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Society of Genealogists’ Collection now online at Findmypast.co.uk

banner1 Society of Genealogists Collection now online at Findmypast.co.uk

Over 9 million family history records are available online today. The Society is delighted to announce that Findmypast.co.uk is to host the Society’s online collection in its centenary year. Major data sets including Boyd’s Marriage Index and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Faculty Office and Vicar General Marriage Licences will be published on Findmypast.co.uk and exclusively for members on the SoG members area.

 Today the Society of Genealogists in London and leading family history website findmypast.co.uk have published online over 9 million records from the Society’s unrivalled collection at findmypast.co.uk.

Among the records going online today are:

  • Boyd’s Marriage Index containing over 7 million names from 1538 to 1840
  • Boyd’s London Burials 1538-1872 containing 240,000 names
  • Faculty Office Marriage Licence Allegations 1701-1850
  • St Andrew’s Holborn Marriage Index 1754-1812
  • Vicar-General Marriage Licences Allegations 1694-1850
  • St Leonard Shoreditch Burials 1805-1858 and Workhouse Deaths 1820-1828, online for the first time
  • Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Index 1750-1800

Today searchable indexes and transcripts have been added to the website, and customers will be able to order copies of the originals for some of the records from the Society of Genealogists.

In the coming weeks further records will be added to the website including Bank of England Wills Extracts containing 60,500 names, including images, and Apprentices of Great Britain containing 350,000 names.

Findmypast.co.uk has been working in partnership with the Society of Genealogists for a number of years to make the Society’s collection available to a wider, international audience. Earlier projects were Civil Service Evidence of Age and Great Western Railway Shareholder records.

Anyone with a full subscription to findmypast.co.uk will be able to access all the records within their existing package. Otherwise they can be viewed with PayAsYouGo credits.

Members of the Society of Genealogists will be able to view the records for free via their existing membership login to the Society of Genealogists’ own Members’ Area at http://www.sog.org.uk The records will be added gradually during 2011. Until the records move over to the SoG site, members will be able to continue their free access to this data on the British Origins website

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at findmypast.co.uk, said, “Findmypast.co.uk warmly welcomes the addition of these amazing records from the Society of Genealogists’ collection and looks forward to working with the Society on bringing these records to a wider, international audience in the Society’s Centenary Year and beyond. Family historians will find the records an invaluable aid to their research.”

June Perrin, CEO of the Society of Genealogists added: “The Society of Genealogists is delighted to be working with findmypast.co.uk in widening the audience for these wonderful resources. It is a great boost to the start of the Society’s 100th year. We hope the records prove extremely useful in the search for that ‘elusive’ ancestor.”

About findmypast.co.uk

Leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk (formerly 1837online.com) was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online in April 2003.

Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two million images, the company launched the first website to allow the public easy and fast access to the complete indexes, which until then had only been available on microfiche film in specialist archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK today.

Findmypast.co.uk has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 750 million records dating as far back as 1538. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records.

In November 2006 findmypast.co.uk launched the ancestorsonboard.com microsite in association with The National Archives to publish outbound passenger lists for long-distance voyages departing all British ports between 1890 and 1960.

As well as providing access to historical records, findmypast.co.uk is also developing a range of online tools to help people discover and share their family history more easily, beginning with the launch of Family Tree Explorer in July 2007.

In April 2007, findmypast.co.uk’s then parent company Title Research Group received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007 in recognition of their achievement.

Findmypast.co.uk was acquired in December 2007 by brightsolid, the company who were awarded The National Archives’ contract to publish online the 1911 census, which it launched in January 2009.

About the Society of Genealogists

The Society of Genealogists is the UK’s largest Family History Society. Founded in 1911 its objects remain to “promote encourage and foster the science and knowledge of genealogy” by “creating a safe depository for pedigrees and other manuscripts”. The Society’s remarkable library today houses unique genealogical collections along with copies of source materials, indexes and finding aids. The Society’s family history education programme is the largest in the country and the Society continues to be a leading genealogical publisher. Its first premises were in the rooms of one of the Founders George Tudor Sherwood at 227 Strand, London. The Society is now in its fifth building. The Founding Fellows, Members and Associates would, we hope, be proud of the Society’s modern achievements as it has grown to be the UK’s National Library and Education Centre for Family History.

