Our family history 2020 skools out for Coronavirus Blog Week 3 – a toughy!

6th to 12th April

The Countdown to Easter

Well, this has been a tough week, particularly the first half. I was tired, tetchy and tearful but some good did come out of it – a heart to heart with my son, James, who so far has generally been really good and strong but he finally had some tears with me on Tuesday lunchtime opening up to missing his friends, school and his teachers. It is so tough for all of us but for those in reception class, just starting out in their school life and finding their way in making friends, it must be hard to have that all suddenly taken away from them. It is going to be a sad end to their first year at school unlikely to return before the summer break and therefore missing out on some important summer events such as school sports day etc.

I did really help him though when later that afternoon, one of his friends who lives just near us was going for their daily exercise with her family and we were able to stop them and have a chat (across the road of course). It was lovely for James to see her.

One thing that wasn’t helping my mood and ability to cope was hubby working from home in our conservatory which is open plan to our kitchen and a thorough fare to the garden. Also many of the children’s toys etc are in there. And whilst it may not have bothered him, it bothered me! The constant not knowing if he was a video call and trying not to make too much noise was beginning to strain on me…..So I banished him and his home office to our sons bedroom where there is a desk which my son never really uses yet and he con continue working in peace with us know that when he’s out of the room he’s having a break and we can make as much noise as we want downstairs. This really has helped the second half of the week.

God it’s so tiring though constantly trying to think of things to entertain them both and maintain that entertainment. our three year old daughter, as with most three year olds, has the concentration span of a gnat 🤣🤣🤣🤣. On Thursday I set out an obstacle course for them in the garden …they loved it but it only held their attention for about 20 mins (wow that long some may say!) and rather than me being able to relax and watch them, I think I found it more exhausting than them following them around resetting all the obstacles…….hmmm

I also discovered how to make paint. Paint is generally banished from our house because of all the mess they make – they do have a small set of watercolour each. we had bought a long roll of paper for them to use in the summer outside for messy painting but I hadn’t got around to buying any paint yet…..so why not make your own – all you need is sugar, salt, cornflour, water and food colouring. It went a bit lump but they didn’t mind, made a lovely mess with foot prints and did keep them entertained for quite a while!

It’s Easter Saturday as I’m writing this and it feels like a Sunday, in fact yesterday even felt like a Sunday…everyday feels like a perpetual Sunday at the moment! It’s been a long week! I’ve actually ventured out to the supermarket this week – twice! And yes they were both for essentials – the second to try and get stuff I couldn’t get the first time and plan for the next week! I’m still getting used to how much more food we are going through with everyone been at home 24/7! Still not flour though 😪 And now were are out of plain flour and bread flour.

I can cope without both for now but the kids really enjoyed making their own pizza base for tea on Thursday and their own bread rolls for their bbq burgers yesterday! They also really enjoyed making chocolate crispy buns 😋😋😋

In many ways it is great to have such lovely weather at the moment, the kids can play outside. As it was Good Friday they couldn’t wait to get started on the Easter egg hunts round the garden and start tucking into their Easter eggs – well in these strange times why not start early its Easter weekend, why wait until Sunday! They have 2 eggs each so the rule is they can have half an egg a day over the 4 day weekend (not to be eaten all at once though) and before they get any they have to complete the egg hunt and James has to spell out the word(s)/phrase they make up! Make them work for their eggs!!!!

I spent Good Friday sat outside in the garden with the computer yesterday doing some work … daddy is not working which means I can catch up on things I want to do!…. which was great because it meant I could still watch what the kids were doing to with daddy – mainly putting the tent up so James and Daddy could sleep in it last night! We weren’t sure how that would go as last time they tried it neither got much sleep (it was two years ago though so James was only 3 years old). Thankfully both got a good night sleep – better than me in fact I was too hot and just could not get to sleep after being woken up early in my slumber because Rose had fallen out of bed!!!!!

What was lovely, was the sound of an Owl hooting on our tree in the middle of the night 😃🦉

It was also lovely to skype my parents again and see that they are keeping well and not going out – well they are of course enjoying their own garden and getting cracking on jobs which may otherwise have been left until later in the year – or not got done🤣 They should have been spending Easter down here in Surrey with us but that is of course just not to be. I really hope we can get to see them over the summer and it is not Christmas before we see them which would be a whole year….living 200 miles away from us in Yorkshire it may still be difficult to see them once the lockdown measures start easing😪

And oh I am so fed up of the journalists and others asking the government when they are likely to be eased……just look at Italy and Spain who have been in lockdown almost twice as long as us and only just starting to think about it…and then Wohan where is all began – three months in and they are just easing back into a ‘normal’ life yet other regions of China are only just seeing the worst of the virus….come on guys stop asking the same old questions when you know the answers! I am sure the government are discussing and planning for easing the lockdown but are not going to say anything about them for fear some of the public might think its OK to flout the rules…even more so than some have still been doing! I’m sure the politicians are growing tired of the same old questions!

And whilst on the note of politicians, great to hear our PM is on the mend and able to walk a short distance….home before you know it but please ease yourself slowly back into the job of PM! 😘

The down side to this nice weather – HAYFEVER – with a vengeance!!!!! James is particularly suffering all of a sudden but hopefully the medicine will help slowly. I always find it takes a while for the antihistamines to really help control hayfever symptoms 😌

So I said I was outside in the garden working on my computer yesterday – one of my many tasks to work on my own family tree – going through all those new Ancestry hints, updating checking and amending information and records – I found a couple of errors but nothing major thankfully. I covered up to and including my great x3 grandparents – concentrating on my direct line for now! Its a long job – and that’s just the records on Ancestry – I also use Family Search and Find My Past websites! And then there’s the DNA results to go through – 300+ possible distant cousins! 😮🤣 But first of all to finish the remainder of my great grandparents (x4, x5 etc)! So let me get cracking……..

Happy Easter Everyone – a very different one not to be forgotten!

Our family history 2020 skools out for Coronavirus Blog Week 2

30th March

Well, here we go week 2 of schooling at home and the last week before the Easter Holiday begins….but I think the school work will continue throughout otherwise I’m not sure we’ll get back into it…and Dad is still working from home throughout so may as well. Every day at the moment feels like the school holidays really 😏

It was little frustrating this morning because James was keen to get going but the second school pack did not become available until about 930 …. ok that doesn’t sound late but when they’ve been up since 6 and raring to go ….its late!!!!

The other frustrating thing today was the weather….turned rather chilly and overcast with rain in the afternoon. Kids didn’t want to go outside so much today so entertaining them inside provide a little more difficult today. I did manage to get them our for a walk/bike ride in the afternoon before the rain came 👍 Typical Rose though, set off on her balance bike and about 200 metres later she wanted to walk!!!!! 😣

Me, well I managed to get enrolled on two transcription programs – one for the National Archives (Royal Navy 1st WW seaman service records) and one promoted by Who Do You Think You Are? magazine with Ancestry (transcribing various criminal records). Looking forward to getting started. I also enrolled on a free course about creating a social media marketing campaign with FutureLearn and the Pharos course “Deeds and Disputes” with Susan Moore to learn more about Chancery Court records and land disputes and the courts, the courts being of particular interest to me and an area I specialise in in respect of family history….starts 11 May so something to look forward to 😃

The good news of the day was our Sainsbury’s food delivery following an email invitation I received from them on Friday to do an online delivery shop ….I’ve never been so excited about a shopping delivery …and we got toilet rolls and soap this time 👍🤣🤣🤣

The bad news….Graeme is on reduced hours and salary of work – 4 days a week (flexible spread over the week given he’s working at home!) and 80% salary – so may have to tighten our belts a bit, but the good news about this social isolation and distancing is that we’re not spending any money taking the kids out etc so we may save money anyway !!!!!🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Day 12 31st March

My daily exercise was in the form of an 8k run down the Down’s Link bridle path – really glad we live so close to it, great run. I guess there was one event worth reporting…..I decided to cut my own fringe – not quite sure what my hairdresser would think but I think it’s not a bad job

…. not confident enough to tackle my sons yet though – think his dads clipper may come in use there! Thankfully Rose’s hair can just keep growing for now!🤣👍

Some school work was done…. and Rose practised her cutting skills

1st to 5th April

Well, I’ve decided to do weekly blogs from here on in…. Our days just aren’t exciting enough to do daily ones but of course if something exciting happens it will be a highlight! 😝

I must comment in the lack of April fools jokes about coronavirus… Whilst they would be in very poor taste I was expecting to see some on social media but I didn’t 😃

It makes me sick to think of those disrespectful ignorants who have been spitting and coughing and peoples faces and they deserve the maximum penalty of 6 months in prison!

Also pleased the police have been handing out fines to those flouting rules as long as they are not too heavy handed with them.. Its not a money making exercise! Although to go out just to buy Easter eggs for the kids is not and essential shop! By all means buy them with the rest of your shopping but don’t risk disease just for Easter eggs! Your kids will not thank you for infecting them and the rest of the family!

What else has happened this week?

For the second Thursday running at 8 pm the country united in ‘Claps of Keyworkers’. Great to see so many of our neighbours out and lots of banging and clanging on pots and pans and cheers. I’m not sure if this is going to be a weekly event….and I’m not sure it should be…after a while does something like this not lose its sense of support and just become a ‘tradition’… and we know how lots of traditions end up losing their meaning???? Also, will people get ‘fed up’ of doing it and no longer turn out? Don’t get me wrong, it is a great show of support for our NHS, carers, teachers, supermarket/food store workers, chemists, delivery drivers, factory workers and all who are having to go out to work to keep the country going but when you then start seeing people trying to start campaigns for ‘claps for our children’ because of the way they are getting on the adjustments to their lives I just think it starts getting a bit silly?!

Again, don’t get me wrong it shows just how resilient our wonderful children are but having specialised in domestic abuse as a family law solicitor, I now all too well that for many children this is not a time to be clapping them because they will will be suffering. Yes schools are there for the most vulnerable, but what about the many children who fall below that radar but are vulnerable? And that is taking me away from the point and not a discussion I will get involved in now.

Needless to say I think the clapping, if it continues every week, although I will join in, will lose its effect and so important meaning.

Sunday evening and two news highlights – the Queen making a speech to the country, only the sixth time in her 68 reign that she has done so on any other day but Christmas Day. I have read many comments online both good and bad about her speech….essentially she is like marmite – you either love her or hate her – that is to say you are either a royalist or not! Oh how that harks back to the commonwealth gap years!!!! Anyway, one statement stood out for me, as I think it did for many others, and along with the reference to her childhood address to other children, it was a reference to war – this time it is a world war against a virus rather than other nations of the world….. WE’LL MEET AGAIN… a catchphrase and song synonymous with World War Two and now perhaps coronavirus.

And not longer after her speech…..another news update – our PM Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital for ‘routine’ tests following his continued battle with coronavirus. No he hasn’t taken a turn for the worse but is not recovering as expected, still having symptoms 10 days after testing positive. This is our PM, who I think has, thus far, done a sterling job leading the country through such difficult times. He has listened to his advisers, taken the steps necessary when necessary and has not tries to down play the seriousness of the situation or failed to follow his own advice to the rest of us….unlike Mr Trump, Mrs Calderwood…….I know from reading many comments online that even those who did not vote for him have supported him and praised him for his leadership in these hard times. I think he has proved himself as our PM and not the buffoon many people thought he was. God speed to your recovery Mr Johnson and hope to see you in press conferences again soon x

A brief history of how our Ancestors were educated

And even did your ancestors receive an education? Certainly the further you go back in time the less likely they received an education unless they were in certain professions, although many ‘skilled’ labourers did serve apprenticeships. It was only 150 years ago when William Forster’s Elementary Education Act was passed in 1870 which was the beginning of ‘compulsory’ education for all 5 to 13 year old children although there had been a growing number of factory schools, colliery schools, chemical and railway schools established in the earlier half of the 19th Century.

Historically, it was the monasteries and churches which provided basic education and the Universities of Oxford (established in the late 11th Century) and Cambridge (established in the middle 13th Century) providing education for the professions (clergy, lawyers) available only to the wealthy and those is religious orders. The wealthy often educated their children privately at home, with hired governesses or tutors for younger children

Grammar schools (private and outside the control of the church) began to develop in the 15th Century with around 300 such Grammar schools existing at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries between 1536 and 1538, with an increasing number thereafter being established by Royal Charter and endowments of noblemen and wealthy merchants, all being private independent ‘public’ schools available only those who could afford the fees! It was often the ‘town-based middle class’ who could afford to send their sons to such schools.

So what about the ‘ordinary’ family and their children? It is well documented that the larger proportion of the population were illiterate and that children were required to work from as young an age as possible to help support their families. Of course, many children will have learnt trades from their parents – or should I say sons would learn trades from their fathers whilst daughters would learn their domestic and family ‘duties’ from their mothers – although of course those in particular who ‘worked the land’ would require the whole family to ‘work the land’ is order to survive.

17th Century

Charity schools began to develop to provide some education to children of the ‘deserving’ poor. Such schools would provide education free of charge and were usually funded by private contributions being established and run by churches and other religious organisations. Some such schools (often known as hospitals where they provided boarding facilities) provided education for boys up to the age of 16, preparing them to go on to University usually by means of a scholarship.

Dame schools provided voluntary education for young children essentially as forerunners to nursery schools. Theses were often run by women in their own homes to the children in their local community most likely, as nursery’s do today, to enable both parents to earning a living and financially support their families. The work the mothers would undertake however would be vastly different to diverse roles women undertake today!

Daughters of wealthy families could be sent to private boarding schools to be taught the classics, foreign languages, music, dancing, social and domestic skills.

18th Century

Following the introduction the General Workhouse Act of 1723, parish workhouses began to establish ‘workhouse schools’ to prepare their pupils for apprenticeships, thus the education was largely in practical subjects than the core subjects of education today (language, maths etc).

In the latter half of this century, the Freemasons established their own charitable schools for children of its members – firstly for girls in 1788 and then boys in 1798.

It was at the end of this century that Sunday Schools also began to develop, being introduced nationally in 1780, provided by churches These schools were for children and adults alike, educating them in basic reading but became the ‘building blocks’ of our education system.

19th Century

Following the success of Sunday Schools, ‘Ragged Schools’ were established in the early part of the 19th Century. Firstly by Thomas Cranfield in London in 1810, followed by John Pounds in Portsmouth in 1818 and later Thomas Barnardo in 1867. These schools provided free education to impoverished children, described as ‘ragged’ schools because the children were ‘raggedly clothed’!

From 1802, any child (male or female) who was apprenticed was required to be provided with free part-time education and in 1811 the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church was set up and financed by the Church of England. This society quickly became the country’s most influential educational body.

Following the emancipation of Roman Catholics in 1829 and the Reform Act of 1832 all religious schools were equal (I have not touched upon the many schools set up over the centuries by non-conformist/dissenting religious groups) and from 1833 Government grants were introduced of £20,000 per year to British, Foreign and National Society schools. This system changed in 1861 to a payment of 4 shillings per pupil plus 2 shillings 8 pence per subject per pupil passing a yearly exam in reading, writing and arithmetics.

There was an ever increasing number of children receiving an education although this was not compulsory and was often intermittent, in that during for example harvest time, children were still needed at home to help with the harvest rather than continuing to be sent to school.

The education system as we know it today developing from Forster’s Elementary Education Act of 1870 which gave education boards the powers to require parents to send all children aged 5 to 13 year old to school, however it did not make it compulsory nationwide. This was not until the 1880 Education Act which did make it compulsory for all children aged 5 to 10 years old, with the leaving age being raised to age 11 in 1893 and to age 12 in 1899.

