Miscellaneous material not fitting into the other categories:

Apprentices; Birmingham Directories & Rate Books; Catholics; Child hospital records (nine); Famous Whitehouses; Fire policies; Great Western Railway shareholders; Lloyds Bank Memo Books; London Gazette; Lunatic asylum admissions; Medics (Doctors, Nurses, Midwives); Passport applications; Patentees; Post Office (Royal Mail) Records; Prisoners of War, 1795 and 1812-15 (six); Sedgley Manor Rolls; Staffs Boatmen (one), Staffs Police (seven), Staffs Quarter Sessions Prisoners; Trafalgar - seamen who fought in this battle (two).


LINKS & COMMENTARY (all files are in MS Excel or Word)


APPRENTICES 190402Ap.xls and APPRENTICES 190402Mr.xls (each 86 kB, 230 rows of entry, landscape) provide a collection of apprenticeship indenture information derived from 6 sources listed below.  The Ap file is sorted by Apprentice Surname, then by Forename and then by Date of Indenture and the Mr file by Master's Surname, then by Forename and then by Date of Indenture.  The content of each file is the same: they differ only in the manner of sorting.  The left-hand OO column can be used to re-sort by date only.



IR - The Inland Revenue Board of Stamps ledgers relating to indentures on which stamp duty was paid.

CRISP -  The Crisp collection of over 1500 indentures held at the Society of Genealogists, London.

SRO - Some Staffordshire indentures indexed by Diana Grant, who has donated her index to the Staffordshire Record Office: see http://www.staffsnameindexes.org.uk .

WLHC -  Some Worcestershire indentures indexed by the Worcestershire Library & History Centre, Worcester.

CM - A database drawn up by Dr. Chris Minns and colleagues at the Economic History Dept. of the London School of Economics, derived from records at Bristol and in the London Livery Companies, which Dr. Minns has very kindly made available to me.

WPLS & R - Warwickshire Poor Law Settlement & Removal index.


The Inland Revenue Board of Stamps ledgers are preserved at The National Archives, Kew, under the class IR 1.  In more detail, the government imposed stamp duty from 1710 to 1810 on certain apprenticeship indentures. The ledgers are the original record: the indentures have not been retained.  They show the date of the indenture, the apprentice’s names, his (sometimes her) father’s name in most entries up to 1750, sometimes with an address, the master’s name, his trade and address, the price paid to the master and the term for which the apprenticeship was to run.


The IR 1 piece numbers run consecutively in two series, “town” and “country”.  The names are slightly misleading, as the town registers record those in which the stamp duty was paid to the Stamp Office in London, no matter where the apprenticeship was to be served.  The “town” pieces are numbered 1-40 and dated from October 1711 to January 1811, with gaps (a) before October 1711, (b) between August 1721 and “January 1722” (presumed 1723 in the Gregorian calendar), (c) “March 1726” to “March 1729” and (d) August 1733 to April 1735.  The IR 1 “country” pieces are 41-72, running from May 1710 to September 1808, with gaps (e) from “January 1725” to November 1728, (f) from November 1731 to April 1741, (g) from April 1745 to October 1749 and (h) from March to August 1784. It appears therefore that quite a few of the registers have gone missing and the Public Record Office, as it was then known, merely numbered the survivors with consecutive piece numbers.  The years referred to are those when the indenture was stamped and recorded in the ledger, which is not the date of the indenture or the date from which the term of apprenticeship was to run.


Apprentice boys were normally bound to their master for 7 years, usually starting at age 14, but some were younger, especially if their father had died.  Fewer girls were apprenticed.  Stamp duty was payable on the “premium”, which was the term for the amount paid by the parent to the apprentice master.  The master had to pay the duty, which was at 2½% for premiums up to £50 and 5% if the amount was over £50.  While most premiums were under £20, a few amounted to hundreds, probably representing a stake in the business.


The reason that so few entries appear for Whitehouse is doubtless that only privately arranged apprenticeships were dutiable and then only if a premium was paid.  Parish apprenticeships were also excluded from duty.  These were for children in the workhouse or from families receiving poor law relief, for example those in Wednesbury parish mentioned in my newsletter of 2nd July 2010.  The two Wednesbury parish apprenticeships found are typical, in that the children were sent to other parishes, here Manchester and Dudley. The reason for this was that once an apprentice had served his master for 40 days, he could gain settlement in his parish of employment, so if the apprenticeship terminated, he might again become a burden on the parish’s relief funds.  It was therefore advantageous for one parish to arrange an apprenticeship in another.


The ledgers use many abbreviations of forenames and occupations. These have been “normalised” in this WFHC transcript by expanding the abbreviations and correcting spelling.  In this WFHC indexed transcript, the arrangement is by the date of the indenture with dates before 1752 in the old (Julian) calendar translated into the modern (Gregorian) calendar.  This date is often many months earlier than the date of payment of the tax and still earlier than the ledger date.


