Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-12 > 1040351005

From: Renia <>
Subject: Re: manorial documents & genealogy (was re: Question on validity)
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2002 04:23:25 +0200
References: <ats6f1$idf$> <>

Reedpcgen wrote:
> I might also point out that the 1524-5 subsidy, which survives for much of the
> country, covers not only all landowners, but practically anyone who earned a
> living wage (enough to buy food to eat). It predates parish registers by some
> years.

Yes, but it includes only the householder who paid so much in goods or
so much in money. It doesn't name his dad or his son.

> Where manorial records survive, leases for lives are invaluable for making out
> family relationships. Payment also had to be made at the death of an ancestor,
> and people were fined if they did not perform their duties at the local
> manorial court.

Indeed, leases are the best source for pre-parish register genealogy.
But only for people who could afford to pay leases. Sub-tenants of
sub-tenants hardly merit a mention.

> Subsidies and poll taxes are often the closest thing we have to a census prior
> to 1841.
> As four of my great-grandparents emigrated from different corners of England,
> and two from New England, I can state from personal experience that once one
> gets back before the 1841 census, ancestors who tended to move around in the
> previous centuriy who did not leave probate records are difficult to trace,
> especially if nonconformist. It is traversing that period of movement in the
> 1700s to get back to a more stable period when people tended to stay in or near
> the parish of birth (if they did not run off to London) where so many people
> get lost.

There's the rub. Thanks for pointing it out.


> Whereas my New England ancestry is almost fully traced back to about 1600, with
> only a few gaps. Americans frequently owned property, even if small parcels,
> and this was recorded at the local level (generally on a county basis). It is
> not infrequent that marriages are also recorded on a countywide basis. Also,
> US census records survive from 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, etc. It makes a
> big difference in tracing people back and having nearly complete indexes (an
> error rate in the indexes of around 5% is common for 1800 and later indexes)
> helps.
> Paul

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