The law had as much influence on our ancestors as it does on us today, and it occupies an extraordinary range of individuals, from eminent judges and barristers to clerks and minor officials. Yet, despite burgeoning interest in all aspects of history and ancestry, lawyers and legal history have rarely been looked at from the point of view of a family historian. And this is main purpose of Stephen Wade’s accessible and authoritative introduction to the subject.
Assuming that the reader has little prior knowledge of how or where to look for such information, he traces the evolution of the law and the legal professions. He describes the parts played in the system by solicitors, officers of the High Court, registrars, recorders, town clerks, clerks of the peace, proctors, coroners, notaries, parliamentary agents, judges, barristers and magistrates. Also he identifies the various archives, records and books that the family researcher can turn to, and discusses other sources including the internet.
Stephen Wade’s concise account of legal history and research resources will be an invaluable guide for anyone who is studying the subject or seeking an ancestor who was associated with it.