To identify Whitehouse apprentices and masters, the indexes used initially were those made between the wars by the Society of Genealogists (SoG), which covered 1710 to 1774.  The SoG indexes are magnificent for the time at which they were made, but are not error-free:  8 entries had to be rejected as clearly Whitehorn(e).  In 2011, “Ancestry” indexed the whole 100-year range.  The “Ancestry” index contained two additional entries not in the SoG index, but they turned out to be a Whitehorne and a Whitbread.  It was used to continue the work from 1774 to the end date, which for Whitehouses was 1807.  Many errors in the “Ancestry” index have been corrected in the present work, which provides all the information in the ledger except for the ledger date, which is not considered genealogically relevant.


The Diana Grant index, published online by the Staffordshire Record Office (SRO), gives the forename and surname of the apprentice, his age and parish, but only the surname of the master.  However, the SRO has very kindly consulted an amplified version of this index, not available online, and transcribed the Whitehouses for me, by way of atonement for a mistake in earlier correspondence on the subject.  I am truly grateful to them and to Diana Grant.  The amplified version is not necessarily complete for each apprenticeship and, of course, I have not checked it against the original documents.  Checking will be necessary, as there are some obvious errors in the index (corrected in the WFHC file).  Also, it does not cover the whole of Staffordshire. The two Wednesbury apprenticeship entries, derived from my own research, are shown in the index.


The SRO reference numbers for the original documents are shown and all are available to view at Stafford, except for D130/1/3/2 (William Green apprenticed to T Whitehouse in 1853) which is at the Lichfield Record Office.


The SRO say that the majority of their surviving apprenticeship documents relate to pauper children and were arranged either by the Poor Law guardians or by charities.  As mentioned above, such apprenticeships were not dutiable.


The Chris Minns (CM) database of Bristol and London apprentices shows the date at which the apprentice was bound, which has been assumed to be the date of the indenture in the Julian calendar and this date has been converted in the WFHC extracts to Gregorian.  Some of the notes in Dr. Minns' database have proved difficult to interpret.  "Note re:" is Dr. Minns' "Master note", meaning not known, perhaps indicating a later or more precise address than that in the indenture.  Entries in which the surname is shown as a deviant spelling or possible mistranscription of WHITEHOUSE have been referenced as WHITEHOUSE with the surname as appears in Dr. Minns' database being retained in square brackets.


B'HAM DIRECTORIES 131021.xls (66 kB, 298 rows of entry) contains Whitehouses in 24 Birmingham directories in this period.  Five different sources were used, but this database does not include every directory that exists.  The directories vary widely in their scope and some mistakes have been noted.  The arrangement is in order of year, directory name, Whitehouse forename, then trade.  Column “OO” refers to this as the original order.


B'HAM RATES 1787-92 141006.xls (57kB, 173 rows of entry, landscape)

B'HAM RATES 1792-1800 part 141006.xls (34 kB, 37 rows of entry, landscape)

B'HAM RATES 1801-02 141006.xls (38 kB, 54 rows of entry, landscape)

B'HAM RATES 1802-06 part 141006.xls (31 kB, 27 rows of entry, landscape)

B'HAM RATES 1806-10 141006.xls (38 kB, 60 rows of entry, landscape)

B'HAM RATES 1810-16 part 141006.xls (31 kB, 23 rows of entry, landscape)

B'HAM RATES 1816-20 141006.xls (45 kB, 78 rows of entry, landscape)

B'HAM RATES 1820-23 part 150106.xls (36 kB, 56 rows of entry, landscape)

B'HAM RATES 1823-27 St Mary 150113.xls (28 kB, 5 rows of entry, landscape)

B'HAM RATES 1827-33 Sts Mary & Paul 150923.xls (29 kB, 8 rows of entry, landscape)


These files show Whitehouses in Birmingham Rate Books.  Rates were levied for the necessary relief of the poor.  The books show the ratepayers and those who did not pay and so are, in effect, a street directory of the town.  Occupations are not given, but some entries can be reconciled with trade directories of the time.  The Whitehouse entries for each year were extracted in the order of appearance in the books.  Years 1787-92, 1801-02 and 1806-10 have complete extraction of Whitehouse tenants in all the quarters (districts) of the town.  For all other years up to 1816, extraction is complete for only the St Mary quarter which is at the heart of Birmingham’s gun-making industry.  Whitehouse landlords are not covered in the extraction programme up to 1816, but one was noticed and has been entered.  Years 1794 to 1797 and 1798 to 1801 are not yet extracted, even in part.  For 1816 onwards, on the other hand, Whitehouse tenants and landlords are covered. Coverage for 1816-20 is complete, 1820-23 is limited to the following districts: St Mary, Bull St, Dale End, St Paul & Digbeth, 1823-27 to St Mary District only & 1827-33 to St Mary & St Paul Districts only.


It has been difficult to decide how best to sort the above databases, because significant numbers of entries have no forenames.  The following table summarises the position:


Year range

Number of "No Forename" entries

Number with an initial only

Number of "Widow" entries

How sorted in the above databases ?



