RECORDS REVEAL 400 YEARS OF WESTMINSTER’S HISTORY

findmypast searchWell, I was out and about today so I missed this announcement earlier from findmypast.co.uk.

Today they published online for the first time the parish records held by the City of Westminster Archives Centre.

The Westminster Collection comprises fully searchable transcripts and scanned images of the parish registers dating back over 400-years.

 

The 3 million records cover the period 1538-1945 and come from over 50 Westminster churches including St Anne, Soho, St Clement Danes, St George Hanover Square, St James Westminster, St Margaret Westminster, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St Mary-le-Strand and St Paul Covent Garden.

 

Some of the fascinating documents now available online detail the wedding of Theodore Roosevelt, the former US President, in 1886; the marriage of Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel; and the marriage of poet Percy Shelley.

 

Debra Chatfield, a family historian at findmypast.co.uk, said: “The Westminster Collection is one of the largest regional parish record collections we have ever published online and contains some truly wonderful gems.

 

“Family historians or people looking into their past, wherever they are in the world, can now search this historical goldmine and uncover the fascinating stories of their London ancestors. There is plenty of intrigue in the records to pique the interest of social historians too.”

 

Adrian Autton, Archives Manager at Westminster Archives commented: “The launch of the Westminster Collection is of huge significance and makes Westminster records fully accessible to a global audience. This resource will be of immense value to anyone whose ancestors lived in Westminster and to anyone wishing to study the rich heritage of this truly great city.”

 

The new Westminster Collection at findmypast.co.uk joins a growing resource of official parish records from local archives, including Cheshire Archives & Local Studies, Manchester City Council and Plymouth and West Devon Records Office, with many more in the pipeline, due to go live in the coming months. In addition, over 40 million parish records from family history societies can be found at findmypast.co.uk in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies.

 

The Westminster Collection is available on all of findmypast’s international sites as part of a World Subscription.

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London Family Tree? Westminster Parish Records Go Online.

WESTMINSTER PARISH RECORDS PUBLISHED ONLINE BY FINDMYPAST.CO.UK

.       Over a million baptism, marriage and burial records that date back as far as 1538 are now available
.       For the first time you are able to see images of the original parish records from the City of Westminster online

Leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk has published online for the very first time today 27th March 2012 the parish records that are held by the City of Westminster Archives Centre.  What they have dubbed “The Westminster Collection” is to be found on the net at findmypast.co.uk and comprises of fully searchable transcripts together with scanned images of the parish registers of this part of London. What is great for people searching for their ancestors in this area is that some of the records are over 400 years old!

Coming from over 50 of the churches from Westminster and including St Anne, Soho, St Clement Danes, St George Hanover Square, St James Westminster, St Margaret Westminster, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St Mary-le-Strand, St Paul Covent Garden, these 1,365,731 records, that are launched today, extend over the various years between 1538-1945.

Debra Chatfield, the family historian at findmypast.co.uk, said today: “The Westminster Collection is one of the largest regional parish record collections we have ever published online and contains some truly wonderful gems. Family historians, wherever they are in the world, can now search this historical goldmine and uncover the fascinating stories of their London ancestors.”

Today’s launch is only the beginning of this exciting project, whose aim is to digitally preserve the City of Westminster Archives Centre’s collection. It is the first tranche of  Westminster records containing the city’s baptisms, marriages and burials. The remaining records are scheduled to go live on the site over the coming months, along with other records such as cemetery registers, wills, rate books, settlement examinations, workhouse admission and discharge books, bastardy, orphan and apprentice records, charity documents, and militia and watch records.

Adrian Autton, Archives Manager at Westminster Archives commented: “The launch of the Westminster Collection is of huge significance making Westminster records fully accessible to a global audience. This resource will be of immense value to anyone whose ancestors lived in Westminster and to anyone wishing to study the rich heritage of this truly great city.”

If you are interested in this part of London then the records can be searched free of charge by visiting the Life Events (BMDs) section at findmypast.co.uk. From there you should select parish baptisms, or marriages, or burials. Transcripts and images can then be viewed with either PayAsYouGo credits, vouchers or a full subscription to findmypast.co.uk.

The new Westminster Collection at findmypast.co.uk joins a growing resource of official parish records from local archives, including Cheshire Archives & Local Studies, Manchester City Council and Plymouth and West Devon Records Office, with many more in the pipeline and due to go live in the coming months. In addition over 40 million parish records from family history societies can be found at findmypast.co.uk in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies.



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Researching Family in Jersey, Part 3: Jersey Parish Records

Jersey Archive
Jersey Archive

Most people will have at least some research to do which involves vital records – births, marriages and deaths. As in England, there are two categories of records. There are those kept by the state authorities – which record birth, marriage and death – and there are those kept by churches and record baptism, marriage and  burial. Jersey began civil registration in August 1842, but in this blog we’ll be looking at the parish records.

Parish records are available at the Jersey Archive. You won’t get to see the original registers, but instead there are copy transcripts made by the CIFHS. These go back to at least the late 17th century, and in some cases right back to the middle of the 16th century. Most of the transcripts end at 1842, but there are some more recent records available for the parishes of St Helier, St Martin and St John.

A typical entry in the baptism register might look like this:

17.02.1833 Mary fille de M. Philippe Du Feu et Mse. Elizabeth Amy

Notice the way that record is made. First of all, it’s in French – Jersey was very largely French- or Jerriais-speaking until the middle of the 19th century, and a lot of legal records long after that were kept in French.

More importantly, you will spot the fact that the mother’s maiden name is used. There were good reasons for this. In most parishes there were a relatively small number of surnames and forenames: as we observed last time there might be  several Philippe Du Feus living in one parish at the same time, and this helped to clarify who was who.

There are a couple of potential pitfalls to watch out for. Firstly, people were not always consistent about how they spelled their names – but the CIFHS transcripts usually gather the different spellings (for example Romerill, Romerill, Romrill, Rumerill) under a single heading. Secondly, it is always worth carrying out a check both of the married and the maiden name if the person you are looking for is female.

If your ancestor wasn’t a member of the Church of England, you might be less fortunate. There are records from two of the big Roman Catholic churches in St Helier (there were two because one was French-speaking and one was English-speaking), and there are a few records from non-conformist churches, but they are rather patchy.

One more thing to add on the parish records: work is in progress to digitise them and make them available online, hopefully towards the end of 2011. Next time we’ll look at the civil records – until then, À bétôt!

This is a Guest blog by James McLaren from the Channel Islands Family History Society

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