Genealogy news roundup: Twile timeline website now free for all users

By Jon Bauckham, 9 February 2017 - 6:44pm

Plus: TheGenealogist adds Cumbria, Essex and Norfolk records; Free Irish genealogy 'toolkit' hits the web; WDYTYA? LIVE talks due to be revealed; Mental health records go online

Launched in 2014, Twile allows users to build interactive family history timelines

Timeline-building website Twile has made its services completely free for all users.

Whereas the site originally required a subscription, family historians can now share their timelines and add unlimited photos without having to pay a fee.

While the site may introduce optional add-ons that users can buy to “enhance” their experience, Twile CEO Paul Brooks says he doesn’t plan to charge a subscription fee or limit usage again.

Try out Twile here.

Findmypast launches Catholic Heritage Archive

Over three million Catholic records have been released online for the first time.

Dating back to the mid-17th century, the brand-new Catholic Heritage Archive on Findmypast features exclusive records from the Archdioceses of Westminster and Birmingham, including sacramental registers of baptisms, marriages and burials.

The fully searchable collection could also help family historians break down brick walls across the Atlantic, with the set also containing records from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia dated 1757-1916.

Read the full story here.

Australian electoral records go online

In addition to its new Catholic collection (see above), over one million Australian electoral records have also been published on Findmypast.

Available to UK users with a World subscription, the latest additions to the website cover Queensland and Tasmania, showing the names of individuals and their eligibility to vote.

Whereas Findmypast’s Australian electoral records previously existed as separate collections divided by state, they have now also been consolidated into a single record set. Rather than searching each region separately, more than 12.6 million records from 1860-1959 can be explored together for the first time.

Search the collection here (requires credits or subscription).

TheGenealogist adds Cumbria, Essex and Norfolk records

Over 282,000 historic parish records from Cumbria, Essex and Norfolk have been made available to explore on TheGenealogist.

Fully searchable, the transcriptions contain details of baptisms, marriages and burials dating back to the late 17th century.

Among the famous names within the tranche is that of Edward Bright, who was buried on 12 November 1750 at All Saints Church in Maldon, Essex. As recorded in the ‘notes’ section of the transcription, Mr Bright weighed 42 stone (588 pounds), making him the largest man in England at the time.

In addition to the parish records, TheGenealogist has also updated its War Memorials Database, adding the names of fallen servicemen recorded on monuments in London, Cumbria, Berkshire, Warwickshire and Suffolk, as well as Perth in Australia and the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Explore the new records here (requires subscription).

Free Irish genealogy 'toolkit' hits the web

A free ‘toolkit’ aimed at students researching their Irish roots has been launched online.

Created by the National Archives of Ireland, the 2016 Family History website contains an array of step-by-step guides, videos and case studies about tracing ancestors in the country for the first time.

Crucially, each of the site’s eight ‘learning modules’ (Hints & Tips, Surnames, Placenames, Census, Civil, Church, Property and Military) can also be downloaded as a single PDF document.

Although the website was created as part of last year’s Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, it was formally launched last week by Heather Humphreys TD at Muckross College in Dublin, whose students had been involved in the testing process.

Explore the website here.

WDYTYA? LIVE talks due to be revealed

Details of Education Zone talks being held at the next annual Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE show in Birmingham will be published online tomorrow (10 February).

Taking place across all three days of the event (6-8 April), each of the 11 unticketed sessions will last 20 minutes, covering a range of topics aimed at people starting their family history for the first time.

Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE organisers will also be publishing details of workshops being held in the Family Tree DNA lecture theatre. Curated in partnership with the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), the unticketed programme promises to be the “best yet”.

To view the full schedule of Education Zone talks and DNA workshops, visit from tomorrow.

The website can already be used to book general admission tickets to the show, as well as workshop sessions hosted by the Society of Genealogists.

Scottish mental health records published online

A tranche of historic Scottish mental health records has been released online.

Free to access, the Scottish Indexes website now provides details of admissions to psychiatric institutions across the country between July 1863 and May 1864, bringing the total number of entries in the set to 16,310.

Transcribed from material held at the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh, the index can reveal the full name of the patient, the date of their admission and the name of the hospital.

For a small fee, researchers can also order a scan of the page on which the entry originally appears, providing additional information.

Search the records here.

Museum acquires rare WW1 death pennies

A Derbyshire museum has acquired two rare ‘death pennies’ from the First World War.

The artefacts, now on display at Erewash Museum, were created to commemorate the lives of nurse Margaret Helen Hassé and her younger brother Edwin Ridgley Hassé, who hailed from Ockbrook.

The pennies had previously been sitting in the vaults of the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada, having been donated by another member of the Hassé family who emigrated from the UK.

After discovering the plaques by chance, Canadian museum staff were able to learn about their origins online after consulting the Unexamined Lives website, created by Derbyshire historians Keith Oseman and Peter Ball.

For the full story, click here.  

Findmypast launches Catholic Heritage Archive
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TV and radio highlights: 17-23 February 2017
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Findmypast launches Catholic Heritage Archive
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TV and radio highlights: 17-23 February 2017
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