December 13, 2006

1911 census release moved forward

The National Archives announced today that it will make the 1911 census available sooner than expected. Some "key sensitive information" will still be withheld until the first working day of 2012 under the previous 100-year rule. But the bulk of the census will now be online in early 2009, and available through Freedom of Information requests (for a fee of £45 per address) starting in January 2007. TNA has more information, and Your Family Tree Magazine has an article with some background.

December 12, 2006

More new (old) books: a gazetteer, more Survey of London, Magna Britannia, and more

Since my last report, British History Online has posted Lewis's 1848 Topographical Dictionary of England; several new volumes of the Survey of London; the Cornwall, Cumberland, Derbyshire, and Devon volumes of Lysons' Magna Britannia (note that the Bedfordshire and Berkshire volumes are available on CD from Archive CD Books); and several other items. BHO now has two RSS feeds for announcing new publications, so from now on I won't duplicate those announcements here.

Recent updates at FreeCEN, FreeREG, and FreeBMD

FreeCEN now has more than 8.7 million transcribed census records. Counties completed in the latest update include Aberdeenshire 1841, Morayshire 1841 and 1851, Roxburghshire 1841, and Warwickshire 1891. Access to FreeREG is now open to all. The site now has 1.2 million records transcribed from parish registers. FreeBMD added 1.8 million civil registration index records in its latest update, for a total of 162 million. The FreeBMD coverage charts now highlight recent additions as well as showing totals by event and quarter. All three sites are running more quickly with the recent installation of four additional servers.

December 7, 2006

1851 and 1861 censuses of Scotland now at Ancestry

Ancestry recently posted indexes to the 1851 and 1861 censuses of Scotland. These join the 1841 census that I wrote about in June. Still no images, and still very clunky to use, with no way of seeing all the data for a household at once. When images are added, this will be great, but in the mean time, use FreeCEN instead if it has the county you want.

This blog's new look

This blog has a new look. I recently discovered that the old format didn't display properly for Firefox users. It had some lesser problems (sometimes) in other browsers too. Sorry about that. Rather than move mountains trying to fix the bugs, I've switched to one of Blogger's standard templates. I like the old look better, and I hope to recreate it (minus the bugs) eventually.

Genealogy books for holiday reading

A recent discussion on the GOONS mailing list made several good suggestions of genealogy books to read over the holidays or give as Christmas presents. The GOONS list is open only to members of the Guild of One-Name Studies, but nonmembers can read the archives.

October 25, 2006

Cardiff and London new (old) books

In the past month, British History Online has released

Meanwhile Archive CD Books has released Robinson's
  • The History and Antiquities of Hackney,
  • The History and Antiquities of Tottenham High Cross,
  • The History and Antiquities of Stoke Newington,
  • The History and Antiquities of Edmonton, and
  • The History and Antiquities of Enfield,
published between 1818 and 1845. See ACDB's London History page.

October 13, 2006

FreeBMD October update

On October 12th, FreeBMD added 1.8 million new entries: a million births, 300 thousand marriages, and 500 thousand deaths. Here are the top three quarters by number of new entries:

  • births: 1869 Q4, 1865 Q3, 1868 Q3
  • marriages: 1914 Q4, 1915 Q4, 1871 Q4
  • deaths: 1913 Q1, 1861 Q4, 1861 Q3
For more details see the updated coverage charts.

October 11, 2006

FreeCEN October update

FreeCEN was updated on October 6th, with new census records from Caithness (1851), the Channel Islands (1861), Cornwall (1851 and 1871 and 1881), Devon (1861), Dumfriesshire (1841), County Durham (1861), Fife (1841), Hampshire (1861 and 1891), Invernessshire (1851), Lincolnshire (1861), Midlothian (1841), Morayshire (1851), Norfolk (1891), Ross and Cromarty (1841), Roxburghshire (1851), Staffordshire (1861 and 1891), Sussex (1891), Warwickshire (1861 and 1891), and Yorkshire (1861). The database now contains 8.5 million records. Completed counties include Angus, Argyllshire, Banffshire, Bute, Caithness, Cornwall, East Lothian, Kinrossshire, Nairn, Warwickshire, and Wigtownshire in 1841; Bute, East Lothian, and Nairn in 1851; Bute in 1861; and Bedfordshire, Cornwall, and Devon in 1891.

