Monday, January 23, 2017

A ‘gypsy king’, the ‘peasant poet’, the fattest man in England, and death by lioness: five centuries of life and death in historic Leicestershire revealed online for the first time

  • Findmypast launch first phase of new landmark collection
  • Over 3.5 million records dating back to the reign of Henry VII now available online

Leading UK family history website has today, 23rd January 2016, published online for the first time more than 3.5 million historic records in partnership with Leicestershire county council’s Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.

The publication marks the first phase of Findmypast’s new Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland collection, a rich archive spanning the years 1490 to 1991 comprising beautifully scanned images of original handwritten documents. When complete, the collection will be the largest online repository of Leicestershire family history records in the word.

There is a variety of fascinating documents, including parish records of baptisms, marriages and burials, wills and probate records dating back to 1490, and millions of electoral registers spanning the years 1710 to 1974.

Councillor Richard Blunt, the county council’s cabinet member for heritage, said: “We are delighted that so much of our county's rich history and many of its people's stories will be better known through our partnership with Find My Past. For the first time, records will be readily accessible, in full colour, throughout the world."

The records are full of fascinating details of Leicestershire life through the ages and will provide researchers from all over the world with the opportunity to uncover the stories of the inhabitants of England’s most central county for the very first time. Fully searchable transcripts of each original document are also included, enabling anyone to go online and search for their Leicestershire ancestors by name, location and date.

These records cover the ancient counties of Leicestershire and Rutland. However, as some of the collections are drawn from different jurisdictions or were subject to boundary changes, some areas now beyond today’s boundaries, such as Little Bowden and Over and Netherseal, are also included.
Paul Nixon, Content Licensing Manager at Findmypast, said: “Findmypast’s new Leicestershire county collection is a tremendous way to kick-start the New Year and we are sure that visitors to Findmypast will be as excited about these records, published here for the first time, as we are to be working with Leicestershire County Council.”

Famous folk found in the records

Covering a wide area and timeframe, many of the region’s most famous sons and daughters can be found in the records including:

  • Daniel Lambert - the well-known gaol keeper and animal breeder who was famed for his unusual size appears in a 1770 baptism register from St Margaret's church in Leicester. In 1805, Lambert's weighed 50 stone making him the heaviest authenticated person up to that point in recorded history.
  • The parents of the Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick – can be found in an 1861 marriage register from the parish of Thurmaston. Joseph Rockley Merrick and his wife, Mary Jane Potterton, ran a haberdashery shop in Leicester and young Joseph enjoyed a close relationship with his mother. He was eventually forced to flee the family home after his mother’s death and father’s remarriage as he was viewed as a financial burden and treated cruelly.
  • Absalom Smith, ‘King of the Gipsies’ – was buried in the parish of Twyford on February 10th 1826. He was responsible for enforcing the gypsy ‘code of laws’ and adjudicating any infringements. He was a renowned athlete (especially good at running and jumping) and fiddle player who could often be seen performing at country events. Smith died at the age 60, leaving behind a wife, 13 children and 54 grandchildren.
  • The celebrated novelist, Edward Phillips Oppenheim, enjoyed massive success as a writer of genre fiction during his own lifetime. He was baptised at the parish church of St Mary Magdalen in Knighton on April 30th 1866.
  • John Johnson – the renowned English architect and Surveyor surveyor to the county of Essex (best known for designing the Shire Hall, Chelmsford and London’s Asia House). Johnson was baptised at the Cathedral Church of St Martin, Leicester, on July 23rd 1732. He was also buried there in 1814.
  • Henry Walter Bates FRS FLS FGS – the English naturalist and explorer who gave the first scientific account of mimicry in animals can be found in an 1825 baptism register from Leicester Cathedral. Bates was famous for his expedition to the rain forests of the Amazon with Alfred Russell Wallace, starting in 1848. When Bates arrived home in 1859 after eleven years, he had sent back over 14,712 species (mostly of insects) of which 8,000 were new to science. Bates published his findings in his best-known work, The Naturalist on the River Amazons.
  • Donald Lewes Hings, CM MBE – the inventor who, in 1937, created a portable radio signalling system which later became known as the "walkie-talkie". Hings’ family emigrated to Canada when he was three years old but not before having him baptised at the church of St Barnabas in Evington.
  • John Clare – the “peasant poet”, is in a marriage register from Great Casterton in Rutland. Clare, the son of a farm labourer, came to be known for his celebratory representations of the English countryside and his lamentation of its disruption. His works underwent a major re-evaluation in the late 20th century, and he is now often considered to be among the most important 19th-century poets. His entry on the register records his marriage to Martha Turner in 1820.
  • Sydney "Syd" Maurice Lucas – one of three remaining British Tommies of World War I (along with Harry Patch and Netherwood Hughes) who died in 2008 at the age of 108. He was born in Leicester and married his wife, Winifred, at All Saints’ Church, Loughborough on August 2nd 1920. Syd was conscripted into the British Army's Sherwood Foresters while a teenager in August 1918 and, at the time of his death in 2008, was one of the four remaining veterans in the world to have served in both World Wars.
  • Harold Lineker – the grandfather of Leicestershire sporting icon, Gary Lineker, can be found in a 1911 baptism register from the Leicester parish of St George. The register reveals that Harold’s aunts, Grace and Maud Lineker, were baptised alongside him.

