10 things in family history to look forward to in 2015

By Jon Bauckham, 18 December 2014 - 6:23pm

Editor Sarah Williams signs off for 2014 with a list of family history releases and events she is looking forward to over the next 12 months

Sarah Williams is editor at Who Do You Think You Are? MagazineThursday 18 December 2014
Sarah Williams, editor
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Christmas is supposed to be a time of celebration, but the news of Government cuts affecting libraries and archives across the UK has made things feel a bit gloomy for family historians.

However, there is good news on the horizon and this week, in the spirit of festive cheer, I’m going to focus on that. Our January issue (on sale 23 December) highlights 50 websites that are going to be expanding in 2015, adding some fantastic datasets that could really transform your family research.

So, here are 10 things that I’m looking forward to:

1) A potential change in legislation that would enable family historians to order digital copies of English and Welsh BMD certificates at a much lower price. Fingers crossed on this one – plus the wheels of government turn so slowly, who knows when family historians will see the benefit. Still, let’s hope, if it happens, that they set the price for a digital certificate at a sensible level.

2) Irish Catholic parish registers coming online via the National Library of Ireland. Hopefully that will help me sort out my Caldwell family (that's them above!)

3) The 1939 Register coming online. This will be a massive boon for those with 20th century brick walls.

4) Who Do You Think You Are? Live coming to Birmingham in April. It will open up the world’s greatest genealogy show to a whole new audience and I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new people.

5) More tranches of school registers coming online as part of the Findmypast digitisation project. I can’t wait to find family members at school!

6) More maps from the National Library of Scotland collection. I’ve been really enjoying their recent releases of English and Welsh historic Ordnance Survey maps and there’s more to come apparently.

7) More WW1 records coming online. I’m still trying to piece together what my grandfather did during the war and why he was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre. The truth is out there (hopefully)...

8) More English parish registers coming online. Ancestry, FamilySearch, Findmypast and TheGenealogist are all adding to their parish register collections next year - which hopefully means more brick walls demolished. Plus there are all the Online Parish Clerk volunteers who are all beavering away at transcribing vital parish documents for the free use of other family historians. They are heroes to genealogy and we should be grateful to them!

9) Lots of great webchats on our forum. We trialled some webchats in 2014 and they were very successful so we will be launching a whole spate of them in 2015. If you haven’t downloaded our free forum app yet, then where have you been! Just go to the App Store or Google Play and search for WDYTYA Forum. It’s a great way to access the advice and encouragement of hundreds of family historians, wherever you are. You can also access the forum via our website here.

10) And finally, I’m looking forward to finishing my work here and spending time with my family at Christmas. The newsletter we sent out today will be the last until 8 January. In the meantime I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


From the office: We must fight back against cuts
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From the office: We must fight back against cuts
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5 basic steps to start your family tree for free
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