by Lisa Cooke | Aug 14, 2019 | 01 What's New, Findmypast
It’s always exciting to see new genealogical records come online because they offer new hope for discoveries and brick wall busting.
Findmypast, a leader in British genealogical records, has recently added thousands of new records to existing and new collections. Among these you’ll find everything from baptism and burial records to British and Irish digitized newspapers.
Huddersfield, England Baptisms
A large market and university town in West Yorkshire, England, Huddersfield is nestled between Leeds and Manchester. It’s the 11th largest town in the United Kingdom, and is known for it’s Victorian architecture. Huddersfield railway station was described by former Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom John Betjeman as “the most splendid station façade in England”, second only to St Pancras, London.
Over 52,000 records covering 14 new parishes have been added to Findmypast’s collection of Huddersfield Baptisms. All new parishes are highlighted in the Huddersfield baptisms parish list.
Each baptismal record includes a transcript of an original parish register entry. This will reveal a combination of your ancestor’s:
- baptism date,
- parent’s names,
- father’s occupation
- and father’s address.
Click here to search the Huddersfield Baptisms
Yorkshire, England Memorial Inscriptions
If you are trying to find out when your ancestor died and was laid to rest in Yorkshire, this growing collection is worth a look. Over 5000 additional records have been added to the Yorkshire Memorial Inscriptions collection.
These newly added records cover 14 Anglican churchyards across the York area (West Riding, North Riding and Ainsty).
The bulk of the records mainly cover the years of the First and Second World Wars.
Search for your ancestors now in the Yorkshire Memorial Inscriptions
Middlesex Baptisms and Monumental Inscriptions
An historic county in southeast England, Middlesex was established in the Anglo-Saxon system from the territory of the Middle Saxons. It existed as an official administrative unit until 1965, and now mostly falls within the ceremonial county of Greater London, with small sections in other neighboring ceremonial counties.
Findmypast has recently added over 64,000 new records to existing parishes within the collection of Middlesex Baptisms. These transcripts of original parish register entries will reveal a combination of your ancestor’s baptism date, parent’s names, father’s occupation and address.
The collection also covers parts of London, Surrey, and Hertfordshire.
Search the Middlesex Baptisms Collection
Over 5,000 additional monumental inscription records are now available to search. The new records cover two cemeteries in Teddington as well as the Parish of St Mary’s in Sunbury.
Monumental Inscriptions can reveal the names of others buried in that plot as well as more specific details regarding age, birth and death dates. This can be incredibly helpful as it can provide you with the names and dates of your ancestor’s next of kin, including their relation to one another.
Search the Middlesex Monumental Inscriptions here.
Essex Genealogical Records
Essex is a large county in the south-east of England and forms part of the Metropolitan Green Belt just beyond greater London. The original Kingdom of Essex, founded by Saxon King Aescwine in AD 527, occupied territory to the north of the River Thames and east of the River Lee. In the 1640s, during the English Civil War, notorious witch hunter General Matthew Hopkins lived in the county accused 23 women in Chelmsford in 1645.
You will find five million baptism, banns, marriages, and burial records from Essex on Findmypast. These records were created from the original registers held by the Essex Record Office and other sources.
The oil on canvas The Hay Wain by John Constable shows the Essex landscape on the right bank.
This collection covers 532 parishes and reveals:
- birth place,
- birth date,
- birth place,
- baptism date,
- baptism place,
- parents’ names,
- and father’s occupation.
Search the Essex Baptism Index 1538-1920 here.
Essex Marriages and Banns
These records cover 553 parishes and provide the following information:
- marital status
- banns year
- marriage date
- spouse’s name
- spouse’s residence
- spouse’s marital status
- father’s name
- spouse’s father’s name
- names of any witnesses
Search the Essex Marriages and Banns 1537-1935
This collection covers 455 parishes and provide:
- birth year
- age at death
- birth year
- burial year
- burials date
- burial place
Search the Essex Burial Index 1530-1994
Derbyshire Genealogical Records
Derbyshire stole my heart this year during a recent trip to England where I spoke at THE Genealogy Show conference. It’s preserved historic beauty can be greatly attributed to the Peak District National Park which mostly falls within this East Midlands area county.
