Saturday, July 5, 2014

You Can Learn a Lot About Bastards at the Family History Library

Not satisfied with our Welsh Researcher shooting down our latest possible link to Reese Price, putative father of John Vaughan 1789, I went back again to the the Family History Library. Last time I stopped once I had found the shot-down reference in Breconshire Quarter Sessions. The nagging continued in my head, so I went back to check Radnorshire and Herefordshire. There was nothing in Radnorshire with its clerk's fine penmanship. Fortunately, Herefordshire had an index and I found this:
See what I mean about penmanship?
It is from Herefordshire Quarter Sessions Minute Order Rolls 14 July 1789 (LDS FHL Br. Film No. 1656441). There is another entry exactly the same from 20 April 1789 which boxes in the June 1789 date of the "tailor who is in gaol" apparently for failing to provide payment for Hannah Vaughan's illegitimate child.

In case you can't quite see it there, it says:
Rice Price's recog. further contd. ["Rice" of course being a variation of "Reese, Rees, Rhys", etc.]
I did a little more legal research on the Quarter Sessions and what it means to be in "recognizance." So, practicing as a British Solicitor without a wig, there's this:

Pratt, John Tidd, The Laws Relating to the Poor, 6th Ed. (Joseph Butterworth & Son, London 1827).

So, the Justices of the Quarter Sessions could have someone committed to jail unless security was given. We know that on June 12, 1789, Roger Vaughan petitioned the Hay Vestry for "9d [pence] p. week towards the maintaining of [his daughter's] bastard child on account of the tailor who is now in gaol." So, whoever the father who was a tailor was, he was not meeting his financial obligations and could be held in jail, and his "recognizance" continued until he paid up. That would seem hard to do when you're in jail which I've always thought to be a major flaw of debtors' prison, but Reese Price did have other family. There was a family inn and others in the tailor business. His debts could have been covered somehow. And with no further entries in the Quarter Rolls, this may have been resolved within the parish, either Glasbury or Hay. IF it is the right Rice or Reese Price.

I haven't yet figured the jurisdictional issues among different counties. But I have seen orders in all three adjacent counties referencing people in each of the three counties. Jurisdiction somehow allowed for cross-county orders, at least where three counties came together at the market town of Hay.

There may be more behind these order rolls. Unfortunately, we do not have a researcher in Hereford so we'll have to think of something. Maybe another trip?

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