Genealogy news roundup: Findmypast adds Warwickshire records

By Rosemary Collins, 4 October 2017 - 1:04pm

Plus: Ancestry defends DNA data policy; Hearth Tax Online website removed following ‘cyber attacks’; TheGenealogist adds Somerset and Dorset parish records

Findmypast users can browse historic Warwickshire parish registers

Findmypast has expanded its collection of Warwickshire parish records.

The family history website's new additions consist of 1,117,720 baptisms, 265,803 marriage banns, 628,179 marriages and 725,558 burials.

The records are also available on Ancestry, and for free on FamilySearch.

Findmypast has also added images of thousands of Warwickshire parish registers for users to browse.


Ancestry defends DNA data policy

Family history company Ancestry has defended itself from fresh privacy concerns about its DNA testing service.

In May, BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme reported on criticism of Ancestry’s terms and conditions, which gave the company a "perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide, sub-licensable, transferable licence" to use customers’ DNA samples. Ancestry subsequently edited its terms to remove the controversial word 'perpetual'.

However, on 2 October You and Yours reported that Ancestry is still not deleting users’ DNA records unless they ask.

An Ancestry spokesperson said: “At Ancestry, enabling customers to have control of their own data is massively important to us. Ancestry has an ongoing relationship with each of its members and strives to deliver value over the course of the relationship. Holding member DNA data helps us to provide some of the existing features of our service such as ethnicity estimates and genetic matching – letting people know if genetic cousins have taken the test – as well as to provide more value to customers as we develop new features.

“While customers can request destruction of their sample at any time, we currently retain samples unless we receive a request to destroy. If a user wishes to close their account we will delete their personal data and destroy their biological sample. We explain all of this in our T&Cs as well as our privacy statement.”


Hearth Tax Online website removed following ‘cyber attacks’

The Hearth Tax Online website, run by the Centre for Hearth Tax Studies at the University of Roehampton, has had to be taken down due to an aggressive spate of cyber attacks that left users being taken to alternative sites.

Dr Andrew Wareham, director of the Centre, told Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine that the resource was attacked “by over 400 malicious scripts” and that “the extent of the attack was so great that it means that we are going to need to rebuild the website”.

Hearth Tax Online featured in the September issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine in an article on the best websites for 17th century research.

Although the resource is likely to be down for some time, Wareham added a note of optimism: “The good news is that I am putting into place something that will result in a better website, in terms of its security, content and usability."

Hearth Tax Online website removed following 'cyber attacks'


TheGenealogist adds Somerset and Dorset parish records

TheGenealogist has added 2.2 million parish records from Somerset and Dorset through a partnership with a local family history society.

The new additions consist of baptism records for Somerset from 1538 to 1996 and burial and crematorium records for Somerset & Dorset from 1563 to 2003.

They were compiled by Somerset & Dorset Family History Society, which is releasing digital versions of the records through a partnership with TheGenealogist and FHS-Online.

Mark Bayley, head of online development at TheGenealogist, said that partnerships with family history websites "help[ed] societies boost their funds whilst bringing their records to a much wider audience".


Heritage railway station wins volunteering award

Volunteers at a tiny heritage railway station in Yorkshire have been commended with a national award.

The team at Scruton Station, which is operated by the Wensleydale Railway Association Trust, were announced as national winners of the 2016 Marsh Volunteer Awards at the British Museum.

They tied with the volunteers who curated ‘Never Going Underground’, an exhibition on the history of LGBQT activism at Manchester’s People’s History Museum.

Both teams were chosen from a shortlist of 12 regional winners. The Marsh awards were introduced in 2007 to recognise the contribution of volunteers to the museum sector.


Funding granted for D-Day landing craft restoration

For the first time ever, an original Landing Craft Tank (LCT) will be on display at the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has granted £4.7 million to fund the restoration of LCT 7074.

The D-Day Museum is currently closed for refurbishment, but it will reopen in spring 2018, with LCT 7074 going on display in time for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings on 6 June 2019.

Over 800 LCTs, each with the capacity to carry 10 tanks or equivalent armoured vehicles, were used in Operation Neptune, the naval part of D-Day.


Hearth Tax Online website removed following "cyber attacks"
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