Today, 09 April 2016, over 911,000 records of British Royal Navy pensions have been published online for the first time at Findmypast.
The publication, released in association with The National Archives, consists of an assortment of documents kept by the Greenwich Hospital and the Royal Hospital Chelsea to record the details of Greenwich Pensioners.
The British Royal Navy & Royal Marines service and pension records span over 230 years of British naval history from to 1704 to 1934 and contain over 270,000 scanned colour images. The collection will allow family historians to uncover fascinating details of their ancestor’s career with the Royal Navy, such as their period of service, where they served, when they joined and if they were wounded in the line of duty.
Since 1804, The Royal Greenwich Hospital has paid small out-pensions to large numbers of deserving applicants who had served in either the Navy or Marines, as well as admitting a fixed number to live as in-pensioners of the hospital. This is the first time that records relating to these payments have been made available online, allowing more people than ever before to learn about the lives of their naval ancestors.
The collection includes:
- Registers of Greenwich Hospital out-pensioners and candidates
- Service records of both officers’ & ratings’ between 1802 and 1919
- Indexes of Greenwich Hospital pensioners and out-pensioners
- Royal Hospital Chelsea payment returns for England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey
- Royal Hospital Chelsea admission books, registers and papers
To coincide with the upcoming centenary of the Battle of Jutland, Findmypast has also released over 40,000 records of Royal Navy & Royal Marines personnel who served at Jutland. The Battle, which took place off the coast of Denmark between the 31st May and 1st June 1916, was the largest naval engagement of the First World War and cost the lives of nearly 7,000 British sailors.
Paul Nixon, military expert at Findmypast, says:
“As an island nation we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the men and women who have served Great Britain at sea. These naval pension records, indexed and published online for the first time, shed new light on our naval ancestors and will open up fresh lines of enquiry for thousands of people. This release cements Findmypast’s reputation for having the most comprehensive online collection of British naval records.”
Bruno Pappalardo, Principal Maritime Records Specialist at The National Archives, said:
“The complexity, diversity and nature of eighteenth and nineteenth century Royal Navy pension records has previously made the searching of such documents speculative and difficult to undertake. The release of these key pension records will be an essential contribution to opening up these records for research purposes.”
Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is a British-owned world leader in online family history. It has an unrivalled record of online innovation in the field and 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Lives of the First World War, The British Newspaper Archive and Genes Reunited, amongst others.
Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over two billion family history records, ranging from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and conducting detailed historical research.
In April 2003, Findmypast was the first online genealogy site to provide access to the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England & Wales, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Since that time, the company has digitised records from across the globe, including major collections from Britain, Ireland, Australia, and the United States.
About The National Archives
The National Archives is a government department and an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). As the official archive of the UK government and England and Wales, we look after and make available to the public a collection of historical records dating back over 1,000 years, including records as diverse as Domesday Book and MI5 files.
Our 21st-century role is to collect and secure the future of the record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible as possible. We do this by devising technological solutions to ensure the long-term survival of public records and working to widen access to our collection. The National Archives also advises on information management across government, publishes all UK legislation, manages Crown copyright and leads the archive sector. We work to promote and improve access to public sector information and its re-use. www.nationalarchives.gov.uk www.legislation.gov.uk
Leading family history websites genesreunited.co.uk and findmypast.co.uk have teamed up to offer their members free access to all 1911 census transcriptions from today until 18th November 2012.
The 1911 census is a great place to start researching your family history as the records are the most detailed of any census. It includes places of birth, details of siblings, occupations, how many children have been born to the marriage, how many still alive at the time of the census and how many had died.
Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager of findmypast.co.uk, said: “The 1911 census is an invaluable resource for tracing your ancestors and it’s fantastic to be able to offer this to our members for free.”
It marked a revolution in genealogy and ancestry by combining them with Internet social-networking. Members are able to build their family tree by posting it on the site and investigating which ancestors they share with other members. They can also search historical records such as census, birth, marriage, death and military records.
Genes Reunited has 12 million members and over 780 million names listed. One new name is added to the site every single second.
Leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online in April 2003, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation.
Findmypast.co.uk has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 750 million records dating as far back as 875 AD. This allows family historians to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military, census, migration, parish, work and education records, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records. The company runs the official 1911 census website for England & Wales in association with The National Archives and has digitised several other record sets from the national collection.
Thanks to Natasha White with Brightsolid, with FindMyPast.co.uk for the above news release.