September 25, 2006

British outward passenger lists

1837online has announced a forthcoming new database at with searchable images of outward passenger lists. (These are class BT27 at The National Archives.) About 30 million passengers will be included, on ships leaving Britain between 1890 and 1960 bound for Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, and elsewhere.

September 19, 2006

British phone books 1880-1984 online

Ancestry has begun posting indexed scanned images of old British telephone books. The first release, now online, includes 430 directory volumes that cover London and parts of Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex, and Surrey. The earliest date from 1880, the most recent from 1984. Additional years and counties will be added in future releases. One can search the database with as little as just a surname (and after 1946, a county) or one can browse a specific directory (e.g. to view advertisements and front matter). The database is provided in association with BT, formerly British Telecom, which was part of the British post office until 1981. The original phone books are from the collection of the BT Archives.

September 18, 2006

FreeREG is now live

FreeREG is now live for searching, at least for some people. Access is being rolled out gradually to prevent overloading of the servers. (Remember the 1901 census fiasco?) When I try it, I'm told that "access will be available from your location in approximately 15 days". This thread on soc.genealogy.britain includes reports from some people who have actually used the site and some whose wait will be 82 days (!). Reportedly, Staffordshire has the most data available so far, followed by Somerset, with at least some entries from more than 30 counties in England, Scotland, and Wales.

September 14, 2006

Guardian: National Archives squares the data circle

There's an interesting article National Archives squares the data circle in today's Guardian. Some excerpts: "Burgeoning demand for public sector information has prompted controversial cost-cutting measures . . . Some six million people visited the archives electronically last year . . . Meanwhile, through a series of innovative licensing deals, the organisation is taking an unusual approach to the task of digitising even obscure archives: it's encouraging private firms to foot the bill for doing so, in return for a certain amount of exclusivity - often time-limited - on the use of data . . . Britain's online genealogy sites are 'probably better than any other country' . . . [TNA] wants a thriving rivalry of healthy companies that can each raise enough funding to bid for the digitisation projects . . ."

FreeBMD adds 1.4 million entries

Today's update at FreeBMD added 1.4 million new entries. The top three quarters for new births were Q3 1869, Q4 1858, and Q3 1858. The top three for new marriages were Q4 1914, Q4 1915, and Q3 1856. The top three for new deaths were Q1 1861, Q2 1861, and Q2 1860. For full details, see the coverage charts.

New books at BHO: Yorkshire and London

British History Online has released four more books:

September 8, 2006

FreeCEN September update

There was another update at FreeCEN yesterday, with new data added from the Channel Islands (1861), Devon (1861), Dumfriesshire (1841), County Durham (1861), East Lothian (1861), Lancashire (1861 and 1891), Morayshire (1851), Norfolk (1861 and 1891), Nottinghamshire (1891), Ross and Cromarty (1841), Roxburghshire (1851), Staffordshire (1861), Sussex (1861 and 1891), Wiltshire (1861), and Yorkshire (1861, 1871, and 1891). Over 8.2 million individuals are now included.

