Day two of the Norfolk research: a visit to Kirby Hall. No, not some impressive ancestral pile (unfortunately), but a fantastic family history resource in the heart of Norwich.
Kirby Hall in St Giles Street is owned and run by Norfolk Family History Society, of which we are members. http://www.norfolkfhs.org.uk/ . It is open on a few days a week, staffed entirely by knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers and what a great resource it is!
We had in advance looked at their holdings and had identified some things to look at, including MIs (monumental inscriptions) for East Dereham churchyard and an intriguing-sounding “large Muskett family tree”.
We seemed to impress the volunteers on duty by apparently having a bit of a clue as to what we were about (presumably they have some folk who wander in with a rather more vague notion of wanting to trace their family without knowing how) and set to work.
The MIs were great. I made a note of all the Georges buried at and in East Dereham church, and also at the cemetery and was able to photocopy a plan to help locate them. The 1830 Directory of Norfolk which I consulted amusingly described East Dereham inhabitants as “for the most part intelligent and highly respectable”!! Kirby Hall holds transcripts of very many parish registers as well as some wills, various books and finding aids, boxes of information on individual villages and family trees deposited with them by members.
My husband located the “large Muskett family tree” and………it turned out to be a copy sent to them by his father some years ago when he was actively researching Musketts! We have the identical thing at home. Ah well – he, too, founds lots of other useful things and we were there till chucking out time at 4.00pm!
A massive thank you to the volunteers who keep this place open!