The Competition Commission has published an issues statement as part of its inquiry into the anticipated acquisition of Friends Reunited Holdings Limited (Friends Reunited) from ITV by Brightsolid Group Limited (Brightsolid).

The Commission has been asked to decide whether the acquisition may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition (SLC) within any market or markets in the UK. Brightsolid, which runs websites Find My Past.com and 1911 Census.com, and Friends Reunited, which owns Genes Reunited.com, are two of the three largest suppliers of online genealogy services in the UK. These websites allow users to search and access historical information and documents such as census results, birth, marriage and death records, and also supply family tree software.

The issues statement follows the first stages of gathering information, views and evidence and identifies clearly for all interested parties the specific questions and areas the inquiry is examining. This will form the basis for hearings with Brightsolid and Friends Reunited.

The full issues statement is available on the Commission’s website

The issues statement should not be seen as implying that the inquiry group (the Group) has identified any competition concerns—the Group has yet to reach any conclusions on this inquiry. The purpose of making the issues statement public is to inform all interested parties and give them an opportunity to raise any further points with the CC.
If the Group considers that the merger has resulted or may be expected to result in an SLC, it will consider whether and, if so, what remedies might be appropriate, taking into account any customer benefits that might arise from the acquisition, and will issue a notice of possible remedies, should this be required, at about the time it publishes its provisional findings.
The Commission is expected to report by 16 April 2010 and would like to hear comments on the issues statement from any interested parties, in writing, by 6 January 2010.
To submit evidence, please email anne.jolly@cc.gsi.gov.uk or brightsolidfriendsre@cc.gsi.gov.uk or write to:
Anne Jolly
Inquiry Manager
Competition Commission
Victoria House
Southampton Row
LONDON
WC1B 4AD

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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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Free Open Day at the Society of Genealogists 26 October

 

The Society of Genealogists is hosting another of its popular free family history open days on Monday 26 October from 11am-4pm.

 

The Society is  usually closed to the public on Mondays so this is an extra opportunity to see how the Society works. The Open Day includes FREE tours of the  extensive library and family history collections which are housed on four floors as  well as exhibitions and advice on family history. The library will not not open for research but anyone who wishes to come back and use the library during normal opening hours receives, as part of their welcome gifts, a  free voucher for two  hours in the library as a day searcher.

The joining administration fee (usually £10) is waived for anyone who wants to become a member of the Society after the tours.

Tours run throughout the day and usually last about one hour. The last tour will start at 3.30pm. No need to book

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New Family History Databases on the SoG Members’ Website

Various new family history database have been added to the SoG members Website. These  new datasets continue to reflect the huge variety of family history resources available in the Society’s Library.

The Solicitors and Attorneys Index for Genealogists

This lists Solicitors and Attorneys who were practicing between roughly 1780 and 1861. It was compiled on record cards and donated to the Society of Genealogists by Brian Brooks in 2002 and converted for the Society by Les Murial. It includes information on lawyers around the United Kingdom.  However the database does NOT include lawyers in London, Middlesex, Sussex and Wales as Mr Brooks is still working on these. There is also a little data on lawyers in Scotland and India, The index was compiled from various sources including Law Lists from 1780-1861, the 1851 census, and biographical works such as Sir Edgar Stephens’ Clerks of the Counties 1360-1960. This is a really useful index for anyone with solicitors in their family history.

 

Solicitors screen shot2 300x240 New Family History Databases on the SoG Members’ Website The Solicitors and Attorneys index is divided into two databases on the website. The first shows career details and the entry number will indicate the geographical location. For example, entries 0001-0133 relate to lawyers in Bedfordshire and these numbers are explained on the site. The second includes genealogical information (shown here), where found, for each lawyer. Again entry numbers indicate the county location of the lawyer using the same codes as for the first index.

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14 SoG members took part in the guided walk around the City of London looking at some of the lost burial grounds.  Between 1741 and 1837 over two million burials occurred within the City but finding trace of these can now be a challenge. The walk, led by Alec Tritton, started at St Olave Church Hart Street, near the Tower of London and concluded at Bow Churchyard. Concentrating on burial grounds in the financial district the group got a feel for the parishes where their ancestors lived, and died. After two and a half hours we retired exhausted but cheerful to one of the few local hostelries actually open in the City on Saturdays. Everyone agreed they had a good day as you can see by the picture. London burial walk1 300x225 SoG members enjoy walk round lost city burial grounds

Alec’s next walk around nonconformist chapels and burial grounds will take place on Saturday 26 September. Places are limited so do take the opportunity to book on line via the   SoG’s events pages on our website

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