Photo: My recent visit to beautiful Derbyshire, England
Births and Baptisms
Just under a thousand additional records from 15 non-conformist parishes have been added to the Findmypast collection of Derbyshire Births and Baptisms.
Mainly covering Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, the full list of new additions has been highlighted in their Derbyshire parish list.
Search Derbyshire Births and Baptisms here.
Over 4,500 records of burials that took place at St Martin’s church in Cheriton are now available to search here. These new additions cover two periods, 1843 to 1855 and 1907 to 1958. Search these records to discover where and when your ancestor was buried, as well as the names of their spouse and father.
These burial records constitute a valuable resource for researching ancestry in Kent and have been provided in association with:
- Canterbury Cathedral Archives
- Kent County Council
- the North West Kent Family History Society,
- Folkestone & District Family History Society
- and Val Brown.
Billion Graves Cemetery Indexes at Findmypast
You just might be able to pinpoint your ancestor’s final resting place with the new additions to Findmypast’s Billion Graves Cemetery Indexes. The latest update includes:
Cemetery records like these can provide you with information regarding your ancestor’s birth and marriage dates.
According to Alex Cox of Findmypast, “With an abundance of cemeteries, it can be overwhelming trying to pinpoint the precise cemetery in which your ancestor was laid to rest, and visiting each potential location is costly. However, in partnering with BillionGraves, we aim to make available all the cemetery records held on their site for free, saving you time and money as you search for your ancestor. BillionGraves is the largest resource for GPS-tagged headstone and burial records on the web, with over 12 million headstone records.”
British and Irish Newspapers
Additions to Existing Newspaper Collections
Findmpast has added 98,602 brand new pages to eleven of their existing titles. Spanning the years 1865 to 1999, the new additions include extensive updates the Huddersfield Daily Examiner as well as titles covering the south of England (Crawley and London), the Midlands (Coventry), and the North West (Liverpool).
Further updates have also been made to the specialist publication – Field – for which they now have editions up to 1911.
Additional updates have been made to twenty-one existing titles, covering the length and breadth of Scotland, Ireland and England. These include updates to two Cornish titles – the Royal Cornwall Gazette and Lake’s Falmouth Packet and Cornwall Advertiser, as well as updates to seven Scottish titles, including the John o’Groat Journal and the Perthshire Advertiser.
There has been a significant update to the Bristol Times and Mirror, with over 33,000 pages added, covering the years 1897 to 1911.
Also updated are two early Labour publications – Clarion and the Labour Leader – as well as one of our religious titles, Witness (Edinburgh), and the sporting title, the Football Post (Nottingham). As you can see, there is a diverse range of interests represented.
New Newspaper Titles
The Queen, The Ladies’ Newspaper and Court Chronicle, a society magazine by Samuel Beeton established in 1861, and the Women’s Gazette and Weekly News have also been added. Published in Manchester, this was a ‘journal devoted to the social and political position of women.’
More historical newspapers added this summer include:
- Hawick Express covering the years 1892, 1903-1904, 1913-1914, 1919-1940, 1950-1952
- Coatbridge Express covering the years 1885-1951
- Dalkeith Advertiser covering the years 1869-1953
- Barrhead News covering the years 1897-1912
- Banffshire Herald covering the years 1893-1912
- Banffshire Advertiser covering the years 1881-1902, 1905-1912
Check out the latest British & Irish Newspaper Updates here.
by Lisa Cooke | Aug 8, 2019 | 01 What's New, Newspaper
A shocking discovery in my husband’s family history was made with the help of these three powerful strategies. Read on to learn how to find more information on your ancestors in online historical newspapers.