20th Century

Our 20th century ancestors saw a gradual increase in the school leaving age from 12 to 14 in 1918 after the first world war. The Education Act of 1918 also included provision for compulsory part-time education for all 14-to-18-year-olds. However this provision did not come into force until 1921 due to cuts in public spending after World War I.

Compulsory education up to the age of 15 was introduced in the Education Act 1944, but did not come into force until April 1947 due to World War 2. This was further increased to the age of 16 from 1 September 1972.

21st Century

Following the Education and Skills Act 2008, which came into force in the 2013 academic year, whilst the school leaving age ‘technically’ remains at 16, essentially ‘children’ are now required to remain in some form of education until the age of 18, be that continuing their schooling by with continuing their academic qualifications (e.g. ‘A’ levels) attending a vocational qualification course (e.g. Btec) or entering into an apprenticeship.

And of course as of the 23rd March 2020, albeit temporary (indefinitely temporary😂) it almost feels like we have gone full circle, with home education but at least we still have the support of teachers and the school curriculum to guide us…. I’m sure for some parents it may feel like ‘the educated leading the blind’ with teaching having changed so much since many parents were themselves at school …. I know I (having left secondary school 30 years ago albeit I was lucky enough to go on to A levels and university) sometimes feel like teaching is a new language in itself … ‘phonics’, ‘digraphs’ ‘graphemes’ etc – of course we learnt it but it was never a ‘subject’ as such it was all just part of learning to read and write! 😜

It is not difficult to see how the class structure in this country managed to maintain itself for such a long time. Without access to education it would have been extremely difficult for the vast majority of our poorer ancestors to climb that social ladder. Another reason to be living today and not 500 years ago perhaps!?

Our family history 2020 skools out for Coronavirus Blog Week 1

20th March 2020

Here goes, my first blog to record my thoughts, feelings, life events and provide my children and their future generations with a first hand account of these life changing events. WARNING these blogs may include controversial comments, thoughts, feelings etc – I’m not going to apologise this is my personal blog so please do not take anything I say personally, but you’re welcome to comment if you wish – I won’t take it personally! 😉

What a year 2020 is turning out to be! Lots of ‘I never thought I’d………….’ see the supermarket shelves empty, be standing in a queue outside at the chemist to collect a prescription (two in at time policy), see the churches close even on a Sunday, see a world at war against a virus!

People are quite rightly anxious and scared and maybe it will help us a little better appreciate how our ancestors felt and what they went through with those even worse announcements and events of the past – WW1 and WW2. Whilst not underestimating the impact of this nasty virus and completely agree with the steps our government is taking, I do want to put some perspective on all this – we are hearing growing numbers of cases every day and yes those numbers are large but in terms of percentage of population – whether you look at it nationally or globally – the number of those affected are less than 0.05%:

UK Population – Government statistics Mid 2018 66.4 million (estimated 2020 67.8 million World population Review)

With the measures put in place, if everyone adheres to them, the UK hope to control Coronavirus to an estimated 20,000 people infected

Percentage of the population…..you do the maths! ……… 0.029% for those who can’t!

Without the interventions they estimates 250,000 would be affected …. 0.36% of the population.

Don’t get me wrong, it is certainly no the case that I am not concerned, although I not necessarily concerned about my immediate family (children, husband and myself) I am concerned about my parents (being in the high risk groups of over 70’s although they do not have any of the health risks). They live 200 miles away from me, I haven’t seen them since Christmas and now our plans for them to visit us over the Easter are gone! They recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary and we were going to have a family celebration. Now I don’t know when I will see them again! I am just thankful that my brother only lives 40 miles away from them! And thankfully they are a bit tech-savvy and we can skype.

My father-in-law who will be 89 this year had a stroke at Christmas but is now thankfully home. They live in the same village as us so that’s not such a worry.

As for my children, well the schools will be out this afternoon until who knows when (I suspect September). Here is one of those ‘I never thought I’d….’ moments – home schooling my children! At least mine are only 3 and 5 and not at a critical stage of their education. My task of teaching them the basic building blocks at a young age is not as daunting as for many. My heart goes out to all those due to sit their sats, GCSE’s (including my nephew) and A level exams. Whilst this is an important stage in your life, just remember health and happiness are so much more important and once you’re at university or in work those grades get long forgotten. You will get thorough this and you will prosper. It may feel like all that hard work was for nothing now, but it will still all stand you in good stead for life’s future adventures.

As for me personally……..

21st March

Well, I have to say I don’t think I’m going to have difficulty homeschooling for the first few weeks, James started pestering to do the work they have been sent home with as soon as he got home yesterday! And I have given up counting the number of times he has asked this morning……its the weekend!!!! But to pacify him and prepare home for Monday he has helped me set a timetable …lets see how well we stick to it!

Family History will of course be covered…and I think the games and crafts will include some ‘helping mummy spring clean the house’ and a bit of gardening! ha ha

We’ve been to our local shops to spend the kids book tokens before they close. Made me quite cross! We were doing our best to comply with the social distancing advice but looking round many people are clearly still ignoring advice. Walking past the local butchers shop the queue was just the same as usual, no one was standing the recommended 2 metres apart which would be quite feasible! And there were groups of friends (young and older adults!) just stood as normal having a chat. What is wrong with people not listening to the advice! We all know the advice – no one surely is going to be offended if you stand away from them!?! Thankfully in the post office (I wanted to post a parcel) the queue was short and we were able to maintain the distance, we just moved if someone got too close! ha ha

Seriously people, this next week we will face shop closures, queuing to take you turn to be allowed into the supermarkets and the possibility of martial law if the advice is not taken – we have already seen the start of this with the closure of pubs, clubs, leisure centres etc. We will be faced with Italian lock down.

I was please to hear from the CEO of Sainsburys this morning that they are going to increase their opening times specifically for the over 70’s, vulnerable and to include those in the keyworker sectors in particular those NHS workers who have struggled to get food after they have finished a long shift saving lives and caring for those afflicted by this horrid virus! They need to be kept nourished to continue their amazing work. Conversely they will reduced they normal weekly opening hours to help with the stocking up of shelves and protect their staff. I think this is certainly a move in the right direction!

We may face many of these restrictions on our lives for up to a year, varying to a lessor and greater extent, to control ‘spikes’ in the virus and manage and sustain the NHS. Lets just all work together so that the worse restrictions stay in place for the shortest time as possible.

For us, save for food if I can’t shop online, this was our last trip to the shops. Thankfully we have a large garden for the kids and some lovely walks on our doorstep to get out into the fresh air and get some exercise. But we will be keeping our distance from everyone else, I might even get a stick 2 metres long to take out with us! ha ha

We’re off into the garden this afternoon to have some fun and spring clean the kids outdoor toys …. this may get rather messy! ha ha

Firefighting practice!
Washing their outdoor toys

Looking forward to some warmer weather 🙂

Happy Mother’s day

22nd March

Or should I say Mothering Sunday.

Maybe not my best photo but it was 7am!!!!

What a lovely sunny morning in Surrey perfect for a morning run. Maybe people are starting to take note of the social distancing, the few people I passed all made an effort (as did I) to keep the prescribed (and more where possible) away from each other.

Had a lovely relaxed morning then, coffee followed by a long Skype call with my mum and dad and Sunday roast cooked by my lovely husband. Just a normal mothering Sunday here! Went for a little walk this afternoon to exercise the kids and say happy mothers day to my mother in law – from their drive! Please be assured we did not be go in or get close to them (father in law was asleep!) We are keeping them safe!

So, the home schooling (well, doing the work set by the teachers!) starts tomorrow morning and my son still seems as keen as ever to get on with it. Got to love him, he really does enjoy school and learning, how lucky are we. Two weeks and then we will still have an Easter break from learning…..if he’ll let me he he

I’m so impressed with his reading and writing, he’ll be helping me write our family history and as part of his schooling I may even get him to write in this blog 😉

Here’s to a relaxing rest of Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday as it should correctly be known from the its origins of when people would visit their “mother” church on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent, three Sundays’ before Easter. It gradually became a day when domestic servants were given the day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that entire families could gather together, often been prevented from doing so on other days due to conflicting working hours

It is not hard to see how, as the dominance of religion and the church declined in recent centuries, and in particular the latter half of the 20th Century, this religious tradition evolved into the mothers day we know today.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stay safe, keep you mothers (and fathers) safe and have a lovely day.

I can’t go without saying I’m glad to hear the news today that Sainsburys are allocating priority online slots for deliveries to the most vulnerable groups. Conversely it is very saddening to hear the National Trust have taken the decision to close their parks essentially due to people taking advantage of their kind offer to open their parks for free to all without taking on board the advice for social distancing! I hope those who spoiled this generous offer from the National Trust are suitably disgraced with themselves! The beeches and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty will be the next to close if people continue to behave in such an irresponsible way. As for complete lockdown….Whilst I would urge the government to now put the country into lockdown, at the rate it is going I don’t think it will be necessary as shops are taking the decisions themselves to close and it won’t belong for the loved ones of those who have failed take the advice of social distancing will start to show symptoms and people then may start to take all the advice seriously. Clearly seeing what is happening in other countries is not sufficient.

I now know of two families who have been directly affected by this illness – one losing a close family friend to the illness, one whose entire family (two adults and two children) has had the illness and have expressed how nasty it is – thankfully they are all recovering well.

23rd March

So here are a few photos of our first day of schooling at home! I’m not sure I will survive this! Very hard work trying to split myself in two to keep both children entertained at the same time, eldest needing help with his school work and youngest wanting me to do something else with her most of the time – I tried to get her to do easier versions of what James was doing, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

But at least the sun was shining and they kept going outside to play. The house was not wrecked but my brain is fried! Didn’t help that every one with kids was trying to access the online resources this morning meaning many just weren’t working!

The timetable essentially went out of the window in terms of timings but we did get in some phonics, crafts, numbers, writing and reading – so somehow we did cover all the essential learning elements! wow!

Just asked my son how he has enjoyed his first day of home schooling – GOOD! ha ha He might not say that tomorrow – when he asked what craft they could do tomorrow I told him the art and craft of spring cleaning his room!!! ha ha ha

ME – I need a drink! On the plus side, Sainsburys came with my delivery and only a few items missing – bet you can guess which ones – yes loo roll, soap, baked beans (one of the kids staple foods!), tinned tomatoes ….. and the very nice bottle of wine I ordered for my birthday treat on Friday! Lets hope I get out to find a replacement at some point!!!!! Oh and the picture frame finally arrived for me to put together my mum and dads golden wedding anniversary present (a family tree surrounded by photos from their wedding) which I will now need to send them as we won’t be seeing them any time soon 😦 I’ll post a photo when its complete 🙂

I am also very glad I got my IHGS course completed and that the exam is likely to be postponed – if today is anything to go by I won’t get much revision or other work done!

Hopefully it can only get easier as we all get more used to it. We have no choice, lockdown is coming and I’m guessing tomorrow seeing as the PM’s daily press conference was cancelled because they were having a cobra meeting……..and the shops are all making their own sensible decisions to close but continue online shopping, hmm online shopping was taking over before – now it really will take off and will our high streets ever recover? Or will we start to shops turned into living accommodation??? Potential huge long term changes to some areas of our lives. Food for thought!

25th March

Well i’m writing day 5 blog this morning (day 6) as I just did not get time yesterday! What a busy day, tiring but good. The kids were really well behaved (mostly!) and the day went without any shouting, telling off or arguments! What an achievement! 🤣

There is no wonder I was tired by the end of it…the day started with me enjoying a 5k run out in the gorgeous sunshine (my one daily exercise) followed by joining the kids doing the Joe Wicks morning kids PE session. Then, I must have spent an hour or more in total (sporadically throughout the day) bouncing with the kids on the trampoline….my poor knees!

As for schooling, well James managed some maths (basic addition👍), writing, reading and phonics. We skipped the craft today but came up with a longer term craft we can do over the coming days and weeks – the kids collected lots of sticks a few weeks ago and they are still in the garage in a bag so, we have asked all our family members to send selfies to us and we will create a twiglet family tree. Not quite sure when this will start but we shall see 🤣

We also managed a good clear out and tidy up of James’ room – he can now use his desk again so I can hide him away to do school work if Rose starts to pester him. I’m just wondering how long it will stay like that! Roses’ room is next on the list….

I must say I think we are very lucky that the weather has vastly improved for the schools closing, they are spending much of their day out in the garden which is great. I say make the most of it whilst the weather lasts 🤞 schooling and learning can be increased on those rainy says that will no doubt come at some point. Perhaps mother nature is looking down on us all and having sent this nasty virus to test us, she is giving us a little help to survive this lockdown period.

For me, I even managed to get some research done for a friend who has been waiting ages for me….it is a freebie and she knew it wouldn’t take priority but now I would like to get it done for her and then I can get on with some of my own family research. I have a few of my own family history projects to crack on with – getting to grips with a DNA test and analysing the results; and writing more of our family history biographies.

25 March

Another good day, pretty uneventful day today in the Pettyfer household, although I didn’t think it was going to be this morning waking up with what I thought was going to be a migraine but thankfully, some string pain killers and a lay down for an hour in a dark bedroom seemed to knock the worst of it on its head.

Another sunny day so the kids were happy spending most of the day outside in the garden👍😁 after an online ballet class this morning.

Our craft session today was baking – my birthday cake for Friday and some scones hmmmm with jam and cream. Tomorrow’s craft will be decorating my cake! That could be messy 🤣

All this home schooling/learning has got me thinking about how our ancestors were educated …. or not. Watch this space, I feel another blog coming on! ……

26 March

Another uneventful day in our household. The kids have again spent most of the day outside but James did do some school work after lunch. He’s doing really well with basic maths 👍😊

Not really much more to report today but I can’t believe some of the news reports today, in particular some young people’s lack of respect and consideration for the older generation if anyone has read about the case in Ipswich of an elderly couple being spat on and attacked you will hopefully know what I am talking about. I am really pleased to hear the police and prosecution services are taking such incidents and those again key workers seriously and the culprits will be facing a prison sentence, it is absolutely beyond belief that in these times people think such behaviour could in any way be tolerated, not that such behaviour should be tolerated in any circumstances, but I am sure the police are taking it far more seriously given the risk of Covid-19….it could actually be the death of someone and that’s murder!!!!

But I won’t rant on!

For a bit of light relief I’ll share this brilliant and hilarious family tree related video….

27 March

Happy birthday to me!

Yep it’s that day of the year again when I celebrate being born. Rather a surreal day today in the circumstances and I have decided to be like the Queen this year and have an official birthday later in the year when a proper celebration can be had with friends and family – a celebration of birthdays (I’m sure there’ll be other friends and family with birthdays in this surreal time before the restrictions lift) and survival 😜 The alternative is to not age this year and celebrate this birthday next year – well our ancestors got away with not knowing their correct date/year of birth why not me! 😂😂😂

However Corona virus did not spoil my birthday. The kids made me lovely cards – I even got a handmade once from my hubby ❤ lots of cuddles and time out of everything else to just spend with them – I even let James off his school work for the day (don’t tell his teachers 😂)

I had a lovely long skype chat with my parents and we had a lovely long walk as a family despite the fact Graeme should have been working! 😂😜❤

Just a chilled out day, playing, enjoying the fresh air, watching Frozen II (my choice 😉) and a nice glass or two of white wine.

So well received genealogy related birthday gifts…..

So all in all, a lovely day 💕🎂

Although I will always remember that it was the day the PM got corona virus and the nastiness of some people really did show through…..I wonder how many people will regret some of their comments on social media in the future and how many people will fill out prisons because of their selfishness and stupidy!

The weekend (28/29th March)

Well, apart from the fact we couldn’t go out anywhere the weekend has been quite normal for us really.

