Over half a million new Parish Records now available online

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A collection of over half a million unique Parish Records has been added to TheGenealogist.

These cover the counties of Essex, Kent, Leicestershire, Monmouthshire and Worcestershire. The new online records offer invaluable records of baptisms, marriages and burials dating from the 1500s to the late 1800s from Anglican parish registers. The records are a great tool for those people looking to track down early ancestors before civil registration.

The latest releases bring the total to over 2 million parish records already added in 2014 with more to come. Fully searchable and clearly transcribed on TheGenealogist, they provide hundreds of years of records helping you find those early ancestors to further extend your family tree.

Mark Bayley, Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist remarked: “With Parish and Nonconformist Records it is possible to go back so much further and you never know what new surprises or dramatic events you may uncover in the records. We are continually adding more records to our already extensive collection throughout 2014.”

 

Discover surprising details that can be found in the Parish Record collection.

Many of the records are rare, historic parish records, published online for the first time and offer us unexpected information of dramatic events at the time. In the latest records, we find details of one of the protestant martyrs in the 1500s.

Martyrs burnt at the stake

Protestants in England & Wales were executed under Queen Mary I with legislation that punished anyone found guilty of heresy against Roman Catholicism. The standard penalty for treason was execution by being hung, drawn and quartered. In this case, however, the punishment of  “burning” was used for those found guilty of not being of the Catholic faith.

At least 300 people were recognised as martyred over the five years of Mary’s reign, causing her to be known as “Bloody Mary”. The name of one of the world’s most popular cocktail drinks is also said to be named after her!

A number of the executions were carried out in the county of Essex including that of linen draper, Thomas Wattes from Billericay, whose wife Elizabeth is found in the new parish records. Here we see the burial record of Elizabeth Wattes in the parish of Great Burstead on TheGenealogist. Her record describes her husband as a “Martyr of God” with the added extra note in the record giving details of his death- “The Blessed Martyr of God who for his truth suffered his martyrdom in the fire at Chelmsford.”

Martyr burnt at stake

Oliver Cromwell and his son Robert Cromwell

Robert Cromwell appears in the new parish record sets buried in the parish of Felsted in Essex, son of Oliver Cromwell. Robert was the eldest son of Oliver and Elizabeth Cromwell and he died whilst away studying at school at the age of 18. Here we find a copy of his burial record from 1639.

Robert Cromwell's burial. The son of Oliver Cromwell

 

 

The Genealogist site has an extremely comprehensive collection of data sets, which are ever growing. Their ability to react quickly to their customers was demonstrated to me only this week when I had a problem resolved by them within minutes of me bringing it to their attention.

At a time when social media is full of complaints about the functionality of other genealogical data sites, I’d recommend you take a serious look today at what is on offer from TheGenealogist

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Disclosure: Compensated affiliate links are used in this post.

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Will I see you at Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE in February?

 

Welcome to Olympia's Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE show
Welcome to Olympia’s Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE show

I’ve been going to the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show for a few years now and except for one, where the weather conspired to keep me away with thick fog marooning me in Jersey for days, I have seen the show go from strength to strength.

I love the mix of experts to consult, the varying subjects of the talks in the different theatres, the the range of family history exhibitors and the whole buzz of the show.

Tickets have gone on sale at their website and they have announced a number of exciting exhibitors new to the show, giving the visitor even more ways to explore their family history. Perhaps I could just draw your attention to the one at the bottom of this list, as the name may seem familiar?

New Exhibitors at the 2014 show Olympia, 20-22nd February:

  • Unlock the Past – this company combines hobbies and holidays by offering history and genealogy cruises, as well as genealogy e-books.
  • BRD Associates – preserve your story through their professional video life story recording, story books and old image restoration.
  • Borders Ancestry – if you have ancestors living throughout the Scottish Borders and Northumberland, then consider this professional research service.
  • QI Wellness Centre – a company who specialise in the healing of your family’s inherited patterns.
  • Calico Pie – try their family historian deluxe genealogy software for size
  • Open University – is it time for you to take a course to study family or local history?
  • Imperial War Museum – contribute to the museum’s ambitious WWI centenary project by uploading the life story of your ancestor’s role in WWI
  • RAF Museum – last at the show in 2011, get the very best advice in tracing your RAF ancestors
  • Fast Track Engraving – watch their demonstration of engraving and purchase your own memorial medallion to commemorate family members in WWI
  • Dr Williams Library – find out more about library research
  • Brythonium – create a tangible family history using their family legacy cards
  • The Book Alchemist – why not consider a virtual boot camp on how to turn your family history into a written legacy?
  • The Nosey Genealogist – take a family history course using downloadable tutorials and audio CDs’

Of course you don’t have to wait until the show to take advantage of my Family History Researcher Academy course on English and Welsh Family history as there is a banner ad on the right hand side of this very blog!

