Genealogy news roundup: FreeCEN website undergoes revamp

By Guest, 10 August 2017 - 4:56pm

Plus: TheGenealogist releases Nottinghamshire parish records; Northamptonshire Archives revises cuts plans; Property records website launches; Public asked to help identify forge worker photos

FreeCEN provides free online access to transcriptions of 19th-century census records, created entirely by volunteers

Long-running genealogy website FreeCEN has undergone a major overhaul.

A new version of the popular online census resource – dubbed 'FreeCEN2' – boasts an improved user interface similar to that of sister website FreeREG.

Volunteers who create census transcriptions for the website can also make use of a new members’ sign-in area and messaging system.

“We are very proud of the progress that our volunteers have made in the 18 years the project has been running, and we look forward to a time when we have a complete database of all UK censuses,” said Pat Reynolds, executive director of Free UK Genealogy, which manages the site.

“The launch of our new FreeCEN2 website marks the beginning of an exciting period of renewal for FreeCEN.”

As FreeCEN2 is a "work in progress", the original FreeCEN website is still available to access by clicking here

According to a Free UK Genealogy press release, the FreeBMD website will start undergoing a similar renewal process “later this year”.

TheGenealogist releases Nottinghamshire parish records

Over 650,000 Nottinghamshire parish record transcriptions have been published on TheGenealogist.

Building on a collection that already includes 300,000 records from the East Midlands county, the latest additions reveal details of baptisms, marriages and burials across 56 parishes, with some entries dating back to 1633.

Among the famous names within the collection are those of Lord Byron and his mathematician daughter, Ada, Countess of Lovelace. Both are shown buried in the parish of Hucknall Torkard, just north of Nottingham.

Northamptonshire Archives revises cuts plans

Northamptonshire County Council has revised plans to cut opening hours and introduce significant access charges to its archives.

On 24 July, Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage Service posted on its Facebook page to state that from 21 August, it would reduce free opening hours and introduce an access charge of £31.50 an hour to use the archives from 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm on Mondays and Fridays.

However, following widespread complaints and an online petition against the proposals, the council released a new statement on 4 August announcing that the archive would now also be open for free from 2pm-5pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 9am-1pm on the first Saturday of the month throughout the year.

The council added that visitors could “book one-to-one time with our research assistant during the times we are otherwise closed” at a rate of £31.50 an hour.


Property records website launches

Family historians can trace records of their ancestors’ land ownership using a new website.

Property development company Compton Group is in the process of digitally indexing its collection on The company holds hundreds of deeds and documents relating to properties across England and Wales, with the majority concentrated in the historic counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.

The collection includes over 7,000 pre-1900 documents on vellum parchment, with some original wills dating back to the 1660s. There are 5,462 records on the website, with plans to update it with further datasets of around 5,000 records every month.

Public asked to help identify forge worker photos

Members of the public have been asked to help identify photographs of workers discovered at one of Leeds’ oldest industrial sites.

Prospect Archaeology found thousands of glass plate negatives at Kirkstall Forge, an iron and steel forge that operated from the 16th century until 2003. Prospect was hired by CEG, a development company now building homes and offices at the location.

The photographs are thought to have been taken in the 1940s-1960s and show '40 year men’, who received a medal from the company owners after completing 40 years' continuous service.

To view the photographs go to If you have any information about the men pictured, contact


Northamptonshire Archives revises plans to cut opening hours
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Northamptonshire Archives revises plans to cut opening hours
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Genealogy news roundup: Ancestry DNA tests uncover unexpected results in Cotswold village
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