England Research Guidance: Death, 1066-1537

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England Gotoarrow.png English Burial or Death Dates

England | Death | 1066-1537[edit | edit source]

Strategic Research Log--(England, 1066 to 1537) (law of witnesses).png

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

Search the following records in the order listed, as applicable to your research problem.

1. Church Records: Church records[edit | edit source]

Church records are parish, chapel, or congregation registers created by church authorities. They contain baptisms or christenings, marriages, and burials. In these records you may find names and dates and places of births or christenings, marriages, and burials. In the absence of a birth date, use a christening or baptism date. 

For more information, go to England Church Records. See also the Wiki pages for a county and a parish of interest and the topic of Church Records.

2. Probate Records, Pre-1858: Probate records[edit | edit source]

Probate records are court records dealing with the distribution of a person's estate after death. Before January 1858, Church of England courts had the responsibility to prove wills and other probate records. In these records you may find names and relationships. Probate records include wills, testaments, administrations (admons), inventories, codicils, act books, and bonds.

For more information, go to England Probate Records. See also the Wiki page for a county of interest and topic of Probate Records.

3. Monumental Inscriptions/Church Monuments: Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Monumental inscriptions and church monuments are memorials to persons who have died. Monumental inscriptions are engraved on stones placed at the graves of deceased persons. They are commonly found on headstones, tombstones, gravestones or plaques, depending on the area. Inscriptions may include the deceased's name and age, dates, and names of relatives.

Church monuments are memorials to wealthy, noble, royal, or other distinguished people. They are often a brass plaque or stone statue or effigy placed inside the church or on church grounds. Information on church monuments may include only names and dates.

You can access the information on monumental inscriptions and church monuments through printed transcriptions or by visiting the church. Verify the information from monumental inscriptions and church monuments.

For more information, go to England Cemeteries.

4. Inquisitions Postmortem: Land and property[edit | edit source]

An inquisition post mortem is a record of the estate of a deceased person who held land directly from the King. A summoned jury determined the extent of his or her possessions and who was entitled to inherit them. In these records you may find the name and birth date or age of the heir and a description of the property. Names of tenants and jurors are also given.

For more information, go to England Land and Property.

5. Cemetery Records: Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemetery records are kept by sextons, administrators, or trustees of a private or municipal cemetery. In these records you may find the name and age of the deceased and dates and places of death and burial.

Types of cemetery records include burial and cremation registers, monumental inscriptions, and burial plot maps. These records may help you identify family members buried nearby. They may provide clues to lead you to other records. Verify information found in cemetery records.

For more information, go to England Cemeteries.

6. Newspapers: Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers are published accounts of current events in a given area. Newspaper articles, notices, and community news items may provide information about births, marriages, and deaths. In these records you may find ages; dates and places of births, marriages, or deaths; and names of relatives. Large public or university libraries or libraries specializing in newspapers may help you locate the newspaper from your ancestor's area. 

For more information, go to England Newspapers.

7. Poor Law Records: Poorhouses, poor law, etc.[edit | edit source]

Poor law records deal with the care of the poor. In these records you may find names, birth dates and places, marriage information, name of spouse, parents' names, death or burial information, and the parish where the family lived. Poor law records include churchwarden accounts, rate books, settlement certificates, removal orders, examinations, bastardy bonds, guardianship, and apprenticeship records. These records were created on a parish level before 1834 and on county and poor law union levels beginning in 1834. 

For more information, go to England Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

8. Quarter Sessions: Court records [edit | edit source]

Quarter sessions are records of a county criminal court held quarterly and presided over by a justice of the peace. In these records you may find names and ages, dates and places of death, names of spouses, residences, and more. Records of the quarter sessions may include: apprenticeship indentures, settlement examinations, removal orders, and criminal proceedings.

For more information, go to England Court Records.

9. Court Records: Court records[edit | edit source]

Court records are government documents concerning civil matters. Most court records name people who were defendants, plaintiffs, jurors, or witnesses. In these records you may find a person's residence, occupation, physical description, family relationships, name of spouse, and some death and marriage information. Court records seldom provide birth information but may give ages.

Use court records after you have searched other records. Court records may to be difficult to use because the handwriting is hard to read, they include unfamiliar legal terms, and most are not indexed.

For more information, go to England Court Records.

