Ancestry has been putting a teaser online over the last few days saying that new occupational records are going to be available on the 24th. These records which are now available come from the Quarter Session records held at the Warwickshire County Record Office so say Ancestry, but I am not sure they all do.
However it doesn’t matter if they have got confused as to what comes under quarter sessions (and it may well be me who is wrong!!) they are a very handy set of records. In my option the most valuable of the datasets are the Hearth Tax Returns, Freeholder Lists and the Juror’s Lists. If you are lucky enough to have ancestors in Warwickshire you will certainly be getting value for money out of your Ancestry subscription!!
The records have all been indexed and are also able to be browsed page by page.
Boat Owners Records, 1795-1796: Though Warwickshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands, four major canals run through the area, and shipping by barge has been an important industry. These records list owners of boats.
- Flax Bounty Records, 1774-1797: Flax was used to produce linen, an industry the government was interested in encouraging because processing, spinning, and weaving flax into linen could create many jobs. To promote linen production, the government offered a bounty to farmers who raised flax. These records are bonds of the flax growers and their sureties to the clerk of the peace that the grower was duly entitled to the bounty.
- Lists of Freeholders, 1710-1760: These are lists of people entitled to vote, or of people who voted, at elections. A freeholder was a man who owned his land outright or who held it by lease for his lifetime or for the lives of other people named in the lease. This collection is largely 18th century.
- Lists of Freemasons, 1799-1857: These annual returns of the names and descriptions of the members of Masonic lodges had to be presented to the Quarter Sessions in pursuance of the Unlawful Societies Act of 1799.
- Hair Powder Certificates, 1795-1797: The practice of powdering hair began in England in the 17th century. At the end of the 18th century a duty of one pound one shilling a year was levied on everyone who continued to use hair powder.
- Gamekeepers Records, 1744-1888: These records name individuals who were appointed as gamekeepers for specific estates, manors, forests, etc. These individuals may have had other occupations as well.
- Hearth Tax Returns, 1662-1673: The hearth tax was a tax based on the number of hearths, or fireplaces, in a building.
- Jurors’ Lists, 1696-1848: These lists of potential jurors can include occupation and street/residence.
- Printing Press Owners Records, 1799-1866: These records include printers, publishers, and type founders.