Various interesting notes on matters
to do with FH research.

Before 1882 a woman did not leave a will unless she was a spinster or widow.

Wills are fairly complete from about 1600.

IPM - Inquisitiones Post Mortem, are kept at the PRO London. They include the heir’s name and age and a history of the ownership of the property.

Trade directories exist for most large towns from about 1775. Beware that house numbers were often changed in Victorian times.

Luddites, 1811.

The Statute of Artificers, 1563 (valid until 1835).

The marriage ban was later amended to apply during the term of the apprenticeship, and at various times it was varied for different trades.

Some apprenticeship records are traceable through county Record Offices. PRO has Apprenticeship Books from 1700 to 1810. Beware - dates are when the tax was paid, not when the apprenticeship began. In 1710 a tax was placed on indentures, and until 1760 these included much useful information. After 1760 they are less useful. From 1712 to 1814 (Repeal of the Apprenticeship Act) apprenticeship gradually declined.  The Lancashire record office has no apprenticeship records for the Ormskirk area (1998).

Census dates

Registers of Freemen exist from 1690. Men could become Freemen by

As such they were exempt from certain tolls, they could vote, had business protection(?), and had to participate in borough administration.

1835 - the first democratically elected borough councils.

Rate books - few survive from before 1744. They can be used to determine when a family first occupied an address.

Church Rates - were compulsory from 1601 to 1868.

Hearth Tax 1668 to 1689. Records at County Record Offices or PRO. There are two lists

An untraceable family implies that it was too poor or had no hearth.

Window Tax started 1695 for high value properties, but 1747 to 1851 for all properties. Records in CROs.

Shop Tax 1785 for a few years. Records in CROs.

Since 1925 property title has had to be proved for only 50 years. Older deeds are often held at CROs or at the PRO. Registration of title began in 1704.

Enclosure 1730 to 1885.

Cheshire Lines Railway Company escaped grouping (1923) until the railways were nationalised. The only locomotives they owned were two Sentinel Steam Rail Cars, but they did own the track and rolling stock.  One of their track beds is now the Cheshire Lines path, and it passes just to the west of Ormskirk.

Barton  (mentioned in various documents) is about 4 miles west of Ormskirk. It is in the civil parish of Downholland, but this is not the same as an ecclesiastical parish. Barton had a railway station at one time, (not Cheshire Lines but LMS).

Nun cupative wills - those given by word of mouth in front of at least two witnesses.  These were acceptable in the absence of a written will until 1837.

Interesting facts from The population History of England, 1541 to 1871 - a reconstruction, by E A Wrigley and R S Schofield

Until 1912 it was illegal in Britain for a widow or widower to marry their dead spouse's sister or brother (ref .Leviticus chapter 18, verses 14 to 18).  This law was repealed much earlier in America. See a comment on this from a friend!

The expression "se'enight" is sometimes found in old documents, meaning "a week ago". Literally it means "seven nights", analogous to the word "fortnight" (or fourteen nights) that is still in regular use.

Yeoman - definition