Genealogy news roundup: Essex parish registers indexed on FamilySearch

By Rosemary Collins, 16 November 2017 - 2:40pm

Plus: Appeal for family stories of those killed in the Somme; Findmypast and BNA to publish Trinity Newspaper Archive; Ancestry adds seamen’s hospital records

St Peters Church, Paglesham, Essex. Credit: WJPrior via a Creative Commons licence

Thousands of records from Essex are now available for free on FamilySearch.

The site's new collection features an index of parish register records, including 424,558 baptisms, marriages and funerals, dating from 1538-1997.

FamilySearch, whose indexing is all done by volunteers from around the world, also announced significant additions to some of its other English record sets.

These included 92,188 new Derbyshire parish records; 37,798 Manchester parish records; 129,438 Cambridgeshire bishop’s transcripts; and 836,206 Hampshire bishop’s transcripts.


Appeal for family stories of those killed in the Somme

Family members of soldiers killed in the Battle of the Somme are being urged to share their pictures and lives to mark the end of the First World War commemorations next year.

Ahead of Remembrance Day this year, it was announced that the Shrouds of the Somme art installation will go on display at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the run-up to Armistice Day 2018.

To create the installation, Somerset artist Rob Heard made 72,396 hand-stitched shrouds, each wrapped around a 12-inch figure - one for each of the servicemen who were killed on the Somme but have no known grave.

To go alongside the installation, Shrouds of the Somme is inviting descendants and other relatives of the missing men to upload family pictures and descriptions of their lives online, creating a permanent digital archive.

Appeal for family stories of those killed in the Somme


Findmypast and BNA to publish Trinity Mirror Newspaper Archive

The entire Trinity Mirror Newspaper Archive, consisting of 12 million pages across 150 titles, is to be digitised on family history website Findmypast and its sister site, the British Newspaper Archive (BNA).

The two-year project is already underway at the BNA’s studio in Boston Spa, with 100,000 pages being scanned each week. The newspapers added so far include titles covering Birmingham and the Midlands.

The programme builds on an existing partnership that has seen 160 Trinity Mirror titles, including the Daily Mirror and the Daily Herald, published online.

Thomas McGill, vice president of global data and licensing at Findmypast, said that when the digitisation was completed, it would nearly double the volume of newspaper material available on the two sites.


Ancestry adds seamen’s hospital records

The Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital 1826-1930 admission and discharge registers have now been digitised on Ancestry.

The first hospital for seamen, co-founded by William Wilberforce, opened on board the hospital ship Grampus in 1821. It moved to the larger Dreadnought in 1831, and the Dreadnought hospital itself was active until 1974.

The registers, held at the National Maritime Museum, contain 221,114 records. They are immensely detailed, including each seaman’s age, height, place of birth, years in service and last place of service.

They also note which illness each patient suffered from, how long their stay lasted, when they left, whether they died, were discharged or ran away, and “remarks as to general conduct”.


TheGenealogist adds 15,000 names to war memorial records

Family history website TheGenealogist has added 15,000 new names from 53 war memorials, bringing its total war memorial records collection to over 383,000.

The new records come from memorials in Worcestershire, London and South Yorkshire as well as Australia and Canada.

One of the war memorials was raised by The Great Central Railway in Sheffield in 1922 to commemorate the company’s employees who were killed in the First World War.

It includes Lance Corporal Thomas Norman Jackson, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery before his death in 1918. However, his name was omitted from the war memorial until it was added in 2011 following a campaign by railway historian Ken Grainger.


Deadline for applications for hearth tax project draws near

Volunteers have until 1 December to apply to take part in three shared learning projects (SLPs) which will use hearth tax records to look at urban life in England in the late 17th century.

The SLPs, established in a collaboration between the North London University of the Third Age and Roehampton University, will explore Restoration hearth tax records to discover what they show about everyday life in the 1660s and 1670s, and publish their findings.

There will be three SLPs, each consisting of 6-12 researchers and a project leader, focusing on the City of London, south-east London and towns in the West Midlands.

The North London University said it was looking for volunteers who “enjoy research”. Training will be provided at Birmingham and Roehampton universities in paleography, hearth tax studies and local history, and the teams will meet monthly.


Women’s lives during First World War to be commemorated in 2018

Women’s role in the First World War will be explored in 2018, the First World War Centenary Partnership (FWWCP) has announced.

‘WomensWork100’, a year of exhibitions, events, activities, creative responses, personal stories and digital resources, will begin on 6 February 2018, the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave the first women the right to vote in national elections.

The FWWCP encouraged organisations which want to take part in WomensWork100 to get in contact via its website.

Imperial War Museums, which leads the FWWCP, said that it will also share stories based on items from its Women’s Work Collection over the next year.


1917 war memorials given listed status

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on the advice of Historic England, has awarded eight war memorials with Grade II listed status to mark their centenary and Remembrance Day 2017.

In 1917, the idea of erecting war memorials was still controversial, with some seeing them as unpatriotic and disrespectful to those fighting.

However, the eight memorials were erected in that year, including a grave marker for 15 children killed when Upper North Street school in East London was bombed; Amington Cemetery War Memorial in Tamworth, Staffordshire; and the Burton in Wirral Peace Cross in Cheshire.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said the memorials “were not just a focal point for people's grief but also seen as a symbol to those still fighting”.

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