Victorian and Edwardian Prisoners

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Crime, Genealogy, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Photographs

Are you missing an ancestor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries?  Perhaps they were in Gloucester Gaol?  My book containing photographs and criminal records for prisoners held in Gloucester Gaol during 1870 and between 1883 and 1906 is now available. Entitled ‘Victorian Prisoners in Gloucester Gaol – A Rogues’ Gallery’ it costs £14.99 from all good bookshops.  Published by The History Press it has ISBN: 978-0-7524-5129-9.  It contains information and mugshots of men, women and children from all round the world, not just from Gloucester or Gloucestershire.  Perhaps your ancestor was there …..

 

Overseers of the Poor

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Apprentices, Genealogy, Poor Law

Poor Law was administered by each parish following an Act of Parliament in 1597. It authorized the parish to levy a rate to be paid by those who could afford to so do. Collection of the rate was the duty of the Overseers, who also distributed the money to those in need, either in cash or in kind. Overseers had to keep accounts and they are very useful for finding out more about the poorer members of society.

As well as distributing money, the Overseers could organize apprenticeships for poor children and orphans, could question single mothers and order reputed fathers to pay maintenance so that the illegitimate children were not a charge on the parish, and could examine and remove people to their parish of origin who were in need of funds but who perhaps were not qualified to belong to that particular parish. So Overseers Papers include apprenticeships, bastardy bonds, settlement examinations and certificates and removal orders as well as rates for the poor and details of poor relief.

Early censuses

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: census, Genealogy

Having been asked about existing early (pre-1841) censuses and population lists with names in Worcestershire, I remembered Colin Chapman’s book on the subject and found the following for Gloucestershire:
Bristol 1695
Olveston 1742
Stroud 1756
Uley 1795
And, of course, in Gloucestershire , we have Smith’s Men and Armour for 1608 which lists all the adult males as well as some females.

Shortwood near Horsley.

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Baptist, Genealogy, Nonconformist, Uncategorized

I have just been asked to find out about someone born in Shortwood in the first half of the nineteenth century. The name Shortwood tells me that the family were nonconformists – Baptists in fact. The original site is no longer in use, the graveyard sadly neglected when I last went and took photographs of all the tombstones there a couple of years ago. Some records do remain for the church which is now situated in the town of Nailsworth so it may be possible to locate ancestors who attended the church.

Inclosure Award

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Local History, Maps

I am in the process of transcribing the Inclosure Award for Badgeworth and Shurdington. If you are seeking the lands that belonged to your ancestors, you may find some clues here. Only the landowners seem to be mentioned. With the section I am transcribing at the moment, that includes Joseph Ellis Viner, William Edwards Lawrence, William Henry Hyett and Joseph Sadler. The transcript accompanies maps of the area.  The final version will be put on the computers at Gloucestershire Archives – many Inclosure Awards have already been installed there.

Find these books on Amazon:

Maps for Family History Maps for Family & Local History
Maps for Family History Maps for Family & Local History

Gloucestershire Apprentices

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Apprentices, Freemen, Genealogy, Gwinnett

One way to trace the parents of your ancestor is by looking at records concerning their apprenticeships.  There are two useful books for Gloucestershire Apprentices, both produced in the Gloucestershire Record Series by the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society.

They are: ‘A Calendar of the Registers of Apprentices of the City of Gloucester 1595-1700′ edited by Jill Barlow, M.A. and ”A Calendar of the Registers of the Freemen of the City of Gloucester 1641-1838′ transcribed by Peter Ripley and revised and edited by John Jurica.

The first book deals with the apprenticeship registers and has entries such as:

1690 Nov 1 Gwinnett Francis, son of Lawrence, gentleman of Great Shurdington, to Newman, Samuel 7years baker

1680 Apr 12 Gwinnet, Richard, son of George, gentleman of Badgeworth, to Randle, Josiah & Margery, 7yrs baker 2s 6d.

the second line giving the name of the apprentice’s master, the length of time of his apprenticeship, the trade and sometimes the amount paid to the master.  At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice was entitled to become a freeman of the city.

The second book, listing the Freemen, has entries such as:

1757 Oct 24 Button Gwinnett, son of Sam., clerk
1806 Apr 14 Sam. Gwinnett, writer, son of Chas., victualler

(There is a note that Button was a signatory on the American Declaration of Independence of  1776.)