Leicestershire’s rich history revealed

The collection will be of great interest to social historians as the records can provide incredible insights into numerous events from the county’s rich history. For example, burial registers from Loughborough present evidence of the scale of a 1609 outbreak of the bubonic plague while registers from across the county reveal details of soldiers killed during the English Civil War.

Everyday tragedies are also captured. Over centuries when childbirth was still incredibly dangerous, it is not uncommon to find instances of children recorded as ‘stillborn’ or “abortive”. More unusual entries include the death of Roger Sheppard, who was “slain by a lioness” and was buried in the parish of All Saints, Loughborough.

Further references to darker chapters of the county’s history can also be found, including a mention of the baptism of Edward Juba, a slave described ‘as black’, in the Kirkby Mallory registers of 1734. In addition, the collection records the marriages of a number of French prisoners of war interned in the county during the Napoleonic Wars, such as the marriage in Ashby de la Zouch of a French soldier named Auguste Segoing to a local girl named Elizabeth Bailey in 1813. There are also many marriages to soldiers from the West Essex Militia, serving as guards in the town.

Also included is the burial of a Mrs Amy Waldron, who died at the age of 101 in 1858. Registers from the parish of St Andrew’s in Aylestone confirm her impressive age as notes reveal she was baptised on the 18th of November 1756.

Other unusual entries include a marriage between a hearing-impaired couple in 1575. In a register from the parish of St Martin’s in Leicester, the local clergyman went to great lengths to describe the sign language involved in conducting such an unusual service.

All of these records can be explored at

About Findmypast

Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is a British-owned world leader in online family history. It has an unrivalled record of online innovation in the field and 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Lives of the First World War, The British Newspaper Archive and Genes Reunited, amongst others.

Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over eight billion family history records, ranging from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and conducting detailed historical research.

In April 2003, Findmypast was the first online genealogy site to provide access to the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England & Wales, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Since that time, the company has digitized records from across the globe, including major collections from Britain, Ireland, Australia, and the United States. Findmypast, in association with The National Archives, recently launched the 1939 Register, a record of 41 million lives on the eve of World War II.

About the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland

Although the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland is still relatively young (having been born in 1947) it can trace its ancestors back much further. The Museum in Leicester collected archives from 1849 and many of the families and institutions the Record Office serves held their own archives for centuries before passing them into professional hands.

In fact the records themselves go back much further than official collecting – dating back to the first decade of the 12th century. They include parish registers, wills, maps, photographs, sound recordings and film as well as the records of thousands of individuals, institutions, businesses and associations. The whole collection combines to tell the story of the millions of individuals who have made Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland what they are today.

Now many of these stories will be even better known thanks to the partnership with Find My Past who have digitised and indexed our parish registers, wills and electoral rolls. For the first time these priceless records will be seen in full colour throughout the world, allowing people anywhere to appreciate our rich and diverse heritage.

