Collecting old documents

What is the point of collecting old documents? Apart from discovering & matching names to known family trees, they often contain details of wives, siblings & associates. Some mention property & land being sold or leased. Old Wills are the best source of information for the family historian. An indenture will have a wavy cut along the top where two identical documents have been created & signed by each party. The lawyer’s clerk would cut them so that in case of a future dispute over land or money, they could be checked to ensure that each indenture was original. For me, the best thing about owning these (I have too many) is the fact that they have the signatures of long dead ancestors and they bring to life the people & places mentioned.

I have recently come into possession of some old documents which need to be transcribed and some will be a challenge. This is a job for a wet day (coffee simmering in the kitchen) or a winters evening (glass of wine nearby); a labour of love.

The earliest document is dated 4th January 1633 & is an indenture between John Whitfield of Roundleholme & Robert Teasdale.  Here are some facts to get the document into historical perspective – In 1633 Charles I had been on the throne for 8 years with another 16 years before he was executed; 9 years before the English Civil War, 27 years after the Guy Fawkes was executed for the Gunpowder Plot; 13 years after the Mayflower set sail in 1620 from Plymouth & I believe there were about 2500 settlers in Virginia (names after the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I). Other documents name William Teasdall & Isaac Vipond dated 1717; another Robert Teasdale dated 1647; Indenture between Jonathan Lee & James Teasdale in Kirkhaugh dated 1789; Indenture between James Teasdale & Charles Langhorn in Ayle dated 1776; Indenture for James Teasdale in Ayle dated 1776; Indenture between James Teasdale & Cuthbert Harlamb dated 1762; Legal copy of a Will in 1694 for Ralph Teasdale dated 1769; Articles of Agreement between James Teasdale & Jonathan Lee dated 1788; Bond between James Teasdale & John Harrison dated 1785.