Genealogy news roundup: Who Do You Think You Are? gets new narrator

By Rosemary Collins, 29 June 2017 - 1:32pm

Plus: Welsh tithe maps go online; ScotlandsPeople releases records of breakaway Presbyterian sects; University seeks information about 1920s Yorkshire criminals

Phil Davis plays Jud Paynter in Poldark. Credit: Mammoth/ Masterpiece

Poldark actor Phil Davis will narrate the new series of Who Do You Think You Are?, it has been revealed.

In an interview with, the actor, who has also appeared in Bleak House, Sherlock and Silk, said the producers had invited him to narrate because they “just thought it was time for a change”.

Davis takes over from actress Cherie Lunghi, while the programme has previously been narrated by David Morrissey and Mark Strong.

The 14th series of Who Do You Think You Are?, which recently won the Best Feature BAFTA, will begin showing on BBC1 at 9pm on Thursday 6 July. The first episode follows Game of Thrones star Charles Dance’s quest to find out more about his origins.

Welsh tithe maps go online 

The National Library of Wales has completed a project to make tithe maps of Wales searchable online.

The new Places of Wales website, which launched today makes over 300,000 records searchable online, along with accompanying apportionment documents.

The maps, which cover over 95% of Wales, were produced between 1836 and 1850 to ensure that land users paid their tithes with money instead of farm produce.

Places of Wales was part of the Cynefin project, led by Archives and Records Council Wales and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which was featured in WDYTYA? Magazine's Transcription Tuesday challenge. The website is currently in beta and seeking feedback from users.

ScotlandsPeople releases records of breakaway Presbyterian sects

More than 37,000 records of breakaway sects of Presbyterianism were released on ScotlandsPeople on Monday.

The collection includes records of 20,255 births and baptisms (1744-1855), 10,368 marriages and proclamations (1729-1855) and 5,422 deaths and burials (1783-1855).

As well as dating from before the introduction of civil registration in 1855, the records cover Presbyterian denominations that separated themselves from the established church.

ScotlandsPeople releases records of breakaway Presbyterian sects 

University seeks information about 1920s Yorkshire criminals 

Forgotten mugshots of criminals from 1920s Yorkshire have been uncovered, prompting a search to uncover their stories.

Dr Tosh Warwick, a historian from Leeds Beckett University, found the mugshot book at Teesside Archives as part of the Middlesbrough Town Hall Refurbishment and Restoration Project.

The photographs were recently displayed to the public at a Teesside Archives workshop, and researchers are now encouraging people to come forward with information that could help put together the criminals’ stories, with the aim of making the material available online.

The criminals included in the book include pickpockets, housebreakers, murderers, British and Australian wartime criminals operating in France during the First World War, and even two men thought to be the first to attempt to steal an aeroplane.

FamilySearch to cease microfilm distribution service

Free family history website FamilySearch has announced it will end its microfilm distribution service on 1 September.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which runs the site, said in a statement that it had made the decision because of “significant progress made in FamilySearch’s microfilm digitisation efforts and the obsolescence of microfilm technology”.

The service allows users to reserve and loan films via local LDS family history centers and affiliate libraries and is free apart from a shipping and handling charge.

FamilySearch has digitised over 1.5 million microfilms and aims to digitise its complete collection by the end of 2020.

Arts Council England awards £146 million to local museums

A total of £146 million has been awarded to local museums and heritage organisations in Arts Council England (ACE)’s 2018-22 portfolio.

The total ACE portfolio consists of £1.6 billion funding for 831 cultural organisations, with £170 million more invested in areas outside London. This is an increase from £978 million to 665 organisations in 2015-18.

The portfolio includes 72 museums, of which 42 became National Portfolio Organisations for the first time. They received £146,446,128 altogether.

Arts Council England awards £146 million to local museums

Weardale Family History Festival to launch this weekend

St Thomas’s Church in Stanhope, County Durham, in partnership with the Weardale Museum, is to host a family history festival dedicated to the lives and times of the area.

Weardale Family History Festival will take place at St Thomas’s Church from 1 to 9 July, with talks covering topics including ‘Archaeological and historical research in Weardale: Back to our roots’ and ‘Getting started on Family History’.

The festival will be accompanied by an exhibition, which will be open from 10am to 5pm on 2-9 July. There will be people available to help with family history queries from 11am to 4pm each day.

Unfortunately, the events page in the July 2017 issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine contains incorrect information about the Weardale Family History Festival. We apologise to readers and to the festival organisers.

Bonnie Prince Charlie exhibition opens

A new National Museum of Scotland exhibition will shed light on the real story of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

The exhibition, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites’, runs from 23 June to 12 November and costs £10 for non-museum members, £8 for concessions and £7 for 12-15 year olds.

It features the very best of Scotland’s national collections, as well as treasures from across the UK and Europe, including paintings, costumes, jewellery, documents, weapons and glassware.

Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender, was the grandson of the deposed James II. He instigated the failed 1745 Jacobite uprising in an attempt to restore his family to the throne.

Arts Council England awards £146 million to local museums
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Women volunteers’ wartime diaries go online
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Arts Council England awards £146 million to local museums
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Women volunteers’ wartime diaries go online
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