England and Wales Genealogy Records
Below is a list and description of the most recent genealogy records for England and Wales (see list of most recent records for other countries). Many of these records can be searched using our free Genealogy Search Engine.
Also, make sure you reference the article A Date Guide to English Genealogy. It is packed with useful information for anyone tracing their English ancestors.
National – FindMyPast has added over 240,000 records to their British Merchant Seamen collection. These records span the years from 1918 to 1941 (basically from the end of WWI to the middle of WWII). These records are essentially index cards that the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen used between the two wars to track merchant seamen who served on British merchant vessels.
The typical record lists the name, year of birth, place of birth and rank of the seaman. Sometimes additional information is given, such as a physical description and address of next of kin. Some even contain the signature of the seaman. The records can be searched by first name, last name, year of birth and birth country. Access is by subscription. [WWII British Merchant Seamen]
Norfolk – FindMyPast has added a variety of Norfolk County baptism, marriage and burial records. In total, there are 1.8 million new baptism records, some 950,000 new marriage records and 1.4 million new burial records. The records seem to go back as far as 400 years ago. Each record consists of a transcript plus an image of the original record. The records can be searched by first name, last name, date range and parish. Access is by subscription. [Norfolk Baptism Records]
National – Good news bad news. Good news - starting 16 February, the UK 1939 Register will be included within the 12-month subscription packages at FindMyPast. Bad news - FindMyPast is also increasing the price of new 12-month subscriptions soon (30th January). [FindMyPast]
Isle of Man – FindMyPast has made a substantial new addition to their collection of Isle of Man records. The latest update includes 422,000 new birth and baptism records (1600 to 2010), 167,000 new marriage records (1598 to 1979) and 249,000 new burial records (1598 to 2011). Access is by subscription. [Isle of Man Birth Records]
National – TheGenealogist has put online a complete collection of searchable parish tithe maps and schedules for both England and Wales. This will help you determine the correct parish for your ancestors. This is an important consideration when searching for historic parish records, especially since parish boundaries sometimes changed over time.
The schedules linked to the parish maps provide further detail of each parish, such as land use in the region. Some maps even reveal individual buildings, houses, fields, rivers, streams, woods, etc. This can be invaluable when you want to narrow down your research to the last mile. Access to TheGenealogist is by subscription. [English Parish Tithe Maps]
Norfolk – TheGenealogist has released over 3.6 million parish records from Norfolk County. These are baptisms, banns, marriages and burial records that cover many of the parishes in Norfolk. This is the first part of a two-part release of Norfolk parish records as part of TheGenealogist’s agreement with the Norfolk Record Office. The link provides access to the complete list of parishes and dates that are covered by this release. Access is by subscription. [Norfolk Parish Records]
Devon – FindMyPast has released a collection of Plymouth and West Devon electoral registers. These registers span the years from 1780 to 1983 and consist of parish and parliamentary electoral rolls, electoral registers and lists of county voters. These records have been digitized in partnership with the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office.
A typical record lists the name, year, electoral event and place of the election. Some records even record who your ancestor voted for. Please see our article Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors to get the most out of this collection. Access is by subscription. [Historic Plymouth and Devon Electoral Rolls]
National – The UK National Archives have come out with a very useful video on navigating the 1939 register, which we have talked about previously. It is worth watching. [1939 Register Instructional Video]
Lincolnshire – The website Deceased Online has added more cemetery records from Lincolnshire. The new additions come from Grimsby’s Scartho Road cemetery and crematorium and the Cleethorpes cemetery. In total, there are some 400,000 new records dating as far back as 1877. Burial registers from Grimsby tend to be very complete. They contain a considerable amount of information such as the exact location of the grave, date of death, date of burial, first and last name of the deceased, occupation, sex, home address, cause of death, name and address of the informant (often a relative) and the officiating minister.
As an added bonus, if the deceased person was a child or not working, under the occupation heading is listed the closest living relative.
With this latest addition, Deceased Online now has 11 cemeteries and two crematoria totalling nearly one million records from Lincolnshire County. The records can be search by first name, last name and year. Access is by subscription. [Grimsby Burial Records]
England and Wales – FindMyPast has put online nearly 10,000 volumes of English and Welsh electoral registers. These registers contain the names of eligible voters from various voting districts. A typical register will list the name of the voter and the reason why they were eligible to vote (typically because they were a land owner).
The registers span the years from 1832 to 1932. At the moment, the registers cannot be searched by name. Instead, it is possible to locate the register book by searching by year, constituency and county. In total, this collection contains some 5.4 million pages from register books that list approximately 220 million names.
We have talked extensively about UK electoral registers in our article Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors. We suggest you consult this article before diving into this new collection. Access to this collection is by subscription. [England Electoral Rolls]
England and Wales – We have some more information to share on the recent release of the 1939 National Identity Register by FindMyPast. Here are some important facts to know about this collection:
• The collection includes records on 41 million people. At launch, some 28 million records will be available online.
• There were 1.2 million pages that needed to be scanned, converted and tagged by hand to build this record set.
• At the time of the survey in England and Wales, the average age was 33 for men and 35 for women, with 53% of the population being female.
• The UK government had already begun evacuating London in September 1939. Women, children and the disabled were moved out of the city. At the time of the survey, only 2% of the population in London was aged 0 to ten. Therefore, if you are looking for a young ancestor from London at the beginning of the war in this collection, chances are they had already been moved out of the city.
Please note that this collection can be searched for free but access to the underlying record is by pay per view. This collection is not covered by a normal FindMyPast subscription. [1939 National Identity Register]
England – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 160,000 records or the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) records from 1917 to 1920. These are detailed service records on the some 7,000 women who joined WAAC. Each file contains name, date and place of birth, residence, marital status, number of children, occupation, age and date of enlistment. These records can be searched by first name and last name. Access is free. [WWI Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp Records]
National – FindMyPast is launching the UK 1939 National Identity Register on Monday 2 November. This is huge news for anyone with UK ancestors. The video below provides some background:
We first talked about this digitization project in March 2014. Here is what else you need to know:
• Basically, the 1939 National Identity Register, although not a census, did have some similar information to a census. It was taken on the night of Friday 29 September 1939 just after the start of World War II.
• For genealogists, this 1939 register will help bridge the time gap between the 1911 census (the last census currently online) and the year 1939. The UK 1921 census is not allowed to go online for another seven years (in January 2022). The 1931 census was destroyed by fire in World War II (at least the England part of the census - the Scottish part is still safe in Scotland) and the 1941 census was never taken because of the war. So, the 1939 National Identity Register is hugely important for anyone tracing UK ancestors because it is the only large national resource currently available for the 28 year time period between 1911 and 1939.
• The British Government conducted the survey because it wanted updated statistics on the population so that identity cards could be issued. It was also required in case a draft was needed, in case of mobilisation, in case of mass evacuation of the general population and in case rationing was required (which was introduced just a few months later in January 1940).
• The details recorded in the 1939 National Identity Register include name, address, sex, specific date of birth (not just their age), marital status, occupation and whether the person was a member of the armed forces or reserves.
• The process for the enumeration worked as follows. On the night of Friday 29 September 1939, some 65,000 enumerators delivered forms to each household. Each household was responsible for filling out their own form. Two days later on the Sunday and Monday, the enumerators returned to collect the forms. The enumerators checked the forms and (if there were no problems) issued a complete identity card on the spot to each member of the household.
• There was a strong incentive for everyone to register correctly. Other than societal pressure given that war had just broken out, it was widely broadcast that anyone who “neglected” to register would not be eligible in the future for ration books.
• One thing to note is that due to privacy issues, information listed on individuals still alive today will not be included in the database.
• Access to the 1939 National Identity Register is by pay per view. Note: this is in addition to a normal FindMyPast subscription. [1939 National Identity Register]
National – The website Forces War Records has reached a milestone of 500,000 World War I hospital records. These are military hospitals admission and discharge registers from the National Archive. A typical record lists the soldier’s name, rank, regiment/sub unit, age, completed years of service, date of admission, date of discharge, injury/illness and any additional medical notes.
This collection also contains many records of women who also served in the war effort. There is an estimated one million more records in this collection waiting to be transcribed. Forces War Records now has some 4.2 million UK military records in total dating from the Napoleonic War (1793 to 1815) to post World War II. Access is by subscription. [WWI Hospital Records]
National – The website TheGenealogist has put online some five million historic ship passenger records from Britain. These are historical records of passengers who departed by sea from Britain for the years between 1896 and 1909. These records will be of interest to anyone who had ancestors that emigrated from Britain during this time period, particularly to America, Canada, India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
These records will also be of interest to anyone with ancestors who transmigrated through England during the time period. In particular, people from Norway, Denmark and Sweden often had to travel first to England in order to board one of the larger transatlantic passenger ships to America.
A typical record in this collection lists the first name, last name, age, gender, marital status, nationality, port of departure, date of departure, voyage length, name of the vessel and the port of arrival. Of course, not all the passengers in this record collection were immigrants. Some were travelling for other reasons, as the image below shows the passenger record of one Winston Churchill travelling to South Africa.
These records can be searched by name, port of departure, port of arrival and nationality. TheGenealogist uses technology in their search that will help group family members together in the search results, which can be incredibly useful when looking through this collection. Access is by subscription. [Historic English Ship Passenger Records]
National – FindMyPast has put online electoral registers from England and Wales that span the years from 1832 to 1932. In total, this mammoth collection consists of some 5.4 million images containing 220 million names. These records can be searched by first name, last name, year, county, constituency and polling district. This is a wonderful new collection.
Most genealogists are not that familiar with electoral rolls as a source of ancestral information. Fortunately, we have an article specifically devoted to this subject: Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors. Access to this collection is by subscription. [England Electoral Registers]
National – FindMyPast has put online 112 directories and almanacs. These are street directories, city directories, trade directories, county guides and general almanacs. Street directories are an excellent resource for anyone wanting to trace their ancestors between censuses. A typical street directory lists the name of the head of the household, their home address and their occupation. Most of the directories span the years from 1870 to 1939 and come from traditional sellers of old street directories (Anguline Research Archives, Gould Genealogy, Eneclann and Yorkshire Ancestors). The largest concentration of directories in this collection is from Yorkshire. Access is by subscription. [England Street Directories]
National – The genealogy website Forces War Record has released a rather unique genealogy record set. To mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Forces War Record has translated and put online for the first time what is known as Hitler’s Black Book (officially called Sonderfahndungsliste Gross Britannien). It lists 2,820 English people that the Nazi regime viewed as enemies of the state. These were the people in the UK who were targeted for execution if Germany was successful in winning the Battle of Britain.
Not surprisingly, this hit list is full of people whom the Nazis knew spied on Germany, such as Conrad Fulke Thomond O’Brien-french, the real-life British Secret Intelligence officer who served as the role model for 007 James Bond. Also included are well-known politicians such as Winston Churchill.
What is surprising are some of the other names on the list, such as Lord Baden-Powell (the founder of scouts), the author HG Wells and the entertainer Noel Coward. They were all on the Nazi hit list.
Most of the people on the list were politicians, writers, prominent émigrés, known intelligence agents, scientists, entertainers and artists. Check to see if any of your ancestors were on the list. The list is alphabetical by last name. Access is free. [Nazi Black Book]
National – FindMyPast has put online one million prisoner of war records from World War II. These are predominantly records of Commonwealth and US prisoners held in German POW camps. The records cover the period from 1939 to 1945. A typical record lists the name, rank and nationality of the prisoner. Also included is the location of the POW camp along with the length of time spent in captivity. The collection also contains some 360,000 images comprised of photographs from the POW camps and pages from personal diaries of the prisoners.
This collection is being published in association with the UK National Archives to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Not surprisingly, British prisoners represent the largest number of records in the collection. There also appear to be a substantial number of records of Dutch, American and Australian POWs.
It is not clear if this collection consists of all or just a part of the WWII prisoner of war records held at the National Archives. Access to this collection is by subscription. [World War II Prisoner of War Records]
Lancashire – Deceased Online has added four new cemeteries in North Lancashire to their collection. The latest additions come from the towns of Fleetwood, Poulton le Fylde and Preesall and go back as far as 1840. This brings the total number of Lancashire burial records to 5 million from over 60 different cemeteries. A typical record in the collection provides a digital scan of the original burial register, details of the grave occupant and a map indicating the location of the grave in the cemetery. Access is by subscription. [Lancashire Burial Records]
National – FindMyPast has put online an additional 2.7 million school registers from across England. These records come from 25 different archives and cover over 3,600 schools spanning the years from 1870 to 1914. Details within the school registers include such things as school attendance records, visitors to the schools and the daily activities of school life.
A typical admission register lists the name of the student, date of birth, admission year and name of the school. Some admission registers include additional information such as the name of parents, father’s occupation, exam results and any illnesses that resulted in an absence from school. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Historic English School Records]
Surrey – Ancestry has put online an interesting collection of some 11,000 historic Surrey England mental hospital records. These are admission records and span the years from 1867 to 1900. According to Ancestry, one of the shocking things about this collection is the number of patients that were admitted to mental hospitals at the time that were aged ten years or younger.
Each record lists the patient’s name, gender, marital status, occupation, residence, religion and reason for admission. Given the changed nature of the mental health industry, some of the reasons for admission might not be recognizable today. For example giving ‘weak-mindedness’ as a reason for admission is particularly vague. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Historic Surrey Mental Health Records]
Kent – FindMyPast has added to their collection of Kent parish records. The latest addition consist of 42,000 new baptism records spanning 450 years and 30,000 new burial records also spanning 450 years. With the newest additions, FindMyPast now has over 540,000 Kent baptism records and over 385,000 burial records. These records can be searched by first name, last name, baptism year, father’s first name and mother’s first name. Access is by subscription. [Kent Baptism Records]
National – Ancestry has added a new collection of British Army muster books and pay lists. This new collection spans the years from 1812 to 1817 and consists of over 467,000 records. This might be a good collection to search if you had a relative involved in the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.
A typical record lists the name, start date, end date, regiment, where stationed, rank and pay of the soldier. It covers cavalry, foot guards and regular infantry regiments. Also included are special regiments, colonial troops, various foreign legions, garrison battalions, veteran battalions and depots. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, keyword and regiment. Access is by subscription. [British Army Muster Books]
Yorkshire – If you think one of your ancestors may have owned a tavern in West Yorkshire, then this record set is for you. Ancestry.co.uk has digitized a unique set of 75,000 West Yorkshire alehouse records dating from 1771 to 1962. These are basically lists of people who were licensed to own taverns in the area. Since 1551, England has kept records of alehouse licenses, but it is rare to see such a collection being digitized and put online. Access is by subscription. [Historic Alehouse Licenses]
National – FindMyPast has added a collection of birth, marriage and burial records from The Society of Friends (Quakers). The collection spans the years from 1578 to 1841 and consists of 234,000 birth records, 90,000 marriage records and over 250,000 burial records. Quakers were not baptised into their faith, so no baptism records exist. They were, however, known for their meticulous record keeping so these records should be fairly complete. The records can be searched by a variety of fields, including first name, last name, meeting house, county, etc. Access is by subscription. [Historic English Quaker Birth Records]
West Midlands – Deceased Online has added cemetery and cremation records from the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough, which is near Birmingham in the West Midlands. The new records consist of some 300,000 burials and 130,000 cremations going back as far as 1858. Access is by subscription. [Sandwell Cemetery Records]
Derbyshire – FamilySearch.org has a new image collection of Derbyshire parish records. This collection spans the years from 1537 to 1918 (basically from the formal start of parish record keeping under King Henry VIII to the end of World War I). The collection consists of some 53,000 images with the usual records on baptisms, marriages/banns and burials. Although some of the images can be searched by first name and last name, it is not clear if the entire collection is currently searchable. To learn more about English parish records, see the article A Date Guide to English Genealogy. Access is free. [Derbyshire Parish Records]
Yorkshire – FindMyPast has seriously increased their collection of Yorkshire parish records. Over 1.2 million new baptism records from North Riding, East Riding and West Riding are part of the latest update. These records are from the original registers. In addition, 1.3 million new baptism records have also been added from bishop’s transcripts (basically transcribed records from the original parish records - these records were kept at the local bishop’s office). Both sets of baptism records span the years from the 1500s to 1914 (the start of World War I).
In addition, FindMyPast has added about 1.7 million parish marriage/bann records. These are both original parish records and bishop’s transcript records. Finally, there are about 1.8 million parish burial records that have also been added to their Yorkshire parish record collection. The records can be searched by first name, last name, place and year. Access is by subscription. [Yorkshire Parish Records]
National – The website TheGenealogist is releasing several new collections this week. First up are 4.66 million World War I medal records. Included are records for the 1914 and 1915 star, the British war medal (1914 to 1920) and the Victory medal (1914 to 1919). TheGenealogist has also added 750,000 new parish records from 22 different counties. Finally, additional tithe maps have been release for more English counties.
