Friday, 5 August 2011
What is Britain? - aka it's not England!
OK, that provocative title basically summarises Audrey Collins' introduction to her half hour online lecture What is Britain?, as hosted by FamilySearch at http://broadcast.lds.org/elearning/FHD/Community/The_National_Archives/What_Is_Britain_/Player.html!
Audrey works at the National Archives in London, and to paraphrase her introduction, the Scots know where Scotland is, the Irish know where Ireland is, and the Welsh know where Wales is, but the English apparently don't know where England is. The Americans don't either, she observes, but they can be forgiven for that as neither do the English. The evidence for that comes from the fact that many English and American folk are forever mixing the words England and Britain up as if they are the same thing!
THEY ARE NOT!!!
From a genealogical research point of view, it does have consequences, and that is the serious point of Audrey's presentation. You will often read in articles that civil registration began in Britain or the British Isles in 1837, and it most certainly did, but only in England and Wales. In Ireland many of the dates are different, but the structures in some way similar, and in Scotland... well, forget it, virtually everything is different!
A brilliant presentation - and I look forward to the next edition, when rumour has it that Audrey will also be teaching the English how to pronounce the letter 'r'...!
(OK, I can't substantiate that last bit!)