The following press release was received from Debra Chatfield at findmypast.co.uk:
. Over a million baptism, marriage and burial records dating back to 1538 now available
. First time that images of the original parish records from Westminster go online
Leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk has today published online for the very first time parish records held by the City of Westminster Archives Centre. The Westminster Collection at findmypast.co.uk comprises fully searchable transcripts and scanned images of the parish registers, some of which are over 400 years old.
The 1,365,731 records launched today cover the period 1538-1945 and come from over 50 Westminster churches including St Anne, Soho, St Clement Danes, St George Hanover Square, St James Westminster, St Margaret Westminster, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St Mary-le-Strand, St Paul Covent Garden.
Debra Chatfield, family historian at findmypast.co.uk, said: “The Westminster Collection is one of the largest regional parish record collections we have ever published online and contains some truly wonderful gems. Family historians, wherever they are in the world, can now search this historical goldmine and uncover the fascinating stories of their London ancestors.”
Today’s launch marks the start of a painstaking project to preserve digitally the City of Westminster Archives Centre’s collection, and sees the first tranche of its baptisms, marriages and burials go online. The remaining records are set to go live over the coming months, along with cemetery registers, wills, rate books, settlement examinations, workhouse admission and discharge books, bastardy, orphan and apprentice records, charity documents, and militia and watch records.
Adrian Autton, Archives Manager at Westminster Archives commented: “The launch of the Westminster Collection is of huge significance making Westminster records fully accessible to a global audience. This resource will be of immense value to anyone whose ancestors lived in Westminster and to anyone wishing to study the rich heritage of this truly great city.”
The records can now be searched free of charge by visiting the Life Events (BMDs) section at findmypast.co.uk, and then selecting parish baptisms or marriages or burials. Transcripts and images can be viewed with PayAsYouGo credits, vouchers or a full subscription to findmypast.co.uk.
The new Westminster Collection at findmypast.co.uk joins a growing resource of official parish records from local archives, including Cheshire Archives & Local Studies, Manchester City Council and Plymouth and West Devon Records Office, with many more in the pipeline and due to go live in the coming months. In addition over 40 million parish records from family history societies can be found at findmypast.co.uk in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies.
The following news release was received from Debra Chatfield at findmypast.co.uk:
FINDMYPAST.CO.UK TO PUBLISH WESTMINSTER ARCHIVE RECORDS ON THE WEB
* Project announced to increase access to 10 million baptism, marriage, burial and parish chest records dating back to 1538
* First time that images of the original parish records from Westminster will appear online
Leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk has today announced that it has been awarded a digitisation contract by the City of Westminster Council and the Westminster Archives Centre. This significant new project will lead to the publication online for the very first time of 10 million historic records from the Archives. The records are expected to launch later this year and will become fully searchable, only at findmypast.co.uk.
Spanning the years 1538 to 1945, the records cover such London landmark churches as:
* St Anne’s, Soho
* St Clement Danes
* St George’s Hanover Square
* St James’ Westminster
* St Margaret’s Westminster
* St Martin-in-the-Fields
* St Mary-le-Strand
* St Paul’s, Covent Garden
As well as baptisms, marriages and burials, the Westminster Collection includes such gems as rate books, orphan and apprentice records, vestry minutes, cemetery registers, charity documents, workhouse admission and discharge books, settlement examinations, churchwardens’ accounts, bastardy and poor law records, wills, militia and watch records.
Guy Strachan, Digitisation Manager at findmypast.co.uk, said: “The City of Westminster Archives Centre is an absolute treasure trove for family and local historians, and the addition of these amazing records to findmypast.co.uk will greatly enhance the website’s standing as the central resource for UK parish records.”
Anyone wishing to be notified when the Westminster Collection becomes available can register online at findmypast.co.uk to receive a newsletter.
The following news release was received from from Debra Chatfield at findmypast.co.uk:
Today, in honour of St David’s Day, leading family history website findmypast.co.uk has announced the launch of the first tranche of parish records from Wales – part of a major new project with the Welsh County Archivists Group and the National Library of Wales.
3,878,862 million records from parish registers from the Church in Wales can now be searched for the first time online from today comprising:
- 1,418,921 baptism records covering 1538-1911
- 950,254 marriage records covering 1539-1926
- 340,002 marriage banns covering 1701-1926
- 1,169,685 burial records covering 1539-2007
These records cover the counties of Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Glamorganshire.