September 6, 2006

Scottish deaths 1747-1868

The relatively new service World Vital Records has loaded a database of Scottish death records from 1747 to 1868. Here's an example result: Name: Saunders, Mary Relative: Saunders, John (father) Death Date: 13 Feb 1841 Cause of Death: measles Parish: Dunfermline County: Fife Country: Scotland Each result is accompanied by a clear explanation of the data source (parish records) and a map showing the location (courtesy of Google). The map is a handy feature, though for most purposes I would prefer an old map showing parish boundaries rather than a modern one showing the Forth Road Bridge (not built until 1964). A quibble with the source explanation: since the data come from parish records, I suspect the dates are for burials, not deaths. At 13,585 records, this database must represent only a tiny fraction of the burials in Scotland's parish registers, but it's a start, and it's free. The official pay-per-view site ScotlandsPeople, which used to say that complete indexed images of the old parish registers (OPRs) were coming shortly, now says that "unfortunately the digitisation . . . is proving to be a mammoth and difficult undertaking." The availability chart at ScotlandsPeople now just says "No" under "Deaths & Burials: OPRs", with no due date. That's a shame. Thanks to Everton's Genealogy Blog for alerting me to this news.

September 5, 2006

August/September additions to A2A

A2A has added a new batch of catalog records. Included are records of property insurance from the Sun Fire Office (mostly in London), Welsh probate indexes, and a long list of other items from all over England and Wales.

September 1, 2006

FreeREG search goes live?

Today the "we hope to go live soon" message has disappeared from the FreeREG homepage. When I click through to the search page, I get a new message: "FreeREG Search is being deployed gradually, and is not yet available from your location. Access will be available from your location soon." Update 1: On September 4th, one of the FreeREG developers wrote to soc.genealogy.britain that "we are still in the process of deploying the database, a process which will take a few days. Once the database is deployed, access to it will be phased in over a couple of weeks, in order to prevent the servers being overwhelmed by a rush of searches. . . . Access, once the search is deployed, will be phased [in] based on IP address." Update 2: Further elaboration by the same developer on September 5th and 6th: "I expect the search to go live by the end of this week." "The access phasing is designed to alternate around the continents. By the end of the week, the search will tell you how long you need to wait." More news when I have it.

British History Online additions: Glasgow, Westmoreland, and Cumberland

New books available at British History Online:

In addition, BHO now has two RSS feeds, one for its journal and one for publication announcements.

August 30, 2006

Old books downloadable from Google

Three weeks ago I wrote about using Google Book Search for genealogy. Starting today, you can download whole books from Google to print or browse offline. This new feature is (not surprisingly) only available for books that are out of copyright. Do a search at Google Book Search with "Full view books" selected under the search box. Click on a result that interests you. A "Download" button will appear on the right, under the title and the author's name and a thumbnail image of the title page. The downloadable files are in PDF format. They are page images only, with no searchable text, so for searching you'll want to keep using the online version. The files are often very large, so be prepared for a long wait if you have a slow internet connection. Three examples:

August 23, 2006

August updates at FamilyHistoryOnline

This month there have been two updates at Family History Online. Nearly 200 thousand records, mostly for Cornwall, were added on August 8th. Over 500 thousand more were added today, mostly for Northumberland and Durham plus a few for Dorset, Lancashire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, and Warwickshire. The new databases are partial 1861 and 1891 census indexes for Northumberland and Durham and a baptism index for Pattingham, Staffordshire. The remaining records are updates to existing databases. Family History Online is operated by the Federation of Family History Societies and hosts data provided by its member societies. Searching is free, but a modest charge is made for each result actually viewed. Part of the charge is returned to the society that originated the data. Most of the available databases are for England and Wales, but the FFHS has a number of overseas members, and the Genealogical Society of Victoria has provided a handful of Australian databases.

August 22, 2006

PCY wills being indexed at Origins

British Origins has begun to index probate documents from the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of York. The project is starting with 1858 (when civil probate took over from the ecclesiastical courts) and working backwards. A first tranche of 16,000 records from 1853 to 1858 has just been released. Only an index is online, but the documents themselves can be ordered in hard copy for £10. The ecclesiastical province of York had jurisdiction in Cheshire, Cumberland, Durham, Lancashire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Westmorland and Yorkshire. The province of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the rest of England and Wales. Wills from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury are already online at TNA's DocumentsOnline. The York wills are held by the Borthwick Institute, not TNA. Separate databases at Origins already cover two small groups of wills from the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of York: medieval wills (1267-1500) and wills from peculiar courts.

