Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: Easter Books

The happy holiday of Easter in Britain was the traditional date for paying the required ‘dues’ or tithes to the parish coffers. This was convenient because Easter nearly coincided with the beginning of the calendar year until 1752. Before that date, the first day of the year was Mar 25, Lady Day, celebrating the conception of Jesus (nine months before Christmas). In most parishes, each person was accessed two pence from the lord of the manor to his humblest servant. Another tithe based on ability to pay was collected at the same time. The practice was stopped by national legislation in 1836.
Records were kept in Easter books or rolls. There is quite a bit of variation among the parishes about what was collected and what was recoded. Some books have alphabetical lists of what was owed while others list the amounts paid in the order in which the money was received.

In 1989, Sue Wright wrote two articles about the Easter Books that are now downloadable as PDFs at www.localpopulationstudies.org.uk/authoridx.htm. The first article describes the records and the second one lists the books that exist and where they were archived. Now the first place to look is the holdings of the local County Records Office (CRO).

Happy Easter!

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