10. Occupational Records: Occupations[edit | edit source]

Occupational records provide information on a person's employment or training for a craft, trade, or profession. Knowing a person's occupation can distinguish him or her from other individuals with the same name. Occupational records may include name, age, residence, sometimes father's or widow's name, and other information about a person's life and family. Some types of occupational records are apprenticeship and freemen records; trade, guild, or livery records; and histories of occupations.

For more information, go to England Occupations.

11. Military Records: Military records[edit | edit source]

Military records identify individuals who served in the army and navy. Other branches of the armed forces, which include militia, coast guard, and royal marines, also kept records. In these records you may find a name, age, regiment name or number, name of ship, date and place of birth, names of parents, and marriage information. The records may provide information not found in any other source.

Military records include description books, soldiers' documents, regimental registers, returns of service, muster rolls and pay lists, continuous service engagement books, and chaplains' returns. You must know the regiment that your ancestor belonged to or the ship on which he served to find most military records.

For more information, go to England Military Records.

12. Family History: Genealogy[edit | edit source]

The term family history describes a variety of records containing personal and family information gathered by researchers, societies, or archives. These records can include published family histories, pedigree charts, family group records, research notes on families, correspondence, ancestor lists, research exchange files, record abstracts, and collections of original or copied documents. Family histories can be excellent sources of information that can save you valuable research time. Because these records are compiled from a variety of sources, the information must be carefully evaluated and verified for accuracy. Internet genealogy sites can be helpful in researching a specific family name. If your ancestor emigrated from another country, look for more information in his or her country of birth.

For more information, go to England Genealogy.

13. Biography: Biography[edit | edit source]

A biography is a history of a person's life. A biography may provide an individual's date and place of death or burial, as well as other details. Look for biographies in biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias, society journals, periodicals, and in local histories. Some information in biographical sources may be inaccurate.

For more information, to go England Biography.

14. Visitations: Visitations, Heraldic[edit | edit source]

The government commissioned men called heralds to periodically visit all areas throughout the country to grant and regulate the use of coats of arms. Heralds granted coats of arms to knights, gentlemen, landed gentry, and others entitled to bear them. In these records you may find names, dates, places, and relationships. Sometimes these records may help you trace the descent of a family. These records include coats of arms and visitation pedigrees. Verify heraldic information.

For more information, go to England Biography, Heraldry, and Nobility.

15. Manorial Record: Manors[edit | edit source]

Manorial records are private records of an estate held by a lord of the manor. They include court minutes listing tenants, leases, land transfers, manorial appointments, rental fees, and petty crimes. In these records you may find names and relationships of tenants. Sometimes you can trace a family back several generations.

For more information, go to England Court Records.

16. Land Records: Land and property[edit | edit source]

Land and property records are records of land ownership and transfers. Use land records to learn when and where an individual lived. In these records you may find names, dates, addresses, occupations, a description of the property, terms of land transfers, and names of heirs, relatives, and neighbors. Land records usually do not provide birth, marriage, or death information but may give clues that can help you find records that do. Land records include surveys, grants, deeds, registers, and plat maps.

For more information, go to England Land and Property.

17. Tax Records: Taxation[edit | edit source]

Tax records are accounts of taxes levied by the government. In these records you may find names and residences. Tax records do not give birth dates or parentage but identify an individual's residence in a certain place and time. Knowing where a person or family was at a certain time can give clues to birth, marriage, and death information. These records include lay subsidies, apprenticeship taxes, land tax assessments, valuations, hearth taxes, poll taxes, window taxes, and others.

For more information, go to England Taxation.

18. City and Regional Directories: Directories[edit | edit source]

Directories are alphabetical lists of names and addresses. Annual directories are published by large cities, businesses, professional associations, churches, and organizations. They usually list only the head of a household and may give his occupation. A person being listed in directories in successive years can show when he or she came to or left a city, or died. Knowing an individual's address can help you search the census and other records of a large city. Some directories begin in the mid-1700's. City and countywide directories begin in the early to mid-1800's.

For more information, go to England Directories.

19. School and Alumni Records: Schools[edit | edit source]

School and alumni records are lists of individuals attending a school, college, or university. In these records you may find name, age, date and place of birth, residence, father's name and occupation, marriage information, and other biographical details. School records list teachers, students, and graduates.

For more information, go to England School Records.