Over the following weeks approximately 5 million more Welsh parish records from Anglesey, Brecknockshire, Caernarvonshire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire and Radnorshire will be added to the website, enabling anyone to search the complete parish records from Wales online for the very first time.
Catherine Richards, county archivist from the Welsh Archives, said: “Archive Services in Wales hold a wealth of information, and our written history reflects the rich culture and heritage of the Welsh nation. Celebrating family history has had a long tradition in Wales. Welsh Law made it essential for people to know how they were descended from an ancestor and the ancient patronymic system was an important way of conveying and reaffirming lineage. The importance of tracing Welsh roots has been revived through modern genealogy. Parish registers provide one of the primary sources for the family historian and help to bring to life Welsh ancestors from the past.”
Paul Nixon, Content Licensing Manager at findmypast.co.uk added: “This is a really exciting development for anyone with Welsh family history. Even if you are currently unaware of your Welsh roots, a simple search of the 46 million UK parish records at findmypast.co.uk will now potentially reveal relevant results from the new Welsh Collection, opening up a whole new chapter in your research.”
The records can be accessed within the Life Events section of findmypast.co.uk and are free to search. The transcripts and handwritten images of the original parish registers can be viewed with PayAsYouGo credits or with a Full subscription to findmypast.co.uk.
The following press release was received from findmypast.co.uk
NEW MERCHANT SEAMEN RECORDS ONLINE
- First time that 19th century merchant navy records are available online
- UK merchant seamen records from two centuries now searchable at findmypast.co.uk
Leading family history website www.findmypast.co.uk has today released online for the first time Merchant Seamen records from the 19th century in association with The National Archives of the United Kingdom.
359,000 records of individuals covering the years 1835-1857 have now been added to the website. Details contained within the records can vary, but can include name, age, place of birth, physical description, ship names and dates of voyages. Often this information can be given in the form of coded entries which can easily be deciphered using downloadable finding aids from The National Archives.
The records are taken from volumes held at The National Archives in series BT112, BT113, BT114, BT115, BT116 and BT120 and were created by central government to regulate the merchant shipping industry. As the series spans two decades, some individuals may appear in multiple series, making it possible for maritime historians or those with ancestors in the merchant navy, to trace a seaman’s service over time.
Janet Dempsey, Maritime Expert at The National Archives commented:
“These records are as significant to the social historian as they are to the family historian. No other group of working class men and women had the freedom of movement and ability to see the world as these 19th century mariners.
“This was the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen’s earliest attempts at keeping individuals records and resulted in four different registers over twenty two years. Although more of a challenge to work with than other family history sources, it can be very satisfying to decipher the codes and have your investigative efforts rewarded with sometimes surprisingly rich detail.”
In 2011 findmypast.co.uk published Merchant Navy Seamen records from 1918-1941 in association with The National Archives, some of which include photographs
Debra Chatfield, family historian at findmypast.co.uk added: “The Merchant Navy Seamen records will be of great interest to family historians worldwide, as so many of us have generations of ancestors, who made their living at sea. These records will add more detail to our mental picture of their lives.”
All the Merchant Navy Seamen records at findmypast.co.uk can be searched for free from the Education & Work section of the website. Transcripts and images can be viewed either with PayAsYouGo credits or a Full Subscription.
We received the following press release:
FINDMYPAST.CO.UK PUBLISHES THAMES WATERMEN AND LIGHTERMEN RECORDS ONLINE
Today leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk has published online for the very first time just under 100,000 records of Thames watermen and lightermen, spanning the years 1688 to 1949. Watermen were highly skilled boatmen who carried passengers up and down and across the Thames in row boats, steam boats, sailing boats and vessels. Lightermen worked on cargo boats rather than passenger vessels.
The collection comprises the following records:
- names of competitors and those eligible to compete in the Doggett Coat & Badge Hanover prize race 1715-2010 – including details of where they were from, the date of the race and their position in \the race. This is the oldest annual sporting event in the world and first took place on 1 August 1715 between London Bridge and Chelsea. The records give the name of every known competitor, including those who were unsuccessful in the drawing of lots at Watermen’s Hall or the trials held at Putney.
- Corporation of Trinity House licenses issued to ex-mariners to ply their trade as Thames Watermen between the dates 1829 and 1864, giving the date and their age when the licence was issued;
- Company of Watermen & Lightermen of River Thames Binding records 1692-1949 (apprenticeship records);
- a register of contract licenses for over aged boys 1865-1926;
- binding dates and birth proof affidavits 1898-1949;
- reassignments 1698-1908: a list of apprentices who were reassigned from one master to another, with information about both the masters and the apprentices.
