Over 200 years of Warwickshire history hits the web

By Jon Bauckham, 25 October 2012 - 11:31am

Over 200 years of Warwickshire history has been revealed online following the addition of the county’s Quarter Session records to Ancestry.co.uk
 

Thursday 25 October, 2012
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Over 200 years of Warwickshire history has been revealed online following the addition of more than 280,000 of the county's Quarter Session records to Ancestry.co.uk.

Generated from the minutes of quarterly meetings held by local justices of the peace between 1662-1866, the materials provide researchers with an insight into both the everyday lives of Warwickshire residents and contemporary legal practices.
 
Holding both judicial and administrative functions, the Quarter Sessions court collected extensive lists containing the names of local people for various clerical purposes.
 
Although most of the record types relate to occupations, with extensive lists of boat owners, gamekeepers and flaxgrowers included as record types, the collection also demonstrates some unusual aspects of local taxation.
 
In addition to returns for hearth tax, which was levied on the number of hearths or fireplaces in a building, the release includes certificates for residents that used hair powder, for which a tax of one shilling was imposed during the late 18th century.
 
The collection also charts Warwickshire’s rise to one of the country’s foremost industrial counties, largely resulting from the rapid growth of Birmingham and Coventry.
 
This historic link is emphasised in the records by the appearance of local entrepreneurs such as John and Richard Cadbury and custard manufacturer, Alfred Bird, whose names can be found in the jurors' lists.
 
Crucially, however, the fact that the records date as far back as the 17th century means that it may be possible for genealogists to glean new information about their forebears several decades before the introduction of the census.
 
“These records are a treasure trove of information about thousands of Warwickshire inhabitants over the centuries, providing a snapshot of life in a county that played an important role in British history, particularly during the Industrial Revolution,” explains Ancestry.co.uk’s UK content manager, Miriam Silverman. 
 
“Not only do the records reveal the stories of some of Warwickshire’s most famous exports, they’ll also be an invaluable tool for anyone looking to research their own connections to the county.”
 
Image: 19th century illustration of Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon
 
© Alamy
 
TAKE IT FURTHER

► Search the records at www.ancestry.co.uk

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