Genealogy news roundup: London school records available on Ancestry

By Rosemary Collins, 21 July 2017 - 9:50am

Plus: Family Tree Maker launches after delays; Findmypast adds Westminster Catholic records; Researcher reveals names of black 18th century POWs in Portsmouth castle

The records include Poor Law school district registers

Over 60 years of London school records will be available to search on Ancestry from this weekend.

The two new collections contain an index and images of school admissions and discharges from 1912-1918 and Poor Law school district registers from 1852 to 1918.

In total, they contain records of 319,000 children, and can include details such as their name, age, address, parents’ names, religion, previous schools and whether they were an orphan or illegitimate.

The Poor Law Commission, established in 1834, required each union to set up a residential school for pauper children. The 1870 Education Act introduced a national requirement for children to be educated to the age of 10, and by 1918, the school leaving age was 14.

Family Tree Maker 2017 launches after delays

The Family Tree Maker (FTM) 2017 software package is finally available to the general public, after developers Mackiev was able to fix syncing problems.

Mackiev bought FTM last year after Ancestry announced it was discontinuing the brand.

FTM 2017 was due to launch on 1 April, but the launch was delayed at the last minute when problems were uncovered with FamilySync, Mackiev’s replacement for the TreeSync feature.

After three months of beta testing and ‘test drives’ with volunteer users, the programme went on sale for general use on 16 July.

Findmypast adds Westminster Catholic records

Family history website Findmypast has added over 121,000 records covering the Diocese of Westminster to its Catholic Heritage Archive.

The new record set, including images and transcriptions, consists of 94,687 baptisms; 8,817 marriages; 1,857 burials; and 16,245 congregational records.

Some of the records date back to the 1650s, but the majority cover the nineteenth century. They go up to 1907 because the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has placed a 110-year closure period on all sacramental records.

The records, written in Latin, include details such as the person’s name, age and parish, their parents’ names in baptism or marriage records, and the date of events such as first communion and confirmation in the congregational records.

Researcher reveals names of black 18th century POWs in Portsmouth castle

The identities of more than 2,000 African-Caribbean soldiers interned at Portchester Castle have been discovered by English Heritage during research for a new exhibition.

In 1796, during the French Revolutionary War, freed slaves fighting for France were captured by British forces on St Lucia and St Vincent.

Along with their wives and children, they were transported to England and imprisoned at Portchester Castle, at the head of Portsmouth Harbour.

The names of the soldiers have been uncovered for the first time, thanks to archival research by Abigail Coppins, curator of a new permanent English Heritage exhibition at the castle.

Researcher reveals names of black 18th century POWs in Portsmouth castle


TheGenealogist adds Northumberland parish records

Over 1.3 million records of births, marriages and deaths in Northumberland have been indexed on TheGenealogist.

The new collection includes records of 903,314 baptisms, 157,329 marriages and 302,378 burials. Some of the records are already available on Findmypast.

Among those listed in the records is Grace Horsley Darling, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter famous for helping rescue survivors from the wrecked paddle steamer Forfarshire in 1838.

The records show that Grace was baptised on 17 December 1815, a month after her birth, in the village of Bamburgh. Her parents’ names are William and Thomasine Darling and her abode is listed as ‘Outer Lighthouse’.

Partnership to make Mayflower descendants lists available online

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has announced a partnership with the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD) to make it easier for their members to trace Mayflower ancestry.

GSMD is responsible for publishing Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, a series of books tracing the first five generations of descendants from the Mayflower, which brought the first English Puritans to America in 1620.

Now, the fifth generation portion of these books will be made available to search online for the first time on NEHGS’ subscription website, AmericanAncestors.

GSMD members will also be offered discounted membership of NEHGS.

NLS completes collection of English maps

Maps of England from 1841 to 1952 are now available to search for free on the National Library of Scotland (NLS) website.

NLS has finished digitising 25 inch Ordnance Survey maps, with 85,279 sheets available online.

It is in the process of digitising similar maps of Wales.

The maps are searchable by county and, from the 1890s to 1920s, available as a seamless zoomable layer, overlaid or side-by-side with modern satellite images and OS maps.

African American genealogy centre to open

The International African American Museum (IAAM) in Charleston, South Carolina has announced a new dedicated genealogy research centre for researching and celebrating African American ancestry.

The Center for Family History will open in late 2019 or early 2020 on the site of Gadsen’s Wharf, where almost half of all enslaved Africans first arrived in America.

The centre is being developed by Toni Carrier, genealogist and founder of the Lowcountry Africana centre, who traced Michelle Obama’s ancestry to Gadsden’s Wharf. The centre will be staffed by a team of experienced genealogists and historians who will digitise records, present online research tutorials, produce scholarly articles and assist visitors with DNA testing.

“Many African Americans can only trace their lineage back a few generations. Discovering anything before that has proven to be challenging, if not impossible for most,” said Michael Boulware Moore, president and CEO of the IAAM. “While the IAAM, in total, will paint a broader picture of African American history, the Center for Family History will help individuals discover their own personal strands of that history. It promises to be an extremely powerful place that will change lives forever!” 

Researcher reveals names of black 18th century POWs in Portsmouth castle
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