Genealogy is one of the fastest growing pastimes in the UK. Thanks to the success of Friends Reunited, which has created the Genes Reunited website and to TV programmes such as 'Who do you think you are?' where TV personalities trace their ancestors a raft of websites have sprung up to accommodate the need for ancestral information. Each week, leagues of prople visit village graveyards, record offices, newspaper archives and librarys across the UK in search of information about their ancestors.
It's very easy to start and with chunks of the jigsaw already researched, you can hit the ground running.
The Government's National Archive has online searchable censuses from 1841 to 1901 and the hard copies are accessible at their offices in Kew. The Church of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons) also famously has a huge database of people.
The Internet has been a great tool for researching as online websites such as Ancestry.co.uk allow you to put together your own Family Tree and it will then compare it to ones already online. This allows you to connect with genetically linked researchers who have already pieced together their section of the jigsaw. Between you, you will be able to build a broader picture.
Genes Reunited is now offering its members a fantastic new Gold Subscription option.
For £34.95 members will receive unlimited access to the UK’s number 1 genealogy site for six months. Click here for details.
Complete British Phone Books collection
We are pleased to announce that the complete British Phone Book collection from 1880-1984 is now available on Ancestry.co.uk. Dating back to 1880, the year after the public telephone service was introduced into Great Britain; phone books are really helpful tools for family historians.
Because they are updated so regularly (every 12-18 months from the mid 1900s onwards) phone books are a great companion to Census records for tracing your ancestors' whereabouts. You'll find information on where your ancestors were living. Indeed telephone ownership in itself is highly revealing in establishing class and social prominence of your ancestors too. So, even if you don't find your ancestors listed in the early directories, this in itself is very telling in terms of establishing the social status of your ancestors too.
From the structure of the directories themselves, you'll also be able to get a very rich picture of the areas in which your ancestors were living and for the types of concerns which would of occupied their every day lives. For example, from the very first issue, the changing nature of local and national advertisements (from local milk supplies to major utility suppliers) provide for a fascinating picture of economic and industrial development of Britain. Note: The British Phone Books data 1880 - 1984 is provided by ancestry.co.uk in association with BT and the database contains images of original records.
Royal Irish Constabulary
Demand from our members for Irish records is higher than ever and so this month the Royal Irish Constabulary enlistment records have been promoted. The collection contains more than 88,000 records of those enlisted as police in the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) from 1816 to 1921. Records include each officer’s name, year and country or county of birth or age upon enlistment, marital status and further comments such as details of death and emigration. In addition to Ireland, enlistees came from England, Scotland, Wales, and even the US and Australia. Famous names such as Sir Neville FF Chamberlain, credited as the inventor of snooker, and Charles Brew who founded the British Columbia Police, can be found in the collection. This collection is available to Premium and Worldwide Subscription members.
(records available with a worldwide subscription on Ancestry.co.uk)
New South Wales Convict Death Register, Convict Ship Muster Rolls & Related Records
Continuing to expand the largest online collection of convict records, Ancestry.com.au has just launched the New South Wales Convict Death Register, Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records. The Death Register collection includes records of convict deaths in the colony, and also of those who died during their passage to Australia, with references to the cause of death, and in some cases statements justifying the death penalty. It also contains financial information relating to the deceased as they often brought money with them to deposit in the Convict Banking System. The Muster Rolls collection contains ship muster lists of convicts being transported from England to New South Wales between 1790 and 1849 and is of vital importance to family history researchers wanting to determine where and when their ancestors came from. They also contain convicts’ date and place of trial and term of sentence, as well as lists of convicts to be employed in iron gangs.
Ancestry launches Chinese family history website – www.jiapu.cn
For many in China, which is home to one fifth of the world’s population and is also its biggest internet market, jiapu.cn will provide their first opportunity to access jiapu (family histories) online. They have been made available through an exclusive long-term partnership with the Shanghai Library, which holds the largest collection of Chinese family history records in the world. Jiapu.cn has been developed exclusively in the local language to allow users to search records and build family trees in Chinese, and is fully supported by a Beijing-based team. When complete, the collection will include 36 million pages and more than 181 million names contained in 181,600 volumes covering 22,700 Chinese family histories. The family history of the famous Chinese thinker and social philosopher Confucius is one the 1,450 family histories now online - 270 surnames were made available at launch. Confucius came from the Kong clan, for which records exist of members dating back to the 6th Century BC. The most recent printed jiapu featuring in this collection is from 1949 and the earliest from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); most were printed in the late Qing Dynasty to the Republic of China Period (18th to 19th Centuries). Jiapu.cn’s collection includes most of the top modern-day 200 Chinese surnames.
British Visitor is able to help as, apart from linking you to places to start, can provide you with local knowledge from Towns and Villages across the UK. Even very recently, people grew up, married and lived in the same place or area all ther life. Travel was difficult and the Family Network kept the younger generation local. Consequently a particular family would influence the area and local records and graveyards can be a goldmine of information. Use BritishVisitor to research places before you travel, book accommodation and generally plan your trip to ensure the visit is productive.