A typical map lists the names of the owner and the occupier of lands in addition to details about the amount of land, how it was used and the tithe rent due. Tithe maps are very useful for geographically locating ancestors who lived in the countryside. Access to these new collections is by subscription. [TheGenealogist]
London – FamilySearch has put online some 10 million records from Westminster rate books. A rate book was essentially a property tax book. In the early days, these books were prepared by local parishes, which were responsible for maintaining roads, sewers, lighting, etc. This collection covers the period from 1634 to 1900 from the city of Westminster (now an inner borough of central London). A typical record lists the head of household, the owner, the street address and the rate owed. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Since this collection comes from FindMyPast, the original image can only be viewed at a family history center. Access is free. [Westminster Rate Books]
Cheshire – Harvard University has begun a multi-year project to put online their collection of early English manor rolls. These are court rolls, account rolls and other documents from various English manors. They range in date from 1282 to 1770. The largest collection comes from Cheshire, with additional rolls from Hampshire, Sussex, Staffordshire and Suffolk. At the moment, this collection is not searchable. Access is free. [Early English Manor Rolls]
London – FindMyPast has put online patient records from Bethlem Royal Hospital in London. Some 248,000 records dating from 1683 to 1932 are in this new collection. Many include photographs and detailed descriptions of the inmates’ lives. Bethlem is one of the oldest hospitals in the world dedicated to the treatment of mental illness. Access is by subscription. [Bethlem Inmate Records]
Nottingham – Deceased Online have added records from two more cemeteries from Nottingham (Rock cemetery and Basford cemetery). This brings to five the number of cemeteries with online records from the Nottingham City Council. A typical record provides a digital scan of the original burial and grave registers and a map indicating the location of the grave. Access is by subscription. [Nottingham Cemetery Records]
UK/Ireland – The British Newspaper Archive has hit a major milestone. With the latest uploads, it just added its 10 millionth historic newspaper page this week. The website originally launched in November 2011 with 4 million pages. Since then, it has added major historic newspapers such as the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror from 1914 to 1918 to provide some fascinating news, photographs and illustrations from World War One. In addition, 58 new Irish newspapers have recently been added to the collection, bringing the total count of Irish newspapers now online to 65. Going forward, digitization efforts will focus on putting online pages from the World War Two period from across the UK. Access is by subscription. [British Newspaper Archive]
National – TheGenealogist has added a very interesting collection of detailed town and parish maps for Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire. These maps (combined with TheGenealogist’s existing databases) make it possible to search more than 11 million records and pinpoint the exact location of a residence as shown in the image below.
The maps show the boundaries of fields, woods, roads, and rivers in addition to the location and shape of buildings. Details within each record often list how much land was owned or occupied, the exact location of the parish and if the land was rented then the amount of the tithe. With this first release, there are over 12,000 maps. Other counties will be added shortly. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Parish Maps]
National – The website TheGenealogist has significantly expanded their War Memorials photo database. This brings the total to some 179,000 records. These are essentially photographs of various war memorials throughout the country that have been photographed and transcribed. They tend to cover everything from the Boer War in 1901 to more modern day conflicts. Access is by subscription. [UK War Memorial Transcriptions]
National – The website TheGenealogist has put online over 800,000 First World War records associated with British soldiers who were killed in action or missing in action. These lists are very useful to consult especially since the status of many soldiers changed during the war. For example, soldiers that were initially reported as killed in action sometimes had their status later changed to wounded or prisoner of war. Access to this collection is by subscription. [World War I Killed in Action Records]
Nottinghamshire – FindMyPast has put online a collection of Nottinghamshire parish records. These records were transcribed by members of the Nottinghamshire Family History Society. Included are some 850,000 baptism records (1538 to 1980), some 690,000 marriage records (1528 to 1929) and over 240,000 burial records (1539 to 1905). These records are from the Church of England and can be searched by first name, last name and place. The baptism records can also be searched by the parents’ names. Access is by subscription. [Nottinghamshire Parish Records]
National – FindMyPast has put online the 1871 worldwide British army index. This collection of some 207,000 records identifies the men serving in the British army on the 1871 English census day (2 April 1871). It includes lists of both officers and enlisted men serving in the cavalry, artillery, engineers, guard, infantry and colonial units throughout the British Empire. A typical record lists the name, service number, rank, regiment and regional location of each person. The collection can be searched by name, service number, rank and regiment. Access is by subscription. [1871 British Army Records]
England and Wales – FindMyPast has added some 31 million records to their collection of England marriage records. These records come from the International Genealogical Index and span the years from 1538 to 1975. Most of the records list the names of the bride and groom, place of marriage, date of marriage and the names of the groom’s parents. Access is by subscription. [England Marriage Records] Also included are some 131,000 Welsh marriage records (1541 to 1900). [Wales Marriage Records]
National – FindMyPast UK has put online some 3.4 million trade union membership records. There are nine different trade unions in this collection. The trades include boilermakers and iron shipbuilders, carpenters & joiners, lithographers and railway workers. The railway workers records in particular might be very useful as most families had at least one person who worked for the railways during the age of steam. The original records come from the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick.
No date range is given for this collection. The information contained in each record varies considerably from union to union. The most common fields include name, year of birth, year of admission to the union, age at admission, trade, union branch and county. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Historic English Trade Union Membership Records]
Essex – The website Essex Ancestors run by the Essex Records Office (ERO) has uploaded an additional 22,500 historic wills. This brings the total number of wills on the website to some 70,000. The wills span the years from the 1400s to 1858. All the wills in the ERO’s possession up to 1720 have now been put online. Work is continuing on digitizing the remaining 28,000 wills dating from 1720 to 1858. Access to the collection is by subscription. [Essex Ancestors]
Watch the video below if you have ancestors from Essex and want to consult the digital archive or you think you might want to visit the ERO archive in person.
Wales – A new website has gone online that is dedicated to World War I soldiers from Blaenau Gwent, a county in southern Wales. It is called Blaenau Gwent Remembers. Worth checking out if you have ancestors from the region. Access is free. [Blaenau Gwent World War I]
National – Ancestry has added a new collection of UK World War I service medal and award rolls. The collection covers some 6.5 million records. A typical record lists the name, rank, and unit of each award winner. Additional service details are sometimes also available. Most of the records concern soldiers who served in the army, although the Royal Air Force is also covered. A few records refer to civilians, such as doctors and nurses who served in military hospitals. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, year, location and keyword. Access is by subscription. [World War I Military Award Records]
National – The British Newspaper Archive continues to grow. It has now reached 9 million pages and spans some 282 titles going back as far as December 1710 (remember that newspapers before 1752 in the UK fall under the Julian calendar – see Understanding Julian Calendars and Gregorian Calendars in Genealogy for more details). Historic newspapers in the collection can be searched by keyword and can be filtered by date range, newspaper title, region, county and town. [British Newspaper Archive]
National – FamilySearch has created an important image collection of United Kingdom World War I military service records. These records span the years from 1914 to 1920 and consist of some 43.5 million images. The images are arranged by last name, making it relatively easy to search for an ancestor. The images come from the National Archives. Access is free. [UK WWI Service Records]
National – FamilySearch has also created an important image collection of United Kingdom World War I Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps records that span the years from 1917 to 1920. This collection consists of about 265,000 records. Records are organized by last name. These images come from the National Archives. Access is free [UK WWI Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Records]
Devon – FindMyPast has added 1.7 million more records to their Devon parish record collection. The baptism records cover the period from 1444 to 1915 and have been put online in partnership with the Southwest Heritage Trust and Parochial Church Council. Marriage records cover the period from 1446 to 2001, while burial records are from 1320 to 1926. Also included in this update are 250,000 wills from the Devon Wills Index, which covers the period from 1844 to 1900. With this latest addition, FindMyPast now has the most comprehensive collection of Devon parish records available anywhere on the internet. Access is by subscription. [Devon Parish Records]
London – FindMyPast has added some 389,000 new records to their Greater London Burials Index. The index now contains over 1 million names from both Anglican and non-conformist parishes. The records span the years from 1545 to 1905. A typical record lists the name, age, occupation, religious denomination and place of burial. The collection can be searched by first name, last name, date, county and parish. Access is by subscription. [London Burial Records]
National – TheGenealogist has added some 1.3 million records of First World War casualty lists of British soldiers. The collection includes both soldiers who died from their wounds and those who recovered and returned to the front. A typical record lists the name of the soldier, regiment, rank and the date the casualty was registered. Many servicemen were wounded on more than one occasion. Access is by subscription. [World War I Wounded Collection]
London – FindMyPast has released some 500,000 records of London apprenticeship abstracts. These are lists of apprentices and their masters and parents. The records cover the years from 1442 to 1850. A typical record lists the apprentice’s first and last name, year, trade, father’s occupation and county of birth. One thing to note is that over 70% of apprentices in London actually came from somewhere outside of London. This collection can be searched by first and last name, year, trade and county of birth. Access is by subscription. [London Apprenticeship Records]
Liverpool – Ancestry.co.uk has added a collection of Liverpool crew lists. This collection consists of over 1 million records spanning the years from 1861 to 1919. A typical record lists information on crew members for those ships whose home port was registered as Liverpool, England. Information includes name, age or year of birth, place of birth, nationality, residence and dates and details of engagement. The collection can be searched by name, year and place of birth and keyword. Access is by subscription. [Liverpool England Ship Crew Lists]
Yorkshire – FindMyPast has put online 4 million parish records from Yorkshire. These are searchable records dating from 1538 to 1989. The records cover much of Yorkshire, including West Yorkshire. FindMyPast has been working with the Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium (North Yorkshire County Record Office, Doncaster Archives, East Riding Archives, Teesside Archives and the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York) to digitize Yorkshire records. This release represents the first tranche. Further records will be released in 2015. Records can be searched by name, event (birth/death/other) and place. Access is by subscription. [Yorkshire Parish Records]
South Lancashire – Deceased Online has added nearly 350,000 burial records from South Lancashire. This collection is from the Blackburn and Darwen area. It consists of individual cremation and burial records. A typical record has a digital scan of the original burial register, details of the interment for each grave and a map showing the location of the grave within the cemetery. Access is by subscription. [South Lancashire Burial Records]
Surrey – FindMyPast has put online an additional 200,000 marriage records from Surrey. With this new addition to the collection, FindMyPast has some 497,000 marriage records from 167 parishes throughout Surrey. The records span the years from 1540 to 1841. The index was made available from the West Surrey Family History Society. Access is by subscription. [Surrey Marriage Records]
Yorkshire – FindMyPast has put online 4 million parish records from Yorkshire. These are searchable records dating from 1538 to 1989. The records cover much of Yorkshire, including West Yorkshire. FindMyPast has been working with the Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium (North Yorkshire County Record Office, Doncaster Archives, East Riding Archives, Teesside Archives and the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York) to digitize Yorkshire records. This release represents the first tranche. Further records will be released in 2015. Records can be searched by name, event (birth/death/other) and place. Access is by subscription. [Yorkshire Parish Records]
No new records.
National – Ancestry.co.uk has started a new collection of UK naval officers and ratings (non-commissioned seaman) service records for the period from 1802 to 1919. This encompasses the World War I time period. This collection of some 89,000 records consists primarily of pension applications and supporting service records. Officers and ratings were awarded pensions after 20 years of service in the Royal Navy. Typical information includes the name of the sailor, rank or rating, a list of ships and service dates and remarks. Some records also include muster and pay registers. Please note: no service records are listed past 1912. That means you can’t use this collection to find out what ships your ancestors served on in World War I. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Historic Royal Navy Service Records]
National – TheGenealogist has put online a unique collection of some 117,000 World War I military medal records. These are records of medals that were awarded to soldiers for “acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire” starting in March 1916. Many of the medals were also awarded to women who were ‘stretcher bearers’ – men and women who had to go out into the field and rescue injured soldiers. A typical record in the collections lists the following information; full name of the recipient, their rank and regiment, date of medal citation and details of their heroism in battle. This collection can be searched by first name, last name and year. Access is by subscription. [World War I Military Medal Records]
Durham – FamilySearch.org has created a new browsable image collection of Durham wills, probate bonds and probate commissions. The wills form the bulk of the collection, numbering some 149,000 images. The collection spans the years from 1650 to 1857. A couple of things to note before looking at this collection: many of the earlier wills are difficult to read (see examples below). Also, this collection is not yet indexed by name, making it a slow process to go through the wills. Access is free. [Historic Durham Wills]
Isle of Man – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 13,900 records from their collection of Isle of Man parish registers. The collection was created as part of the development of Manx National Heritage. It includes baptisms, marriages and deaths spanning the years from 1598 to 2009. Most of the records are recorded in English, with a few recorded in Manx, the historical language of the island. The collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Historic Isle of Man Baptism Records]
Staffordshire – FindMyPast has put online 2.8 million Anglican parish records from Staffordshire. The website eventually expects to have 6 million parish records online from the region. These records span the years from 1538 to 1900 and cover primarily baptisms, banns, marriages and burials. The records come from the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service. Access is by subscription. [Staffordshire Parish Records]
Wales – The National Library of Wales has digitized an additional 100,000 historic newspaper pages in the month of June for their website Welsh Newspapers Online. The website now consists of some 725,000 pages and 7.6 million articles from over 100 newspapers up to 1910. The website can be searched by keyword and category (such as family notices). Alternatively, the historic newspapers can be browsed by title and date. Access is free. [Welsh Newspapers Online]
National – Origins.net, the UK genealogy website, was purchased this week by FindMyPast. The records from Origins.net will be incorporated into FindMyPast over the next several months. Ian Galbraith, the founder of Origins.net will join FindMyPast and continue to work on collection development.
Origins.net was the first company to set up a pay-as-you-go model in the genealogy industry. The website specialized in more unusual record sets, such as UK marriage indexes, apprentice records, poor law records and the National Wills index. The website currently has some 156 million records. By comparison, most of the major genealogy websites have at least a couple of billion records. Our own Genealogy Search Engine covers 3.2 billion records.
Traffic at Origins.net does not seem to have grown over the last couple of years. If anything, traffic had slipped. The website was not even close to making the list for the Top 100 Genealogy Websites of 2014. It was just beyond the top 100 list in 2013. The last time Origins.net made the list was in 2012, where they ranked #93.
We view this purchase by FindMyPast as further evidence of consolidation within the genealogy industry. This topic was discussed at some length in the Top 100 Genealogy Websites of 2014 article. The Origins.net website will continue to remain available for the time being. [Origins.net]
National – The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has put online an index of their books, pamphlets, periodicals, and committee meeting records. Some of the information goes backs to the 1600s. The archive can be searched by keywords, such as name. You still need to visit the library in London to view the underlying document. The search is free. [Quaker Online Archive]
Devon – FindMyPast has digitized and put online most of the Church of England parish records held by the Devon Heritage Centre. In total, the Devon parish record collection comprises approximately 2.2 million searchable transcripts. The records span the years from 1538 to 1915. Access is by subscription. [Devon Parish Records]
National – The UK National Archives have released a third tranche of World War I military unit war diaries. A unit war diary is essentially a daily account of all the activity of a military unit. They contain an incredible amount of detail of interest to genealogists. Some of the highlights of this release include the unit war diaries of the 36th Ulster division and of the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) division. These records have been posted to the National Archives First World War portal. With this latest addition TNA has digitized some 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries. Access to these records is by pay-per-view. [WWI Unit War Diaries]
National – FindMyPast has re-indexed 4.2 million British World War I service records and pension records. Apparently, the re-indexing has revealed close to 600,000 new names that were not previously captured (many of the new names were tucked away in the details of individual service records). These service records can be fairly extensive, listing everything from physical descriptions of ancestors to details on battles and campaigns along with remarks on conduct and character. Access to these records is by subscription. [British WWI Service Records]
London – Deceased Online has added burial records from Bunhill Fields Burial Ground. Bunhill (apparently a corruption of the word ‘Bone Hill’) Fields is located near the Barbican Centre, just north of the City of London. It is a very old burial ground, with written records spanning the years from 1713 to 1854.
The burial ground covers an area of approximately 10 acres, although at one time it was thought to be much larger. It was formally closed in 1854 with a total of about 12,000 interments. Bunhill Fields was a popular burial ground for Nonconformists. Several prominent citizens were also buried there (see image below). Access to these records is by subscription. [Bunhill Fields Burial Records]
National – Origins.net has re-indexed their collection of 1881 census records. This census covers almost 26 million individuals. Normally, a re-indexing exercise brings forward many previously missed details. These records can be searched by name, age, parish and county. Origins.net also has the 1841, 1861, 1871, 1891 and 1901 UK censuses. Access is by subscription. [UK 1881 Census]
London – FamilySearch.org has created a new collection of London electoral registers. This dataset spans the years from 1847 to 1913. It lists the names and addresses of individuals who were qualified to vote in national elections (which at the time would have been adult males). A typical register record from 1897 is shown below. Access is free. [London Electoral Registers]
Sussex – FamilySearch.org has indexed another 251,000 parish records from Sussex. These records span the years from 1538 to 1910. They can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Sussex Parish Records]
National – British Pathé has put online their entire collection of historical videos. Some 85,000 videos have been uploaded to YouTube. For those with a sense of history, Pathé invented the newsreel format in 1908. They produced short documentaries that were shown prior to feature films in movie theatres. Some of the most dramatic newsreels from World War I and II were produced by the firm.