August 18, 2006

TNA digitization plans

TNA gives some clues about its digitization plans in a news release today that summarizes questions and answers from a June public meeting:

  • "[W]e plan to make other records ... such as RG 4 [nonconformist registers] and PROB 6 [PCC admons] ... available online within the next couple of years."
  • "The new digitisation programme is expected to take five years to complete. We have recently issued our next batch of digitisation packages for potential partners [link to list of packages]. We will publicise the timetable more widely. The amount of notice given will largely depend on how long it takes for a commercial partner to be appointed for each package, and how long it then takes for the partner to carry out the digitisation."
The linked page lists seven packages of records for which TNA is "currently inviting proposals" for "commercial digitisation ... under the Licensed Internet Associateship programme":
  • births, marriages, and deaths;
  • immigration;
  • Irish records;
  • Chelsea pensioners;
  • death duty registers;
  • census maps; and
  • officers papers, 1914-1939.
Under each package is a list of the records to be included, with more information on each one in a linked PDF file.

FreeBMD and FreeCEN August updates

FreeBMD was updated today with 1.6 million new records, including 1.2 million births, 350 thousand marriages, and 50 thousand deaths. FreeCEN was updated on August 16th with 50 new census pieces from 20 different counties, bringing its total to 8.1 million records.

August 11, 2006

Using Google Book Search for genealogy

Back in May I wrote about using Google Book Search to view scanned images of The Gentleman's Magazine, with its monthly birth, marriage, and death announcements and other valuable tidbits (mostly limited to wealthy families). More useful books and journals are continually being added to Google Book Search. I recently happened upon a marriage reference for my one-name study in The Visitation of London in the Year 1568, published in 1869 by the Harleian Society. I've found memorial inscriptions to several ancestors in British India in The Bengal Obituary, published by Thacker's in 1851. At least one volume of The Genealogist is available, including a mention of my ancestors' marriage in 1789. A university press edition of The Letters of Sarah Harriet Burney mentions several of my relatives by marriage. But finding these references isn't always straightforward. Here are some tips:

  • Searching for an unusual surname (e.g. Sercombe) or a small place (e.g. Chittlehampton) is easy. Just use the main search box.
  • If that gives many irrelevant results, try putting a full name in quotation marks (e.g. "William Orford") or searching for a surname and a place together (e.g. Hadfield Northwich).
  • If you get many irrelevant results about one particular topic, use a minus sign to exclude them (e.g. Bannerman -Campbell to find Bannermans other than the prime minister).
  • Some search results will only include bibliographic information or a small snippet of text, while others will show the entire book. If you only want full-text results, select the "Full view books" button under the search box.
  • If you find an interesting reference, but the full text isn't provided, try the links to "Buy this book" or "Find this book in a library". If the library link doesn't appear, copy the title and search for it at WorldCat.
  • If you have a particular book or type of book in mind, use the advanced search (a link to the right of the main search button). Specify words in the title or the name of the author or the publisher (e.g. Phillimore) and leave the rest blank. Then once you find your book, use the "Search in this book" feature or the book's own index or table of contents (if it has them).
  • Google tries to create blue hyperlinks in the images of indexes and tables of contents. Sometimes these link to the wrong page. If that happens, click your browser's "Back" button and type the correct page number into the "Page" box above the image.
  • The blue triangles next to the "Page" box display the previous page and next page. Often you can just click the mouse on a page image to go to the next page (but this doesn't always work).
  • In the advanced search, try specifying words in both the text and the title (e.g. Haworth in the text and Registers in the title).
  • Try different spellings. There are five results for Shercombe, but also one each for Shircombe and Shercome. Searching for the title "Visitation of" finds the Harleian Society volumes for London, Shropshire, and Worcestershire, but only the plural "Visitations of" finds the Surrey volume.