The Thames is the only river in the United Kingdom that Parliament regulates for the training and apprenticeship of young men to the trade of watermen and lightermen. Originally boys were bound to a master (or mistress, who was normally the widow of a freeman) for one year. During the 19th century, however, the apprenticeship period was altered so the boy served between five and seven years, completing his apprenticeship at the age of 21.
Amy Sell of findmypast.co.uk said: “We often get asked about researching Thames watermen ancestors, so it’s very exciting that these records are now available for anyone to search online for the first time. There’s a rumour that one of my own ancestors won the Doggett Coat & Badge race, so I can’t wait to take a look. And if you find one waterman or lighterman in your family tree, it’s likely that you’ll find more, as this tended to be an occupation that ran in families.”
The 99,140 new records can be searched from the Education & work area at findmypast.co.uk. They form part of the Thames-side and Medway collection, which also contains parish baptism, marriage and burial records for the region.
The following Press Release was issued by Findmypast.co.uk:
FINDMYPAST.CO.UK TO PUBLISH CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL RECORDS ON THE WEB
- Project announced to increase access to over a million baptism, marriage and burial records dating back to 1538
- First time that images of the original parish records from East Kent churches will appear online
Today leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk has announced that it has been awarded a contract by Canterbury Cathedral Archives to publish online for the very first time historic records from the archive. The first phase of the Canterbury Collection project will see a browsable version of the parish registers of the historic Archdeaconry of Canterbury go online in the coming weeks at findmypast.co.uk.
An estimated 270,000 images containing over a million entries will be published on the website, covering parish churches from a wide expanse of East Kent, including:
- the city of Canterbury
- the towns of Faversham, Wye and Elham
- towns along the east Kent coast stretching from Whitstable in the north round to Hythe in the south
The launch has been timed to coincide with the temporary closure of Canterbury Cathedral Archives for refurbishment, so that family historians and local historians can continue to enjoy access to these fascinating records until the Archives reopens in autumn 2012.
From the initial online launch in February, visitors to the findmypast.co.uk website will be able to browse through the scanned pages of the parish records to search for their ancestors. At the same time, findmypast.co.uk will start to transcribe the records, with a view to creating an index and making them fully searchable on the website later this year.
Paul Nixon, Content Licensing Manager for findmypast.co.uk, said: “We’re really looking forward to seeing these invaluable records from Canterbury Cathedral Archives go live on findmypast.co.uk, strengthening the site’s position as the natural home for UK parish records.”
Canterbury Cathedral Archivist Cressida Williams, added: “Working with findmypast has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to expand access to these records to a worldwide audience. This resource will be a great asset for anyone with an interest in the history of this part of Kent.”
The Canterbury Collection will join an impressive array of UK parish records at findmypast.co.uk, including records from Manchester Archives, Cheshire Archives, Plymouth & West Devon Record Office and Welsh Archives, in addition to over 40 million parish records from family history societies throughout the UK in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies.
The following news release was received from Paul Nauta, with FamilySearch.
SALT LAKE CITY—Three leading genealogy organizations, Archives.com, FamilySearch International, and findmypast.com, announced today they are joining forces to launch the 1940 US Census Community Project. The ambitious project aims to engage online volunteers to quickly publish a searchable, high quality name index to the 1940 US Census after it is released in April 2012 by the National Archives and Record Administration of the United States (NARA). The highly anticipated 1940 US Census is expected to be the most popular US record collection released to date. Its completion will allow anyone to search the record collection by name for free online. Learn more about this exciting initiative or how to volunteer at www.the1940census.com.
The 1940 US Census Community Project is also receiving additional support from leading societal organizations like the Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society, and Ohio Genealogical Society.
The population of the US in 1940 was approximately 130 million. NARA’s census images will not have a searchable index. The goal of the 1940 US Census Community Project is to create a high quality index online linked to the complete set of census images as soon as possible. The index will allow the public to easily search every person found in the census and view digital images of the original census pages. The collection will be available online for free to the general public at Archives.com, FamilySearch.org, and findmypast.com, the sponsors of the community project. This new collection will open access to family history research like never before for this period in the US.
“The 1940 Census is attractive to both new and experienced researchers because most people in the US can remember a relative that was living in 1940. It will do more to connect living memory with historical records and families than any other collection previously made available,” said David Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch.
