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Origins Network News: Charles I Chancery Index 1625-49 plus FREE ACESS on July 4

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  • hewittjane2001
    Origins Network News: Charles I Chancery Index 1625-49 available on British Origins * FREE ACCESS FOR TO THE ORIGINS NETWORK FOR 24 HOURS ON THE 4th JULY -
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2006
      Origins Network News: Charles I Chancery Index 1625-49 available on
      British Origins


      *Charles I Chancery Index 1625-49
      *Family History Article: Inheritance Disputes and Chancery
      Proceedings (Sherry Irvine, CG, FSA Scot)


      * INDEPENDENCE DAY OFFER- Free Access!:

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      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

      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
      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
      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 consulted.


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      Jane Hewitt
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