Jobs round the house… Done with the kids helping out 👍

A family bike ride, the first one with James riding his own bike rather than on the back of me…. He managed 2 miles, half off road… Not bad for 5 year old 👍

And I started my family history biography book… A nice big project to keep me going and good practice for future client report writing👍

Pretty quiet relaxing weekend shame about the weather turning colder and windy! Where did the wind come from this weekend?🌪️🌬️☁️And yes even the odd spot of rain ☔and snow!!! ❄️☹️ Let’s hope its better weather during the week.

Researching an ancestor in the Chancery Courts

This blog sets out to demonstrate what resources maybe available and how they may be used to research an ancestor in the Chancery courts.

The National Archive (TNA) collection of Chancery Records are now largely searchable online at their discovery[1] website and provides a good starting point.

A quick of family surnames, Richardson and Huddlestone, on the (TNA) discovery website for chancery proceedings, being common surnames finds around 4,500 and 500 references respectively. Researching my married surname, Pettyfer, finds only 4 references[2]:

  • “Reference:    C 6/548/132
  • Short title: Pettyfer v [unknown]
  • First plaintiff: Richard Pettyfer.
  • Defendants: [unknown].
  • Document type: bill only.
  • Date:   [1649-1714]
  • Reference:      C 8/321/212
  • Short title: Pierce v Cotterell.
  • Plaintiffs: Edward Pierce.
  • Defendants: George Cotterell, Richard Pettyfer and Thomas Goodlucke.
  • Subject: money, Wiltshire.
  • Document type: bill only
  • Date:   1668
  • Reference:      C 2/ChasI/K27/108
  • Short title: Knybbe v Dean of Windsor.
  • Plaintiffs: Henry Knybbe and Emott Pettyfer on behalf of themselves and other copyholders of Manor of Austy, Warwickshire.
  • Defendants: Dean and Canons of His Majestys Chapel of St George in the Castle, Windsor, Berkshire.
  • Document type: rejoinder only
  • Date:   1625-1660
  • Reference:      C 11/1719/9
  • Short title: Cotton v Cotton.
  • Document type: Bill and four answers.
  • Plaintiffs: Robert Cotton, esq of Gidding, Huntingdonshire.
  • Defendants: Jane Cotton, John Cotton and Elizabeth Stewart Cotton, infants (by John Pettyfer, clerk), Charles Jamens senior, Charles Jamens junior, Mary Jamens, Elizabeth Jamens and Robert Jamens, infant (by said Charles Jamens senior), Dame Mary Burdett, Sir Robert Burdett bart, infant (by Robert Holden, esq), Elizabeth Burdett, Jane Burdett, Mary Burdett, Frances Burdett, Ann Burdett and Dorothy Burdett.
  • Date of bill (or first document): 1722”

I also searched the spelling ‘Pettifer’ and found 55 references; the spelling ‘Pettefer’ found 4 references; and the spelling ‘Pettifor’ found 5 references. These of course should also be checked to see if they are in fact ancestors. These are all cases where a ‘Pettyfer’ is named as a party to the proceedings.

The online searches at TNA can only be by names of Plaintiffs and Defendants. They do not include cases where a ‘Pettyfer’ was a Deponent in a case or made an Affidavit. If it is known that an ancestor was a Deponent or made an Affidavit in a case any record of the deposition/Affidavit would need to be searched on the TNA website by the case name/parties using indexes IND 1/16759 and IND 1/9115 to IND 1/9121 for town depositions, IND 1/14545-14567 for Affidavits covering the period 1611-1800 and IND 1/14575 -14684 for Affidavits covering the period 1801-1875. Country Depositions can only be searched by surname of the parties there is no index.

Further, the references found all concern pleadings: the first two cases appear to have Bills of Complaint only; the second is a Rejoinder; and the third is a Bill of Complaint and four answers. It may be that the cases did not progress further and therefore no other records exist; or it may be that other records have either not been missed from the online listing; or appear under different names if the parties changed perhaps because a party died, married or due to some legal necessity. Cases could be protracted and continue for many years.

Whilst the TNA online index does not appear to limit its searches to first plaintiff and defendant (from my searches above) it may not always correctly identify cases involving a particular surname (most likely due to mis-spelling, simply missing a party from the list etc). Further the descriptions on the online catalogue are not always accurate or full so through viewing the actual records more about the case may in fact be discovered without resorting to further indexes. For example, if a case did not proceed further there may be a record to that effect on the documents; or there may in fact be more documents in the ‘bundle’ of pleadings than is stated in the description.

It is therefore always worth searching the records found in an online search and the physical indexes and calendars at TNA.

A good starting point to search for other records where the date (range) of a case is known is the indexes to the Masters’ Reports (C38) found in IND 1. For example, the second case listed above is dated 1668, I would therefore start a search in IND 1/1937, the index covering that year’s Master’s Reports for Plaintiffs with surnames beginning K – R (the plaintiff in that case being Edward Pierce) and then search the indexes for a period of at least five years.

If records exist, the relevant bundles can be found by searching the indexes for the Masters’ Documents and Master’s exhibits (C117 – C126 (covering period 17th Century to 19th Century) and C103 – C114 (covering period 1234 to 1860)) again in IND 1 locating the relevant index for the appropriate period. These records are particularly useful from the 18th Century onwards.

However, a case may not have been referred to a Master if no factual evidence was required. In such cases, or if nothing is found in the Masters’ Reports, the Decree and Order books may be the next stage. These are found in C33 (1544 to 1875[3]) and are indexed in IND 1 locating the relevant index for the appropriate period, and in calendars on the open shelves at TNA. Taking the same example of the 1668 case, the appropriate index to begin with would be IND 1 1613 which covers book B (surnames beginning L – Z) for 1668 and then search indexes for at least the next 5 consecutive years.

Final decrees could be Enrolled. Enrolled Decrees covering the period 1534 to 1903 can be found in C 78 and C 79. The Anglo-American Legal Tradition website[4] can be searched for online versions covering the whole of the series. For those enrolled during the reigns of Henry VIII to George III the index IND 1/16960A & B can be searched.

There may also be records of appeals against enrolled decrees and those records are now held at the Parliamentary Archives as such appeals were made to the House of Lords but can be search on the TNA discovery website.

Decrees which were not enrolled were also often appealed. These appeals went back to the Lord Chancellor and would be found amongst Ordinary and Appeal Petitions in C 36 (covering the period 1774-1875) which can be searched in the indexes 1/15029-15047 or for period 1876-1925 in IND 1/15048-15282.

For later cases, those between 1842-1880, the best finding aid to begin with may be the Cause books which consolidate “references to decrees, orders, reports and certificates made during the course of a case, together with the names of all the parties to it and their solicitors and the dates of all their appearances”[5]. They are found in series C 32 and are indexed for the period 1860 to 1880 in IND 1/16727-16747.

I have considered above depositions available to search by index at TNA and noted that there is no index to country depositions at TNA although an online search of the case name may find such records. A better finding aid is Bernau’s Index and if no records for an ancestor can be found at TNA online, then this may be the better starting place as they may not have brought or defended a case but may have been a witness.

Bernau’s index can be found on microfilm at the Society of Genealogists (SOG) and at LDS[6] Family History Centres. This is a card index of proceedings and depositions (although many cards refer to ‘correspondence’) in the Courts of Chancery and Exchequer includes about 4.5 million individuals and is particularly useful for Chancery Proceedings between 1714 and 1758 found in TNA series C 11 as the index for this period names every litigant. Bernau’s notebooks for this period, in 426 volumes, also include parties and summaries of the disputes.

The Index is also particularly useful for finding country deponents, listing all county depositions from 1558 to 1649 (TNA Series C 21) and town depositions up to 1800 (TNA series C 24).

The index cards provide a bundle and suit number and the reference should be noted in full as they do not represent modern references at TNA and “you will otherwise be lacking vital clues when it comes to translating the obsolete references given into the modern National Archives references”[7]. To translate the references, Sharp’s How to use the Bernau Index[8] should be consulted. Because the index provides a bundle number, which usually refers to a box of depositions from many different suits, the suit number is provided by Bernau’s index to be able to find a specific deposition within the box, although the names of the parties to the proceedinsgs are not provided.

Another drawback to using Bernau’s Index is that it can be difficult to read and there can be variations in spelling of the same surname. There is also a lack of additional information to be able to distinguish between individuals with common surnames without recourse to the original documents. They are however indexed in alphabetical order by surname and then first name.

The SOG also holds the Great Card Index on microfilm, which is another card index of several million names containing various miscellaneous information, including amongst others, references to Chancery proceedings. If visiting the SOG to search Bernau’s index it may be worth searching the Great Card Index too.

Where a case involves an inheritance dispute, Coldham’s Index is a good finding aid to search first. Otherwise known as the Inheritance Disputes Index, it is available to search online at Find My Past[9] and can be searched by name (including variants), year, county and country. The index (a transcript of the original) provides: the names of the testator, the plaintiff and the defendant; the year of case, place and TNA reference covering the period 1543 to 1714.

The index includes over 26,000 cases concerning wills, bequests, grants of administration, descent of property, identity claims and other testamentary disputes tried in the Chancery Court, with cases typically involving several members of the same family.

A search of this index for the name Pettyfer, including variations, finds one result under the variant surname Pettifor. No first name is given but the other information provided is[10]:

  • “Year  1661
  • Place   St. Martin Le Grand, London
  • Testator first name(s) William
  • Testator last name      Samuell
  • Plaintiff last name      Pettifor
  • Defendant last name   Samuell
  • Case details    Pettifor v. Samuell 1661
  • County            London
  • Country           England
  • National Archives reference   C10/487/193”

It would seem likely that the Defendant is the widow, son or daughter of the deceased. This case is amongst the five listed in my search on TNA discovery website in the name ‘Pettifor’. The entry on the TNA website provides further information as to the parties:

  • “Reference      C 10/487/193
  • Description:  
  • Short title: Pettifor v Samuell.
  • Plaintiffs: Elizabeth Pettifor and Jane Pettifor.
  • Defendants: Anne Samuell, widow.
  • Subject: personal estate of William Samuell, St Martin Le Grand, London.
  • Document type: bill only.
  • SFP
  • Date:   1661”

So, it would appear that there are in fact two plaintiffs and that all the parties are female; the defendant being the widow of the deceased and executor of his estate. Other finding aids at TNA should be searched for further records in the case (as discussed above).

Other finding aids include several volumes published by the List and Index Society and available to purchase from their website[11], including:

  • Samples of Chancery Pleadings and Suits: 1627, 1685, 1735 and 178
  • Chancery: Patent Rolls, 31 Eliz I, 1588-9 (C 66/1332-46)   
  • Calendar of Chancery Decree Rolls (C 78/86-130)  
  • Calendar of Chancery Decree Rolls (C 78/46-85)
  • Chancery: Patent Rolls, Calendar, 30 Eliz I, 1587-1588      
  • Chancery: Patent Rolls, Calendar, 28-29 Eliz I, 1585-1587, (C 66/1271-91) Pt. 2 (with index to grantees)                              
  • Chancery: Patent Rolls, Calendar, 28-29 Eliz I, 1585-1587, (C 66/1271-91) Pt. 1         
  • Chancery: Patent Rolls, Calendar, 27 Eliz I, 1584-1585, (C 66/1254-70), with index to grantees, 23-27 Eliz. I          
  • Chancery: Patent Rolls (C 66), Calendar, 20-23 Jas I           
  • Chancery: Patent Rolls (C 66), Calendar, 18-19 Jas I

There are other volumes which are currently out of print.

Whilst the British Record Society website[12] details several Chancery Proceedings index publications, when the items are opened on the website, they all state “This publication is no longer available”. They are publications generally from the 19th and early 20th Century and are available online on websites such as Internet Archive[13].

If it is known a case was begun in the years 1627, 1685, 1735 and 1785 it would be worth searching Horwitz and Moreton’s Samples of Chancery pleadings and suits, 1627, 1685, 1735 and 1785[14] which provides, as the title suggests, an index to a sample of about 1000 cases from the four specified years.

Other finding aids online include Ancestry’s[15] “British Chancery Records, 1386-1558” set which they describe as “an index to the Chancery Court proceedings, which consist of bills of complaint, answers, replications, and rejoinders, from 1386-1558”. This index provides the names of more than 286,500 individuals involved in the Chancery Court proceedings between 1386 and 1558, providing references to the location of their name in the original records, found at TNA in series C 1.

A search in these records produces interesting results for the surname ‘Pettyfer’ and variants, such as:

  • Christopher Petyfrer
  • Place:  Hertford, Hereford
  • Date:   1544-1547
  • Volume:          9
  • Page:               96
  • Bundle:           1150

There were 112 records indexed largely from the 15th and 16th centuries of which in fact only 17 were variants of ‘Pettyfer’ the rest were variants of ‘Bedford’. The surname variants included Petyfrer, Petefer, Petifer, Petyfere, Peytefere, Pitfforde, Pyttford, Pedeford, Paytefere, Pytford. This is a useful tool in finding surname variants to search in other finding aids.

These can be searched online at the TNA discovery website.

The Ancestry website also holds three further searchable indexes to chancery proceedings:

  • A calendar of chancery proceedings: bills and answers filed in the reign of King Charles the First (976 records)          
  • Abstracts of inquisitiones post mortem relating to the city of London, returned into the Court of Chancery (897 records)
  • Index of chancery proceedings (Reynardson’s division) preserved in the Public Record Office: 1649-1714 (523 records)

There were no results from these sets of records when searching for the surname ‘Pettyfer’ or variants.

As is demonstrated above, finding ancestors in Chancery proceedings may not be an easy task, however where records are found, they can be very rewarding for the family historian providing many genealogical details as well as social, financial and historical context to an ancestor’s life.


[1] https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

[2] https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_d=C&_hb=tna&_q=Pettyfer

[3] Digital images of some of these records are available at the Anglo American Legal Tradition website http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT.html

[4] ibid

[5] https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/chancery-equity-suits-after-1558/

[6] Latter Day Saints

[7] Bevan Tracing your Ancestors in the National Archives page 506

[8] SOG 1996

[9] http://www.findmypast.co.uk

[10] https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=GBOR%2FOR%2FIDI%2F00020205%2F2

[11] http://www.listandindexsociety.org.uk/allpubs.html

[12] https://www.britishrecordsociety.org/publications/

[13] https://archive.org/

[14] List and Index Society 1995

[15] http://www.ancestry.co.uk

The equity courts of our ancestors

The English Legal system comprises of criminal law and civil law. Civil law encompasses several areas such as common law (established from cases and judgements of the courts), family law, wills and probate, the law of tort, law of contract, law of trusts and equity and so on.

Prior to 1875 different areas of civil law were administered by separate courts: The Court of Chancery, the Court of Exchequer, the Court of Queen’s Bench[1], the Court of Common Pleas and the High Court of Admiralty. There was no Court of Appeal.

Several other courts had existed in the earlier centuries but ceased to exist before 1875: The Court of Augmentation, the Court of Star Chamber, the Court of Requests, the General Eyre, the Court of Wards and Liveries, and the Palace Court. Away from Westminster there were courts in the Palatines (Chester, Durham and Lancaster) and the court of the Duchy of Lancaster which had the same functions as the central Westminster courts, in their own areas.

The common law courts of the Court of King/Queen’s Bench and the Court of Common Pleas established in the 12th Century had, overall only one means of legal redress, that of financial compensation. This would not solve an issue such as trespass or rights of use of land where what was required was an injunction. Common law courts could also not enforce trusts which by the 14th and 15th centuries were growing in use, particularly in connection with land and inheritance. Courts of Equity therefore began to be established to address the faults with the common law system.

Each court developed at different times and had different functions although there was some overlap between several courts in the types of cases they would hear.

