Category Archives: Uncategorized

Explore Findmypast’s billions of historical records for FREE this Remembrance Weekend

I thought the attached press release I received from Findmypast might be useful:

This Remembrance Weekend, we want to help everyone find their First World War ancestors and learn more about their family history.

So we’re delighted to announce that this Remembrance Weekend, we’ll be opening up our archives and giving unlimited free access to billions of records and newspaper pages from all over the world. That means that between midday on Friday, November 7th and midday on Monday, November 10th (GMT), absolutely everyone will have access to all our historical records, including:

·         Millions of birth, marriage and death records
·         Census, land and substitute records from the US, UK, Ireland and Australia
·         Millions of newspaper pages from all over the world
·         Travel and migration records
·         Military records from all over the world, including World War 1 records

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

Live Broadcast

This Saturday 8th November, we will be hosting our first ever Live Broadcast. Featuring an expert panel including Findmypast’s Director of Family History, Joshua Taylor, military historian Paul Nixon, and Who Do You Think You Are?’s Lead Genealogist Laura Berry, the broadcast is designed to help everyone get further with their family history research.

The talks will cover a wide range of topics – from getting started to breaking down brick walls – and viewers can choose to watch the entire event, or tune in for specific presentations.

The Live Broadcast will be shown at 3pm (GMT) on Saturday 8th November. All of the presentations can also be watched on demand after the broadcast on the Remembrance Weekend section of our blog.

Live Family History Facebook Q&A

Directly after our Live Broadcast, we’ll also be hosting a live Q&A on family history researching on our global Facebook page with some of our speakers. Join us between 5.30 and 6.30pm (GMT) to join the discussion on how to get started or break down your family history brick walls.

You can submit your questions in advance to our Facebook wall, send them @Findmypast on Twitter using the hashtag #FMPLive, or join us live on Facebook on Saturday evening.

Follow @Findmypast on Twitter and use the hashtag #FMPLive to follow our event updates.

Findmypast launches ‘Hall of Heroes’ to celebrate the heroes in everyone’s family

Leading family history website, has today announced the launch of its Hall of Heroes. The Hall aims to celebrate the heroes from our history, from unsung underdogs to First World War medal winners.

Findmypast is asking people to help create a ‘Hall of Heroes’ that truly reflects the heroic figures from our own history by inviting everyone to submit their own heroes from their family history to be chosen for inclusion in the Hall of Heroes. For every real-life story published Findmypast will donate £10 to charity.

To mark the launch of the Hall of Heroes, has also released four new record sets including Victoria Cross Recipients 1854-2006, the Royal Navy 1914 Star Medal Roll 1914-1920, the Marriage Registers of the British Royal Marines 1813-1920 and the Falklands War British Deaths 1982 to allow more people to discover the heroes in their family. The Victoria Cross (VC) collection includes the 1,349 people awarded the highest military decoration for valour in the face of the enemy during conflicts such as the Crimean War, the Boer War, Indian Mutiny, and both World Wars. The VC is a simple bronze cross. It has been awarded only 14 times since World War II.

Included in the ‘Hall of Heroes’ today is Rip the rescue dog, a World War Two rescue dog with an extraordinary talent for finding people buried amidst the debris after bombing raids. Rip died in 1946 after a courageous life as the service’s first search and rescue dog. He was awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery in 1945. Rip was originally found in Poplar, London, in 1940 by an Air Raid warden. He is credited with saving the lives of over 100 people.

First World War medal winners

A ‘Hall of Heroes’ wouldn’t be complete without commemorating some of the well decorated soldiers from the First World War, and included in the launch are the records of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse. Chavasse is one of only three people ever to have won the Victoria Cross twice, and the only person to be awarded both the Victoria Cross and bar during World War One. He won his first VC for his actions at the battle of Guillemont, part of the Battle of the Somme, after coming within 25 metres of the German line. At this point he rescued three wounded men and continued to search no-man’s land for injured soldiers before the enemy line for four hours. In total Chavasse saved the lives of twenty badly wounded men.

His second VC was awarded for ‘most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in action’ in 1917. Though desperately wounded while carrying another man, Chavasse insisted on remaining in action for a further two days. Faint from his injury and without food he continued to search for and retrieve the wounded even under heavy fire, and was crucial in saving the lives of many more who would otherwise have succumbed in the field.

Visit for more information on these heroes and to submit your own story.


Who Do You Think You Are? Story

Family history has been one of my hobbies since I was at school and it’s grown substantially over the years, so much so that I started this family history blog as a place to record my research alongside my family history database.

I love how much easier it has become to research your family history. I used to spend my lunch hours at the old Family Records Centre or my weekends at the National Archives in Richmond. With large-scale digitisation projects you can now research from the comfort of your own home and I’ve been enjoying using lots of new record sets, websites and ways of sharing and exploring my own family history.

In celebration of the 10th birthday of celebrity genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?, Findmypast and Wall to Wall have recently launched Who Do You Think You Are? Story, a website that allows fans of the show to create a personalised, visual journey through their family history. The site is still in its beta phase, so extra historical facts and context will be added over the next week or so, but there’s already loads of interesting historical detail to colour in your history.

Oop over to to get started. It’s simple to sign up and completely free. You can check out Matthew Pinsent and Larry Lamb if you want to see how the site works, or just get started by adding your own details.

There are 3 stages to the site:

Step 1 – Tell us about your relatives

Enter key information and upload family photos. You don’t need every detail, but each fact makes the story richer.

Step 2 – We’ll add in events that affected their lives

For example, we’ll show you what was happening in society at the time your grandfather was born.

Step 3 – Expand your story

Add in your own events such as marriages, memories or even scandals. You can keep your story hidden or share it with family and friends.

A couple of things that are good about the site:

you only need to add a minimum amount of data – full name, birth date and birth location

but you can upload an image and add more facts if you want

the animated retelling of the family story is great and I love the way it’s interspersed with significant contemporary issues

there’s a timeline at the bottom of the page which includes the key historical events, so it’s really easy to see your story unfold

I like the form you can use to email a relative if you are missing a piece of information

Room for improvement:

The only thing I would like to see improved is being able to upload your data from a GEDCOM file. I’ve worked hard on my family tree, it contains nearly 700 people, and have stored the information in this format for years. Other family tree websites use it and I find it a really useful way of sharing my information with other people.

As WDYTYA has been around for 10 years it must be watched by both existing and new family historians. I’m hoping this feature might be added as in this electronic age I think it makes sense to make it easy for people to upload their information.

Don’t forget you can take a look at the Who Do You Think You Are? Story and start your own tree for free.

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

Leading UK family history website 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, 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:

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

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.”

George III sixpence 1819

Following on from previous posts about coins in my possession here is another one which I think is a George III sixpence stamped 1819.


You can see it’s pretty grubby but I have found some similar examples online.