1 (J)


District, Street, Year



3 (1R, 2J)          


District, Street, Year



2 (R)


WHITEHOUSE forename, District, Year



3 (R)


District, Street, Year


18 (including 1 Landlord WHITEHOUSE)

11 (2E, 1I, 2R, 6W)


District, Street, Year



1 (R)


District, Street, Year


39 (including 18 Landlord WHITEHOUSE)

3 (1C, 1J, 1MA)


District, Street, OO



4 (C, J or I, WJ?, J & Co)




4 (including 1 Landlord WHITEHOUSE) out of 5 entries





5 (including 2 Landlord WHITEHOUSE) out of 8 entries





Column “OO” shows the original order of the entries in the rate books.  The year refers to the rating year 26th March 1787 to 25th March (Lady Day) 1788 and so on.  The “Quarter” refers to sub-divisions of the town into districts.  In each year the order of listing of the quarters in the rate books varied. 


For 1787-92, there are two columns of rate entries per page, which are shown here as left (L) and right (R).  The books list enumerators’ walks in the form “Bull Street from Snow Hill”, meaning that the order of the households is as one walks from Snow Hill at the north eastern end of Bull Street to the High Street at its south western end.  It appears in many cases that the two sides of the street were walked separately.  In this database, the walk has been abbreviated to show merely the street enumerated, i.e. in this case Bull Street.  The books for 1787-92 show these walks in main headings, but there are also sub-headings.  These appear to indicate where other streets meet or intersect the street being walked.  It is not entirely clear whether the enumerator has walked into these side streets: the passage from Slaney Street to Weaman Street is an example, as the passage sometimes appears as a main heading.  The 1792-1800 books are similar.


The 1801-02 book has a different layout.  The pages are not divided into columns, but, unfortunately, the page numbers are seldom visible on the film until page 418.  However, the book shows a schedule number for each house.  This appears to be an arbitrary number, which does not necessarily coincide with real house numbers.  This number and an indication of whether it is a front (F) or back (B) house have taken the place of the page and column numbers used for 1787-92.  Unfortunately, on occasions, the numbering system has started afresh for the same street, so it is not an unambiguous way of identifying a particular entry.  However, page numbers have come to the rescue in the one instance affecting Whitehouses (in Hockley).  The streets are merely listed as such in the books, without showing any starting points for the enumerators’ walks.


The forenames of Whitehouses are frequently shown as abbreviations and so have been “normalised” (written out in full).  Premises can generally be assumed to be a house unless otherwise stated, although in 1801-02 most enumerators listed them as such.  For 1787-92 any rate paid is shown in the notes, while for 1801-02 and subsequent years a rateable value (RV) is shown.  The rates paid seem at first sight rather odd, that for 1788-89 being 12 times that for 1787-88, but maybe those for the earlier year are per month.  It matters little, as the main purpose in showing the rate paid or rateable value is to indicate the size of the property, shops, warehouses etc. normally having a much higher rateable value than houses.


The 1802-10 and 1810-16 books are, again, slightly different in their format, the street sub-headings and the column showing whether a front or a back house no longer appearing.  That for 1806-08 appears to have been used for 1808-10 as well and so has been re-labelled accordingly in this database.  Gardens are rated for the first time in 1806, as it seems to have been the practice for those living in the populous gun quarter to rent gardens a little further away. The Street refers to where the renter of the Garden lived, not where the garden is located.  Oddly, the garden renters are not always found in these streets.  Several errors in the rate books have been detected and there appear to be many omissions.  1801-02 seems to have been a particularly stringent year for rate collection, probably being connected in some way with the 1801 population census.  The 1816-20 book is particularly useful since the house numbers appear to be the same as found in directories.  One might call this book the first full street directory of Birmingham.


CATHOLICS 171015.xls (12 kB; 25 rows of entry) is the previous Staffordshire Recusants file, which it replaces, augmented by 15 Whitehouse names from the Margaret Higgins database launched on 7th October 2017. 


CHILD HOSPITALS 1875-1910 130327.xls (18 kB, 15 rows of entry relating to 9 patients) relates to a joint project to index hospital records, between Kingston University’s Centre for the Historical Record and hospital archives in London and Glasgow. See http://hharp.org . The records of 9 Whitehouse patients admitted to children’s hospitals, from 1875 to 1911, have been extracted from the website.  Some inessential details, e.g. names of referring doctors, have been omitted.


FAMOUS WHITEHOUSES 180402.xls (68 kB; 36 rows of entry) is an attempt at listing some famous Whitehouses, alive or dead, from various published sources.  The "Notes" section provides a synopsis of their most notable achievements, which in some instances has involved difficulty of selection.