They also produced many newsreels of everyday life concerning current events, culture, sports and celebrities. Many of the newsreels are extremely rare and would be of interest to genealogists. We are showing three below. The first newsreel provides footage from Hyde Park Corner in 1896. The second newsreel shows mainly London traffic scenes in the 1890s. The third is from the Battle of the Somme in 1916. [British Pathé]
National – A new website has launched this week in the UK called Children’s Homes. It is dedicated to providing historical information on the various institutions that provided homes for children in Britain. This includes orphanages, reformatories, workhouses, poor homes, etc. The website is run by Peter Higginbotham. At the moment, there does not appear to be any records uploaded to the website. However, if it is like Peter’s other website The Workhouse, it will likely have some records in the near future. Access is free. [Children’s Homes]
National – The website Lives of the First World War is scheduled to formally launch on Monday 12 May 2014. The objective of the website (as the name would suggest) is to bring material from various sources (museums, archives, personal family collections, etc.) together on one interactive website. It will cover people’s stories from both the warfront and the home front in the UK. The website is run by DC Thomson Family History, better known for their FindMyPast websites. [Lives of the First World War]
Essex – FamilySearch.org has added a new collection of Essex parish records. These records date from 1538 to 1900. These are about 485,000 birth, marriage and death records in the collection. The records can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Essex Parish Records]
Northamptonshire – Origins.net has added a new collection of hearth tax abstracts for Northamptonshire for the years 1673 and 1674. For those not familiar with hearth taxes (sometimes called chimney taxes), they were essentially a tax on fireplaces. The more fireplaces a house had, the more it paid in taxes. Hearth taxes were an early form of property tax. The concept was deeply unpopular when it was first introduced to cover the cost of recovering from England’s civil war. Hearth taxes were also invasive because it allowed local officials to enter a property to count the number of hearths in a house (see the image below for a typical hearth).
For genealogists, hearth tax rolls can be immensely valuable because they predate census records. This collection from Origins.net has over 22,500 names listed on it. It can be searched by first and last name. If you happen to find an ancestor on the list, you can determine their relative wealth by how much they paid in hearth taxes. In general, the more they paid, they bigger their house. Access is by subscription. [Northamptonshire Hearth Tax Rolls]
Essex – TheGenealogist.co.uk has added an additional 500,000 parish records to their collection. The latest additions come primarily from the counties of Essex and Kent, with small additions from Leicestershire, Monmouthshire and Worcestershire. These are baptisms, marriages and burials from the 1500s to the late 1800s. With this latest addition of parish records, TheGenealogist now has over 2 million parish records in total. Access is by subscription. [Essex Parish Records]
National – FindMyPast.co.uk recently transitioned to a new database system and the transition did not go well. The first video below is an interview with Who Do You Think You Are discussing the issue. In an attempt to resolve some of these issues, FindMyPast released the second video below showing why the website has changed and highlighting some new features that allow people to do new things. These videos are a good case study in how not to migrate to a new database system, such as lost functionality, screen freezes and a general lack of communication from the company on the issues. Worth watching even if you are not a current FindMyPast user.
Kent – FamilySearch.org has added 2.9 million indexed records to their collection of Kent registers of electors. The collection spans the years from 1570 to 1907 and lists eligible voters. The collection also contains a few military muster rolls. If you are not familiar with electoral rolls, read the article Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors. This collection can be searched by name. Access is free. [Historic Kent Electoral Rolls]
National – This is a preannouncement. FindMyPast and the National Archives have announced a joint project to put online the 1939 National Identity Register. This was basically a mini-census that was taken on the night of Friday 29 September 1939 (at the start of World War II). The British Government conducted the survey because it wanted updated statistics on the population so that identity cards could be issued. It was also required in case a draft was needed, in case of mobilisation and mass evacuation of the general population and in case rationing was required (which was introduced a few months later in January 1940). For genealogists, the 1939 National Identity Register makes up for the regularly-scheduled 1941 census, which did not take place due to the war.
The details recorded in the 1939 National Identity Register include name, residence, sex, date of birth (not just their age), marital status, occupation and whether the person was a member of the armed forces or reserves. The process for the enumeration worked as follows. On the night of Friday 29 September 1939, some 65,000 enumerators delivered forms to each household. Each household was responsible for filling out their own form. Two days later on the Sunday and Monday, the enumerators returned to collect the forms. The enumerators checked the forms and (if there were no problems) issued a complete identity card on the spot to each member of the household.
There was a strong incentive for everyone to register correctly. Other than societal pressure given that war had just broken out, it was widely broadcast that anyone who “neglected” to register would not be eligible in the future for ration books. The 1939 register covers some 40 million individuals. Given the absence of a 1931 census (the records were destroyed in a fire in December 1942) and a 1941 census (never taken due to the war), this record set will be very valuable to family historians. No date has been given as to when the records will be available online.
If you want to be kept informed about the project, you can register at www.1939register.co.uk One thing to note is that due to privacy issues, information on individuals still alive today will not be included in the database. If you really can’t wait for the 1939 register to go online, you can actually put a request into the government today to see the information (after paying a hefty charge of something like £42). Just click on the link. [1939 National Register]
National – TheGenealogist has added over 1.6 million parish records from the following counties: Essex; Kent, Lincolnshire, Somerset, Wiltshire and Worcestershire. The link below provides a detailed list of parish records held on the website by county, district and date. Access is by subscription. [UK Parish Records]
National – Origins.net has put online the 1891 England and Wales census. This record collection contains details on some 29 million individuals. The census was taken on 5 April 1891 and lists the names, age, address, occupation, place of birth and relationship to the head of the household. This collection can be searched by name, county, district, place of birth and age. Origins.net also hosts the 1841, 1861, 1871 and 1901 censuses. Access is by subscription. [1891 England and Wales Census]
London – Deceased Online has completed digitizing the records from Kensal Green cemetery in London. Kensal Green was opened in 1833. It became the first of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ – seven grand garden-style cemeteries that ringed what were at the time the outer suburbs of London. The cemetery received its first funeral in January 1833 and it is still in operation today. The cemetery contains both Anglican and ‘dissenter’ (non-Anglican) sections. Deceased Online has put online some 330,000 records for all burials and cremations up to December 2010. Each record consists of a digital scan of the original burial book and details of who is buried in the grave. Later this year, maps of the cemetery will also be added. Access is by subscription. [Kensal Green Burial Records]
Wales – Welsh Newspapers Online has added 27 new publications to their growing database of historic newspapers. The collection now consists of some 100 historic newspapers, 630,000 pages and 6.8 million articles. The newspapers span the years from 1804 to 1919. The records can be searched by news, family notices and advertisements. The collection can also be browsed by date and newspaper title. Access is free. [Historic Welsh Newspapers]
UK/India – FindMyPast in partnership with the British Library has released 2.5 million records detailing the lives of the British in India. The records span the years from 1698 to 1947 and consist of birth and baptism records, deaths and burials, wills and probates, pension records, cadet papers and applications for the civil service. The video below provides more details on the collection. Access is by subscription. However, for those who are interested, FindMyPast is currently offering a free 14 day trial. [British India Records]
UK – MyHeritage.com has added 118 million records to their UK collection. MyHeritage, which has traditionally been known for family trees, is now building up databases of historic records. Most of the additions to their UK collection are birth and christening records. The records cover the years from 1538 to 1975 (birth records of living individuals are presumably not in the collection). The collection can be searched by a variety of means, including first and last name, year, place, etc. If the search finds records for related individuals, it will show those as well. Access is by subscription. [UK Birth Records]
National - The Wellcome Library has launched a new website called Wellcome Images. It contains over 100,000 historic images for viewing. Everything from manuscripts, paintings, early photographs and historic advertisements are included in this collection. The collection can be searched by keyword.
Although it is not likely that you will find your ancestors, this website does provide excellent reference images of various peoples and cultures from around the world. The old historical images in the collection can be downloaded for free (see the example below). Please note the website is running a bit slow. [Wellcome Images]
Middlesex – The National Archives has launched a rare collection of First World War military service tribunals. These are 11,000 case files from Middlesex, where people applied to the local tribunal for exemption from compulsory military service (which was introduced in 1916, some two years after the start of the war). Most of the applications for exemptions fall into four categories: moral (conscientious objectors); medical (disability); family (looking after dependents) and economic (preserving a business).
As the First War dragged on, fatalities and casualties climbed far beyond anyone’s expectations. News about the horrible conditions on the front line slowly filtered back home. Much of it contradicted the official propaganda. This created a significant amount of tension on the home front. Still, only an estimated 10% of the applications for exemptions were based on moral grounds.
Only a very small number of these military tribunal papers survive. After the war, the UK government issued explicit instructions to local tribunals to destroy all these types of records due to their sensitive nature and the risk to the government.
The Middlesex collection was specifically held back from destruction and retained to be used as a possible benchmark in case military conscription was ever required in the future. It is a rare dataset. The collection can be searched by name, occupation and location. Access is free after registration. [WWI Military Tribunal Papers]
National – Origins.net has added the fully indexed 1901 census for England and Wales to their collection. The 1841, 1861 and 1871 censuses are already available on the website. The 1851, 1881 and 1891 are expected to be added within the next six months. Origins.net currently has over 100 million British and Irish genealogy records. Access is by subscription. [Origins.net]
Devonshire – Ancestry.co.uk has added some 1.4 million parish records from Plymouth and West Devon. The baptism, marriage and death records date from 1538 to 1912. Also included in the collection are some tombstone inscriptions, obituaries and tax lists. Access is by subscription. [Devonshire Parish Records]
Wales – The National Library of Wales has launched a new website called Cymru 1914 - The Welsh Experience of the First World War. The website is a collaborative effort developed in partnership with several universities and archives in Wales. It commemorates the impact the First World War had on Wales. The website contains a collection of newspapers, images, sound and archival material from the era. The collection of war posters is particularly interesting, as shown by the example below.
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Many new websites are being planned by various national archives to commemorate the event. Hopefully, they will all be as good as Cymru 1914. Access to the website is free. [Cymru 1914]
Isle of Wight – The Isle of Wight Family History Society has been steadily adding to their collection of free genealogy records. So far, there are some 256,000 birth records, 102,000 marriage records and 226,000 death records. The records span the years from 1837 to 2010. There is also a project in place to add all recent deaths since 2010. A typical record on the website will provide the full name, year and place plus additional information. Also included is a very handy link to apply to the island registrar for an official certificate of the record with all the pertinent details automatically completed on the form. Access to the database is free. [Isle of Wight Family History Society]
London – Deceased Online continues to add to their collection of London burial records. Recently, two additional cemeteries in the London borough of Sutton were added to the website (Sutton Cemetery and Cuddington Cemetery). Access is by pay-per-view. [London Cemetery Records]
National – The National Archives has launched new First World War portal. In addition, there will be a rolling series of digitised record releases over the next several months. The new portal makes it easy to access all the collections from one convenient location. Included are record collections of medals, RAF officers, merchant seamen, army nurses, prisoners of war, Royal Navy volunteer reserve, women’s Royal Air Force, women’s Royal Naval Service, etc. Some charges may apply. [UK National Archives WWI Portal]
Norfolk – FamilySearch.org has added some 1.1 million indexed records to its collection of Norfolk parish records. With this latest addition, FamilySearch.org has managed to transcribe about 76% of the available parish records from the Norfolk Record Office. These records of baptisms, marriages and deaths span the years from 1685 to 1941. Also included are some marriage banns. Note: some of the Norfolk parish records include parishes in neighbouring regions of Suffolk, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. Access is free, although as of this writing, FamilySearch.org had not yet provided a landing page for searching this collection. [Norfolk Parish Records]
National – TheGenealogist has launched a collection of rare early UK militia muster lists. This collection contains some 58,000 records of part-time soldiers from 1781 and 1782. The word muster comes from the need for these men (who had other full-time jobs and occupations) to ‘muster’ at pre-determined places for training. Many regular army soldiers started their career in the militia, so these rare records can be a valuable source for anyone wanting to trace military ancestors. These records can be searched by name, company and rank. Access is by subscription. [Early UK Militia Lists]
Derbyshire – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 1.3 million parish records from Derbyshire. The collection spans the years from 1538 to 1910 and covers baptisms, banns, marriages and burials. The Church of England was established by King Henry VIII in 1530. In 1537, a law was passed requiring each parish to record baptisms, marriages and burials. Starting in 1598, parish ministers were required to send a copy of their registers to the local archdeacon or bishop (this copy is referred to a bishop’s transcripts). Thus from 1598 onwards there was usually two copies of parish records. These records can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Derbyshire Parish Records]
Birmingham – Ancestry.co.uk has created a new collection of births, baptisms, confirmations, banns, marriages and burials from Birmingham. In total, there are some 2.4 million new records, and (depending on the type of record) they span the centuries from 1538 to 1937. These records can be searched by first and last name and by date range based on the type of record. Access is by subscription. [Birmingham Genealogy Records]
National – TheGenealogist has announced the addition of over 1 million apprenticeship records. These records list the name, address and trade of the master and the names of the apprentices. Most of these records appear to be from the 1700s, where it was common in most trades to have apprentices. Records in the collection prior to 1753 also typically listed the parents of the apprentice. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Apprenticeship Records]
National – Ancestry.co.uk has added a new collection of non-conformist records that span the period from 1567 to 1970. In the UK, non-conformists were generally considered to be Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Quakers.
The General Register Office collected a large number of these nonconformist records in 1837 when the new civil registration system for birth, marriage and death records was created in the UK (see A Date Guide to English Genealogy – Part II), and again in 1857 when the government removed further rights from churches regarding the official collection of birth, marriage and death records.
Please be aware that between 1754 and 1837, only Church of England and Quaker marriages were considered legal. If your ancestor was Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic or Jewish they may very well have had a second marriage ceremony in an Anglican Church. This was often done to effectively legalize their marriage under UK law. The advantages to doing this included the right to hold public office, the right to vote and the ability to pass significant assets to descendants via probate. Thus, if you are looking for lost marriage records, try searching Anglican records first.
This collection at Ancestry consists of some 2.5 million records. Access is by subscription. [UK Non-conformist Birth Marriage Death Records]
UK – The UK government has begun the process of digitizing and putting online soldier’s wills from the World War I period. In total, wills from some 230,000 soldiers will go online. The records can be searched by surname and year of death and these latest additions cover the years from 1914 to 1921. This collection from the UK government also contains other soldiers’ wills spanning the years from 1850 to 1986. There is a fee to see the record. [World War I Soldier Wills]
National – TheGenealogist has put online a collection of some 439,000 Royal Navy and Merchant Seamen records dating from 1851 to 1911 (pre-World War I). The records vary, but the merchant seamen ones typically list name, age, place of birth, rank and merchant number, list of ships with date and place of joining and leaving the merchant marine. The records can be searched by name, rank, age and ship. Access is by subscription. [UK Merchant Seamen Records]
West Yorkshire – DeceasedOnline has added records for 19 cemeteries and 2 crematoria for the West Yorkshire area of Wakefield. The earliest records date from 1857 and the collection currently consists of close to 143,000 burial and cremation records. DeceasedOnline plans to add more records from the region over the coming weeks and months. Access is by subscription. [Wakefield West Yorkshire Cemetery Records]
Hertfordshire– FindMyPast has added about two million Hertfordshire parish records. These are baptisms, banns, marriages and burials that date from 1538 to 1990. Roughly 2/3of the new records are baptisms and burials. Access is by subscription. [Hertfordshire Parish Records]
Sussex – FamilySearch.org has indexed some 410,000 parish records from Sussex. The records span the years from 1538 to 1910 and can be searched by name. These are primarily baptism, marriage and burial records. Access is free. [Sussex Parish Records]
National – FindMyPast has added some 50,000 records of Royal Navy officers who served between 1914 and 1920. The records list such details as name, address, service number, physical appearance, next of kin, any disciplinary activity and even swimming ability! Access is free. [World War I Royal Navy Officer Records]
National – Forces War Records, which specializes in British war records and military genealogy, has added a list of members of the University of Cambridge who participated in the First World War. The list contains some 14,000 names and the records are listed alphabetically by college. Access is by subscription. [Cambridge World War I Military Records]
National – FindMyPast.co.uk has added new records from the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. These are some 72,000 records that cover the period from 1914 to 1920 (bridging the World War I period). The records are essentially a medal roll that lists the names of people in the British Merchant Navy and fishing fleets who volunteered and participated in the war effort. Each record lists the following: name, service number, rank, WWI campaign medals awarded, service details, date of death, cause of death, how the medal was issued and other awards granted to the individual. The list of medals in the roll included the 1914 Star, Clasp to the 1914 Star, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Access is by subscription. [World War I Royal Navy Volunteer Medal Roll]
National – Ancestry.co.uk has released a new collection of UK city and street directories. This collection is officially still in beta format. It lists directories from 1766 to 1946, with most of the directories being from the late 1800s. The early directories listed primarily merchants. Later directories tended to list merchants and wealthy residents. Directories from the 1900s tended to list every household. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK City Directories]
National – The Society of Genealogists has relaunched their website with a new look. Of particular interest is the Learn section, which includes free guides to genealogical sources with hints and tips. Access to the records is by subscription. [Society of Genealogists]
St Helena – The British Library’s Endangered Archives Project has created a very interesting archive of colonial records for St. Helena Island in the South Atlantic Ocean (off the coast of Africa). The island is perhaps best known as the place where Napoleon was exiled in 1815. As Britain’s second oldest colony (after Bermuda), the island has served many purposes over the years. For example, more than 5,000 Boer prisoners were held on the island at one time. This collection primarily consists of government letters and records. The collection has not been indexed, but it does contain a wealth of genealogical information for anyone who may have had an ancestor that passed through the islands. Access is free. [St. Helena Genealogy Records]
Kent – FindMyPast.co.uk has added an additional 600,000 Kent parish records in addition to the 2 million East Kent parish records that were added earlier this month. Most of the new additions appear to be baptism records dating from the 1500s to the 1800s. The exact date range varies by the specific parish. Access is by subscription. [Kent Parish Records]
National – The National Archives has completed digitizing their collection of World War I war unit diaries. We first spoke about this collection in October 2012. Basically, war unit diaries are a collection of field reports by various military records. These diaries contain the minutia of daily activity from the front line. In order to search these directories, you need to know the regiment and battalion of your ancestor. [World War I War Unit Diaries]
National – FamilySearch.org has added a new collection of some 19.2 million images of World War I army service records dating from 1914 to 1920. These are scanned images from the National Archives from two separate record sets. The first record set is the War Office: Soldier’s Documents, First World War “Burnt Documents”. These are records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who served in the 1914-1918 war and did not re-enlist prior to World War II. The second record set is the War Office: Documents from Pension Claims, First World War. This set is mainly limited to non-commissioned officers and other ranks who were discharged from the army and claimed a disability pension.
