Genealogy news roundup: Ancestry to offer free access this weekend

By Jon Bauckham, 16 February 2017 - 6:00pm

Plus: Jewish children's WW1 stories go online; ScotlandsPeople to appear at WDYTYA? LIVE; British Newspaper Archive hits 18 million mark; MyHeritage launches tree accuracy tool; Warwickshire County Record Office reveals changes

Most of the record sets available during the free access weekend are normally only available to Ancestry subscribers

Ancestry will be offering free access to millions of historic records this weekend.

Between Saturday 18 February and midnight on Monday 20 February, non-subscribers will have full use of the website’s UK and Irish collections, including census returns, parish registers and electoral rolls.

The free access period will also give users the chance to explore some of the website's most recently digitised datasets, including the Jersey Heritage Collection and London Stock Exchange Membership Applications.

Find out more by clicking here.

Jewish children's WW1 stories go online

Two books compiled by Jewish children during the First World War have been revealed to the public for the first time.

Discovered in the archives of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue (LJS) in St John’s Wood, London, the bound volumes contain a variety of stories, essays, poems and drawings created by young people who attended the synagogue’s religious school between 1915 and 1916.

As well as offering a rare insight into the thoughts and feelings of children growing up during the period, the writings also contain reflections on ‘what it is to be Jewish’ and the effects of wartime propaganda.

Following conservation work, both books have now been digitised and made available online as part of the We Were There Too project, which examines the lives of London’s Jewish population during the First World War.

View the books here.

ScotlandsPeople to appear at WDYTYA? LIVE

The National Records of Scotland has confirmed that representatives from ScotlandsPeople will be attending this year’s Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE show in Birmingham.

Appearing on all three days of the event (6-8 April), staff will be on hand to help visitors trace their Scottish forebears, with four computer terminals offering free access to the genealogy website.

Showgoers will be able to schedule a 10-minute session, which can be booked by visiting the ScotlandsPeople stand when they first arrive at the Birmingham NEC.

Free ScotlandsPeople credits will also be given to professional genealogists working in the ‘Ask the Experts’ area, meaning attendees who schedule a 20-minute consultation with an expert will also get the chance to investigate their Scottish roots.

Find out more about Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE and purchase general admission tickets to the show by clicking here.

British Newspaper Archive hits 18 million mark

Over 18 million pages of digitised newspapers are now available to search via the British Newspaper Archive.

Edging closer towards 50 per cent of the website’s 40 million-page target, the latest additions come from publications including the Herts Advertiser (1879-1893), Peterborough Advertiser (1956-1957) and Bradford Daily Telegraph (1873-1909).

To see the full list, click here. The same records can also be accessed via Findmypast.

MyHeritage launches tree accuracy tool

MyHeritage has launched a new feature that scans users’ online family trees for accuracy.

Based on a similar tool that appears in the website’s separate Family Tree Builder software, the Consistency Checker employs 36 different ‘checks’ on saved website data, helping to highlight potential mistakes.

This includes pointing out whether any ancestors’ births occur too close to their own parents, or whether married surnames have been accidentally entered as maiden names.

Learn more about the feature here.

Warwickshire County Record Office reveals changes

Warwickshire County Record Office is amending its opening hours following a public consultation.

The archive repository, located in Warwick, will now be open from 10am-4pm from Wednesdays to Fridays and 10am-1pm on Saturdays.

The office will no longer be closed for a ‘collections week’ in the first week of each month, but will instead take a two-week break during the winter period.

Although dates for the next break have not yet been confirmed, it will enable staff to work on cataloguing larger collections and help improve the “quality, quantity and availability” of records online and on the web.

Find out more here.

TV and radio highlights: 17-23 February 2017
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TV and radio highlights: 17-23 February 2017
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TV and radio highlights: 24 February – 2 March 2017
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