Genealogy news roundup: PRONI launches digitised register of First World War casualties

By Rosemary Collins, 8 March 2018 - 3:18pm

Plus: The National Archives announces car parking charges; British Newspaper Archive adds nine suffragette titles; Scientists use 13 million person tree to research family patterns

The records of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast list soldiers who were injured in the First World War

Records of injured soldiers who were treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast between September 1914 and November 1916 have now been digitised for free on the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) website.

The register was published on PRONI's website ahead of International Women's Day as part of its Women and Medicine During the First World War conference.

It is accompanied by a spreadsheet listing the 704 men in the records by alphabetical order of surname.

It also gives their first initial, rank, service number, regiment and official regiment, battalion number and dates of admission and discharge.


The National Archives announces car parking charges

Car parking charges will be in operation at The National Archives (TNA) from 3 April 2018.

TNA, where parking is currently free, said that it had introduced the charges to deter others from using the car park and free more space for its own visitors, and "to invest in services for the majority who arrive by public transport or use our services online".

The new charges are £2.50 for up to two hours, £4.50 for up to four hours and £7 for over four hours, with free designated parking bays for Blue Badge holders.

They will be administered through an ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) system, with visitors paying before departure at a pay point located inside The National Archives building.


British Newspaper Archive adds nine suffragette titles

To celebrate International Women's Day, the British Newspaper Archive (BNA) has added nine new titles to its Suffragette Collection.

The nine newspapers are Church League for Women's Suffrage, Common Cause, Conservative and Unionist Women's Franchise Review, Free Church Suffrage Times, Suffragist, Women's Signal, Women's Franchise, Women's Suffrage and Women's Suffrage Record.

The earliest issues date back to 1894 and the latest to 1933, with 21,390 pages available in total.

The website, which is available by subscription and for Findmypast users, also added new issues of the Lincolnshire Chronicle, the Newcastle Evening Chronicle and the Scottish North Star and Farmers' Chronicle.


Scientists use 13 million person tree to research family patterns

Researchers have used 5.3 million family trees on Geni, including one with 13 million individuals, to research the impact of social change on families over centuries.

A team of scientists from Columbia University, the New York Genome Center, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University downloaded 86 million public family tree profiles from Geni, a free collaborative genealogy website.

They then anonymised, cleaned and validated the data, ending up with 5.3 million trees, the largest of which held 13 million individuals.

The findings from the data, published in the journal Science, include that before 1750, most Americans found a spouse within six miles of their birthplace, but for those born in 1950, the distance increased to 60 miles.

The scientists also found that before 1850, the average married couple were likely to be fourth cousins, as opposed to seventh cousins today.


MyHeritage adds 1939 Register

The 1939 Register is now available on MyHeritage as part of an addition of 325 million records to the genealogy website.

The register, which was compiled by the government to record the population of Britain at the start of the Second World War, contains 33 million records.

It was first published on Findmypast, which has digital images of the records, whereas MyHeritage has just added an index.

Other new records on the website include an index of American yearbooks from 1890 to 1979, containing 289 million records.


RootsWeb restores mailing lists

Community family history hosting service RootsWeb has announced its mailing lists are now available to use, as the site continues to be restored after being taken offline.

On 6 March, RootsWeb confirmed that users can now send and receive email on the RootsWeb mailing lists.

It is in the process of importing the massive collection of old mailing list archives.

RootsWeb was taken offline in December by Ancestry, which hosts the website on its servers, after the email addresses and passwords of 300,000 Ancestry users were leaked in a security breach.


FIBIS indexes 1846 arrival and departure notices

The Families in British India Society (FIBIS) team of volunteers has continued indexing the arrival and departure notices in the Bombay Times, adding the 1846 notices to its free database.

The newspaper's notices provide a record of passengers travelling to and from India while it was occupied by the British.

The new data consists of 3,997 arrivals and 1,611 departures and follows the addition of the 1847 notices last month.

In total, the FIBIS database now holds 5,608 arrival and departure entries, dating from 1846 to 1851.


Suffolk County Council announces consultation into future of Lowestoft Record Office

Suffolk County Council has promised a full consultation into the future of Lowestoft Record Office, after protest over plans to close the service.

A campaign group, Save Our Record Office (SORO) formed to campaign against the closure, which the council announced was due in 2019 after a major new records facility, The Hold, opens in Ipswich, which is a three hour round trip from Lowestoft.

In response, Councillor Tony Goldson, cabinet member for health, said the council would meet with local historians and interested parties over the coming weeks to form proposals for the future of the service, with a formal consultation planned in late spring.

The council added that the storeroom in the current Record Office building was not sustainable to continue holding Lowestoft's archive material because it was prone to flooding and damp hazards and that it needed to make savings to fill a budget gap of £56 million by 2021.

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Genealogy news roundup: Findmypast adds records of mining disaster victims
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New index makes 5.6 million Irish civil records easier to search
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