October family history records roundup: First World War pension records added to Ancestry

By Rosemary Collins, 2 October 2019 - 10:56am

This month, Ancestry expands its First World War pensions collection, FamilySearch adds free Irish records, Findmypast adds Cumberland parish records and more

First World War pensions record Arthur Beadsworth
A pension card for professional footballer Arthur Beadsworth, who died in October 1917 after being gassed

Tracing your family history has become easier than ever as more and more records are being released online.

From big commercial websites to smaller projects, we've put together a handy guide to help you discover the latest datasets for researching your family tree.

This month, Ancestry releases a new collection of First World War records, Irish ecclesiastical court records are available for free on FamilySearch, and Findmypast expands its collections.

 

Ancestry

What's been added?

Ancestry has added 2,330,653 million more records (with 1,803,921 million images available on its military records website Fold3), to its collection ‘WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923’. The new trance of records, ‘Other Ranks Died’, covers men below the rank of officer who died while serving in the army, navy and air force.

What can the records tell you?

The records cover pension claims from the families of First World War personnel who were killed in the war. They include useful information such as the serviceman’s rank, service number, date of birth and date of death or injury, the names of dependents such as their widows and children, their date of marriage and their children’s dates of birth.

Where do they come from?

The pension cards were originally held in the Ministry of Defence archives. In 2012, the MoD intended to destroy them, but they were preserved by the Western Front Association instead. Ancestry is now in the process of digitising all 6.5 million records. 

 

FamilySearch

What's been added?

FamilySearch has added two new collections of Irish records – ‘Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administrations Indexes, 1595-1858’ (with 364,122 records) and ‘Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage License Bonds Indexes, 1623-1866’ (with 218,434 records).

What can the records tell you?

Probate refers to the process of ‘proving’ a person’s will after their death by seeing that the administration of their bequests was carried out correctly. Civil probate was introduced in 1858. Previously, it was the responsibility of the church authorities. In Ireland, this was the ecclesiastical courts of the Anglican Church of Ireland, despite the fact that the majority of the population were Catholic. The indexes reveal the date your ancestor died and the place where the record was proved.

Marriage licence bonds were an alternative to marriage bonds. They allowed a couple to go to the ecclesiastical court and pay a sum to sign a witnessed declaration that the marriage was free to go ahead. The records include the names of the spouses and the date and place where they obtained the licence.

Owing to an error, the index on FamilySearch has replaced the location for many of the records with Court, Bern, Switzerland.

Where do they come from?

The records are taken from indexes compiled by the Dublin Public Record Office. Many of the original records were destroyed when the Public Record Office burned down in the Irish Civil War in 1922, so the indexes are all that remain. The records are also available on Findmypast, but FamilySearch has no subscription fees.

 

Findmypast

What's been added? 

This month, Findmypast added a new collection of Cumberland parish records, with 76,000 baptisms, 37,000 marriages and 61,000 burials. In addition, it added 47,000 records from the papers of the 1924-25 Irish Boundary Commission.

What can the records tell you? 

Parish records include baptisms, marriages and burials and can tell you the dates and places your ancestors were born, married and died, as well as the names of their parents and spouses.

The Irish Boundary Commission was set up to determine the boundary between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. Its records include minutes, papers, correspondence, reports and oral and written submissions and include many names of residents and landowners. However, its recommendations were never implemented.

Where do they come from?

The Cumberland records are taken from transcriptions produced by the College of Arms. The Irish Boundary Commission records are held by The National Archives.

 

Other records

‘The Power of Petitioning in Seventeenth-Century England’, a new research project, has begun digitising and transcribing Elizabeth and Stuart petitions. The petitions, signed by local people and delivered to the magistrates, cover everything from complaints about neighbours to demands for social change. So far 572 petitions from Worcestershire and Cheshire have been made available via British History Online. In total, the project plans to add 2000, from seven local and national archives.

TheGenealogist has added school registers from 21 schools in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, with most dating from 1833 to 1932, and 50 regimental histories of the British and Irish army, dating from 1611 to 1927.

ScotlandsPeople has added over 3000 Presbyterian baptism records, dating from 1752 to 1855 and including records from Ayrshire, Fife, Dundee, Renfrewshire, Aberdeenshire and Midlothian.

The BBC has released a new collection of documents and oral history capturing life at the BBC in the Second World War in a new online archive.

 

 

 

 

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