Archive for November, 2010

Tracing your Wiltshire ancestors with the Society of Genealogists

The Society of Genealogists houses the finest collection of family history records in the country. However in addition to its physical library in London it also makes some of its records available to Members over the internet.

One set of records to be found on the Members’ Area of its website will be of particular interest to those with Wiltshire ancestry. The Wiltshire Wills’ Beneficiaries Index was originally created by Mary Trace and Pat Wilson who donated it to the Society a number of years ago. It is particularly useful to family historians as it lists not just the testator (the person making the will) but also the beneficiaries (those who were left bequests).

Covering thousands of wills, administrations & other probate records of Wiltshire people for the period 1800-1858, the index lists the beneficiary’s relationship to the deceased, his/her place of residence and occupation (if this was recorded in the original document). However it does NOT contain details of the bequests themselves – for this you will need to view the original (held at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre).

Non-members can carry out a basic search here but to view the full record you will need to be a member of the Society of Genealogists

Tim Lawrence

Head of Library Services

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Society of Genealogists places Roman Catholic register online


The Society of Genealogists’ family history library in London contains a large number of Catholic register transcripts.

One of these has now been made available on the Members’ Area of the Society’s website, namely the baptismal registers of the Portuguese Embassy Chapel.

The eight original volumes, bound in calfskin, are still held at the Portuguese Embassy and have been transcribed by Mr L A Muriel. The christenings cover 1663-1844 and took place in a number of buildings over the years, including the Queen’s Chapel in St James Palace, Somerset House Chapel and the Portuguese Chapel.

Member Henry Warriner was delighted to find the baptism of John Belli in the registers, particularly as he had been searching for it for many years.

A free basic search of the registers can be made here  but you will need to become a Society member to view the full entry.

Tim Lawrence

Head of Library Services

Society of Genealogists supports “Start Your Family History Week” 26 Dec-1 Jan 2011

Announcing “Start Your Family Tree Week”-  26 Dec 2010 – 1 Jan 2011

 The holiday season between Christmas and New Year is a great time to statr your family history. Families will have come together and the stories have come out.  Serious family historians will have time to use that new genealogical software and update their family trees.

Family history websites and Genes Reunited are getting together to launch the first “Start you family tree week” in the UK.  From Boxing Day 2010 right through to New Year’s Day there’ll be special offers and activities available every day on both websites, including free getting started guides, printable charts, discounts, competitions, and lots more. This new initiative has the support of the Society of Genealogists and the Federation of Family History Societies. It is anticipated that further partners and websites will become involved, with the aim of getting more people of all ages to discover more about their family history over the Christmas period.

Look out for the “Start your Family History” week promotions on the SoG website   and newsblog  where the Society of Genealogists will make available  downloadable pdfs of our 10 tips for starting your family history, a 4 generation pedigree chart and updated Start your Family History Information leaflet

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager of commented: “We know from our customer surveys that Boxing Day is one of the most popular days of the year for people to research their family history. With the family gathered around for the festivities, it’s the perfect time to quiz the older generations on what they remember about the family, and get the youngsters inspired too about this rewarding and fascinating hobby.  And with many people not working between Christmas and New Year, you’re more likely to have time on your hands to get down to some serious record searching.”

Details of what’s on offer each day will be posted every day from Boxing Day onwards on the findmypast blog and Genes Reunited blog

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

The race is on to make the UK 1911 census available to more family historians

The exclusive license to use the images of the 1911 census currently held  by would appear to have just expired. The Society of Genealogists has  today received notice that the 1911 census has been acquired by both the Genealogist and and hence will be more widely available to the family history community

The companies have sent the following joint press release:


ANCESTRY AND THE GENEALOGIST ACQUIRE THE 1911 CENSUS, Inc, parent company of the UK’s number one family history website[1], in collaboration with UK website, is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with The National Archives to acquire and publish online the 1911 England and Wales Census.

The two family history companies will work together to transcribe the 1911 Census, creating a searchable database which enables users to type in a name and go directly to the full colour digital image of the actual census document, handwritten in their ancestor’s home a century ago.

The complete set of 1911 Census records go live on and by county, starting in late 2010 and completing in 2011.

Part of the archival holdings of The National Archives, the 1911 Census is the largest and most recent census available to the public.  A crucial genealogical resource, it offers a detailed insight into how people lived in the years leading up the First World War, showing who lived where, with whom, their age at the time of the census, their place of birth and what they did for a living.

Olivier Van Calster, Vice President of Ancestry International, comments: “We are thrilled to acquire the 1911 Census and look forward to the moment members can access these valuable records on our site.


“The addition of this vital genealogical material means we will be able to offer our members the complete set of England, Wales and Scotland Censuses, as well as the only fully searchable England and Wales Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes and exclusive online access to the World War One British Army Service and Pension records.”


Nigel Bayley, Managing Director of comments: “The 1911 Census is a crucial step for many in finding their roots and we feel this is a vital resource that will benefit family historians everywhere. Our members voted this resource their number one dataset in a recent survey.


The 1911 census will be added to our Diamond subscription to accompany our complete set of English & Welsh Census and Birth, Marriage and Death indexes, Official Nonconformist records, Parish Records, Wills, Roll of Honour and Military records.”

Land Tax Assessment from 1819 (Treasures Tuesday 2nd November 2010)

This particular 1819 document can be found in the ‘Woburn’ box of documents within the Topographical Collection. This is just one of many financial family history documents housed in the Society’s document collections. It lists fifty pairs of proprietors and their occupants (often listed as ‘himself’) with the amount that is being assessed and the amount that is redeemed in tax. Click here to find out more about this and other family history documents within the Society’s collections.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

 Page 2 of 2 « 1  2