There are over 5,000 settlement examinations from Lincolnshire parishes and from the Lindsey Petty Sessions (4 volumes) and the Kesteven (Sleaford) Petty Sessions (6 volumes containing mixed documents including settlement examinations).

The three sets of Quarter Sessions papers for Lincolnshire (Lindsey, Kesteven and Holland) also contain many Settlement Examinations, both of Lincolnshire people and of Rogues and Vagabonds from many parts of Great Britain, and some born overseas.

If a person entered a parish in which he or she did not have legal settlement, and seemed likely to become chargeable to the new parish, then an examination would be made by the justices. From this examination on oath, the justices would determine if that person had the means to sustain himself and, if not, which was that person's parish of settlement. The results of the examination were documented in a Settlement Examination. As a result of the examination the intruder would then either be allowed to stay, or would be removed by means of what was known as a Removal Order.

Examinations also appear to have been taken in batches, as a matter of course, to ascertain the settlement of people likely to become chargeable to the parish in the future.

As an Examination was designed to discover where a person’s settlement was, only brief details of how the settlement was gained may be given. Many examinations, however, give the age of the examinant with his place of birth, followed by other information not necessary to determine his examination, for instance the maiden name of his wife, where he married and how many children he had with their ages. Many examinations give a potted life history, including details of apprenticeship, enlistment in the army or navy, land and property rented. Married men, who had been “confined” labourers, i.e. who had been contracted to work for one employer for a year, gave details of their “perks” including housing and the keeping of pigs and cows. Someone who had never gained a settlement of his own might give details of his father’s, or even his grandfather’s settlement, and illegitimate examinants may mention where and when they were born and who their mother was. Some might even give their father’s name.

After the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, Overseers of parishes continued to organise the taking of Settlement Examinations and the issuing of Removal Orders by the Magistrates. The resulting documents gradually changed, and by the 1840s you may find many paged documents including Notices of Removal and Certificates of Chargeability issued by the Guardians of the Union, together with a Removal Order that contains the Grounds for the removal (the reasons why the pauper belongs to the parish to which he is being removed) and also a Settlement Examination or Examinations as sometimes other people were examined about one person’s settlement. These documents continue to 1865.