The Courts

General Eyre (12th to 14th Century)

This was essentially the senior criminal court dealing with serious crimes (and some civil matters) which were beyond the jurisdiction of the manorial courts. It was a hearing of the King’s Judges who were sent out from London every few years (an average of every seven but often less frequent) to hear civil cases such as trespass, debts and cases against the Crown; and to hear criminal cases of those accused of felonies, that is crimes which held a sentence of imprisonment or death.

The Coroner was a key figure in General Eyre proceedings, presenting the Justices with rolls of inquests into suspicious or unnatural deaths and collating records of the crimes and events taken place between each General Eyre.

The General Eyre was also responsible for overseeing local administration, presentments made by juries and the general behaviour of the community. Failure to comply with the complex and convoluted legal procedures was punished by the levying of large fines both on individuals and entire communities.

The General Eyre were essentially the ‘eyes, ears and enforcers’ of the Crown maintaining law, order and civility across the country.

High Court of Admiralty (1160 to 1875)

Being an Island, England has a long history as a seafaring nation, little is it any wonder that piracy was once a significant problem and that disputes arose in the maritime industry. The High Court of Admiralty was established around 1160 and had both criminal and civil jurisdiction, dealing with criminal matters such as piracy and murder alongside civil matters such as the condemnation and sale of enemy ships (‘prize cases’) including those captured by privateers under Letters of Marque first issued in 1293 and abolished in 1856 (although only usually issued in times of war). 

They also dealt with civil disputes such as collisions between ships and the damage caused including loss and damage to cargo; salvage of ships; seaman’s wages; seizures of ships and cargo by customs officers; and chartering of ships.

From the 17th Century, the criminal jurisdiction of the High Court of Admiralty, particularly in cases of piracy and murder, was transferred to Admiralty sessions at the Old Bailey and in 1834 to the Central Criminal Court. In addition, in the 17th Century ‘prize cases’ were heard in separate Prize Courts.

Appeals in civil dispute cases (other than ‘prize cases’) from the High Court of Admiralty were heard by the High Court of Delegates between 1535 and 1833. The High Court of Delegates[2] was a court in which appeals were made to the Crown in Chancery where they were heard by Commissioners appointed by letters patent under the Great Seal.

Also established from the 17th Century were Vice-Admiral Courts in nineteen maritime counties around England and in the British Colonies which represented the High Court of Admiralty in those areas and dealt with local admiralty cases. Appeals from these courts were to the High Court of Admiralty.

Court of the King/Queen’s Bench (12th Century to 1875)

This along with the Court of Common Pleas was the oldest and highest common law court in England[3], although it did also deal with criminal matters, dealing with matters which either affected the Crown in person on the King/Queen’s peace. They also supervised the lower courts and had a local jurisdiction in Middlesex. The court was presided over by the Lord Chief Justice.  

On the Crown side (criminal law) the court would deal with the most severe crimes such as treason, breaches of the peace, highway robbery, felonies and misgovernment. They would also hear appeal cases; were it was claimed there was an error in a conviction by the lower courts.

On the Plea side (civil law) they would deal again with the more serious cases such as fraud, breach of contract, abuse of power by public officials and writs of habeus corpus (seeking freedom from alleged illegal imprisonment).

Being the highest common law court, there was no means of appeal to the Court’s decision in civil proceedings. Until 1830, the King’s Bench acted as a court of appeal for the Court of Exchequer (see below), Court of Common Pleas, Eyre circuits, Assize courts and local courts.

Its own decisions and records were sent to Parliament to be signed off although from 1585 and the creation of the Court of Exchequer Chamber (see below), King’s Bench decisions could be appealed and following the expansion of the jurisdiction of the Exchequer Chamber in 1830, the King’s Bench ceased to be an appellate court.

Court of Common Pleas (12th Century to 1875)

This court developed in the 12th Century from the King’s Council (Curia Regis) evolving from unlimited jurisdiction to a purely common law court. Typical cases concerned land or debt between individuals, cases which did not concern or affect the Crown. It was presided over by the Lord Chief Justice of Common Pleas and a varying number of puisne justices (who were usually Barristers).

The Court of Common Pleas was gradually superseded by the King’s Bench and Court of Exchequer (see below) because its methods and procedures were much slower than those of the King’s Bench and Exchequer courts. But it maintained its dominance in the jurisdiction of real property disputes until 1875.

Privy Council (14th Century to 1875)

The Privy Council developed from the Curia Regis and was a legislative, judicial and administrative body, essentially an advisory court of the Crown.

The Privy Council was made up of the Crown’s most important officials including ministers such as the Lord Chancellor and Treasurer, bishops and household officials, conducting most of its business through committees (one of which is now the cabinet) which were concerned with matters of foreign affairs, royal grants of land, pardons and tax. Judicial matters of public order such as treason, rebellion, heresy and petitions received from individuals and communities to resolve local matters, were in time, referred to the Court of Star Chambers (see below) and Court of Chancery (see below) respectively. In those matters, the Privy Council remained the final court of appeal through its Judicial Committee, the High Court of Delegates.

Appeals were also heard by the Privy Council from the Admiralty Courts (see above), the Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Crown colonies, dominions and later Commonwealth Countries.

The Court of Chancery (14th Century to 1875)

This was (and remains as a division of the High Court) the oldest equity court in England being established in the 14th Century, originating in the Reign of Richard II (1377-99). The court was presided over by Chancellors, who were originally church men dealing with matters of ‘conscience’ rather than ‘law’, i.e. what was fair and just or ‘equitable’. It was not until the mid-16th Century in the reign of Henry VIII that the first Chancellor with a legal background was appointed, Sir Thomas More.

The Court of Chancery dealt with all manner of cases which either:

  1. Did not come under the jurisdiction of common law, such as cases involving trusts, mortgages, where an injunction or similar order was required to prevent an action or enforce an action, recovery of a debt against a deceased estate; or
  2. Could be dealt with by common law but no appropriate or fair remedy could be obtained, such as a plaintiff being too poor to afford an action in the common law courts, or there was an imbalance of power between the parties (such as a tenant bringing a claim against a landlord); or
  3. Where there was a possibility of oppressive or fraudulent use of the common law because of prejudice within a jury, local corruption or fear of harm from the defendant; or
  4. Where the case involved a plaintiff, who had fraudulently been deprived of monies owed or had been so deprived by duress.

Most cases before both the common law and Chancery courts involved land disputes, the main difference between the types of land cases they dealt with: The common law dealt with ownership of land whilst equity law was concerned with possession of or the right to use land. As many more people had the right to use/possess land (as tenants etc) than owned land, the Chancery Courts became the primary court for civil disputes.

However, there were limits to its jurisdiction. Chancery Courts did not hear cases concerning land or inheritance outside of England and Wales or within the palatinate counties. Neither did they hear inheritance cases which affected the interests of the Crown.

Judgements in the Court of Chancery could be appealed to the House of Lords, save between 1851 and 1875 when there was a Court of Appeal in Chancery.

The Court of Exchequer Chamber (14th Century to 1875)

This was essentially an ‘umbrella term’ used by four separate courts which heard appeals from common law courts – the King’s Bench, the Court of Exchequer (see below) and from 1830, the Court of Common Pleas directly.

Appeals were presided over by four judges belonging to the two courts other than the court the matter had originate in. Where the appeal was to determine an important point of law, twelve common law judges may sit, the matter being referred to the original court once with point of law had been determined.

A judgment of the Exchequer Chamber was usually considered the authoritative statement of the law although further appeal to the House of Lords was possible.

Court of Requests (1483 to 1640’s)

This court was essentially the Court of Chancery for the poor man, also known as ‘the poor man’s court’. It was established to enable those whose cases were below the threshold of £10 set by the Court of Chancery.

The types of cases dealt with included land enclosure disputes, rights over common land, customs of the manor disputes, annuities and marriage contracts. Although its jurisdiction was mainly civil law, it could also hear some minor criminal and admiralty cases.

Its procedures where much simpler and quicker than other courts which made it a popular court, particularly with female litigants who may otherwise be discouraged from bringing a case.

Because of its procedures the court soon became unpopular with common law judges who during the late 16th century became angry at the number of cases being brought before the Court of Requests. The 1590’s was perhaps the start of their downfall when the higher courts began overwriting many of the Court of Request decisions and prevented the Court of Requests from imposing prison sentences.

Court of Star Chamber (1485 to 1641)

This court was established as a committee of councillors to deal with the judicial function of the Privy Council in matters which required the intervention of the Crown (see above). Their role was two-fold: to administer law directly and to supervise other courts.

From 1485 to 1560 the court dealt with both civil and criminal matters; from 1560 it dealt almost exclusively with criminal matters, such as “allegations of official corruption, abuse of legal procedure, alleged perjury, conspiracy, forgery, fraud, trespass, assault or riot”[4].Usually, they were cases involving prominent powerful individuals who were perhaps otherwise thought to be immune from criminal proceedings because the lower courts would not have the power to convict them.

In Tudor times (1485 to 1603) it also dealt with public disorder and rioting, perhaps such crimes were associated with acts of recusancy, heresy and even treason in the turbulent years after the dissolution of the monasteries and establishment of the Church of England.

The court was abolished by an Act of the Long Parliament in 1641 perhaps reflecting the fact that the court particularly concerned itself with and imposed unpleasant punishments on those who were thought to oppose the Crown.

Court of Augmentation (1536 to 1554)

This court was a ‘short-lived’ court created by Henry VIII following the dissolution of the monasteries to resolve land and property issues raised as a result of the sale of monastic land and to ensure the revenue from such sales was received.

The court had its own chancellor, treasurer, lawyers, receivers and auditors. Their main purpose and the collection of rent. Auditors would appraise monastic property and prepare particulars upon which the Court would then grant a warrant allowing the sale of the property, the Court being responsible for collecting the income from the sale.

Henry VIII established this court rather than having to go through the complex, lengthy procedures of the Court of Exchequer. Following his death in 1547 the court continued until it was abolished by Mary I in 1554 with the Court of Exchequer taking over its duties. This is perhaps not surprising given her attempt to reverse the Reformation.

Court of the Exchequer (16th Century to 1875)

The Court of Exchequer was originally established to oversee the collection of taxes but soon developed into an equity law court dealing with any cases where, it was accepted for the purposes of the law, it could be argued that the case affected or may affect the plaintiff’s ability to pay any debts or taxes he may owe to the Crown thus affecting the Crown’s revenue. Until 1649 “litigants had to have some genuine connection with the royal revenue, as officials or tenants of the Crown”[5].

This logic meant that virtually anyone could bring a claim in the Court of Exchequer and plaintiffs had a choice of bringing their case in either the Court of Chancery or Exchequer.

A plaintiff may choose to start proceedings in the Court of Exchequer instead of Chancery because it was thought the process in the Exchequer was quicker. However due to its popularity, overtime “its advantages disappeared, and the court became over-burdened”. Thus, from 1841 the equity cases were transferred to the Court of Chancery.

This court was presided over by four Barons who decided cases collectively hearing disputes over title of land, tithes, wills, trusts, mortgages, bonds, manorial rights and debts.

Court of Wards and Liveries (16th Century to 1660)

This court was another court established by Henry VIII essentially as another ‘easier’ means of revenue than the Court of Exchequer. Established as a result of statutes of 1540 and 1542, its role was to supervise and administer the estates of a tenant-in-chief following his death where the heir was a minor (21 for a boy, 14 for a girl) as well as the estates of lunatics. Such minors and lunatics were made ‘wards of court’. The Court was not only responsible for the financial management of the estate and collecting feudal dues, they were also responsible for the care and marriage of young heirs.

Wardships were frequently sold either to the next of kin or the highest bidder. They may also have been given to individuals as a reward for services.

The Court of Ward and Liveries was abolished in 1660 although feudal tenures had been abolished 15 years earlier, in 1645.

Palace Court (1630 to 1849)

The Palace Court was a minor civil law court which sat in Southwark with jurisdiction limited to within 12 miles of the Palace of Westminster, mainly hearing small debt claims with a value of below £5 (raised to £10 by the Frivolous Arrests Act 1725 and to £20 by the Imprisonment for Debt Act 1827), superior courts heard cases above this value. The figure of £5 was raised to £10 by the Frivolous Arrests Act 1725 and to £20 by the Imprisonment for Debt Act 1827. Its lower limit for the value of claims was 40 shillings. This court was abolished in 1849.

The civil court system since 1875 has been much simplified comprising: The High Court of Justice in London with law administered on a local level in County Courts; the Court of Appeal; and the Supreme Court of Judicature.  There are then the appeal courts: The Court of Appeal, the Privy Council (limited jurisdiction[6]) and the UK Supreme Court.


[1] As this was during the reign of Queen Victoria; known as King’s bench during the reign of a King

[2] So named by Privy Council Appeals Act 1832 being the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (see below)

[3] For which there are records

[4] Herber Ancestral Trails page 563

[5] Moore Tracing your Ancestors through the Equity Courts page 9

[6] They hear appeals from UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies and those Commonwealth countries that have retained the appeal to Her Majesty in Council or, in the case of Republics, to the Judicial Committee.

Researching your ancestors transported to Australia

The transportation of criminals was originally introduced in 1615 at a time when England sought an alternative to hanging. From 1615 to 1775 criminal were transported to colonies in North America, such as Virginia. Such transportation ceased with the start of the American civil war. However, without a sufficient central prison system the transportation system was re-introduced in 1787, this time to the new land of New South Wales (NSW), Australia which Captain James Cook had discovered only 17 years earlier.

Transportation to Australia continued until 1868 during which time in excess of 160,000 men, women and children were transported and the areas colonised included NWS, Tasmania from 1803-1853 and Western Australia from 1850-1868. In finding out whether your Australian ancestor was a convict it is important to know which states and at what times convicts were sent.

Convicts were usually transported to serve a sentence of either 7 years or 14 years. Once their term had been served the individual would be given a ‘Certificate of Freedom’ was free to return to their home country although few did.  A sentence of transportation for life in the case of the most serious offences meant that the individual would never return home, even if they were released early.

Many convicts sentenced to transportation would seek a pardon. “If a convict had been particularly helpful to the authorities (for example, helping them recapture escapees) then a Conditional Pardon could be issued. Very rarely, in exceptional circumstances transported convicts could receive a Royal Pardon, which was an absolute and unconditional pardon”[1].

Research Plan

Anyone researching their Australian roots, particularly where it is known those roots are not of native Australia (i.e. Aborigines) will first need to trace the origins their ancestors back to the earliest known in an ancestor in Australia. This should initially be carried out using Birth, Marriage and Death records and census records.

Birth, Marriage and Death records (B/M/D)

Compulsory civil registration began in Australia at different times in different states[2]:

Tasmania                                1838    1 Dec  

South Australia                       1842    1 Jul   

Western Australia                   1841    9 Sep  

Victoria                                   1853    1 July 

Queensland                             1856    1 March         

New South Wales                   1856    1 March         

Northern Territory                  1870    24 Aug

Australian Capital Territory   1930    1 Jan

However, records of B/M/D were kept prior to these dates, much as in England, in church records of baptism, marriage and burials. As in England, indexes to B/M/D have been prepared and include records before compulsory civil registration was introduced which were created from the church records by the registrars. These records are available online on both the English and Australian versions of the Ancestry website[3] and on the Find My Past website[4], spanning the years:

New South Wales       1788-1910

Northern Territory      1870-1910

Queensland                 1829-1910, 1915-1919

South Australia           1842-1922

Tasmania                    1803-1910

Victoria                       1836-1910

Western Australia       1841-1905

Birth indexes are searchable by name, year of birth, place of birth and names of parents; marriage indexes by name, year of marriage, place of marriage and name of spouse; death indexes by year of death, place of death, estimated year of birth, father’s name and mother’s surname.

