Just as you might expect, we all come to genealogy for different reasons. Along with an interest in history, for June it was more a result of circumstances. Originally from England, she moved to the United States in 1963 shortly after marrying her American husband. In addition to the adjustment of new surroundings and getting to know her husband’s family, she discovered several of them shared identical names, and how was one to keep track of them all? With a pencil and paper, she created a family tree to alleviate the confusion during family gatherings.
THE BOOK OF NAMES
The fact that her father’s mother (Elizabeth Bethell) died when he was 2 held a curious appeal to June and she became interested in researching that family line. She contacted her father’s sister for information and was sent a family pedigree chart as a starting point for her research, (“although some of the names were found to be mixed up”). In 1970 June returned to England for a visit.
Her aunt took her to the village her grandmother was from and a parish where the church register of records were kept. With the help of her aunt’s pedigree chart, June was able to research a dozen family names that first day. Now familiar with the church location, she planned to return a few days later and continue researching.
Following a late start, lengthy train and bus ride, she arrived at the church at 4 p.m. She looked through the parish register discovering a wealth of information on ancestral births, marriages, burials, and christenings. So engrossed in the records, hours passed before June realized it was 11 p.m. She locked up the records and placed the key where the minister had earlier instructed. In the darkness, she walked down the street, only to learn the bus service had ended at 9:30. ‘Not to worry’ she remembers thinking – she could ‘ring up’ one of the local pubs to obtain lodging for the night . . . but her calls went unanswered. In the distance was a house with a light still on. She knocked on the door but “No, there were no accommodations” available. With her options exhausted, she returned to the parish church and spent the night on a church bench, reflecting on the 200 family names she found in the parish registers that day.
June returned to the area on subsequent trips throughout the years, and estimates she has 15,000 ancestral names from the parish register, county museum, town hall and library. Prior to 1997 her only access to records was during return trips to England. Then in 1997, the LDS church began to microfilm the records. Recently, the county’s Genealogy Society has been indexing all parish records, making them available upon request in CD or booklet form as they are completed. June has since acquired several CDs and booklets for her family research.
June married her husband in England and described the methods of marriage in that country as by: 1) Banns or 2) License. Most Church of England marriages require banns (the announcement of an intended marriage) to be read in church 3 consecutive Sundays before a wedding can take place within the next 12 months. By law, the 3 week period allows anyone in the parish to object to the intended marriage. Barring any objection, the couple receives a certificate which is then submitted to the parish where they intend to be married. Usually the couple is married in either of the parishes where the bride or groom resides. Click below to hear her story on the history of banns and clandestine marriages.
So far, June has traced her lineage back to 1604. Her family research includes an extensive pedigree chart and a vast collection of marriage and birth certificates from England. She shares the chart with family members in England and will pass her research documents on to her daughter.
Reflecting on her research, June describes her ancestors as “agricultural laborers who didn’t have much, and they didn’t really have enjoyable things to do – it was a matter of survival.” Their experiences came to shape our lives.
She remains passionate about genealogy because “all these people make up what you are”. Click below to hear her story.
June Braun has been researching her family history in England since 1970. She is an active member of the LDS church, has been a member of the Siuslaw Genealogy Society for about 8 years and has previously served as President for the association.