Tracing your family history has become easier thanks to new project

Essex County Council

Essex County Council - Credit: Archant

Tracing family, house or local history has become easier following the Essex Record Office’s contribution to a National Archives-led project.

The record office is celebrating by hosting a special event on July 12 from 10.30am-3.30pm explaining what manors and manorial documents are, displaying highlights from Essex’s archives, and presenting a case study focusing on Stebbing.

Manors were the unit of land at the heart of the post-Norman Conquest feudal system, in which all land was owned by the king. He rewarded his followers by giving them land.

Before parish registers were introduced in 1538, manorial documents were the only records in which an ordinary Essex person was likely to appear. They also included surveys and maps.

County Councillor John Jowers, cabinet member for libraries, communities and planning, said: “These documents are amongst the earliest held at the Essex Record Office, some of them dating back to the 1200s.


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“This fascinating event will appeal to people with all sorts of historical interests, including family and house historians, and those with an interest in social and economic history.”

‘Essex Through the Ages: Tracing the Past Using Manorial Documents’ will feature four renowned speakers, including Prof LR Poos, a Washington-based expert in late-Medieval and early-modern English social and legal history.

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The event takes place at Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT.

Tickets costing £15 including refreshments and buffet lunch may be booked in advance on 01245 244644.

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