As for WDYTYA?LIVE, New exhibitors will continually be added in the run up to the show so don’t forget to keep checking to see who is going to be there at: http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com

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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 7: Property Records and PRIDE

A Jersey Property Deed by Nick Thorne
A Jersey Property Deed

Establishing who owns land or a house on it is important, and pretty well every country has a land registry. Jersey’s is small but perfectly formed because every property transaction goes before one single body, the Royal Court. Apart from a small number of mid-17th century transactions, records are complete back to 1602. The first 150 years of records are on paper, but everything subsequent to about 1800 has been scanned and indexed into a computer system called PRIDE. There are two terminals at the Archive. One is upstairs in the reading room, the other is downstairs in reception – which is exceedingly useful as it can be used between 1pm and 2pm when the reading room is shut. You will need a member of staff to log you on.

PRIDE has a very simple search interface, and for most purposes you need a name to investigate, but it can be a hugely useful tool. Not only do you find sales of property, but after 1841 you will also find wills and details of partages – arrangements which exist to deal with the complexities of Jersey’s Norman-based system of inheritance.

You will also find details of rentes. Rentes are a little like a mortgage – you agree to long-term instalment payments in return for a capital sum – but unlike modern mortgages they are theoretically perpetual, and they can be inherited or traded between individuals, although there are very few left today. Also on PRIDE you will find details of procurations – in other words, appointments of attorneys to act on behalf of an individual – for more recent times.

If you start in modern times – after about 1980 – you can search properties. Any sale contract has to include a recital of title – in other words, who the seller acquired the property from and when. If you are fortunate it is then possible to work back up the chain…

Even if you don’t understand all of the legal niceties, PRIDE can still be hugely informative. A search for Philippe Du Feu threw up a document dated 1826. It didn’t actually concern Philippe so much as his wife Elizabeth Amy: the Amy family had created what we call a partage des heritages to ensure that the five daughters were provided with money for homes by their brother who had inherited the estate. In doing so the document gives us the names of all of Elizabeth Amy’s siblings, the names of their husbands (if they were married at that point), her parents, her brother’s grandparents and several aunts and cousins. None of that detail is on the Du Feu family tree. And study of the contract itself could give a great deal more information to the family historian – how generous the settlement was (or wasn’t) could indicate the social standing of the family.

Next time we’ll be looking at military records. Until then – À bétôt!

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

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Researching family in Jersey, part 1: where to start

An Old Jersey House

You’ve traced an ancestor to Jersey, and you are wondering what you can find out about them. To your frustration, you rapidly discover that birth marriage and death records for Jersey are not available online. So what can you do?

Well, there are at least some useful Internet resources out there to help you get started. The most obvious one is the Census: Channel Island censuses from 1841 to 1901 are available both through Ancestry and Findmypast, and the 1911 census is on FindMyPast and will soon be fully available on Ancestry too.

A word of caution, though: the transcription is not entirely reliable on either site, and on top of that, some database search engines have problems with “divided” surnames like Le Sueur or Du Feu (not to mention Le Vavasseur dit Durell). So here’s a shameless plug: if you are going to do a lot of searching of censuses, you could do worse than purchase the paper census indexes produced by the CIFHS. They are a lot more accurate (well over 99%), and can (with a bit of fiddling) be cross-referenced back to the census images on the Internet.

There are also military records. If you’re looking at Channel Island relatives who served in the First World War, it’s well worth investigating at greatwarci.net – this is the website of the Channel Island Great War Study Group, and they maintain a very comprehensive list of people who served. The list is rather more complete than Ancestry’s transcript of what’s in the National Archives simply because Jersey residents served not only with the British armed forces but also with the Canadians and Australians. There were also at least a couple of thousand French nationals who joined up with the French military, but records for them are very scanty. If you are looking at other periods (and bear in mind Jersey had a garrison to protect it from the French right up until the 1930s), you may find references to service in Jersey on the military records of Chelsea Pensioners kept on FindMyPast, or on the GRO Regimental Indexes of birth marriage and death.

There are other useful resources too on Ancestry. There are three Channel Island postal directories – covering 1839, 1903 and 1927 – that may help to link a name to an address.

