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Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - READER STORY -

Be­fore the in­ter­net and be­fore tele­phone di­rec­to­ries, if you needed to find a lo­cal trades­man or busi­ness, you looked in a trade direc­tory. They have been pro­duced for over 300 years – pre- dat­ing the census – and can be a great source of in­for­ma­tion about the com­mu­ni­ties in which your an­ces­tors lived. The Univer­sity of Le­ices­ter has a col­lec­tion at spe­cial­col­lec­tions.le. ac.uk/ cdm/land­ing­page/col­lec­tion/ p16445­coll4. Th­ese are some of the old­est doc­u­ments sur­viv­ing in the UK – in some coun­ties they may stretch from the 16th cen­tury to 1972, when the quar­ter ses­sions were re­placed by crown courts. They cover a huge amount of lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion re­lat­ing to tax­a­tion, wage con­trol, lists of lo­cal of­fi­cials, through to the pros­e­cu­tion of felony crimes, of­fences against lo­cal by­laws and many other trans­gres­sions. If your an­ces­tor broke the law, worked to up­hold it or de­pended on a le­gal li­cence of some kind to carry out their busi­ness, then there’s a good chance of find­ing out more about their lives here. Search at your county ar­chives for more in­for­ma­tion.

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