Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Buried Treasures of the Parish Chest on the 3rd Unlock the Past Cruise

Paul Milner speaking on 3rd Unlock the Past History and Genealogy Cruise

I loved this presentation. 

I have done some research in Parish Chest material and have had some great finds in Kent particularly with my Smith family who were removed from one parish to another ( I still haven't managed to find out why they were sent there as unfortunately the Settlement Examination has not survived. He was not born in that parish and was an agricultural labourer so unlikely to have gained settlement that way. Oh well maybe one day!)

Everybody knows about the baptism, marriage and burial registers held by the parish. Not that many are aware of the other treasures held in that strong, solid parish chest. They had to be strong and solid as after all they were the repository of the parish wealth.

Paul gave an excellent talk showing many document examples and how they related to each other.

Parishes were basically a kingdom within themselves looking after their own people for poor relief, maintaining the roads, the Church and it grounds, tithing to the Minister, collecting the taxes which were used to maintain the parish, doing the ballot for the militia and so much more.

Paul showed us some of the treasures he had found in the parish of Leeds in Kent relating to his family. I am sure he did the genealogy Happy Dance when he found these.

Documents evolve due to recording money collections and disbursements as there were responsibilities to the parish population to account for money collected and how it was spent.

We are very lucky when these survive. Unfortunately not all survive however as Paul showed so well there is not usually just one document relating to the event. For settlement you have your Settlement Certificate, perhaps a Settlement Examination if they could not produce a certificate, the Removal Order to send them back to their parish, maybe something at the Quarter Sessions if their parish is appealing the decision. 

For my Smith family there was also a document surviving which gave a grant of stay for a month as the wife was too ill to move (although they forced their parish to pay for their upkeep during that month!)

If you ever get a chance to hear Paul talk on this topic definitely go as you will learn so much and you will be excited and enthused to research Parish Chest material. I hope that Paul might be persuaded to write some books on this topic.

Paul is talking in Perth and Adelaide on this topic and others after the cruise. He is also speaking in Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra on other topics. Paul's Tour dates and talks.

Paul is now slotted in as a must-hear speaker in my book.