Sunday, 20 September 2015

FindMyPast records release including fascinating New York collection

Fascinating New York records now available to search on Findmypast

FindMyPast have released some fascinating records, documents and periodicals relating to New York Families which have been made available online for the first time in association with the New York Genealogical & Biological Society (NYG&B). Over 43,000 new parish registers from historic archdeaconry of Canterbury are also now available to search and browse.

NYG&B eLibrary

The newly available NYG&B eLibrary is comprised of a growing collection of extraordinary record sets. Created in partnership with the New York Genealogical & Biological Society, the collection is comprised of a variety of rich and varied sources including census fragments unpublished elsewhere, marriage & death abstracts, baptism registers and fascinating historical diaries.  The collection also includes rich periodicals and society publications, the most important of which is the entire run of the NYG&B Record.  The Record has been in publication since 1870 and is the second-oldest genealogical journal in the United States and is certainly the single most important scholarly resource that exists for people researching New York families. For the past 145 years, it has solved genealogical problems, provided compiled genealogies, published transcriptions of original records and offered research guidance to the many families who have contributed to the rich diversity of what is now New York State.
The NYG&B is the most authoritative source for research on New York families and families with New York connection Over 32,000 scanned colour images of records, books, abstracts, inventories and publications held by the Society are now available to search on Findmypast.

Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Parish Records

Over 43,000 Baptism, Banns, Marriage and Burial records have been added to the collection of Canterbury Archdeaconry Parish Records.
The new additions constitute a valuable resource for researching ancestry in Kent and cover the parishes of Hythe, St Leonard & Canterbury and Holy Cross. They have been made available in association with the Canterbury Cathedral Archives come from Canterbury’s historic archdeaconry, Before 1841, Canterbury was the only archdeaconry in the diocese of Canterbury. From 1841 until 2011, the diocese of Canterbury was divided into two archdeaconries: Canterbury in the east and Maidstone in the west.
The New additions include:
Each record consists of a transcript and scanned image of the original document.

Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Parish Registers Browse, 1538-1913

Findmypast’s existing collection of Canterbury Archdeaconry parish registers is now available to browse. The registers have been released in association with the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and consist of baptisms, marriages, banns and burials. All parishes located within the Archdeaconry of Canterbury that gave consent for online publication are included within these records. Please note that four parishes withheld consent for publishing images of their records: Cheriton St Martin, Harbledown St Michael, Ramsgate St Luke, and Shepherdswell (also known as Sibertswold) St Andrew. Original records for each of these four parishes can be consulted on microfilm at Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Free access to FindMyPast this weekend

Click here for Free access to FindMyPast this weekend 18th - 21st September

From 12pm BST on Friday 18th September 2015 to 12pm BST on Monday 21st September 2015, you will be able to access FindMyPast's collections of billions of family history records and millions of historic newspaper pages at absolutely no cost.

  • FindMyPast have a large online collection of UK parish records, giving information on births, marriages and deaths from as far back as the 1500s. The site have a comprehensive collection of UK military records, and census records that can help you to trace your family back to 1841. The newspaper archive includes over 11.5 million newspaper pages, offering insights into the world in which your family lived.

Monday, 14 September 2015

New Records on Ancestry: UK, Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy 1824-1910

Ancestry have recently added a new records collection to its database, UK, Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy, 1824-1910.

This collection contains lists of young men who were indentured to merchant navy ships between the years 1824 and 1910. They include details such as name, age and date at registration or indenture, vessel, port of registry, and birth year and place.

United Kingdom divorce database updated on Ancestry

Ancestry have recently updated their U.K., Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1914 collection.

This contains divorce files from England and Wales only. In England and Wales, divorce prior to 1858 was only possible via an Act of Parliament. After 1858, a civil based procedure became possible through a division of the High Court of Justice. The database contains records from civil divorce proceedings that followed the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act.

