Wading through the three volumes of "The Poll Taxes of 1377, 1379, and 1381" by Carolyn Fenwick researching my VERY early surname roots. My wife says its about as enthralling as looking in the the current UK phone directory and not knowing which area your relations lived. Worse actually - there's no name index at all!
One volume down, one half done and one to go :-(
And will it be worth it?? Well - I now have 10 more names in the 14thC than I had a few months ago. Downside is that Cheshire, where I believe I would find most of my proto-family was not subject to tax at this time - so no records! Staffordshire, my next port of call is poorly represented so no luck there either. A light scattering around the country though, with some interesting Fynyan families down here in Hampshire which may be related to the present day Fithyan cluster that survives to this day.
The Soldier in later Medieval England: Muster roll database. http://www.icmacentre.ac.uk/soldier/database/search.php
has been more prolific but its difficult if not impossible to work out where all the men-at-arms and archers lived - so plenty of names but not much else. Given that most spell the name Vivian or similar they are probably of Cornish origin.
HELP- I need a Cornish "Vivian" and a Hampshire "Fithyan" family to do some Y-DNA tests - PLEASE!!!!
The Calendar of Patent rolls 1216-1452. http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/patentrolls/
resource is brilliant - I have found references from 1306-1450 - a high percentage seem to be criminal pardons which is a bit disconcerting!
Anyway, so far 1 have 70 individuals from 1300-1458 - and guess what - only ONE spells his name my way!