Else Churchill, Genealogist

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Burke’s peerage updates in the Society of Genealogists’ family history library

Family historians with aristocratic ancestry will know how useful Burke’s Peerage can be as a finding aid. However the printed version can become dated very quickly as people mentioned in its pages have children, are married, divorced or die.

Society of Genealogists’ member Nicholas Newington-Irving has therefore produced 12 volumes of updates to the 1999 and 2003 editions of Burke’s Peerage that list over 57,000 births, deaths and marriages that have occurred between 1999 and 2010. The information has been gleaned from collections of newspaper cuttings in the possession of the compiler.

An online index to these updates has now been made available for the first time on the Society of Genealogists’ Members Area. This contains the surname and forename of the person concerned, together with a note of which volume and page number the updates can be found in. Non members can do a free name search here but it is necessary to become a member to view the full references.

This is just one of a growing number of family history resources to be found on the Society’s Members Area.

Tim Lawrence

Head of Library Services

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Devon wills in the Society of Genealogists’ family history library

Anyone researching their family history in Devon will regret the loss of much of the county’s probate material in the 2nd world war. However the Society of Genealogist’s family history library in London holds indexes and transcripts of a number of Devon wills that were made before the loss, and some of these have now been made available on the Members’ Area of the Society’s website.

The Fothergill collection is a typical example. It was compiled in the early 1900s by Gerald Fothergill (1870-1926), an eminent genealogist and historian who lived in London. It is not clear why he compiled abstracts of sundry Devon wills, but he evidently went to Exeter and Taunton to study and abstract them, since almost all were proved and kept in one or other of those places. The abstracts can be found in the Middle library and an online index can be searched here.

Another book at the Society lists wills and administrations proved or granted at the Peculiar Court of the Dean of Exeter, from the 1630s to 1857.  All the original probate copies of wills proved in this court were destroyed in 1942.  This list therefore presents (with a few exceptions) the only surviving evidence that well over a thousand Devon individuals did in fact leave wills or had their estates administered.

The jurisdiction of the Dean’s Court covered the parish of Braunton (north-west of Barnstaple) and the Cathedral Close.  The latter area seems not to have been an actual parish, but merely the area immediately around the cathedral in Exeter.  Many of those who lived in the Cathedral Close worked in or for the cathedral in some way. The index can be searched here.

A third work lists wills and administrations proved or granted at the Peculiar Court of the Vicars Choral of Exeter, from the 1630s to 1857.  How and why the singing men in the choir at Exeter Cathedral came to have their own court is not known. Woodbury, the only parish which came under their jurisdiction, is a large one, not far south-east of Exeter.  An average of about four wills/administrations per year were dealt with, though this varied depending upon the time period. The index can be searched here.

The Devon Wills Project is seeking to gather details of as many Devon wills as possible and the Society is grateful for their help in compiling these indexes..

Tim Lawrence

Head of Library Services

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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

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Was your ancestor a Polish immigrant to England?

If so you may find him/her mentioned in the Polish collection held at the Society of Genealogists family history library in London. These records were compiled by Antoni and Stella Szachnowski, members of the Catholic Family History Society, and donated to the Society of Genealogists in November 1999.

An index to part of the collection is now available on the Members Area of the SoG website. The first section (Polish Subsistence) includes returns of Polish refugees receiving assistance from the Grant voted by Parliament between 1838 and 1841.

The second section (Polish genealogy) covers a diverse range of records listing Polish immigrants. These include entries from the registers of the Chapel of the Virgin Mary of Czestochowa, baptisms from St Peter Apostulate, Electoral rolls for St Pancras (1891), Lambeth (1891), St Marylebone (1892) and Westminster Borough (1908), plus entries from the1841 Census of Portsea in Hampshire, the Polish Refugee Hospital  and naturalisation records.

Two further boxes of correspondence and papers assembled by Mr and Mrs Szachnowski but not indexed on the Members’ Area can be found amongst the Society’s Special Collections.

To search the above records click here. To view the full details you will need to be a member of the Society of Genealogists.

Tim Lawrence (Head of Library Services)

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