You may also be fortunate enough to find online family trees. Ancestry host them, as do Genesreunited, and there are also numerous independently-produced web sites. The general rule of thumb is to treat these as a guideline: they may be inaccurate, or they may tell the truth as far the researcher knows it – but not the whole story.

Aside from this, there’s a couple of major Internet resources based in the Channel Islands that may help you with your research. More about them next time. À bétôt!

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


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Genealogy Know How – Searching Your Family Tree

Family tree research is an exciting and rewarding look into your ancestry .  Much of your genealogy research will come easy , and parts will be more difficult.   Along this journey you will begin to wonder if anything is accurate as you grow your genealogy know how.

Census and legal documents may have illegible or incorrect names, wrong dates or errors in location .  As a researcher, you will need to question the evidence to determine whether or not the proof is correct .

People study their family history for many different reasons.  Some wish to join organizations , which require a proven lineage.  Some do it for religious reasons.  Others for medical reasons, trying to trace medical issues through members of their family .  Perhaps the individual wishes to leave a legacy for their children. Most begin genealogy because they are fascinated with the study of their family as a whole .  For whatever reason it becomes a fascinating project.

There is a difference between a genealogy and a family history .   A genealogy is a collection of names, dates, and places .  A family history includes the personal family stories that add interest to the genealogy . 

The often heard question for those beginning genealogy is “How do I begin ?”  

Start with yourself – work from the known to the unknown , gathering proof each step of the way.  Be objective and be organized.

There are several tools to get you started on your path to genealogy know how.  These include pedigree charts, family group sheets,  and basic organizational techniques. You will learn search techniques and will become familiar with genealogy databases.

Sign up for a beginner’s genealogy research class to learn how to be productive with a genealogy project.  Gaining knowledge from one or more experts will show you where to start and how to reduce your research time.

Learn what books and relevant maps to have in your library . Locate local libraries, genealogical and historical libraries . 

Collect family records , legal documents, census records , oral history stories , pictures , jewlery, pins, medals, ribbons, birth announcements , memorial cards , obituaries, holiday reminders and artifacts , scrapbooks and momentos .

Become excited, awestruck and filled with wonder as you increase your genealogy  knowledgeand build your family tree.  

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Skeletons in the Cupboard.

Have you found any skeletons in the cupboard?

If perhaps, like myself, you’ve been doing your family tree research for any length of time then no doubt you’ll have discovered that a number of your own forefathers weren’t quite as you envisioned. The problem occurs in the event that the skeleton, which our forbears have managed to shut away inside the proverbial cupboard, comes tumbling out due to your time and efforts to research your family history. In my own case an ancestor proved to have had a previous wife and children that not one of my relatives knew about. It might appear that this individual conveniently did not seem to remember about his former family when he married into our line! The result of uncovering these facts were that some of my kin were very annoyed with me. They believed that my submitting to them my findings somehow besmirched the fine name of the subsequent wife and our ancestor, whose religious upbringing and moral teaching rejected the concept of any divorce.

It might appear from fresh academic research, carried out at the University of Warwick, that I am one of many. It was while reading on the Reuters internet site that I found the following: “A recent study revealed that people researching their family history often open a Pandora’s Box of secrets that can unsettle and offend relatives, sometimes permanently damaging relations.”

Sociology Professor Anne-Marie Kramer revealed to the British Sociological Association’s yearly conference in Glasgow that in her study, conducted amongst 224 individuals who gave her details of their family history research, around thirty of these mentioned conflict.

In the report, published on Reuters’ website, Kramer noted that the considerable factors behind conflict had been when unwelcome information was uncovered, requesting information from relatives who would prefer not to give it, relatives supplying inaccurate information, expending more time on researching family history rather than with loved ones, and coming into contact with hostile relations.

The Professor explained how men and women in Great Britain, Canada, Australia and the United States were being able to view numerous examples of historical data today caused by the amazing growth in the family history and heritage community both on-line and off.

“But in investigating their family history, researchers could open up a Pandora’s Box of secrets and skeletons, such as finding there are family issues around paternity, illegitimacy or marriage close to birth of children, criminality, health and mental health and previously unknown humble origins,” Kramer said in a statement on Warwick University’s website.

Perhaps we should all bear in mind the need to exercise just a little awareness and diplomacy whenever we set out to interact with our extended family about our genealogical studies. Family historians, endeavouring to research their particular family tree, ought to bear in mind this word of caution that not each and every one will welcome you finding out the truth. Health Warning: Family history research can damage your relationships with your relatives, if you are not careful!

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