• Sources of UK Records

    Most of the records hat we have had to access in tracing our ancestors have come from England, Scotland and ireland. 
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    The Secrets under grandma's bed

    Family documents are an important source of information.  They may be well filed and organised, or you may come across them in shoeboxes, in cases on top of wardrobes or buried in old chests of drawers.
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    Bringing old photos back to life

    Old photographs are delicate objects. If they haven't been preserved properly, it is likely that they will have incurred some damage between the time they were taken and now.
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    Network of family members

    Use a Family and Home Information Sources Checklist as a guide to sources of information you might find in your home or the home of a relative.
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  • Scottish Records

    If you’ve got Scottish ancestors then you’re in luck because Scotland is a world-leader in providing family history information online.
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    Irish records

    If your ancestors are Irish, you might need to become a good detective.  Better still, if you can, talk to your Granny! She'll start you off in the right place.
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    Family History for Beginners

    DIY for you to trace your own family history.
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    Locate your first primary source

    The most important sources are eye-witness and official documents.  The best first Primary Source is your grandparent's death certificate. It's a Gold Mine!!
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  • How to trace your ancestors

    Getting started is the biggest hurdle. Here's an easy guide to get you going.
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    Collecting evidence

    The best place to start collecting evidence is with the family. Especially the elders.
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    Bigger than you think

    Be warned. Once you start you'll be hooked forever! I had to learn to eat the elephant one toenail at a time.
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    Record keeping

    It's important to have some sort of order and indexing method for keeping your family records.  If not, you'll never be able to out the pieces of the puzzle together.
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The Ambler Surname

This is a very interesting medieval English occupational surname. According to Canon Charles Bardsley writing in the year 1880, it describes a groom, one whose specific duty was to teach horses to amble. This was a gait between a walk and a trot where both legs on one side moved together, providing a smooth movement. The word amble derives from the Latin ambulare, meaning to walk, although ambling is rather more than walking. Palfreys, a light saddle horse, were regarded as being particularly suitable for women and elderly people, and were as a matter of course, taught to amble. In the records known as Whitakers Craven for the year 1320 we have the entry in Latin of - Item: pro informatione unius pulli ad amulandum, 11s 6d. This figure would have been a significant sum, the equivalent of several weeks wages. Occupational surnames were amongst the first to be created in about the 12th century. However they did not generally become heriditary unless a son or sometimes a daughter, followed the father, or sometimes the mother, into the same skill or business. In this case the first recording may be that of Thomas le Amblur of York in the Hundred Rolls of landowners in 1273, whilst William Ambler without any preposition appears in the same rolls. This suggests that the first named holder may have the name as a nickname. Ambler and Palfreyman are both particularly popular surnames in the county Yorkshire.This bears out the theory that the Amblers came originally from Yorkshire.


There seem to have been few Amblers in Preston, Lancashire, prior to 1800.  Lancashire BMD shows the birth of Ellen Ambler 1847 in Preston and gives mother's maiden name as SMITH.  Lancashire BMD shows the marriage in 1845 of Edward Ambler and Margaret Smith at St. John, Preston. This would seem to be the right one, although the first name is Margaret rather than Grace.

It looks as if Edward Ambler was married twice. The mother’s maiden name on daughter Ellen’s birth in 1847 was Smith, and this matches up with the 1845 marriage of Edward Ambler and Margaret Smith in Preston. It looks as if Margaret then died in childbirth in 1849, along with newborn daughter Margaret Ambler, as Lancashire BMD shows two deaths in 1849 in Preston – Margaret Ambler aged 27, and Margaret Ambler aged 0. Thus Margaret senior would have been born about 1822.

I have not found  marriage for Edward Ambler and Grace McCutcheon, but there are six Ambler births in Preston between 1851 and 1862 where mother’s maiden name is given as McCutcheon: Edward 1851, Elizabeth 1852, Harold Spencer, 1856, Richard 1857, Frank Forsyth 1860, Mary Grace 1862. Thus it is possible this marriage (Edward and Grace) took place in 1850.  These children are definitely the siblings of my Great Grandfather Richard

The 1841 census shows a Grace McCutcheon, b. c 1823 Scotland, living on Market Street in Manchester with Jno. McCutcheon, 25, draper, b. Scotland, and John Kelly, 20, draper, b. Scotland. Possibly this is the same Grace.

Richard, son of Edward was born in 1890 in Burr, Ireland.  His son was my Grandfather Edward, father of my Dad Kenneth.

Family Traits

The Amblers have been both creative and innovative.  From our ancestors and the current generation have come singers, dancers, concert pianists, business managers, artists and IT specialists.  There have also been rogues, scoundrels and storytellers.  Common sense and business acumen run strongly through the genes.  Grandfather Edward Ambler was awarded the MBE for services to the British Government.  However, there is also a streak of rebel in there.  Great Grandfather Richard was a policeman but was also discharged for dereliction of duty and drinking on watch. 
We are a mixed bundle indeed.

News Flash

Convict Ancestors Case Study now available.

Edmund (Ned) Collins 1817-1862

There is a purpose to our research

    "You are our living link to the past. Tell your grandchildren the story of the struggles waged, at home and abroad. Of sacrifices made for freedom's sake. And tell them your own story as well — because[everybody] has a story to tell." George H.W. Bush
In a complex, mobile society like ours, life's tapestry gets shredded. The continuity of our lives is ripped by transience and fragmentation. Community is fragile, torn, scattered. Our need to examine and to share our stories is vital--for our own mental health, for our relationships and our cohesiveness in community, and for the good of a future that can learn from our past.Dolly Bertholot

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