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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.

Should I be updating my IGI source citations?

12 Jan

I currently have 62 events in my database which cite the International Genealogical Index as a source. I use the extracted records from the IGI as an alternative source until I can view the actual entry (digital image, microfilm/fiche or original register) and confirm the details for myself.

It occurred to me a couple of days ago that some time in the future the IGI will disappear in its current form (or at least not be so easily accessible) and all the source citations I have for it will cease to be of use to anyone trying to follow-up my research.

Now the extracted records are included on the new FamilySearch.org website and in the future I will be citing the England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 and the England Marriages, 1538–1973 from the Historical Records as the source of the information I would previously have found in the IGI, but what should I do with the existing citations?

Technically the IGI is still the source of the information, whether it exists or not, but when it ceases to exist it is not going to be particularly helpful to those coming after me. Now that the information is available from a new source (which will presumably be around for many years to come) it would be much more helpful to update those sources to the new format, but of course that means I will be wasting valuable research time on updating source citations that I don’t really need to.

So what do you think? Have you got source citations for the IGI? Are you going to be updating your sources?

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.

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.

Whereabouts Wednesday: The new One Place Studies website

1 Dec

Family history is predominantly about people, but to look at those people without taking into account the place where they lived would lead to a very narrow view. So much more can be understood about our ancestors by studying the place they lived, the people they lived with, how they worked and how they played.

The one place study is a hybrid of family history and local history, rather than considering just one family line, the whole community is studied. Like family history the emphasis is on people, but in a one place study the common link between them is place rather than just family ties.

November saw the launch of the new One Place Studies website, which is administered by Alex Coles (who must have a time machine to find the time for many projects she is involved in).

The website appears to have two distinct functions, to provide information on which one place studies are being undertaken (in the form of an index) and resources for those undertaking a one place study (in the form of articles and a discussion forum).

The index provides a list of all the studies and is dominated by England (not that I’m complaining). Selecting a county will take you to a map showing all the one place studies in that county, plus neighbouring counties.

One place studiers (is that the right name?) seem to be a little shy about using the discussion forum or perhaps they are just too busy. The resources are an interesting selection of articles on the ins and outs of one place studies. Well worth a read even if you are not engaged in a one place study or considering one. I look forward to reading more in the future.

The website is well designed and has some great content, which has brought me another stage closer to launching my own one place study.

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