Fantastic Addition Of Maps to Tithe Records

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This Press Release has come from the team at TheGenealogist.

Like so many, I love maps so this is really exciting news!

Detailed Town and Parish Maps go online for the first time

Small Map of Tinwell final

TheGenealogist has added maps to its comprehensive National Tithe Records collection.

All aspects of society were captured by this survey

Identify the land your ancestors owned or occupied in the 19th century

Get an idea of their working lives by the usage made of the plots by your forebears.

Fully linked tithe maps for Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire with other counties to follow shortly

Geographically placing where your ancestors worked and lived

In partnership with TNA, TheGenealogist is making it possible to search over 11,000,000 records from across England and Wales and to view theses valuable original apportionment documents with linked maps on one website.

It’s always been a challenge to find where our ancestors lived, but now these records can help you explore the fields and houses in their home villages and towns. Never before have family historians been able search nationwide for these ancestral maps. We plan to have complete coverage in the next few months.

Tithe maps allow you to pinpoint your ancestors from our records. They show the boundaries of fields, woods, roads, rivers and the location and shape of buildings. The detail recorded within the maps and apportionment records will show you how much land they owned or occupied, where exactly in the parish it was, what the land was used for and how much tithe rent there was to pay.

The Tithe Commissioners maps are now housed in The National Archives (TNA). Due to their age and the materials used the original maps are often too fragile to handle. These were microfilmed in 1982 and some of the maps have deteriorated over the last 30 years. The first stage of the project is the release of these as online images.

Sir Robert Peel tithe map

There are over 12,000 main maps plus thousands of update maps as the boundaries of fields changed over time.

The second stage will be the delicate conservation and digitisation of the original colour maps.

“Tithe records are a rich resource for family historians as they cover owners and occupiers of land from all strata of early Victorian society.

These maps can be three to four meters in length by several meters in width and have gone through a multiple levels of digitisation and processing so that the huge maps can load instantly, even on a mobile phone.This fantastic resource was created in the period from 1837 to the early 1850s as a result of one of the largest surveys into the usage, ownership and occupation of land in England and Wales since the Domesday book.”

Mark Bayley – Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist

Diamond subscribers to TheGenealogist are able to view apportionment records for all of England & Wales, with the accompanying maps now being live for Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire. The maps for the rest of England and Wales will follow over the coming months.

See their page TheGenealogist.co.uk/Tithe to freely search the records and learn more about them.

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How To Break Down Brick Walls in Family History

Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist, Interviews:

8 Professionals And Their Brick Wall Busting Tips For Researching English/Welsh Ancestors.

 

Break Down Your Family History Brick Walls
Family History Brick Wall

 

How do you break down a brick wall and find those elusive ancestors?

A problem that most of us have had; so I lined up eight experts and asked them to give you their top tips for carrying out English/Welsh family history research! The result is a  FREE download audio file that I am making available to you here.

Audio file
MP3 Audio File

These knowledgeable interviewees include practising professional genealogists, with years and years of experience to offer.

Yet others are from the very highest levels of the online data provider companies, like Ancestry and TheGenealogist.

Listen to the download and learn some plain tips that will simplify the often confusing business of researching English/Welsh ancestors. I am going to give you access to these eight professionals so that you can use their advice to break down several brick walls that you may have.

So who are these experts?

 

1. Anthony Adolph – Professional Genealogist, Author and Broadcaster starts of the recording with three tips that he thinks anybody researching their family tree should do. His advice will take you back to basics, but sometimes that’s what we all need to hear. So often we are far too keen to make leap forwards and forget the tried and trusted route.

 

Anthony Adolph, Professional Genealogist, Author and Broadcaster
Anthony Adolph, Professional Genealogist, Author and Broadcaster

 

2. The Family History Society Expert. I recorded these interviews at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show 2014 where many top family historians gather together once a year.

Its here that the Society of Genealogists set aside a special space where family history experts sit at tables and offer an advice-surgery for members of the public who have brick walls. This next lady was one of those very experienced individuals chosen to give others her help. I managed to get her to give a quick couple of tips about listening to relatives and what use to make of photographs.

