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Ask a Genealogist: What was the meaning of a Visitation in England in the 16th century?

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Question:

What was the meaning of a Visitation in England in the 16th century? I noticed that a couple of my early ancestors households had a visitation recorded.

Answer:

A visitation was an inspection or a tour of a residence. These visitations occurred between 1530 to 1688. This inspection was done by the Kings of Arms or by their deputy.  This was done to maintain a regulation on those bearing coats of arms, and to record the pedigree of their family.
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