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FW: Origins Network News: Charles I Chancery Index 1625-49 and Free Access to Origins!

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  • Gordon Lane
    ... From: Origins Network [mailto:maillist@originsnetwork.com] Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2006 7:07 AM To: Gordon Lane Subject: Origins Network News: Charles I
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2006
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Origins Network [mailto:maillist@...]
      Sent: Saturday, July 01, 2006 7:07 AM
      To: Gordon Lane
      Subject: Origins Network News: Charles I Chancery Index 1625-49 and Free
      Access to Origins!

      Origins Network News: Charles I Chancery Index 1625-49 available on British


      *Charles I Chancery Index 1625-49

      *Family History Article: Inheritance Disputes and Chancery Proceedings
      (Sherry Irvine, CG, FSA Scot)


      * INDEPENDENCE DAY OFFER- Free Access!:

      The Origins Network is offering free access to both British and Irish
      Origins on the 4th July to celebrate US Independence Day. Free access will
      begin at 00.00GMT and will run until 08.00GMT on the 5th July 2006. In order
      to access, simply go to www.originsnetwork.com and click on the link to sign
      up or login


      *Charles I Chancery Index 1625-49

      This dataset is an index to all 82,000 cases tried in the Court of Chancery
      during the reign of Charles I, i.e. between 1625 and 1649. Chancery records
      are of particular value to family historians, because they often reveal
      personal, business and family relationships in more detail than almost any
      other source. Chancery records are a particularly important source of
      information for descendants of early migrants to North America.

      The index itself identifies only the surnames of the plaintiff and the
      defendant, and gives the reference for the source documents held at The
      National Archives. Abstracts of the records can be ordered online at a cost
      of 16, which will allow you to determine how valuable the case records are
      likely to be to you.

      For full details about this dataset, please visit:

      To access these new records, please visit www.originsnetwork.com and login
      to your account, or visit the sign up page to choose a subscription.

      Inheritance Disputes and Chancery Proceedings

      By Sherry Irvine, CG, FSA Scot

      In 2005 Origins Network added the Inheritance Disputes Index to the datasets
      within British Origins (www.britishorigins.com). Now another finding aid for
      records of the Court of Chancery is available, an index to Chancery
      Proceedings, Charles I. Both were prepared by Peter Coldham.

      Not so many years ago, before access to Internet databases, genealogists
      came to the more difficult resources later, usually a point in time when
      research experience and a knotty problem came together. Now, with online
      databases, we have access to records such as Chancery Proceedings at any
      time, sometimes before we understand what they are.

      Add to Your Knowledge

      Cases in the Court of Chancery, if they proceeded beyond the opening stages
      to the gathering of evidence and a judgment, generated a variety of records.
      It is useful to know which of these records is referenced by the British
      Origins indexes and where they come in the court process.

      In addition, the various documents associated with a case are in different
      TNA classes, some of these classes have overlapping dates and the name or
      title of individual cases could change along the way. Knowing how the
      records came to be collected and stored is useful when following through the
      documents associated with a case.

      I suggest you read the background information accompanying the British
      Origins indexes and then move on to Family Feuds, An Introduction to
      Chancery Proceedings (Susan Moore, FFHS Publications, 2003) and the free
      guides to Chancery records found at the National Archives (TNA) website. It
      is also worthwhile to check the section on the Court of Chancery in
      Ancestral Trails (Mark Herber, 2005).

      Some Essential Background

      The Court of Chancery was one of several equity courts that had their
      beginnings before 1500, responding to the need for common folk to seek
      redress for perceived injustices. Equity means what the word suggests,
      finding a fair solution. Of first significance to genealogists is the fact
      that, from the beginning, everything was recorded in English. Secondly,
      equity courts were unlike other courts; they were not based on common law
      and were not courts where action was initiated by the Crown.

      A plaintiff initiated a case through a bill of complaint or petition. The
      defendant submitted an answer and then evidence was collected from witnesses
      prior to trial by statements known as depositions; people did not have to
      appear in person at a trial. Town depositions were made in London and
      country depositions at courts elsewhere. If there was a final conclusion
      this would be in the form of decrees or written opinions. There are
      therefore, three types of materials, the opening stages or proceedings
      (complaints and answers and any rejoinders), followed by the gathered
      evidence and finally the decision of the court.

      The Origins Network Indexes

      The value of Chancery records has long been recognized but manual indexers
      faced problems such as the intensive labor required to prepare them. Most
      finding aids were indexed by one name only, a plaintiff; to find the names
      of listed defendants necessitated reading through the index.

      Using the British Origins indexes (www.britishorigins.com) it is possible to
      search through names of plaintiffs and defendants easily, using a single
      surname or two together. In total there are nearly 110,000 cases referenced
      in these two databases; 26,000 inheritance disputes between 1574 and 1714
      and all 82,000 Chancery cases between 1625 and 1649.

      Results are displayed in tabular fashion. For the Inheritance Disputes Index
      this includes name of the deceased person (the testator), the location
      (county and usually place as well), case description expressed as one name
      for each of the opposing sides in the case (e.g., Smith vs Jones), date the
      proceedings began, and the TNA reference.

      The index to C2/Charles I provides the surnames of the plaintiff and
      defendant and one or more references, depending on how many documents are
      involved. Most cases have one or two, and a very few have four or more.

      Distance Can Be a Problem

      I live in Canada and many of you reading this are also outside the UK or
      certainly outside of London. All of us who use these indexes and find a
      result are interested in taking research further. There are two parts to
      this, getting more details about cases identified in the Origins databases
      and exploring other Chancery records.

      The Origins Network offers an abstract service to take care of the first
      point; further information about this can be found in the database
      information. It is worth pointing out that those of you researching common
      names face a greater challenge but the abstract service provides further
      details to help you sort out multiple results to a search.

      For exploring other cases in Chancery not covered by the British Origins
      resources visit the TNA website. The Equity Pleadings Database covers some
      of class C6 and the main online catalogue incorporates the names of first
      plaintiff and first defendant from several other classes within Chancery
      records. Less accessible are printed indexes and calendars; some may be in a
      library near you or accessible through LDS family history centres. Refer to
      the publications mentioned earlier in this article as well as the
      appropriate online library catalogue.


      The overall date range spanned by these two indexes to Chancery proceedings
      is 1574 to 1714. Resources can be scarce in this time period and the
      potential value of the records is high. Combine these reasons with a readily
      accessible finding aid and there is no doubt that the indexes should be


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      Jane Hewitt

      Origins Network
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