The images are arranged alphabetically by last name, making it fairly easy to find an ancestor. However, please note you may experience problems trying to access the images from home. Access is free. [UK World War I Service Records]
East Kent – FindMyPast.co.uk has added to their collection of East Kent parish records. The records go back as far as 1538 and now total over 2 million baptism, marriage and burial records from the region. Access is by subscription. [East Kent Parish Records]
Wiltshire – Ancestry.co.uk has added some 500,000 marriage records from all 327 parishes in Wiltshire. The records span the years from 1538 to 1897. Also added were a small number of records (3,300) of Quaker birth and death records also from Wiltshire, which cover the period from 1542 to 1897. Access is by subscription. [Historic Wiltshire Marriage Records]
National – The Genealogist.co.uk has added over 1 million parish records for Essex, Worcestershire, Lancashire and Devon. These are baptism, marriage and burial records that span the years from the 1500s to the early 1800s. Access is by subscription. [Essex Parish Records]
Westminster – FindMypast has significantly expanded their collection of Westminster parish records. The collection now contains some 3 million records from more than50 churches spanning the years from 1538 to 1945. These are baptism, marriage and burial records. Access is by subscription. [Westminster Parish Records]
Yorkshire – FindMyPast has announced they plan to add an estimated 15 million Yorkshire parish records to their website. These parish records will span the years from 1538 into the 1900s. Unfortunately, no further details were provided as to when these records will become available. Access is expected to be by subscription. [Yorkshire Parish Records]
UK/Caribbean – The University College London has compiled a database of British slave owners. Specifically, these are people who made claims to the crown for compensation when Britain outlawed slavery in most of the crown colonies in 1833. The database lists some 46,000 claims in total. The total value of the claims was about £20 million, which represented some 40% of all annual government spending. At the time, this was a massive bailout by the government.
About 3,000 of the claims were from people living in Britain. Most of the rest were primarily from plantations in the Caribbean. This is a good website to check if you potentially had ancestors who were slaves on one of the Caribbean islands under British possession in the early 1800s. Britain outlawed the slave trade in 1807, but slavery itself was not outlawed in the colonies until 1833 (the United States followed in 1865 and Brazil in 1888). Some estimates suggest that about 10% of wealthy Britons in the early 1800s were directly connected to the slave trade.
The website hosting the database is called Legacies of British Slave Ownership and it contains a wealth of background information. Access is free. [British Slave Ownership]
National – TheGenealogist.co.uk has added three new genealogy record sets involving casualty lists, naturalization records and war memorial records. The casualty list collection is a list of British soldiers who were reported injured, missing or prisoners of war during World War One. At launch, the collection covers some 600,000 records from 1917 and 1918. Eventually, the collection will include all of World War One. The second collection of naturalization records consists of some 150,000 British naturalizations from 1609 to1960. The war memorial record collection consists of images of various war memorials (searchable by name) from the Boer War in 1901 to the present. This unique collection has some 100,000 names.
In 2012, TheGenealogist.co.uk added some 200 million records to its collection. Some highlights include birth records from 1837 to 2005 (132 million records) and the 1911 census (36 million records). Access is by subscription. [TheGenealogist.co.uk]
Wales – On 13 March 2012, the National Library of Wales is expected to launch online the first one million pages of its historic newspaper collection, called Welsh Newspapers Online. Eventually, the aim is to digitize some two million pages of newspapers and journals from before 1911 (the current out-of-copyright date). A list of newspapers and journals that have been identified for digitization is available on the website. When this website launches, it will provide the largest body of searchable text related to Wales. Access will be free. [Wales Historic Newspapers]
National – A collection of the National Archives historical criminal records is going online at FindMyPast. There are some 518,000 records dating from 1817 to 1931. Eventually, the collection will consist of some 2.5million records. Notwithstanding the sordid details, prison records in general can be very interesting to genealogists. They often contain a physical description of the individual and sometimes even include a photograph back in the days when photographs were rare (the irony being the criminal had their photograph taken when in society only the very rich could afford a photograph).
This collection contains several subsets: a register of convicts in prison hulks (floating prisons) from 1818 to 1831; after-trial calendars of prisoners from the central criminal court (1855 to 1931); criminal petitions (for pardons, etc.) 1817 to 1858; calendar of prisoners in Home Office records (1868 to 1929); London Metropolitan Police records of habitual drunkards (1903 to 1914) and prison commission records for 1880 to 1885. Access is by subscription. You can use the promotional code ‘criminal’ to get 20 free credits. [Historic UK Criminal Records]
Durham – Durham Records Online, which specializes in parish records from County Durham, has added several thousand new records. These are primarily baptism, marriage and burial records for various towns and parishes in Durham. The website has a complete list of all the new additions. In total, Durham Records Online has some 3.8 million transcribed parish records from Durham. Access is by pay-per-record. [Durham Parish Records]
Isle of Man – The Manx Museum has put online nearly 400,000 pages of newspapers and other publications from the Isle of Man (a crown dependency of the UK). The newspapers date from 1792 to 1960 and can be searched by time period, publication name and keyword (such as a name). This is a great source of information if you are looking for birth, marriage or death announcements. Access is by subscription. [Historic Isle of Man Newspapers]
Westminster – FamilySearch.org has indexed an additional 1.3 million parish records for Westminster. These records span the period from 1538 to 1912 and were prepared in cooperation with FindMyPast. Access is free. [Westminster Parish Records]
National – The British Newspaper Archive reached the impressive milestone of 6 million digitized pages in late November 2012. About 40 million more newspaper pages are expected to be digitized by the end of this decade. That is the good news. The bad news is that the British Library has some 750 million pages of newsprint. Thus, less than 1% of the collection has currently been digitized and only about 5% of the collection will be digitized by the end of this decade.
Fortunately, the British Library is working hard to preserve their newsprint collection (old newspapers tend to deteriorate rapidly). Work is close to completion on a new £33 million storage centre at Boston Spa, West Yorkshire to house the collection (as shown in the photographs below).
When completed, the new facility will have 50 kilometers of robotic shelving. It was purpose-built to house 290,000 bound volumes containing the 750 million pages of newsprint. In addition to temperature and humidity controls, the atmosphere in the building has low oxygen to minimize the risk of a fire. Low oxygen also slows down the natural deterioration of the newsprint. The building will be completed in 2013, at which time the process of moving the newsprint collection from its existing facility in north London into the new facility at Boston Spa will begin.
The current newspaper digitization process is a collaboration with brightsolid. Access to the digitized newspapers is by pay-per-view [British Newspaper Archive].
Northern Ireland – Effective 17 December 2012, future deaths in Northern Ireland will now record the names of the parents of the deceased person. Until now, only the date and place of death was recorded. This change is a result of many years of lobby by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organizations (CIGO). The change is not retroactive and does not affect existing death records - it only affects future death records. More details can be found at CIGO’s website [Council of Irish Genealogical Organizations]
National – FindMyPast.com has added 40million new records across a variety of areas. Some of the new additions include Cheshire wills and workhouse records as well as Derbyshire workhouse records. The bulk of the new additions, however are various military records that cover the First and Second World War, as well as military records that go back into the 1800s and earlier. Some of these new additions appear to have previously available on FindMyPast.co.uk Access is by subscription. [UK Military Records]
World – The UK National Archives has released another tranche of colonial administration records. These are wide-ranging administrative records from various colonies and territories within the British Empire. The link provides a list of when the colonial administration files will be available by territory. Access to the underlying records is by subscription. [UK Colonial Administration Records]
National– FindMyPast has added to its collection of British Army service records. Included in the new update are Royal Hospital, Chelsea pensioners discharge documents (1760 to 1887) and documents of soldiers awarded deferred pensions (1838 to 1896). Also included are soldier documents from the South African War (1899 to 1902). Access is by subscription. [Chelsea Pension Records]
National – TheGenealogist.co.uk has added 14 million new death records to its collection. The new records are for UK deaths between the years 1960 to 1983. This brings to 26 million the number of death records on the website (spanning the years 1960 to 2005). TheGenealogist.co.uk is also using search technology to match the new death records to other records on the website for the same individual. Access is by subscription. [Recent UK Death Records]
Lancashire – Deceased Online has begun adding burial and cremation records for Bolton Council in Lancashire County. In total, there are 7 cemeteries and 1 crematorium in the region. Already some 211,000 records from Tonge cemetery (opened 1856) and Heaton cemetery (opened 1879) have gone online. Access is by subscription. [Bolton Cemetery Records]
Cambridgeshire – The Cambridgeshire County Council has put online a database of birth, marriage and death entries that have been recorded across Cambridgeshire from 1837 to the present. In total, there are some 2 million records in the database. The database can be searched by type of certificate, year, location and full or partial name. There is a charge of £10 plus postage to order the certificate. [Cambridgeshire Birth Marriage Death Certificates]
Kent – FamilySearch.org has created a new browsable image collection of Kent workhouse records. This collection spans the years from 1777 to 1911 and consists of some 80,000 images of various types of workhouse records. The records are organized by region so you will need to know what part of Kent your ancestors came from. Most of the records consist of recordings of births and deaths as well as registers of admissions and discharges. If you are unfamiliar with workhouse records (sometimes called poorhouse records), you can learn more about what they are and why they are useful in the article A Date Guide to English Genealogy. Access to this collection is free. [Kent Workhouse Records]
Kent – FamilySearch has created a new collection of Kent electoral rolls. This collection spans a broad range from 1570 to 1907 and consists of some 132,000 images. Included in the collection are a few militia muster rolls (for Faversham). We also noticed this collection contains other types of related records, such as jury service lists (which were often drawn from electoral rolls). If you are unfamiliar with electoral rolls, please read the article Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors. Electoral rolls are an excellent substitute for census records. This collection can only be browsed at the moment. Access is free. [Kent Electoral Rolls]
West Devon – FamilySearch has added some 1.2 million parish records for Plymouth and the surrounding West Devon region. These are baptism, marriage and burial records that date from 1538 to 1912 and can be searched by name. Access is free. [West Devon Parish Records]
National – The British National Archives has made good progress in digitizing their collection of World War I war unit diaries. A war unit diary is essentially a collection of field reports by various military units. A typical war unit diary contains daily operational reports from the front lines as well as local intelligence summaries. These war diaries were written between 1914 and 1923 by various British and colonial units that served in various theatres of war. Most of the unit diaries cover activity in France, Germany and Belgium. War unit diaries can contain a wealth of information for people looking for their ancestors and they are one of the most requested items in the British Archives reading rooms. In order to search these diaries, you need to know the regiment and battalion of your ancestor. [World War I War Unit Diaries]
London – DeceasedOnline continues to add to their London cemetery record collection. Records from Plumstead Cemetery (opened in 1890) and Charlton Cemetery (opened in 1855) are the most recent additions. Both cemeteries are located in southeast London in the royal borough of Greenwich. All five cemeteries in Greenwich are expected to be online by the middle of October 2012. In addition to the two cemeteries already mentioned, Eltham (opened in 1935) was added a couple of weeks ago and there will be two additional cemeteries added in the next couple of weeks: Greenwich (opened in 1856) and Woolwich (opened in 1856). In total, there will be some 371,000 cemetery records from Greenwich. Access is by subscription. [Greenwich Cemetery Records]
Middlesex – FindMyPast has added 175,000 new parish records from Middlesex to their collection. The new records consist of about 96,000 baptism records (1538 to 1882) and about 80,000 burial records (1538 to 1890). The website has a list of the exact parishes covered by the new records. Access is by subscription. [Middlesex Parish Records]
West Yorkshire – Ancestry.co.uk has added more baptism, marriage and death records to its West Yorkshire parish collection. Ancestry has been a bit sparse on the details of their latest update, so please check the website. Access is by subscription. [West Yorkshire Parish Records]
National – GenealogyInTime Magazine has added 400 million new records to their two free search engines. The Genealogy Search Engine (which covers ancestral records) now searches an additional 100 million more records, while the Family Tree Search Engine (which covers genealogy forums and online family trees) searches approximately 300 million more records.
In total, the two search engines now cover 5.7 billion records across more than 1,000 different websites (split between the Genealogy Search Engine covering 1.9 billion records and the Family Tree Search Engine covering 3.8 billion records – there is no overlap of records between the two search engines).
GenealogyInTime Magazine now gets over 40,000 queries per month for the two search engines. This makes them one of the most popular alternatives to the FamilySearch website for people wanting to look for free ancestral records. Significant holdings exist for the United States, Canada, England/Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Continental Europe, Australia and New Zealand with minor holdings for the Caribbean, South America and South Africa.
Some of the highlights of the latest addition to the Genealogy Search Engine include:
•55 million new records for the United States and 6 million new records for Canada. These are primarily ancestral records held in digital archives of public libraries and universities across North America. Many of these new records are historic photographs.
• 23 million new records for England, Ireland and Scotland. These are primarily twentieth century obituaries.
• 14 million new records for Europe. These are primarily birth/marriage/death records from Central and Eastern Europe.
• 2 million more ship passenger records.
In this latest release, the search routines for both search engines have also been strengthened to provide better results. In addition, the number of returned records for a search query has been increased from 8 pages to 10 pages. Finally, results are delivered even faster than before.
Access to both search engines is free and the underlying records are also free. [Genealogy Search Engine] [Family Tree Search Engine] GenealogyInTime Magazine also has a number of genealogy articles to help you become better at online genealogy searches.
GenealogyInTime Magazine is now the world’s most popular online genealogy magazine. It is also now the fifth largest free genealogy website in the world (according to Alexa, the internet traffic people, the largest free genealogy websites in order are FamilySearch, Find A Grave, Geni, GeneaNet and GenealogyInTime Magazine).
