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Strategy for researching birth information from 1066-1537

1. Church Records: Church records
Church records are parish, chapel, or congregation registers created by church authorities. They contain baptisms or christenings, marriages, and burials. In these records you may find names and dates and places of births or christenings, marriages, and burials. In the absence of a birth date, use a christening or baptism date.

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

2. Poor Law Records: Poorhouses, poor law, etc.
Poor law records deal with the care of the poor. In these records you may find names, birth dates and places, marriage information, name of spouse, parents' names, death or burial information, and the parish where the family lived. Poor law records include churchwarden accounts, rate books, settlement certificates, removal orders, examinations, bastardy bonds, guardianship, and apprenticeship records. These records were created on a parish level before 1834 and on county and poor law union levels beginning in 1834.

What you are looking for - Your ancestor's name in poor law 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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