The collaborative project will also pool the collective resources, know-how, and marketing reach of Archives.com, FamilySearch, and findmypast.com to engage and coordinate the volunteer workforce needed to deliver the ambitious project. Additionally, Archives.com and findmypast.com will make substantial financial contributions to make the 1940 US Census online name index possible and work with nonprofit FamilySearch to bring additional new records collections online—making even more highly valued family history resources available to the entire genealogical community.
Archives.com launched in 2009 with a focus on making family history research simple and affordable. Archives.com was recently awarded the opportunity to host the 1940 census for the National Archives as part of a separate project. Its involvement with the collaborative 1940 US Census project reiterates its commitment to the genealogy community and leadership in the space.
“As a forward thinking company, we understand the critical importance the 1940 Census will have on US family history research. We are proud to be a primary sponsor of this community initiative, giving us another opportunity to take a leading role in the genealogy industry. We’d like to encourage and thank volunteers in advance for their essential contribution to this project,” said Matthew Monahan, CEO of Archives.com’s parent company, Inflection.
FamilySearch has developed an impressive global online community of volunteers over the past 5 years to help create free indexes to millions of the world’s historic records. The scope and size of the 1940 US Census Community Project will require tens of thousands of additional volunteers.
findmypast.com is one of a series of leading family history websites owned by the online publisher, brightsolid, which hosts over a billion records across its genealogy brands. The company, which has been at the cutting edge of online family history since 2002, has a wealth of genealogy experience, including the recently digitized historic newspaper archive for the British Library (britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk), which is set to digitize up to 40 million pages over the next 10 years.
“By supporting this ground-breaking initiative, we hope to capture the imagination of the public to bring millions of people together to create this remarkable document of, and tribute to, the Greatest Generation. At brightsolid we are committed to making family history accessible for all and believe access to these records will transform the family history market in the US,” said Chris van der Kuyl, CEO of findmypast.com’s parent company, brightsolid.
The following news release was received from Amy Sell, with findmypast.co.uk:
Fascinating Victorian prison and workhouse records for Manchester have gone online for the first time ever at leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk. ‘The Manchester Collection’ is a rich series of records provided by Manchester City Council’s Libraries, Information and Archives, highlighting criminals whose crimes number murder, stealing, and even bestiality. Scanned images of the original copperplate handwritten registers can now be viewed and searched online by the public.
The Manchester Collection consists of eight record sets with nearly 1,300,000 records that cover Manchester and some parts of Lancashire, due to boundary changes over the centuries. The full series on the site comprises prison registers spanning 1847-1881, industrial school admission and discharge registers, c1866-1912, school admission registers c1870-1916, apprentice records ranging from 1700-1849, baptism and birth registers covering 1734-1920, cemetery and death records for 1750-1968, marriage registers covering 1734-1808 and finally, workhouse registers, which include admission registers, creed registers and discharge registers. Today’s rioters and criminals get away lightly compared to many of the characters in the industrial schools and prison records.
The Prison Registers
The prison register records are some of the most fascinating within the collection giving details of the crimes committed and full particulars of the prisoners, including a description of what they looked like. This index contains 247,765 records for the period 1847-1881. The records cover Belle Vue Prison, New Bailey Prison and Strangeways.
A number of crimes can be found within the records, including murder, stealing as little as a lump of coal, being drunk and riotous and casually knowing (a Victorian euphemism for rape). The oldest felon discovered in the records was 91 years old and the youngest just seven. Repeat offenders were common and it is possible to trace their criminal careers. One woman was recorded 20 times over 14 years – she was blind in her left eye and had a pockmarked face, making her easily identifiable in the records.
Casually knowing a pig
In the prison records one Mr John Alty, aged 21 was charged on 6th March 1866 that he ‘having on the 30th January 1866 feloniously wickedly + against the order of nature did casually know a certain pig + then feloniously did perpetrate an unnatural crime at Manchester’. He was sentenced to 15 months’ hard labour. The record, as many do, includes details of his height, complexion, hair, weight and eyes and describes his occupation as a labourer. Also provided are his last known address, religion, education, marital status, distinguishing marks, nationality, previous committals and release date.
First execution at HMP New Bailey
James Burrows on May 31st 1866 was accused and charged that he ‘wilfully + malice aforethought killed + murdered one’ John Brennan at Hopwood on the 21st May 1866. He was sentenced to death and executed on August 25th 1866, aged 18. This case was widely covered in the newspapers at the time as James Burrows was the first person to be executed at the New Bailey Prison.