National – Ancestry.co.uk has added about 280,000 masters and mates certificates to their website. These are certificates issued to seamen who had reached the qualification of master or mate aboard British merchant ships. This collection spans the years 1850 to 1927. A typical record has several parts and includes certificates of competency, certificates of service and examination documents. Information listed includes name, date and place of birth, port of issue and date of issue, address of seaman and a history of service (vessels, dates, occupation aboard vessels, etc.) The British merchant fleet covered several of the British colonies and ex-colonies during this period. This is a good record set to investigate if you have seaman in your family from Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Access is by subscription. [Historic British Seaman Records]
London – Deceased Online has added some 110,000 burial records for two cemeteries in Greenwich, located south east of London. Approximately 95,000 records come from Greenwich Cemetery and date back to 1856 and 15,000 records come from Eltham (Falconwood) Cemetery and date back to 1935. Each record provides a burial register, grave details and a cemetery map giving the grave location. Deceased Online now has 1.6 million records for London cemeteries, with the number expected to reach 2 million records before the end of the year. Access is by subscription. [Greenwich Cemetery Records]
National – FindMyPast.co.uk has published the Royal Air Force muster roll for 1918. This collection is composed of some 181,000 records. A typical record lists the name, rank, job, date and terms of enlistment plus the rate of pay. Access is by subscription. [Royal Air Force 1918 Service Records]
National – The website called A Vision of Britain Through Time provides a useful way to search the United Kingdom by place name. A typical search will provide a brief history of the town/village as well as links to historic maps, statistics, writings, census information, etc. on the town. This one website can quickly provide great geographical and historical context to ancestral searches. The website is run by the University of Portsmouth. Access is free. [A Vision of Britain Through Time]
Lancashire – Ancestry.co.uk has added a number of new records for Lancashire. Included are births, baptisms, banns, marriages, deaths and burials covering anywhere from 1538 to 1986. In total, some 2.9 million records have been added across a wide selection of record types. Access is by subscription. [Lancashire Genealogy Records]
National – The BBC has produced a nice infograph showing the demographic changes to the UK population based on the results from the 1911 to the 2011 censuses. For example, the 1921 census results show how big an impact World War I had on fertility rates. It also showed how the male/female proportion was skewed due to the 723,000 British servicemen who lost their lives during the war. A similar result shows up in the 1951 census based on the impact of World War II (essentially an extended period of low births combined with high deaths of males in their prime years). The impact of World War II is still evident in the results from the 2011 census. This infograph is well worth looking at to get a general sense of the major trends in UK family trees over the last 100 years. Access is free. [General UK Demographic Trends]
National – The UK National Archives has indexed the service records of 320,000 airmen who served with the Royal Air Force in World War I. These service records can now be searched by name. The RAF was not formed until April 1918, but the records from the predecessor organizations (the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy Air Service) are also now online. You can read more about this new series of records at the National Archives blog. Access is by pay-per-view. [Royal Air Force Service Records]
National – TheOriginalRecord.com has added a variety of new records this week. Included are the 1824 Liverpool Directory (which covers the principal inhabitants on the Cheshire side of the river), the 1868 South Shropshire poll book, the membership list of apothecaries (essentially pharmacists) for England and Wales in 1823, the 1720 poor rate records for Wigan (now part of Greater Manchester) and the 1888 list of students at University College, Bristol. Access is by pay-per-view. [The Original Record]
Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire – FindMyPast UK has added 49,000 new Lincolnshire parish marriage records. These records span the years 1700 to 1837 and cover more than 200 parishes. The records come from the Lincolnshire Family History Society. Also added were 22,000 new parish records from North Yorkshire that cover the period from 1600 to 1869. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Parish Records]
Canterbury – FindMyPast UK has added the Canterbury Collection to their offering. These are some 12,000 images of parish baptisms, marriages banns and burials for churches in the historic Archdeaconry of Canterbury. The images span the very broad period from 1538 to 2005. The images can be browsed by parish, event and year. At the moment, the records can not be searched by name, etc. Access is by subscription. [Canterbury Parish Records]
National – The British Newspaper Archive has added over 35 new newspaper titles to its collection over the last 30 days. Some highlights include the Edinburgh Evening News (1904), the Liverpool Daily Post (1855 to 1864) and the Liverpool Echo (1912 to 1913). The link provides a complete list of all the newspapers in the collection as well as a list of recent additions. Access is by subscription. [British Newspaper Archive]
National – FindMyPast has added another 25,000 Royal Household records this week. These records span the years 1717 to 1924 and usually list the name of the employee, when employed and when discharged. Access is by subscription. [Royal Household Records]
Dorset – Ancestry.co.uk has added several new collections for Dorset. The largest new additions are jury lists (1825 to 1921 with 350,000 records), Dorchester Prison admission and discharge registers (63,000 records) and militia lists (1757 to 1860 with 31,000 records). Another interesting new addition is the alehouse license records (1754 to 1821 with 4,100 records), which are always useful to check in case one of your ancestors owned a pub. Access is by subscription. [Historic Dorset Jury Lists]
National – A very interesting collection of legal records are The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674 to 1913 website. The Old Bailey was the central criminal court for England and Wales. It was located in central London. This court heard the most serious criminal cases for London and much of the rest of the country. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey website contains a great collection of detailed records from some 200,000 criminal cases spanning roughly 240 years. This collection has been slowly increasing over time. It is a great website to check if you want to know if you had any really interesting characters in your family tree. Only the most hardened criminals ended up at the Old Bailey. Access is free. [Old Bailey Criminal Records]
National – Ancestry.co.uk has added a new collection of poll books and electoral registers. This collection of some 4.7 million records spans the years 1538 to 1893. Poll books and electoral rolls are essentially historical lists of eligible voters in a district. They are arguably the most underused genealogy record source. A typical record lists the name, age and address of the eligible voter.
One of the great things about poll books and electoral rolls is that they were ‘evergreen’ lists that were created on a regular basis (often every two years) to help prevent electoral fraud. They are a great source for tracing the address and location of your ancestors between censuses held every 10 years. See the article Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors for more details. Access is by subscription. [UK Electoral Rolls]
National – FindMyPast UK has added a new collection of British prisoners of war records for military personnel held in Germany during World War I and II. The World War I record set covers some 7,700 British army officers. A typical record lists name, rank, service, section, date the soldier went missing and date of repatriation.
The World War II record set is more extensive. It covers army, navy and air force personnel. This record set has some 166,000 records. A typical record lists name, rank, regiment, army number (if applicable), camp, prisoner of war number, camp location and extra notes where applicable. [World War I and II Prisoner of War Records]
Sheffield - FindMyPast UK has added some 70,000 new parish records from Sheffield. These consist of baptisms (1858 to 1940 with 13,000 records), marriages (1848 to 1986 with 25,000 records) and burials (1767 to 1802 with 31,000 records). Access is by subscription. [Sheffield Parish Records]
National – FindMyPast has put online royal household records. These are some 50,000 staff records of people who worked for the royal household from 1526 to 1924. The records list such details as name, occupation, age, length of service and salary. Access is by subscription. [Royal Household Records]
National – Ancestry.co.uk has extended their index of the UK national probate calendar to cover the time period from 1858 to 1966. The national probate calendar is essentially a national index that lists wills starting from 1858 when the UK government created the Principal Probate Registry (before 1858, probate records where kept by the Anglican Church). The index lists the full name of the deceased, the date of death, the place of death, the date of probate and the registry holding the will. Access is by subscription. [UK National Probate Registry] You cannot actually order the will from Ancestry. Instead, you must contact the government probate office. [UK Government Guide to Obtaining a Probate Record]
Northern Ireland – The Lurgan Ancestry Project is a website devoted to genealogy for the town of Lurgan in County Armagh in Northern Ireland. The website contains a great collection of free genealogy records for Lurgan and the surrounding area. Included are birth, marriage, death records, Griffith’s land valuation records, trade directories, gravestones, photographs, old newspaper articles, etc. This website is definitely worth checking out if you have ancestors from County Armagh. Access is free. [Lurgan Genealogy Records]
National – TheGenealogist now has all the counties of the 1911 census available on their website. They also now have a complete copy of all the censuses from 1841 to 1911. Access is by subscription. [England and Wales Censuses]
Devon – FindMyPast has added 3.5 million parish records for Plymouth and West Devon. These are baptism, marriage and burial records from 1538 to 1911. Access is by subscription. FindMyPast has also upgraded their search capability to conform more closely to other genealogy subscription websites, such as Ancestry. Users can search first and last names using variants and dates can be entered with a date range. [Plymouth and West Devon Baptism Records]
National – FamilySearch has added some 6.8 million records to the 1871 England and Wales census. This census collection is now 55% complete. Access is free. [1871 English Census]
Wales – FamilySearch has created a new indexed collection of parish records from Glamorgan County. The collection comes from the Glamorgan Family History Society. These are birth, marriage and death records from the years 1558 to 1900. This collection can be searched by first and last name. Access is free. [Glamorgan Parish Records]
Cheshire – FindMyPast has published 113,000 wills and probate records from Chester. This collection spans the period from 1492 to 1911 and adds to the website’s extensive collection of Cheshire records. Access is by subscription. [Cheshire Probate Records]
London – DeceasedOnline has put 210,000 records from the Eltham crematorium online. This is one of London’s largest cremation facilities and it has served primarily south east London since 1956. A typical record lists name, address, marital status, age, denomination, occupation, date of death and date of cremation. Access is by pay-per-view. [London Cremation Records]
National – FindMyPast has added about 650,000 new parish records for Northamptonshire, Yorkshire, Dorset and Kent. The bulk of the new additions are burial records and marriage records from Northamptonshire. The link provides a complete list of the parishes that are covered. Access is by subscription. [Northamptonshire Burial Records]
Gloucestershire– Deceased Online has added about 16,000 burial records for two rural cemeteries in Cotswold, Gloucestershire. Both cemeteries are near Cirencester. The record set consists of digital scans of the burial registers (forename, surname, description of person buried, age and date of burial), details of the graves and a map indicating the location of the grave. The records date from 1872 to the present. Access is by pay-per-view. [Cotswold Burial Records]
National – FindMyPast in association with the National Archives has published over 1 million maritime records. The records are being released to coincide with the one hundred anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Titanic crew and passenger records are included in this collection, which consist primarily of death records of people who died at sea. Some birth and marriage records are also included. This collection was cobbled together from 10 different record series (the UK never had a centralized register of maritime births, marriages or deaths), so the type of information available will vary depending on the series. Access is by subscription. [UK Maritime Death Records]
2012 January to March
Cheshire – Deceased Online has added 72,000 burial records from Overleigh Cemetery, which is located in the city of Chester, Cheshire. The records date from 1850 to 1953 and complement the existing records from the cemetery already on DeceasedOnline from 1953 to 2011. The records consist of burial register scans and grave details. Maps will be added soon indicating the grave locations. Chester is on the border with Wales and the cemetery contains many Irish names from the Irish diaspora. Deceased Online now has some 200,000 burial and cremation records for Chester and the surrounding region of Cheshire West. Access is by pay-per-view. [Chester Cemetery Records]
London – FindMyPast has put online 1.3 million parish records from the city of Westminster. Westminster is now officially a borough, and it occupies much of the central area of London. This will be a good collection to consult if your ancestors lived in central London. The collection consists of baptism records, marriage records and burial records. The link will give you an exact list of the churches covered by the collection. Access is by subscription. [Westminster Parish Records]
Commonwealth – The UK National Archives working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is going to release colonial administration records over the next year. This is a wide-ranging collection of records associated with the colonial administration of many of the UK’s former overseas territories and protectorates such as the Bahamas, Fiji, Jamaica, Kenya, Palestine, Uganda, etc. It does not cover some of the larger Commonwealth countries such as Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
The records will be released in batches over the next year according to the schedule posted on the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In total, 38 countries/regions are represented, with the greatest concentrations in the Caribbean and Africa. Most of the countries on the list traditionally lack good genealogy records. This could be a very valuable collection for anyone with ancestors from these regions. [Colonial Administration Records]
Durham – Durham Records Online has passed the auspicious mark of having 1 million burial records online. Congratulations! Between the parish burial records and the census records for Durham, the website has a total of 3.6 million records online. This is definitely a site worth checking out if you have ancestors from the Durham region. Access is by pay-per-view. [Durham Burial Records]
National – The Society of Genealogists has added pdf images from a variety of electoral roll (poll) books including from London (1837), York (1758), Suffolk East (1835), Norfolk West (1865) and Newcastle upon Tyne (1741). To get the most out of poll books, see our article Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors. The Society of Genealogists has also created a Hertfordshire marriage index (1538 to 1837) that covers some 170,000 entries. Access is by membership. [Historic UK Poll Books]
National – Network Rail has created a virtual online archive of historic UK railway infrastructure. This includes everything from diagrams of historical train stations to pictures of bridges to articles on people who helped build the UK rail network. The information is categorized into five sections: stations; people; companies; tunnels and bridges/viaducts. It includes just a small selection of the entire Network Rail archive, which is thought to hold over 5 million records. This is a website worth looking at if you had an ancestor who worked for the railways in the UK or you just happen to have a fondness for railways. It is also interesting to look at if you want to see the original diagrams for some iconic British structures and stations, such as Paddington Station, which will be familiar to anyone who has flown into London. Access is free. [Historic UK Railway Archive]
National – Forces War Record has significantly expanded their offering of UK military records with some 250,000 new records from the Boer War. These are records of Commonwealth member forces from the Boer War (1899 to 1902). In total, the website now has some 3.5 million UK military records making it one of the largest websites for finding British military records. Records go back to the Napoleonic Wars. Access is by subscription. [Boer War Military Records]
Wales – FindMyPast has added 4 million Welsh parish records to their collection. These are baptism, marriage, banns and burial records that cover Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Glamorganshire. The baptism records span the years 1538 to 1911, the marriages and banns cover 1539 to 1926 and the burial records are from 1539 to 2007. FindMyPast plans to add other Welsh counties in the near future. Access is by subscription. [Welsh Parish Records]
Manchester – FindMyPast has added some 74,000 Manchester city military records from the World War I era. These are records of men who served with the Manchester city battalions and the Manchester roll of honour from World War I (men from the area who enlisted in the Army or Royal Navy). These records also cover the area around Manchester. Access is by subscription. [Manchester Military Records]
London – Ancestry.co.uk has put online a list of London school admissions and discharges covering the period from 1840 to 1911. This database lists some 1 million students from 843 schools in the greater London area. A typical record lists the student’s name, parent’s names, parent’s occupation, admission date, address, birth date and current age. Mandatory schooling did not begin in the UK until 1870 (see A Date Guide to English Genealogy), when children between the age of 5 to 10 were required to receive an education. Full education up to the age of 14 did not begin until 1918. As far as we can recall, this is the largest collection of UK school records that we have seen go online. Access is by subscription. [Historic London School Records]
National – Ancestry.co.uk is reporting that it has completed transcribing over 75% of the UK 1911 census. This census covers England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This is the first UK census where you can see the actual handwritten forms completed by your ancestors. Access is by subscription. The link takes to a list of the counties and tells you how much has been transcribed. [UK 1911 Census]
National – FindMyPast has released a batch of some 360,000 records related to merchant navy seaman for the period 1835 to 1857. This record set comes from the National Archives. It was originally created by the UK government, who wanted to monitor merchant navy seaman as a potential reserve for sailors for the Royal Navy. The records vary in detail, although most records include the name, age, place of birth, physical description and the names of ships served on as well as the dates of the seaman’s voyages. This new record set meshes with the release in September 2011 from FindMyPast of 20th century merchant navy seaman records. The entire collection now spans the years 1835 to 1941. [UK Merchant Navy Seaman Records]
National – Ancestry.co.uk has updated their records for the 1861 and 1891 English census and the 1891 Wales census, as well as British Army World War I service records. These are not new record sets, but updates to existing record sets. Access is by subscription. [UK Census Records]
Dorset – FamilySearch.org has started a new index collection of Dorset parish records. The collection currently contains some 333,000 records and spans the years 1538 to 1910. This is a collection of baptism records, marriage records, banns and burial records. If you need help reading through this collection, A Date Guide to English Genealogy provides a good guide to English record types. Access is free. [Dorset Parish Records]
National – TheGenealogist has added full transcripts from the 1911 census for four more counties: Gloucestershire; Norfolk; Somerset and the Channel Islands. This brings the total collection of 1911 census records at TheGenealogist to over 30 million records in total. The website hopes to make available in the next few months the transcriptions of the last few counties from the 1911 census. TheGenealogist is known for high-quality transcriptions. Access is by subscription. [1911 Census Records]
Worcestershire – TheGenealogist has added over 21,000 baptism records for Worcestershire. These new records cover the period from 1700 to 1849. This brings the total size of the Worcestershire parish collection to 880,000 records. Access is by subscription. [Worcestershire Parish Records]
Warwickshire – Ancestry.co.uk has recently launched a database for Warwickshire related to bastardy orders. It covers the period from 1816 to 1839. Essentially, every parish during the time was responsible for caring for poor residents. A major source of poverty was children born out of wedlock, which was commonplace in the 1800s. A bastardy order was essentially the end result of an investigation to determine the identity of the father. The objective was to compel the father to provide child maintenance so that the financial burden did not fall on the parish.
If the father could be identified by interviewing the mother, something called a recognizance would be issued compelling the father to appear before the court. If the parish was successful in identifying the father, a bastardy order would then be issued instructing the father to pay for the child’s maintenance. A typical bastardy order identifies the parish and lists the name of the mother, the name of the man charged with being the father, the amount of money ordered by the court to the father to help pay for the child’s upkeep and the itemized cost incurred by the parish to bring up the child.