FIRE POLICY 210226.xls (22kB, 33 rows of entry) started from the index of the insurance policies of the Royal Exchange Assurance and the Sun Fire Office for the period 1775-1787.  This was a University-led project many years ago.   It covers Royal Exchange policies 65962 to 102744 and Sun Fire Office policy register Volumes 253-342.  It has been extended to include the “Place in the Sun” project, covering Sun Fire policies up to 1842.  The exact coverage of the index is unclear, but the Whitehouses are from 1777 to 1841.  The registers are deposited at the London Metropolitan Archives. The index covers the names at the head of the policy. 


GWR SHAREHOLDERS 210313.xls (39 kB, 113 rows of entry) is an index to Whitehouses involved in the transfer of shares in the Great Western Railway Company from 1835 to 1910.  It relates only to transfers that did not occur by simple sale.  However, these shares were “blue chip” and held for long periods, so it has been estimated that 75% of the total number of shareholders is covered.  It is stated that about 90% of the transfers resulted from death, 4% marriage, 4% power of attorney, 0.5% change of name, 0.2% lunatics, 0.1% bankrupts and the balance miscellaneous.  About 92.5% of the events occurred in England & Wales, 3.5% in Scotland, 0.7% in Ireland and 0.6% overseas.  (Presumably some were indeterminate, as this does not add to 100%). 


The Whitehouse entries have been extracted from the index published on the FindMyPast website.  There are 27 events (transfers), in some of which the Whitehouse was not the shareholder, but merely an executor or a declarant who confirmed the identity of another person.  Some are instantly recognisable, so the WFHC reference has been added against the first line of the event.  The appearance of a Whitehouse as an executor in the will of a person of different surname could throw up interesting questions.  For example, why was Richard Whitehouse of Handsworth, the Birmingham gun engraver, an executor of the will of William Marsh of Oldbury ?  He is no known relative and Richard never lived in Oldbury.


The Registers themselves are not publicly available and can be seen only by ordering a copy of the relevant pages from the Society of Genealogists, for which a fee is charged (currently £10), using the Volume, Folio and Entry reference shown.  The transcription work was carried out by Frank Hardy FSG and other volunteers from the Society and took a very long time to complete, so it is difficult to find fault with this arrangement.  The only additional information in the register, not in the index, is in most cases the occupations, but these were often merely “gentleman”, “spinster” etc.  Some illegibly signed names of recipients were also omitted.


All but 2 of the 27 events extracted were the deaths of shareholders, here shown as “Shareholder, D”.  “Recipient” means the person to whom the “documents” (share certificates ?) were sent by the GWR shareholders Registrar, possibly a beneficiary to whom a specific bequest of the shares was made.  There are many events in which no recipient is listed, presumably because the shares were transferred to the executors, who might later have sold them to realise money for the estate.  That later sale, being an ordinary commercial transaction, would not appear in this register.


Sometimes, people of the same name are listed twice with different addresses.  Probably they are all one and the same person, e.g. a deceased who died at one address, but whose normal residence was elsewhere.  However, since there is no way of telling from the register whether they are the same person or, e.g. father and son of identical names, they are listed separately.


As usual, downloaders are recommended to sort the index into event order, sorting by Database ref. and then by No.  Abbreviations follow the same form as in the census index, except that “Widow” is written in full.


LLOYDS BANK MEMO BOOKS 170403.xls (41 kB, 40 rows of entry)

Lloyds Bank's origins go back to 3rd June 1765 when its office in Dale End, Birmingham was opened by Sampson Lloyd II and John Taylor, who were Quakers.  For the first 100 years, this was its only office.  Taylor & Lloyds issued its own banknotes. In 1864 it became Lloyds & Company and opened a branch in Oldbury, mainly to serve the Albright & Wilson chemical works and in 1865 it became a joint stock bank owned by shareholders.  Other branches followed, including a London one when it took over Lombards.  The Head Office moved to Lombard Street in 1912.  A fuller account is given in my article written for the Journal of One-Name Studies which is accessible from the index page of this website.


This file contains abstracts from the memorandum books of the branch managers at Dudley, Smethwick and West Bromwich up to 1911.  They include items relevant to WFHC trees 083 and 141.


LONDON GAZ 1734-1860 130327.xls (63 kB, 227 rows of entry) shows Whitehouse entries in the London Gazette, which is available on-line.  Most relate to bankruptcy and the dissolution of partnerships.  A few relate to patents, more details of which can be found in the WFHC patent applicants database.  Some are for military appointments.


This database, sorted by forename, is largely self-explanatory.  To avoid excessive length, entries which appear to be merely cumulative, e.g. bankruptcy, followed by creditors’ meetings etc., are not shown individually, but the first entry is annotated to give the Gazette dates for subsequent ones and any additional information in the later entries is incorporated in the first entry.  Whitehouse solicitors are included only if the entry shows an event in their career, for example dissolution of a partnership, or (in one case) are suspected to have some family relationship to the person(s) mentioned in the entry.


