Course details

Family Feuds – how to find and interpret Chancery court records (504)

Tutor: Susan Moore

Chancery court records are some of the most underused, and yet useful, records that any family or local historian can use. They often contain details of several generations of a family, and will always distinguish between different people of the same name. They can recite long since lost property deeds, marriage settlements and wills. Accounts, lists of lands and values, and inventories of personal goods are often included as evidence. Reading a Chancery case will allow you to see people from the past as so much more than just names and dates. Perhaps most interestingly they let you into the secret lives, thoughts, passions, and feuds between family members.

The course will cover records from earliest times to the early 20th century, with an emphasis on the 177th and 18th centuries. Whilst some medieval cases are written in Latin, these will not be considered in detail here and a knowledge of Latin is not required for this course.

At the end of the course the student will have a knowledge of the type of records to expect, including the basic pleadings and also the peripheral records which often contain much additional information, what sort of information the records contain that can be useful to a family or local historian, where to find them and how to interpret them. The documents are all handwritten, but usually in a fairly clear hand, but students may want to improve their palaeography skills with our Old Handwriting for Family Historians course.

There is a set book for this course, which students are asked to purchase before the course starts: Susan T Moore, Tracing your Ancestors through the Equity Courts: A Guide for Family and Local Historians, Pen & Sword, 2017
Reference will be made to page numbers throughout the course, so students may find that paper rather than digital copies will be preferable.

Lesson Headings:
  • * Introduction to Chancery records
  • * Chancery Bills and Answers
  • * Peripheral Documents – before 1800
  • * Peripheral Documents – after 1800

Each lesson contains exercises and activities and a minimum of one hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

This course is part of our Family History Skills and Strategies Advanced programme but can also be taken individually as a standalone course and you may chose whether or not to be assessed. If you are interested in enrolling on our Advanced programme please do not buy the course individually here but see this link for entrance requirements and contact details.

Relevant Countries: England, Wales

Course Length: 4 weeks
Start Date: 26 Apr 2023
Unassessed Cost: £70.00

Assessed Cost: £88.00

Enquire about this course