England, Kent, Quarter Sessions and Court Files - FamilySearch Historical Records

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England, Kent, Quarter Sessions and Court Files, 1558-1899
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Kent, England
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Flag of Kent
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Location of Kent, England
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Location of England
Record Description
Record Type Quarter Sessions and Court Files
Collection years 1558-1899
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Kent History and Library Centre


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This Collection includes records from 1558 to 1899.

The collection consists of Quarter Sessions and Court Files for the County of Kent. Availability of the records varies by year and locality. Only a small percentage of citizens ever appeared before the magistrates of the Quarter Sessions. The records varied in form over time an with the location where the court was held. However, they generally included five main sections:

  • Order books. These were the official records of a judge’s decisions
  • Indictments. These recorded the criminal charges against a defendant and usually included such information as the defendant’s name, place of residence, details of the crime, and witnesses to it
  • Minute books. These were notes from the clerk of the peace, who detailed the court proceedings
  • Sessions’ rolls or files. These are records used during the session and usually included such things as petitions, depositions, jury lists, examinations, and other lists
  • Any other documents that were lodged with the clerk of the peace

General Information About These Records[edit | edit source]

Quarter Session records can help you identify names, residences, occupations, and family relationships. They may also contain information leading you to the records of other ancestors such as the parents, siblings, and children of the primary person in the court case.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for England, Kent, Quarter Sessions and Court Files, 1558-1899.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

Court files can include:

  • Names
  • Places of residence
  • Birthplaces
  • Birth dates
  • Parents
  • Family members
  • Spouse
  • Place of marriage
  • Occupations

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

To begin your search, it it would be helpful to know the following:

  • Name of ancestor
  • Court jurisdiction
  • Place of residence

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Court Jurisdiction
  2. Select Record Type
  3. Select Year Range, Volume Number to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Use the place and names to locate other records such as civil registration, church records and census records (be aware that census records are taken every ten years; the first was in 1841)
  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank or status within the community
  • Search by surname in the same court and location. This may help you to identify other family members
  • Sometimes searching by location can help you find the history of a community or a likely occupation, which could provide valuable insight into your ancestor’s life

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames
  • Check for an index. Local genealogical and historical societies sometimes have indexes to local records
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties
    • Essex to the north
    • London and Surrey to the west
    • East Sussex to the south

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Kent.

Known Issues[edit | edit source]

Click here for a list of known issues with this collection.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.