Ancestry.co.uk has also created a special page listing all the many types of records it holds for Warwickshire. In addition to the bastardy orders, there is a Warwickshire Land Tax database (1773 to 1830), burial slips from Warwick Cemetery (1859 to 1968) and Militia records (1776 to 1825). Access is by subscription. [Warwickshire Bastardy Orders]
Lincolnshire – FindMyPast.co.uk has added over 38,000 new parish marriage records for Lincolnshire. The records were provided by the Lincolnshire Family History Society and span the period from 1699 to 1838. Access is by subscription. [Lincolnshire Parish Records Collection]
Derbyshire – FamilySearch.org has created a new collection of Derbyshire parish records. These are baptisms, banns, marriages and burials from the region that cover the period from 1538 to 1910. The collection already contains some 190,000 searchable records. Records can be searched by name, by spouse, by parents or by type of life event. Access is free. [Derbyshire Parish Records]
Dorset - Ancestry.co.uk released the Dorset Electoral Registers 1839 to 1922. This collection comprises some 2 million names. Please read the article Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors to get the most out of this collection. Access is by subscription. [Dorset Electoral Rolls]
National – The National Archives is launching a new online catalogue at the end of January. Called Discovery, it will make it easier for people to search the online collections. Discovery will run in parallel with the old search catalogue until 31 March, at which time the old search methodology will be permanently disabled. There is a fee to access most of the extensive collections of the National Archives, which currently number over 11 million records. [National Archives Discovery]
London – FindMyPast has put online more London Docklands baptism records bringing the entire collection to some 535,000 records. Access is by subscription. [London Docklands Baptism Records]
Norfolk – FamilySearch has begun indexing their collection of Norfolk parish records, which were previously available only as images. Some 200,000 records have already been indexed out of a collection of some 300,000 images and cover the period 1538 to 1900. Access is free. [Norfolk Parish Records] Alternatively, FreeREG has already indexed a couple of million Norfolk parish records. Access is also free. [More Norfolk Parish Records]
London – Ancestry.co.uk has added electoral rolls for the city of London. They cover the period from 1835 to 1965. Electoral rolls are one of the most powerful ways to trace an ancestor, and yet they are often overlooked by genealogists. Unlike a census, which occurs every 10 years, an electoral roll was generally produced every year in England. Thus, it is much easier to trace the movements of an ancestor with an electoral roll than it is with a census, especially in a city such as London where people tended to move more frequently than in the country.
We talked extensively about electoral rolls in our article A Date Guide to English Genealogy. There are many nuances to electoral rolls, such as the fact that not all men over the age of 21 will be listed in them. As well, women in England did not receive the right to vote until 1928 and thus will generally not appear in electoral rolls before that date. We suggest you review the details of English electoral rolls before plunging into this new collection from Ancestry. Access is by subscription. [Historic London Electoral Rolls]
2011 October to December
National – The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain has integrated their databases onto the JewishGen system to form one integrated database with JewishGen. The combined database lists more than 220,000 records of individuals from the United Kingdom as well as the Republic of Ireland. Included are various types of records such as birth, marriage, burials, census, trader lists, etc. Access is free. [Historic Jewish UK Genealogy Records]
National - Ancestry.co.uk has put online a collection of freeman admission papers for the city of London. The records in this collection date from 1681 to 1925. These are basically applications for freeman admission. A freeman was essentially a craftsman in the city who often belonged to one of the city guilds or trade associations. Guilds were often organized around specific trades, such as candle makers, tinsmiths, etc. London had 89 guilds in the 1700s. To apply for freeman status, a craftsman had to go through an apprenticeship program that often involved indentured servitude. Many of the papers in this collection are details on various indenture agreements (males were often indentured in their teens by their family). A typical indenture agreement lists the name of the individual, date of indenture, parent or guardian's name, county of residence and the master's name. Access to this collection is by subscription. [London Freeman Admission Papers]
Isle of Man – Isle of Man parish records have now gone online thanks to FamilySearch. These records contain baptism, marriages and deaths and span the years 1598 to 1950. The records come from the Manx Heritage Museum. This is a great collection to trace your family if you happen to have ancestors from the Isle of Man (see image below). Access is free. [Isle of Man Parish Records]
Isle of Man burial record. Notice the notation in the margin.
National – The beta version of the British Newspaper Archive website has just launched. This is the website that archives the newspaper collection from the British Library. Although still in beta, the website already contains an impressive 1.6 million pages of information. The archive can be searched by keyword, date, region or newspaper title. In addition to searching for the normal genealogical information such as birth, marriage, death announcements, you can also search for all sorts of background information such as weather forecasts (to find out if your ancestors were married on a sunny day), photographs, shipping notices, shipping schedules, etc.
We should note that GenealogyInTime magazine is a beta tester for this website, so we have access to it. It is not clear how broadly others can access it. Our impression of the website is that even in beta, it is one of the best online newspaper sites we have ever seen. The website is clear, concise, well organized and has very powerful search functionality. When this website fully launches, it will be a pay-per-view website. [Beta Version of British Newspaper Archive]
National – Ancestry.co.uk has added three more Royal Navy Lists to their collection. The new lists are for October 1908, April 1914 and November 1914. These lists include both commissioned and warrant officers and provide details such as name, rank, seniority, medals and other service details. The navy lists are also organized by occupation (gunner, surgeon, carpenter, etc.). As an added bonus, the navy lists also list pensioners and retired officers, making it a good source to check if your ancestor served in the navy in the late 1800s. Access is by subscription. [Royal Navy Lists]
Commonwealth - Ancestry.co.uk has published details on the 880,000 soldiers who received Silver War Badges (SWB) in World War I. These were small, circular badges made of silver, with the king’s initials, a crown and the inscription ‘For King and Empire’ and ‘Services Rendered’ (see image below). They were granted to soldiers who had been honourably discharged from the war due to wounds or illness.
World War I Silver War Badge
The SWB was intended to be worn with civilian cloths (it was forbidden to be worn on a military uniform). The SWB was given to discharged soldiers to prevent them being accosted by women with white feathers (a symbol of cowardice), which were presented to able-bodied men on the home front who were not wearing a uniform. This collection includes SWBs given to soldiers across the Commonwealth. A typical record lists name, rank, regiment number, unit, date of enlistment, date of discharge and reason for discharge. Many service records from World War I were lost. If you suspect this may have happened with your ancestor, then you should check this collection. Sometimes, the SWB record is the only record of military service that survived the Great War. Access is by subscription. [Silver War Badge Service Records]
Cheshire – FindMyPast has published a Cheshire collection. This collection of some 10 million records span the years from 1538 to 1910 and consist of several different record sets. Included are electoral registers (1842 to 1900), parish registers (1538 to 1905), nonconformist records (1671 to 1910) and workhouse registers (1781 to 1910), plus some marriage bonds and allegations (1663 to 1905). FindMyPast is planning to add wills and probate and land tax records to the collection in the future. Most of the records come from the Cheshire Archives. Access is by subscription. [Cheshire Genealogy Records]
National – The Royal Society has put online their historical journal archive. The archive consists of some 60,000 historical scientific papers dating back as far as 1665. This is a fun collection to browse through even if you have no ancestors who were scientists. Included in this collection is Benjamin Franklin’s famous paper on his electrical experiments with kites (see image below), geological papers written by Charles Darwin plus Sir Isaac Newton’s first published scientific paper. The archive can be searched by author, title of the paper and time period. Access is free. [Royal Society Historical Scientific Papers]
National – This seems to be the week for military nurses service records. FindMyPast.co.uk has put online a collection of 4,000 service records of military nurses. The collection consists of records from World War II for nurses who served with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, the Queen Alexandra’s Reserves or the Territorial Army Nursing Service; Scottish Women’s Hospital records for nurses who served in continental Europe during World War I and miscellaneous other nursing records, some going back as far as 1856. Access is by pay-per-view [Historic UK Military Nurses Service Records]
National – The National Archives has put online service records for (mainly) women who served as nurses during World War I. The collection of 15,000 records spans the years 1902 to 1922 and contains an unusual amount of employment detail. A typical service record lists the date and place of birth; training received prior to and during the war; reference checks; units the nurses served in (hospital, field ambulances, casualty clearing stations and other medical units) and evaluations of their performance. The records can be searched by first and last name. Access is by pay-per-record. [World War I Nurse Service Records]
Wales – Ancestry.co.uk has the complete 1911 census online. Until now, however, it had only scanned images of the census. This has now changed. Ancestry has completed transcribing the 1911 census records for Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (some 3 million records in total). These records are now completely searchable. Alternatively, FindMyPast has already fully indexed the entire 1911 census for England. [Wales 1911 Census Records]
UK – GenesReunited has added a massive collection of 35 million UK parish records to their collection. Some of the records go back as far as 1538. The records are divided as follows: baptism records (12 million); marriage records (15 million) and burial records (8 million). The new collection also includes Boyd’s Marriage Index (1538 to 1840) and Boyd’s First Miscellaneous Series (1538-1775). Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Parish Records]
UK – Ancestry.co.uk has released 3.9 million new parish records from Warwickshire and Dorset. These include baptisms, banns (essentially marriage announcements), marriages, deaths and burials. The records cover a wide time period, although most of the Warwickshire records appear to be from about 1813 to 1910, with some records going back as far as 1502. The Dorset records generally run from about 1820 to the 1850s, with some earlier and later records in the collection. The new Dorset collection also includes bastardy records and Poor Law records in addition to parish records. If you need help sorting out these different record types, A Date Guide to English Genealogy provides a good base to help you research your English ancestors. Access is by subscription. [Warwickshire and Dorset Parish Records]
UK – FindMyPast has put online an interesting collection of about 10,000 records of allied soldiers from the Second World War who escaped or attempted to escape from prisoner of war camps in central Europe. The records give the name, rank, number, corps and reference to the original file at the National Archives. Most records also contain additional detail such as the camp the soldier was held at, date of capture, date of escape and a list of your ancestor’s decorations. Access is by subscription. [World War II Prisoner of War Records]
National – TheGenealogist.co.uk has added 3.4 million more 1911 census records covering the regions of Wales, Kent, Isle of Man, Hertfordshire and Huntingdonshire. Included with the new additions are high-resolution colour images of the records. This brings the total number of 1911 census records available to nearly 9 million (the population of England and Wales in 1911 was about 36 million). TheGenealogist has also added a very handy tool that searches for potential married couples in the 1911 census and then links these to the marriage details found in the GRO records. Access is by subscription. [UK 1911 Census Records]
2011 July to September
Manchester – FindMyPast is launching what they call the Manchester Collection. This is a collection of records that relate to the city of Manchester and the surrounding parts of Lancashire. This includes the usual baptism and birth records (1734 to 1920), marriage records (1734 to 1808) and cemetery and death records (1750 to 1968). However, this collection also includes some other lesser-known record sets that can be very valuable to genealogists: apprentice records (1700 to 1849), school records (1870 to 1916), workhouse records (1859 to 1911), prison records (1847 to 1881) and (for truant youth) industrial school records (1866 to 1912). In total there are about 1.3 million records in this collection, with around half of the total in workhouse records and prison records.
If your ancestors were exceptionally poor or criminals and lived in the Manchester area, you are likely to find them in this collection. What makes this collection valuable is that poorhouse records and prison records are some of the most detailed records available to a genealogist. Usually, prison records give physical descriptions of the individual and both types of records often list the history of the individual. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Historic Manchester Prison Records]
If you are looking for ancestors in the Manchester region and you want to know what record sets are online, Manchester Library has an excellent page listing genealogy resources for family history in Manchester. We also suggest you read A Date Guide to English Genealogy to get a better understanding of UK poor house records and prison records.
Northern Ireland – Ancestry.co.uk has launched a massive new Irish genealogy records collection. With the new additions, they now have over 45 million Irish genealogy records. Ireland is a challenging country to trace ancestors because many of the individual census records were destroyed. For most genealogists, census records are the bedrock of their search for ancestors. However, this new collection from Ancestry should seriously help the cause of anyone looking for Irish ancestors.
There are two main parts to this new collection: Irish Catholic parish records (1742 to 1884) and Irish civil birth marriage death (BMD) records (1845 to 1978). Two things to note:
• According to the 1861 Irish census, about 78% of the population was Catholic. This number had risen to 89% by the 1891 census. Thus, even if you think your ancestors were not Catholic, the Irish Catholic parish records are well worth checking along with the civil BMD registration records.
• Ireland was partitioned into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in 1921. According to Chris Paton at the excellent new blog British Genes, the Ancestry civil registration records are incomplete for Northern Ireland after 1921.
Readers might be interested in knowing this Ancestry release has not gone over well with the Irish government. As reported in the Irish Times, the Irish National Library has questioned the release of a small portion of the Ancestry collection as possibly infringing on the library’s rights. Reading between the lines, it would appear the National Library would have liked to be the one to release its parish record collection to the public. However, it seems to lack the financial resources to transcribe and prepare the records for publication on the internet. Finally, please note this collection overlaps to a certain degree with what is already available on FamilySearch.
Overall, an excellent collection and worth checking out. Access is by subscription. Just be warned that people have been reporting on the Ancestry blog comment section that some of the parish records are mixed up. [Irish Birth Marriage Death Records]
National – FindMyPast has launched a collection of UK merchant ship crew member lists. The collection covers the years from 1918 to 1941. About 1 million records are in the collection. Some of the records pertain to the same individual. Many of the records are extremely complete, with photographs and detailed physical descriptions such as height, eye colour, hair colour, distinguishing features (such as tattoos, etc.). Some records also list place of birth and address of next of kin.
One nice thing is that many of the individuals in this collection are from diverse countries. Merchant seamen tend to come from many different countries. For example, some of the ship manifests list crews that are only 30% British, with the balance coming from a variety of other places. Therefore, this is a good collection to search even if you do not have British relatives, but an ancestor that was a seaman. Of note, there are large number of seamen in this collection from the Maritime Provinces of Canada, the West Indies, Sierra Leone, Scandinavia, Somalia, China and Japan.
