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NEWS: Society of Genealogists’ collection now online at findmypast.co.uk

5 Jan

What better way to mark the start of the Society of Genealogists‘ centenary year than with the release of 9 million records from their collection on findmypast.co.uk? If that wasn’t enough, the SoG are now providing free access to findmypast.co.uk (including the 1911 census) for users of their library.

The first batch of records features the following collections:

  • Boyd’s Marriage Index containing over 7 million names from 1538 to 1840
  • Boyd’s London Burials 1538-1872 containing 240,000 names
  • Faculty Office Marriage Licence Allegations 1701-1850
  • St Andrew’s Holborn Marriage Index 1754-1812
  • Vicar-General Marriage Licences Allegations 1694-1850
  • St Leonard Shoreditch Burials 1805-1858 and Workhouse Deaths 1820-1828
  • Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Index 1750-1800

These records are only indexes or transcripts but in some cases it is possible to order copies of some of the originals from the SoG. Previous collaborations between the two organisations have resulted in the publication online of the Civil Service Evidence of Age and Great Western Railway Shareholder records and according to the press release from findmypast and the SoG there is still more to come:

In the coming weeks further records will be added to the website including Bank of England Wills Extracts containing 60,500 names, including images, and Apprentices of Great Britain containing 350,000 names.

It is great that these records are being released to a wider audience, these and the other collections and resources of the SoG really do deserve to be better known and utilised, personally as a member of the society I am guilty myself of not making the most of these resources.

Start Your Family Tree Week

23 Dec

Stuck for something to do between Christmas and New Year? Fed up with nothing but repeats to watch on TV? Bored with staring at leftover turkey? Why not start researching your family tree?

Boxing Day marks the beginning of Start Your Family Tree Week, the UK’s first family history awareness campaign. What better time to get started on your family history than the week between Christmas and the New Year, when many people will have time off from work and when families will probably be in contact more than any other time of the year.

The aim of Start Your Family Tree Week is to encourage more people to start researching their family tree by providing them advice and guidance on how to get started. The initiative is supported by several websites and organisations, at the forefront of whom is findmypast.co.uk.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager for findmypast.co.uk, said: “Start Your Family Tree Week will help people make the most of Christmas family gatherings to pass on their family memories across the generations, and to share in brand new discoveries by using online family history resources.
The internet has made it so much easier to trace your family tree and learn about your family’s own unique story, full of colourful, real-life characters from the past. Every family has its intrigues, well-kept secrets and heart-warming tales, and I believe we could soon see family history becoming the traditional Christmas pastime for all the family.”

Visit the special page on findmypast.co.uk to learn more and find links to other participating websites and organisations.

Even if you have already been researching your family history for years like me you should still visit the websites, as well as possibly learning something new, you might also be able to take part in some of the competitions or take advantage of the various special offers.

NEWS: 1911 Census summary books on Ancestry.co.uk

9 Dec

You never know what you are going to find when you go poking about the Ancestry.co.uk, especially their Genealogy Databases Posted or Updated Recently page. Last night at the top of the list were entries for the 1911 Census summary books (Channel Islands, Isle of Man, England and Wales). Hopefully this marks the beginning of the promised release of the 1911 census on Ancestry.co.uk and The Genealogist.

I expect we will hear more about them in the next few days when they are officially announced. From what I have seen though they are nice crisp colour images of the pages, looking very similar to the Findmypast ones.

You might wonder why this is such good news, after all Findmypast.co.uk have had the images (both the household schedules and summary books) available for some time. For starters you never can have enough different indexes, just in case one of them is wrong, but more importantly (to me anyway) Ancestry.co.uk have made the summary books searchable for the first time (I think?).

Being able to search the summary books for the head of household has helped locate one of my “missing” families. Within about 10 minutes I had been able to locate the ANSCOMBE family in Cuckfield, Sussex, something which I had failed to do on using Findmypast alone, despite many previous attempts.

It wasn’t a straight-forward process, on Ancestry I searched for the surname ANSCOMBE in Cuckfield and found several likely households. After getting the schedule number from the summary book image and finding their neighbours on Findmypast, I was able to work out what the census reference should be for their household.

Searching on Findmypast using the census reference brought up a transcription without my ANSCOMBEs anywhere to be seen. I viewed the image and it all became clear, the cause of my inability to find them revealed.

The household schedule began with three individuals (a tutor and presumably two pupils), all described as boarders. Beneath them was a gap of two lines and then the six members of the ANSCOMBE family I had been looking for. For some reason they had not been indexed, just those first three unrelated individuals, no wonder I couldn’t find them.

I now need to find out how to report them missing to Findmypast, but this just goes to show the value of looking in multiple indexes. I am sure that once the household schedules are available on Ancestry that there will be similar examples of missing individuals, it is inevitable with any index of this size that there will be errors.

Sometimes all that is need is a little bit of teamwork (thank you Ancestry and Findmypast) and some creative thinking to get around a problem.