 

3. The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) Member. What would the advice be from a professional genealogist practitioner?

Well as many serious professional genealogists belong to this association, I headed over to the AGRA stand and asked a member for his research tips. Points he brought up included the information on documents being only as good as that given by the informant and what to do about conflicting data. There is more to hear in the full interview that you can download here .

 

AGRA Member
Member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives

 

4. Families in British India Society (FIBIS) Expert. In family history we often have to think a bit outside the box. Well have you considered that your missing ancestor had moved abroad? With 3 million Brits having gone out to India then if we have a missing forbear it could certainly pay us to take a look at the records from this part of the British Empire. Its not just soldiers, the list of people who went out to work there is long as we hear from this FIBIS expert.

 

5. Celia Heritage – Professional Genealogist, Author and Family History Teacher introduces us to an often under used set of resources in her piece: Death Records. She explains how to use these records to flesh out the bones of our ancestors lives.

Celia is an excellent and knowledgeable speaker and you can just hear the passion that she has for her subject as she dispenses some gems of advice in the free downloadable audio presentation. Its not just death certificates that Celia brings to our attention in this part of the recording!

 

Celia Heritage
Celia Heritage. Professional Genealogist, Author and Family History Teacher

 

 

6. Dr Ian Galbraith – The National Wills Index explains about one of the best single major sources for family historians when I asked him to talk about Wills and Administrations for this audio.

Ian  explains why wills can be an important resource with an average of 10 names per will and with half of them being different from that of the testator. Many people are surprised by the fact that all sorts of people left wills, but you won’t be when you have heard the full  interview.

 

Dr Ian Galbraith
Dr Ian Galbraith from The National Wills Index

 

 

7. Brad Argent – Content Director for Ancestry advises family historians to drill down for the information in the online databases in his contribution to the recording. Brad suggests we use the card catalogue to seek out data sets and then use the advance search facility of “exact”, “soundex” and “wildcards” when we are on this large data provider’s site. His advice is compelling.

 

Ancestry's BradArgent

 

8. Mark Bayley – Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist, a site that gives really fantastic value and a very wide range of data, introduces us to a great name-rich resource recently published by TheGenealogist, in association with The National Archives.

What is this important resource for England and Wales?

It is, of course, the Tithe collection.

Mark Bayley, Head of Content at TheGenealogist
Mark Bayley, Head of Content at TheGenealogist

I have been using this set recently to great effect with my own rural ancestors and so I have included a module in my Family History Researcher Guides about the tithes.

The beauty of this data is that it includes both sides of society, with landowners and tenants being recorded and giving names and addresses. As a pre-census data set it is hugely valuable to us! Listen to Mark explain about these exciting records in the  free recording you can download now by clicking the link below.

 

 

The advice given by my 8 expert interviewees can be listen to by downloading a FREE audio file to your computer here.

Now you may be asking why I am doing this for free?

Its because I want to introduce you to a set of guides that I have put together. A series of pdf modules that takes the information I gleaned at Who Do You Think You Are? Live and incorporated it, along with much more content into a year’s worth of weekly written guides.

There are extra contributions from various other professional experts who have penned some of the reports, as well as those modules written from my own extensive experience.

I am guessing that, if you have read this far, you are interested in English/Welsh family history and that you have hit at least one of the inevitable brick walls. The solution is to understand more ways to find your ancestors.

So if you would like to dramatically increase your knowledge then I think you will enjoy being a member of my Family History Researcher Guides. This is a 52 weekly series of guides written in an easily accessible form and you can take a two week trial for just £1 by going here:

www.FamilyHistoryResearcher.com/trialoffer.

But STOP! First go and download you free audio of the:

8 Professionals And Their Brick Wall Busting Tips For Researching English/Welsh Ancestors

I’ll include a link to my Family History Researcher Guides on the thank you page!

Nick Thorne
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News from Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014. Tithe Records

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NEWS from Who Do You Think You Are? Live

 

A great new resource has been launched by TheGenealogist at this year’s Who Do You Think You Are? Live show which I am really excited about. I’m talking about the Tithe records. Below is the information released by the team at TheGenealogist.

