Genealogy news roundup: Free collection of historic maps completed

By Rosemary Collins, 31 August 2017 - 1:57pm

Plus: Findmypast adds new religious records; Powys Archives reopens in new building; Ancestry creates Shropshire collection

1899 Ordnance Survey map of Bradden, Northamptonshire

A complete collection of historic maps of England and Wales is now available for free.

After three years of work scanning 89,000 sheets, the National Library of Scotland has finished putting the Ordnance Survey 25 inch to the mile maps online.

The maps, dating from the 1840s to the 1950s, provide the most detailed topographic view of features including all buildings, streets, railways, industrial premises, parkland, farms, woodland, and rivers.

They have been scanned in colour at 400 dpi, making them easy to view.

Findmypast adds religious records collections

Records capturing turbulent religious divisions in England have been added to Findmypast.

The first consists of an index of over 870,000 1641-42 Protestation returns from Middlesex. Protestation returns were introduced by the Long Parliament out of concern that the Protestant Reformation was failing. They were oaths of allegiance to Protestantism and Parliament which all males over the age of 18 were required to sign, and supply details such as the person’s name and place of residence.

The records are taken from Middlesex Family History Society, but some are also available on a free online map on Parliament’s website.

In addition, Findmypast digitised a collection of burial registers from London’s Bunhill Fields non-conformist cemetery. The records, which date from 1713 to 1826, aren’t searchable by individual names but are listed in alphabetical order.

Powys Archives reopens in new building

Powys Archives opened at a new and improved facility on 29 August after a £1.6 million investment from Powys county council.

The archives previously operated out of cramped accommodation near County Hall in Llandrindod Wells and had to be closed over lunchtime.

The new custom-built facility, located at 29 Ddole Road, features equipment to ensure humidity and temperature control and better disability access.

The archives are now open continuously from 10am-5pm on Tuesday to Friday. There is no access fee but booking is required to visit them.

Ancestry creates Shropshire collection

Ancestry has created a specific collection of Shropshire Church of England parish records by extracting data from its existing collections.

The new index of 1,347,980 records baptism, marriage and burial records dates from 1538 to 1812.

The records are taken from Ancestry’s existing collections of English records, and many are also available on Findmypast and for free on FamilySearch. The records can help researchers find details such as their ancestor’s name, local parish and dates of birth and death and the names of their parents.

Tenth season of Who Do You Think You Are? USA confirmed

American TV channel TLC has announced that it is renewing the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? for a tenth season, airing in spring 2018.

The show, produced by Shed Media, debuted on NBC in 2010. It ran for three seasons before being cancelled, but was then picked up by TLC.

The latest series, which began airing in March and featured celebrities including Courteney Cox (Friends) and Liv Tyler (The Lord of the Rings), is currently nominated for an Emmy Award for Structured Reality Programme.

Last year, Who Do You Think You Are? USA won an Emmy for Outstanding Picture Editing for a Reality Programme.

New database sheds light on Benedictine scandals

The surprisingly scandalous stories of 16th and 17th century Benedictine monks are being told for the first time in a new project.

‘Monks in Motion’, led by Dr James Kelly of Durham University’s department of theology and religion, has launched a dynamic, searchable database of the membership and activities of English and Welsh Benedictines from Mary I’s reign to 1800.

All monasteries in England were dissolved under Henry VIII, forcing English Benedictine monks to seek shelter in Europe until they returned to their homeland to escape the French Revolution and associated violence.

Among the remarkable monks uncovered by the project is Maurus William Davies, who was imprisoned in St Edmund’s monastery in Paris for refusing to comply with universal abstinence. He later travelled to England, where he is thought to have died fighting in a duel. Another monk, Hugh Henry Starkey, fought for the Royalists in the Civil War, had a leg blown off by a cannonball, and was later sentenced to death during the Oates Plot in 1679 but was reprieved.

A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects launches

70 historic objects chosen with the help of the public to tell the story of Lancashire have been joined together in a new trail.

‘A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects’ features objects at 70 locations in the North-west, including the shovelboard table – the longest in Britain – at Astley Hall, Chorley; a giant pear drop made by Stockleys Sweets in Oswaldtwistle Mills; and a typewriter belonging to suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst.

A free family guide to the trail, featuring questions about the objects, is available from the website of magazine Lancashire Life.

The project was created by a partnership of Lancashire Life, Lancashire county council and Museum Development North West funded by a Heritage Lottery Grant of £55,000.

Slavery commemorated in new Liverpool exhibition

The stories of those who suffered the horrors of slavery will be explored in a new exhibition at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool.

‘Ink and blood: stories of abolition’ runs from 21 August to 8 April 2017.

It tells the story of slavery through personal stories, significant historical documents and photographs, rare objects, and new artworks.

Key exhibits include the 1791 to 1813 plantation stock book for Roslin Castle Estate plantation, which records the births, deaths, purchases and sales of slaves, and a new sculpture of writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano by Christy Symington.

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Genealogy news roundup: Ancestry adds Bedfordshire land and court records
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How to trace a WW2 prisoner of war
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