Wiltshire Treasures & Wiltshire Wills – New English Websites

The Wiltshire & Swindon History CenterThe staff at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham, England have posted Wiltshire Treasures, a terrific new website which incorporates the catalogs from eight local museums as well as art and photographic collections owned by Wiltshire County Council. There are currently over 170,000 records on the Free searchable site. In most cases the entry found after doing a search will be a catalogue reference. These references are descriptive, so you can get a pretty good idea of the artifact. However, in some cases you will find photographs of the item.

I did a search on the surname “Wallop,” and got 17 hits, including an entry and photograph of a needlework sampler madeHannah Wallop needlework sampler by Hannah Wallop, a school girl in Castle Combe, Wiltshire in 1851.

Wiltshire Wills & Probates – Indexes & Digital Documents
The Wiltshire and Swindon Archives, also based at the history centre on Cocklebury Road, has also launched its new pay-per-view format for accessing digital images of what will be over 100,000 Wiltshire wills and probate records, ranging from the time of Henry VIII to 1858. About 25% of the documents have been posted thus far. Free access is available to the index, which actually gives quite a lot of information all by itself. If the researcher finds an image of interest, and the document has been scanned and posted, it will cost £5 for each individual will downloaded (Starting January 26 – free until then!).

I proceeded to do a search for the surname “Wells,” getting 125 hits. Following is a screen shot of a few of the search results. Note the little picture of a camera found in the far right of the image. This indicates that an image of the will is available. Cool.
Wiltshire Wills

Read more about the ceremonial county of Wiltshire, England at Wikipedia.org.

Read more about Swindon, Wiltshire County, England at Wikipedia.org.

1911 British Census Goes Online

1911censusThe following press release was received today from Nicola Hussey, Lansons Communications.

36 million people were recorded in the British census taken on the night of Sunday, 2 April, 1911. Today, after nearly 100 years, these census records are available to the public at www.1911census.co.uk.

The census covered England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, as well as recording those aboard Royal Naval and Merchant vessels at sea and in foreign ports and, for the first time in a British census, full details of British Army personnel and their families in military establishments overseas. It is the most detailed census since UK records began and the first for which the original census schedules have been preserved – complete with our ancestors’ own handwriting – providing a fascinating insight into British society nearly a century ago.

From today over 27 million people’s census entries – 80 per cent of the English records – will be available. A further nine million records of people from the remaining counties of England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, as well as the naval and overseas military records, will be made available over the coming months.

www.1911census.co.uk is easy to access and enables the public to view high quality colour images of their ancestors’ original handwritten census returns. Transcribed text versions of the records ensure they are fully searchable by name or address.

Public demand for the 1911 census, which will be a key resource for family historians, has resulted in the records being released earlier than the scheduled 2012 date. To make this early online release to the public possible, the 1911 census team worked around the clock for two years – scanning on average one census page per second. In line with data protection legislation, certain sensitive information relating to infirmity and to children of women prisoners will be held back until 2012.

Comprehensive and rigorously tested, www.1911census.co.uk has been developed by UK-based family history website findmypast.com, owned by brightsolid, in association with The National Archives.

Elaine Collins, Commercial Director at findmypast.com, said: “The 1911 census offers a crucial new entry point to family history research for a wide range of people, from novice family historians to seasoned genealogists who have hit a ‘wall’ in their family tree research. As well as helping people trace their ancestors, these records shed more light on our ancestors’ day-to-day lifestyles, providing a snapshot of a day in their lives, with details of their occupations, housing arrangements and social status.”

The 1911 census is huge – occupying over two kilometres of shelving – an incredible eight million paper census returns have been transcribed to create over 16 million digital images. This makes the 1911 census one of the biggest digitisation projects ever undertaken by The National Archives in association with a commercial partner.

Oliver Morley, Director of Customer and Business Development at The National Archives, commented: “This is a major achievement. By teaming up with findmypast.com, we are bringing history to life for millions. This remarkable record is available online to researchers and family historians all over the world for future generations. The 1911 census is a poignant reflection of how different life was in early 20 century Britain, before the Great War.”

Due to the widespread popularity of family history, it is anticipated that www.1911census.co.uk will experience a high level of visitors logging on to search the records, especially in the first weeks of launch.