August 3, 2006

New volumes at British History Online: London and environs, York, Cumberland, and Wales

Several new additions to British History Online:

August 2, 2006

Baby-naming trends

This won't be genealogy for a few decades yet, but it's fun. The Name Voyager graphs U.S. baby-name frequencies from 1880 to the present. Type in a few letters, and the graph adjusts to show just names that begin that way. For example, Daniel peaked in the 1980s at just over 9,000 per million U.S. babies, but if you type just Dan, you can see Dana (peaked in the 1950s for boys, 1970s for girls), Danielle (3,500 per million in the 1980s, down to 750 per million in 2005), and others. Laura Wattenberg, who created this, also runs the Baby Name Wizard Blog, which discusses trends in baby names. (The blog is aimed at expecting parents.) Two example posts:

Domesday Book at DocumentsOnline

The National Archives now offers images of the Domesday Book (with translations) via its DocumentsOnline service. Yes, it would be fun to see images of the original, but at £3.50 per page, I'm keeping my Penguin paperback edition, available from at £14.66. That works out to 1p per page.

July 26, 2006

FreeREG to be searchable "in the very near future"

The project manager of FreeREG, a parish register companion site to the hugely successful FreeBMD for civil registration and FreeCEN for censuses, reports that "testing is complete and was successful" and "we hope to go live with search in the very near future" with "over 1 million entries". The project is actively seeking volunteer transcribers. Update: On August 23, the project manager reported that "we now have 1,066,365 entries ready for when go live." On August 25, one of the county coordinators wrote that "we expect the FreeREG system to go operational within the next 4 weeks."

July 25, 2006

1.7 million new entries at FreeBMD

On Sunday FreeBMD added another 1.7 million entries. These quarters had more than 50,000 additions each:

  • births in Mar 1851, Sep 1851, Dec 1853, Jun 1855, Sep 1855, Dec 1855, Mar 1869, and Jun 1869 and
  • marriages in Dec 1876 and Sep 1915.

July 21, 2006

Another TNA podcast: British soldiers in India 1750-1914

Earlier this month I wrote about plans to podcast lectures given at The National Archives. TNA has since announced the availability of another lecture: Sahib, the British Soldier in India 1750-1914, by Richard Holmes, Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University. (See his BBC biography.) I still can't find any explanation of how to find these lectures other than by chance and perseverance. The two I've found so far are both in the directory, but looking there directly just results in The directory you are trying to access does not allow the contents to be listed. Not helpful.

July 19, 2006

640k new records at Family History Online

Yesterday Family History Online added 640,000 new records. Existing databases for Derbyshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, and Yorkshire (Wakefield district) were updated. Entirely new databases were added for Cambridgeshire, Sussex (Billingshurst), Warwickshire, and Yorkshire (Leeds district).

Ancestry planning to expand into French and Spanish records?, parent company of, appears to be planning an expansion into records from France and Spain (and/or francophone Canada and Mexico). Current job openings linked from their careers webpage include a Content Specialist - Spanish Records "proficient in family history research of Mexico, Spain, or other Spanish-language records" and a Content Specialist - French Records "proficient in family history research of French records in France and/or Canada".

July 14, 2006

More additions to FreeCEN

On July 13th FreeCEN added census data from

  • Argyllshire, Dumfries-shire, Fife, Lanarkshire, Morayshire, Ross and Cromarty, and Sutherland in 1841;
  • Inverness-shire in 1851;
  • Cornwall, Devon, Hampshire, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Somerset, and Yorkshire in 1861;
  • Carmarthenshire, Cornwall, Flintshire, Nairn, Scottish Shipping, and Wiltshire in 1871;
  • Cornwall in 1881; and
  • Cumberland, Lancashire, Lancashire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Staffordshire, and Warwickshire in 1891.
This brings their database to a total of 7.9 million records.

