Family History News Archives

New Online Resources from TNA Available Free at the SoG

In this week of Remembrance The National Archives have published  datasets for RAF Officers and Soldiers of the First World War. Both these datasets can be viewed free of charge on the Society of Genealogists Library.


 
The National Archives has made 99,000 RAF officers’ service records available online through its Documents Online pay per view service for the first time. These records are easily searchable by first name, last name and date of birth, and were previously only accessible to visitors at the Kew site. The courageous aviators of the early Royal Air Force (RAF) played a crucial role in Britain’s victory in the First World War. Among the service records available are some of the country’s most celebrated and famous pilots – known as ‘Aces’ for having shot down five or more enemy aircraft. Documents Online is available free of charge at the SoG Library

In addition and in partnership with The National Archives, Ancestry.co.uk has now made available online the entire collection of British Army World War One Service Records, 1914-1920, detailing the full military careers of more than two million soldiers who served during World War One. Ancesry.co.uk is available free of charge at the SoG library

Service records contain a variety of information concerning all aspects of the army careers of those who completed their duty were killed in action or executed. They include the soldier’s name, date and place of birth, address, next-of-kin, former occupation, marital status, medical records, service history, regiment number, locations of service and discharge papers.

The files were chosen for digitisation because they are one of the most popular resources accessed at The National Archives and, prior to now, only available in microfilm format. Digitising the microfilm records makes these valuable records easier to search and more accessible to a wider audience.

Approximately 60 per cent of the paper originals of the service records were destroyed by fire when the War Office (in London) was struck by a bomb in 1940 during an air raid. The surviving 32.5 million records became known as the ‘Burnt Documents’.

Together, the service and pension records form the definitive source of information in existence on more than three million ordinary soldiers who fought in the British Army during World War One. The sheer volume of material has meant that the collection has been digitised in stages. The final tranche of digitised files comprised of those records from O to Z.  The process has taken three years to complete.

Among the surviving service records are those of a number of both brave soldiers and celebrities, including :

Basil Rathbone – the British actor, best known for the portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in 14 movies between 1939 and 1946, enlisted in the London Scottish Regiment in 1916. The discharge papers within his service record describe his eyes and hair as ‘dark’ and his complexion as ‘fresh’.

George Peachment – George’s service record reveals he was awarded the Victoria Cross – an accolade he received for his bravery in saving the life of an officer near Hulluch, France, where he was later killed in action. His record also features a letter from his mother requesting his personal effects after his death and a journalist requesting a photograph of him.

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325,499 names in 163 Data Sets available online in the SoG Members’ Area

 

The Society of Genealogists is happy to announce that there are now some 325,499 names in 163 Data Sets available for Members of the Society to search in the SoG Members’ Area  of the Society of Genealogists Website. For the first time the Society is now able to make its prestigious journal  the Genealogists’ Magazine available online as these Data Sets include PDFs of the first 4 volumes from 1925 and the contemporary indexes.


 

Further information about the contents of each of the datasets can be found on the  SoG Website 

Non-members may search the  indexes for free but full entries are only available to SoG members

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New Online Military Records on Ancestry & Family Relatives are Free in SoG Library

A number of new military databases have been published and are avalable to view free of charge in the Society of Genealogists Library

In partnership with The National Archives, Ancestry.co.uk has now made available online the entire collection of British Army World War One Service Records, 1914-1920, detailing the full military careers of more than two million soldiers who served during World War One.

The following are now available to search on Family Relatives:
Anzac Roll of Honour 1914-1919
Artist Rifles
Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy 1660-1815
New Zealand Roll of Honour
Waterloo Roll Call
British Naval Biographical Dictionary, 1849
Royal Air Force List – 1920
Royal Air Force List – 1922
Royal Air Force List – 1929
Charterhouse Register 1872-1910 NEW DATABASE!
Tasmanian Nurse’s War Record 1914-1918 NEW DATABASE!
Tasmanian War Record 1914-1918 – Roll of Honour NEW DATABASE!
Indian Army List 1939 NEW DATABASE!
Peninsula Medal Roll 1793-1814 NEW DATABASE!
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1918 NEW DATABASE!
List of the University of Cambridge 1914-1918 NEW DATABASE!
Army Lists NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1798 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1810 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1819 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1824 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1827 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1831 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1836 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1840 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1842 NEW DATABASE!
Army List 1846 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List 1850 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List & Militia List 1857 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List & Militia List 1858 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List & Militia List 1865 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List & Militia List 1868 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List & Militia List 1868 Version 2 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List, Militia List & Indian Civil Service List 1879 NEW DATABASE!
Harts Army List, Militia List, Yeomanry Cavalry List & Indian Civil Service List 1888 NEW DATABASE!
Official Army List 1888 NEW DATABASE!
Officers of the Army and Marines 1816 NEW DATABASE!

