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
  • Thanet
  • 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.