 

For the first time you will be able to search over 11,000,000 records and view the original documents online. The Tithe Records provide a unique view into our ancestral heritage by providing details of ownership and occupancy of land throughout England and Wales, revealing a wealth of information about people, places and landmarks in the Victorian era.

These pre-census records can allow you to further your research at the click of a button.

The Tithe Records are the perfect accompaniment to Census and BMD records and offer an extra piece in the genealogical jigsaw to give a valuable social and geographical insight into the lives of our Victorian ancestors.

The introduction of the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 meant records were taken, as with the Domesday Book, of the land ownership and occupancy, land use and sizes, and the rents to be paid. This affected everyone – from aristocracy to peasantry, from politicians to labourers all levels of the social hierarchy found their way into the Tithe Records to give us a fascinating snapshot of a period in English history.

This first phase at launch will reveal all tenants and landowners across England and Wales from over 11,000 parishes. This will provide the opportunity to discover whether your ancestors were landowners and how their land was put to use, or if tenants or occupiers, which plots of land they were living or working on.

The second phase of the project will link images of microfilm maps with the plot references. Launch due Spring 2014.

The third phase will digitise the large original maps in colour for each county at high resolution to enhance this unique resource. Launch due 2015.

Mark Bayley, Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist concludes: ‘This has been an exciting, major project for us. The records touch upon the lives of every family so they really are a must have for every family historian!’

 

 

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Early Militia Musters now on TheGenealogist.co.uk

 

Militia records on TheGenealogistWow, I’ve had a busy weekend, some of it spent looking around an old graveyard.

I couldn’t help but notice the number of military men that had been remembered in the words written on their headstones. Some listed the battles they fought in and some just their regiment, or ship in the case of those who served in the Royal Navy.

 

I did get to spend an hour, however, on the computer looking up the names of branches in my family in a new set of records just released by TheGenealogist.

In my Devon lines my family tree often gets stuck, when I try to push it back into the 18th century. But this week, using the new Militia Musters, just released online by TheGenealogist, I have found some promising leads. And shock horror…some of my Devon kin, especially the ones from Plymouth, may actually be from Cornwell as I note the names appearing in Musters in that county, while others are more definitely Devonian.

 

For the first time you can search early militia musters for all of England and Wales. The collection includes over 58,000 rare records of these part-time soldiers for 1781 and 1782. This is the largest number of surviving records available for this era.

This joins the largest collection of Army Lists available online establishing TheGenealogist as a major military research site.

The militia men were offered a bounty to transfer to the regular army and some did decide on a regular military career. If you’re struggling to find out how your ancestor started their military career, the answer could be in the militia records!

In the troubled times of the 1700s, Britain faced a threat from the European powers of France, Spain and Holland at various times. All ‘able-bodied’ men were considered for the militia and put on a ‘militia ballot list’. The chosen men then were required to meet or ‘muster’ at points for training. Four musters were taken over the time covered by the new records on TheGenealogist.

 

The records cover people from all walks of life who made up the officers and men, from M.P.’s to landowners, from carpenters to labourers, if they were physically up to it, they could be selected for the militia!

 

Regiments covered all of England and Wales and are represented in the new records. The records are from The National Archives series WO13 and feature the ‘muster and pay lists’ of all members of the militias. Men received ‘Marching Money’ when the militia was mobilised and were paid expenses for local meetings.

The new militia lists can further help track the movements and lives of our ancestors before census and civil registration times.

In an easy to search format, it’s possible to search for an ancestor to see if they served in any of the militia regiments of England and Wales. Search by name and any relevant keyword, or use the advanced search to narrow it down to ‘Corps’ , ‘Company’ or the actual ‘Rank’ of the soldier.

Mark Bayley at TheGenealogist comments: “These unique records really enhance our online military collection. Not all our ancestors served in the regular army and the part-time local militias were an essential part of the national defence, as was seen in the ‘Battle of Jersey’ at the time, when the local militia fought admirably against the French and Dutch”.

 

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

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Tithe Records for Family Tree Researchers

 

Tithe MapI’ve been looking at some of my rural ancestors from Devon this weekend.

