Tag Archives: ancestry.co.uk

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.

A string of HEMSLEY probate entries

6 Sep

On the whole my ancestors weren’t very helpful when it came to leaving wills, perhaps it was the case that by the end of their lives they didn’t have anything left to leave, either way I don’t have many wills for my ancestors. There is however one exception, the HEMSLEY family.

Whilst searching the National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk I have discovered a string of four entries in the calendar for my direct HEMSLEY ancestors, from the Framfield area of Sussex. The first is for my great-grandfather Henry Herbert HEMSLEY, because he died suddenly and prematurely (aged only 38 years old), there was not a will so this refers to letters of administration.

HEMSLEY Henry Herbert of Stone House Cottage High Hurstwood Buxted Sussex died 1 July 1921 Administration Lewes 15 August to Minnie Hemsley widow. Effects £82 7s. 7d.

Next up is Henry Herbert’s father Henry Charles HEMSLEY (my 2x great-grandfather), who died almost ten years after his son.

HEMSLEY Henry Charles of 50 Alexandra-road Uckfield Sussex died 24 June 1931 Probate Lewes 10 August to Charles William Hemsley bricklayer and George Ralph smallholder. Effects £825 19s. 5d.

Then we come to Henry HEMSLEY, the father of Henry Charles and my 3x great-grandfather. I have already ordered a copy of his will in my search to find out more about Henry and his beerhouse the Gun Inn.

HEMSLEY Henry of the Gun Inn Blackboys Sussex died 10 January 1914 Probate Lewes 6 February to Joseph Hemsley farmer and George Hemsley gardener. Effects £106 12s. 4d.

Finally we come to Samuel HEMSLEY, Henry’s father and my 4x great-grandfather. I know very little about Samuel because my research has more or less stopped at his son and the Gun Inn, but no doubt I will go back further eventually.

HEMSLEY Samuel. 21 December. The Will of Samuel Hemsley late of Framfield in the County of Sussex Labourer deceased who died 9 March 1867 at Framfield aforesaid was proved at Lewes by the oath of Henry Hemsley of Framfield aforesaid Sawyer the Son the sole Executor. Effects under £20.

As usual there are some useful little snippets of information amongst these basic entries, especially the more recent ones which give addresses. I will need to go to East Sussex Record Office to see if I can follow the chain back any further.

At least I know I have some more wills that I can order after the current batch have arrived, and it will also be interesting to see how many of the siblings of my ancestors also left wills. As you can see most of them didn’t have much to leave, so I wonder why they felt the need to write wills?

Satisfying my curiosity – ordering the wills of my ancestors

27 Aug

The recently released National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk has tempted me into ordering copies of four wills, three of which I wouldn’t have even thought about ordering for a long time, the other one I probably would have ordered in the near future.

I don’t think any of these four wills are actually going to solve any particular research problems, but they should hopefully satisfy my curiosity.

  • John FAIRS (my 3x great-grandfather) of Henfield, Sussex who died in November 1915. John FAIRS was an agricultural labourer and if the cross on his daughter’s wedding certificate is anything to go by he was not well educated. So why was his estate valued at over £982? Where had this wealth come from?
  • William TROWER (my 4x great-grandfather) of Henfield, Sussex who died in January 1875. William TROWER was a farmer, almost the last of several generations to farm and live at Harwoods Farm in Henfield. I will be interested to see if the TROWER family were still owners of the farm.
  • Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great-grandfather) of Blackboys, Sussex who died in January 1914. Henry HEMSLEY was the licensee and owner of the Gun Inn, and the attached farm. This is the will I would probably have ordered quite soon, in the process of trying to find out everything I can about the inn.
  • Henry WRIGHT (my 3x great-grandfather) of Alton, Hampshire who died in August 1895. Henry WRIGHT was originally known as Henry SHORNDEN and he moved from Kent to Hampshire for some reason, I don’t really expect find answers as to why he changed his named and moved to Kent, but I would like to find out as much as I can about his life.
    If nothing else these wills are going to give me plenty of work to do as I process this lot, but it is also going to force me to get my act together when it comes to recording all the details in my database, in fact it might be worth starting now and deciding how all the information should be recorded.

