St Catherines Helpfull Articles


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Search Strategy for Birth - 1066-1537

1. Probate Records, Pre-1858: Probate records
Probate records are court records dealing with the distribution of a person's estate after death. Before January 1858, Church of England courts had the responsibility to prove wills and other probate records. In these records you may find names and relationships. Probate records include wills, testaments, administrations (admons), inventories, codicils, act books, and bonds.

What you are looking for - A will or administration for your ancestor or your ancestor's name in another person's will.

Why go to the next record - You may want to go to the next record because:

  • You did not find any information in the above record.
  • You found information, but it conflicts with what you know.
  • You found information but would like to find additional details.

2. Manorial Record: Manors
Manorial records are private records of an estate held by a lord of the manor. They include court minutes listing tenants, leases, land transfers, manorial appointments, rental fees, and petty crimes. In these records you may find names and relationships of tenants. Sometimes you can trace a family back several generations.

What you are looking for - Your ancestor's name in manorial records.

Why go to the next record - You may want to go to the next record because:

  • You did not find any information in the above record.
  • You found information, but it conflicts with what you know.
  • You found information but would like to find additional details.

3. Quarter Sessions: Court records
Court records are government documents concerning civil matters. Most court records name people who were defendants, plaintiffs, jurors, or witnesses. In these records you may find a person's residence, occupation, physical description, family relationships, name of spouse, and some death and marriage information. Court records seldom provide birth information but may give ages.

Use court records after you have searched other records. Court records tend to be difficult to use because the handwriting is hard to read and they include unfamiliar legal terms.

What you are looking for - Your ancestor's name in quarter session records.

Why go to the next record - You may want to go to the next record because:

  • You did not find any information in the above record.
  • You found information, but it conflicts with what you know.
  • You found information but would like to find additional details.
 
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