Friday, January 20, 2017

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday, January 20, 2017

Over 3.4 million new records are available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Rutland baptisms contains over 140,000 records spanning the years 1538 to 1916. The records cover 50 parishes throughout the English county and will allow you to discover your ancestor’s baptism date, baptism place, parents’ names, and parish.

There are over 24,600 banns records covering the county of Rutland in this collection. The records span from 1653 to the 1931, cover 49 parishes and will allow you to see if your ancestor was married via the ancient legal tradition of Banns.

There are over 59,100 marriage records covering the county of Rutland in this collection. The records span from 1538 to 1931, cover 50 parishes and will allow you to discover when your ancestor was married, where they were married, their residence, father’s name and include corresponding details for their spouse.

Were your relatives laid to rest Rutland parish? Search over 103,000 burial records spanning over 400 years from 1538 to the 1991 and covering 50 parishes across the county. These records will reveal when your ancestor died, where they were buried and when they were buried.

Browse over 460 volumes of Rutland baptism, banns, marriage and burial registers in their entirety.

Containing over 37,000 records, Leicestershire baptisms spans the years 1538 to 1916 and covers more than 300 parishes within the English Midlands country. Each record includes both a transcript and an image of the original document

Spanning from 1670 to 1940, Leicestershire banns covers more than 380 parishes. The collection contains over 319,000 records that will reveal who your ancestor intended to marry as well as where and when their banns were read.

Leicestershire marriages contains over 672,000 records from 1537 to 1931 and covers more 300 Leicestershire parishes. Search these records to discover when your ancestors were married, where they were married, their residences, professions, parent’s names and who they had as witnesses.

There are over 790,000 burial records originating from the ancient county of Leicestershire in this collection. The records span over 400 years from 1538 to the 1991 and cover 279 parishes. These records will allow you discover when your ancestor died, their age at death, place of burial, date of burial and parent’s names.

Browse over 3,000 volumes of Leicestershire baptism, banns, marriage and burial registers in their entirety.

Were your ancestors married by licence in Leicestershire between 1604 and 1891? Search over 22,000 marriage licenses to discover names, dates, and places relating to their marriage. Licences could be obtained for a fee if a couple wished to waive the customary reading of the banns. There are several reasons why a couple might want to do so, such as the need to expedite the wedding date.

Browse 75 volumes of Marriage licence records in their entirety to discover the intended couples’ names, birth years, residences, home parish, denomination and the date the licence was issued.

Search over 173,000 wills and probate records from Leicestershire to shed light on your ancestor’s wealth, uncover the names of numerous family members and learn the date of your ancestor’s death. These records will allow you to uncover detailed inventories of your ancestor’s earthly possessions, read full copies of their original will and learn the value of their estate. Wills can also provide rare insights into your ancestor’s relationships.

Browse through more than 970 volumes of Leicestershire administrations, inventories, probate act and probate registry records organised by year range and type.

Browse through 134 years Leicestershire electoral registers in their entirety. You can search by year, season, place, or by all three fields at once. Voting was closely linked to ownership of property until 1918 when all men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote. For this reason, registers before 1918 will include an explanation of how the person qualifies to vote. Electoral registers are also a fantastic way of exploring the history of your home and learning more about its previous owners.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

JoyFLIPS Partners with FamilySearch to Provide Additional Ways of Discovering and Preserving Family History

JoyFLIPS has announced a comprehensive agreement with Family Search to connect family history to old photos. The partnership enables millions of people to easily discover more about their family’s history as they share old photos and the stories they tell.

JoyFLIPS has announced a comprehensive agreement with Family Search to connect family history to old photos. The partnership enables millions of people to easily discover more about their family’s history as they share old photos and the stories they tell.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) JANUARY 17, 2017 - JoyFLIPS has announced a comprehensive agreement with Family Search to connect family history to old photos. The partnership enables millions of people to easily discover more about their family’s history as they share old photos and the stories they tell.

