The Parish records are one of the most important collections of documents that can be found in any village or town. They represent the life cycle of those who have made the village what it is. Often these records are locked away within the books of the church, lovingly updated, by events, over the centuries. In Cottesmore the Cottesmore History and Archaeology Group have been given permission to copy the records and to enter them into a computer.
So painstakingly, over a number of months the records have been copied, checked and entered into spread-sheets. So we now have a digitised copy of the baptisms, marriages and burials that are recorded since the 1600s. Those entries up to 1911 are available to look at and search. This date was chosen to protect the privacy of those still with us and is in line with Census practise. However we are able to analyse the whole data base and would try and answer any queries that might arise.
Now that we have the records of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials that are on excel spread sheets it is possible to find, compare and analyse a whole range of interests. For example it is possible to compare one period with another to look for any differences or similarities such as the choice of first names, the occurrence of certain families. We can look at occupation of fathers and see how social and economic changes occurred. During the Second World War one can see the influence of the local RAF station in all three sets of records .The Burial figures for the RAF were particularly poignant with 128 being killed of which 109 were stationed at Cottesmore. Of those 78 were aged under 30 and 12 were only 19. There were a further 19 RAF personnel named who were based at other stations or named as coming from another country.
This table shows the most common surnames of those who have been buried in Cottesmore since 1887. Many of these names are still with us today. From the same data set 75 children aged 2 or under were buried in the graveyard.
On Baptisms this table dating from 1900 to 2012 showed where they lived with 749 out of having 1,304 lived in the parish of Cottesmore with a further 115 from the RAF camp. There were also significant numbers from Barrow given its size.
This table shows the most common surname during period covered with Stafford, Smith and Faulkner leading the way.
When one looks at the Marriage data there are many interesting facts that mirror the changing situation of the village. For instance, during the 20th century, there were 474 marriages in the church of which 120 were RAF personnel and 8 from the USAF. Of those nearly all of them occurred over 20 year period in the 0s and 50s.
It is also possible to look at family surnames, which were once quite common, but have since disappeared. One reason of course was that they left the village but that the other is that the offspring were females, so after marriage changed their names. This is what seemed to happen to the Laxtons. During the 19th century four Laxton males were married whilst 10 Laxton females were married and the table below show who the bridegrooms were.
|First name||Surname||Abode||First name||Surname||Abode|
|CAROLINE||LAXTON||OTP||FREDERICK ROBERT||HOLMES||ST MICHAEL'S NORWICH|
|HARRIET||LAXTON||OTP||JOHN TOON||HOLLIS||NORTON, DERBYS|
By going through the parish records you get a glimpse of how local families evolved and intermarried or moved on. You see the birth, marriage and death and even remarriages of a person as they move through the decades and are able to follow their offspring.