NEWS: London’s largest cemetery now on Deceased Online

6 Dec

Deceased Online have added another 575,000 London burial and cremation records to their website, taking the total number of London records available on their site to over 1.1 million.

This latest batch of records date from 1854 and come from the St. Pancras and Islington Cemetery in north London. This cemetery covers the boroughs of Islington and Camden and according to the site is the largest single cemetery in London. The cemetery has its own entry on Wikipedia which provides a some basic details on the history of the cemetery and some of its famous residents.

According to the press release not all the records are on the site yet, “of the 800,000 burial records, approximately 70% of these are available immediately with the remainder to be uploaded within the next 3 to 4 months. The 575,000 records currently available comprise nearly 362,000 for the Islington section between 1854 and 1945 and the remaining 213,000 for the St Pancras section are for 1854 to 1898, and 1905 to 1911. Also available now are 46,500 records from Islington Crematorium which date back to 1937. The 8,500 most recent cremation records will be added in the next few months, together with the remaining cemetery records.

Not only will the remaining burial records be uploaded, but in the next few months “maps of areas in the cemetery indicating grave locations will be uploaded together with photographs of many notable memorials and headstones.”

Deceased Online is a perfect complement to the National Burial Index CD (from the Federation of Family History Services), together they provide a pair of essential resources for locating the burial place of UK individuals, especially as Deceased Online continues to expand covering more of the country. Sadly I don’t think I have any relations in this cemetery, but with such a large number of records you never know who you might find waiting to be discovered.

Weekly English Family History News Update: Friday 15th October 2010

15 Oct

This is an experimental weekly blog post, summarising some of the week’s news that might be of interest to family historians and genealogists with an interest in English research.

[Ancestry.co.uk] London Parish Registers now fully indexed

Ancestry.co.uk (in association with the London Metropolitan Archives) have completed the indexing of their London Parish Registers Collection. Previously only entries from 1813 (for baptisms and burials) and 1754 (for marriages) had been indexed, but now the index extends back to the earliest parish registers, which in theory started in 1538.

- Find out more on the Ancestry.co.uk website.

[Findmypast.co.uk] 7,000 extra Chelsea Pensioners records added

Findmypast.co.uk have further extended their collection of Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1913. This addition consist of 7,247 records (44,130 separate images) from the period 1801 to 1912, from the National Archives series WO97.

- Find out more on the Findmypast.com website.

[Online databases] Parish Register Transcription Society makes selected transcriptions available online

(With thanks to Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter for bringing this to my attention)

The Parish Register Transcription Society have made available selected transcriptions from their catalogue via the Frontis archive publishing system, using a system of pay per view credits. These transcriptions are also available on CD, but this new system will make it more cost effective if your ancestors didn’t stay in the same place for long.

- Find out more on the Parish Register Transcription Society Data Archive website

Share Your News

If you have any news, events or products that would be of interest to English family history researchers then please send an email with details to wanderinggenealogist@gmail.com.

Now look what you’ve done Ancestry!

11 Oct

Thanks to John D Reid of the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog for pointing out the following notice on the HM Courts Service website:

Due to a significant increase in the volume of search requests there is currently a delay in the processing of search applications at York Probate Sub Registry. We are taking steps to rectify this and apologise for any inconvenience this delay may cause. Information regarding the length of time we are currently taking to process applications is given on an automated message on the telephone number 01904 666778.

I tried calling the number yesterday and the message says they are currently processing applications from the 27th August, which is still a couple of weeks before my cheque was cashed. I have been patiently waiting for several weeks already, so I guess I have a few more weeks to wait.

Of course this is all down to the release of the National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk back in August this year. I commented at the time that “I only hope the Probate Registry can cope with the increased demand for copies of wills this release is almost certainly going to create.”

Well I guess they weren’t prepared for the increased demand, much like the GRO weren’t prepared when Who Do You Think You Are? was screened and family history took off in a big way. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long and the steps they are taking will soon get things back on track.

Deceased Online just keeps on growing

15 Jun

Deceased Online is steadily growing into one of the major online databases for UK researchers. They estimate that by the end of this year they will have a massive 4 million burial and cremation records on the site, and that will increase to 10 million by the end of 2011.

The total currently available is being boosted this month by the addition of approximately 250,000 new records from four areas. According their press release, the four new areas are:

  • City of Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Salcombe, Devon, England
  • Newark, Nottinghamshire, England
  • London Borough of Brent, England

Visit the website (www.deceasedonline.com) and check the exact details for coverage of cemeteries and crematoria in each area (links are at the bottom right-hand corner of their home page), as all these areas cover more than one cemetery or crematoria and the one you are after may not have been uploaded yet, so keep checking back.

The website works on a pay-per-view system, although searching is free (and a subscription package is apparently in the pipeline). The type of record found can vary from a scan of the burial register to transcription and you may even be able to get a plan of the burial location or an image of the memorial. The number of credits needed varies accordingly, full details are again on their website.

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