LUNATIC ASYLUMS 070924.xls (35 kB, 120 rows of entry) is an index to Whitehouse patients admitted to the county lunatic asylums in England & Wales, covering The National Archives pieces MH94/12 to 29 and 105. The years covered are 1846 to 1890, but there is a gap from 1885 to 1888 for which records of state-aided patients are missing.  Although the first piece available is MH94/12, covering 1846, the numbering suggests that there is an earlier one, also missing.  Nearly all patients were state-aided and thus indexed as “pauper”.  In the WFHC file, all patients are “pauper” unless noted as private in a “Remarks” column.


In “Beyond Bedlam”, Journal of One-name Studies, July-September 2011, pages 29 to 31, Roger Goacher summarises the history of lunatic asylums.  The few asylums built in the 18th century were charitably funded.  The Lunatics Act of 1808 permitted county magistrates to fund new asylums from the rates, but only about 20 were built before 1845, when the Lunacy Act and County Asylums Acts were passed.  The Lunacy Act established a Commission responsible for inspecting and visiting asylums and laid down procedures for the admission and care of patients.  These Acts set in train the proper provision of care for the mentally defective and by 1914 there were 102 asylums housing 108,000 patients.  Surprisingly, the new asylums were modelled on the country house estate.  They were grand, spacious, airy buildings, often in an elevated position, with extensive grounds, often in a rural setting.  The Lunacy Commissioners demanded that land should be provided for exercise, recreation, gardening etc.  By the early 20th century, however, the early reformers’ aims of respite, rehabilitation, recovery and release had been severely compromised by overcrowding, high staff turnover (owing to poor pay and difficult working conditions), reductions in specialist care etc.  Much more detail can be found in Andrew Roberts’ website http://studymore.org.uk/mhhtim.htm .


The MH94 records enable one to search for possible lunacy in one’s ancestry. The patient records of many asylums have been preserved in archives and can be seen so long as they are more than 100 years old.  For example, detailed patient records for many Whitehouse ancestors can be found in the Burntwood Asylum books held by Staffordshire Archives.  Reports on the condition of the inmates can occupy many pages.


For general information about this class of record, see “Lunatic Ancestors” by David T. Hawkings,  Family Tree Magazine July 2007, pages 18 & 19.


MEDICS 210313.xls (14 kB, 34 rows of entry) provides Whitehouse extracts from the Register of Chemists and Druggists 1890, Medical Directories for 1853, 1881 and 1901, the Register of Nurses 1916-23 and the Midwives Rolls for 1904 and 1912.  Various Acts of Parliament (Medical Act 1858; Pharmacy Act 1868; Midwives Act 1902;) prevented people from calling themselves by the appropriate professional titles unless they became registered, although the British Medical Directory of 1853 preceded the 1858 Act.



In 1916 the College of Nursing Ltd was founded with 34 members as a professional organisation for trained nurses and set up a register of such nurses. In March 1917 the College had 2,553 members and by 1919 13,047.  It received a Royal Charter in 1928 and later became the Royal College of Nursing.


The first "Medical Registers" were printed in the years 1779, 1780 and 1783, and are now very scarce.


The privately funded weekly medical journal "The Lancet" was first published in 1823 and the British Medical Association was formed in 1832 to promote medical science and maintain the honour of the profession. Its publication developed into the "British Medical Journal" in 1853.  Major regulation of the profession came with the Medical Act of 1858 that established the Medical Council "to regulate the qualifications of practitioners in medicine and surgery". It was charged with drawing up and publishing an annual register of those with specified qualifications who would be entitled to practise medicine or surgery.  Those who had been practising since before 1815 were allowed to be included.  The first official annual Medical Register was printed in July 1859 and shows place of education and qualification but not age or parentage. Any person not on the Register and practising as a physician, surgeon, doctor or apothecary was liable to a heavy penalty.


An unofficial "Medical Directory for England and Wales" had been published in 1845, also showing place of education and qualification but not age or parentage, and continues to this day. Its annual volumes contain much fuller biographies and details of the doctors' publications but, unlike the Register, may include doctors who have allowed their registration fees to lapse.


PASSPORTS 1851-56 & 58-62 081230.xls (17kB, 13 rows of entry) is an extract from the index to passport applications.  Its content is minimal, but some of the more famous Whitehouses are recognisable and are identified in a comments column.


PATS 1617-1901 070727.xls (48 kB, 215 rows of entry) is an extract of Whitehouse patent applicants at the UK Patent Office, as listed in the printed indexes, from the earliest times to the end of 1901.  The earliest patent granted to a Whitehouse was in 1774. In the period extracted, patents and applications were numbered in a separate series for each year.


A famous invention by a Whitehouse

Arguably the most famous Whitehouse was Cornelius, who invented continuous welding of tubing. His patent is numbered by the year and the number within that year, 1825 No. 5019. It lasted for 14 years from grant. At that time, patents did not have claims defining the monopoly, but page 3 contains a statement of the principle of the invention, which is to heat the tubes of iron (the metal sheet bent into tubular shape) nearly to the point of fusion, withdraw them from the fire and pass them through dies or holes, by which the edges of the heated iron may be pressed together, and the joint firmly welded. The patent was printed in 1857 and a copy is provided here as Patent 1825-5109 040130.doc (contains scanned-in pages, 446 kB). Cornelius Whitehouse's patent is highly unusual because it was amended on the petition of James Russell, to whom he had sold the patent. The amendment (not copied here) was to correct a trivial clerical error, but it contains details of the terms on which Cornelius assigned his rights and the difficulties that James Russell experienced in meeting a deadline for filing the patent specification with the proper authority.


