Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Digitisation of English Protestation returns

The United Kingdom Parliamentary Archive is digitising the Protestation returns from 1641-1642. From its blog:

The Protestation Returns, date from 1641-42, were ordered by the House of Commons and required all adult men to swear allegiance to the Protestant religion. The returns were organised by parish and are the closest we have to a seventeenth century census, significantly taking place at the start of a civil war that involved all levels of society and affected all countries in the British Isles and Ireland.

What the blog post does not state is that the records that are digitised are for England only (union with Scotland not happening until 1707), with this being an important census substitute for those researching English ancestors from the 17th century. I genuinely have no idea why the Welsh do not appear to have signed, but a glance at the interactive map that the Westminster Parliament has put together to identify the locations of the signatories does interestingly show a record from Eaglefield on the Scottish side of the borders.

For more on the returns, visit the Parliament's archive service blog at https://archives.blog.parliament.uk/2015/12/09/none-hath-refused-digitising-the-protestation-returns/, and also a Wikipedia entry at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestation_Returns_of_1641%E2%80%931642.

NB: For records of the independent Scottish parliament prior to 1707, do visit the excellent http://rps.ac.uk/ project from St. Andrews University!

(With thanks to Luke Mouland via Facebook)


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. My Pinterest account is at https://www.pinterest.com/chrismpaton/.


  1. Thanks for the heads up on these coming records. I want to warn other readers who may use the mapping function to see what places are represented to be careful. I did a test for locations in Kent and found references to Berkshire and Buckinghamshire on the Kent map so there are still some bugs to be worked out.