Domesday Book, the famous land and population census held during the time of Edward the Confessor (d. 1066) and William the Conqueror, is Britain’s oldest public record and the true starting point of English genealogy. Ellis’ work is designed to throw light upon the holdings of lands as well as instances of the hereditary descent of land from those who had possession in Saxon times. By far the greatest achievement of the work is the three indexes which comprise alphabetical lists of the names of all landowners and tenants, instancing the counties wherein they held land, the location of the original citation in Domesday Book, and details of their properties, marriages, and heirs.
The first index contains over 1,500 names of landowners who held land from William the Conqueror; the second contains 5,000 names of persons entered in Domesday Book as holding lands in the time of Edward the Confessor and through later years anterior to the survey; and the third index includes over 3,000 listings of the under-tenants of land at the formation of the Domesday survey.
“The genealogist’s most valuable guide to Domesday.”–M.J. Kaminkow, A New Bibliography of British Genealogy