Genealogy news roundup: British and Irish records free for five days on Findmypast

By Rosemary Collins, 22 June 2017 - 2:40pm

Plus: Celebrities revealed for new series of WDYTYA?; Ancestry submits draft statement for public offering; TheGenealogist adds York maps and directories

1.1 billion records are now avavailable to view for free

Over 1.1 billion British and Irish records on family history website Findmypast will be free to access from 9am BST on 22 June to 11.59pm on 26 June.

The collection contains more than 1.1 billion records, including censuses, parish registers and military service records. However, the free access does not extend to other major Findmypast collections such as the 1939 Register and the website's newspaper archives.

The family history website, which usually has subscription fees of at least £9.95 a month, will also provide researchers with daily getting started guides, expert insights, how-to blogs and a free downloadable e-book, Your Must Have Guide to Finding Your British & Irish Ancestors.

Furthermore, Findmypast will broadcast an open ‘ask the experts’ question and answer session on Facebook from 4-5pm on 26 June, with specialists in search techniques, military records and UK family history available to answer questions.

Celebrities revealed for new series of WDYTYA?

The 14th series of Who Do You Think You Are? will feature top celebs from the worlds of film, TV, sport, music and dance, it has been revealed.

The beloved family history programme, produced by Wall to Wall, will return to BBC1 on Thursday 6 July at 9pm and air in two five-episode blocks.

The first episode follows Game of Thrones star Charles Dance’s quest to find out more about his origins.

You can read the full story on the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine website.

Ancestry submits draft statement for public offering

Family history company Ancestry, Inc, announced on 19 June that it has confidentially submitted a draft registration statement relating to the proposed initial public offering of its common stock.

The company, based in Lehi, Utah, said that the initial public offering was expected to commence after the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.

“The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined,” the company said in its statement.

The announcement raises the possibility that shares in Ancestry will eventually be available to buy, but does not in itself constitute an offer to sell any securities.

TheGenealogist adds York maps and directories

TheGenealogist has announced that it is publishing new historic maps and directories for York to coincide with the Yorkshire Family History Show, taking place at York Racecourse on 24 June.

The website has added the City of York and Ainsty Colour Tithe Maps to its National Tithe Records collection.

The colour maps, complementing the existing collection of greyscale maps and accompanying apportionment books, shows who owned and occupied plots of land according to a survey carried out between 1835 and the mid 1850s.

In addition, TheGenealogist has added another 23 York residential and commercial directory books to its Trade, Residential and Telephone Directories collection. By giving the names, address and professions of York residents the directories, which date from between 1735 and 1937, provide a useful guide for years not covered by the census.

TNA catalogues Merchant Navy ships' logs

Thousands of records from Merchant Navy ships’ logs can now be searched via Discovery, the online catalogue of The National Archives (TNA).

TNA volunteers have been working since 2014 to transcribe over 40,000 logs from TNA’s BT 165 series.

The records are now searchable by the ship’s name and official number and the date of the voyage. They have not been digitised but researchers can order a copy or arrange to view the records.

British merchant ships were legally required to keep an official log under the Merchant Shipping Act of 1850. They record events including births, marriages, illnesses, deaths, desertion or disciplinary measures towards the crew. After 1874 logs were often discarded unless they contained information on a birth, marriage or death. The collection also includes all surviving logs for the First World War.

Dorset and Somerset centres purchase solicitor's archives 

A major solicitor’s archives in the South-west is to be preserved by two local archive centres.

Dorset Archives Trust (DAT) and Somerset Heritage Centre (SHC) have purchased the archives of Batten’s Solicitors.

SHC bought the archives from Duke’s Auctions in Dorchester for a hammer price of £6000, and DAT then bought the Dorset section of the archive using its Emergency Purchase Fund.

The archives contain several hundred documents, mostly related to property ownership and proving title. The earliest date back to the reigns of Henry VI, Henry VII and Elizabeth I and are written in Latin.

Findmypast completes criminal records collection

Findmypast has added images and transcripts of 68,000 records to its England and Wales, Crime, Prisons and Punishment records.

The collection is now the largest set of England and Wales criminal records online, with a total of over 5.7 million records.

The records, digitised in partnership with The National Archives (TNA) in Kew, cover the criminal justice system from 1770 to 1935.

You can read the full story on the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine website.

Vote opens to raise awareness of England's historic places

Members of the public are being urged to vote for the places that shaped England’s history after a poll found a widespread lack of knowledge about where in the country key moments in history happened.

The Historic England quiz found that many Britons thought key historic events that actually took place in this country had happened overseas.

For instance, just 10% of Britons knew that the world’s first bungee jump happened off the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and 41% thought it happened in Queenstown, New Zealand.

You can read the full story on the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine website.

Findmypast completes criminal records collection
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Who Do You Think You Are? 2017 – new celebrities revealed!
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