes Scotland)? (I have followed up some apparent Gothams from indexes; most indexed entries for Gothams elsewhere turn out to be for people with a visually similar surname - Cotham, Gorham, Gothorn, etc.)
- Overseas When I next have a world Ancestry sub I will aim to extract data available there, and I have looked at a few free sources or sources free for a day or 2; otherwise I don't plan researching 'overseas' Gothams thoroughly until I have done most UK research. (I have followed up Kent Goathams who emigrated; I might do the same for Gothams from other parts of England, should I come across any).