WDYTYA – New data launches

Just got back from the first day of WDYTYA at Olympia and I’m shattered so this is just a quick post to let you know about two new data products launched today.

  • The Federation of Family History Societies has launched Version 3 of their National Burial Index for England and Wales.  This new edition includes the data from the first and second editions plus a further 5 million entries to bring the total to over 18 million records.  9,100 burial locations in 50 counties are indexed.
  • Ancestry has launched the Alien Arrivals and Alien Entry Books for the UK.
    • The Alien Entry Books cover correspondence and other documents from the Home Office and the Aliens Office for 1794-1921 the originals of which are held in Class HO5 at The National Archives.  There are un-indexed, you simply browse through the images.
    • The Alien Arrivals records have been indexed or you can browse them by port of entry.  They cover the periods 1810-1811 and 1826-1869 and are digitised from Classes FO 83/21-22: Lists of aliens arriving at English ports, August 1810-May 1811; HO 2: Certificates of alien arrivals, 1836-1852; HO 3: Returns of alien passengers, July 1836-December 1869 and CUST 102/393-396 Accounts of aliens arriving at London (July-November 1826) and Gravesend (October 1826-August 1837) from The National Archives.  You should be able to find the alien’s name, age, profession and country of origin together with their port and date of arrival, and where they exist, certificate number.

Have fun!



Thanks to Katrina McQuarrie over at Kick-Ass Genealogy I’ve been playing about with digital scrapbooking this evening.  Her latest blog post is all about using your computer to create a digital keepsake which you can easily post online or print multiple copies of to share with your family.

This is what I came up with…..

Celebrating my grandparents' marriage in 1925Celebrating my grandparents’ marriage in 1925

Thanks Katrina, I’ve now found another displacement activity skill to learn!


Census street indexes for England and Wales

Anyone who used to search the census returns for England and Wales at the old Family Records Centre in London before its closure in 2008 would have been used to the large binders of street indexes to the 1841-1891 census returns which were such a valuable finding aid.

The old Family Records Centre in Myddelton Street
The old Family Records Centre in Myddelton Street

Although we’re now all familiar with the various digitised versions of the census returns available online, it can still be almost impossible to find the people we’re looking for in the place we’re expecting to find them.

In the “good old days”, one possible solution was to check the census street index to find the folios covering a family’s last known address and then use that information to scroll through the relevant microfilmed census pages in the hope that the family had been mis-indexed or omitted from the index.

Until now, the only way to replicate this online was if you already knew the folio numbers concerned as only some of the online census providers allow address searches.

You can now search these census street indexes online. On 2 November, the Historical Streets Project from the Your Archives strand of The National Archives’ website added the street indexes for the 1841, 1851 and 1871 censuses.

There are limitations to these indexes:

only the larger towns are covered

the indexes are organised by Registration District – which doesn’t always equate to the parish or county where we would normally expect to find the street.

Go to http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php?title=Your_Archives:Historical_Streets_Project to read more and try it out for yourself.


New look website and blog

I hope you like the new look website and blog combined.  I’ve even managed to include a link to my own personal family history pages!

It’s been frustrating me that they were all on separate sites, and all looked different.  Now at least this website and my blog have the same “look and feel”.  My personal research pages still look different, but at least they’re linked from here now.

If you look at the footer of this page, you’ll see that I’m now using WordPress to publish everything.  I’ve got to say that I’ve been very impressed with how easy it was to set everything up.  It’s taken an afternoon’s work to do a test install of the software; a final install; convert my old website and import my old blog postings and comments.

Before you start to wonder – no, I’ve no connection at all with WordPress – I’m just an impressed new user.


Transcribing digital images

Thanks to Alex over at winging it, I’ve discovered some free software to help with transcribing text from the digitised images of records that we’re all using now

It’s called Transcript and displays the digitised image in the top half of the screen and an RTF text editor in the bottom half so it’s far easier to transcribe. You can even set it up to scroll down the image automatically every time you hit the “Enter” key or as the text wraps at the end of each line.

Guess what I’ve been doing today!