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!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: Scottish/English Borderlands to Rural America

From 1717 to 1775, 275,000 people came from the border counties in England and Scotland to settle the northern and western areas of the American colonies. Some acted as a buffer between the Native Americans and the settlers on the seacoast. The skills and mindset from over 700 years of violence on the English/Scottish border served them well.

During the reign of KIng James I of England (James VI of Scotland) from 1603-1625, the first king of all of Great Britain gave people in the border area peerages and land in Northern Ireland to try to calm the troubles. Thus the Scots/Irish were created. They are not welcomed by the Irish, and as we know, there are still problems today.
One way to avoid the troubles was to emigrate. One hundred fifty thousand people came from ports in Northern Ireland in the sixty years before the American Revolution. The seaports were Belfast, Londonderry, Newry, Larne and Portrush. Another 75,000 came from ports in Scotland including Wigtown and Kirkcudbright. The northern English ports where another 50,000 immigrants departed were Liverpool, Maryport, Morecambe and Whitehaven. These immigrants had two things in common. First, they all lived on or near the Irish Sea, the body of water between Great Britain and Ireland, or they were former residents of that area or the borderlands

A study of the surnames in the 1790 U.S. Census showed that these immigrants went to all the colonies except the small coastal places - Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. The largest concentration was in southwestern Pennsylvania, and western Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Later their descendants would settle in large number in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Source: Dollarhide, William. British Origins of American Colonists, 1629-1775. Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest Genealogical Services, division of AGLL, Inc., 1998. ISBN 1-877677-69-8