Explore your world on the eve of war

I received a press release from Findmypast about the launch of the 1939 Register which I wanted to share.

On November 2nd 2015, the eagerly awaited 1939 Register will be launched online by Findmypast, a world leader in family history. Anyone can now discover their family, their home and their community on the eve of WWII. Until now, the most recent information available was the 1911 census. Owing to the 100 year rule, the 1921 census will not be released until 2022, while the 1931 census was destroyed in the war and the 1941 census was never taken. The 1939 Register therefore bridges an important 30-year gap in history.

In September 1939, WWII had just broken out. 65,000 enumerators were employed to visit every house in England and Wales to take stock of the civil population. The information that they recorded was used to issue Identity Cards, plan mass evacuations, establish rationing and co-ordinate other war-time provisions. In the longer term, the 1939 Register would go on to play a central role in the establishment of post-war services like the NHS.

Comprising 1.2 million pages in 7,000 volumes and documenting the lives of 41 million people, the 1939 Register opens a window to a world on the brink of cataclysmic change. Each record includes the names of inhabitants at each address, their date of birth, marital status and occupation. A wealth of contextual information, including period photographs never before seen online, infographics, region-specific newspaper articles and historical and contemporary maps, are personally tailored to each record, offering a rich and unique user experience unrivalled by any other family history research tool to date.

Findmypast has undertaken a monumental task in digitising the 1939 Register. Stacked end-to-end, the hard copy volumes would have reached twice the height of St Paul’s Cathedral. Work on conserving, scanning, transcribing and digitising the Register has been ongoing for more than a year. Despite the challenge of translating 65,000 unique sets of handwriting, including updates that have been made by hand up until 1991, Findmypast guarantees at least 98.5% accuracy of readable records. The result is a direct route to the past that will allow users to glimpse their family, their home and their communities in 1939, as they’ve never seen them before.

Napoleonic Prisoner of War records

Today I’m sharing a press release from Findmypast which might be useful. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Findmypast has released thousands of fascinating new Napoleonic Prisoner of War records in partnership with The National Archives.

Prisoners of War 1715-1945 Phase 2 – Napoleonic Wars

Comprising over 71,000 entries, the new Napoleonic Prisoner of War records have been released in partnership with The National Archives. The release marks the second phase of a landmark project to make 250 years of British Foreign Office, Colonial Office, Admiralty and Air Force papers relating to the internment of allied and foreign Prisoners of War available to search online. These records form part of the wider Prisoners of War 1715-1945 collection and contain not only the details of members of the armed forces, but also of captured civilians and merchant seamen of various nationalities.

The new Napoleonic additions record the details of Danish, French, Prussian and American prisoners captured by British Forces during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. They list the prisoner’s name, nationality, rank, service number and the conflict in which they were captured. They can also reveal exactly when and where they were captured, where they were held, and many include full physical descriptions detailing hair colour, eye colour, build, complexion and any distinguishable marks. Records were also kept of the provisions and the supplies received by POWs such as blankets, clothing, and beds etc. providing incredible insights into the experiences of a Napoleonic prisoner of war.

Each record includes a transcript and an image of the original handwritten document. The amount of information in each record can vary depending on the type of document and the amount of detail recorded at the time of the event.

Findmypast announces free weekend 6-9 March 2015

Findmypast announces they will be giving free access to all their historical records this weekend. That means that between midday on Friday, March 6th and midday on Monday, March 9th (GMT), absolutely everyone will have access to their comprehensive collections of historical records and innovative research tools, including:

·         Over 900 million census records from across the UK, USA and Ireland
·         Passenger lists for ships sailing to and from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA
·         Birth, marriage and death records dating back to the 18th century, and the largest online collection of UK parish records
·         The most comprehensive collection of UK military records anywhere online
·         The largest collection of Irish family history records available online
·         Historical newspapers from across the world, including more than 10 million British newspaper pages from as long ago as 1710
·         An easy to use online family tree builder which allows you to import and export your tree if you’ve built it elsewhere
·         Our automatic Hints feature, which automatically searches our records for you and suggests potential matches to the people you add to your family tree

As well as millions of other records that will give everyone the opportunity to explore their family history and bring their past to life.

Extended access for existing users

It’s not only new users who will be able to take their family history research further this weekend. Those with current Findmypast Local subscriptions (with an active Britain, Ireland, US & Canada or Australia & New Zealand subscription) will be able to access Findmypast’s historical World records during the free access weekend, and those with active World subscriptions will have an additional three days added on to their subscription.

Find out more at Findmypast’s dedicated Free Weekend page.

Soldiers’ Effects Records now online

Earlier today I received an email from lost cousins about First World War Soldiers’ Effects records now online. Years ago I contacted the National Army Museum about thee records  as I wanted to see if they had any record of my great uncle Alfred Mansel Young. They did, but I subsequently lost the information.

Anyway, last night I searched on Ancestry which is where the records are now available and was able to re-discover the record.

Soldiers' Effects Records

I am so happy to have a copy of this record. I don’t understand much of it but it does show that the money was paid to his father Mansel Young. I find this interesting as at the time of his enlistment he was living in South Wales and I’m not sure why.

The Soldiers’ Effects Records, 1901-60, relating to monies owed to soldiers who were killed in action are held by the National Army Museum (NAM Accession Number: 1991-02-333; Record Number Ranges: 317501-319000; Reference: 164). You can access them via Ancestry and search them here.

Baptism record from Portsmouth New Chapel, Green Row, Portsmouth

William Benger was present at the baptism of his first son Thomas Benger at Portsmouth New Chapel in Green Row, Portsmouth. Thomas was born 16th April 1837, baptised 1st May 1837 by Robert Sherwell.

Portsmouth New Chapel in Green Row, Portsmouth

I’m not sure where the Portsmouth New Chapel in Green Row, Portsmouth actually was so I shall have to do some detective work about this place.

Tithe Records Benjamin Hacker

One more record from The Genealogist relates to my great great grandfather Benjamin Hacker (1805-1890).

tithe record

This is an extract from Tithe Records for Plot 280 in Broad Hinton, Wiltshire, dated 21st April 1845.

The Landowner is William Browne Ruddle Esquire and the Occupier John Drunford & Benjamin Hacker.

Reference IR 29/38/46