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English: Poor Law and Parish Chest Records
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Family history is more than just collecting names, dates and places. In their efforts to recreate the lives of their ancestors, diligent researchers will follow the economic and social ups and downs of individual ancestors and of their family units. There could be considerable movement within an individual’s lifetime and certainly over a few generations. This course concerns itself mainly with the lows of life—and it is a very rare family indeed that will not have some of these. Some of your ancestors may feature in the parish administration or early ‘welfare system’ records. They may have been recipients or donors of charity, or serving their turn administering parish affairs. Equally important were those who did not need assistance but provided aid, were contracted to work or supply the church or workhouse and thus be mentioned as their accounts are rendered to the church.

This course shows you how to access the wealth of records giving details of their daily lives, whether they were ‘on the parish’ or on the payroll. The highs and lows of life tend to be the best documented and the extensive material on the poor is waiting to be used in archives, libraries and the FamilySearch website.


Course Content

Module 1
 
Introduction to Poor Law & Parish Chest Records
• The Poor Law
• History of the Care of the Poor
• Monasteries
• Early History of the Poor Law
• Old Poor Law
• New Poor Law
• National Health Service
• Conclusion
 
Poor Law Records
• What will these documents tell you?
• National Poor Law Records
• County Poor Law Records
• Union Poor Law Records
• Parish Poor Law Records
 

Module 2
 
Ecclesiatical Records In The Parish Chest
 
Parish Registers
• Vestry
• Records of Vestry Members
• Vestry Minutes
• Churchwardens
• Lists of Churchwardens
• Churchwardens or Church Rates
• Tradesmen's Agreements
• Churchwardens Bills
• Churchwardens Accounts
• Churchwardens Presentments
• Other Churchwarden Activities
 

Module 3
 
Charity
 
Sources of Charity Income
• Charity Disbursements
• Almshouses
• Glebe Terriers
Tithes
• History of Tithes
• Tithe Records
 
Other Ecclesiastical Records
• Annual Perambulations
• Bederolls or bead-rolls
• Briefs
• Churching Books
• Churchwarden Petitions
• Customary Fees
• Easter Dues
• Ecclesiastical Visitations
• Licenses to Eat Meat During Lent
• Lists of Ecclesiastics
• List of Excommunicated & Absolved
• Parish Magazines
• Renovations of Church Buildings
• Seating & Pew Rents
 

Module 4
 
Civil Records In The Parish Chest
 
Parish Constables 
• Appointments
• Duties of Constables
• Constables Records & Accounts
 
Poor Law Administration
• Overseers & Guardians
• Poor Rates
• Overseers Accounts
• Billing to Parish of Settlement
• Workhouse Out-Relief Accounts
• Guardians Accounts & General Ledgers
• Settlement
• Settlement Examinations
• Settlement Indemnity Certificates
• Removal Orders & Passes
• Settlement Disputes
 
Vagrants
• Vagabond Examinations
• Vagabonds Passes
 

Module 5
 
Illegitimacy
Bastardy Examinations
Bastardy Bonds
Bastardy Affiliation Orders
Bastardy Books
Putting the Story Together
Miscellaneous Bastardy Records
 
Orphans & Foundlings
• Boarding Out Registers
• Pauper Apprentices
• Indexes & Lists
• Apprentice Indentures
•Workhouse In-Relief
• Workhouse Admissions & Discharges
• Workhouse Birth & Death Registers
• Workhouse Baptism & Burial Registers
• Workhouse Inmates Clothing Records
• Workhouse Punishment Books
• Workhouse School Registers
• Workhouse Tradesmens' Accounts
• Workhouse Allowances
• Workhouse Food
• Workhouse Out-Relief
• Workhouse Medical Records
• Militiamens' Dependents
• Delinquent Fathers
• Abscondence
• Repentance
• Magistrates Orders
 

Module 6
 
Miscellaneous Pool Law Records
 
Record Types 
• Creed Registers
• Registrar's Marriage Notices
• Visits To Young Persons Hired Out
• Assisted Emigration
• Highways
• Appointment of Surveyors of Highways
• Surveyors Rates or Assessments
• Surveyors Accounts
• Open-Field Agriculture Enclosure
• Land Tax
• Parish Councils
• Water Supply
 
Miscellaneous Civil Records
• Historical Notes
• Lists of Parishioners
• Local Agriculture & Economy
• Medical Notes
• Militia Lists & Musters
• Records of Other Taxes
• Relevant Acts of Parliament
• Severe Weather
 
How To Find Poor Law & Parish Chest Materials
• County & Union Poor Law Records
• Parish Poor Law Records
• Indexes to Poor Law Records
• Workhouse Museums
 
Poor Law Employees
• Old Poor Law Pre-1834
• New Poor Law Unions from 1834
• Records of Poor Law Union Employees
 
Recommended Reading & Resources
 
 

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