Records in this database were generated by civil divorce proceedings that followed the Matrimonial Causes Act. The National Archives describes them as follows:
Files of papers arising from petitions for divorce, judicial separation, declarations of legitimacy, applications for protection of a wife's earnings, etc, in the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes and Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice. Some later files also relate to appeals from decisions of magistrates' courts in matrimonial causes….
In most cases the files have been weeded and contain only minutes, pleadings and decrees, but in certain selected suits, illustrating particular kinds of proceedings, papers have been preserved in their entirety.
The end date for records in this database is determined by privacy laws. These records also include petitions for separation or to have a marriage nullified.
What You Can Find in the Records
As noted above, records contained in each file will vary, but they may provide the following details:
  • name
  • gender
  • spouse
  • spouse’s gender
  • type of record
  • petition year
  • date and place of marriage
  • names and birth details of children
  • copy of marriage certificate
Records will indicate who filed the petition and who the respondent was. They may also provide a short history of the marriage (including addresses), the grounds for the divorce petition with some details (such as names, times, and places associated with adultery or desertion), terms of judgment, and other details. These details can make these records both informative and very personal.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

New West Yorkshire record collection added to Ancestry

Ancestry have added a new record collection to their database:

West Yorkshire, England, Select Removal and Settlement Records, 1689-1866.
The records in this database relate to settlement and removals in West Yorkshire. They include examinations and settlement inquiries, registers of settlement, orders of removal, and other documents.

Details included in these records vary widely, depending on the document. An order of removal may contain a name, age, current parish, and parish being removed to. A settlement register may note number of children and marital status. Documents from inquiries and examinations can be even more extensive. In the end, you may be able to uncover some of the following information:
  • name
  • age and birth information
  • parish
  • date
  • places and dates of residence (both current and former)
  • spouse and marriage details
  • children’s names, birth dates and places, and legitimacy
  • professional information and apprenticeships
  • other family members’ names and residences
  • summary of the situation and grounds for settlement or removal.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

FindMyPast adds over 2.8 million new school records

To celebrate the start of the new school year, FindMyPast  have added millions of school records from around the globe. Take a glimpse into your ancestors' early life and pinpoint the area they grew up in, reveal if they had a perfect attendance or occasionally played truant and even determine whether they worked in a school as an adult.

Over 2.8 million new school records including:
Coffs Harbour District Schools
Search through admission registers from 14 schools in the Coffs Harbour region of New South Wales.
Trace their school days »
UK National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914
Search or browse through over 2.7 million new records from over 3,600 schools, released in the third phase of the Archives & Records Association of England & Wales National Schools project.
Explore these unique records »
Ireland National School Registers
Discover where and when your Irish ancestors went to school by exploring over 142,000 school records from across the whole of Ireland.
Take your research to The Emerald Isle »
Surrey, Southwark, St Saviour's Grammar School Admissions 1690-1895
Did your ancestor attend St Saviour's Grammar School in Southwark, England? Explore over 200 years of admission records dating back to the 17th century.
Discover Surrey ancestors »

See all this week's new records

North Tipperary Roman Catholic records added to RootsIreland

RootsIreland have added to its database Roman Catholic records from the parish of Thurles spanning 1795 to 1900, which have been transcribed from the baptism and marriage registers by the North Tipperary Genealogy Centre.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

New species of human relative discovered

A new member of the family tree has been discovered, as scientists in South Africa claim they have found a 'new species of human relative'.

The discovery is the single largest fossil hominin find made on the African continent and it is expected to shake up the evolutionary tree.

The remains of Homo Naledi were discovered in the Cradle of Humankind, about 40 kilometres (24 miles) west of Johannesburg, in a chamber some 90 metres from the cave entrance.

The species appears to have deliberately placed the bodies of its dead in the remote cave, the type of behaviour previously thought to be limited to humans. 

According to paleoanthropologist John Hawks, the creature may be an early member of the evolutionary group including humans and our closest extinct relatives, but it is not thought to be a direct ancestor of current-day humans beings.

