Tag Archives: database

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.

London Lives 1690 to 1800 – a great new resource

28 Jun

London Lives 1690 to 1800 – Crime, Poverty and Social Policy in the Metropolis is a great new online database which according to the website "includes over 240,000 manuscript and printed pages from eight London archives and is supplemented by fifteen datasets created by other projects. It provides access to historical records containing over 3.35 million name instances".

I heard about this new database on the Today programme this morning, although it took me a while to actually find the website earlier today that I was wondering if I had dreamed it. It was well worth seeking out the website, I have only scratched the surface of the website but it provides a great example of a digitisation project and how to bring together many resources focusing on the same subject.

London Lives brings together "a wide range of primary sources about eighteenth-century London, with a particular focus on plebeian Londoners." It provides registered users with the facilities to "link together records relating to the same individual, and to compile biographies of the best documented individuals."

Sadly I haven’t traced any of my ancestors back to eighteenth century London yet, but it was fascinating to have a look around the website and browse the records. The website helpfully provides a  Copyright and Citation Guide, which should be useful for family historians, and an in-depth section of Historical Background which itself includes a section of Research Guides.

Even if you don’t find ancestors amongst the documents, there is plenty of other material to keep you occupied for hours. If you do find you ancestors amongst the documents the historical background and research guides will help you interpret what you have found.

London Lives was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and implemented by the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield and the Higher Education Digitisation Service at the University of Hertfordshire.

Are the Brookwood Cemetery records going online?

23 Feb

An email from Deceased Online announcing the release of approximately 32,000 burial records and 143,000 cremation records from Cambridge City Cemetery also hints at a forthcoming record release.

According to the email “…. the UK’s biggest cemetery (by burials) is coming to http://www.deceasedonline.com very soon.”

My immediate thought was Brookwood Cemetery, I checked the Brookwood website and they claim it is “the largest cemetery in Britain and is probably the largest in Western Europe.”

I could be jumping to conclusions here, but it sounds to me as if the Brookwood Cemetery Records are going to be available online later this year. The significance is that Brookwood was the main burial place for Londoners after 1854.

Brookwood Cemetery near Woking, Surrey was opened in 1854, and once boasted two railway stations receiving trains from it’s own railway terminus in London. According to their website there have been over 235,000 burials since 1854.

If my guess is correct the release of this database should elevate Deceased Online to the ‘A’ list British genealogy websites. Watch this space!

UPDATED 26/02/2010:  I spoke to a respresentative from Deceased Online today, and sadly it is not Brookwood they are talking about, not yet anyway.

Why I won’t be wasting my money on the 1939 Register Service

17 Feb

Dick Eastman has pointed out that the National Health Service Information Centre have issued guidelines for accessing the information gathered as a result of The National Registration Act 1939.

I don’t think that it will be worth me accessing any of the data, certainly not worth £42 of my money (that’s equivalent to six GRO certificates). I have been mentally going through my research, wondering if anything that would be revealed by an information request that would actually benefit my research, but I can’t think of one case where it would.

I think it all boils down to how I value the information in my family history research and how it would benefit my research. It would be lovely to have the time and money to find out everything about all my relations, but I have to prioritize where my resources are directed.

So before forking out money for a record or spending time searching I perform a simple cost-benefit analysis. Will it actually solve a problem or progress my research? or would the money/time be better spent elsewhere?

I am sure I could pursue all sorts of additional information about my ancestors, from all sorts of sources, and in some cases I do if I am trying to create a biography of an individual, but there needs to be a limit.

It is not just about money, but also time. I know that if I was to take the time to search through decades of local newspapers I could find some really interesting information, as well as lots of background material. That would take hours of my time and unless there is some specific goal to be achieved, it is just not worth it.

I am sure the information will become more readily (and cheaply) available in due course, as more and more organisations realise the value of their data and the likes of Ancestry and Findmypast become ever more eager to digitize it.

So, I for one won’t be wasting my money on this information, but I am sure that there will be some people who may find answers to some of their brick walls within the data, so good luck to them.

"What on earth do you want that for?"

13 Feb

I regularly visit charity shops, usually in search of books (as a substitute for all the second-hand bookshops that have closed), but also for DVDs and computer software.

I found a real bargain today, a battered box entitled Family Tree Genealogy Suite (Version 4) produced by GSP Ltd, now part of the Avanquest Software Group.

Family Tree Genealogy Suite

Now I know what you are thinking, probably the same as my wife would "what on earth do you want that for?", after all it was published in 2003, and I already have a decent piece of genealogy software and if I didn’t there are several free options for genealogy software.

Aside from the fact it was only £3 and that was going to charity, the real reason for buying it were two CDs included in the "suite". The two CDs are the installation and data disk for UK-Info 2003 Lite.

The reason this program is so good is that it contains the names and addresses of 44 million registered electors from the UK. According to the CD it contains "data drawn from the Electoral Roll collected by Local Authorities prior to November 2001".

The key thing here is that this data is from before the changes in legislation which enabled people to have their details removed from the public version of the register. The data is available online from sites like 192.com, but for a price.

Interestingly the latest version UK-Info Pro V15 now only contains 25 million names and addresses (plus 14 million Directory Enquiry listings and 3.4 million company records). The price tag of £150 puts it well out of my reach and I would imagine most genealogists.

I’ve installed the program and tested it, everything seems to work fine. I’ve done some searching, so now all I need to do is create a source record in Family Historian and start adding some address details to my relations.

The lesson from this is to always keep an eye open for family history software, not for the software itself, but for the freebies that are included with it.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 5)

31 Jan

Last week was again spent sorting through more digital files, it seems to be taking a lot longer than I had originally anticipated.

All the information from my last visit to the West Sussex Record Office is now on spreadsheets, and most of it is entered onto my database, I just have the Framfield burials to enter into Family Historian, but that is going to be a major job so I haven’t started on that.

Working through my hard drive is taking a long time, mainly because I keep getting side-tracked into other areas I wasn’t planning to. I have been working on this for several weeks know and am still only on the As and Bs in my surname list.

I have started digging a bit deeper on the BATEMAN surname, hopefully in preparation for a visit to Gloucestershire Record Office to fill in some gaps, I will probably spend some more time on the BATEMANs this week

So this week will be much the same as last week, no substantial new research, just working with what I already have.

  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • Create a research plan for Mercy TROWER. Consisting of a summary of what I already know, decide what I want to find out and what steps I need to take to achieve it.
  • As it is a new month tomorrow I shall probably order another set of birth, marriage and death certificates, so I need to decide which individuals I want to find out more about.
  • Continue work on the BATEMAN family, trying to identify what happened to the siblings of Henry BATEMAN my 2x great-grandfather, from Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 4)

24 Jan

Last week was spent engaged in sorting and organising digital files, and I must admit it has been quite rewarding. I did say I wasn’t going to do any new research, but of course that was impossible for me to achieve.

I have found the process of going through my files very helpful, I have so much information that I haven’t added to my database, some recent (like the 1911 census) and some which had been languishing on my hard drive for months.

As I entered the data it was hard not to try and fill in more details, so some more online searching was done (more 1911 census and recent GRO BMD indexes). Anything that couldn’t be answered quickly was put in a text file, which is quickly growing into a basic to-do list.

This week will probably be much the same as last week, no substantial new research, just working with what I already have.

  • Add all the information that I acquired at the West Sussex Record Office on Saturday to my spreadsheet and database.
  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • Create a research plan for Mercy TROWER. Consisting of a summary of what I already know, decide what I want to find out and what steps I need to take to achieve it.
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