= Parish Chest Records =
[[England Church Records|Church records]] were kept in a chest (or strongbox) known as the
"parish chest. " Records other than the parish registers were called "parish chest records." Some of these records still exist from the 16th century, but many do not begin until the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century.
Many parish chest records are available at county record offices. Parish chest records include:
=== Vestry Minutes ===
A vestry is a parish’s presiding council. Minutes of vestry meetings often mention individuals, appointments of parish officers, and other affairs (such as agreements for the care of illegitimate children and lists of apprentices, parish newcomers, officials, and men eligible to serve as parish officers).
To see examples of Vestry Minutes click [[Turton, Lancashire Vestry Minutes |here]].
=== Poor and Other Rates ===
Parishes recorded payments made to the poor and rates, or taxes, assessed to meet welfare needs. Parishes also charged rates for things such as night watch, lighting, highway, pest control, constable expenses, sewer, and victim’s or soldier’s relief. They kept records of assessment, receipt, and disbursement.
=== Bastardy Bonds ===
Settlement records relate to a person’s legal place of settlement, as determined by a set of rules. The parish of settlement was responsible for the welfare and old-age care of family members. Parish officials often aggressively denied settlement. When a family sought parish welfare, officials determined the family’s legal settlement. A "removal order" was a document directing the constable to transport the family back to their parish of settlement.
www. doncaster. gov.uk/ Leisure_in_Doncaster/Libraries/Archives_Local_Studies/ family_local_history/ Settlement_Certificates. asp click here for further information ]
=== Apprenticeship Records ===
These records often list the apprentice’s father, his master, the length of the apprenticeship, and the occupation. A child’s father often arranged the apprenticeship, but the parish "put out" many pauper children, since it was cheaper to pay for an apprenticeship than to raise a child. The child’s name may also be in vestry minutes when the vestry decided to put the child out as an apprentice. You may also find apprenticeships in other sources. Read more in the Occupations article.
chest records are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalogue under:
England, [ county name] , [parish name] - Church records
England, [county name], [parish name] - Poorhouses, Poor Law
England, [county name], [parish name] - Taxation
For further information on parish chest material, see:
McLaughlin, Eve. Annals of the Poor. Third Edition. Solihull, England: Federation of Family History Societies Publications, Limited, 1986. (FHL Book 942 H6mev.) Tate, W. E. The Parish Chest. Third Edition. Chichester, Sussex, England: Phillimore, 1969. (FHL book 942 K2t.)