I found that they mostly had long lives, provided they survived through their childhood.

For example, one agricultural labourer (ubiquitous Ag.Lab in the census) reached his 91st birthday. Others died well into their late 80s.

By tracing the baptisms, of my direct ancestors in the parish records, I noticed that in the year 1830, before the census officials introduced the term Ag.Lab into general use, that my ancestor John Jarvis of South Huish, was recorded in the register for his son’s baptism as: Husbandman.

A husbandman is, according to the Oxford dictionary online: a person who cultivates the land; a farmer.

Origin: Middle English (originally in northern English use denoting the holder of a husbandland, i.e. manorial tenancy): from husband in the obsolete sense ‘farmer’ + man. Oxford English Dictionary Online.

So then I wondered how much, if any, land he may have had as a tenant and how could I find this out. The answer was the tithe maps, of course.

A quick online search and I discovered that Devon has a project to put the tithe apportionment documents and eventually the maps on the web.

http://www.devon.gov.uk/tithemaps.htm

 

Virtually every parish, from the beginning to the middle of the 1800s would have had tithe maps drawn up for their area. Accompanied by the apportionment records, which is the key to the tithe map. It tells the researcher who owned what pieces of land, what it was used for and the amount of payment due. The schedule is divided into columns:
1.    Landowners
2.    Occupiers – if the landowner, this is shown as ‘himself’, otherwise the tenant’s name is given
3.    The plot number referring to the tithe map
4.    Name or description of the land, premises or field
5.    State of cultivation e.g. arable, meadow, pasture, wood, garden, plantation
6.    The size – in acres, roods and perches
7.    The money due to the Vicar
8.    The money due to Impropriators
9.    Any further remarks.
So what is a tithe?
The word literally means one-tenth. For centuries past the people were required to pay annual tithes, to their local parish church, to support it and its clergy.  To begin with tithes were paid “in kind” which meant parishioners handing over one-tenth of their produce (corn, hay, vegetables, eggs, wool, animals, fish, flour etc.) As you would expect this made tithes unpopular.
In the 16th century the monasteries were dissolved and a great deal of former church property, including the rights to tithe, now passed into the hands of private individuals (‘Lay Impropriators’).

Those tithes that were now due to be paid to the Church of England still caused problems. There were no end of disputes over the values of land, processes and produce. On top of this was a reluctance by members of the other religious denominations to be forced to pay their tithes to the established state church.

 

To bring an end to these disputes, the Tithe Commutation Act was passed in 1836. Tithes were to be based on land values and converted to an annual money tax known as ‘corn rents’ or ‘tithe rent charges’. To get rid of the problem of variations from locality to locality the Tithe Commutation Act now fixed the payment based on the average price of wheat, barley and oats.

 

 

What did I find about John Jarvis?

Well there is certainly a man of this name listed in the ownership column along with that of the Earl of Devon who appears many times along side the names of others. John Jarvis was not, however, the occupier of the Orchards and arable land. This was a neighbour whose occupation on the census page is denoted as a Farmer.

So assuming that, in this tiny Devon hamlet, I have found the correct John Jarvis, then it would seem that he worked as a farm labourer, while renting out his own land to the farmer.

 

One of the lessons in my English and Welsh Family History course covers rural ancestors. Read more about this beginners to intermediate course here:

www.FamilyHistoryResearcher.com

 

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Finding Ships That my Merchant Navy Ancestors Sailed

 

Captain Henry Thomas Thorne on the GWR Dolphin, Dartmouth, Devon.
Captain Henry Thomas Thorne on the GWR Dolphin, Dartmouth, Devon.

I have a bit of salt in my blood, especially on my paternal side. This week I’ve been using the Crew List Index Project (CLIP) website to find out a bit more about some of them.

CLIP was set up to improve access to the records of British merchant seafarers of the late 19th century and has gathered the largest database of entries from crew lists.

While I was not successful in tracking down a crew list for the particular ship I was looking at this week I did manage to use their finding aids to flesh out a bit more information on a couple of vessels that my family have sailed.

