Find your ancestors in Lincolnshire Settlement Examinations 1721 - 1861

Under the 1662 Act, those with rents of less than £10 a year had to have a certificate of settlement which acted as a guarantee to poor relief from the issuing parish should it become necessary. If a newcomer to a parish wanted a settlement certificate he had to fulfil certain criteria. Chief among these was residence in the parish for 40 days or more without complaints or employment in the parish for a year and a day or longer.

Examinations were generally the legally binding Pauper Examinations. These were carried out by two justices of the peace and sought to determine a person’s settled residence. They were generally the first step in removal from the parish. The examination sought to discover where someone’s place of settlement was, usually their place of birth or the place where they were best known. Children generally took their father’s parish and wives their husband’s. Those accused of vagrancy, being able - bodied and unwilling to work, were often removed from a parish and sent back to their previous settled parish or place of birth. Those the parish authorities considered undesirable elements were also removed.

Most of those being examined come from Lincolnshire or the neighbouring counties but there are some who come from further afield. A number of Irish people appear in the records, from all over across the country. The years around the end of the 18th century were turbulent and those who arrived in 1816, would have been fleeing the disastrous famine that had decimated crops that year.

Lincolnshire is a historic county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire in the northwest and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. Northamptonshire is in the south. The county town is Lincoln.