Professor Lee Berger with Homo Naledi skull
Professor Lee Berger, of South Africa's Wits University, who led the team that made the discovery, said: "What we have is a tall hominid, between 1.45 and 1.5 metres tall, was very skinny, had powerful joint muscles and had a brain about the size of my fist."

This find has excited researchers, who believe there may be hundreds or even thousands more fossilised remains waiting to be unearthed in the cave.

You can read more about this story on the BBC Website.

'Missing Records' restored to IrishGenealogy

Click here to search Irish Civil Records
There has been no acknowledgement or explanation by the Irish state-run website for what happened (see yesterday's blogpost), but it seems that the site has reverted back to normal and all the missing Civil Records have now been restored to  

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Over 1 million records disappear from IrishGenealogy

There are some strange goings on over at, as all but 825 of the marriage records from the period 1845 to about 1875 have disappeared from Civil Records Indexes on the state-run website. There also just 3075 pre-1900 death records remaining. The birth records seem to be unaffected.

Surely this is just some kind of error, but at the moment there is no polite message on the website to offer an explantation for what has happened to the missing records.

(Thanks to Claire Santry at Irish Genealogy News for this information).

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

FreeBMD Database updated

The FreeBMD Database has been updated on Monday 7th September 2015 and currently contains 249,116,513 distinct records (317,452,057 total records). 
Click here to search the FreeBMD Database
FreeBMD is an ongoing project, the aim of which is to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales, and to provide free Internet access to the transcribed records

Ancient DNA cracks puzzle of Basque origins

DNA from ancient remains seems to have solved the puzzle of one of Europe's most enigmatic people: the Basques. 

The distinct language and genetic make-up of the Basque people in northern Spain and southern France has puzzled anthropologists for decades.

The new study also goes some way to explaining some of the differences between the Basques and their neighbours in France and Spain. - Read the full story on the BBC website.

75% Off FindMyPast 12 Months World Subscription

Enjoy 75% Off a 12 Months World Subscription to FindMyPast - Normally $16.63 per month, now just $4.16 per month (charged as a single payment of $49.87) if you use promo code LABOR75 in the Discount Code field. Expires Friday 11th September 2015. 
Click here to enjoy 75% off at FindMyPast

You can sign up for this package and pay in US dollars even if you are located elsewhere. This code can also be used to renew your current 12 Months World Subscription with the 75% discount.

Help Peter celebrate his 65th birthday

Help Peter Calver to celebrate his upcoming 65th birthday by boosting the LostCousins membership level to the magical 100,000 mark. 
There are 650 one-year subscriptions - 10 for each of Peter's 65 years - to give away to the first 650 members who join LostCousins using the offer code 65TH (you will need to enter this at the bottom of the registration page).

Once the one-year subscriptions have gone, the same offer code will provide a free 3 month subscription to EVERY new member who joins before midnight on 30th September - so all new members joining between now and the end of the month will benefit.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Family History: Digging Deeper

A very useful book about genealogy called Family History: Digging Deeper by Simon Fowler, available to purchase now on Amazon by clicking on the link below. 

Simon Fowler is an English social historian and author. He was editor of Ancestors, the family history magazine of The National Archives (UK), until it ceased publication in 2010, and has written many books relating to family history and social history. He edited Family History Monthly from 2000 to 2004. His history-related articles have appeared in Local History Magazine, Family Tree Magazine, History Today, BBC History Magazine and several academic journals. He was also an archivist at the Public Record Office for 20 years. 

FindMyPast releases WWII Prisoners of War Records online for the first time

FindMyPast has recently added more than 1.2 million extra records to its Prisoner of War 1715–1945 collection. The latest additions cover the Napoleonic Wars and World War Two, and include prison camps in Europe, Africa and The Far East and list nationalities from around the globe. 

