Grayson and Oyler (England), Price (Wales) and Maddock, Bernard and Gayer (Ireland)









Welcome to my website. I hope you will enjoy reading about my English, Welsh and Irish ancestors and learning about their history. 

On this web site I have described seven of my family lines which I have been researching since 1990.


My father Thomas Leslie Grayson was the son of Thomas Porter Grayson and Alice Oyler. I researched the history of the Grayson family back to the 1600s in Nottinghampshire, then in Lincolnshire, Kent and London, England.


My maternal grandparents were George Frederick Maddock and Ellen Price.  I traced the Price family of Anglesey, a few generations back to Rice Price in Llanaelhaiarn, Caernavonshire


My great grandfather, Arthur Hamilton Maddock was the son of Henry Hutton Maddock and Anna Frances Bernard of Dublin, Ireland.  He  married Eliza Anne Johnson Birtles in Liverpool. I have described the history of the Maddock family of Dublin, Isle of Man and Liverpool.  I have also traced the Birtles family of Liverpool and the Isle of Man and the Johnsons of Manchester and the Isle of Man.


My paternal grandmother was Alice Oyler, daughter of Thomas Potter Oyler from Spitalfields, Whitechapel. The Oylers are first found in Kent in the early 1600s I followed the History of the Oyler family from Kent to my grandmother in London, England


Alice Oyler was the daughter of Thomas Potter Oyler and Bridget Glynn. Bridget Glynn was the daughter of Thomas Glynn and Sabina Costello from Galway, Ireland


The history of the Bernard family of Co. Carlow, Ireland  was the most difficult because many of the Irish Records were destoyed in the fire in Dublin in 1922. However, in 2017 Family digitized the records from the Registry of Deeds and the search became easier.  My Bernard ancestors are first found in Co. Carlow where they lived for many generations.  My direct ancestors then went to the Isle of Man for a few years and then to Dublin where Anna Frances Bernard married Henry Hutton Maddock.


My great, great grandmother, Anna Frances Bernard, was the daughter of Anna Gayer and Arthur O'Brien Bernard of Carlow. I was able to trace the history of the Gayer family of Antrim and Dublin back to the early 1600s in North Cornwall as well as their Courtenay and Harris ancestors. 

Genealogical research is never complete as there is always more information becoming available in this digital age.  I intend to add information as it becomes available.  It would be appreciated, if you find any broken links, that you contact me at [email protected] Thank you

Below the image of My Family Tree is general information on genealogical research that other researchers may find helpful, as well as a link to  online resources that I used.

My tree


I have been researching my family history since 1990 and in that time I have benefitted from information provided in many different venues and formats.  Initially, it was the hard slog of visiting grave sites, offices/centres where original records were stored or scanning microfilm or microfiche at a Mormon Church Library – a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack!

Thankfully the digital age arrived at the start of this century and I was able to search files and databases from the comfort of my own home - a lot less tiring and much easier on the travel budget.

One of the primary sites that I have used is which provided information on all my ancestors no matter which country of origin. Other online resources have also been invaluable.  I have listed them in the hope that they may be helpful to others.

I also made contact with several cousins, both near and distant, who have been generous in sharing information with me.


Until civil registration began in 1837 there was no central registration of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales. Before that date historians depended on the parish registers of the Anglican Church to provide information on individuals. Dating from the sixteenth century until the present day, few other classes of records can offer such complete and wide-ranging coverage.

Historical Background

Parish registers were first introduced by Thomas Cromwell in 1538. From that date, every parish church was supposed to acquire a 'sure coffer' (i.e. parish chest) to store their records. Parish officals were also responsible for entering details of the week's baptisms, marriages and burials. Unfortunately, the earliest registers were often kept on loose sheets of paper so have rarely survived, despite the fact that they were supposed to be kept safe in the parish chest. In 1598, Queen Elizabeth I approved an order which stipulated that every church had to:  use registers made of parchment; copy any old, surviving records into the parchment registers; copy the year's baptism, marriage and burial entries and send them to the relevant bishop annually for safekeeping; these became known as Bishops' Transcripts. These records  are sometimes available today when Parish Registers are not.Queen Elizabeth was particularly concerned that records dating from the beginning of her reign be preserved, which is why so many parish registers date from 1558.

The Parish Registers

Although there are several types of parish registers, the most important ones for genealogists are baptism/christening, marriage and burial registers. Prior to 1929, a girl could marry at the age of 12, a boy at 14, although parental consent was required. Since 1929, the lower age limit has been set at 16 years of age.

Baptisms can take place any time after birth and before death. Sometimes a birth date is entered alongside the baptism entry, particularly during the Commonwealth period and after civil registration began in 1837, but most registers do not record such information.  Sometimes several children in a family were baptised on the same day even though their birth years are different.

Burials usually take place between three to seven days after death, but there are notable exceptions. Frozen ground and contagious diseases are two important factors; foul play is another (delays in burial can be imposed by a Coroner, if she/he deems it necessary). All in all, it is difficult to generalize with any accuracy.


Until the passing of various pieces of legislation during the 18th and 19th centuries, the quality and extent of information entered into a parish register was entirely dependent on the conscientiousness of the official who maintained the register.

