Family Feuds, Rogues and Rascals

As a qualified solicitor with 20 years experience in civil and family law my specialist interest is in the legal records of our ancestors. The legal records of our ancestors are far more extensive than today including the records of the church courts, civil courts, equity law courts and criminal courts.

Whilst court records may not be an obvious starting point to research ancestors, many more than one may think will appear in them. The church courts, manorial courts, civil courts and criminal courts effectively acted as ‘local government’ governing our ancestors spirituality, morality, land and property rights, local rates and taxes, licencing and those same civil law disputes we have today such as family law, wills and probate, the law of tort, law of contract, law of trusts and equity and so on.

Many of these records provide a rich source of information on our ancestors, from their basic genealogical information (name, age, place of residence etc) to details of their extended family and their social, economic and political status. However few are accessible online and many are difficult to read and understand, particularly those before 1733 when Latin was the main language used in legal documents.

How you found and ancestor may have been involved in crime? Could they be found in prison records, transportation records or were they sentanced to death?

Whether petty crime or serious, there may be court and other criminal justice records which can enrich your family history.

If you would like to find out more about your ancestors in legal records please contact me for a quote, either by go to my contact page and completing your details and details of the research you would like conducting or download my Research request form from the link below and email it to me with your research requirements: sarah@surreyancestry.co.uk