Posts Tagged ‘ customs and excise ’
Our expert Stephen Rigden, pictured right, answers your questions.
From Graham Nowell in Abingdon, Oxfordshire:
‘I have some items that belonged to an ancestor who was a Customs and Excise Officer in the South West of England sometime in the 1800s. I know nothing about him except his and my surname, Nowell, not a very common name.
Are there any records available for searching that might give me more clues? Thank you.’
Steve says: ‘For questions such as this, two sources immediately spring to mind. The first is the relevant local county record office (or equivalent – many have now been re-branded) and the second is The National Archives at Kew. As Customs and Excise was a function of central government, I would suggest that TNA is much the better option to start with.
There is nothing searchable online. However, you can read an online Research Guide on the subject of Customs and Excise officials and tax collectors and this gives much information about what is available – indeed, it is clear that TNA holds a vast collection of materials.
From a quick glance, it seems that few of the records are likely to have integral indexes and, therefore, it would prove time-consuming searching speculatively for a reference to your ancestor. You would need to visit in person or, alternatively, commission a researcher to make the searches for you.
If you have the time, I would recommend that you undertake the research yourself, which would be much more fulfilling. When at TNA, you can always ask the search room staff for help and guidance, so you should not feel intimidated about the prospect of searching records which are unknown to you.’
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