Genealogical value of patents

Generally, patents do not contain much of genealogical value. The patent specifications give only the name of the town as the address - in the case of Cornelius, Wednesbury. - and sometimes an occupation. A pilot study has revealed that the indexes relate to patent applications.  If the application never proceeded to a patent, the specification was not retained and so is not available. I have therefore included a column "Pat ?". "Yes" means that I have seen the specification, so it is available in the British Library. "No" means that I have ordered the specification and found it to be unavailable. The blank spaces mean that I not investigated availability.


The value of patents is as a "talking point" or decorative item for a family tree that has been arrived at by other means. The missing day and month part of the date for some 1889 patent applications arises from an official indexing error, which I have been able to rectify only partially.


Early US Patents

The British Library holds an index of US patentees for 1790 to 1847

There are two entries under WHITEHOUSE, both for Turner WHITEHOUSE:


WHITEHOUSE, Turner:  Lock, door:  Class 2  p. 49 (2)  - found

WHITEHOUSE, Turner:  Locks, mortice:  Class 3 p. 50 - not found


The first entry shows:

Door-lock;  T. WHITEHOUSE, Boston Mass  Sept 8, 1837 No. 377

Door-lock;  T. WHITEHOUSE, Boston Mass  Jun 14, 1838 No. 783


Until 1836, US patents were not numbered.  There are no Whitehouses in

"Early Un-numbered US Patents 1790 - 1836", Research Publications, Ind., Woodbridge CT USA, 1980


The British Library has an index of US patentees in yearly volumes from 1872 onwards and there is an index with digital images on “Ancestry”.



From 1831, the British Post Office kept a register of every employee, which continued to 1959.  These registers, which  are available on "Ancestry", give the name, date of appointment to the Post Office, job description and place of work.  The underlying appointment letters have not survived.  Whitehouse entries up to 1921 have been extracted and edited into the file PO APPTS 1838-1921 161206.


The register contains many abbreviations.  In the WFHC file, those which are clear have been translated into words, while others have been given suggested explanations in square brackets.  Those for which there is no obviously likely meaning have been left as they stand in the register. The minutes up to 1855 are stamped "Minute cancelled: see Decision in 5th Schedule".  It is not known what this means, but it is suspected that they have merely been amalgamated into a tidy schedule.  Thereafter, the register has a column for minutes appointing the employee and another column for minutes confirming the appointment.  It is assumed that the confirmation takes place only when the person concerned becomes a permanent employee and is paid a salary.  However, this needs clarification.  In 1909, the register was re-drawn to show only one column which appears to take the place of the previous confirmation column.  A few of the appointments have been reconciled with the pensions and gratuities record below.



Pension and gratuity records of the British Post Office are found in the Royal Mail Archive, housed within The Postal Museum in London.  In the early days of the Post Office, pensions records were kept for senior or clerical grades.  Few postmen received a pension and those that did were often hardship cases.  These records begin 1719 and are in Treasury Letter Books, recording correspondence with the Treasury.  They are classified as "POST1".   After the Superannuation Act of 1859 all employees were entitled to a pension, subject to diligent and faithful service.  A standard form was completed and sent to the Treasury, giving name, job description, place of work, type of award (pension, gratuity) etc., age, length of service, salary and emoluments.  Many female employees were given a gratuity when they left the service to marry.


Alas, there are no good indexes to these records.  There is a list of name, job description and place, in the original date order, which continues until 1959.  This index is then used to access the book of Treasury Letters, which needs to be ordered from storage, but production is very quick.  Frequently, these "letters" are no more than forms in which the Post Office recommended to the Treasury the grant of a pension or gratuity and the Treasury acceded. 


From 1896 onwards, the chronological indexes have been further indexed in separate, batched calendars, which have to be consulted on microfilm to find the month of the award.  It is then necessary to consult a third, paper, index to identify the relevant book of Treasury Letters.  In short, these calendars and indexes are difficult to use, but still better than having no index at all.


Searches by trawling the calendars from 1859 to 1921 have revealed 10 Whitehouse entries, of which half have been assigned to WFHC trees.