Click here to search this collection

The publication, in association with The National Archives, marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on all fronts on September 2nd and the anniversary on September 5th of the liberation of the notorious Changi Prison camp, located on the eastern side of Singapore. 

For more information about the latest releases see FindMyPast.

Oxfordshire Family History Fair returns in October

Oxfordshire Family History Fair will be held again at Marlborough School, Woodstock on Saturday 3rd October 2015. For a full list of exhibitors & societies that will be attending, as well as all visitors information, please visit

Free access to Ancestry's new 170 million US will and probate records

Ancestry has added more than 170 million United States wills and probate records dating from 1668 to 2005. For the first time this collection of records have been made available online, a process that has taken more than two years to be successfully achieved. Ancestry has invested $10million in the digitising and licencing of the records..

Not only is the US wills and probates collection being opened up, Ancestry's entire collection of US birth, marriage and death records is included in the free access, which continues until Monday 7th September 23:59 ET (Tuesday 8th September 04:59 UK).

You can search the entire US Probate collection here, or use the links below to search the collections of the individual states.

Alabama, Wills and Probate Records, 1753-1999
Alaska, Wills and Probate Records, 1883-1978
Arkansas, Wills and Probate Records, 1783-1998
Arizona, Wills and Probate Records, 1803-1995
California, Wills and Probate Records, 1782-1999
Colorado, Wills and Probate Records, 1875-1974
Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999
Delaware, Wills and Probate Records, 1676-1971
Florida, Wills and Probate Records, 1810-1974
Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992
Hawaii, Wills and Probate Records, 1822-1962
Idaho, Wills and Probate Records, 1857-1989
Illinois, Wills and Probate Records, 1772-1999
Indiana, Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999
Iowa, Wills and Probate Records, 1758-1997
Kansas, Wills and Probate Records, 1803-1987
Kentucky, Wills and Probate Records, 1774-1989
Louisiana, Wills and Probate Records, 1756-1984
Maine, Wills and Probate Records, 1584-1999
Maryland, Wills and Probate Records, 1604-1878
Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991
Michigan, Wills and Probate Records, 1784-1980
Minnesota, Wills and Probate Records, 1801-1999
Mississippi, Wills and Probate Records, 1780-1982
Missouri, Wills and Probate Records, 1766-1988
Montana, Wills and Probate Records, 1831-1952
New Jersey, Wills and Probate Records, 1656-1999
New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999
Nebraska, Wills and Probate Records, 1806-1989
Nevada, Wills and Probate Records, 1906-1925
New Hampshire, Wills and Probate Records, 1643-1982
New Mexico, Wills and Probate Records, 1801-1993
North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998
North Dakota and South Dakota, Wills and Probate Records, 1800-1985
Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998
Oklahoma, Wills and Probate Records, 1801-2008
Oregon, Wills and Probate Records, 1833-1963
Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993
Rhode Island, Wills and Probate Records, 1582-1932
South Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1670-1980
Tennessee, Wills and Probate Records, 1727-2008
Texas, Wills and Probate Records, 1800-2000
Utah, Wills and Probate Records, 1800-1985
Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999
Washington, D.C., Wills and Probate Records, 1737-1952
Washington, Wills and Probate Records, 1807-1997
West Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1978
Wisconsin, Wills and Probate Records, 1800-1987
Wyoming, Wills and Probate Records, 1864-1915

Canadian immigration records free on Ancestry

To celebrate Labor Day on Monday 7th September, has opened up its Canadian immigration record sets for free access.

This collection includes border crossings from Canada to the USA, passenger manifestoes, seafarer records and a lot more.

If you don't already have an Ancestry account, you will need to register for a guest account. You only need to give name and email address for one of these; Ancestry then emails you a password and username. There's no signing up for a subscription, no giving your credit card details and no need to cancel anything after the free access ends.

The free access expires on Monday 7th September 23:59 ET (Tuesday 8th September 04:59 UK).