Whilst I am waiting for them to arrive I should probably also write a post on how to order copies of wills, and how easy it is if you live in the UK and have a cheque book, otherwise things start getting a little more difficult.

National Probate Calendar 1861-1941 on Ancestry.co.uk

11 Aug

Ancestry.co.uk have released another exciting record collection on their UK site. The National Probate Calendar serves as an index to wills proved and administrations granted after 1858 and although the database is not complete yet it is still going to be a major boost for UK researchers.

Even though the calendar is only an index it does provide a great deal of information on the deceased. They may not look much, but those few brief lines can tell you a lot about the deceased, take for example the entry for my 3x great-grandfather John FAIRS:

FAIRS John of 6 Park-road Henfield Sussex agricultural labourer died 27 November 1915 Probate Chichester 11 December to George Shepherd private 4th Royal Sussex regiment. Effects £982 19s. 2d.

There is so much information there. Name, address, occupation, date of death, where and when probate was granted and to whom (his son-in-law) and their occupation. Also how much the estate was worth, hopefully dispelling the myth that a humble agricultural labourer would have nothing of value to leave in a will.

Details will vary, but these index entries will often help fill in details or clarify research. In the example above, I had no idea that George SHEPHERD was serving in the 4th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, that fact should help me identify him amongst dozens of George SHEPHERDs who also served during WW1.

These records have been available previously in selected locations (I have previously accessed them on microfiche at the West Sussex Record Office), but genealogist have been waiting a long time for them to be available online. I only hope the Probate Registry can cope with the increased demand for copies of wills this release is almost certainly going to create.

Ancestry.co.uk expand their military collection

24 Jun

Ancestry.co.uk have been busy expanding their collection of military databases. We all know Ancestry is the place to go for First World War service records, but they have also added records from a couple of possibly overlooked conflicts.

UK, Waterloo Medal Roll, 1815 – contains details of approximately 39,000 men who fought at the Battle of Waterloo, and a couple of earlier actions. The details for each man are pretty basic, but they may point the way to other avenues of research. These records were original published by The Naval & Military Press, but originate from The National Archives (MINT 16/112).

UK, Casualties of the Boer War, 1899-1902 – contains details of 55,000 British and colonial soldiers
who were killed (including one by crocodile), wounded, captured, or who died of disease during the Second Boer War. This includes more than 20,000 men who died, and 23,000 who were injured. Like the Waterloo Medal Roll the details for each man is pretty basic, it is just an index after all. Again this collection comes from The Naval & Military Press.

As I understand it, you will not find service records for the 20,000 men who died in the Chelsea Pensioners British Army service records over at findmypast.co.uk (because they didn’t survive to receive a pension), so this collection is a useful alternative.

Back on more familiar ground, they have also added another database to those already available for the First World War.

Gateshead, Durham, England, Roll of Honour, 1914-1920 – whereas the two previous collections are indexes, this collection contains many photos. This Roll of Honour is a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings from the Gateshead area, featuring more than 4,000 men. If you have Gateshead ancestors you might be lucky to find them mentioned, and not just because they had been killed or wounded. This collection was indexed by the Ancestry World Archives Project, and the original scrapbook comes from the Gateshead Libraries and Arts Department.

Ancestry.co.uk extend their London Parish Records Collection to include Non-Conformist Records

26 May

Ancestry.co.uk have today extended their London Parish Records Collection with the addition of approximately 224,000 names of non-conformists worshippers from the collections of the London Metropolitan Archives.

The London Non-Conformist Registers collection includes baptism, marriage and burial registers from a large number of churches of various denominations, and dating from 1694 to 1921. Obviously not every church will have records covering the entire date range, so always check that the period you are interested in is covered.

So if your ancestors were Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and Unitarians and they lived in the capital, then there is a good chance you will find their records here. In some cases this might be the only record, or in some cases you might be able to avoid the cost of a marriage certificate by finding the marriage entry in the register.

Personally although I have a few non-conformists in my tree, it doesn’t look like any of them made their way to London and it doesn’t look like any of my London ancestors were non-conformists either. Never mind, you can’t win them all. I hope you have better luck than me.

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