The Research Question
Ever since I first started researching the family of my husband’s grandfather Raymond Harry Cooke, I have been aware that his mother, Mary Ann Susannah Cooke (maiden name Munns), died at a young age, around 40 years old.
What I didn’t know was how she died.
Mary Ann Susannah Cooke
In fact, Mary Ann Susannah Cooke has been one of the most elusive recent direct ancestors I’ve pursued. Up until about a decade ago we had never seen her face.
The image of Mary Ann (above) came to us through one of Bill’s first cousins. I had tracked her down in hopes of learning more about their shared grandfather, Raymond. Once we met I was thrilled to discover that Raymond had lived with her until his death at the age of 93 in 1987.
The cousin brought with her a dusty old box of his belongings. Inside we discovered the first and only known image of Mary Ann. (Genealogy Gems Premium members can learn more about this discovery and the methodology used to find the long-lost distant cousin in the Premium video class 9 Strategies You Need to Find Living Relatives.)
On the back of this cardstock image were notes written in Raymond’s own hand. The handwriting leads me to believe he may have added the notes later in life. This meant that I needed to be especially careful as I analyzed the information as it was likely from childhood memory.
As you can see on the back of the image, Raymond states that Mary Ann died about 1915, and that her birthday was September 3. The birthday was close but incorrect. The actual recorded birth date was September 6.
The date of death was much farther off. Death records from the county of Kent show that Maryann was buried August 20, 1908, a full seven years earlier than Raymond remembered.
It’s not a surprise that his dates were off the mark. Raymond was just 14 years old when Mary Ann died. But the question remained: how did she die?
About five years ago, after writing a blog post about the British Newspaper Archive, I decided to do some digging in historic newspapers to see if I could find anything about Mary Ann’s death in Tunbridge Wells, England in 1908. With a search of Mary Ann Cooke in the website’s powerful advanced search engine I located the answer within minutes. It was devastating.
The Courier, August 31, 1908:
“Tunbridge Wells Woman’s Sad Death: Drowned in a Water Tank. The Inquest.”
“Mr. Thos. Buss, district coroner, held an inquest at the Town Hall, Tunbridge Wells, on Saturday morning, touching the death of Mary Ann Cooke, aged 41 years, whose body was found in a tank at the roof of her house, 49 Kirkdale road, the previous day.”
Suffering from prolonged depression, Mary Ann had drowned herself upstairs in the family home’s water tank. The newspaper provided a blow-by-blow of the coroner’s inquest, and the heart-breaking testimony of her husband, Harry.
And then came the final shock: Harry and Mary Ann’s 14 year old son Raymond had discovered the body.
After absorbing the story of Mary Ann’s untimely death, I was keen to see if I could learn more about the family. This is where some very powerful search strategies came into play and helped me find MUCH more in the British Newspaper Archive.
3 Powerful Newspaper Search Tips
1. Look for Search Clues in the Articles You Find
Finding an historic article on your ancestors can feel like the end of the research road. But actually, it’s just the beginning!
Go through the article with a fine tooth comb. Make note of every http://laparkan.com/buy-sildenafil/unique detail that could possibly be used in an additional newspaper database search. Here’s a list of what I found in the article about Mary Ann’s inquest. In the following steps I’ll show you how we put some of these into action.
Addresses – The Cooke’s address of 49 Kirkdale Road in Tunbridge Wells, was mentioned twice within the first two sentences of the article.
Name variations – I’m not talking about a variation in spelling, although those are certainly worth noting. In the case of newspaper research I’m referring to the varying ways that people are referred to in the newspaper. In the inquest article, Mary Ann Cooke was also referred to as “Mrs. Cooke.” This got me thinking about other ways that Mary Ann might be referred to, such as Mrs. Mary Ann Cooke, Mrs. M. A. Cooke, etc. In England, a boy Raymond’s age might be referred to as “Master Cooke.” Write down all variations you find, and then continue your list by adding the additional possibilities you can think of.