Copies of certificates would need to be obtained from the appropriate registry office:

The information to be found on the certificate will depend on when and in which state the event took place but largely they followed the style of certificate the same certificates in England.

Census records

Census records in Australia began earlier in Australia than in England. By 1828 many convicts had served their sentences and had settled as free men. They could no longer be compelled to attend the annual musters and therefore the first census was conducted in New South Wales. These are available in two copies – one held in Australia, one held at The National Archives (TNA) in England.

Censuses were then held in 1833, 1836, 1841, 1846, 1851, 1856, 1861 after which they were held every ten years to 1901[5]. The returns New South Wales (NSW), Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia for 1851 through to 1891 appear to have been destroyed in the Garden Palace Fire of 1882. Census returns for the Northern Territory survive for 1881 through to 1921. The records which do survive are again, much like those in England, they are the Collectors books and not the actual household schedules.

The following surviving records can be searched online[6] by name, year of birth and place/territory:

  • 1828 New South Wales, Australia Census (Australian Copy)
  • 1828 New South Wales, Australia Census (TNA Copy)
  • 1841 New South Wales, Australia, Census (including what are now the states of Victoria and Queensland)
  • 1891 New South Wales, Australia Census 
  • 1901 New South Wales, Australia Census 

The census returns include details of where a person was born and therefore the earliest ancestor to arrive in Australia having being born in England (or Ireland) should be able to be located unless of course the earliest ancestor to arrive, arrived during the period 1851 to the end of transportation in 1868. If that is the case, there are census substitutes available[7]:

  • Population Musters of convicts and military (see below);
  • Electoral rolls which began in NSW in 1842;
  • Trade Directories which began in the early 1800’s;
  • Depasturing licenses of grants of land from the Crown to settlers;
  • Rate and valuation books from the later 1850’s;
  • Lists of convicts (see below).

Many of these records are available online at previously named websites and www.familysearch.org. They can also be found in most major archives and libraries in Australia.

Population Musters of convicts and military

Prior to, and beyond, the 1828 census population counts or Musters took place in NSW in[8] 1800 (settlers); 1806 (first complete muster that has survived); 1811 (convicts, including those given tickets of leave, pardons etc); 1814; 1816 to 1821 (convicts); 1822; 1823 (military not included) to 1825 (military not included); and 1837.

And in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) 1811 and 1808 to 1849. 

They contained more information than would be found on an ordinary census, with some early musters list children, wives, and servants:

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Status (convict, free, military);
  • Sex
  • Ship of arrival
  • Trial date and place
  • Sentence and any other remarks.

So, where an ancestor can be found in the population musters the information found can be used to trace that ancestor back to their origins in England. Where it is identified that the ancestor was a convict the information found in respect of the ship they arrived on, their trial date and place, will help direct the researcher to records held at The National Archives (TNA) and more locally in England.

Lists/Returns of Convicts

If an ancestor cannot be found in the Population musters, they may be found in the Lists or Returns of Convicts. The Convicts Index 1791 to 1873 (“A single searchable database containing certificates of freedom; bank accounts; deaths; exemptions from Government Labor; pardons; tickets of leave; and, tickets of leave passports. There are 140,000+ entries to search”) is available to search for free at New South Wales Government State Archives and Records website[9] provides:

  • Name
  • Alias
  • Ship
  • Year
  • Record type   
  • Date   
  • Remarks         
  • Citation

The same website also contains a Convict Indents (Digitised) Index for 1788 to 1801 which is a fully digitised index containing a list of the convicts transported to NSW. “Early indents provide name, date and place of trial and sentence; later indents usually contain more information such as a physical description, native place, age and crime”[10]

The index to convict indents and ships for New South Wales and Van Diemen’s land from 1788 to 1842 are also available on microfiche at TNA.

The New South Wales Government State Archives and Records website[11] is a good place to start researching convict records in Australia once the first ancestor to arrive in Australia is known, particularly for those researchers living in Australia.

However, there are a vast amount of records available in England for those researchers based in England.

For Queensland convicts the British Convict Transportation Register 1787-1867 can be searched at the State Library of Queensland website https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/research-collections/family-history/convict-queenslanders.

If an ancestor was in the first or second fleet to be transported, there are published lists of the names of those convicts:

  • “The First Fleeters” by P G Fidlon and R J Ryan;
  • “The Second Fleet Convicts” by R J Ryan

The Convict Transportation Register 1787-1870

Series HO11 held at TNA is a list “of convicts transported in various ships, giving the dates of their convictions. Transcripts of these registers can be accessed via the State Library of Queensland website[12].

The Convict Transportation Register can downloaded for free from the TNA website  and the following can be searched online at www.ancestry.com.au:

  • Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Other Fleets & Ships, 1791-1868
  • Australian Convict Transportation Registers – First Fleet, 1787-1788
  • Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Third Fleet, 1791    
  • Australian Convict Transportation Registers – Second Fleet, 1789-1790

And include the convicts name, date and place of conviction, term of sentence, name of ship on which they sailed to Australia, date of departure date and the name of the colony to which they were sent.

This will help confirm the information which may already have been found in the population muster or lists/returns of convicts. However, it may also be useful where the first known ancestor to Australia cannot be found in the census, musters or list/return of convicts because such records may be incomplete. Where a person is named, for example on a birth certificate as a parent, then the Convict Transport Register can be searched for them. If not in these records, then it is probable that the ancestor was not a convict but arrived as either a free settler or military/naval personnel. 

Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania: Records 1787-1859 

Found in series HO 10held at TNA this is another list “of the male and female convicts and former convicts in the colonies giving particulars as to their sentences, employment, settlement in the country, the land and cattle acquired by them and other information; lists of pardons granted; lists of convicts embarked for and arriving in New South Wales; general musters and census of 1828 relating to settlers and convicts”[13].

These records can be downloaded for free from TNA website. These records not only help with tracing the origins of an ancestor in England but may provide further details of their lives after serving their sentence and their then settlement in the country.

Other records available at TNA which can be used to identify whether a named ancestor was a convict (not digitised)

  • TS 18/460 – 515: Contracts for the transportation of convicts, naming convicts, with date and place of trial and sentence;
  • HO31/1: Orders of the Privy Council 1782 to 1794 contain lists of convicts for transportation[14];
  • PC 1/2715: Lists of Convicts embarked on the ship Eden to New South Wales, with correspondence, 1840;
  • PC 1/2716: Lists of Convicts embarked on the ship Tortoise to Van Diemen’s Land, with correspondence, 1841;
  • PC 1/2717: Lists of Convicts embarked on the ship Elphinstone to Van Diemen’s Land, with correspondence, 1842;
  • PC 1/2718: Lists of Convicts embarked on the ship Anson to Van Diemen’s Land, with correspondence, 1843;
  • T 1 Treasury Board papers and T 53 Treasury Money Books also contain ships’ lists of convicts who were transported.

Prison Hulk Records – records held at TNA

  • HO 9/1 – 15: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers

Registers of convicts in the prison hulks, 1802 to 1849, arranged by hulk name

1811 to 1843 images and indexes can be downloaded for free the TNA website

  • ADM 6/418, 420, 422: Registers of convicts in prison hulks, with gaolers’ reports 1814 to 1835, each indexed at ADM 6/419, 421, 423 respectively.
  • PCOM 2/105: Portsmouth Prison, Hampshire: registers of prisoners, nos. 1-1477 from Sept 30, 1847 to Apr 18, 1853

Images and indexes are available at www.findmypast.co.uk in series in their series England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935;

  • PCOM 2/131 to 137: Registers of convicts on specific prison hulks from 1837 to 1860

Images and indexes are available at www.findmypast.co.uk in their series England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935;

  • HO 8/74: Quarterly returns of convicts in prison hulks for 1842 Dec

Available at TNA only.

These records will provide details of name, age, offence committed, when and where tried, date of transfer to a ship for transportation. This essentially forms a paper trail of the convict’s movements between conviction and transportation.  Many prisoners were initially held on prison hulks awaiting transportation. Not all were in fact transported. The records may not provide any additional information which may have been gained from other record discussed above however they could be used in alternative to those set out above or as confirmation of information already obtained.

Petitions for clemency and pardons

Series HO 17 and HO 18 held at TNA hold original petitions made by or on behalf of convicts asking for a revocation or reduction of their sentences. “Attached to some petitions are related papers and some returns, made by the governors of convict prisons, of convicts recommended for early release for good behaviour”[15].

HO 17 holds petitions made between 1819 and 1839;

HO 18 holds petitions made between 1839 and 1853.

There is an index to the petitions which can be found in HO 19 arranged alphabetically giving the reference of the original petition, the place of imprisonment and the outcome of the petition. 

Many have been indexed and digitised and made available at www.findmypast.co.uk in their series England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935. HO 17, 18 and 19 can be found as subseries and can be searched by name, year and place.

Petitions are most likely to include personal information regarding the convict, such as their age, family circumstances, where he lived prior to his conviction, previous good character, his occupation and any extenuating circumstances.

Newspapers reports

Once the court and/or area is known, before searching the court records it may be worth searching newspaper reports to see what further information may be gleaned about the case and the convict. Newspaper reports often include personal information about those they are reporting on, including age, occupation, where they were from, where the offence was committed and sometimes details of their family. The largest collection can be found at the British Library but there are several websites where newspapers can be searched:

The British Newspaper Archive[16];

Find My Past[17]

London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes[18]

Local newspapers will also be available in the local archives for the area where the trial took place.

Court Records

Once you know the court your ancestor convicts’ trial was heard then the court records can be searched for more information. To be sentenced to transportation, a convict had committed a serious offence which would have been heard in either their local Assize Court or the Old Bailey/Central Criminal Court. 

Assize courts

Assize court records, where they exist, are largely held at TNA although some may be found at local archives (for example searching the Surrey History Centre online catalogue there are various papers from the assize courts which appear to have been provided to the archives from personal collections or as part of the Quarter Session records), however many records were destroyed. Records may be found in various series held at TNA, none of which are digitised and can only be viewed at TNA:

  • ASSI 1 – 54: Records of the Justices of Assize from 1554 to 1971 arranged by circuits;
  • KB 6/1 – 6: Depositions 1836-1886;
  • KB 10/1 – 92: Indictments (London and Middlesex) 1675-1845[19];
  • KB 11/1 – 107: Indictment (Rest of England) 1676-1845[20];
  • KB 12/1 – 228: Indictments files for all counties 1846-1926[21];
  • KB 19/1 – 3: Pleadings

It should be noted that the Palatine courts of Chester, Durham and Lancaster (Lancashire) merged into the assizes system in 1876. Prior to this their respective court records will need to be searched at TNA is series CHES, DURH and PL

Old Bailey and Central Criminal Court

The Old Bailey was essentially the Assize court for the City of London until 1834 when the Central Criminal Court was established. The Central Criminal Court had jurisdiction over the City of London, Middlesex, parts of Essex, Kent, Surrey, crimes committed at sea and abroad.

Old Bailey/Central Criminal Court session papers are held Guildhall Library and at TNA in series PCOM 1 for 1801 to 1904 and CRIM 10 for 1834-1912.

Old Bailey trials for the period 1674 to 1935, can also be searched at https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/. They may also be searched online at www.findmypast.co.uk under their series Middlesex, London, Old Bailey Court Records 1674-1913.

Civil registration, census returns, parish records and parish registers.

Once you have found, from any of the resources above, where the convict ancestor lived at the time they were convicted, then further research can be continued in the well-known genealogical record, to find their origins (parentage etc) depending on the period of time:

  • post 1837 – civil registration records
  • 1841 and beyond – decennial census returns
  • pre-1837 – parish registers and records.

The records discussed above represent a sample of records available to help trace the origins of a convict transported to Australia. There are numerous other records available both in Australia and England, online and off. The National Library of Australia has a very helpful research guide[22] as does TNA[23] and both should be consulted where such a research task is to be undertaken.


[1] “A guide to tracing your transported convict ancestors by Dr David J Cox

[2] https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Australia_Civil_Registration

[3] www.ancestry.co.uk and www.ancestry.com.au

[4] www.findmypast.com.au

[5] https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/archives/collections-and-research/guides-and-indexes/census-musters-guide?searchterm=musters%20census

[6] Online at the websites previously stated

[7] https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Australia_Census

Many of these records are available online at previously named websites and www.familysearch.org.

[8] https://guides.slv.vic.gov.au/earlycensus/nsw

[9] https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/archives/collections-and-research/guides-and-indexes/node/1616/browse

[10] https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/archives/collections-and-research/guides-and-indexes/convicts

[11] Ibid

[12] https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C8875

[13] https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C8874

[14] “Criminal Ancestors” by David Hawkings, page 235

[15] https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C8881

[16] https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

[17] www.findmypast.co.uk

[18] www.gazettes-online.co.uk

[19] Can be searched using index IND 1/6669-6677 for 1673-1843

[20] Can be searched using index IND 1/6680-6684 for 1638-1704 and 1765-1843

[21] Can be searched using registers IND 1/6685, IND 1/6686, IND 1/6687/1 and IND 1/6687/2

[22] https://www.nla.gov.au/research-guides/convicts

[23] https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/criminal-transportation/

Persecution and toleration of Catholics (recusants)

