The Society of Genealogists has received news of a new on-line wills database published by the Kent Archaeological Society

When antiquarian and historian Leland Lewis Duncan of the Kent Archaeological Society died in 1923 his lifetime’s work, including handwritten lists and transcriptions of Wills of Kent residents and landowners who lived in medieval and Tudor times, was deposited in the society’s library at Maidstone Museum.

For 80 years local and family historians could inspect this invaluable resource only by visiting the library. Now, a team of volunteers ‑ Margaret Broomfield, Dawn Weeks, Zena Bamping and Pat Tritton – is completing the task of transcribing Duncan’s records for the society’s website, from which they can be downloaded free of charge.

Duncan’s records were written in 61 exercise books and bound quarto books, most of which survive. Their 2,188 entries were originally indexed by parish by the Vicar of East Peckham in 1934.

The records are now on a database which has two indexes. One enables the surnames of testators to found and is convenient for family historians. The other, for the benefit of local historians, lists the areas, parishes or dioceses in which the testators lived or owned land.

The areas include boroughs which were once part of Kent but are now within Greater London.

Links alongside the entries allow any of the Wills that have been transcribed to be viewed ‘with one click’.

To access the Wills visit the Research section at

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Changes to the Society of Genealogists’ Library Catalogue

The Society of Genealogists will shortly be changing to a new version of our library catalogue (SoGCAT). This includes a number of new features such as being able to search for any word in a title rather than just the first one. SoGCat lists all the books, microfiche, microfilms, CDs and other databases in the Library but as yet does NOT list all of our manuscript collections.  Do have  a look at the tutorial, tips and FAQs about searching for items within the catalogue of the UK’s National Family History Centre

Although it has been tested in advance please let us know if you spot any technical errors (see for information on how to do this).


If you have bookmarked the old catalogue in your browser, you may want to make a note of the new url which is


I hope you find the new SOGCAT to be of help in searching the contents of our unique library.


Tim Lawrence

Head of Library Services

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Congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


The Society of Genealogists offers heartiest congratulations to HM Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee, 2012

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News from the London Probate Office and updates to post 1858 wills online

I couldn’t attend the recent meeting of the users of the London Probate Registry at First Avenue House as I was teaching at the Society, so I am grateful to SoG Trustee Di Bouglas  for her report of the meeting. It can be read in full on her blog. It’s well worth reading this and her previous post on proposed developments to put the English and Welsh probate calendars online and to digitise SOME of the documents themselves.


Though not fully searchable across all years it seems the eventual online indexes will be free and ultimately up to date.  Finally there is the prospect of an online order facility. It’s clear the service is affected by having the Calendars finally and fully  searchable from 1858-1941 on With no replacement for the current director of the London search room being appointed in the near future, no matter how the service tries to scotch rumours of its closure I find it difficult to believe the Probate Registry at First Avenue House will maintain a public search room for the foreseeable future


Else Churchill


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Special offer from TheGenealogist website

The Society of Genealogists has just received the following announcement from the website TheGenealogist that may be of interest to SoG friends and members.


TheGenealogist website has launched a major release of parish records, directories, poll books, freemen and jubilee records for its subscribers. The site’s user base has swelled dramatically with the launch of the 1911 census and to celebrate TheGenealogist website has announced its time limited special offer of £50 off an annual Diamond subscription, which is valid until the end of September. Just use the code SUMMERSAVER to get the £50 off.



Nearly half a million Parish Records added to a Diamond subscription. These include baptisms, burials, and marriages (including banns) for:

Cornwall – over 100,000 new entries

Durham – over 12,000 new entries

Lincolnshire – over 32,000 new entries

Northumberland – over 81,000 new entries

Staffordshire – over 13,000 new entries

Surrey – over 72,000 new entries

Warwickshire – over 15,000 new entries

Worcestershire – over 130,500 new entries

Yorkshire – over 46,000 new entries


New Directories for Gold and Diamond subscribers:

Bedfordshire 1898 Kelly’s Directory

Berkshire 1915 & 1920 Kelly’s Directory

Berkshire 1920 Kelly’s Directory

Buckinghamshire 1844 Pigots Directory

Buckinghamshire 1915, 1920 & 1931 Kelly’s Directory

Hertfordshire 1862 Post Office Directory

Kent 1862 Post Office Directory

Kent 1895 Kelly’s Directory

Middlesex 1862 Post Office Directory

Oxford 1915 & 1920 Kelly’s Directory

Scottish & International Directories exclusive to Diamond subscribers:

Aberdeen Post Office Directory 1948-49

Glasgow Post Office Directory 1907-1908

East India Register and Directory 1834

East India Register and Directory 1820


A brand new collection launched this month, which currently includes:

Norfolk, Freemen of Norwich 1317-1603

These Freemen were individuals who had earned privileges and the right to work in the city of Norwich. Contains names and occupations of the Freemen.

List of Burgesses, 1875

This book contains a list of burgesses in the borough of Bedford and prominent members of the town. Contains names, addresses and the nature of their property held.


To celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee, the following book is now available to all Diamond subscribers:

The Queen’s Reign

The story of the Victorian Transformation – a literary and pictorial review of the period.

For all Premium subscribers (Starter, Gold + Diamond):

The Queen’s Empire

A photographic record of the British Empire in 1899.


Her Majesty’s Glorious Jubilee 1897

A special edition of the Illustrated London News with wonderful colour plates. Contains over 50 colour illustrations.

Sixty Years a Queen

Celebrating sixty years of Queen Victoria’s reign. clip_image002

Details are available in the site’s feature article:

Please feel free to use any content within the article, referenced to


Berkshire, Poll for the Knights of the Shire 1798

Air Force List, April 1918







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