The free service enabled by this partnership will allow anyone with a smartphone to not only easily scan, preserve and share the thousands of paper photos a typical family has, but also to share the stories behind these photos in voice and text, both on the phone and over the web. AI (Artificial Intelligence) then searches through these stories and conversations to identify people, dates and places that may be associated with some of the 1 billion plus persons in FamilySearch Family Tree. These discoveries are then automatically associated with photos and shared stories creating a deep and potent personal historic connection to each photograph.

Additional sources of historic media that relate directly to each of the families’ shared memories will be added soon. These rich-media sources include old newspaper and magazine articles, property and tax records, even old TV broadcasts. It is estimated that over 100 terabytes of legacy media are being brought online and made searchable each day.

The service intends to transform the family history experience into a living multi-media paradigm where anyone can easily socialize memories and build a legacy of shared storytelling that can be passed along for all generations.

“We are building a platform that allows millions of people worldwide to automatically fill in the background of family photos and stories with details pulled from billions of newspapers, magazines and genealogical records. Each new discovery spawns new stories, which in turn lead to more discoveries,” said JoyFLIPS CEO Vincent Titolo. “We are also proud to announce that JoyFLIPS has been chosen as a semi-finalist for the Innovator Showdown at the 2017 RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City,” he continued.

The JoyFLIPS app and web service are free with unlimited usage. JoyFLIPS also enhances the photo scanning and sharing experience by offering a “one-stop-shop” for all things associated with photos, such as printed books to memorialize family events and professional photo restoration.

“FamilySearch is excited to offer everyone the ability to easily collaborate with family members to preserve all of their precious family photos and stories, while making new discoveries about family history,” said John Owens, Manager of Partner Services at FamilySearch.

About JoyFLIPS

JoyFLIPS is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that allows millions of people worldwide to discover and preserve their family history by connecting old print photos and family storytelling to the vast resources of historical documents now available online. Our technology provides the tools to scan, preserve and share thousands of print photos, and to pass down the stories they tell through storytelling in voice and text. We then automatically connect these stories to related historical media from numerous sources. For more information about JoyFLIPS technology visit or download the iPhone app at

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Registration Opens Feb. 1 for International German Genealogy ‘Connections’ Conference in July

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.—Registration opens Feb. 1 for the 2017 International Germanic Genealogy Conference, set for July 28-30 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Early, discounted registration runs through March: $225 for individuals belonging to organizations that are members of the International German Genealogy Partnership (formerly German-American Genealogical Partnership), and $250 for all others. Regular registration begins April 1 at the standard rate, $299.

Register by completing and mailing a print form or by completing the online form available at the Partnership website , set to go live in late January. Print forms can be downloaded from the website and are also available through local genealogy societies that are members of the Partnership.

A 12-page registration booklet containing specifics on the conference, including daily schedules and presentations, is available on the website and in print from local societies.

Hotel rooms at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest Hotel in Brooklyn Park, Minn., venue for the conference, sold out in December. Additional nearby hotels are offering special rates for conference attendees. Go to or for hotel information and room reservations.

The conference features more than 70 presentations over three full days. An all-star lineup of speakers includes many well-known international figures, including Roger Minert, Ernest Thode, Dirk Weissleder of Germany, Baerbel Johnson, Fritz Juengling, Michael Lacopo, James Beidler, Paula Stuart-Warren, Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, Jill Morelli, Stephen Morse, and others from Germany and Australia.

The conference —“Connections: International. Cultural. Personal.” — also offers a unique opportunity for German genealogists to make personal connections nationally and internationally. Daily “Connections” sessions and a slate of presentations on regional specialties are planned.

“This may be one of the largest German genealogy events ever held in the United States,” said officials of the Minnesota-based Germanic Genealogy Society, host of conference and a co-founder of the Partnership, which is organizing the conference.

The International German Genealogy Partnership is a young and rapidly growing international organization. Founded in 2015, it joins German genealogy societies across America, Germany, Canada, England and other European countries, and continues to draw new societies worldwide. Partnership members include the 65 societies belonging to the Germany-based Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Genealogischer Verbände, whose leadership helped in founding the Partnership.