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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Settlement Certificates

Information about settlement certificates in Durham County Record Office.

After the introduction of the Settlement Act of 1662 it was mandatory for each person to have a parish of legal settlement. This was the only parish in which they were entitled to receive poor relief.

Settlement certificate, 1738 (EP/Du.SO 112/1/1)
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The parish of settlement was usually a person's parish of birth, or where they had lived or worked for at least a year and it was the only parish in which they were entitled to receive poor relief.

A person had to undergo a settlement examination by the vestry or Justices of the Peace in order to obtain legal settlement in a different parish.

If successful, they were granted a settlement certificate.

If someone required relief when living in a parish where they did not have legal settlement, the overseers could issue a removal order to have them transferred back to their parish of settlement. See Removal Orders.

These records were usually kept in the Parish Chest and have been transferred to the Record Office. Search the Catalogue and type settlement certificate in the Keywords box. Select the option to search for Word variations.

You will find further information about Settlement papers on the GENUKI website.