Year Legislation Associated record sources
1534 Act of Supremacy Refusing to take Henry VIII’s Oath of supremacy and supporting the Pope became an act of treason. Parish registers and Parish chest records If there is a marriage and burial record but no baptism it may indicate a Catholic[1]; some clergy would make a note in the register is a person was a recusant.   Churchwarden accounts Churchwardens were responsible for bringing offenders before the courts and their accounts may provide details of recusants.   Execution records Recusants executed for treason can be found at the British Executions website http://www.britishexecutions.co.uk/search.php?subpage=searchTerms&time=1554552366[2]  (years 1100 to 1964) and at the Capital Punishment UK website: http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/contents.html[3]
1549 1552 Act of Uniformity Act of Uniformity Clergy were given one year to adopt the Prayer book or face stiff penalties as would anyone speaking out against the Prayer book[4]: First offence – confiscation of income for a year and 6 months imprisonment;Second offence – 1 year imprisonment with no bail and then stripped of his church position;Third offence – life imprisonment. The 1552 Act introduced a revised Prayer book and extended the penalties to imprisonment for anyone attending other forms of service Quarter Session records­ (discussed below) Churchwarden accounts (as above)  
1554 Revival of the Heresy Acts Which had been repealed under Henry VIII and Edward VI: Richard II’s Letters Patent 1382Henry IV’s Heresy Act 1401Henry V’s Heresy Act 1414 Quarter Session records (see below) A lack of Catholics appearing in these records during this period demonstrates this period of toleration of Catholics.[5]
1559                 Act of Supremacy Reinstated the supremacy of the Church of England repealing the heresy laws Mary I had revived. Act of Uniformity The Book of Common Prayer was introduced, similar to the prayer book of 1552 but retaining some Catholic elements.  Clergy faced stiff penalties for failing to comply: First offence – forfeit their benefice for a year and 6 months imprisonment; Second offence – 1 year imprisonment with no bail and then stripped of his church position; Third offence – life imprisonment. Anyone speaking out against the Book of Common Prayer or attempted to disrupt parish services also faced penalties: First two offences – a fine; Third offence – life imprisonment Anyone failing to attend their parish church for Sunday service or on a holy day would be fined 1s[6] every time they failed to attend[7]. In 1563 the death penalty was introduced for priests who continued to hold mass. Those who continued to defend the supremacy of the pope had their property seized. Churchwarden accounts (as above) Quarter Session records  (see below) Execution records (as above)  
1570 Papal Bull [8]‘Regnans in Excelsis[9] Encouraged Catholics to be a heretic, releasing even those who had sworn the oath of supremacy from allegiance to the monarchy. The bull also excommunicate any Catholic obeyed the monarchy’s orders!  
1571 Treason Act It became high treason to bring any further papal bulls into England and to call the monarch a heretic or schismatic. Quarter Session records (see below)  
1581 Recusancy Act The penalties for recusancy increased: Fine of £20 per month Fine of 100 marks and a years imprisonment for hearing Mass From 1581 if anyone converted to Catholicism or attempted to convert anyone else to Catholicism, the penalty was death. A further Act was passed forbidding Catholic education of children. From 1586 failure to pay a fine would result in a recusant losing land they owned, a penalty which, from 1604 could be imposed in place of the £20 per month fine. Quarter Session records (see below) Pipe Rolls 1581 – 1601 Include the names and fines imposed on Catholics yearly; largely written in Latin and arranged by county; held by the Exchequer – copies provided to the Chancery. Available at: National Archives series E372[10] and E352[11] (not digitised)Catholic Record Society publication: “Recusants in the Exchequer Pipe Rolls, 1581-1592” by T. J. McCann[12] (not digitised) An index of Pipe Rolls is also available at the Pipe Roll Society[13]
1585 Act against Jesuits, Seminary Priests and such other like Disobedient Persons A further act to ‘force’ Jesuits[14] and Seminary priests[15] to take the oath of allegiance to the Queen. Failure to do so within 40 days was an act of high treason unless they left the country. Any person who harboured or knew of the whereabouts of a Jesuit or Seminary priest and failed to inform the authorities, would be penalised: A fine of 200 marks Imprisonment Execution if the authorities wished to make an example of the priest. Any Jesuit or Seminary priest who were or travelled overseas, had to return to England within six months to swear the oath of allegiance (within two days of their arrival) and swear to submit to the Queen, or face the penalties for treason. Once taken the oath, they were forbidden for a period of 10 years to come within 10 miles of the Queen without her personal written permission or face the penalties for treason. If they left England for more than six months their land would be forfeited. Quarter Session records (see below)  
1587 Act against noncompliance Anyone who refused to accept the authority of the monarchy and thus the Church of England and Book of Common Prayer, were not permitted to buy or sell land. Quarter Session records (see below) Pipe Rolls 1581 – 1591 (as above)  
1593 Act for Retaining the Queen’s Subjects in their due Obedience[16] Required all over the age of 16 years to attend an Anglican Church service. Failure to attend for a period of one month would result in imprisonment without bail, for such period as they refused to attend, as would their encouragement to any other person not to attend. If they continued to refuse to attend for a period of three months they would be removed and exiled from England and any other countries within the queen’s realm until and unless they were licenced by the queen to return. Act against Popish Recusants Catholics were no longer permitted to travel more than a five mile radius from their home. The penalty for doing so without permission was a loss of all goods, chattels, lands, tenements, hereditaments rents and annuities due to them during their life. This was however never enforced during the reign of Elizabeth I which ended with her death 1603 when she was succeeded by James I (James VI of Scotland). Quarter session records (see below) Recusant rolls 1591 – 1691 Specific Rolls recording names and fines of recusants in place of Pipe Rolls. Arranged by county, containing: 1. Land seized from recusants, detailing: Name of recusant;Rent due to the Crown;Description of land;Date of seizure;Name of commissioner affecting seizure of land;Memoranda Roll record authorising seizure of land;Name of Crown’s lessee (if any);Arrears;Total debt;Payments made; 2. Goods and chattels seized, detailing: Name of recusant;Amount of forfeiture;Articles seized; 3. Sheriffs charge and final audit 4. Enrolment of new convictions, detailing: Name and address of recusant;duration of recusancy;date of conviction;amount of debt Available at: National Archives series E376 and E377 (not digitised)Catholic Record Society publications: “Recusant Roll No. 1, 1592-3, Exchequer, Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer by M.M.C Calthrop [17]; “ Recusant Rolls no 2, 1593-1594. An abstract in English by Hugh Bowler”[18]; “Recusant Rolls no 3, 1594-1595 and recusant roll no. 4, 1595-1596. An abstract in English by Hugh Bowler”[19]
1604 Book of Common Prayer James I promised to “neither persecute any that will be quiet and give but an outward obedience to the law [nor to] spare to advance any of them that will by good service worthily deserve it”[20] he did made it clear that unity and uniformity of the church was his aim, proclaiming in July 1604 that all clergy were to fully conform to the Book of Common Prayer by 30November 1604.  
1605 And 1606 Popish Recusants Act (Following the Gunpowder Plot) Oath of Allegiance Forbidding Catholics practicing in the legal or medical professions, the military and from acting as guardians or trustees; Calling for them to swear a new Oath of Allegiance to the monarchy denying the authority of the Pope; Making it high treason to obey the pope over the monarchy, imprisoning those who refused to swear the oath. There was an incentive of £50[21] for those who identified priests and members of their congregations The rules also applied to any protestant who took a Catholic wife! Quarter session records (see below) Oath of Allegiance rolls 1606 – 1828 (see below)  
1610 Act extended the Oath of Allegiance To be taken by all Catholics over the age of 18 with penalties including: Imprisonment Loss of rent and personal property Persecution was also financial: £100 fine for failing to baptise a child within one month of birth by Anglican clergy; On marriage any property of the recusant bride would be forfeited; if she had none £100 fine was payable; Married women recusants could be imprisoned until the conformed or their husband paid to redeem them for £10 per month Quarter Session records (see below) Oath of Allegiance Rolls see below)  
` Taxation Charles I introduced a double rate on taxes for Catholics. Lay Subsidy Rolls (cover period 1275 to 1665) Record taxes imposed on moveable property (not land) from time to time. The name, village and parish of a Catholic can be identified as they had to pay double the rate. Available at: National Archives series E179[22] and E359[23];County record officesLocal Family History societies – e.g. West Surrey Family History Society have an ongoing project to transcribe the Surrey Lay Subsidy Rolls.
1626/7 Commission for Compounding with Recusants A commission set up to investigate concealed sources of revenue recusants may have had and any amounts available which could be recovered from poorer recusants. Convicted recusants were targeted by obtaining information from the quarter session records who had to bargain with the commissioners and usually agree an increased rent to lease their land which had been seized from them and in order to pay fines and arrears of fines.    
1643 Oath of Allegiance Charles I introduced a further Oath of Allegiance requiring all men over the age of 18 years to deny catholic beliefs. Those who refused lost most of their estates, both real and personal. Vow and Covenant 1643 Taken by members of the House of Commons and House of Lords – demonstrates lack of Catholics in official positions Solemn League of Covenant 1644 This was an agreement in which Scotland agreed to support the English Parliamentarians in their disputes with the royalists and was signed throughout England and Scotland – demonstrates support against Catholics Protestation Oath Returns 1641 – 1642 Provides names, village, parish and occupation of all those who took the oath and Catholics[24] who refused to sign. Remaining records cover about one third of the country. Available at: National Archives series SP28[25] or E179Parliamentary ArchivesSociety of Genealogy – for some parts of the countryLondon Metropolitan Archives – City of London and various London districtsCounty record offices  
1643 Committee for the Sequestration of Delinquents Estates/ Committee for Compounding for the Estates of Royalists and Delinquents A committee set up at the beginning of the civil war much like the earlier Commission for Compounding with Recusants. Their role was to seize and confiscate land from and/or impose fines on royalists, papists and recusants.  
1648       1650            Blasphemy Act[26] Anyone found guilty of blasphemy and/or heresy would suffer the death penalty unless they renounced. Blasphemy Act This act provided for less severe penalties: first offence – six month imprisonment;second offence – Banished from the country not to return without a licence Act repealing penalties for nonattendance at church It was no longer a legal requirement to attend the parish church. Penalties for blasphemy and heresy still continued. Quarter Session records (see below)  
1660 Declaration of Breda Issued by Charles II promising to bring religious freedom at the start of the Restoration. Although it appears this was not to include Catholics!  
        1661           1662                           1664                     1665 Clarendon Code – a collection of four Acts of Parliament designed to weaken the nonconformist movement including Catholics and Protestant nonconformist sects: Corporation Act Catholics[27] were excluded from official positions unless they swore the oath of allegiance, renounced the Solemn League and Covenant[28] of 1643 and accepted the supremacy of the monarchy. Act of Uniformity Required all clergy to be: ordained episcopally;renounce the Solemn League and Covenant;accept and preach the new Book of Common Prayer Catholics[29] were liable to three months imprisonment if they continued to preach in public or worked as a private tutor or schoolmaster without first obtaining a licence to do so from an archbishop, bishop or ordinary of the diocese. If clergy remained in office or attained office in the Church of England without episcopal ordination the penalty was a fine of £100. Conventicles Act Congregations of more than 5 persons (including the priest!) became illegal, even in private houses. The penalties for breach were: First offence – fine of £5 or 3 months imprisonment;Second offence – fine of £10 or 6 months imprisonment;Third offence – transportation for seven years to a foreign plantation (other than New England) The Five Mile Act Catholic[30] priests were no longer allowed to approach within 5 miles of any former parish or town save to pass through on the road. The penalties for doing so were: Fine of £40 Many were imprisoned for persistent offending resulting from the simple need to make a living! Quarter session records (see below) Oath of Allegiance Rolls (see below) Sacramental certificates (see below)  
1670 Conventicles Act [31] Increased the penalties: First offence – fine of £20Subsequent offences – fine of £40 Quarter session records (see below)  
1672            Declaration of Indulgence Charles II forced this Declaration through Parliament, legally enabling Catholics[32] to practice their religion by allowing them hold mass in private (nonconformists could apply for licences to establish meeting houses). However due to the strength of the continued anti-Catholic he was forced to quickly repeal it with the Test Act.  
1673 Test Act This reinforced the need for civil and military offices (including priests/clergy) to swear the oath of allegiance and supremacy of the monarchy and provide a sacramental certificate confirming they had taken Anglican Communion, which would be signed by the Anglican minister and churchwarden of the parish and further witnessed by two credible witnesses. This act did not apply to MP’s and peers. Thus a second Test Act was introduced. Oath of Allegiance rolls (see below) Sacramental certificates (see below)  
1676 Compton Census Churchwardens and Constables were ordered to provide a list of those attending Anglican services, including nonconformists and recusants over the age of 16 years to the local Justice of the Peace (JP) who then called on each person listed to take the oath of allegiance. If they refused the penalty was imprisonment. The lists became known as the Compton Census. Compton Census Largely numerical providing details of the places of worship and the size of their congregations demonstrating the distribution of religious sects, in particular parishes where Catholicism thrived or died. A small number may contain names of individuals.   Quarter session rolls (see below)  
1678            Test Act This required all members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons to make declarations against transubstantiation, invocation of saints, and the sacrament of Mass, with the effect of excluding Catholics from both houses, in particular evicting the five Catholic Lords from the House of Lords.   Estreat Rolls 1537 – 1837 Record fines and bonds due to the Exchequer following legal proceedings.   Nichil Rolls 1537 – 1837 Record debts due to the Exchequer where the sheriff attempted to collect but there were insufficient funds to pay.   Available at: National Archives series E362[33] (not digitised)  arranged by County
1687 & 1688 Declaration of Indulgence and reissued in 1688 James II was an openly Catholic King and made his own declaration of indulgence, suspending both the Test Act and other earlier Acts restricting religious freedom. James II began a policy of appointing Catholics to positions of power e.g. JP’s, MP’s and Lords-Lieutenants. Records include for example, at The National archives: Series C 216 “Chancery: Petty Bag Office: Admission Rolls of Officers[34] and Solicitors”  
1689 Toleration Act Allowed freedom of worship provided Protestant nonconformists swore an oath of allegiance[35]. Catholics were specifically excluded! The Clarendon Code Acts and Test Act were still in force. Oath of Allegiance rolls (see below)  
1692 Land Tax A double land tax rate was introduced for Catholic land owners. Land tax assessment and records Yearly records of tax imposed on owners whose land was valued in excess of 20s. Catholic land owners can be identified by the rate of tax they paid – double rate. Arranged by county, the records provide the names of the land owner, tenants and occupiers[36]; the name and parish address of the property; rental value; amount of tax due. Available at: National Archives series IR 23[37], IR 22[38] and IR 24[39]County Record Offices – duplicates: often quite difficult to find due to lack of transcription and indexing at local levelGuild Library – City of London records   Quarter Session records / estate papers / parish records Assessments prior to 1780
1696 An Act for the Better Security of His Majesties’ Royal Person and Government Following the attempted assassination of William III, the Solemn Association Oath had to be sworn by military personnel and civil officers of the Crown.   Association Oath Rolls Include those who refused to swear the oath such as Catholics. Many of the records contain original signatures, but they also include marks and listings made by clerks. Available at: National Archives series C 213[40], C 214/8-12[41], KB 24/1[42], KB 24/2[43]County Record OfficesLondon Metropolitan Archives (City of London and various London districts)
1698            Popery Act Enacted in 1700 the Act reinforced the laws against practising Catholics, the penalty for which could be “perpetuall Imprisonment”[44]. Further Catholics were forbidden from inheriting or purchasing land and could face fines for sending their children abroad to be educated. Quarter session records (see below)  
1702 1714            Security of Succession Act Security of the Sovereign Act Officials were required to take an oath denying the right of James II’s son the right to succeed the throne. Oaths of allegiance, test and abjuration roll (see below)  
1715            Papist Act In the wake of the Jacobite rebellion, everyone over the age of 18 was required to swear an oath of allegiance. Catholics were also required to register details of their estates, including documents such as Wills, conveyances of land and/or property with the county Clerk of the Peace. This was further reinforced in 1723 when Catholics refusing to swear the oath of allegiance were now required to register their names and details of their estates at quarter sessions or have their property seized. Seizure of property was overseen by the Forfeiture Estates Commission. Oaths of allegiance, test and abjuration roll (see below) Quarter session records (see below)   Close Rolls Sealed documents: By the Court of Chancery giving order and instructions to royal officials and subject;By private individuals to enrol documents such as deeds of land, wills, leases and quit claims amongst many other documents. Catholic wills should have been enrolled after 1715 and can provide names, addresses, occupations, details of family, land/property etc as set out in their enrolled wills. Available at: National Archives series C 54[45] and also PRO 31[46] (various subseries, for example, PRO 31/7/173  Extracts from Close Rolls) (not digitised)
1753            Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act Catholics were required to marry in an Anglican Church Parish registers – as discussed above  
1778            Catholic Relief Act The first Act towards toleration of Catholics enabling them to own land and freeing them from persecution, repealing the 1698 Act. Land and Property Records including Title Deeds Ownership of land/property and how they were conveyed. Documents will not themselves identify Catholics however where a person has not previously been registered as an owner of land, it may indicate they were Catholic. Records provide name, address, occupation, marital status of vendor and purchaser, description of land or property, family relationships (especially if land has been passed through generations), dates of death, wills and maps are sometimes attached. Available at: The National Archives – various records within division CP including:concords of fines in CP 24/1-CP 24/13feet of fines in CP 25/1 and CP 25/2notes of fines in CP 26/1-CP 26/14entry books recording the public announcement of fines in CP 27enrolments of writs for fines and recoveries in CP 28rules to amend fines and recoveries in CP 30books recording the king’s silver in CP 34 and CP 35recovery rolls in CP 43portions of broken writs of covenant files in CP 50, with the complete files in CP 55files of writs of entry in CP 56concords files in CP 61and enrolments of writs of entry in CP 65County Record Offices – Surrey History Centre has various conveyancing documents relating to individual estates/families.British LibraryLand RegistrySolicitors, (building societies and banks in later years)  Quarter session records Lack of further offences recorded of the nature set out in the 1698 Act reflects this new toleration
1791            Catholic Relief Act The second Act towards toleration of Catholics enabling Catholics to register and open their own chapels. Despite this, marriage and burials could still only take place legally in Anglican churches. Parish registers– as discussed above Catholic Church registers and records Newly opened catholic chapels began registers of baptism, confirmation, marriage and death. Baptisms registers include: Name of child and parents (inc mother’s maiden name)Date of baptism (and possibly birth)Names of godparents or ‘sponsers’ “Double” marriage records may be found: Catholics would have an Anglican service to “legalise” their marriage and have a Catholic marriage service which may be recorded in the Catholic registers. Marriage registers include: Names of bride and groom (inc brides maiden name)Names of witnessesOccasionally – ages of both parties, place of birth for bride and names of parents of both parties. The same principal applies to death/burials of Catholics who had to be buried at an Anglican church yard until 1852 (see below)[47]. Burial registers include: Name of deceasedOccasionally – age, name(s) of deceased wife and children It should be noted that these registers were usually in Latin until 1965. Available at: National Archives(see The Non-Parochial Registers Act below);County Record Offices (Catholic registers at Surrey History Centre appear to begin in the 20th Century (see The Non-Parochial Registers Act below);Diocesan Archives – For my local Diocese of Guildford they are held at the Surrey History Centre (County Record Office);Catholic Record Society – Catholic church registers published for various locations in various series;Catholic National Library – Mission Registers (listing baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths) amongst a large collection of Catholic history books and periodicals Quarter Session Records (see below)
1829            Catholic Emancipation Act Removed the majority of the remaining restrictions on Catholics allowing them to take up most public offices including parliamentary seats. Quarter session records (see below)
1836            General Registration Act Finally allowed Catholics to marry in their own churches and chapels although burials were still required to take place at Anglican churches. Civil registration certificates – birth, marriage, death in particular marriage certificate which will provide details of the place of marriage i.e. Catholic church/chapel
1840            The Non-Parochial Registers Act Following civil registration it was requested that the registers of nonconformist sects, including Catholics, be deposited with the Registrar General, however few if any were deposited by Catholics. These registers are therefore likely still be in the hands of the individual Catholic church. Catholic[48] registers deposited both in 1840 and 1857 at the National Archives can be found in: Series RG4: General Register Office: Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths surrendered to the Non-parochial Registers Commissions of 1837 and 1857 arranged by County and then alphabetically by placeSeries RG8: General Register Office: Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths surrendered to the Non Parochial Registers Commission of 1857, and other registers and church records. These registers are also available from http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk
1852             Burial Act Catholics were legally able to establish their own burial grounds. Municipal cemeteries developed during this century and may have also been used for Catholic burials Burial registers of Catholic burial sites As pre catholic registers discussed above

