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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.

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.

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