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Burying in Woollen Acts 1666-80

Discussion in 'Digital records' started by Susan48, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Superstar

    Peter's most recent newsletter comments on the high cost of subscriptions to the Essex Record Office. I decided to take out a twelve month subscription so that I could dip in and out of the parish records and search a few pages at a time which suits me better than spending long periods in front of a screen. Also, the records I want to look at have not yet been transcribed - for understandable reasons once you look at them!

    One of the advantages of searching digital images of parish records rather than transcriptions is that burial entries for the late 1600s include affidavits that the deceased were buried in woollen. The oaths were usually sworn by someone who knew the deceased, often a relative. The affidavits are, I believe, rarely transcribed and so the additional information contained in them is lost unless you look at the original. Wikipedia has a brief but useful summary of the Acts and their enforcement.
  2. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    There are definite advantages to having indexed transcriptions as a finding aid, particularly when searching in busy parishes, or if you don't know where, or approximately when, a particular event took place. I have found events in the digitised records at Ancestry, despite the many errors and omissions in their indexing, that continually eluded me during several years of trawling through registers in record offices.

    But I agree, there are all kinds of hidden gems to be found in registers that are not included in transcriptions, and which may only be found by browsing through. A good example of this in my own research relates to Stanton St Quintin (Wiltshire), as tucked into the general register is a letter written by my 5x great grandfather in the early 19th century.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  3. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Depending on who did the transcribing there can be additional information in the registers, but what importance should I attach to the question of whether my ancestor was buried in woollen or not? I've never previously considered it of any significance (I appreciate that for those with rich ancestors it might indicate that the family could afford to pay the fine).
  4. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Superstar

    I imagine the real interest lies in who is named in the affidavit and the information that may yield about relatives of the deceased, along the same lines as witnesses to a wedding or informant on a death certificate. I've often found these useful. I've also found 'notes in the margin' to be informative on original documents - especially from Essex, as it turns out. I paid £5 for 24 hours access in 2012 (I see the cost has doubled since then!) and found (amongst other things), that one of my husband's ancestors had died of smallpox in what appeared to be an epidemic in her village, and another baptism where the 'Mother died before able to come to church'. Browsing original images has also enabled me to spot relevant people despite many changes of name spellings which may have escaped an indexed transcription search.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    In most cases the register doesn't go into that level of detail - certainly not the ones I've seen.

    Transcriptions of parish registers are very variable - FamilySearch tend to be the least informative, and in some cases don't even give the parish (eg when they've been taken from BTs). It's always worth checking the register if you can.
  6. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Superstar

    I suppose I struck lucky with St James in Colchester where the affidavits are recorded on the page facing the burials, with names and dates for both. The register for Witham St Nicholas just records the name and date for burials, followed for each one by "the affidavit brought", so no extra information.
  7. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    You certainly did!
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