Elaine Collins, Commercial Director at findmypast.com, advises: ‘”We aim to deliver a quality service that has high but not infinite capacity. If visitors do experience a short delay in accessing the records via www.1911census.co.uk soon after launch, we would advise them to try again later when the website becomes less busy. www.1911census.co.uk is here to stay and access to the online census records will be unlimited permanently from today.”

Handwritten records
Completed by all householders in England and Wales on Sunday, 2 April 1911, the census records show the name, age, place of birth, marital status and occupation of every resident in every home, as well as their relationship to the head of the household.

People will also have unique access to their ancestors’ handwriting as the original householders’ schedules were preserved and used as working documents rather than copying the details in to summary books as was the case in previous census years.

The records contain details about the lives of many important British historical figures, such as David Lloyd George, the contemporary Prime Minister H.H. Asquith and ‘Bloomsbury Set’ author Virginia Woolf. The launch of the records also creates a starting point for people to trace their own family tree by looking up their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who were alive in the year 1911.

‘Fertility Census’
The 1911 census was the first to ask questions relating to fertility in marriage. Married women were asked to state how long they had been married and how many children had been born from that marriage. The census also provides a fascinating snapshot of the population of the country just a few years before a whole generation of young men perished in the Great War of 1914-1918.

How to use the 1911 Census records

* Log on to www.1911census.co.uk and register for free
* Search for an ancestor in 1911 by entering their name
* If the name is common you can enter their approximate year of birth, which will help to narrow down the results
* Search for an address to look up the history of your house or an ancestor’s address in 1911 (this function will be available in summer 2009)
* Pay as you go to view each record. You will be charged 10 credits per transcript and 30 credits for each original household page. Visitors to the website can buy 60 credits for £6.95.
* Findmypast.com vouchers will also be valid on 1911census.co.uk. Vouchers can be purchased from The National Archives bookshop and redeemed on findmypast.com. Credits can then be spent on both findmypast.com and 1911census.co.uk.
* For more information about using the 1911 census for family history research, ‘Census: The Expert Guide’ by Peter Christian and David Annal is available from The National Archives online bookshop at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Note: The 1911 census is a special case at the request of the Information Commissioner all records of infirmity as listed on the records (e.g. ‘deaf’, ‘dumb’, ‘blind’, ‘lunatic’ etc.) have been obscured and will not be available to view until January 2012.

The 1911 Census is a special case in that parts of it are being made available early. Since 1920, government has given a commitment that information collected in a census will be kept confidential for 100 years.

Research in English Churches Class at HQRL – January 17, 2009

Heritage Quest Research Library is announcing a class on “Research in English Churches.” The class will be held at Heritage Quest Research Library in Sumner, Washington on Saturday January 17, 2009 at 9:00 – 11:00am.

Audrey Roley will be teaching. Join the class as Audrey helps to find the resources available to trace our ancestors who have roots in England. The class cost is $10. Everyone is invited.

If you are not a member of HQRL the class allows you to use the library for the day free so plan to stay and research. Normally the day use fee for non-members is $5.

Heritage Quest Research Library is located at 909 Main Street #5, Sumner, Washington 98390.

Note – The library was started in my living room in 1985. My, but that library has grown…

British Royal Marines Records Available Online

The service registers of about 110,000 seamen who joined the Royal Marines between 1842 and 1936 are now available to search (free) and download (for a fee) at the British National Archives website.

You may search under:

  • Surname
  • Given name
  • Register number
  • And date of enlistment

The researcher may find the names of ships and shore stations served on, details of conduct, medal entitlement and a lot more.

I searched on the surname, Canfield, and found two documents, both for the same fellow. Clicking on one of the two links, I got the following screen, with enough information that I was able to make a decision as to whether I wanted to go ahead and spend the 3.50 (£) for the document.

Paul Milner Joining Sheila Benedict as a NGS Britain and Ireland Forum Co-Leader

“The National Genealogical Society (NGS) is very pleased to announce that Paul Milner is joining the NGS Britain and Ireland Forum as co-leader. Paul will join Sheila Benedict, CG, in leading the Britain and Ireland Forum, an NGS members-only Forum established to assist members with their research in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.”