Assizes/Quarter Session Records

Catholics were essentially criminalised. Quarter session records contain perhaps the largest collections of records providing details of Catholics (and other nonconformists) including (but not limited to):

  • Indictments and Presentments – Details of Catholics fined, imprisoned, banished from the country and sentenced to execution;
  • Sacrament certificates (see below);
  • Oaths of Allegiance including lists of those refusing to take the various Oaths (see below) (Chancery Court/Exchequer Court or King’s Bench division records if the person lived within 30 miles of London);
  • Declarations against transubstantiation;
  • Registers of names and estates of Catholics who refused to take the Oath of Allegiance following the Papist Act 1715, arranged alphabetically by county and town;
  • Records of land and property seized for failing to take the Oath of Allegiance and/or registering their names and estates;
  • Certificates of Roman Catholic Chapels and priests following the 1791 Catholic Relief Act

These numerous records can provide names, addresses and occupations of those Catholics prosecuted or who had land seized, or who registered themselves as required. They may include details of family members.

These numerous records are available at:

  • County Record Offices – Surrey Quarter Session records held at the Surrey History Centre include:
  • Session Rolls, 1661-1799, 1889-1915
  • Session Bundles, 1630, 1637, 1701 – 1888
  • Indictments
  • Estreat Books
  • Calendars of Prisoners: Surrey Sessions and Assizes
  • Land Tax Assessment Books
  • Registration of the Estates of Roman Catholics
  • Certificates of Protestant dissenting and Roman Catholic places of Worship and related documents
  • London Metropolitan Archives – Proceedings at the Old Bailey
  • Society of Genealogists e.g. calendars of prisoners, microfiche copies of summary convictions and other court records
  • British Library – including legislation, cases and traditional legal commentary
  • Local newspapers often reported on criminal proceedings

Oath Rolls and Sacramental Certificates

As can be seen from the table above, oaths of allegiance and supremacy were required to be sworn at various times. The oath rolls provide a list of names, addresses and occupation of those taking the oaths and frequently a list of those refusing to take the oaths. Both lists may include Catholics as some Catholics may have chosen to take the oath to avoid criminal proceedings. In particular if a Catholic wished to serve in an official office (military, parliament, courts etc) under following the Clarendon Code.

Those swearing the oath obtained a Sacramental Certificate as proof they had received communion in the Church of England.

Oath rolls began in 1606 and essentially ended with the oaths of allegiance, supremacy and abjuration under the reinforced Papist Act of 1723. The location and availability of Oath Rolls for 1723 can be found in the publication “The 1723 oath rolls in England: an electronic finding list” by Edward Vallance[49].

TNA series C 203/6 includes certificates naming those who failed to swear the oaths of allegiance, supremacy and abjuration as required by the Security of the Sovereign Act 1714.

After the Catholic Relief Act of 1778 Catholics were able to sign a new oath of allegiance which can be located at the National Archives series E169/79 – 83[50] and “The rolls contain the actual signatures of persons taking an oath and most of them state the form of the oath to be taken, together with the authorising statute…While a few of the rolls give places of residence, only one roll (E 169/80) includes full addresses”[51]. These have not been digitised and are only available at TNA.

There is also a wealth of records available at TNA series PC 1 (not digitised) such as:

  • Returns of Catholics for several counties PC 1/20/31
  • Roman Catholics: Lists of Roman Catholics who have taken the oath during 1796 PC 1/37/107
  • Roman Catholic Oaths: List for Westminster, London PC 1/40/130
  • Certificates under 31 Geo III, c 32 (1791) relating to Roman Catholics PC 1/2937
  • Returns of papists who have taken oath in accordance with Act of 31 Geo III PC 1/19/26/2

Sacramental certificates provide the name, address and occupation of the individual, the date sacrament was received, name of the church, name of the minister, churchwarden and the witnesses, and can be found at TNA series:

  • C 224 Chancery: Petty Bag Office: Sacrament Certificates 1673 – 1778
  • KB 22 Court of King’s Bench: Crown side: Sacrament Certificates Files 1676 – 1828
  • E 196 Exchequer: King’s Remembrance: Sacramental Certificates 1702 – 1827

There are also many other records relating to oath rolls at TNA, too many to discuss further and many of which may not be relevant to Catholics as they refused to swear the oaths, save, as stated above, some rolls do also contain lists of those refusing to swear the oath and thus those records should not be overlooked in any search undertaken.

Other records

Returns of Papists (Catholics)

These were censuses taken nationwide in 1680, 1705, 1744, 1767 and 1780 to record the number of Catholics in the country, arranged in dioceses by town/village. These were essentially used to identify Catholics and ensure the penalties in force at the time were imposed, hence lists of names can be found amongst quarter session records. Some of the returns record numbers but others record names, ages, addresses, occupations, family members and how long they have lived in the parish.

The 1767 return has been published by the Catholic Record Society and the 1767 return for London has been published by the Society of Genealogy.


[1] Or other nonconformist

[2] Accessed 6 April 2019

[3] Accessed 6 April 2019

[4] faced not just by Catholics but also nonconformist protestants

[5] John Rogers and around 300 other Protestants were burned alive during her short reign from 1553 to 1558 earning Mary I her infamous nickname “Bloody Mary”.

[6] Approx. £18 today using calculator on https://www.measuringworth.com 30th March 2019

[7] that would have been one full day’s pay for a skilled tradesman http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter#currency-result (value at 2017) 30th March 2019

[8] Public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by the Pope

[9] Reigning on High

[10] Exchequer Pipe Office, Pipe Rolls

[11] Chancery, Chancellors Rolls

[12] Catholic Record Society Record Series 71 (1986)

[13] http://www.piperollsociety.co.uk/

[14] “The Society of Jesus is a religious order of men in the Catholic Church” – http://www.jesuit.org.uk/who-are-jesuits  (2 April 2019)

[15] Catholic priests trained either in England or abroad in seminaries after 1534

[16] Aimed at all nonconformist sects including Catholics

[17] Pipe Office Series, Catholic Record Society Record Series, 18 (1916)

[18] Catholic Record Society Record Series, 57 (1965)

[19] Catholic Record Society Record Series, 61 (1970)

[20] A. Dures “English Catholicism, 1558 – 1642” page 40

[21] Approx. £6,704.78 in 2017 National Archives currency converter http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter/

[22] Particulars of Account and other records relating to Lay and Clerical Taxation

[23] Exchequer Pipe Office: Account Rolls of Subsidies and Aids

[24] And anyone else but largely Catholics as the aim was to establish the number of Catholics in the country in order that they knew who to tax more heavily!

[25] Commonwealth Exchequer Papers

[26] This offence was not limited to Catholics.

[27] and other nonconformists

[28] An agreement made at the beginning of the Civil War by which the Scottish Parliament agreed to support the English Parliamentarians in their disputes with the royalists; both countries pledging to work for a civil and religious union of EnglandScotland, and Ireland under a Presbyterian–parliamentary system

[29] and other nonconformists

[30] and nonconformist

[31] The 1661 Act expired in 1669

[32] and other nonconformist sects

[33] Exchequer: Pipe Office: Estreats: Rolls and Nichil Rolls

[34] Including but not limited to lord chancellor, the solicitor general, the lord high treasurer of England, and the master of the rolls

[35] Quakers were to make a similar declaration

[36] Tenants and occupiers between 1772 and 1832

[37] Land Tax Redemption Office: Quotas and Assessments 1798 – 1914

[38] Land Tax Redemption Office: Parish Books of Redemptions 1799 – 1953

[39] Land Tax Redemption Office: Registers of Redemption Certificates 1799 – 1963

[40] Chancery: Petty Bag Office: Association Oath Rolls 1696-1697

[41] Chancery: Petty Bag Office: Rolls of Oaths of Allegiance and Test Oaths 1673-1889

[42] Association oath roll 1696 May

[43] Association oath roll 1696 June-July

[44] https://www.british-history.ac.uk/statutes-realm/vol7/pp586-587#h3-0003 William III, 1698-9: An Act for the further preventing the Growth of Popery. [Chapter IV. Rot. Parl. 11 Gul. III. p. 2. n. 2.] section III, accessed 4 April 2019

[45] Chancery and Supreme Court of Judicature: Close Rolls

[46] Public Record Office records

[47] After 1871 many were buried in Catholic section of the community Cemeteries which began to develop

[48] And other nonconformist sect registers

[49] History Working Papers Project http://www.historyworkingpapers.org/?page_id=373

[50] Exchequer: King’s Remembrancer: Oath Rolls: Papist Oaths

[51] https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C66142 (13 April 2019)

Bibliography

Websites accessed 30th March 2019

https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/private-lives/religion/collections/common-prayer/act-of-supremacy/

https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/private-lives/religion/collections/common-prayer/act-of-uniformity-1559/

https://www.measuringworth.com

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter#currency-result

Websites accessed 1st April 2019

https://history.hanover.edu/texts/ENGref/er85.html

https://www.british-history.ac.uk

Websites accessed 8th April 2019

http://catholicrecordsociety.co.uk/publications/records-series/

Websites accessed 13th April 2019

www.historyworkingpapers.org

Websites accessed various dates between 30 March 2019 and 13th April 2019

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Books

W B Patterson            King James VI and I and the Reunion of Christendom (Cambridge University Press 2000) (Google books)

E. Rose                        ”Cases of Conscience: Alternatives open to Recusants and Puritans under Elizabeth I and James I” (Cambridge 1975)

A. Dures                      “English Catholicism, 1558 – 1642” (Harlow 1983)

Coffey, John               Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England, 1558 – 1689 (Pearson Education 2000)

Herber, Mark               Ancestral Trails, Second Edition (SOG 2005)

Hey, David                 The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History (Oxford 1996)

Scott, Jonathan            A Dictionary of Family History (Pen & Sword 2017)

Tracing your Trafalgar ancestors

The Battle of Trafalgar which took place on 21st October 1805 was only one of the battle which took place during the Napoleonic war, however it is the most famous and most written about, not in the least because it was of course the battle in which Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was killed on his flagship HMS Victory, now one of the main attractions at the Historic Dockyards in Portsmouth, where there is also a dedicated permanent exhibition to him: a good place to start to research his life and career, including a time line of Nelson the man and Nelson the “Hero”. There is also the Nelson Museum in Monmouth.

There are “over a 1000 books”[1] detailing the life of Nelson, “more than 20 films and television programmes”[2] and countless online resources, including various letters written by him regarding his fleets’ movements, his concerns and thoughts and the day to day management of his fleet from 1804 to 1805[3] and a collection of 251 letters (representing a sample) he wrote to his wife over a fifteen all held by the Navy Records Society. These can provide an overall picture of the life of an officer or seaman sailing in Nelson’s fleet at the period, including the Battle of Trafalgar and the personal life of Nelson himself. There are similar letters written by Vice-Admiral Lord Collingwood between 1794 and 1809[4].

But what about the countless other officers who served in the Battle of Trafalgar: both commissioned officers[5] and warrant officers[6].

Databases[7]

www.genuki.org.uk

A list of some 1640 officers and men who served at the Battle of Trafalgar[8] comprising of 7 files compiled alphabetically by surname. There is also a list of those officers killed and wounded. This is also therefore a good place to start to check if your ancestor took part in the battle. The list provides the name, rank, ship and “other clasps” (other medals) which they were entitled to, for example:

“GRAHAM Thos          LM         Victory

GRANTHAM Abrahm       Sailmaker Swiftsure

GRAY Francis          Mid        Orian         entitled to Venerable 16 Jan ?

GRAY Henry            Ord        Colossus “[9]

Steel’s Navy List

Produced monthly from 1782 to 1816 and provided various lists, such as:

  • A full alphabetical list of the Royal Naval vessels, their commanders/captains and their stations;
  • A list of British was ships lost, taken or destroyed;
  • A list of enemy ships lost, taken or destroyed;
  • A list of Admirals, Commodores, Captains/Post-Captains, Masters and Commanders who lost their lives.

Whilst this list provides little detail it may help answer questions such as what happened to an ancestors’ ship where little or no other information can be found, or if records for an ancestor appear to end abruptly with no explanation.

List of Royal Navy Post Captains 1714-1830, version 4[10]

Published by the Navy Records Society this is a list of 2830 men arranged by date of posting to the rank of post captain. It provides the following details:

  • Name;
  • Date of posting to rank of post captain;
  • In some cases date or year of birth;
  • The dates they were then later promoted through the ranks of Lieutenant, Commander, Rear-Admiral, Vice-Admiral and Admiral;
  • Month and year of death
  • Details of their fate e.g. retired, lost, died, superannuated.

