Over a million Portsmouth records go online

By Rosemary Collins, 2 November 2017 - 1:06pm

The collection was launched on Findmypast as the first stage in a new partnership


1812 baptism register from Portsmouth, with Charles Dickens among the names

Family history website Findmypast has published over a million Portsmouth records as the first stage in a deal to release the port city’s records online.

Through a partnership with Portsmouth History Centre, Findmypast subscribers will be able to access searchable transcripts of records dating from 1538 to 1917, all accompanied by digitised images of the originals.

The first set of records, released on 27 October, contained 1.3 million records, including 550,000 baptisms, 379,000 marriages and 312,000 burials.

In addition, images of 873 volumes of parish registers are available for users to browse.

They are mainly from Portsmouth’s Anglican churches, but there are also Congregational, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Unitarian, United Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist records.

Furthermore, Findmypast added over 60,000 admission and discharge registers from Portsmouth’s workhouse on Portsea Island.

Findmypast said it is going to eventually expand the collection to include other sets of records, including electoral rolls, rate books, crew lists and First World War military exemptions, creating “the largest repository of Portsmouth family history records available online”.

Cllr Linda Symes, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport at Portsmouth city council, said the online records would give family historians "a valuable insight into the lives of any of their ancestors from the city”.

She added that the crew lists, which will eventually be added to the records, were particularly exciting as they would “provide an insightful puzzle piece for many people's family trees”.

Paul Nixon, content licensing manager at Findmypast, said: “The Romans were arguably the first to recognise Portsmouth’s strategic importance, and Findmypast is honoured to have been chosen as Portsmouth city council’s family history partner.”

Victorian novelist Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812, while his father John, a clerk in the Navy Pay Office, was stationed in the district.

The records show that Charles John Huggham Dickens was baptised on 4 March 1812 at St Mary’s church, Portsea.

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