Genealogy news roundup: Findmypast adds Jersey German occupation records

By Rosemary Collins, 20 September 2018 - 1:36pm

Plus: Documents discovered at The National Archives shed light on William Shakespeare's father; Reclaim the Records publishes New York State Birth Index

WH Smith will sell MyHeritage DNA tests
British troops liberate Jersey from German occupation, 13 May 1945 (Credit: Harry Shepherd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Two collections of records revealing life in Jersey under the German occupation of 1940-45 have been indexed on Findmypast.

The records consist of transcripts of over 62,000 identity cards, issued to all residents over the age of 14, and over 800 records of prosecutions by the German authorities.

The identity cards list each individual's date and place of birth and residence, providing a useful substitute for the 1939 Register in Jersey.

The prosecution records show the crimes people were convicted of and the often harsh sentences they received from the Nazi authorities.

The transcripts also contain links to the Jersey Heritage website, where researchers can purchase a digital copy of the original record or view it with a subscription.


Documents discovered at The National Archives shed light on William Shakespeare's father

A new discovery of 21 documents in The National Archives has revealed details of legal cases involving William Shakespeare's father John.

Professor Glyn Parry of the University of Roehampton found the documents, which show that two professional informers' cases against John in 1538 caused him professional and legal troubles.

These included a debt of £132 (£20,000 in today's money) to the Crown.

The documents will be added to Shakespeare Documented, a free online collection of primary-source documents about the playwright's life run by the Folger Shakespeare Library.


Reclaim the Records publishes New York State Birth Index

American activist group Reclaim the Records has obtained the 1881-1942 New York State Birth Index through a Freedom of Information request and published it online.

Reclaim the Records is in the process of uploading the records year-by-year on the Internet Archive, with the 1942 index still to come.

The index, which is not currently searchable, lists each baby's surname, first name (or in some cases just their gender), date and place of birth and birth certificate number, which can be used to order a copy of the original record.

However, it does not include births from New York City, which is a separate vital records jurisdiction, and births in the cities of Albany, Buffalo, and Yonkers before 1914-15.


Fertilisation authority warns of DNA test 'far-reaching implications' 

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has noted that the growth in commercial DNA sites could have "different and far-reaching implications" for people conceived with gamete and embryo donation.

The agenda of an HFEA meeting on 12 September notes that donors, donor-conceived people and their families could be identifiable via commercial DNA services.

In some cases this could happen without their consent if their close genetic relatives uploaded DNA information to the website.

As potential responses, the paper suggested that the HFEA could inform donors and fertility patients about the potential consequences of DNA websites, and that it could encourage websites to have prominent information about the risks and available support.

The agenda noted: "The growth of these sites has been valuable for many people seeking information, but there is a good argument that more prominent, detailed information in relation to donor conception would better prepare users for the potential issues that might arise."


Government announces £250,000 for Mayflower 400

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has awarded an additional £250,000 grant towards commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing in 2020.

The money will fund a digital Mayflower trail linking 11 partner locations in England with connections to the ship.

It will also support efforts to attract American visitors to take part in the commemorations.

The Mayflower set sail from Plymouth on 16 September 1620, transporting around 130 Puritan settlers to America.

Approximately 35 million Americans alive today are descended from Mayflower passengers.


Researchers appeal for stories of women's activism in the North of England

Women who have been involved in political activism in the North of England are being urged to take part in a new research project.

'Remembering Resistance: A Century of Women's Protest in the North of England' is a new University of Lancaster project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.

Researchers aim to identify the 10 most significant sites of women's resistance in the North, and collect oral histories and artefacts telling the story of activism.

They also want to hear from those who were present at protests as police officers, journalists, photographers and bystanders.

If you would like to get involved as an interviewee or volunteer citizen researcher, visit the project's website, follow @rememberresist on Twitter or email


RootsTech 2019 registration opens

Registration is now open for RootsTech 2019, the world's largest family history event.

The conference will run from 27 February-2 March 2019 at the Salt Palace Convention Centre in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Last year's RootsTech attracted more than 27,000 attendees from all 50 US states and 47 different countries.

In October 2019 the first international RootsTech will also take place at the ExCel Convention Centre in London.







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