Moooove your ‘contagious’ cow!
In June 1870, Joshua Lomas, aged 36, was charged with driving a cow along the highway with a highly contagious lung disease. He was sentenced to one month in prison or the fine of £2. Joshua appears in the records again in 1877 charged with being drunk; he was sentenced to one day’s hard labour. Many of these criminals can be found more than once in the records.
Industrial Schools Indexes
Industrial schools were set up in the middle of the 19th century to provide lodging for destitute children. They were intended to prevent vulnerable children from falling into criminality; children would be educated and taught a trade and could be there for a set period or throughout their education. They were also ‘youth detention centres,’ where Victorian children were sent following anti-social acts for rehabilitation.
Five years detention for truancy
On October 3 1901, Joseph Marsh aged 10 was convicted for associating with bad companions and truancy. He was sentenced to a period of five years and four months detention in one of Manchester’s Industrial schools, Ardwick Green. In his record he is described as being 4’5” tall, 65lbs, with a fair complexion, broad nose, having very light hair with blue eyes. He had five vaccination pits on his left arm. Previously, he had been given three or four years schooling and could read, write and calculate to grade III standard. His mental capacity was said to be good. Like many boys, upon completing his time at the school he enlisted in the army. The records show he joined the 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment, which was then based in Palace Barracks, Holywood, Belfast and went on to have a successful army career. His strict discipline at the school clearly helped him stay on the straight and narrow and he went on to have a very successful army career.
Debra Chatfield, marketing manager at findmypast.co.uk commented: “These records are a fascinating insight into the crimes of the Victorian era and provide so much more detail than census records. Many of the crimes carried out and their subsequent punishments are quite shocking, and are far removed from what we are familiar with today. For example, stealing one lump of coal could get you seven days hard labour. Imagine what the recent rioters would have faced if they had been under Victorian law and order. Even if you do not live in Manchester now, you may have had ancestors there 100 or more years ago and these records will prove to be an essential resource in tracing your family history. Manchester is one of the largest cities in the UK, and by making these records available online people will be able to discover even more about the lives of their Mancunian ancestors.”
The records have been published online by findmypast.co.uk following a two year project to scan and transcribe the original records after the website was awarded a contract by Manchester City Council Libraries, Information and Archives.
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council’s executive member for culture and leisure said: “We are continually developing our library and archive services to make them much more accessible and easy to use. We’re really excited to be working with findmypast.co.uk to digitise these records so that they are easily available to everyone at the simple click of a button.”
You can search the Manchester Collection now at www.findmypast.co.uk/search/manchester-collection
Further details on the prison registers
This index contains 247,765 records for the period 1847-1881 and covers:
Belle Vue Prison was opened in 1849 by the Borough of Manchester. It was a short term jail but it proved inadequate and some prisoners were still sent to the New Bailey. It became a government establishment in 1877 and was demolished in 1892. The majority of prisoners would have been tried at the Assize Court or the Manchester Quarter Sessions.
The prison registers cover admissions for April 1850-November 1879. There are, however, some gaps for May 1853-March 1859, June 1867-May 1868, June 1871-April 1872, October 1874-July 1875 and September 1877-June 1878. Some pages in the registers have been water damaged.
New Bailey Prison, Salford, which opened in 1787 and closed sometime in the second half of 1868. As the Borough of Manchester had no gaol in 1839, agreement was made with the county magistrates of Lancashire that persons sentenced for up to six months should be housed in New Bailey Prison, Salford, while longer-term prisoners went to the County Gaol at Lancaster.
Strangeways Prison opened in June 1868. It was built to replace New Bailey Prison in Salford. It acted as the County Gaol for the Hundred of Salford (south-west Lancashire). It was renamed Her Majesty’s Prison, Manchester in the 1990s and is sometimes known as Cheetham Prison.
