An additional reminder that sometimes just "Googling" to find information on a topic may not be sufficient. My own Google searches for this topic located several online references that provided a very superficial treatment of these records. Understanding the purpose and background of any record is crucial to the interpretation of it. Readers with an interest in the topic may wish to refer to Josiah Henry Benton's Warning Out in New England (Boston, 1911, W. B. Clarke Company).
We're working on a longer post with some references and additional readings on these records. Stay tuned.