He starts by describing the administrative, religious and social structures in the medieval and early modern period and shows how these relate to the family historian. Then in a sequence of accessible chapters he describes the variety of sources the researcher can turn to. Church and parish records, the records of the professions and the courts, manorial and property records, tax records, early censuses, lists of loyalty, militia lists, charity records – all these can be consulted. He even includes a short guide to the best methods of reading medieval and early modern script.
Jonathan Oates's handbook is an essential introduction for anyone who is keen to take their family history research into the more distant past.
1. The State and Church, 1066-1837
2. The Church Part 1: Archiepiscopal and Episcopal Records
3. The Church Part 2: The Parish
4. The Professionals
5. The Courts Part 1: Criminal
6. The Courts Part 2: Civil
7. Published Sources and Lists
8. Manorial Records
9. Property Records
11. Lists of People
12. Miscellaneous Sources
13. Places to Visit
Appendix 1. Reading Old Handwriting
Appendix 2. Calendars