British overseas BMD indexes online free

FamilyRelatives has added "100 million" records of British overseas births, marriages, and deaths. (Can it really be that many?) These are scanned images of the General Register Office indexes, not transcribed, searchable by index type, date range, and surname range. For example, you don't search for the birth of John SMITH in 1874. Instead you select "Search", then "Overseas", then "Births", then (for example) "GRO Consular Birth Indices", then "1871-1875", then "S", then "SKENE Ralph Rangabe - SMITH William Rait". And then, if you have the right viewer installed, you see an image of a handwritten index that includes volume and page references for SMITH John (registered at Constantinople) and SMITH John Salmon (registered at Alexandria). Yes, this is a clunky interface that could be (and should be) improved, but it's free, and it's not available free online anywhere else. (Update: The same data are available for a fee at 1837online.) Dick Eastman's EOGN blog has posted more information about these records from the FamilyRelatives newsletter. Three tips: (1) You have to register to use these indexes. On the FamilyRecords homepage there's a link to "Overseas Records", and links from that page to further information about each of the overseas BMD indexes. But this is only explanatory material. To actually search, you need to register and log in, and then a "Search" tab will miraculously appear. (2) From the Search tab, choose "Overseas", not "BMD", which would take you instead to the more familiar civil registration indexes for England and Wales. (3) Viewing the images requires the free DjVu browser plugin. If you don't have this, you won't get an error message, you just won't see any images. If that happens, click on the "Help" tab and choose "DJVU Plugin" for instructions.

July 13, 2006

Durham and Northumberland wills 1540-1857 to go online by 2009

Durham University has announced the North East Inheritance project to make 150,000 pre-1858 wills from Durham and Northumberland available online. All wills proved by Church of England courts in the diocese of Durham will be included. A searchable catalog (to be completed in 2009) will be linked to images of the actual documents on the website of the Genealogical Society of Utah (presumably this means FamilySearch). Both searching the catalog and viewing the images will be free. Local volunteers are being sought to help with the cataloging. To volunteer, follow the first link above and look under the heading The staff and volunteers. See also the university's news release and a BBC news item.

Records of the Burgh of Glasgow

New at British History Online: Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Glasgow, volumes 1 (1573-1642), 2 (1630-1662), and 3 (1663-1690), originally published in 1876, 1881, and 1905 respectively. These books "contain extracts from the Council Records of the Burgh and from the accounts of the city Treasurers. ... Two volumes of the Charters of the city will be added to the site in the next few weeks. Over the next two years we shall be adding similar records for the same period for the city of Edinburgh."

July 12, 2006

Podcasts of National Archives lectures

According to a snippet in Ancestors magazine (July 2006, p. 6) "you can now download podcasts of recent lectures given at The National Archives". More detailed instructions would be helpful. So far I can only find one example: a talk by Maxine Berg, Professor of History at the University of Warwick, about inventions in eighteenth-century Britain. The talk was originally presented at part of a TNA exhibition on Inventors and Inventions: Patents, Protest and Power in the Industrial Revolution 1750-1890.

July 6, 2006

Index to Court of Chancery cases, 1625-1649

British Origins has added an index (created by Peter Coldham) to cases in the Court of Chancery during the reign of Charles I (1625-1649). Only a brief case reference is given, but Origins offers an abstract service (for £16) to find out more. The National Archives, where the originals of these documents are held, provides some information on Court of Chancery cases in its Catalogue, but there is little or no information on most cases during this period. The catalogue states that "details of cases are being entered into the online catalogue from the existing finding aids (starting with those for the reign of Elizabeth I), but for some years to come the main route of access will remain the paper finding aids available at The National Archives." Ancestry has scanned images of the book A Calendar of Chancery Proceedings: Bills and Answers Filed in the Reign of King Charles the First, which was published in the late 1800s. Since viewing this requires a "deluxe" subscription, which I don't have, I'm not sure how this book differs from the new offering. Update: The 19th-century Calendar is also available at HeritageQuest Online (a service for public libraries). It appears to contain the same underlying information as the Origins database, with some spelling variations, but it is not conveniently searchable. Searching Ancestry's version should be straightforward if you have the necessary subscription.

