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News: Canterbury Cathedral records to go online at findmypast.co.uk

29 Jan

The most exciting news for me this week was the announcement from findmypast.co.uk that they are going to be digitizing parish records from the Archdeaconry of Canterbury.

Starting “in the coming weeks” the website will be adding the Canterbury Collection to its existing collection of parish register records. This has been timed to coincide with the temporary closure of their current home, Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Initially the collection will consist of just browsable images, but the records will ultimately be transcribed and an index provided “later this year”.

I have written several times about my difficulties in researching in Kent, so this marks a great step forward for me. The county of Kent has been under-represented online until now and although most of my interests are further west nearer the Sussex border (the Archdeaconry of Canterbury covers eastern Kent) I am sure this is going to prove a valuable asset in my research.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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1911 census images on Ancestry.co.uk

24 May

When it comes to the Ancestry.co.uk website you never know quite what you are going to wake up to. This morning I took a look at the website and discovered that they have uploaded images from the 1911 census for England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The images are not indexed yet, or at least the index is not online yet. I am sure we will hear more about this when the news is officially released by Ancestry but for now you will need to have an idea where you should be looking, possibly using their previously released Census Summary Books.

According to their source information page: “They can be browsed by county, civil parish, sub-registration district, and enumeration district.”

I am certain a lot of people have been eagerly awaiting this release and even if you haven’t it will be good to have another alternative index available when it does go live. Unfortunately we still have to wait until next year to view the contents of the infirmity column.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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NEWS: Over 1.4 million new Hampshire parish records published on findmypast.co.uk

30 Mar

Findmypast.co.uk have been steadily adding parish register transcriptions to their website, but until now there hasn’t really been much to get me excited. That was until last night when I read the news that they had added over 1.4 million Hampshire parish records.

This is great news for my research, having online access to these records is going to be a great boost to my research and especially for tracing my MITCHELL ancestors. Of course these are only transcriptions and would need checking against the original parish register entries, but they represent a great finding aid and starting point.

These records are the work of the Hampshire Genealogical Society and I suspect they are the same records that they publish on CD, which I have previously used at the Hampshire Record Office. Ironically I was very close to buying a couple of the CDs at Who Do You Think You Are? Live last month, but decided I couldn’t justify the cost.

According to the website the collection features:

  • 574,192 baptisms (covering the period 1752 to 1851)
  • 153,011 marriages (covering the period 1754 to 1837)
  • 720,468 burials (covering the period 1400 to 1841)

Links to lists of the actual parishes included can also be found on the announcement page on the website. The cost to view the full entry appears to be 5 credits each or free for those with a subscription.

Electoral registers making the news

10 Mar

Electoral registers have featured in recent announcements from the UK’s two main genealogy websites. Findmypast.co.uk are working with the British Library to digitize historical registers whilst Ancestry.co.uk have teamed up with Peopletracer to provide a Living Relative search.

I haven’t been able to find a decent description of UK electoral registers online (if you know of one let me know), but they were established after the Reform Act of 1832 and listed those entitled to vote, initially very few people were listed but numbers grew after subsequent Acts of Parliament until they essentially became a list of almost every household in the UK.

After 2002 voters were able to opt-out of having their names in the edited version of the register (which is available to everyone) although they still remained in the full version (which is available to certain agencies). This means that after 2002 there are fewer people on the edited (public) register but it can still be a useful tool but it can still be a useful tool when it comes to tracing living relatives.

The announcement from Findmypast means that historical registers will become a lot more accessible, and I mean a lot more accessible. You really have to have a pretty good idea of where someone was living before you can find them, otherwise you have a mammoth task ahead of you. digitization and indexing will make these records a lot more accessible and useful.

The new Living Relative Search on Ancestry.co.uk enables members ten searches per day with a free preview of the basic results. Credits can be purchased to get access to more detailed results although from what I have seen the basic results are pretty detailed already. Information is drawn from edited electoral registers from 2003 to 2011, telephone directory records and land registry records. It should be added that this service is not unique, there are several other organisations offering similar services (including one available through Findmypast).

NEWS: The world’s first genealogy stamps

21 Feb

It seems incredible that until now there hasn’t been a set of stamps dedicated to genealogy, but Isle of Man Stamps & Coins have put that right with the issue of a set of eight genealogy themed stamps on the 18th February 2011.

The eight stamps are a colourful set of stamps featuring a mixture of historic and modern images based on key aspects of genealogy featuring example from the Isle of Man, the border of the stamps bear the most common surnames occurring in the Isle of Man 1891 census.

The eight themes on the stamps are:

  • Baptisms
  • School Days
  • Working Life
  • Weddings
  • Family Album
  • Emigration
  • Memorials
  • Family Tree

The stamps were created in association with the Isle of Man Family History Society and Manx National Heritage and also celebrate the centenary of the Society of Genealogists.

The good news for UK genealogists (or those visiting) is that IOM Stamps & Coins will be at the Manx National Heritage stand at Who Do You Think You Are? Live next weekend (stand 903). They should have sets of the stamps for sale at the stand and although I am not really a stamp collector I think I might make an exception for these and pick up set.

As well as learning about Isle of Man research you can also enter a free draw at the stand to win a VIP research trip to the Isle of Man (it is a shame I don’t have any relatives on the Isle of Man to research).

If you can’t make it to Who Do You Think You Are? Live you can also order the stamps online through the Isle of Man Post Office Website.

NEWS: Records for UK’s largest cemetery now on Deceased Online

16 Feb

Deceased Online have completed (almost) the release of 800,000 records from the UK largest cemetery (in terms of the number of burials).

With the exception of approximately 20,000 remaining entries (which are still being added) the records for St Pancras and Islington Cemetery in north London have been made available on the website. Searching the website is free and the amount you pay to view the results depends on just what is found. This should include a scan of the burial register, but might also include photographs of the headstone and/or a map of the exact location of the grave.

St Pancras and Islington Cemetery was the first publicly owned cemetery to be opened in London and was officially opened in July 1854. It seems to have developed in a very piecemeal fashion, involving various parishes and boroughs over the decades, all helping to create a very interesting but complicated history.

The cemetery is now jointly run by the London Boroughs of Camden and Islington, and more details can be found on their websites, including details of the bus service that operates across the 190 acre site. I must put it on my list of places to explores because it sounds like there are some wonderful memorials there.

This addition to Deceased Online, strengthens the position of the site as the place to go online to find UK burial and cremation records, by my calculations this takes the total records on the website to over 1.75 million names from across the UK, but it doesn’t stop there.

According to the website they “are currently digitising 1.6 million burial and cremation records to add to our database, from 14 burial and cremation authorities around the UK. Nearly 2 million further records are due to be added from another 13 authorities. And we are in serious talks with a further 31 authorities about bringing nearly 5.3 million more records to the website.”

NEWS: New Zealand records on Ancestry.co.uk

9 Feb

Ancestry.co.uk have just released 20 million records from New Zealand. The collection is known as the Anne Bromell Collection (after the woman who collated them) and covers a cross-section of records from 1842 to 1981.

I don’t know much about New Zealand family history research, but I do know that I am going to be doing some exploring of these records, especially he electoral rolls. Very few of my relations ever left England, but there is one relative in my family tree (a first cousin twice removed) by the name of James William GASSON who emigrated to Australia in 1928, but ultimately ended up in New Zealand.

The electoral rolls will be a great asset in trying to fill in some of the basic details of his life in New Zealand, as there seem precious few other records online.

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