The prison registers consist of four types:
- Female Registers 1868-1875
- Female Description Books 1867-1879
- Male Registers 1869-1879 (with gaps May 1871-April 1873)
- Felony Register – Bolton and Salford Sessions (Male) & Manchester Assizes (probably New Bailey Prison and Strangeways Prison) January 1863-October 1876
The registers usually give:
- Register number
- Prisoners names
- When and by whom crimes were committed
- How committed
- On what charge
- Summary conviction
- Age last birthday
- Personal description: height, complexion, hair, eyes, marks upon person and remarks
- Professional trade or occupation
- Place of birth
- Last or usual residence (and address of friends, if to be advised of prisoner’s discharge)
- Married or single (and number of children)
- Parents living
- Number of previous committals
- Register in last and next cases
- Record book
- Letter book
- How disposed of at trial
- Letters received and out
- Date of discharge
- Industrial school record details
Findmypast.co.uk Manchester Collection covers Manchester Certified Industrial Schools, Ardwick Green from June 1866 – February 1912, Barnes Home, Heaton Mersey from January 1867-February 1908 and Northenden Road School for Girls, Sale from January 1867-February 1908
Registers will most likely include:
- Date of birth
- Date of admission
- Where & by whom ordered to be detained
- With what charged
- By what school board sent
- Period of detention
- Previous character
- Name of parents
- Occupation of parents
- Address of parents
- Height, figure, complexion and weight
- Educational attainment
- Character of parents
Leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk (formerly 1837online.com) was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online in April 2003.
Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two million images, the company launched the first website to allow the public easy and fast access to the complete indexes, which until then had only been available on microfiche film in specialist archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK today.
Findmypast.co.uk has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 750 million records dating as far back as 1200. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records.
In November 2006 findmypast.co.uk launched the ancestorsonboard.com microsite in association with The National Archives to publish outbound passenger lists for long-distance voyages departing all British ports between 1890 and 1960.
In April 2007, findmypast.co.uk’s then parent company Title Research Group received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007 in recognition of their achievement.
Findmypast.co.uk was acquired in December 2007 by brightsolid, the company who were awarded The National Archives’ contract to publish online the 1911 census, which it launched in January 2009.
In 2010 in association with The National Archives findmypast.co.uk launched the British Army Service Records 1760 – 1913.
Manchester City Council – Libraries, Information and Archives
Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives holds a wide range of archives relating to the history of the Manchester area, its people and communities. It is part of Manchester City Council. Archive collections are currently based at the Greater Manchester County Record Office and the Manchester Room @ City Library whilst Manchester Central Library undergoes a major programme of renovation and refurbishment. When Manchester Central Library re-opens in December 2013 it will include a wonderful, purpose-built showcase and repository for the region’s archive and family history.
Working with the UK National Archives, FindMyPast.co.uk adds 1 million Merchant Navy Seamen Records for 1918–1941. According to FindMyPast, this is the first time these records have been made available online.
The database is a collection of two-sided index cards for British citizens and foreign registered crewmen and women on all seagoing UK vessels with commercial interests traveling between the two world wars. The front side of each card outlines personal data such as name, year and place of birth, rank or rating, etc. However, initials were sometimes used for first names and abbreviations for places of birth. Place of birth was sometime altogether missing. The backsides varied in information, sometimes including a list of official vessel numbers and signing-on dates, also the seaman’s signature. Many cards included a photograph. Some records even carried personal and descriptive information such as noting birthmarks, scars, and other such features.
FindMyPast.co.uk plans on expanding the database in the future. Given these records are of relatively recent history and the young age of some mariners, it is conceivable to find a record for a parent or grandparent still lives. Either way, these records represent another great resource for the family historian.
The following news release was received from Amy Sell and was written by FindMyPast.co.uk staff.
- Findmypast.co.uk discovers ‘real-life’ wizard in the 1911 census
- John Watkins Holden – conjuror of the 19th and 20th centuries
On the day of the world premiere of the last instalment of the Harry Potter film series, leading family history website www.findmypast.co.uk has discovered that wizardry may not just be the stuff of fiction after discovering a ‘real-life’ wizard in the 1911 census of England and Wales.
John Watkins Holden had been born in Worcester but was lodging at a house in Bournemouth at the time of the 1911 census. Holden, aged 68, recorded his occupation as ‘Wizard of Ye Wicked World’, stating that he was working in the magic industry and that at this point in 1911, he was ‘on tour’. Amusingly, Holden also revealed that he was ‘very much married’ when asked about his marital status.
Wizard Holden has also been found in a number of earlier censuses, showing that he had at least 40 years’ experience in the world of sorcery. He appears in the 1901 census as a ‘Society Entertainer’, but in the 1891 census he was recorded as a ‘Conjuror’. Going back another decade to 1881, John was recorded in the census as ‘The Queen’s Magician & Wizard of the Wicked World’.