England, Kent, Quarter Sessions and Court Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: England, Kent, Quarter Sessions and Court Files, 1600-1883 .
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Record Description

The collection consists of Quarter Sessions and Court Files for the County of Kent. Availability of the records varies by year and locality. This collection is restricted to FamilySearch Members which includes LDS members, local LDS Family History Centers, and affiliated organizations.

Only a small percentage of citizens ever appeared before the magistrates of the Quarter Sessions. The records varied in form over time an with the location where the court was held. However, they generally included five main sections:

  • Order books. These were the official records of a judge’s decisions.
  • Indictments. These recorded the criminal charges against a defendant and usually included such information as the defendant’s name, place of residence, details of the crime, and witnesses to it.
  • Minute books. These were notes from the clerk of the peace, who detailed the court proceedings.
  • Sessions’ rolls or files. These are records used during the session and usually included such things as petitions, depositions, jury lists, examinations, and other lists.
  • Any other documents that were lodged with the clerk of the peace.

Record Content

England, Kent, Quarter Sessions and Court Files DGS 4991370 54.jpg

Although there are differences from record to record, the main genealogical information can include:

  • Names
  • Places of residence
  • Birth places
  • Birth dates
  • Parents
  • Family members
  • Spouse
  • Place of marriage
  • Occupations

How to Use the Record

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The England, Kent, Quarter Sessions and Court Files collection is available to the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and to members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The images can be viewed at a FamilySearch Center near you.

Quarter Session records can help you identify names, residences, occupations, and family relationships. They may also contain information leading you to the records of other ancestors such as the parents, siblings, and children of the primary person in the court case.

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • Name
  • Court jurisdiction

Search the Collection

To search the collection you will need follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the ppropriate "Court Jurisdiction"
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type"
⇒Select the "Year Range and Volume Number" link which takes you to the images

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors.

Use the place and names to locate other records such as civil registration, church records and census records. For information on these records see the following wiki articles:

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank or status within the community.
  • Search by surname in the same court and location. This may help you to identify other family members.
  • Sometimes searching by location can help you find the history of a community or a likely occupation, which could provide valuable insight into your ancestor’s life.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for an index. Local genealogical and historical societies sometimes have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Kent Archives

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records. Detailed instructions for adding citations of records used by the FamilySearch Wiki are also listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

England. Kent, Quarter Sessions and Court Files, 1600-1883. Kent Archives, Maidstone, England.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for Records Found in This Collection

  • “Delaware Marriage Records,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 4 March 2011), entry for William Anderson and Elizabeth Baynard Henry, married 23 November 1913; citing marriage certificate no. 859; FHL microfilm 2,025,063; Delaware Bureau of Archives and Records Management, Dover.
  • “El Salvador Civil Registration,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 21 March 2011), entry for Jose Maria Antonio del Carmen, born 9 April 1880; citing La Libertad, San Juan Opico, Nacimientos 1879-1893, image 50; Ministerio Archivo Civil de la Alcaldia Municipal de San Salvador.