Military Records World War I

Army
Royal Navy
Soldiers who died in the Great War
Military Records World War II
Royal Air Force

Both Ancestry and Family Relatives can be searched for free at the SoG library

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General Register Offices Promises New Free Online Indexes to Births, Marriages and Deaths

 

The GRO has announced that the digitisation of GRO’s births, marriages and deaths records is moving forward and a new project, called the Digitisation and Indexing (D&I) Project, has been initiated.

The new project covers the digitisation of the records themselves together with indexing and upgrading the online certificate ordering process. No information is given about what information is likely to be included in the new indexes nor does it look as if the digital images of certificates themselves are likely to be made available online under the current legislation.  In the age on digital online delivery of information it seems unbelievable that these records will only be available as certified paper copies.

However the annoucement does say the the future online index will be free to use thus complying with the statutory obligation to provide free access to the birth, death and marriage indexes.

We will have to wait and see how this will affect the business of the commercial online index providers. No timetable is given for the project and the free fiche indexes will remain in various libraries until the index is online.

It appears this project will complete the GRO’s ill fated EAGLE enterprise and finally enable the so called MAGPIE to fly. It remains to be seen how this is project brought to fruition but any progress must be welcome.

A set of Q&As on the Identity and Passport Agency website outlines information about GRO’s digitisation project

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Society of Genealogists Members Help in Genetic Genealogy Research

 

Members of the Society of Genealogists have been helping London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital  and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology with a genetic genealogy research project which aims at studying more than 80 families from the UK with a particular form of glaucoma called primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG).

 

Having discovered how much is involved in compiling family trees Moorfields approached the Society of Genealogists for help in undertaking genealogical research, on the advice of one of its patients who had worked for the SoG some time ago and who is now coincidentally part of the clinical study into this condition.


The genealogists’ task was to identify other members of families who might be related to sufferers, firstly to enable further study into the idea that this form of the disease is genetically related and then to identify distant family members who might well be treatable. Having compiled an extended family history the medical teams can make contact with the more distant family members through existing patients. The project will be completed in early 2010 and has already shown that one in five first degree relatives of patients with PACG may also be at risk.

21 family historians volunteered from the Society of Genealogists, under the direction of the genealogy project leaders, Dr Geoff Swinfield and Diana Bouglas. Beginning in Summer 2008, extensive genealogical research has been needed to identify, expand and link together a number of extended family trees. The project has benefited from the volunteers’ genealogical skills and expertise as well as their extensive knowledge of family history sources both online and in record offices that can be used to compile family trees.

A highlight of the project was a special event at UCL in September called Glaucoma, Genes and Me which brought together the families who are currently taking part in the research with the medical teams who have been treating them and the genealogists who had helped trace the family trees. About 140 people took part in the event and it is thought to be the first such event of its kind in this field. Approximately half of the participants were patients, the rest were family members along with 8 of the genealogists who had helped in the project. One of the key objectives of the event was to discover, through group discussions, the areas of most importance to PACG patients and their families. This will enable future research to focus on those areas and improve patient care. The day included various presentations made by the medical team and the major charities which support people with Glaucoma along with the patients who are taking part in the study. The project and the event are sponsored by The Richard Desmond Charitable Trust via a grant from Fight for Sight, as well as the International Glaucoma Association.

Dr Geoff Swinfield rounded off the day with a presentation about the techniques and sources used by genealogists to compile family trees and trace living relatives. Many of the families who attended were fascinated by their family trees. Some were introduced to relatives they had never met before. Others brought along their own family history research and wanted help and guidance to take it further with which of course the Society of Genealogists is delighted to help.

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