 

On CLIP’s website they have a useful finding aid tool http://www.crewlist.org.uk/data/data.html

Selecting the Vessels by Name I was able to find the Official number for the  S.S. Dolphin and then I could  find her in a list that gave me her date and place where she was built and the address of her owners.

You need to tie a ship down to its official number as there may be several vessels of the same name, as is the case with the Dolphin. Also a ship may change its name in its lifetime but the official number is unique to it and never changes.

I found a reference to the Dolphin in a document in The National Archives which I will take a look at the next time I visit Kew and the TNA.

Using Google Books I was able to call up a Lloyd’s Register of Shipping but this time I could find no entry for this particular Dolphin. I have to say that I am only just starting out on this research and it is turning out to be fascinating. I will put what I learn about the process into a forthcoming lesson within my Family History Researcher course, which can be accessed by clicking the image below.

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What Family History Data Sets Are You Missing?

Most users of the main genealogical subscription sites will probably use the census data sets and birth marriage and death records and pretty much nothing else.

This is a real waste of their subscriptions as there is so much else to be plumbed from these treasure troves.

TheGenealogist.co.uk
TheGenealogist.co.uk

I was looking at the amazing full colour pdf images of wills on TheGenealogist.co.uk this week and also at the Register of Landowners, completed in 1873, that is something like the Griffith’s Valuation lists for Ireland, but for Britain instead. In this database you can find the names of owners of, or those that rented more than an acre of land in England, Wales and Scotland.

TheGenealogist.co.uk also has a set of poll books for various counties of England and Wales, and, for those of you that wish to delve back further than the 17th century and who have landed gentry in your line, there is the heraldic Visitations.

The Poll books give names, addresses, occupations and show how people voted in the election. The Poll Books that are available on TheGenealogist pre-date the census records and go back as far as the 1700s, making them a valuable resource for family historians.

Heraldic Visitations began in 1530 and were tours of inspection undertaken by Kings of Arms in order to regulate and register the coats of arms of nobility and gentry, and to record pedigrees. By the fifteenth century many families were adopting coats of arms as symbols of wealth and power but not all had a legitimate claim to them. As surviving visitation records include pedigrees and often the evidence that was used to prove these, including family details, background and ages, their records provide important source material for genealogists.

Visitation Records are currently available for individual counties and the whole of England and Wales, with years ranging from 1530 – 1921.

Another specialist set is the List of Bankrupts with Their Dividends 1786-1806.

 

This is just an example of a few of the data resources that can so easily be missed by the family historian, and we are talking of one example of a subscription website here!

The hundreds of other databases to be explored within the other sites such as Ancestry, findmypast, the Origins.net and so on that so many do not use, is staggering.

 

Take a look today!

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Wills & Administrations in English Family History

Wills can be of great use to any family historian for a number of reasons. They can furnish you with names of relatives, give you a description of the property that your ancestor owned at the time of their death and even reveal their favourite charity. Or though in my case I suspected that the charity that my aunt chose to leave the residue of her estate to was really her solicitor’s favoured charity and his suggestion!

Wills are one of the few documents written by your ancestor. For this reason they may give you an insight into their attitudes, social standing and their lifestyle. Perhaps, if you are lucky they can also explain family feuds and even expose scandals.

If, however, you discover that one of your ancestors seems to have been cut out of the will, you should always consider that this may not necessarily mean that they were disinherited. You should be open to considering that other arrangements had already been made for them in the lifetime of the deceased.

Quite a few family history researchers assume it is not worth checking if their ancestors left a will because they think their ancestor’s background precluded them from doing so. It is, however, wrong to believe that only a minority of people from the top of society left wills. Yes, it may be true that most people who left wills had some property of some kind or another. But wills can be found for people from amongst the very widest range of backgrounds.

Whilst it is perhaps true that only a small percentage of the population left a last will and testament, you should remember that for every person who did so means that there will be at least one other person mentioned in the document and this at least doubles your chance of finding a connection to your family tree, even if they are a distant relative.

It is possible, but not all that common, to find a will belonging to your family that pre-dates the parish registers, or even better where parish registers and the other primary sources have been destroyed or gone missing over the years.

