Genealogy news round-up: TheGenealogist releases telephone directories

By Jon Bauckham, 9 June 2016 - 3:11pm

Plus: Ancestry adds millions of Dutch records; WW2 project smashes fundraising target; Lancashire researcher seeks newspaper photos; Shakespeare's will to return home

Manchester telephone exchange Getty Images

Switchboard operators at the Manchester Telephone Exchange, early 1900s (Photo: Getty Images)

A variety of new record sets have been published on TheGenealogist.

One of the most significant additions to the family history site is the 1907 Post Office National Directory, providing the names and addresses of telephone subscribers across Britain.

Although researchers have already been able to access the 1899-1900 UK Telephone Directory via TheGenealogist, the 1907 record set is larger, having been published at a time when the technology was becoming more accessible to Britons.

Only the previous year, the Post Office had even installed its first-ever coin-operated call box at London’s Ludgate Circus, while Trunk (long-distance) telephone charges were reduced by half-price for calls made after 7pm and before 7am.

To complement the Post Office National Directory, TheGenealogist has also released a fully searchable version of the 1938 South Wales District Post Office Telephone Directory, along with US Prisoner of War records (1942-1947), and more than 37,000 Worcestershire baptism transcripts (1544-1891).

To find out more about the new releases, click here.


Ancestry adds millions of Dutch records

Over 100 million genealogical records from the Netherlands have been made available to explore on Ancestry for the first time.

Released in partnership with the Netherlands Centre for Family History (CBG), the material includes indexes to civil registration records, church registers and family announcements held by archive organisations across the country.

It was previously only possible to access the collection in its entirety via WieWasWie, a free Dutch genealogy website operated by CBG.


WW2 diary project smashes fundraising target

Plans to digitise thousands of unique wartime diaries will now go ahead thanks to donations from the public.

In May, the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) launched a campaign on ‘crowdfunding’ website Kickstarter which sought to raise £25,000 in order to digitise the first 28,000 pages of diaries written by its volunteers during the Second World War. At the close of the campaign on Tuesday 7 June, the charity had received £27,724 from 705 backers.

"We’re so grateful for the support and donations from the public,” said Royal Voluntary Service Archivist, Matthew McMurray. “Having smashed our target we are now going to be able to digitise over 2,000 more pages of these diaries than we had hoped, bringing more stories to light for the first time."


Lancashire researcher seeks newspaper photos

A local historian in Lancashire is searching for photographs taken by a regional newspaper during the 20th century.

Janet Rigby, who is writing a history of Goosnargh and Whittingham, would like to hear from anyone who may possess photographs of the villages that were published in the Preston Guardian.

Although copies of the newspaper still survive on microfilm, many of the original photographs were lost when the now-defunct publication moved offices.

To get in touch with Janet, send her an email.


Shakespeare's will to return to Warwickshire

The last will and testament of William Shakespeare will be returning to his hometown for the first time in four centuries.

Shakespeare's Birthplace will be displaying the historic document in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, from Saturday 16 July to Thursday 4 August as part of a major exhibition marking 400 years of the playwright’s legacy.

Currently held by The National Archives, the will is signed in three different places and reveals that Shakespeare left the bulk of his estate to his eldest daughter, Susannah Hall.

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