Neighbors – Mrs. Pout played a vital role on the day of Mary Ann’s death, and she served as a witness at the inquest. This was the first I had heard of her, and her name definitely made it onto my list of “searchables.”
Friends and Acquaintances – The names of Donald Thurkill (an employee of Mary Ann’s husband Harry), and the various doctors (Dr. Abbott, Dr. Grace, and Dr. Nield) were among the names I noted.
Occupations – Harry Cooke is described as a “coach builder.” Future searches of “coach builder” and “Cooke” together could prove fruitful in the future.
After assembling a comprehensive list of additional searchable words and phrases, I headed back to the British Newspaper Archive to search those leads.
2. Look Beyond Known Names
All of the naming variations I made note of in step number one could now be put to work. But before doing so, I realized that each option I came up with could actually be searched in two ways: Cooke with an “e” and Cook without an “e”. And I knew it was worth doing, because unfortunately my own name is misspelled in print on a regular basis.
Searching both “Mrs. Cooke” and “Mrs. Cook” resulted in even more articles. And in the article about “Mrs. Cooke,” Raymond was referred to as “Master Cooke.” Indeed, even more articles existed under that name as well. In the following example, I found Raymond’s name displayed three different ways!
3. Go Beyond People
While finding your ancestor’s name in print in the newspaper is exciting, don’t underestimate the power of searching for other bits of information. Searching for addresses where they lived can put you in the middle of a wealth of new information about your family.
It isn’t necessary to include the surname of your family. In fact, I highly recommend that you don’t. The property where they lived has a history of it’s own. Simply searching the address can give you a kind of “house history” set of search results. These articles can potentially reveal who lived there before your family, descriptions of the home and its contents, and who your family sold the property to. In both the buying and selling of the property there is the potential to learn more about your family and possible further connections to others in the transactions.
In my case, I located an article about the Cooke home by searching the address 49 Kirkdale Road.
In the search results I discovered an article about the home being put up for sale several years before the Cooke family owned it. It was interesting to note that the previous owner had also been a coach builder, so it was a logical purchase for Harry Cooke when he decided to start up a coach building and horseless carriage mechanic shop of his own.
The final article I found in the British newspapers was also found only by address. The Cooke name was never mentioned, but indeed it did provide the slightest mention of the family: “Owner going abroad.” This article advertised the family home being put up for sale in 1912 in anticipation of their emigration.
I admit I got a lump in my throat as I read of Mary Ann’s beloved pianofortes being sold. She was a skilled and talented musician who often played violin at the Tunbridge Wells Opera House and at garden parties around the countryside, and clearly she enjoyed playing the piano at home as she owned not one, but two “pianofortes.”
With the description of the inside of the home in the inquest article, the outside of the home in the “house for sale” newspaper advertisement that Harry first responded to, and now this article describing their possessions as they prepare to move to Canada, my newspaper research painted a much more complete picture of the Cooke’s life in Tunbridge Wells, England.
You can hear more about my search for Mary Ann’s story in the free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #174.
More Resources from Genealogy Gems:
I’ve written a book called How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers that you will likely find helpful if you are interested in deep learning about conducting newspaper research.
I’ve also written additional article here at Genealogy Gems that I think you will benefit from and enjoy:
And if you’re a Genealogy Gems Premium member you have access to these exclusive video classes:
If you’re not yet a member, you can learn more here.
Did these tips help you find your ancestors in old newspapers? Please leave a comment below. We all learn from hearing each other’s successes!
About the Author: Lisa Louise Cooke
Lisa is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show and app. She is the author of the books The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Mobile Genealogy, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, and the Google Earth for Genealogy video series, an international keynote speaker, and columnist for Family Tree Magazine.
by Lisa Cooke | Apr 28, 2018 | 01 What's New, Newspaper
Finding old newspapers from your ancestors’ hometown isn’t always easy. Here’s how to use Chronicling America to identify the newspapers that were in print at the time. Those issues may not be online, so Chronicling America also points you to copies of those newspapers at libraries and archives.