Most early registers were written in Latin, the official use of which was not abolished until 1733. In practice, though, English had long-since superseded Latin by this date. However, even when registers are written in English, inconsistent spelling and appalling handwriting can make them very difficult to use.  Often the cleryman in the Parish may have been one of the only literate mebers of the community. If the family was unable to write their name the clergyman would often spell it the way that he preferred.  

Until Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act came into force in 1754, baptisms, marriages and burials were usually recorded in one volume, sometimes separately, sometimes all jumbled together in chronological order. Thereafter, marriages were entered into separate volumes (often with marriage banns), while baptisms and burials continued to be recorded together until the implementation of George Rose's Act in 1813. Baptisms and burials then began to be recorded separately in pre-printed, standardised volumes.




Domesday onward - censuses in Britain

The first thorough survey of England was in 1086 when William the Conqueror ordered the production of the Domesday Book. This detailed inventory of land and property was a massive undertaking at the time. It took many years to complete, and provides us with a remarkable picture of life in Norman Britain.

In Tudor and Stuart times, bishops were made responsible for counting the number of families in their diocese, but Britain was very reluctant to adopt the idea of a regular official census. While Quebec held its first official Census in 1666, Iceland in 1703 and Sweden in 1749, Britain was slow to follow suit.

Towards the end of the 18th Century, however, it became increasingly obvious that there was little idea about the number of people living in Britain. Some said the population was rising, while others were sure it was falling. Opposition to an official census finally collapsed after the famous demographer Thomas Malthus published his essay on the 'principle of population' in 1798 in which hypothesized that population growth would soon outstrip supplies of food and other resources. Concerned at this alarmist view of the future, people began to see the need for a census. Parliament passed the Census Act in 1800 and the first official Census of England and Wales was on 10 March 1801.

Information was collected from every household by the Overseers of the Poor, aided by constables, tithingmen, headboroughs and other officers of the peace. The Act also applied to Scotland, where the responsibility for taking the count was placed on schoolmasters. In Ireland, the first modern census was taken 20 years later, in 1821.

The first official head count revealed that Great Britain's population at the time was 10 million. Previous estimates had varied between 8 million and 11 million. Information about every person in the land was processed by an army of clerks using nothing more than pens and paper. Technology did not make census taking simpler until 1911, when punch cards and mechanical sorting and counting machines were introduced. Computers were first used in the 1961 Census and now play an essential role.

The modern Census

The census taken in 1841 is widely regarded as the first truly modern census.  For the first time the head of each household was given a form to fill in on behalf of everyone in the household on a certain day. This system has stood the test of time, and it still forms the basis of the method we use today. Prior to the passing of the Northern Ireland Census Act 1969, censuses in Northern Ireland were taken under the authority of separate Acts.

Since 1801 there has been a census every ten years except in 1941 during the Second World War. The basic principles of census taking remain the same, though new questions have been added and others have disappeared. Up until 1911 the Government needed to introduce a new Census Act for every census held. This was changed by the 1920 Census Act which made it possible for the Government to hold a census at any time, once Parliament has approved the necessary 'secondary' legislation which lays out the details of a particular Census, but no sooner than five years after the last census.




The International Genealogical Index is a family history database that lists several hundred million names of deceased persons from throughout the world. Names in the IGI came from two sources.

  • Community Contributed IGI (Personal family information submitted to the LDS Church)
  • Community Indexed IGI (Vital and church records from the early 1500s to 1885)



A move from March to January

The celebration of the new year on January 1st is a relatively new phenomenon. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March. A variety of other dates tied to the seasons were also used by various ancient cultures. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the fall equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice.

Early Roman Calendar: March 1st Rings in the New Year

The early Roman calendar designated March 1 as the new year. The calendar had just ten months, beginning with March. That the new year once began with the month of March is still reflected in some of the names of the months. September through December, our ninth through twelfth months, were originally positioned as the seventh through tenth months (septem is Latin for "seven," octo is "eight," novem is "nine," and decem is "ten."

January Joins the Calendar

The first time the new year was celebrated on January 1st was in Rome in 153 B.C. (In fact, the month of January did not even exist until around 700 B.C.). The new year was moved from March to January because that was the beginning of the civil year, the month that the two newly elected Roman consuls—the highest officials in the Roman republic—began their one-year tenure. But this new year date was not always strictly and widely observed, and the new year was still sometimes celebrated on March 1.

Julian Calendar: January 1st Officially Instituted as the New Year

In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced a new, solar-based calendar that was a vast improvement on the ancient Roman calendar, which was a lunar system that had become wildly inaccurate over the years. The Julian calendar decreed that the new year would occur with January 1, and within the Roman world, January 1 became the consistently observed start of the new year.

Middle Ages: January 1st Abolished

In medieval Europe, however, the celebrations accompanying the new year were considered pagan and unchristian like, and in 567 the Council of Tours abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. At various times and in various places throughout medieval Christian Europe, the new year was celebrated on Dec. 25, the birth of Jesus; March 1; March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation; and Easter.

Gregorian Calendar: January 1st Restored

In 1582, the Gregorian calendar reform restored January 1 as New Year's Day. Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately, it was only  gardually adopted among Protestant countries. The British did not adopt the reformed calendar until 1752. Until then, the British Empire, and their American colonies, still celebrated the new year in March.