July 5, 2006

Royal Naval Division records online

DocumentsOnline now has searchable scanned records of the 50,000 officers and men who served in World War I in the Royal Naval Division (RND). These were land forces formed in September 1914 from the Royal Navy reserves, which turned out to have more men than were needed at sea. A record typically includes

  • home address;
  • occupation;
  • religion;
  • name and address of next-of-kin;
  • career in the RND, such as where served, significant events, awards, and details of action;
  • in the event of wounding, the nature of the wound and the hospital where treated; and
  • for ratings, a physical description.
Sometimes there is other information too, such as place of birth or ability to swim. Searching is free. Actual records (in PDF format) cost £3.50 each.

June-July additions to A2A

During June and early July, the Access to Archives (A2A) database added records from the East Sussex Record Office, English Heritage National Monuments Record, Coventry Archives, Warwickshire County Record Office, Anglesey County Record Office, Carmarthenshire Archive Service, Meirionnydd Record Office (part of Gwynedd Archives), Portsmouth Museums and Records Service, and Royal Northern College of Music (in Manchester). See A2A's New This Month for more details.

July 3, 2006

New releases from Archive CD Books

In June Archive CD Books released these titles:

June 29, 2006

Two more local histories of London at British History Online

British History Online has added two more local histories of London:

  • Old and New London, volume 6 (1878) by Edward Walford, which "describes the southern suburbs of London, from Chiswick, Putney and Hammersmith in the west, to Streatham and Norwood in the south, and Southwark, Bermondsey, Greenwich and Eltham in the east"; and
  • The Environs of London, volume 1, County of Surrey (1792) by Daniel Lysons, which "covers much of present-day south London, including Bermondsey, Croydon, Kingston-upon-Thames and Lambeth".

June 28, 2006

Advertising Standards Authority upholds complaints against

The Advertising Standards Authority (UK) has upheld complaints against a magazine ad placed by The ASA found that

  • the ad's claims about online access to censuses (in a Scottish edition of the magazine) were misleading because Ancestry did not offer access to Scottish censuses (although it has since added a transcript for 1841, as I wrote about two weeks ago);
  • the ad's phrase "everything you'll ever need to research your family tree" was misleading because Ancestry does not provide copies of documents such as parish registers and BMD certificates; and
  • the ad's "free access" claim was not misleading, even though full use requires a subscription, because it referred only to the BMD index, which is indeed free (although it requires users to register).
The Advertising Standards Authority is an independent body set up by the advertising industry, not a government regulator.

Updates at FreeBMD and FreeCEN

On June 26th, another 1.2 million records were added to FreeBMD: 717 thousand births, 455 thousand marriages, and 58 thousand deaths. Included, among others, are

  • 141 thousand births from 1855,
  • 123 thousand births from 1865,
  • 94 thousand births from 1869,
  • 86 thousand births from 1851, and
  • 63 thousand births from 1880.
And on June 24th, FreeCEN added census data from
  • Argyllshire, Ayrshire, Dumfries-shire, Lanarkshire, Midlothian, Morayshire, and Ross and Cromarty in 1841;
  • Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire, Bute, Cornwall, Midlothian, Morayshire, and Roxburghshire in 1851;
  • Cornwall, Devon, Hampshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Sussex, Staffordshire, and Yorkshire (West Riding) in 1861;
  • Cornwall, Denbighshire, and Herefordshire in 1871;
  • Cornwall in 1881; and
  • Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Sussex, and Yorkshire (West Riding) in 1891.
This brings the FreeCEN database to a grand total of 7.7 million individuals.

