Over half a million Wiltshire baptism records dating back to 1530 now available online

Leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk has today, 23 July 2014, added over 55,000 more Wiltshire parish baptism records to the website.

Spanning the years 1530 to 1886, the 580,361 baptism records now available on Findmypast comprise transcripts of the registers from over 150 Wiltshire parishes compiled by Wiltshire Family History Society.

The Wiltshire baptisms are unusual, as some of the earliest records in the collection are 484 years old. The records begin in 1530, eight years before the Vicar General of England, Thomas Cromwell, ordered all of the nation’s parish churches to keep a record of all baptisms, marriages and burials.

The county of Wiltshire has produced a number of notable individuals, including the architect Sir Christopher Wren, whose baptism record can be found within the collection.

The Wiltshire parish baptisms add to Findmypast’s already extensive collection of Wiltshire records that includes over 290,000 Wiltshire Memorial Inscription Index records, 67,000 Wiltshire Quarter Session Calendars and 20,593 Wiltshire removal orders.

Debra Chatfield, family historian at findmypast.co.uk, said: “We are particularly excited about the Wiltshire parish baptisms, as parish records kept before 1538 are relatively rare.  Family historians, wherever they are in the world, can now search this historical goldmine and possibly trace their Wiltshire ancestors further back than ever before.“

The new records can be searched at: http://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-records/wiltshire-baptisms-1530-1886

4.2 million British World War 1 service records released online in most comprehensive collection ever

Today findmypast released as part of their 100in100 campaign to release 100 record sets in 100 days the largest and most comprehensive collection of British World War 1 service records online, giving family historians a greater chance than ever before of finding their World War 1 ancestors. The newly re-indexed records contain details of millions of the men who fought for their country in one of the largest conflicts in history. As well as a more thorough transcription process which involved an individual examination of over 35 million pages of documentation, findmypast has also identified and indexed lists of names that were tucked away in individual service papers.

The record sets (WO363 and WO64, also colloquially known as the “burnt records”) are all that remain of records caught up in a fire caused by a German incendiary bomb during World War. As only around 40% of the original records survive, the addition of these 600,000 new names taken from extra lists and pages previously not indexed are a real boon to family historians with British military ancestors, as well as to military historians in general.

The records can be searched at http://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-Records/british-army-service-records-1914-1920 and are available on all international findmypast sites as part of a world subscription.

National Archives of Ireland, Findmypast and FamilySearch partnership to bring decades of lost Irish history online

I really struggle with researching my Irish family history so I was excited about this press release I received today:

The National Archives of Ireland and leading Irish family history website findmypast today announced the release of an extensive series of records that will prove an invaluable resource for anyone tracing Irish ancestry.  The records, which include over 600,000 names from pre-1901 Irish census records, are now available to access for free on findmypast and the National Archives website (genealogy.nationalarchives.ie). The launch of the Irish Census records forms part of findmypast’s 100in100 promise to launch 100 record sets in 100 days.

This is the first free-to-access launch resulting from an innovative partnership between findmypast, the National Archives of Ireland, and FamilySearch.org. Millions more essential family history records will be released in the coming months under the terms of the partnership, which represents a fruitful collaboration between a national cultural institution and private sector genealogy suppliers. The partnership allows people in Ireland and abroad to have free access to records relating to their Irish roots, which were not previously available online.

Irish family histories are notoriously difficult to trace, owing to the destruction of the Public Record Office in Dublin in 1922. On the 30th June 1922 two huge explosions rocked the Record Office, causing a fire that destroyed millions of records – and with them hundreds of years of Irish history. These included a substantial number of Irish census records from the 19th century.
The surviving records open an online archive of Irish history to everyone interested in tracing an Irish heritage. The records cover three decades, 1821-1851, and include the surviving Irish census records from 1821-1851, and census search forms from 1841 & 1851.

Ireland census 1821-1851
Every ten years a census of the Irish population was taken between 1821 and 1911 and, luckily for Irish family historians, the manuscript returns for each household survived the 1922 fire for all 32 counties for 1901 and 1911. The new records add to the existing census and include information pre-dating 1901, with data sets covering some parts of the country now available from 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851. The 1821 census is a particular highlight for family historians, as it records all members of the families documented.

Ireland census search forms 1841 & 1851
These records are comprised of search forms used to corroborate the validity of pension claims made in 1908 and are extracted from the 1841 & 1851 census, which were subsequently destroyed in the fire. They represent a very useful link to pre-famine Ireland, and also list the applicant’s details and all of the information available from the census records – including other family members present on census night.

To learn more about the records and to access them free of charge visit The National Archives of Ireland or findmypast.  The records will be available shortly on FamilySearch.org.

Silver watch fob

I found this silver watch fob in my paternal grandmother’s button tin alongside random keys, army buttons and normal buttons.

silver watch fob.JPG

I think the design is fairly standard.

SILVER WATCH FOB.JPG

The reverse bears the following stamps:

lion passant guardan = certifying the silver

letter m = 1867

anchor – Birmingam

Makers mark = CES (possibly Charles Edward Soloman, Vyse Street, Birmingham)

I thought I had a photograph which possibly featured this watch fob but I can’t find it at the moment. The chain and watch it was attached to are unfortunately missing.

New project to put 40 million wartime British records online

British-owned online family history world leader DC Thomson Family History (who own findmypast) and The National Archives have today announced a joint project to make records of 40 million civilians held in the 1939 register available online. Once digitised, it is estimated that the collection will comprise almost 1.2 million scanned full-colour images of documents covering the entire civilian population of England & Wales at the outbreak of the Second World War.

The 1939 register was taken on 29 September 1939 by the British Government and recorded personal details of individuals in order to issue identity cards and ration books. It later formed the basis of the National Health Service’s records. When complete, the 1939 register will be fully searchable online for the first time, opening up the past to a new generation of family and social historians, just as the 1911 census did on its release in 2009.

The records contain the address, full name, date of birth, sex, marital status and occupation of individuals, as well as changes of name. Although the Register is literally within living memory for many people, information about living individuals will be kept closed for 100 years from their year of birth, or until proof of death has been authenticated.

From today, anybody interested in being kept informed about the project can register at www.1939register.co.uk.

Mary Gledhill, Commercial Director, at The National Archives, added: “The National Archives is delighted to be working with DC Thomson Family History to open up this unique record collection to the world, allowing history enthusiasts to discover more about the people at the outbreak of the Second World War. In the absence of a 1931 and 1941 census, this collection is all the more valuable to family historians trying to trace their ancestors.”

The Admiralty Badge

I love this little buttonhole brass badge, found amongst the buttons in my grandmother’s button tin. I have no idea who it belonged to.

On War Service 1914

On War Service badge.JPG

The Admiralty Badge was issued to war workers in shipyards during 1914. In 1916 Admiralty badges were numbered to control their issue amongst the numerous shipyard and related employers.

The 1914 On War Service badge was the first official badge issued during the First World War to identify non-combatant persons whose services were deemed necessary for war work. The badge was issued late 1914 to “workmen whose services are indispensable for the rapid completion of HM Ships and Armaments”.

The issue of this badge to individuals considered essential for war work was left to the shipyards and related employers and if the employee were to cease that employment, the badge had to be handed back.

I think the badge may have belonged to one of my paternal great grandfathers, either George James Benger, who worked in Naval Ordnance in Portsmouth, or Mansel Young who worked as a Dockyard Labourer also in Portsmouth, during the First World War.