Alphabetical index to results:

KEMP, Elizabeth Ethel b. 1883 (m. 1909 as Ethel Elizabeth to WHITEHOUSE, Henry Bertram)

UNDERWOOD, Edith b. 1874 (m. 1906 to WHITEHOUSE, Thomas William)

WAY, Gertrude Louisa b. 1882 (m. 1910 to WHITEHOUSE, Arthur Harper)

WHITEHOUSE, Daisy Annie b. 1896

WHITEHOUSE, Florence Priscilla Stuart b.1886-87

WHITEHOUSE, George Edwin b. 1831

WHITEHOUSE, Henry George b. 1874

WHITEHOUSE, Kathleen Laister b. 1894

WHITEHOUSE, Martha Elizabeth b. 1876

WHITEHOUSE, Uriah b. 1841


Details are in the file PO PENSIONS ETC 1859-1921 210313


POWs 1795 and 1812-15 220805.docx

This small file contains a description of six POWs from olden times, two, Thomas and William WHITEHOUSE, apparently British, from the early Napoleonic wars in 1795 and four,  Asay, Benjamin, Daniel and Lewis WHITEHOUSE, Americans, from the War of 1812.  They were extracted from Family Search's "Prisoners of War 1716-1947" using both the Family Search transcript and the images underlying them. 


SEDGLEY MANOR ROLLS 210313.xls (140 kB, 695 rows of entry)

The Sedgley Manor Rolls have been extracted by Janet Rowley, a WFHC correspondent, now deceased.  She kindly provided her Whitehouse data, which I have transferred to a spreadsheet and indexed to make it searchable by name.  The period covered is 1614-1803. The Lord of the Manor had legal jurisdiction, devolved from the Crown, and held Court sessions for dealing with criminal and civil matters.  Civil matters frequently related to land transactions and probate.  The tenants of the Lord held land under the legal status of copyhold (so called because the tenancy was recorded in the court rolls and the tenant was given a copy).   Rents were low, being fixed by custom of the Manor, but when land changed hands, it was described as surrendered.  The Lord levied a large “fine” on the new tenant, effectively a one-off registration fee for his admission to the Manor.   Copyhold was valuable because there was a right of inheritance attached to it, but death of the copyholder caused a surrender.  More about the Manorial system can be found in “My Ancestors were Manorial Tenants” by Peter B. Park, Society of Genealogists Enterprises Limited, London (2005).  More about the Sedgley Manor specifically can be found from the website http://www.sedgleymanor.com


STAFFS BOATMEN 140704.xls (28 kB, 2 rows of entry)

The volunteers who produce the Staffordshire Record Office name indexes have started work on indexing the canal boat registers and have covered 1795-97. There is just one Whitehouse here, Abel, of Wolverhampton, who owned a couple of boats of 20 ton burthen. The burthen of a boat is a formulaic measurement of its capacity based on length and width. Presumably these were barges and most likely the Master, one Samuel Shaw, operated them in tandem. Since it is hoped that further indexing will be done, this file has been started.


The following preamble in the Register describes its contents: “Register or List of the several Lighters, Barges, Boats, Wherries and other Vessels registered in the Office of the Clerk for the Peace in the County of Stafford,  Certificates whereof have been issued and delivered by John Collins Gentleman Deputy Clerk of the Peace for the said County pursuant to an Act of Parliament made and passed in the thirty fifth year of the reign of his present Majesty King George the Third intituled ‘An Act for requiring all Boats, Barges and other Vessels of certain descriptions, used on navigable rivers and on Inland Navigations in Great Britain to be registered” distinguishing the Name and Place of Abode of the Owners and the Masters or Persons having the charge or Command of such Vessels, together with the Number and Capacities of all and every other Person and Persons usually employed in working the same and the burthen thereof; And also the Line and Extent of the Navigations in which such Vessels have been usually navigated and where situated; And also distinguishing the Days on which such Vessels were respectively registered.”  This does not explain the column “No. on vessel”.  It clearly cannot mean the number of people on board, but perhaps means the number given to the boat by its owner.


STAFFS POLICE 140704.xls (30 kB, 7 rows of entry)

This is a full extract of Whitehouses from the Staffordshire Police Registers.  While the registers span 1842 to 1977, only those up to 1920 have been indexed and are available to read at the Staffordshire Record Office.  (The later Registers are closed to the public, except where it can be proved that the policeman is dead). The 7 Whitehouse entries indexed start in 1880 and end in 1914.  They relate to Alfred b. 1858, Stephen b. 1862, another Stephen b. 1869, John Thomas b. 1879, James b. 1883, Job Henry b. 1885 and John b. 1892.  The information given includes date of appointment, parish of residence, age at appointment, mostly with an exact birth date as well, height, colour of eyes and hair, description of complexion, the trade or occupation before joining the police force, whether married or single and brief details of their career in the police force, all of which are shown in this WFHC file. The Staffs Record Office index has been published at http://www.staffsnameindexes.org.uk/ ,but gives only name and date of appointment.  They will provide a full extract for a fee.


