Genealogy news roundup: Findmypast adds British in India records

By Rosemary Collins, 15 February 2018 - 2:50pm

Plus: Convict records added to TheGenealogist; Appeal to help identify Victorian Scottish photographs; RootsTech to livestream talks for free

British Governor of Bombay, Sir Frederick Sykes and his wife Isabel watch an entertainment with performing parrots during their state visit to the Kingdom of Rajpipla, 1929 (Credit: Rajpipla/Atherton Archives/Getty Images)

A set of 56,729 genealogical records of the British in India are now available on Findmypast.

The records come from Lieutenant-Colonel Kendall Percy-Smith's Index, a set of biographical and service data on the families and officers of the East India Company compiled by Percy-Smith and Brigadier Humphry Bullock before Indian independence on 1947.

The index is now held by the Families in British India Society (FIBIS), which has published 18,747 school and graves and monuments records on its database.

The records were added to Findmypast's British in India collection, bringing the total number to 70,321.


Convict records added to TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist has added 651,369 quarterly returns of 19th century convicts to its Court & Criminal Records collection.

The digitised records, taken from series HO 8 at The National Archives, date from 1824 to 1854 and list the convicts held in prisons, hulks and criminal lunatic asylums.

They include information such as their date of birth and crime, as well as their health and behaviour during their sentence.

The records were added to Findmypast when it completed its criminal collection last June.


Appeal to help identify Victorian Scottish photographs

A mysterious image of a Victorian 'biker gang' has led to an appeal by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to help uncover information about a collection of Victorian photographs.

The photograph, showing a group of 20 men holding bikes, is taken from the Stanley album, a collection of 55 photographs dating from around 1889 held in the HES Canmore database of 1.2 million images.

They were mainly taken in Brora, Sutherland, Stanley, Perth and Kinross, although some are unidentified.

Members of the public with local knowledge about the pictures, including locations of buildings and landmarks, should email, tweet @HisEnvScot or visit the HES Facebook page.


RootsTech to livestream talks for free

RootsTech, the annual global family history conference, has announced that it will broadcast 19 of its talks for free via its website for those who can't attend.

The livestreaming of the four-day Salt Lake City event will begin at 9.30am Mountain Standard Time (4.30pm GMT) with Deborah Gamble's talk 'Family History in 5 Minutes a Day'.

Other topics include 'Finding the Right DNA Test for You' and 'Civil Registration Indexes of England and Wales', as well as talks by keynote speakers including Humans of New York blogger Brandon Stanton and Finding Your Roots presenter Dr Henry Louis Gates Jr, and talks sponsored by Findmypast, Ancestry, Living DNA and MyHeritage.

RootsTech's 2017 streaming sessions received more than 50,000 views.


Wartime pupil's son traced after letter discovered at school

The discovery of a Second World War schoolboy's letter from his mother has led to his former school tracing his son in Australia.

The four-page letter from November 1939, found recently under the floorboards of a former dormitory in Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School in West Sussex by a workman, was addressed to "Dearest Jim" and signed "From your loving Mother".

Despite the lack of a surname, staff at Sompting Abbotts contacted local and family history researchers for help identifying the letter's recipient.

Margaret Sear of Lancing History Group used the Harwich street address on the letter to discover that Jim was Donald James Macbride, born in Richmond, London in 1926, son of Colin and Ivy Macbride.

Wartime pupil's son traced after letter discovered at school


Online database of Magdalene Laundries archives published

Thousands of records detailing the history of Ireland's Magdalene Laundries have been made available in a new online database.

The database provides searchable access to the Justice for Magdalenes Research Archive - evidence compiled by campaign group Justice for Magdalenes to prove the links between the Irish government and the laundries, leading to a state apology in 2013.

The Magdalene Laundries were institutes for 'fallen women', run largely by the Catholic Church, which were in operation from the 18th to the late 20th centuries.

In recent years, a number of inquiries and testimonies by survivors have exposed widespread abuse and exploitation of the inmates.

The database, housed by Waterford Institute of Technology Libraries, includes letters, newspaper articles, government reports and other documents.


Wartime pupil's son traced after letter discovered at school
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Free access to Ancestry's UK and Irish collections this weekend
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Wartime pupil's son traced after letter discovered at school
previous news Article
Free access to Ancestry's UK and Irish collections this weekend
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