You should know that before 1858 wills were generally proved in the church courts. In order to find a will in this time period will need you to have some understanding of the church hierarchy and how this bears relationship to the place or area that you are researching within.

So, what is a will?

It is a formal document stating exactly what a person desires should happen to their possessions after they have passed on. The person making a will is referred to as the Testator and they make a Last Will and Testament. This is actually a joint deed, the Will and the Testament.

Last Will and Testaments became the legal means of passing on one’s property in England in the year
1540. This was because it was only from that date that ‘Freehold’ land could be gifted or “devised” through a will. Before this date a “testament” was legally only concerned with what the law knows as “personality”. this is a term referring to personal property, that is a person’s moveable goods and chattels.

Why wasn’t it possible to pass on land? The answer lies with the fact that interests in “real property”, or the land and buildings your ancestors owned, would descend automatically to the deceased immediate heir. The church law, however, stated that at least one-third of a man’s property should pass directly to his widow as her dower and then one-third to all his children.

In theory these rules could not be broken, however property owners found ways that they could get around them. As an example, whilst “Copyhold land” – land held from the Lord of the manor – could not be left in a will before 1815, it could still be given up or “surrendered” to be used in a will. This effectively meant that it could be left to whomever a person wanted! Other methods of circumnavigating the rule was to transfer one’s property to trustees who would hold it during the owner’s lifetime as per that person’s instructions.

If you are lucky and find your ancestor has left a will you will see just how useful it is to the family historian.

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Manorial Documents in English Family History Research

Ancestral Trails-The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family HistoryI’ve been dipping back into Mark Herber’s book “Ancestral Trails” published by The History Press 2005, looking at the subject of researching back before Parish records started in the mid-16th century. He warns his readers to expect difficulties tracing their ancestors in that time. It seems that before then, you are only likely to come across sporadic references to your ancestors – or perhaps more properly people who could be your ancestors – in wills, tax records or court documents. Herber writes that “… you are unlikely to be able to trace a line of descent in this period (and in particular find documents that evidence that one man was related to another) unless you find your ancestors in property records.”

Now property records can be found for people from various classes, those who were substantial land owners and also yeoman, tenant farmers and labourers. This is why it is said that English manorial documents are perhaps one of the few types of records in which genealogical information about the common man, as opposed to those from the upper classes, is likely to survive from medieval times.

So what was the manorial system?

In the England of the Middle Ages, land was held from the English monarch by a lord and on his land the peasants worked and received his protection in return. Anglo-Saxon society was, as in most of the other European countries, rigidly hierarchical. Social status depended on birth and family relationships. Power was gained through the ownership of land, as this was the principal source of wealth at this time.

After the Norman conquest of England all the land of England was deemed to be owned by the monarch. The king would then grant use of it by means of a transaction known as “enfeoffment”, where land grants or “fiefs” were awarded to the earls, barons, bishops and others, in return for them providing him with some type of service.

There were two sorts of tenure, according to the type of service rendered by the tenant to the lord, free and unfree. Free tenure can then be broken down into different forms again. A tenure in chivalry, for example “tenure of knight service”, would be where the tenant was charged to provide his lord with a number of armed horsemen. Mark Heber in Ancestral Trails points out that this type of tenure was soon commuted to a money payment (or “scutage”). He also explains that among the types of “free tenure” was to be found “spiritual tenure” where divine services, or “frankelmoign” by which a clergyman, holding land from the lord of the manor, would pay his due in prayers said for the lord and his family.”Socage tenures” existed where the tenant provided his lord with agricultural services such as ploughing the lord’s retained land for 20 days a year.

“Villein tenure” or unfree tenure applied to those men known as villeins, serfs or bondmen. This class of tenant was not free to leave the manor without obtaining the permission of the lord. They would be subject to many obligations, some of which were onerous and these individuals held their land in exchange for providing the lord a number of days work in return. This could be, for example, four days work a week -  but the nature of the work could vary depending on what was required.

Manorial Documents are fascinating for family historians, as are will documents that were not the exclusive preserve of the rich. I shall explore this area again in other posts.

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