A man could become a freeman in four ways, by apprenticeship, by patrimony, by purchase or by gift of the city corporation.  Although the books, available via Amazon.co.uk, specify the city of Gloucester there are entries for people from the whole county of Gloucestershire as well as a few from elsewhere.

Nonconformist churches, chapels and meeting houses

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Parish Registers

You have searched the IGI and checked the parish registers and still you cannot find that elusive baptism.  Could it be that your ancestors were Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Roman Catholic ……?


Finding ancestors who did not conform to the Church of England religion is fraught with difficulty.  Many of the churches, chapels and meeting houses no longer exist and registers, when kept, have been destroyed over the years.  It is hard to know where to start as there is no list of all such churches for Gloucestershire.  I am endeavouring to fill that gap by creating a database of all known churches, chapels and meeting houses that existed or still exist in Gloucestershire and Bristol.

I am hoping that someone can help me extend my list, tell me about chapels that I have omitted or duplicated, anything that will add to my knowledge and, in the long run, to other people’s as well.  I have a long way to go but have made a start at:

http://www.hidden-heritage.co.uk/nonconformists/

Please take a look and send me any information that might prove useful.

House History

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gwinnett
I attended a wonderful workshop session yesterday, run by Averil Kear for the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives on tracing the history of a house.We had a presentation showing us the sort of things we should be looking for and then we spent an hour looking at individual documents that had come from the archives. Averil had chosen a large house in the centre of Gloucester, sadly no longer in existence, but one which we could follow back a couple of centuries. There were maps, street and trade directories, electoral registers, deeds, wills and inventories, books of leases, solicitor’s letters, census records and a large collection of maps of the centre of Gloucester over the years. We were recommended certain books, including Nick Barratt’s ‘Tracing the History of your House’ which has a companion Starter Pack to help you with your research.

The session was concluded with Averil going through the items that we had been looking at,putting everything into chronological order to produce the complete history. Although I had done some house history work before, I learnt a great deal – and, as a bonus, found a few more Gwinnetts as well!

Tracing the History of Your House: The Building, the People, the Past

Gloucestershire Hearth Tax

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gwinnett
Yesterday, I had a look at the Hearth Tax returns for Gloucestershire. They cover the period from 1671/2 and include a list of names of those people with houses worth more than 20 shillings a year and who also paid church or poor rates. So they are lists of the wealthier people in the county at the time.

The records in Gloucestershire Archives are negative photocopies of the originals which are held in the National Archives at Kew and not all of them are easy to read. I looked at the Badgeworth and Shurdington areas of the county. There I found all four of the Gwinnett men who were around at the time, Richard, George, Isaac and Lawrence, the four sons of George Gwinnett and his wife, Elizabeth nee Lawrence.

The number of hearths was given for each, the more hearths being an indicator of the wealth of the person. Richard had five, Lawrence four and George and Isaac three each. This put three of them in the merchant/yeomen bracket with Richard just into the gentry group. Richard and George were living in Little Shurdington and their two brothers in Great Shurdington. The wealthiest person in the neighbourhood, using this measure, was William Lawrence, with 9 hearths, who lived at the Greenway, now a hotel.

Houses and the Hearth Tax

Catholic Ancestors

Posted by Liz Jack     Category: Genealogy, Gwinnett
I had an interesting time at Worcestershire Archives yesterday. Amongst other things, I was looking at the Roman Catholic registers for Dudley, seeking an Irish family, and there, to my surprise, I found a baptism for an Ann Gwinnett in 1836. The Gwinnetts have been almost totally members of the Church of England since they arrived in Gloucestershire in the late 16th century; only two other instances of nonconformity have been found, one a Methodist and, most intriguing, a Lawrence Gwinnett who was found on a list of Papists in the early 18th century. I wonder if this new Gwinnett child is linked to Lawrence? Because of the difficulty of finding any Catholic registers for the county for that period, this Lawrence branch has vanished into thin air. Did he remain in Gloucestershire? Were his estates confiscated? I wish I knew! Tracing Catholic Ancestors
Tracing Catholic Ancestors
National Index Parish Registers