Monday, September 2, 2019

When your family moves to Jersey (Channel Islands)!!!


My Fursland family suddenly ups and moves from South Devon to Jersey in the Channel Islands? Imagine my surprise when 2 sisters move to Jersey and marry, and a brother follows.  Why?  They were servants, but maybe there was a military connection?

And, this all happens in the mid 1800's......clearly I need to brush up on my history and figure out why they would leave Devon and go to Jersey!

The Fursland/Furzland family of Ugborough, Devon has always been a bit of a conundrum. I knew they must connect somehow to my Mary Fursland who married in Harford, Devon -- turns out they were cousins (her Father's siblings were from Ugborough area). 

At first I assumed Channel Islands information could be found with all the other English records -- Civil Registration, Parish Records, etc.  Hmmmmm.....turns out the Channel Islands are independent, but a Crown Protectorate.  So they keep their own records. Some folks were Church of England, but of course my family had to be difficult non-conformists and were Wesleyan Methodists! 

So a quick crash course in researching in the Channel Islands ensued.  Firstly I found an excellent website "Jersey Heritage", which you can search/browse, but need to be a member to see the actual documents/photos.  I have subscribed, but am awaiting my user info to access anything.  There are amazing records from the WW2 Occupation, with identity cards full of genealogical information and a identity photo. 

The birth, marriage, and death records are excellent, if you're a Church of England member - and available on Ancestry.  If you're Wesleyan Methodist, nothing has been digitized! And there is NO CIVIL REGISTRATION!  Ugh!  And the census is available on Ancestry, but hard to find as it doesn't seem to come up under England/UK and you have to manually search for Channel Islands Census.

Here's a marriage record for one of my ancestors:

Some obscure records have been helpful, including a listing of burial records from Funeral Homes was found on  This is also available on the Jersey Heritage site.  But the index alone on the island wiki site gave me names and dates of burials that I could match up with my ancestors (even maiden names!).

Still a work in progress, but it's fascinating to research in a whole new place, with different records!

More to follow on my Furslands!

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