Recently, as I explored the Chelmsford, Essex parish registers for my family, I could see that there were more records to search than just the parish registers. Let me explain. Because the Church of England was ordered by the Crown to keep records on their congregants, local parishes recorded not only christenings, marriages and burials, but any other business that pertained to the lives of their people.
These records may include information regarding the care of the poor, settlement examinations, removal orders, apprenticeship indentures, militia certificates and workhouse accounts. And many give detailed information on individuals and families!
In the months to come, I will share my journey exploring these records and report my discoveries. Not all parishes have them, either because they were initially not kept or they have been destroyed or lost over time. However, when found, they are a valuable resource to the family history researcher.
I am grateful every day for the faithful individuals who kept these records. They can be a gold mine for anyone investigating his or her family.