Findmypast.co.uk have made available the Great Western Railway Shareholder Index, originally compiled by the Society of Genealogists. According to Findmypast the index doesn’t include every shareholder of the GWR, but amongst the 570,464 records it does include details of around "440,000 shareholders and related parties, such as executors and spouses."
The index was originally created by the Society of Genealogists and has now been linked to "full colour scanned images" of the original ledgers. The ledgers record the transfer of shares by means other than by simple sale.
Many of the records relate to a transfer of shares brought about by the death of a shareholder, so if you are lucky you might find details of the death and probate of the individual, along with the number of shares held and the new owner.
Perhaps not surprisingly it doesn’t look like any of my ancestors were shareholders of the GWR. A quick search of the collection’s index failed to find anyone who was even remotely connected to me, still it was worth checking.
Those of you outside of the UK may not have noticed, but if you live in the UK you cannot have failed to notice the fact that election fever has gripped the media (maybe not the entire country yet, just the media) who won’t let us forget that there is a General Election on the 6th May.
As well as borrowing the idea of a leadership debate from the USA, we also seem to have acquired an interest in the ancestry of the three main candidates. I remember seeing many mentions of the ancestry of Barack Obama during his campaign and election. His family even has it’s own page on Wikipedia.
Attention has now turned to the ancestors of Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. I mentioned yesterday that there was an article about the ancestors of the three candidates in the first edition of the new Your Family History magazine.
The May 2010 edition of Family History Monthly has an article on the ancestry of David Cameron, and I am sure I have seen a similar treatment of Gordon Brown’s ancestors in another magazine, but don’t remember seeing Nick Clegg receiving the same treatment, after all no-one had heard of him until last week!
Findmypast.co.uk have researched the ancestors of the three leaders (illustrated with some census images), highlighting some of the similarities and pointing out some of the interesting characters in their family trees.
One of these characters was Baroness Moura Budberg (Nick Clegg’s 2x great aunt) who also gets a mention on the Time Archive Blog today, with a wonderful quote from her obituary, "she could drink any sailor under the table without batting an eyelid."
The first chunk of Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760 to 1913 have been released on Findmypast.co.uk today. The records released today are a small part of the whole collection, covering men discharged in the period between 1883 and 1900.
Findmypast.co.uk have provided some useful resources for understanding these records, which is just as well. Even the words "Chelsea Pensioners" are a bit misleading, they were not necessarily residents of The Royal Hospital at Chelsea, but received a pension that was administered by the hospital.
Like any database it is important to know what is and isn’t included, why would a soldier be in this collection? For example, according to the website it "doesn’t contain the records of soldiers who died in service or who took an early discharge because they didn’t receive a pension."
Having used these records in their paper form I can safely say that they are real goldmines of information, of course the contents do vary from soldier to soldier, but they contain detailed descriptions of soldiers along with relationship information (next of kin), not just details of their army service.
The records are not that different from the WW1 Service Records (1914-1920) previously released on Ancestry.co.uk, expect of course the condition and the fact that the vast majority have survived.
For my own research I know there will be several relations contained within this release, although I am in no rush to get their details yet. It is another database that I will need to check regularly as I go through my family history, like I already do with the WW1 Service Records. I am sure lots of previously unknown soldiers will turn up, filling in some gaps in my database.
In this series of posts I hope to provide you with some of the highlights from Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010.
The other big UK genealogy site, Findmypast.co.uk had a prominent stand at the show. It was divided into two, one side being a mock-up of a tram (serving as a mini-theatre) and the other side had computer terminals where you could access the website for free.
You can find a report of their activities at the show over on their website and also on their blog. It doesn’t look like any of the presentations have been put up, although they do have a useful set of video tutorials on their site. The video entitled Digitising the records, is especially interesting as it shows the preparation work involved in getting the 1911 census online.
It is not often that I find something in my research that makes me laugh out loud. Sure I find things that make me smile all the time, and occasionally something that makes me chuckle, but very rarely will I actually laugh out loud.
I don’t know quite why I found it so funny. I was searching in the 1911 census on Findmypast.co.uk, whilst investigating my 3x great-uncle Abraham Graham KINGHORN and what happened to his wife and children after his early death in 1886.
I had found his widow Sarah and two children living at 60 Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton, Sussex in 1911. They shared their house with two boarders, and it was the first of these that made me laugh.
His name was Frederick VOYCE and according to the transcription his occupation was apprentice clown. Like I said, I don’t know why that seemed so ridiculous to me. When I thought about it, I assumed that there had to be some clowns and circus entertainers listed in the census, and clowns had to learn their skills like anybody else, so why shouldn’t there be an apprentice clown.
Of course when I looked at the actual image, he wasn’t a clown, I am not sure what he was an apprentice of, the word is hard to make out, but he was working for a railway company, so I think it is safe to say they weren’t training many clowns at the time.
Looking at the occupation code (the three digit number) the enumerator has written on the schedule (512) it appears he was training to work on railway engines either as a driver, stoker or cleaner.
Have you found anything in the census that has made you laugh out loud during your research? Have you come across any clowns in the census?
The two major players in UK online resources have given us a few teasers about what we can expect to see on their sites in the coming year.
The offerings from Ancestry.co.uk
- We are pleased to announce that we will be bringing you the 1911 England and Wales Census Summary Books. This content will be available to customers on all of our membership packages for no additional cost.
- We’re continuing to add significantly more original Parish registers, to help you go even further back into history.
- We’ll continue to put more fascinating records online from our exclusive London Metropolitan Archives partnership, including Bishop’s Transcripts, School Admissions, Probate and more.
- We’ll be growing our extensive military collection, adding more Immigration and Occupational records and further developing our international record collections for Worldwide members.
and from findmypast.co.uk
- We will be significantly expanding our military records, including launching online for the first time anywhere Chelsea Pensioner service records and militia attestation papers (detailed military registration service records, containing personal details and physical descriptions). These are being provided in association with The National Archives.
- Our BMDs section will be overhauled and improved, including the addition of greatly enhanced maritime records.
- Irish and Scottish records will be arriving soon, establishing findmypast.co.uk as the primary family history site for the entire UK. And we’re continuing to add even more specialist records to enable you to approach your research from all angles, including more parish records, our forthcoming London probate indexes and our new Merchant Seamen registers.
- We will be adding more navigation and useability improvements to the site, including improved search screens and results pages, cross census search and saved records.
- We have new video tutorials on the way, showcasing our site redesign and helping you to get the most from your research.
Probably the highlight this year will be the release of the Chelsea Pensioner service records from findmypast. These have been in the pipeline for several years and will make available online the records for pre-WW1 soldiers similar to those that were released by Ancestry for WW1 soldiers.
Much of this new material is coming out of The National Archives, but don’t forget the volunteers of Ancestry World Archives Project working away on the British Postal Service Appointment Books from the Royal Mail (24% complete as I write this).
No doubt there will be other releases from other sources, although I don’t expect to see any result from the digitisation of the GRO BMD indexes, but we might get some more news from the British Library on the digitisation of their newspaper collection.
I am sure there will be other releases to look forward to during 2010. Do you know of any that I have missed? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?