As far as we are aware, this is the only significant set of merchant navy seaman records available on the internet. Access is by subscription. Incidentally, FindMyPast has just permanently reduced their prices. [Historic UK Merchant Navy Seaman Records]
Wales – FindMyPast has added about 80,000 new parish records from Gwent (formerly Monmouthshire) that covers the years 1634 to 1933. Included are some workhouse baptism and burial records. Access is by subscription. [Historic Gwent parish records]
Essex – FamilySearch has created a new index collection of Essex parish records. This collection includes christenings, marriage and burial records. The 538,000 records in the collection span the years 1538 to 1900. Access is free. [Historic Essex Parish Records]
Commonwealth – GenesReunited.co.uk has added about 1.3 million military records from various Commonwealth countries. The records date from the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899 to 1902) and World War I (1914 to 1918). Include are the following collections: lists of the men and women who fought during the Second Anglo-Boer war; Commonwealth soldiers who died in WWI; Royal Navy officer’s medal role (1914 to 1920) and New Zealand World War I male and female service personnel. Access is by subscription [Commonwealth World War I Military Records]
National – Ancestry.co.uk has launched a new collection of UK rail employee records. This collection covers a number of British railways and spans the period 1833 to 1963. Included are pension records, accident records, station transfer records, apprenticeship records and basic employment records. The typical record contains the employee name, station, position, age or date of birth. Additional information would include such things as salary, years of service, start date at the railroad, promotions, etc. Access to this collection is by subscription. This seems like a good source to check if you had an ancestor who worked for the railway in the UK. This collection is also available through Ancestry.com and Ancestry.ca [Historic British Rail Employee Records]
National – Ancestry.co.uk has added British Postal Service Appointment Books to its collections. These are basically records that list employees of the post office from 1737 to 1969. Included in each record is the name of the employee, pay, date of appointment and work location. This collection of 1.5 million records shows that the post office obviously hired many citizens over the years (at one point, the UK post office was the largest business in the world). The Post Office was also one of the first major UK institutions to actively recruit large numbers of women (peaking at 100,000 women at the height of World War II). For example, the record set lists 3,000 men called Pat but about 4,500 women called Patricia. So make sure you search this collection for female ancestors as well as male ancestors. You may be surprised to find that one of your female ancestors worked at the Post Office at some point in her life. Access is by subscription. [Historic British Post Office Employee Records]
National – FindMyPast has launched a new collection of business records. The initial release consists of about 9,800 records of Victorian-era businesses and business people culled from a collection of books and trade journals. The collection runs from 1892 to 1987. Many of the records are quite detailed and include photographs and a brief biography documenting such items as the person’s education, hobbies, clubs, charities, etc. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Business Collection]
Cheshire – FamilySearch has added some 930,000 parish records from Cheshire covering the period 1538 to 2000. In addition, about 200,000 Bishop’s transcripts have also been added for the region for the period 1598 to 1900. Access is free. [Historic Cheshire Parish Records] [Historic Cheshire Bishop’s Transcripts]
Northern Ireland – The Belfast Telegraph newspaper has put online a collection of historic images from County Kilkenny. The collection of over 6,000 photographs, political prints and portraits also contain old family photos and landscape images. The collection can be searched by keyword. The images are available for sale. [Historic County Kilkenny Images]
Yorkshire – Ancestry.co.uk has added a major new collection of Yorkshire parish records to their collection. Going back almost 500 years, the collection of more than 8 million records focuses on West Yorkshire baptism, marriage and burials between 1538 and 1980. This collection predates in many parishes the civil registration of birth, marriage and death records, which began in 1837. Access is by subscription. [Historic West Yorkshire Parish Records]
UK – DeceasedOnline has added another 1.25 million burial and cremation records to its collection, with the latest records coming online by early August. This is in addition to the some 1 million records that were added earlier in 2011. These new records come from a variety of UK towns and cities ranging from Scotland to South Devon. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Burial Records]
Yorkshire – The website TheGenealogist has launched a major new Yorkshire collection. This includes marriage licences (1630-1674), translations from the 1086 Doomsday book on land holdings, regimental military records from the English Civil War (1642-1651) as well as later periods, polling books from parts of Yorkshire (1868) and Northumberland (1774) and many different directories from various time periods. This is a potentially very strong collection for anyone with ancestors from Yorkshire. If you want a bit of background on how these various records tie together, we suggest the free article A Date Guide to English Genealogy. Access to TheGenealogist website is by subscription. [Historic Yorkshire Genealogy Records]
Bristol – FamilySearch has added about 114,000 parish records for Bristol for the years 1538 to 1900. Access is free. [Historic Bristol Parish Records]
2011 April to June
National – FindMyPast has added British militia attestation papers covering the period 1806 to 1915. Attestation papers are basically enlistment papers for new soldiers and they often contain a wealth of genealogical data. These records have full name, date of birth, place of birth and physical descriptions of the soldiers. The physical descriptions are often complete and include such items as height, weight, chest size, complexion, eye colour, hair colour and any distinctive marks such as tattoos. It is unusual to find genealogical records that contain actual descriptions of ancestors. Some of the later records even contain photographs. Access is by subscription. [Historic British Attestation Papers]
Nothinghamshire – The Nottinghamshire county council has put online details of about 200 historic Nottinghamshire manors. Included in the collection are medieval court rolls, surveys, maps and other documents. Some of the records go back as far as the 13th century. The records are stored online at the National Archives website. Access is free. [Historic Nottinghamshire Manor Records]
Northern Ireland – Eddies Extracts continues to add new birth, marriage and death extracts from various newspapers, church records and other sources from Belfast. This excellent website is well worth checking out if you have ancestors from around the Belfast region. Access is free. [Historic Belfast Genealogy Records]
National – GenesReUnited has revamped their passenger list collection. This will be of interest to anyone with ancestors who emigrated from a British port between 1890 and 1960. The records list the passenger’s name, age, date of departure, departure port, destination port and the name of the ship. Some records list additional information, such as UK address, year of birth, marital status, occupation and nationality. In total, this collection lists some 24 million passengers. GenesReUnited states that it’s collection is particularly strong for passenger lists for ships sailing to Australia. Access is by subscription. [Ancestors on Board]
Dorset – Ancestry.co.uk has put online some 2.1 million historic Dorset parish records. The records go back as far as 1565, with most of the collection concentrated in the years 1813 to 2001. Included are details on baptisms, marriages and burials, with some historic wills. This collection is the result of a partnership with the Dorset History Centre, who owns most of the original records. Access is by subscription. [Historic Dorset Parish Records]
National - Ancestry.co.uk has put online the scanned images of records from the 1911 UK census, which covers England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Ancestry will now begin work on transcribing the images to make them fully searchable. The 1911 census is notable in that you can view the original household forms. As well, the 1911 census asked more questions than previous English censuses, such as how long couples had been married and the number of children from their marriage. Access is by subscription. [1911 England Census Records]
Somerset - Origins.net has added a set of Somerset electoral rolls spanning the years 1832-1014. This collection of over 2 million entries can be a valuable source for tracing Somerset ancestors. Electoral rolls are often overlooked by genealogists but they can serve several useful purposes, such as confirming an ancestor's address between censuses. If you are not familiar with the nuances of English electoral rolls, then please see this detailed description of English electoral rolls, which is from our article A Date Guide to English Genealogy. Access to these Somerset electoral rolls is by subscription. [Historic Somerset Electoral Rolls]
Liverpool – Ancestry UK has added 3 million parish records from the city of Liverpool and surrounding areas. In addition to digitizing Church of England registers that go back more than 300 years, the new collection also has a number of Catholic Church registers from the region. Access is by subscription. [Historic Liverpool Parish Records]
Essex – The town of Laindon, Essex has created a community archive to store historic information about the town and the surrounding region. The site was put together by a group of local historians. This is a good resource to check if you have ancestors from the region. [Laindon Essex Historic Archive]
Wales – Here is an interesting new site for anyone with Welsh ancestors. Called the People’s Collection Wales (Casgliad y Werin Cymru), it is “a place to discover and learn, contribute your own content and share the story of your Wales with the world”. The website is a new online archive where you can do a variety of things of interest to genealogists such as exploring historic maps of Wales, creating and sharing family trees, join special interest groups, learn about Welsh history and more. The website already has over 28,000 items in its collection. Access is free. You need to register if you want to contribute content. [People’s Collection Wales]
Cambridgeshire – FindMyPast has added 1.1 million new parish records from Cambridgeshire. The records date from 1538 to 1950 and include baptisms, marriages, banns and burials. Access is by subscription. Click on the link to see the complete list of parishes covered. [Historic Cambridgeshire Parish Records]
Durham – Durham University has created an online database of pre-1858 probate records (wills and related documents). The records cover the previous probate jurisdiction of the Diocese of Durham. This includes most of present-day Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham and parts of northern Yorkshire. Some of the probate records date back to the 1500s. The database will eventually have over 150,000 wills and related documents, with links to images of the original documents held by FamilySearch. Access is free. [Historic Durham Wills]
Northern Ireland – Queen’s University, Belfast has created a virtual library on the history of Irish migration. In addition to many government papers, the website contains two databases of interest to genealogists: the Irish Emigration database and the Voices of Migration and Return database. The Irish Emigration database already contains more than 33,000 records from various sources, including letters, diaries and newspaper adverts. The Voices of Migration and Return database contains 90 life interviews conducted with migrants from the Ulster region. The databases can be searched by keyword and document type. Access is free. [Documenting Ireland: Parliament, People and Migration]
2011 January to March
Northern Ireland – Belfast City Council has put online 360,000 burial records from three city cemeteries. The records are from Belfast City Cemetery (from 1869 onwards), Roselawn Cemetery (from 1954 onwards) and Dundonald Cemetery (from 1905 onwards). Each record contains the following information: full name, age, sex, last place of residence, date of death, date of burial, grave section and number and type of burial (in ground or cremation). Access is free. [Historic Belfast Cemetery Records]
National – The Knowles Collection of Jewish records has increased by some 55,000 record to a total of 195,000 records. About 10,000 new records are being added every month. The Knowles Collection links individual Jews into various family groups. The collection is organized by geographic region, with the largest regions being the British Isles (104,000 records), Americas (53,000 records) and Europe (33,000 records). The Knowles Collection is hosted by FamilySearch. Access is free. [Knowles Collection of Jewish Records]
Cheshire – FamilySearch has added over 450,000 marriage bands and allegations from Cheshire. These are essentially the predecessor to a modern marriage license. The engaged couple would make a public vow (usually in church) that there was no moral or legal reason why they should not wed. These new records, which cover the period 1606 to 1900, list the names of the couple intending to marry, their ages and occupations, current marital status and residence. Some records also contain additional information such as the place of the intended marriage and the names of the parents. Access is free. [Historic Cheshire Marriage Bonds]
National – FindMyPast has added over 9 million new records in 13 collections. The largest collection (5.4 million records) is the Boyd’s Marriage Index 1538-1840. This is a transcription of some 500+ books from the library of the Society of Genealogists, London. Each index contains the first and last name of the bride and groom, the year of marriage, as well as the county and parish where the marriage took place. Also listed is a reference to the record source. Access is by subscription. [Boyd’s Marriage Index]
Derbyshire – FindMyPast has made a major new addition of 2.1 million birth, marriage and burial records for Derbyshire. The records date from 1837 to the present. The records come from the Derbyshire Registrars index (i.e. they are government records not parish records). Access is by subscription. The link provides a complete listing by district. [Historic Derbyshire Birth, Marriage, Death Records]
Various Regions – FindMyPast has added over 575,000 parish records for Durham, Yorkshire, Cumberland, Northumberland and Westmorland. The records go back as far as 1600 and as recent as 1977. Most of the records (about 80%) are baptism records and the balance is marriage records. Access is by subscription. The link contains detailed lists of each parish in the new collection. [Historic UK Parish Records]
National – FamilySearch has put online the indexes for the 1881 and 1891 England and Wales census. This totals about 30 million names in each of the two censuses. Note this is an index only. The index comes from FindMyPast. You can access the index for free from FamilySearch but you will need to go to FindMyPast to see the complete record for a fee. [Free Index of 1881, 1891 England Census]
National – Origins.net has expanded their National Wills Index with a new index called the British Record Society Probate Collection. This index gives the name and date of several million wills and other probate documents from various regions of England. The date range of the records varies widely by region. In general, most of the wills are pre-1800. Please note this is an index only. You still need to contact the relevant record office to view the original probate documents. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Wills]
Northern Ireland – The Public Records of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has begun to put historic photographs online through Flickr, the free photo-sharing website. The first batch of images is 15,000 pictures taken by a photographic studio in Armagh from 1900 to 1952. The pictures will be uploaded to Flickr in stages over the next couple of weeks. Many of the images are wedding and family group photos. The collection can be searched by family name. This is a good resource to check if you have ancestors from County Armagh. Access is free. [Historic Armagh Photographs]
National – Ancestry is putting online the 1911 census for England and Wales. It will roll it out in stages throughout 2011. The first part has already gone online (the census summary books). Access is by subscription. [England and Wales 1911 Census] If you can’t wait, FindMyPast already has the 1911 census online [FindMyPast 1911 Census]
Northern Ireland – The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has just released another batch of new genealogy records online. The latest batch includes probate registries (mainly wills) for the district of Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry. Access is free. [Northern Ireland Historic Probate Records] The records from this site can also be searched using our free Genealogy Search Engine.
London – Ancestry has released a new data set called London Land Tax Valuations 1910, which as the name implies shows London tax records for 1910. These records list the owners and occupiers of a property, the address, the assessed property value and the annual rent. This data set is a good complement to census records, particularly if you are unable to locate London ancestors from the 1911 national census. It is also interesting to note that house prices in London have risen by almost 3,000 percent since 1910. This sounds like a big number, but it works out to an annual compound growth rate for London housing of only 3.5% over the last one hundred years. Access is by subscription. [London 1910 Property Tax Records]
2010 October to December
London – DeceasedOnline has added 575,000 burial and cremation records from the co-joined cemeteries of St. Pancras and Islington in North London, which combined make the largest cemetery in London. The records consist of scans of the registers. The records cover the periods for St. Pancras of 1854 to 1898 and 1905 to 1911 and for Islington of 1854 to 1945. This collection is about 70% complete and a further 225,000 records are expected to be added by April 2011. DeceasedOnline also plans to put maps of the cemeteries online in the next few months. Access is by subscription. [St. Pancras and Islington Burial Records]
Northern Ireland – The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has put online abstracts from about 93,000 wills from the district probate registries of Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry. The period covered is 1858 to 1919 and 1922 to 1943. Access is free. [Historic Northern Ireland Wills] The wills can also be searched using our free Genealogy Search Engine.
Oxfordshire – Origins.net has indexed some 21,000 probate records associated with wills in Oxfordshire. The collection comes from two sources: surviving probate records of the bishop and archdeacon of Oxford (1733 to 1857) and the Oxfordshire Peculiars (1547 to 1856). The actual wills themselves are not available online but can be ordered in hardcopy. Wills can be a great source of genealogical information. A typical will contains the full name, address and occupation of the deceased; details on land ownership; a listing of personal property and debts as well as the names and addresses of heirs (which were typically close family members). One thing to note is that wills from this time period in the UK were usually the domain of people with reasonably substantive land or assets, which would exclude most of the population. Access is by subscription. [Historic Oxfordshire Wills]
National – Familyrelatives has put online about 1 million records of post office and trade directories. These records of small businesses and shopkeepers span various UK cities primarily during the years 1859 to 1879. An early predecessor to today’s Yellow Pages, such records can be useful for tracing ancestors who were shopkeepers or ran small family businesses. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Trade Directories]
National – Ancestry has released three new collections of British military medal and award rolls. The first collection lists more than 2.3 million British soldiers who were granted medals and awards from 1793 to 1949 but excludes World War I and World War II. The second collection lists 1.5 million British navel personnel given medals and awards from 1793 to 1972. This collection does include the two world wars. The third collection lists 25,000 Distinguished Conduct medals given out during and after the First World War (1914-1920). Access is by subscription. [British Military Records] Many of these records were already available for free on other websites (like London Gazette) and can be searched through the free Genealogy Search Engine.
