Genealogy news roundup: Volunteers urged to keep one-day diary for 80th anniversary of Mass Observation

By Rosemary Collins, 11 May 2017 - 10:35am

Plus: Ancestry acquires exclusive London Cemetery registers; Findmypast adds over 4,000 records of London ironmongers; MyHeritage offers 50% discount on DNA test

A Mass Observation researcher interviews a family in 1944. Credit: Getty Images

The Mass Observation Archive is seeking volunteers to keep a record of everything they do on 12 May to commemorate the project’s 80th anniversary.

Mass Observation began with participants keeping diaries of 12 May 1937 – the day of George VI’s coronation – and went on to document ordinary people’s experiences during the Second World War.

Read our full news story here. For more information about the history of Mass Observation, click here.

London Cemetery registers available on Ancestry

Ancestry has added an exclusive new collection of 764,378 burial records from the City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Company.

The collection of daybooks and burial registers dates from 1841, when the company was founded as one of the first such cemetery companies in London, to 1966. It includes details such as the deceased’s name, address, age, mode of burial, and monuments.

Ancestry has also exclusively digitised a collection of 17,982,277 Bedfordshire electoral registers. Dating from 1832 to 1986, they include local people’s names and addresses and, if the register dates from before universal suffrage, details of their qualifications to vote, such as the property they owned.

In addition, the website launched collections of 175,178 baptism, marriage and probate records among English settlers in Barbados (also available on FamilySearch) and 371,716 records for people who were discharged from the UK armed forces after 1920 and born before 1901. 

Findmypast adds over 4,000 records of London ironmongers

Findmypast has added over 4,000 records to its City of London Ironmongers, Apprentices and Freemen 1511-1939 collection.

The records include images and transcripts of the documents, held by the London Metropolitan Archives, featuring when members were admitted to the company, the role they took, the names, occupations and addresses of their parents and the names of their masters.

The website has also added images of 4,500 Devon parish registers and 906 parish registers from the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, and over 1,000 new Yorkshire Monumental Inscriptions from Anglican cemeteries in the Rotherham boroughs of Dalton and Brinsworth.

Other new records include 6.7 million new additions to the United States Marriages collection, primarily from Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon, and over 4,000 new records in the Queensland School Pupil Index.

MyHeritage offers over 50% discount on DNA test

DNA testing company MyHeritage is offering a huge discount until 15 May.

MyHeritage’s DNA test is on sale for £59, instead of the usual price of £99. There is also a 50% discount on shipping for two kits, and free shipping for three kits or more.

Completing the test involves a simple swab of the cheek. It then takes MyHeritage 4-5 weeks to produce the DNA analysis, which will be available to view online. To order the test, click here. 

TheGenealogist releases new collection ahead of UK election

To mark the snap UK election, TheGenealogist has added a new collection of poll books to its Polls and Electoral Records collection.

The poll books date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and cover 35 different registers in Wakefield and other constituencies situated in Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset and New Westminster in Canada. They date from before universal suffrage, meaning that as well as each man’s name and place of abode, they include his qualification to vote, such as owning a house, brewhouse or workshop.

At the same time, TheGenealogist has added a range of other records. The earliest of these, the Roll of Mayors of the Borough and Lord Mayors of the City of Leicester, dates from 1209, in the reign of King John, to 1935.

The website has also increased its Parish Records collection, with 100,000 new individuals from Worcestershire added through a partnership with Malvern Family History Society, as well as the registers of the Parish Church of Rochdale from 1642 to 1700.

FamilySearch adds index of Durham marriage records

Free family history website has indexed 40,317 marriage bonds and allegations records from its Durham diocese collection.

The records, dating from 1692-1900, come from applications for a marriage licence and include details such as the couple’s names and ages.

FamilySearch has also indexed 465,527 birth, marriage and death records from 1670-1921 in the US state of Maine, and 528, 204 records from 1846-1898 and 1901-1953 in Rhode Island.

Political parties urged to preserve heritage funding

All political parties must commit to preserving funding for UK heritage, according to leading bodies in the sector.

The Heritage Alliance, a coalition of over 100 independent heritage organisations including the National Trust, English Heritage and Historic Houses Association, has released its Heritage Manifesto 2017 ahead of June’s snap general election, urging political parties to “realise the power of heritage”.

In particular, the Alliance calls on politicians to maximise the political advantages of leaving the EU for heritage, and minimise the disadvantages, including matching and sustaining funding currently provided by the EU, which has given at least £450m to UK heritage related projects and scientific research over the past decade.

Read our full news story here.

Ancestry to fund The Secrets in My Family TV series

The Secrets in My Family, a new TV series co-funded by family history company Ancestry, is to air on W later this year.

The series consists of six hour-long episodes and will be presented by The One Show’s Alex Jones. It will feature ordinary members of the public using Ancestry’s DNA test to solve family mysteries and uncover secret family members.

Ancestry funded The Secrets in My Family in partnership with W’s parent company UKTV, which also owns commercial channels including Dave, Gold and Yesterday.

Read our full news story here.

Volunteers urged to keep one-day diary for 80th anniversary of Mass Observation
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Free directory of Civil War Parliamentarian officers launches online
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Volunteers urged to keep one-day diary for 80th anniversary of Mass Observation
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Free directory of Civil War Parliamentarian officers launches online
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