Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Feet, Penguin Meat

Feet of Fines
Feet of fines started at the time of Richard I and continued to about 1830, and were essentially deeds transferring land. Mutual agreements put an end (finis) to contentious suits in the royal court. It also became a means of efficiently and safely transferring of land. Originally three copies of the transfer were made on one sheet of paper, top left for the querents, top right for the deforciants and the bottom (the foot) portion to remain with the court. The portions were then separated with uneven or jagged cuts to prevent forgeries. They are arranged by county, giving land transfers, sometimes names of relatives and locations. Sometimes fractions of property (1/3, 2/3, etc.) can reveal property given by will or administration, showing relationship to others mentioned in the feet of fines. A keyword search of ‘Feet of Fines’ in your family history library can produce a list of county records in England. Also, many records are now on the internet so a search for the same on your favorite search tool can yield results.
Querents were usually the party of a person or persons to whom the property was transferred to.
Deforciants were the party of a person or persons to whom the property was transferred from.

Word of the Week:
Hoffens = Feet

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Apprenticeship for Dummies

Most apprenticeship was father to son or sons. Some pauper children had theirs paid for by the overseers of the poor in a parish. Others were paid for by a parent or guardian. Apprenticeship was usually for a term of seven years, though some chose to go for an additional specialty training for six months or more in a completely different town. Once the contract time was finished, the apprentice became a freeman, while some freeman paid for, inherited, or married into their position (see freeman or burgess rolls).
In England, there are some books for individual parishes, there are also the Inland Revenue Service apprentice records (1710-1774-1811) where the government charged a duty tax depending on the type of occupation, more for higher paying jobs. Not all apprentices are mentioned in the index, father to son and parish sponsored were exempt from this tax.
A keyword search for Inland Revenue in your family history catalog brings up these tax records. They can be useful, listing parent or guardian, occupation, location or in calculating the approximate age of the apprentice (twelve to fourteen years of age). Sometimes an apprentice would stay in the village of their training, which may have been a long distance from his or her place of birth.

Indenture is a contract, it is not servitude. It may be for apprenticeship, but could also be a mutual agreement for sharing land, supplying goods or any other contract like instrument.

Word of the Week:
Nebbe = Nose

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Give Us Back Our Eleven Days

Julian to Gregorian
The orbital period of the Earth around the Sun is approximately 365.242 days, which is why we have leap-year. Adjusting the calender every four years, but it is still off by 11 minutes per year. Before our current calendar (Gregorian), Europeans used the Julian calendar. Despite having leap years, the Julian calendar gained a day about every 134 years.
Until 1752, in England, the legal year began on “Lady Day,” which was March 25th, the last day of the year being March 24th.
When England finally changed from Julian Calendar to Gregorian in 1752, the calendar was off by 11 days. In 1752 an Act of Parliament changed the beginning of the year to January 1st this is the present calendar that we use today. The 3rd of September became the 14th of September and the year ending became December 31st. France changed in 1582, Denmark and Norway changed in 1700, Sweden 1753. The last European country to change was Greece in 1923.
Some towns in England secretly adopted the new calendar in 1582, an example of this is Thornbury in Gloucester, where there may have been a few closet Catholics. This was a town that Queen Mary frequented often.
There were rumors of riots in England when they had lost their 11 days. “Give us back our eleven days” was repeated throughout the land. However, it was probably a tongue-in-cheek story told and retold in taverns and around the hearths.
Quakers did not like the use of pagan names in the calendar, so the months were numbered instead. An easy way of remembering these dates is using the Latin prefix of some of the month name’s viz. septem (seven), octo (eight), novem ( nine) and decem (ten).
A common notation for genealogists is to use the system (old style)/(new style), for example 1735/1736. However, the slash date was only rarely used in America and England before 1752 and is only used for clarity purposes. Technically, the legal year started March 25th.

Word of the Week:
Shrovetide = Three days before Ash Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Marriage by Banns

For three successive sundays the Banns were published. This was commonly done by the priest pronouncing from the pulpit the names of the couple with their intentions of marriage. If the couple resided in the same parish, notice of their intention to marry was given to the parish clerk or priest. If they lived in different parishes, then the priests of both parishes were notified. If either or both of the persons were under age, the consent of their legal guardians was necessary. During the three-week waiting period, any person could state a reason why the marriage should not take place and was free to assert their objections. Reasons might be that at least one of the couple was under age and did not have the consent of a parent or a guardian; one of the couple was already engaged or married and still had a spouse living; or that the couple were too closely related (consanguinity). If an objection occurred then it was known as “forbidding the banns.”
This formality allowed both public notice and the duration of three to four weeks. If there was no “forbidding the banns,” a parish church in either parish could be selected for the ceremony, also it is more likely that the bride’s parish was more advantageous. The marriage was then performed at any opportune time after the third Sunday. Marriage by banns might give places of residence, place where ceremony took place, occupations and witnesses.

Word of the Week:
Mease = A meadow or field.