STAFFS QS PRISONERS 1782-1880 140616.xls (77 kB, 125 rows of entry)

This is a full extract of Whitehouse prisoners from the Calendar of Prisoners at Stafford Gaol, awaiting trial at the Quarter Sessions. The starting point was the index published at http://www.staffsnameindexes.org.uk/ .  This gives name of prisoner, age, the quarter session year and name and the case number, but gives no detail of the offence and the outcome of the trial (information for which the Staffs Record Office charges a fee).  This WFHC file corrects errors in the index and provides the missing information, which has been extracted from the ledgers at the Staffordshire Record Office.  The SRO index starts at Michaelmas 1777 and the first Whitehouse entry is in 1782.  After some gaps in the early years, it continues to 1900, but this WFHC file stops at 1880.  As usual in WFHC files, Column A shows the original order (“OO”) of the file as originally sorted by Year, Session and Date of Committal or Warrant.  Here, the file has been re-sorted, by Whitehouse Forename and Original Order.


Quarter sessions were held four times per year, at Epiphany (early January), Easter, “Translation”, which means midsummer (July) and Michaelmas (October).  However, there became too many cases to be handled at these sessions, so additional “adjourned” sessions were added.  The main adjournments were to the Epiphany and Translation sessions.  To enable a proper order to be maintained in the WFHC file, each session and adjourned session was allotted a Session Number (“SN”) from 1 to 8 in Column D of the file.  When the numbers being tried grew, case numbers were allotted.  Eventually, crimes were separated into felonies and misdemeanours, separate lists and case numbers being established for each from 1835 onwards.  The main felony was theft, while the main misdemeanours were obtaining by false pretences, assaults and breaches of the peace.  Misdemeanour cases are marked with the letter “M” against the case number on Column E: the other cases are all felonies.


The following helpful guide to Quarter Sessions trials is taken from the Bedfordshire Record Office’s website:

“In the fourteenth century the word indictment was a technical expression for a written accusation which was not an appeal by an individual but the outcome of a solemn enquiry into the committing of offences. The indictment became the usual way of beginning criminal proceedings. In the case of misdemeanours tried at Quarter Sessions this could be the criminal information laid by a single individual rather than a presenting jury. Informations by private persons were encouraged by legislation, from the mid fifteenth century onwards, as a means of suppressing economic offences, with the informer being allowed a share of the penalty fine imposed on the criminal. Unfortunately this encouraged a breed known as 'common informers' who made a living by prying and accepting such awards. Indictments are written in Latin up to 1733, after which they may be written in English or Latin.

Those against whom a bill of indictment (that is, a formal criminal charge) had been made were first placed before a grand jury, whose function was to hear evidence for the Crown. If it was decided that there was a case to be answered by the accused, the indictment was declared to be a ‘true bill’ (billa vera); if not it was ‘no bill’ (ignoramus)[meaning we do not know]. In the former case, the accused then went forward to a full trial. The grand jury procedure was abolished in 1933.”  Nowadays, “not a true bill” would be a case which was not proceeded with owing to lack of evidence, i.e. no case to answer.

The language of the details of the trial is inconsistent and sometimes prolix.  In this file, it has been abbreviated.  “Hard labour” meant imprisonment, with treadmill punishment.  Treadmills were large, up to 30 feet long and 6 feet high, with treads set about 9 inches apart.  This ensured that each prisoner had to keep moving quite quickly or risk falling and injury.  The prisoners were separated from each other by wooden partitions and talking was not allowed.   They could grab hold of chains, but there was no other support.  They had to tread the mill for about a quarter of an hour, before a short break was allowed.  One commentator says 16 minutes with a break of 8 minutes, but practices probably varied between prisons.  In Stafford, it took place in the “House of Correction”, which was separate from the county gaol from 1793 onwards.  In 1834 a new one was built.  References to the House of Correction have not been included in the WFHC file, as it was felt that absence of one in many cases did not mean that the punishment took place elsewhere.


Children were treated relatively mercifully, to a whipping in private and a short period of hard labour.  However, in general, the correlation between the crime recorded and the punishment meted out is difficult to understand and probably depended partly on the particular magistrates, previous criminal record and demeanour in the trial.  There were a few cases of young men being whipped, but this was rare.


The details of the crime become more useful from 1854 onwards, when the trade of the accused was entered in the calendar.  From 1835, they include some literacy information, namely whether the prisoner could read or write and if so whether only “imperfectly”.



The battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805, in which 33 British ships engaged and defeated an equal number of French and Spanish ships in a 6-hour battle, is widely regarded as the most significant British victory of the century.

The National Archives’ website ( http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/trafalgarancestors/ ) enables searches to be made for those who fought at this battle, which numbered 18,000 plus.  Just two Whitehouses were found:


Whitehouse forename


Place of birth



Ship’s Pay Book No.

TNA reference



London, England

Ordinary Seaman

HMS Defence

SB 389

ADM 36/15942



Stafford, England

Able Seaman

HMS Orion

SB 435

ADM 37/18


Re William Whitehouse’s record, “Stafford” probably means the county, not necessarily the town.  To be an Able Seaman, one must be over 20 and have 5 years’ experience at sea.  The record shows the following Service Details for William:  “Comments from Anson”.  I was informed that this entry means that he served previously on a ship of this name.