Genealogy news round-up: TheGenealogist adds passenger list records

By Guest, 12 January 2017 - 7:04pm

Plus: Ancestry asks users to solve casebook mysteries; Findmypast publishes new records and offers free access; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography adds 240 new entries; Daughter of HMS Sturdy survivor launches appeal

An entry for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is recorded in the passenger lists, showing that he sailed to New York in 1914

TheGenealogist has added over 4.1 million passenger list records to its Immigration, Emigration and Travel collection.

The new records cover passengers who left Britain by sea between 1909 and 1919, and include details of Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle travelling from Southampton to New York in May 1914, just before the outbreak of the First World War.

The records, also available on other subscription websites, come from The National Archives' BT 27 series and may help lead family historians to discoveries within TheGenealogist's recently added American content.

Explore here (requires subscription).

Ancestry asks users to solve casebook mysteries

Ancestry is asking its users to help solve a 'casebook' of family history mysteries.

The brick walls, posted on the website's Facebook page, are made up of queries that members of the site have been struggling with. Anyone with a knack for picking up lost leads is invited to figure the mysteries out, potentially helping a fellow researcher learn more about their family.

The first case is about the mysterious disappearance of Robert McKay, born c1851 in Ireland, who married Jane Thompson in 1874 but is not with her in the 1911 census.

Sleuthing genealogists are being encouraged to don their deerstalker and suggest solutions in the comments.

Findmypast adds new records and offers free access

Over 311,000 new records have been published on Findmypast as part of its ongoing ‘Findmypast Friday’ initiative.

Added on 6 January, the tranche includes 227,000 entries from Ireland’s Petty Sessions registers, providing details of both criminal and civil cases heard across the country dating back to the 1850s.

The genealogy website has also uploaded 40,000 Dorset memorial inscriptions, 175,000 Warwickshire burials, 16,000 Northumberland and Durham monumental inscriptions, and 5,000 Irish Quaker congregational records.

Between Thursday 12 January and Sunday 15 January, Findmypast is also offering free access to its entire collection of British and overseas birth, marriage, death and census records (1.9 billion in total). Find out more here.

ODNB adds more than 240 new entries

A new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) has been made available online.

The resource, which acts as a record of men and women who have made a significant impact on British life, has been updated to include more than 240 new biographies.

Among the most famous people included in the new edition is former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died in 2013. Written by Sir David Cannadine, the entry for the ‘Iron Lady’ is one of the longest added to the ODNB in its history.

Other notable new additions include six Nobel Laureates, late broadcaster Sir David Frost and Great Train Robbers Bruce Reynolds and Ronnie Biggs.

Find out more about the ODNB and how to access the records here.

Daughter of HMS Sturdy survivor launches appeal

The daughter of a man who survived the sinking of HMS Sturdy during the Second World War is looking to get in touch with the friends and relatives of fellow crew members.

Dawn Springett, whose father Harry managed to flee the stricken destroyer on 30 October 1940, has a collection of photographs and stories that she would like to share.

All those interested should contact Dawn directly by emailing

Exhibition shines light on Plymouth's Titanic connection

The connection between Plymouth and the Titanic is explored in a free exhibition on display at the city’s Duke of Cornwall Hotel between 21-23 January.

Curated by Nigel Voisey, Titanic and the White Star Line reveals the story of 167 surviving crew members who stayed in Plymouth in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

Items on show will include memorabilia relating to the ocean liner and the White Star Line shipping company, and even a piece from the wreck itself. The last time an original piece of the structure went on public display was at London’s Science Museum in 2002.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

Crossrail dig unearths 13,000 historic jars

Over 13,000 Victorian pickle pots, jam jars and bottles have been unearthed during construction work on London’s Crossrail project.

The artefacts, found on the site of the Crosse & Blackwell factory on Soho Square, include perfectly preserved glass bottles for mushroom catsup, ceramic bung jars for mustard and piccalilli, along with delicately painted jars designed to hold ginger. Various jam and earthenware jars were also found, some with original labels attached.

The discoveries are documented in a new Museum of London Archaeology book about Crosse & Blackwell, which the authors hope will provide a new insight into the history of British food manufacturing and development.

Find out more here.

Words: Caitlin Lyth, Jon Bauckham and Sarah Williams


TV and Radio highlights: 13 – 19 January 2017
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TV and Radio highlights: 13 – 19 January 2017
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Family historians take part in first Transcription Tuesday event
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