Northumberland - Northumberland County has launched a new service that allows people to order copies of historic birth, marriage and death (BMD) certificates online. Previously, BMD certificates could only be ordered by mail, which was inconvenient for anyone living outside the UK. The fee is £9 per certificate plus overseas delivery charges (if applicable). [Northumberland County Online Certificate Search] [Northumberland County Genealogy Resources]
Cumbria – The Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society has created a website devoted to Cumbria birth, marriage and death (BMD) indexes dating back to the start of the civil registration in 1837. A total of almost 500,000 BMDs have already been placed on the website. The objective of the website is to eventually cover all Cumbria births, marriages and deaths. The indexes can be searched for free. [Cumbria Birth Marriage Death Index]
National – FamilySearch has added 18.3 million images from the 1851 England and Wales census. It is not clear whether all of the images have been indexed, but access is free. [Free UK 1851 Census Records]
Devon – FindMyPast has put online almost 860,000 Devon parish records. There periods covered are baptism records (1813 to 1839), marriage records (1754 to 1837) and burial records (1813 to 1839). Access is by pay-per-view. [Devon Parish Records]
London – Ancestry has done another significant update to their London Metropolitan Archives database, with many new records being added. The range of dates for the collection is now as follows: births and baptisms (1813 to 1906); marriages and banns (1754 to 1921) and deaths and burials (1813 to 1980). The London Poor Law records (1834 to 1940) have also been significantly expanded. The number of London boroughs in the database has almost doubled to twenty-two. Access is by subscription. [London Metropolitan Archives Collection]
2010 July to September
National - Ancestry has made a new database available called the Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books 1802-1849. This is a database of almost 200,000 convicts held on prison ships. Each record lists the inmate's name, year of birth, age, year and place of conviction, offense committed, name of the prison ship (which are called hulks) and character reports on the prisoner written by the jailer. Many of the convicts were awaiting transport to Australia, making this record set of particular interest to anyone wanting to trace Australian ancestors. In the genealogy world, prison record sets are rare. Access is by subscription. [UK Prison Hulk Registers 1802-1849]
National – The UK National Archives has put online thousands of pages of Victorian workhouse and Poor Law records. The database consists of more than 115,000 scanned images of letters, reports and memos from 108 volumes of Poor Law records from across England. Most of the records date from 1834 to 1855. Poor Law records provide a rich source of ancestral information, but most of these records have traditionally been largely inaccessible to genealogists due to a lack of indexing. Now, however, some of these records have been indexed thanks to the efforts of 200 volunteers. The Poor Law records can be searched by place, name and subject matter. Access is free. [UK National Archives Living the Poor Life Database]
Dorset – FindMyPast has added 22,000 parish baptism, marriage and burial records from Dorset provided by the Dorset Family History Society. The records span the years 1549 to 1839. Access is by subscription. [Dorset Baptism, Marriage, Burial Records 1549-1839]
London – DeceasedOnline, the central database of UK burials and cremations, has added burial records from the south London borough of Merton. About 100,000 burial records from four cemeteries (Church Road, Gap Road, London Road and Merton & Sutton Joint Cemetery) have been added. The records date back to 1883. Access is on a pay-per-view basis. [Merton Historic Burial Records]
National – British History Online has added ecclesiastical records from the Church of England, London Consistory Court Depositions. The records involve 1,800 cases relating to defamation, marriage, title and other disputes from 1586 to 1611. The cases are indexed by name, place, occupation, status and cause. Also recently added were Alumni Oxonienses for the period 1500-1714, which lists all Oxford University alumni members and includes brief biographical details and relationships between alumni (such as fathers and sons). The alumni list can be searched by surname. Access is free. [London Consistory Court Depositions 1586-1611] [Oxford Historic Alumni Lists 1500-1714]
National – The University of Cambridge and King’s College, London have created an interesting website called PASE Domesday. Basically this site marries ancient records with modern technology to map all of the estates mentioned in William the Conqueror’s famous Domesday survey of 1086 (for every shire in England the Domesday Book lists each landowner, a description of the land they owned, the worth of the land and the amount of livestock held by the landowner). Genealogists who can trace their ancestors to a particular English town could use this mapping tool to find out who owned and controlled the land in the region during Norman times. Access is free. We would urge our readers to take the time to first read the step-by-step guide before using this site. [PASE Domesday]
National – Ancestry has added a major new database to its UK collection. The database is called the England & Wales National Probate Calendar – Index of Wills and Administration. This collection covers the period 1861 to 1941 and “effectively forms an index to wills and probate records for this period”. The typical entry includes date of the will, full name of the deceased, date of death, place of death and the location of the registry containing the will. Two things to note. First, there are gaps in the records. Several years are missing (see the website for an updated listing). Second, this database only provides an index of wills. Anyone wanting to order a copy of a will has to go through the registry listed on the record. Access to the database is by subscription. [England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1861-1941]
Kent – Kent Messenger, the county newspaper of Kent, has begun the process of digitizing and putting online for free over 26,000 newspaper pages dating from 1859 to 1919. This is believed to be the first time a regional newspaper in the UK has digitized their archive and made it available for free to the public. The digitization process is ongoing and they are looking for volunteers to help with the digitization process. [Kent Messenger Digitization Process]
National – The National Archives has created a website called legislation.gov.uk that is now the official home of all UK government legislation from 1267 to the present. Included are original Acts of Parliament, church measures, statutory instruments, ministerial orders and parliamentary measures. Other types of government documents are also included. The legislation covers England (1267 to the present), Scotland (1424 to 1707 and 1999 to the present), Wales (1999 to the present) and Northern Ireland (1974 to the present). Everything is available in one searchable database. This is a good site to gain historical insight into your ancestor’s actions, such as reasons why they may have immigrated. Access is free. [Online UK Government Legislation]
National – FindMyPast continues to add more records to its Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1854, which was previously discussed on this page. The newest batch includes 180,000 new service records. FindMyPast also recently added 278,000 Thames and Medway parish baptism records for the period 1721 to 1970. Access is by subscription. [Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1854]
National – FindMyPast has re-indexed over 100 million birth records from 1837 to 2006. The new indexes now show individual records when searching by name (instead of a page of results). As well, it is now possible to search by father’s name and mother’s name. [UK Historic Birth Records 1837-2006]
London – London Lives is a new online archive containing 240,000 pages of material about London from 1690 to 1800. The site was a five-year project that aggregated and digitized content from eight different London archives. Included are workhouse records, criminal registers, coroner’s reports, court records, poor relief records and several other types of records. In total, there are 15 datasets in the archive. This is an excellent resource for tracing ancestors who were at the lower levels of society (which, practically speaking, means most ancestors). These ancestors often did not leave many official birth/marriage/death records. A total of 3.4 million names are in the archive and access is free. If you register (also free), you can create a personal workspace where you can link together different records of your ancestors. One think to note is that often the original record must still be referenced at the original repository. [London Historic Archives 1690-1900]
National – Ancestry has put online the service records of 55,000 British soldiers who fought in the Second Boer War (1899-1902). Details include name, military campaigns, place of death (almost half the soldiers died), injuries, etc. Some records contain more information. Access is by subscription. [Second Boer War Military Service Records]
National – The website FamilyRelatives has added what is known as the Royal Navy Lists for the period 1847 to 1945. These Lists were produced regularly and contained career details of all Royal Navy and Royal Marine commissioned officers. In total some two million names are included in the Lists, although many are obviously duplicates as an officer’s career typically spanned several years (and thus several Lists). This is a good resource if you want to track the career history of an ancestor who was an officer in the Royal Navy. Access is by subscription. [Historic Royal Navy Officer Records 1847-1945]
2010 April to June
National – More than 1 million records from Bletchley Park will be digitized and put online for the first time by the Bletchley Park Trust. Bletchley Park, also known as Station X, was the site of the UK government’s main decryption effort during World War II. The notorious German Enigma cipher was cracked at Bletchley Park during the war due to the dedicated work of thousands of individuals, including people such as Alan Turing. At its peak, some 12,000 people were thought to work at Bletchley Park, about 80% were women. All were sworn to secrecy. This may be your chance to find out how your relatives contributed to the war effort. [Bletchley Park World War II Records]
National – Cambridge University Library plans to digitize and put online their most significant rare books and manuscripts. The first collections to be digitized will be the science collection and the religion collection. The science collection involves notes and papers from such luminaries as Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. The religious collection contains some of the oldest known Qur’ons in existence and the most extensive holdings of Jewish Genizah materials. [Cambridge University Library Rare Book Collection]
London – Ancestry has increased their London Parish Records Collection by adding some 500,000 records covering about 225,000 non-conformists (i.e. non-Anglicans). The records include such famous British non-conformists as Daniel Defoe, William Blake and John Stuart Mill. Most of the parish records are for Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists and Quakers with some Jewish records. The records cover the period 1694-1921. Access is by subscription. [Historic non-Conformist London Parish Records]
Cumbria – A new specialty database from the University of Manchester will help genealogists track ancestors living in the Manchester/Liverpool/northwest England region between 1760 and 1820. This is an excellent genealogical resource for tracking ancestors before the 1841 census. The database is based on business and court records, wills and family correspondence. Access is free. [Historic Manchester Genealogy Records 1760-1820]
UK – Here is something new that will be useful to family researchers, but it is certainly not your normal genealogy database. The University of Cambridge Scriptorium Project contains thousands of pages of handwritten “miscellanies”. A miscellany is a collective mixture of writings on various subjects usually (but not always) contained in one book. Miscellanies were popular in the 1400-1800s when paper was very expensive and often predate diaries for families as a form of recording everything from recipes to poems to family medicine to scripture to day-to-day activities. Although this site is not likely to help you find your ancestors, it will provide considerable context as to the life and times of 15th to 18th century England. As a bonus, this site has perhaps the best free courses on reading old English handwriting. Access is free. [Free Course on Reading Old English Handwriting]
London – The Illustrated London News (ILN) archive from 1842 to 2003 is now online. This news archive is particularly important to genealogist tracing their London ancestors because the ILN was the newspaper of choice for the Victorian middle classes living in London. Thus, of all the London newspapers, the ILN is the one most likely to have information about your ancestors. As well, the ILN was the first newspaper to make extensive use of illustrations. The ILN developed a fast method of using woodcut prints that was much cheaper and less time consuming then the more popular copper plates of the time. The ILN archive consists of some 250,000 pages and 750,000 illustrations. The archive is initially available only through libraries and educational institutions. Note: this archive have not been indexed by Google so you can not use Google search to look for ancestors in this archive. [Illustrated London News Historic Archive 1842-2003]
National – The Society of Genealogists has put online a rather unique genealogy resource known as the Great Western Railway shareholders index. Back in the days when share certificates were transferred manually, companies kept detailed records of their shareholders (name, address and date of death, probate, marriage or other event that triggered the exchange of shares). Over 440,000 individuals are listed in the index. Note that not all the shareholders were based in England. Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Canada are also listed. Access is by subscription to FindMyPast. [Great Western Railway Shareholder Index]
2010 January to March
Cambridge – DeceasedOnline has digitized approximately 230,000 new burial and cremation records from the city of Cambridge, the town of Gainsborough (Lincolnshire) and the London borough of Brent. The site is free to search with a pay-per-view policy to view the actual records. [Historic Cambridge Burial Records]
National – The British Library is expanding an archive of defunct UK websites that have historical value to the country. The library was tasked in 2003 with the responsibility of keeping at least one copy of all electronic material produced within the UK. This includes such items as compact disks and online publications. However, this archival mandate has been on the backburner until a recent report highlighted that the British Library had managed to archive only about 6,000 out of an estimated 8 million UK websites. Included in the existing archive are primarily high-profile websites such as now-bankrupt companies like Woolworths. By comparison, several other countries ( Australia, New Zealand, Finland and Portugal) have more aggressive programs to archive their national web material. Access to the British Library website archive is free. [Archive of Defunct UK Websites] Alternately, the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive has snapshots of websites going back in time. It is not always 100% complete, but it will have more breadth than the British Library archive. [Wayback Machine]
London – FindMyPast has added one million new London parish records covering the period 1813 to 1890. This brings the total number of baptism, marriage and burial records at the site to some 24 million. This website is also the only one that has the complete collection of England 1841 to 1911 censuses. Access is by subscription. [London Parish Records 1813-1890]
National – The British Library has begun a three-year project to create an online archive of British science. Included will be an audio library of recordings of prominent British scientists. This archive project was prompted by the fact that in the past 10 years there have been nine British Nobel prize winners who have died without leaving a significant archive of their work. The archive will be appear on the main British Library archive page when it becomes available. [Historic British Science Archive]
National– FamilyRelatives has put online more than five million parish records from around 60 parishes across England. The indexed records range from 1538 to 1900 and cover baptisms, marriages and burials. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Parish Records 1538-1900]
National – The National Health Service Information Centre has made available on its website application forms to access the 1939 Schedule, essentially an emergency census taken on the night of 29 September 1939 at the start of World War II. The census covers England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Information collected included full name, gender, date of birth, profession, home address, marital status and whether the person was a member of the UK Armed Forces. The 1939 Schedule provided unusually complete coverage of the UK population because every citizen was compelled to complete the questionnaire. National identity cards and call lists for military service were based on the 1939 Schedule. A couple of things to note. These records are only available now due to successful access-to-information requests from British genealogists. Consequently, records will only be released for deceased individuals. Also, the records appear to be in a somewhat disorganized state (particularly for Northern Ireland). As a result, there is a £42 fee per application to cover the cost of a manual search. [UK 1939 Census Known as the 1939 Register Service]
India – The Families in British India Society (FIBIS) has added more military records of UK servicemen based in Bombay. FIBIS now has some 183,000 records of British citizens resident in India during the colonial years. The records are free to search although most are not indexed. It helps to know what your ancestors did in India and where they lived. [British Military Records from Colonial India]
Cheshire – FamilySearch has improved and strengthened the indexes for some 4.7 million Cheshire, England parish records and bishop transcripts. The records cover a broad period from 1530 to 1900. Access is free. [Historic Cheshire England Parish Records 1530-1900]
2009 October to December
National: The Financial Times historical archive will launch in January 2010. Every article, advertisement and market listing ever printed by the UK's leading business newspaper from 1888 to 2006 will be available in searchable form. Access is by subscription. [Financial Times Archive]
National: FindMyPast.com has now completed indexing the 1851 UK census. FindMyPast.com is now the only website that has the complete collection of England and Wales census records from 1841 to 1911 inclusive. Searching is free but there is a fee to view transcripts and original records. Alternatively, most Family History Centers offer access to FindMyPast.com at no charge. [UK 1851 Census]
National: FamilyRelatives has added 1 million new military records from 1808 to World War I. Access is by subscription. [World War I Military Records]
National: Ancestry has put online the UK Incoming Passenger Lists for 1878 to 1960. The collection spans 82 years and contains 18 million records of immigrants and tourists who arrived in the UK during this period. Each record includes the passenger's name, age, occupation and intended address in the UK. During much of the time period covered by the collection, citizens of British colonies were able to freely migrate to the UK under British Nationality Law. Many citizens of British colonies migrated to the UK in search of jobs and a better life. For example, 2.6 million of the 18 million records are of Canadians who migrated or traveled to the UK during this period. Access is by subscription. [Ancestry UK]
2009 July to September
London: Ancestry.co.uk has published more than 18 million historic London parish records. The parish records go back as far as 1539. Parish records are the only way to trace births, marriages or burials in the UK before 1837 since government records on such matters generally did not exist before this time. This project was a collaboration of Ancestry.com with London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library Manuscripts. Note: death records marked with a 'P' usually denotes someone who died of the Plague. Access is by subscription. [Historic London Parish Records]
National: Ancestry.co.uk has added more than 100,000 British and Canadian prisoner of war records of soldiers held by Germany in World War II. In addition, the UK Army Roll of Honour has also been added, which includes 170,000 records of all British Army personnel killed in action during World War II. Access is by subscription. [British World War II Prisoner of War Records]
National: FindMyPast is offering the 1901 UK census with new upgraded high-quality images. The company plans to improve next the quality of the images from the 1881 UK census. Access is by subscription. [UK 1901 Census]
National: Ancestry.co.uk has put online the details of UK criminal trials from 1791 to 1892. This database contains the names and details of over 1.4 million criminal trials that took place in England and Wales during a period of great poverty. Discover the dark side of your family history in the searchable indexes! Access is by subscription. [UK Criminal Trials 1791-1892]
National: The UK Arts and Humanities Research Council has put online an extraordinarily old collection of detailed service records of 250,000 medieval soldiers in the employ of the English crown dating from 1369 to 1453. The fully searchable database includes first name, surname, military rank, name of the soldier's captain, commander's name, year of service and the nature of the military campaign as well as a reference to the original record. Given the fact these amazing genealogy records are over 500 years old, genealogists should be prepared to search for ancestors using the very old spellings of their family name. Access is free. [England Medieval Soldier Records 1369-1453]
National: A new website has just launched called A Vision of Britain Through Time. It specializes in mapping how Britain's 15,000 towns and villages have changed over time. Containing over 15 million facts, this is an excellent site to track your British ancestors. Simply type in the name of any town or village and the site will amalgamate an amazing wealth of useful information on the village and surrounding region. Access is free. [Historic Maps of British Towns and Villages]
2009 April to June
Wales: Findmypast.com has released the results of the 1911 UK census for the 2.4 million people that lived in Wales. Access is by pay-as-you-go. [Wales 1911 Census Records]
National: FamilyRelatives.com has put online the Victorian Doomsday Book of 1873, which lists every landowner in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The fully searchable index lists the name of every landowner, their address, the size of their land holdings and the estimated yearly rental income for their land. Access is by subscription. [Victorian Doomsday Book of 1873]
National: Maps from the 1871 census are now available online (catalogue reference 18/1-110). The maps are free to view online but there is charge to download them. [free UK 1871 Census Maps]
National: Findmypast.com has made available indexes of merchant seamen who visited British ports between 1860 and 1913. The indexes include lists of 270,000 merchant seamen, who are normally difficult to track down because of their wandering nature. Access is by subscription. [British Merchant Seaman Records 1860-1913]
National: British Newspapers is a website that contains over two million searchable pages from 49 London, national and regional newspapers from the period 1800 to 1900. The site is a collaborative effort with the British Museum. Access is by subscription. [British Newspaper Archive 1800-1900]
National: The UK government has centralized genealogy searches onto their DirectGov website. Births, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths for England and Wales from 1841 to the present can now be accessed from the site. Birth certificates can be ordered for £7, which is much cheaper than most genealogy sites (that charge up to £30 for the same service). Jayne Nickalls, Chief Executive of DirectGov said "People don't need to pay over the odds for what is an essential and historical document of life in the UK". This is a good money saving tip for genealogists. [Link for Searching Records] [Link for Ordering Birth, Adoption, Marriage and Death Certificates]
National: OldAerialPhotos.com has launched a collection of aerial photographs of the UK from the 1940's to the 1990's. The fully searchable database contains well over 200,000 aerial photographs and can be searched by address and postal code. View your ancestors from the air! The photographs are available for purchase. [Historic UK Aerial Photographs]
2009 January to March
National: Ancestry.co.uk has partnered with the City of London to digitize some 77 million records in the London Metropolitan Archives collection. The collection spans over 400 years and contains records from the 1500s to the early 1900s held by the City of London. It includes such items as parish records (baptisms, marriages and burials), parish poor law records, school admission records, electoral records, land tax records and wills (the complete list is here). The collection will be rolled out gradually throughout 2009. Access is by subscription. [Link to Ancestry.co.uk] [Link to London Metropolitan Archives]
National: The 1911 census for England and Wales is now online. For every address in the UK, the census records show the name, age, place of birth, marital status, occupation and relationship to the head of the household for all 36 million people living in 1911. Information on married women also listed how long they had been married and the number of children in the marriage. Note: about 80% of the records are currently online, with the balance of the records expected to be online in the coming months. Also note the records from the 1911 census are being released two years ahead of the statutory 100-year release date. As a result, some information deemed sensitive (such as census data collected from individuals held in infirmaries and prisons) will be withheld until 2011. Access is by pay-per-record. [UK 1911 census]
National: Ancestry.co.uk has added early UK business directories from 1677 to 1940. These predecessors to today's Yellow Pages show the details of 7.8 million tradesmen, including the beginnings of some of the UK's most famous stores, such as Harrod's, WH Smith and Cadbury. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Business Directories 1677-1940]
National: The UK National Archives has added the service records of 40,000 members of the World War I (1914-1918) Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves. [World War I UK Navy Service Records]
National: Ancestry.co.uk has digitized the records of passengers arriving in England from the British colonies during the period 1878-1960. Access is by paid subscription. [Historic British Passenger Lists 1878-1960]