This list can therefore again provide brief details of the career of those reaching the rank of post-captain and provide a starting point for further research. Paul Martinovich[11] states:

“Dates of birth and death can reveal interesting information about the circumstances of an individual, and of post captains in general. Generally speaking, anyone who was posted before the age of 25 was either particularly lucky or well-connected, and often both. The youngest post captains were usually the beneficiaries of flagrant acts of nepotism by their admiral relatives”

Details of being decorated for their service may be found[12]:  

Name Posted Born Lieut Cdr RAdm VAdm Adm Died Fate and comments
William Hargood 22/11/90 5/1762 1/80 6/89 7/10 6/14 7/30 12/1839 KCB 1/15, GCB 9/31, GCH 31[13]

There are other navy lists but I will not mention them further as they do not cover the period of the Battle of Trafalgar and generally cover much later periods.

Trafalgar Ancestors database[14]

Published biographical sources have been used alongside muster rolls, service certificates, Greenwich hospital in-pensioner records, passing certificates and survey returns to create this database. It contains more than 18,000 individuals “all those who fought in Nelson’s fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. This includes Royal Navy commissioned and warrant officers, ratings, supernumeraries and Royal Marines……..[which] over time aims to provide genealogical and service details about these individuals”[15], so again could be a good starting point for research providing basic information as can be seen in the example below:

Francis Gray[16].

Ship: HMS Orion

Rank/Rating: Midshipman[17]

Service details

Comments: From: Portsmouth

HMS Orion

12 June 1805 to 3 August 1805

Comments: Volunteer

Ship’s pay book number: (SB 447)

4 August 1805 to 17 October 1805

Rank/rating: Landsman

18 October 1805

Sources used

Catalogue reference: ADM 37/18

The database can be searched by surname only or by an advanced search including:

  • Last name
  • First name
  • Approximate age on 21 October 1805
  • Birth place
  • Ships name
  • Rating / rank

Patrick Marione’s The Complete Navy List of the Napoleonic Wars, 1793-1815

This is available on CD and is described as “The Complete Navy List contains the names of more than 11,000 commissioned officers who served in the Royal Navy from 1787 onwards, up to those who entered the service before 1817. The information, which has been collected comprises individual’s careers, their personal lives, their parents and families, the honours and pensions they earned, and much more, and extends into what they did after the Great War”[18].

The Ayshford Trafalgar Roll[19] by Pam and Derek Ayshford

This Roll contains the names and details of over 21,000 men who were on the musters of the British ships on 21st October 1805 (although still on the musters, some men had been discharged before the Battle), including:

  • The ship on which he served
  • Rank or rating
  • In most cases his age and place of birth.
  • Other details such as families, former trades, pensions, awards, medals, physical descriptions, pictures, injuries sustained, illnesses and date of death where records/documents survived.

CD includes a program which allows you to search and analyse the data in many different ways.

Books

Nelsons’ Band of Brothers: Lives and Memorials by Peter Hore

In terms of biographical information, this book is a good starting point for those officer in command of the ships. It contains a short biography on each of those commanding officers, not only who took part in the Battle of Trafalgar, but also took part the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Copenhagen and the Baltic. It is important to note that Captain Thomas Hardy and Captain Thomas Fremantle are biographed in the sections “The Battle of the Nile” and “The Battle of Copenhagen and the Baltics” respectively, the remaining officers are biographed in the section “The Campaign of Trafalgar” suggesting that Hardy and Fremantle appear to be the only two officers who fought alongside Nelson for a number of years prior to and during his command in the Napoleonic Wars[20].

These biographies provide information as to where they were born/spent their childhood years, although they concentrate on providing a brief factual account of their routes into the Royal Navy, the ships they sailed on, under whose command they sailed, the ranks they held on each ship and thus their progression through the ranks. They provide details of their role in the Battle of Trafalgar and in some cases their relationship with Nelson himself. They also provide brief details of their careers after the Battle of Trafalgar, when they died and where they are buried. This is the “bare bones” of their career from which a timeline can be drawn for easy reference.

The Naval Biographical dictionary by W O’Bryne, 1849

This, as its title suggests, is an A–Z (by surname) dictionary of nearly five thousand naval officers, “whose names are contained in the ‘Navy List’ for January, 1845”[21]. Its usefulness in terms of those who served at the Battle of Trafalgar is therefore limited to those still living and listed on that Navy List for January 1845 but if it is known an ancestor was still living at that time then it is certainly worth referring to.

Being an A – Z dictionary it is easy to search for an ancestor by their surname. Each man listed has a biography of their career (some longer than others!).

Going back to our Midshipman, Francis Gray, O’Bryne’s book provides brief details of his three brothers who he lost in the Navy and tells us he was married with two sons and three daughters. It details his career in the Navy from entering in 1803 as a First Class Boy[22] on board the Pegase under Lieutenant Commander Edward Crouch.  He became Midshipman in 1805 serving on the Orion in the Battle of Trafalgar. It goes on to detail his continued service on the Orion until December 1813 and thereafter his service on board the ships Fortune and Venerable. It describes how “He had previously distinguished himself in the month of Oct. 1809, in jumping overboard when the ORION was refitting in Portsmouth Harbour, and rescuing the life of a boy named Edw. Simmons, who had fallen overboard, and could not swim” and how “On 7 of the following June, having passed his examination nearly five years, he was appointed Acting Lieutenant of the PIQUE…. to which frigate the Admiralty confirmed him on 26 of the next Aug”. It describes his further service assisting “Capt. John Marshall in the conduct of the Quarantine Establishment at Standgate Creek” and how he later “had the direction of the Police department of Chatham Dockyard” after which he “went, on half-pay for the purpose of joining the merchant-service, and has not been since officially employed”.

Royal Navy Biography by John Marshall 1760-1823

This comprises 12 volumes[23] providing biographies of all Flag Officers, Superannuated Rear-Admirals, Retired Post Captains, Post Captains 1798 – 1806, Naval Operations of the Burmese War of 1824-26, Post Captains 1822 –1831, Commanders, Post Captains 1806 – 1811, and Post Captains 1812 – 1822, as extracted from the Admiralty list of sea officers. These records are somewhat difficult to navigate. Anthony Gary Brown[24] in providing a much easier reference index[25] to Marshall’s work, states “the rather eccentric organisation of Marshall’s work that usually necessitates the researcher knowing something of the service seniority of a given officer in order to hazard which volume will contain his entry; and, even armed with this knowledge, a tedious amount of double-checking of Marshall’s own indices in the various volumes is usually necessary”. The biographies are similar in content to O’Bryne’s Dictionary although perhaps more detailed at the works do concentrate of the higher ranking commissioned offices on which they is perhaps more available official information than the lower ranking officers which can be found in O’Bryne’s Dictionary.

Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy by David Syrett and Robert L. DiNardo 1660-1815 (1994)

This is another A-Z list by surname of Commissioned officers who served in the Navy from 1660 to 1815, thus including the period of the Napoleonic wars and the Battle of Trafalgar.  It is based on the original work commenced by David Bonner Smith who was the Admiralty Librarian from March 1932 to May 1950. He died in December 1950 before completing the work which was then completed by the Royal Navy College, Greenwich, in collaboration with the National Maritime Museum[26]. A number of versions of this original list have then been published over the years including a version by C G Pitcairn Jones published by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich in 1979.

The list is compiled from numerous sources including the Navy Lists and provides each officers rank(s), the year(s) in which he served in that/those rank(s), the date of retirement and the date of death.

The list is also available to search at www.ancestry.co.uk [27]. The list is limited to Commissioned officer and therefore any Warrant Officers and lower ranking officers such as Midshipmen will not be included.

The Trafalgar Roll: The Ships and the Officers by Robert Holden Mackenzie (2004).

Originally published in 1913 and re-printed for the bicentenary celebrations of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005 this book is arranged by ship and lists over 1,250 officers who served at the Battle of Trafalgar, including midshipmen, surgeons, clerks, boatswains and carpenters as well as commissioned officers, for 850 of which there are details of their careers. It also includes brief service history of every ship including the little schooner Pickle.

One of the aims of the TNA’s Trafalgar Ancestors project is to eventually revise, extend and bring up to date Mackenzie’s Trafalgar Roll”[28].

Who’s Who in Nelson’s Navy by Dr Nicholas Tracy (2008)

This purports to be the very latest book containing biographies for two hundred Officers who served alongside Nelson in the Napoleonic wars. It is not limited to those who fought at the Battle of Trafalgar. The A-Z chapters make for easy reference to find an Officer.

“Each biography, of around one thousand words, describes the events in these men’s careers and sets their achievements within the context of the wars. Their early lives and promotions are detailed as well as their marriages and family lives. Indeed, the extraordinary web of personal and service relationships that emerges is one of the fascinating themes of the book”[29]

The Mammoth Book of How It Happened Trafalgar by Jon E. Lewis (2005)

This book contains around 70 first-hand accounts not just of the Battle of Trafalgar but of the period 1793 to the Battle of Trafalgar and the aftermath set out in four parts. The accounts are by officers of varying ranks and include some of those from the French and Spanish fleets as well as the British fleet.

It is of limited use to family historians given the small number of officers whose account contribute to this book but may provide a first-hand account by an ancestor. There are of course many by Nelson himself others are by Captains, Colonels, Midshipmen, Second-Lieutenants, along with extracts for ships logs.

Midshipman William Dillan, HMS Defence, writes on the 29th May 1974 when engaged with the French, writes[30]

“I had never seen a man killed before. It was a most trying scene…[gory account of how the man was injured]…The captain went over, and, taking the poor fellow by the hand, pronounced him dead”

As darkness fell and the fighting ceased until dawn he goes on,

“I selected one of the topsail halyard tubs on the forecastle, and coiled myself as well as I could inside of it, where I took a snooze which I enjoyed. And felt more refreshed when I woke by the tars than I should have done had I gone to bed: at least I thought so.”

And he goes on at the end of the battle,

“The number of men thrown overboard that were killed without ceremony, and the sad wrecks around us taught those who, like myself, had not before witnessed similar scenes that war was the greatest scourge of mankind”.

The battle itself is described in great detail and perhaps not to be read by the faint hearted but this and many of the other accounts set out in this book really put you in the sailors’ shoes and bring their experiences to life!

There are also a number of Appendix, one of which is entitled “Life and death in the Royal Navy, 1973 – 1811”, which includes accounts of life on board ship in the navy during this period, written by Ordinary Seaman, but which provide a good picture of general life on board.

Naval Chronicles and Naval Chronicle, 1799-1818: Index to Births, Marriages and Deaths by Norman Hurst 1989

A monthly publication from 1799 to 1819 which provided news of campaigns, promotions and some announcements of naval births, marriages and deaths with a list of those named in those publications in a chronological and alphabetical order under the sections Births, Marriages and Obituaries having being collated by Norman Hurst.

Other Publications

Publications such as the Gentleman’s Magazine and the Illustrated London News sometimes included stories and news of officers, as sometimes did local and national newspapers and journals. At an officer’s death it is almost certain that at least the local newspaper would have included an obituary, giving a summary of their career.

The above in no way provides a complete list of sources available, however they are perhaps the most useful in determining whether an ancestor took part in the Battle of Trafalgar, their ship, their rank, details of their career both before and after the Battle. There are also numerous books which provide a more general insight into the Battle of Trafalgar and serving in the Royal Navy in the late 18th and early 19th century which may also help provide an overall picture of the life a navy officer ancestor may have had such as The Trafalgar Companion by Alexander Stilwell and Trafalgar, The Men, The Battle, The Storm by Tim Clayton and Phil Craig.


[1] “The Immortal Memory” information board in the Nelson Exhibition at The Royal Navy Museum, Historic Dockyards, Portsmouth

[2] “The Immortal Memory” information board in the Nelson Exhibition at The Royal Navy Museum, Historic Dockyards, Portsmouth

[3] https://www.navyrecords.org.uk/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/06-Volume-63-Naval-Miscellany-vol-III-7.pdf

[4] https://www.navyrecords.org.uk/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/CH-4-NAVAL-MISCELL.pdf and https://www.navyrecords.org.uk/site/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Volume-98-The-Private-Correspondence-of-Admiral-Lord-Collingwood.pdf

[5] included the ranks of Admiral, Vice-Admiral, Rear-Admiral, Commodore, Captain, Commander and Lieutenant

[6] included the ranks of the Acting Lieutenant, Master, Purser, Surgeon, Chaplain, Boatswain, Gunner, Carpenter, Armourer, Cook, Master at Arms, Sailmaker and Schoolmaster.

[7] Whilst the muster rolls ADM36 and ADM37 at TNA include those from all 33 ships making up Nelsons’ fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar, there are many other published sources to consult.

[8] http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/Trafalgar

[9] https://www.genuki.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/images/big/eng/Trafalgar/TR-EAMEStoHYLAND.txt; LM = Landsman; Mid = Midshipman; Ord = Ordinary seaman; AB = Able seaman; Lieut = Lieutenant

[10] https://www.navyrecords.org.uk/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Royal-Navy-Post-Captains-list-v.-4.pdf

[11] https://www.navyrecords.org.uk/magazine_posts/the-georgian-post-captain-list/

[12] an extract from the list for William Hargood, Captain of Belleisle at the Battle of Trafalgar:

[13] Honours or Orders granted: KCB = Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath; GCB = Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath; GCH = Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Hanoverian Order

[14] http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/trafalgarancestors/

[15] http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/aboutapps/trafalgarancestors/default.htm

[16] As found in the example list from www.genuki.co.uk above

[17] A Midshipman was a junior ranking officer

[18] http://www.ageofnelson.org/NavyList/index.html

[19] http://www.ageofnelson.org/TrafalgarRoll/index.html

[20] 1803 to 1815 – Nelson died a Trafalgar on 21st October 1805

[21] At page (v) the Preface

[22] “a boy aged 16 to 18 under training, who had previously served for between 9 months and 18 months rated as “boy 2nd class”, shown sufficient proficiency in seamanship and accumulated at least one good conduct badge (the requirements varied between training ships). His rate of pay was increased on being promoted”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_seaman

[23] including addendums and historical and explanatory notes

[24] http://www.saignon.org/FINE%20BOOKS/Marshall%20Index/MarshallWeb.htm

[25] both by way of a list of the contents of each volume but also an A – Z index, by surname, of those officers biographed with the volume(s) and page number(s) of where to find them.

[26] This original work was in three volumes

[27] https://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=7268

[28] http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/aboutapps/trafalgarancestors/default.htm

[29] https://www.historicnavalfiction.com/other-genres/aos-naval-non-fiction/biographical/whos-who-in-nelsons-navy-two-hundred-heroes

[30] In his account entitled “The Glorious First of June, 30 May – 1 June 1794 (at page 16 of pages 13 to 31 of his account)

Bibliography

Websites

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Navy_ranks,_rates,_and_uniforms_of_the_18th_and_19th_centuries

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

https//www.genuki.co.uk

http://www.ageofnelson.org

https://www.ancestry.co.uk

Books

Peter Hore                  “Nelsons’ Band of Brothers: Lives and Memorials”

            (Seaforth Publishing In association with the 1805 Club, 2015)

W O’Bryne                 The Naval Biographical dictionary (John Murray 1849)

John Marshall             Royal Navy Biography (Longman 1824)

David Syrett and Robert L. DiNardo Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy,

1660-1815 (Navy Records Society 1994)

Robert Holden Mackenzie      The Trafalgar Roll: The Ships and the Officers (Chatham 2004)

Dr Nicholas Tracy                   Who’s Who in Nelson’s Navy (Chatham 2008)

Jon E. Lewis                           The Mammoth Book of How it Happened Trafalgar (Carrol & Graf 2005)

Alexander Stilwell                  The Trafalgar Companion (Osprey 2005)

Tim Clayton and Phil Craig    Trafalgar, The Men, The Battle, The Storm (Hodder 2005)

Huntington Library Catalog   Naval Chronicles

Norman Hurst                         Naval Chronicle, 1799-1818: Index to Births, Marriages and Deaths                                   (Hurst) 1989