Rather than just turn up and walk around looking hopeful but without any real expectations it is useful to make some form of plan beforehand to increase the percentage likelihood of having a positive result.
The first thing I would do is prepare a list of those individuals on your tree who you already know were either born, married or died there ..... with relevant dates. This could help when walking around the graveyard looking for their graves or even just searching for other evidence.
In Week 108, I wrote about The First of my Musgroves with specific reference to the parents of my 3 x great grandfather, John Musgrove. At that time I knew that his probable parents were William Musgrove and Mary which has now been confirmed. The Kings Brompton Register of Births shows they had the following children :
- JOSEPH MUSGROVE was baptised on 19th Dec 1802 in Kings Brompton.
- JOHN MUSGROVE was born on 18 Apr 1805 in Kings Brompton and baptised on 3rd May 1805 (see copy of Register above).
- MARIA MUSGROVE was born on 31 Dec 1806 in Kings Brompton and baptised on 2nd January 1807. She died on 23 Aug 1807 in Kings Brompton.
- SAMUEL MUSGROVE was born on 02 May 1808 in Kings Brompton and baptised on 25th December 1808.
There is a listing in the Register of a marriage between a Joseph Musgrove and Mary How on 9th October 1777 - perhaps Joseph was William's brother ?
It would be useful to find out a bit about the village and the general area as it might be useful to visit adjoining villages as well, even if only so you can recognise place names on census etc.
Kings Brompton (A) is in the Exmoor National Park, roughly in the middle of a square drawn between Minehead in the north (E), Taunton in the East (B), Tiverton in the south (C) and Barnstaple in the west (D). It is sometimes still known as Brompton Regis.
There is an interesting website with local news and the history of the village which includes the fact that "today Brompton Regis is only a small village but reminders of its agricultural and industrial history endures with the names of the farms a reminder of its former settlements and the names of some of its houses a reminder of its industrial past. It was once a market town and one of the largest in the area. It has a population of 439 (2001 census) which includes the villages of Bury and Withiel Florey."
Perhaps during my visit I might find a trace of my Musgroves or their children or children's children ? It is surprising how little is needed to move a branch forward.
It is also useful to have details of any local churches which might contain graves or other historical information. These might not only be in the actual village of birth but certainly within easy travelling distance bearing in mind the methods of transport available at the time.
During my visit to Kings Brompton I need to visit the Church of the Blessed Virgin St Mary. There is an online monumental transcription of all the graves in the graveyard but there is no trace of any Musgroves on this. Perhaps there may be some of their children or children's children leaving a footprint somewhere else in the village ?
Finally, it is always useful to find out in advance where the local archives are, in this case being at the Somerset Heritage Centre near Taunton. A trip there will almost certainly be interesting if not necessarily productive. A tip - they are usually closed at least one day each week, so check before travelling.