New search engine for Rootsweb mailing lists

A new search engine for the Rootsweb mailing lists lets you search across multiple lists and time periods.

June 23, 2006

Apprentice carpenters, 1654-1694

British History Online has posted a transcript of Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, Volume I: Apprentices' Entry Books 1654-1694. This book, originally published in 1913, includes "records of nearly 3,000 apprentices, their families and places of origin, and the member of the Company to whom they were bound." A name index is included. Some entries are in Latin.

June 15, 2006

FreeBMD updated

FreeBMD was updated on June 9th, with the addition of 2.3 million records. The new records include, among others,

  • 264 thousand births from 1865,
  • 204 thousand births from 1880,
  • 155 thousand births from 1839,
  • 132 thousand marriages from 1882, and
  • 86 thousand births from 1838.
FreeBMD now contains 151 million English and Welsh civil registration records. (Of these, 117 million are distinct. The duplicates are intentionally double-keyed to help ensure accuracy.)

Teacher registrations (1870-1948) at British Origins

British Origins has added a database with information on nearly 100,000 teachers, most of them in England and Wales. The records come originally from the the Teachers Registration Council, which operated a voluntary register from 1914 to 1948. Some of the registered teachers began their careers as early as 1870. When registration was abandoned in 1948, the records were deposited with the Society of Genealogists.

June 14, 2006

1841 Scotland census at Ancestry now has the 1841 census of Scotland. This is a transcript, with no linked images. Tip: You have to click on an individual (i.e. "view record") to see the occupation (if any) and the address. These never appear when viewing a table of search results or even in the table you get from "view other family members". Here's hoping that images will be added soon.

May 19, 2006

Royal Household, 1660-1837

New at British History Online: Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Court Officers, 1660-1837. This book "provides career details of every remunerated officer and servant of the English royal household. It covers the bedchamber and the public rooms; the medical, artistic and religious establishments; the household below stairs and the stables. Officers are also indexed by name." Also Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857, volume 11, Carlisle, Chester, Durham, Manchester, Ripon, and Sodor and Man Dioceses. "Charts the chronology and careers of the bishops and higher clergy of the dioceses of Carlisle, Chester, Durham, Manchester, Ripon, and Sodor and Man." Also the Victoria History of the County of Worcester, volume 4. "This volume covers the city of Worcester, as well as parishes in the hundreds of Pershore and Doddingtree, in the south and west of the county. These include the towns of Pershore, Great Malvern and Hanley Castle."

Unusual baby names

The New York Times reported on May 18th that Nevaeh -- Heaven spelled backwards -- is now the 70th-most-popular name for newborn girls in the United States, ahead of Sara, Vanessa, and Amanda. Yuck.

May 18, 2006

The Gentleman's Magazine at Google Book Search

The Gentleman's Magazine is a useful source for research on well-to-do families. A growing number of volumes are available on Google Book Search. Here are the ones I've found so far: Jul-Dec 1834 Jan-Jun 1842 Jan-Jun 1843 Jan-Jun 1844 Jan-Jun 1850 Jul-Dec 1851 Jan-Jun 1853 Jul-Dec 1856 Jul-Dec 1883 Jan-Jun 1893 Are there others?

New search facility at National Archives

The new National Archives Global Search went live on May 17th. This news release explains more. The results include entries at A2A. I'm not sure yet whether one can exclude these (for example, if one has already searched them separately).

New at Family History Online

Another 1.2 million records were added to Family History Online on May 13th. They include

  • Pigot's 1835 Trade Directory for Herefordshire
  • Cambridgeshire Burials supplementing the National Burial Index
  • 1891 Census for Somerset
  • 1841 Census for City of Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire
  • 1851 Census index for Oldham, Lancashire (unfilmed)
and updates to several existing databases.