In the new Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast #158, I spoke with Deborah Thomas at the Library of Congress. She manages one of my favorite websites for family history: the free historical newspaper site, Chronicling America. We talked about its amazing treasure trove of digitized newspapers: what’s there, what’s coming, and tips for searching them.
But only 1.5% of the 155,000 newspapers published over time in the U.S. newspapers have been digitized at Chronicling America. So you’ll want to look those ones up and locate them offsite. The good news is that there’s a lesser-known tool at Chronicling America to help you do just that. It’s called the US Newspaper Directory. Let’s walk through using it step-by-step.
How to Use Chronicling America to Find Your Ancestors’ Hometown Newspapers
- Go to the free Chronicling America website (no login needed).
From the home page, click the US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present button on the top right:
The US Newspaper Directory is the most comprehensive database in the world for historical U.S. newspapers. It contains every newspaper known to the Library of Congress. That makes it the perfect place to find the newspapers that were printed in your ancestor’s hometown in any given time and place. The directory will provide you with a library catalog of holdings of these papers.
2. Fill in the blanks.
As shown below, first select the state and county (1). You may also select the city, but for smaller towns or rural areas, you may want to look at all papers that cover the county first. Neighboring towns or cities (even across county lines) may have reported on events local to your family, so it’s worth running a few searches. My tip: use Google Maps to find names of nearby towns. After you select the place, then narrow down a time period (2). Below is a search for newspapers in print at the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which affected my family. The image below also gives you a third type of selection criteria to focus on specific newspapers, such as those with a particular keyword in the title, or those printed in English or geared toward a particular occupation (3).
3. Choose a newspaper.
Below is a list of results from the above search, narrowed down to just English-language papers. There are still over 400! Some are multiple entries for the same paper, with different formats. Some may be less likely to mention my family, such as certain immigrant-oriented or political papers.
I like to start with the ones that are already online, as indicated in the boxed text above. Click on one of those items, and scroll to the bottom of the catalog description to where it says Related Links, as shown below. Click the link to browse online issues.
Unfortunately, you can’t search within just those issues, you can just browse. However, because this is an “online resource”, you could go back to Chronicling America’s home page and search by date range, name and keyword for that newspaper and your ancestor’s name in it (as shown in the following example.)
4. Turn to offline papers.
If there are issues of this newspaper that aren’t online, the US Newspaper Directory can still help. In the above entry, see where it says Libraries that Have It just below the title of the newspaper? Click that link and you will see a list of library holdings, as shown below. Watch for the issue dates held at each library. You may have to scroll through several library holdings before you find the dates you want. (Remember, there may be multiple entries in the catalog for that same newspaper in different formats, so go back to your search results to look for additional library holdings mentioned in other entries.)
5. Get access to an offline newspaper.
Unfortunately, we can’t click from this point directly to the library holding of these issues. Instead, open a new window in your web browser and go to www.WorldCat.org, an enormous compiled catalog from thousands of libraries. Type the title in the search box and include the keyword newspaper, and then click Search Everything.
Clicking on the first search result in WorldCat takes you to The Argonaut’s entry in WorldCat, shown below. Here you may look toward the bottom of the entry to see all libraries with that newspaper. Enter you zip code in the Enter your location field and click Find Libraries and WorldCat will display the results in the order of their proximity to you.
On the right side are links to view each’s library information or contact a librarian. Use either option to explore the possibility of having copies made of specific articles, like an obituary, or seeing whether they would lend their copy to a library near you via inter-library loan (they probably won’t send original issues, but may be willing to lend a microfilmed copy). If you don’t find a workable library here, click the View all editions and formats link near the top of the entry. This will reveal additional options for accessing the item.
Get the scoop on your family in old newspapers
Here are more ways to learn about genealogy research in old newspapers: