What are January’s new online family history records?

By Rosemary Collins, 23 January 2019 - 2:48pm

This month, Findmypast publishes a major new Portsmouth collection, thousands of Scottish records enter the public domain and more

Arthur Conan Doyle rate book Portsmouth 1906
This 1906 rent book from Portsmouth, now available on Findmypast, shows property owned by author Arthur Conan Doyle

Tracing your family history has become easier than ever as more and more records are being released online. We've put together a handy guide to help you discover the latest datasets for researching your ancestors.

We're starting the new year with a massive collection of Portsmouth records on Findmypast, new Scottish birth, marriage and death records, additions to online maps collections and much more



What's been added?

Findmypast has indexed and digitised over 2.4 million records from Portsmouth. The new additions consist of over a million pages of Portsea Island rate books (1700-1921); over 71,000 patient records from Portsmouth Lunatic Asylum, now known as St James Hospital (1878-1918); over 129,000 criminal trial records from the Portsmouth Court of Quarter Sessions; over 64,000 electoral register images; over 30,000 pages of trade directories (1863-1927); burial records (1831-1902); and police staff records (1908-1924).

What can the records tell you?

The records shed light on a variety of different aspects of Portsmouth society.

For example, the rate books record the location of properties, who owned them and the amount of rates paid. One rate book from April 1906 shows Arthur Vernon Ford living at 55 Kent Road, a property owned by Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle. Conan Doyle studied ophthalmology under Ford, the chief eye surgeon at the Portsmouth Eye Hospital, in the 1880s. When Ford and his family fell on hard times, Doyle bought the house where they lived in order to support them.

Where do they come from?

The records are stored in Portsmouth History Centre and were digitised as part of a partnership between Findmypast and Portsmouth City Council that was agreed in 2017.



What's been added?

Under UK privacy laws, vital records become publicly accessible after 100 years for births, 75 for marriages and 50 for deaths.

Every January, the National Records of Scotland releases the latest accessible records via its website, ScotlandsPeople. This year’s collection consists of 98,554 Scottish births from 1918, 38,271 marriages from 1943 and 63,311 deaths from 1968.

What can the records tell you?

Civil records (introduced in 1837 in England and Wales and 1855 in Scotland) are the backbone of family history research, supplying the vital facts of your ancestors’ lives. You can use these records to find out when and where they were born, married and died. Birth and marriage records also contain their parents’ names and professions, while death records will tell you the date and cause of their death.

One of the most notable records in the new collection is the birth of Muriel Sarah Camberg on 1 February 1918 in Morningside, Edinburgh. As an adult she became well-known as the author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and many other works under her married name, Muriel Spark.

You can register for free to search ScotlandsPeople, although you need credits to purchase images of the original records.



What's been added?

TheGenealogist has released the fourth phase of the 1910 Land Valuation Survey, or Lloyd George Domesday Survey, covering Westminster.

What can they tell you? 

The 1910 survey was a comprehensive assessment of the value of land in England and Wales, carried out between 1910 and 1915. TheGenealogist is now in the process of digitising the original Ordnance Survey maps and field books from the survey. They show where your ancestors lived, the value of their property and whether they owned or rented it. They also include descriptions of the property.

For example, the Westminster records show famous nurse Florence Nightingale, by then aged 90, was living at 10 South Street, Mayfair, where she died on 13 August 1910. The field book describes a 1700 square foot property, with six bedrooms, a dining hall and a basement.

Where do the records come from? 

The 1910 survey, was an initiative of the then chancellor David Lloyd George, conducted as part of a plan to raise taxes on land in order to fund the 'People's Budget', which included welfare initiatives and new battleships that could compete with Germany.

The records are now held in series IR58 and IR121 at The National Archives.


National Library of Scotland

What's been added? 

The National Library of Scotland has added 8,949 1950s-60s six-inch to the mile Ordnance Survey maps of England and Wales to its free maps website.

What can the records tell you? 

The maps follow the addition of a similar map series from Scotland, making it possible to view the whole of the UK as it was over half a century ago.

NLS is in the process of adding its georeferencing feature. You can use these to overlay maps from other periods in order to see how the area has changed over time.

NLS is also currently asking members of the public to take part in a short survey on how to improve the website.


Other records

Retired artist Howard Wood has created WW1 Monumenta, a new website of 360-degree photo panoramas of Commonwealth First World War cemeteries in France and Belgium. It features 500 cemeteries so far. Howard told Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine that he plans to add up to 450 more.

East Galway Family History Society has published 3790 Roman Catholic baptism records from Glenamaddy/Boyounagh (1838-1900) and 2215 from Williamstown (1856-1900) on its RootsIreland site.

Military records website Fold3 has added Second World War US draft registration cards from Kansas, Montana, Pennsylvania and Oregon.

4,385,217 records from the 1911 Irish census are now indexed on FamilySearch, with links to the original records on the National Archives of Ireland website.





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