Genealogy news roundup: Commonwealth War Graves Commission launches Remembrance app

By Rosemary Collins, 2 November 2017 - 2:57pm

Plus: Over a million Portsmouth records go online; TheGenealogist expands Warwickshire and Worcestershire baptism collections; The Secrets in My Family to broadcast on 6 November

People can share their Remembrance Day commemorations using Hold High the Torch

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is urging people around the world to share their 11 November Remembrance Day commemorations on a new app.

The organisation, which is responsible for marking, recording and maintaining the graves of the 1.7 million Commonwealth men and women who died in the First and Second World Wars, said the Hold High the Torch app would “create a global remembrance moment – a wave of light from Sydney to London”.

Members of the public who are interested in taking part should pledge to support the campaign via the website Thunderclap, then download the free app and use it to take a picture of themselves on 11 November, the 99th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Participants will then share the photographs on social media using the hashtag #HoldHightheTorch to be added to an interactive world map displaying the different commemorations as a wave of light.


Over a million Portsmouth records go online

Family history website Findmypast has published over a million Portsmouth records as the first stage in a deal to release the port city’s records online.

Through a partnership with Portsmouth History Centre, Findmypast subscribers will be able to access searchable transcripts of records dating from 1538 to 1917, all accompanied by images of the originals.

The first set of records, released on 27 October, contained 1.3 million records, including 550,000 baptisms, 379,000 marriages and 312,000 burials.

In addition, images of 873 volumes of parish registers are available for users to browse.

Over a million Portsmouth records go online


TheGenealogist expands Warwickshire and Worcestershire baptism collections

TheGenealogist has added thousands of new baptism records to its Warwickshire and Worcestershire parish collections.

97,841 new names have joined the Worcestershire records, while 4,250 joined the Warwickshire collection.

The records were released in association with Malvern Family History Society and the Nuneaton & North Warwickshire Family History Society as part of a partnership to release family history society records on TheGenealogist and FHS-Online.


The Secrets in My Family to broadcast on 6 November

The first episode of The Secrets in My Family, a new TV series featuring ordinary people using DNA testing to solve their family mysteries, will broadcast on W at 9pm on Monday 6 November 2017.

The six-part series is presented by The One Show’s Alex Jones, with the first episode following Andrew as he finds out the truth about his adoption; Kirsty, whose father disappeared when she was two; and Fifi and John, whose family secret kept them apart for 30 years.

Family history company Ancestry funded the show in partnership with W’s parent company UKTV.

The show is produced by Boundless, the company behind The Apprentice and Escape to the Country.


Pictures and stories of Australian criminals go online

The photographs and stories of historic criminals in Australia are now available in a new online catalogue.

The pictures will be on display in ‘Captured: Portraits of Crime’, a new exhibition produced by State Archives and Records New South Wales that tells the stories of men, women and children incarcerated in the state’s gaols from 1870 to 1930.

The exhibition is on display at Western Sidney Records Centre as well as touring locations around Australia, and the exhibition catalogue has been published online for free, accompanied by videos shedding light on the prisoners’ stories.

The prisoners include the crew of the brig Carl, found guilty of murder after capturing and massacring South Sea Islanders; James Dwyer, a forger who later became a successful pulp fiction writer; and Willie Kenambury and Jacky Bullyell, two Aboriginal trackers who went on the run after killing a farmer with a spear.


Restored Victorian pier wins architecture prize

The restoration of Hastings Pier, partly funded by local people, has won the 2017 Riba Stirling prize for architecture.

The popular pier, which opened in 1872, was closed in 2008 following storm damage and suffered a fire in 2010.

The pier was restored by architecture firm dRMM, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £30,000 from a local action group, whose 3,000 shareholders bought stakes in the pier for £100 each.

dRMM restored the pier’s 19th century structural ironwork, as well as introducing new features including a visitor centre building with views of the English Channel.

Ben Derbyshire, RIBA president and RIBA Stirling prize jury chair, called the pier “a masterpiece of regeneration and inspiration”.


Over a million Portsmouth records go online
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Over a million Portsmouth records go online
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