This week’s records roundup features Irish history in pictures, film and folklore; 1939 Register updates; British and Irish newspapers; UK WWI War Memorials Register, British folk music, Norfolk and Somerset parish records, Wiltshire wills and probate and Scotland historical photography. See if any of these can enrich your family history or genealogy research!
This week’s collections come from a variety of sources, including free private, public and government websites and subscription-based Genealogy Giants such as Ancestry.com and Findmypast.com. Enjoy!
Featured: Irish history in pictures, film and folklore
Historical images. A new database shows illustrations of Ireland created by travelers and dating back to 1680. According to Galway Daily, where we read about this fantastic collection, “Ireland Illustrated, 1680-1860, is a database of over 500 images of Ireland – woodcuts, water colours, engravings and other illustrations – with related text, drawn from more than 50 manuscript and printed works, and highlighting several neglected or rarely accessible sources. Many of the pictures in the database, woodcuts, water colours, engravings and other illustrations, have rarely, if ever, been seen by the public.”
Film footage. The Irish Times announced that a new archive has been founded to house “thousands of hours of film documenting Ireland’s past from potential decay and allow the Irish Film Institute (IFI) to open its doors to more amateur collections.” A spokeswoman in the article points out that “’from the 1890s until the 1960s, all there really was in Ireland was amateur footage’…and that “the reason amateur film is so important is because it is sometimes the only record we have of how Ireland was.” Click here to explore the Irish Film Institute’s digital archive, which includes rare historical footage of the bombing of the Four Courts. Watch a brief film clip of the latter here.
Folklore collection. Over 100,000 pages of Irish folk stories, customs and beliefs have been transcribed and placed online by the National Folklore Collection, says a recent article in The Irish Times. And more are coming. According to the article, “A voluntary collective online is working its way through transcribing 700,000 pages of folklore that were collected throughout Ireland between 1937 and 1939. This mass of previously inaccessible material was gathered by more than 100,000 children who were sent to seek out the oldest person in their community just before second World War to root out the darkest, oddest and weirdest traditional beliefs, secrets and customs.” Click here to start exploring!
Around the British Isles
1939 Register update. Genealogy Giant Findmypast.com, the first to publish the 1939 Register online, has added over 64,000 newly opened records to the collection. “The 1939 Register, compiled by 65,000 enumerators and sent to every household in England and Wales, documents the lives of 41 million people,” states the site. “It gives the names of the inhabitants at each address, their date of birth, marital status and occupation….Findmypast has more 1939 Register records than any other site, with thousands more being opened and made available to search every month.
British and Irish newspapers
The British Newspaper Archive is now home to more than 25 million digitized newspaper pages from Britain and Ireland. It has recently added several new newspaper titles and additional pages for existing titles on its site. Here’s a sample of new and enlarged collections:
- The Referee, London, England, 1878-1911, a sporting paper with “commentary and results for Victorian-era horse racing, football and more;
- Tralee Chronicle, County Kerry, Ireland, 1843-1880, about “life in historical County Kerry with additional coverage from its main town;”
- Luton Reporter, Luton, Bedfordshire, England, 1874-1924, with “more news and features from late 19th century Bedfordshire;
- Cirencester Times and Cotswold Advertiser, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England, 1857-1871;
- Stroud News and Gloucestershire Advertiser, Stroud, Gloucestershire, England, 1867-1910;
- Cheltenham Examiner, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, 1839-1904;
- Oxfordshire Telegraph, Bicester, Oxfordshire, England, 1860-1894.
WWI War Memorials Register. The Imperial War Museum is compiling the War Memorials Registry, “the comprehensive national register of UK war memorials and the names of the individuals they commemorate.” The database contains over a million names from over 74,000 memorials in the UK., Channel Islands and Isle of Man, along with a sizeable database of images of these war memorials.
According to the site, “War memorials form an important part of our cultural heritage and reflect the changing face of commemoration as well as artistic, social, local, family, military and international history. The Register includes memorials to members of the armed forces, civilians and animals from all wars and to those who died in service….We will be adding more records to the names database throughout the First World War Centenary so please check back for updates.”
British folk music. The British Library recently announced that it has placed online “around 350 English folk songs recorded by composer Percy Grainger in different regions of England between 1906 and 1909.” These unique, early recordings were made on wax cylinders, which don’t have a long lifespan, and then transferred to a more permanent recording format in 1940, a remarkable chain of events that makes it possible to hear audio recordings over a century old.
Norfolk. Almost 6 million records are in the new Ancestry.com collection, Norfolk, England, Bishop and Archdeacon Transcripts of Parish Registers, 1600-1935. According to the collection description, “This collection contains images of transcripts created by Bishops and Archdeacons of baptism, marriage, and burial records for the years 1600–1935 from the county of Norfolk, England. Also included are Weekly Register Bills from Great Yarmouth….Later this year, we will be adding Archdeacons’ Transcripts for parishes beginning O-Z.” Related Ancestry.com collections have been recently updated:
- Norfolk, Church of England Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812, now with nearly 5 million records
- Norfolk, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915, now with over 2 million records
- Norfolk, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1940, now with over 1.2 million records
- Norfolk, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1990, now with nearly half a million records
Somerset. Ancestry.com has also recently updated a few parish records collections for Somerset. These include: Somerset, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1531-1812; Somerset, Marriage Registers, Bonds and Allegations, 1754-1914; Somerset, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1914 and Somerset, Church of England Burials, 1813-1914.
Wiltshire. Last week, we announced some Wiltshire records updates for Ancestry.com. This week, we add updates to Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858, now with over 100,000 records in the collection. Tip: read the collection description for important instructions on navigating it.
Historical images. Thousands of images of Scotland from the 1970s are now available online. According to an article on the Historic Environment Scotland website, the images were originally taken as part of a visual survey of historic architecture. However, “the backdrop to their work is life in rural Scotland.” You can view a curated sample of these images by clicking here.
In related news, The National Library of Scotland (NLS) reports that more than 14,000 photographs of Scotland taken between the 1840s and the 1940s has been acquired by the NLS and the National Galleries of Scotland. “The McKinnon Collection covers an expansive range of subjects — including family portraits, working life, street scenes, sporting pursuits, shops, trams, tenements, mountains and monuments, and it was one of the last great collections of Scottish photography still in private hands,” states the NLS release. It is expected that the collection will tour on exhibit and then be digitized to share online—so watch for that in a few years.
More British Isles resources on Findmypast.com
As one of the Genealogy Giants, Findmypast.com is a global leader in online genealogy and history research for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. We keep up with what’s going on at Findmypast. Check out this short conversation I had with CEO Tamsin Todd and Executive Vice President Ben Bennett at RootsTech 2018 about an intriguing new approach they are piloting for collaborative online family trees. Click here to read more about Findmypast and how it stacks up to the other Giants, Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org and MyHeritage.com.
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About the Author: Sunny Morton
Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.