Friday, April 24, 2015

Phase 2 of the Yorkshire Collection and new POW records available to search this Findmypast Friday


This Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 5 million parish records in the second phase of Findmypast’s Yorkshire collection and over 43,000 prisoner of war records released in partnership with the National Archives to coincide with the centenary of the Gallippoli landings. This week’s new additions also include Australian military and land survey records, Irish local government records and newspapers and the United States BillionGraves Index.

United States Billion Graves Index

The United States Billion Graves Index contains 9 million cemetery records from right across the United States. Findmypast’s partnership with BillionGraves aims to make available all the cemetery records held on their site for free. BillionGraves is the largest resource for GPS-tagged headstone and burial records on the web, with over 12 million headstone records. This index will be regularly updated throughout the year and pertains solely to U.S. headstones. Each entry has a transcript, which includes a link to an image of the headstone with GPS details. The amount of information varies, but transcripts will usually include the deceased’s name, birth date, death date, cemetery and a link to an image of their headstone.

Yorkshire Records

Over 5 million Yorkshire parish records have been released in the second phase of Findmypast’s partnership with the Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium. The Yorkshire Collection comprises beautiful scanned images of the original handwritten registers held by six Yorkshire archives and spans the years 1538 to 1989. Fully searchable transcripts of the original documents enable anyone to go online and search for their Yorkshire ancestors by name.

The Yorkshire collection covers the whole of Yorkshire including the three historic counties; North Riding, East Riding and West Riding. The first phase of this landmark project was released in September 2014 and included nearly 4 million parish records and Bishop’s transcripts. This second phase includes baptism, banns and marriage records held by the North Yorkshire County Record Office, Doncaster Archives and Local Studies, East Riding Archives and Local Studies Service, Teesside Archives and Sheffield Archives and Local Studies. It also includes new Bishop’s Transcripts of baptisms, marriages, banns and burials from the Borthwick Institute for Archives (University of York).

The latest additions include:



Prisoner of War Records

Containing over 43,000 records with images, Prisoners Of War 1914-1920, are the first in a series of PoW records to be digitised and published by Findmypast in partnership with The National Archives. These latest additions consist of 10 series of British Foreign Office document’s relating to prisoners held by the Ottomans during World War One. They not only include the names of military personnel taken prisoner – both allied and foreign – but also the names of civilians, merchant seamen, fishermen, diplomatic employees and more. They will eventually form part of a wider Prisoners of War Collection, 1715-1945, which on completion will span 230 years and date back to the Jacobite rebellion.

Prisoners of War 1914-1920 includes ten series of documents taken from The National Archives’ collection Foreign Office: Prisoners of War and Aliens Department: General Correspondence from 1906 (F0 383). Consisting of lists and general correspondence, the records contain the names, ranks and locations of PoWs and provide insights into life in the Ottoman camps. They contain details of requests made by inmates for items including footballs and biscuits, details of visits by foreign diplomats and reports on camp conditions. The amount of information in each record can vary depending on the type of document and the amount of detail recorded at the time of the event.

The Australian Military Forces WW2 missing and prisoners of war records list the details of approximately 23,000 servicemen who were recorded as missing or as PoWs in the pacific theatre of World War Two. The records relate specifically to members of the Australian armed forces who were captured or went missing while serving in the Far East and South West Pacific islands as of 30 June 1944. Each record includes a transcript that can give the individual’s service number, rank and unit, as well as a note of whether they were missing or had become a prisoner of war. For those listed as POWs, the location of the camp in which they were imprisoned was also recorded. The prisoner of war camps listed span from Borneo to Keijo in Korea, from the Netherlands East Indies (modern-day Indonesia) to Malaya, from Thailand to various camps in Japan itself.

Australian Records

Containing over 1,000 records, the New South Wales, Returned Soldier Settlement Miscellaneous Files 1916-1939 were transcribed from records relating to ex-servicemen’s applications for financial assistance as part of a soldier settlement scheme following the First World War. Soldier settlement schemes were introduced around Australia to sell or lease land selected and acquired by the Government to servicemen returning from service overseas. Each record includes a transcript provided by volunteers from the State Records Authority of New South Wales.

The Australian Imperial Force, Nominal Roll of the First Railway Section 1917-1920 transcripts were compiled using an index compiled from a record series by the State Records NSW Volunteer program. The index lists the details of railway employees who formed the 1st Railway Section of the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force, also known as the 6th Australian Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company, during World War One.

Irish Records

Over 500,000 new articles have been added to our collection of historic Irish Newspapers. Additions have been made to 14 existing publications including generous updates to Dublin Evening Post (65,152), Northern Whig (34,651) and Tipperary Vindicator (13,958). Four brand new titles have also been added to the collection: The Cork Advertising Gazette, Derry Journal, Dublin Correspondent and Saunder’s News-Letter.

Containing over 7,000 records, Clare County Government Proceedings 1732 – 1882 record the members, presentments and correspondence of Clare’s Grand jury. Grand juries were the forerunner of county councils and functioned as local government authorities. Each record is a PDF of the original material. The amount of information varies as several different types of document are included in these records. Members of the Grand Jury dating back to 1668 are listed by name and (usually) rank, and there are 42 volumes of payment orders for various works around the county (presentments). Letters and circulars to the Grand Jury are also to be found.

Remember to check our dedicated Findmypast Fridays page every week to keep up to date with the latest new additions.

About Findmypast

Findmypast is an international leader in online family history and genealogy research with customers and operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. Its searchable online archive includes over two billion family history records, from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and making family connections.

Findmypast has an unrivalled record of innovation in the field of family history, and works closely with the genealogy community, including local libraries, archives, societies, and other organizations from around the world, to preserve, digitize, and provide access to historical records. Findmypast’s historical records, advanced search tools and accurate data work together to help both professional and budding genealogists discover, explore and share their family stories.

Findmypast releases Prisoners of War records in partnership with TNA


  • Over 43,000 ANZAC Prisoners of War records released in partnership with The National Archives to coincide with the centenary of the Gallipoli Landings
  • The release marks the first phase of a partnership with The National Archives to digitise PoW records spanning 250 years
  • On completion, Findmypast’s Prisoners of War 1715-1945 collection will span the Jacobite rebellion to the Second World War


London, 25 April 2015 - To coincide with ANZAC day and the Gallipoli centenary today, Findmypast has released over 43,000 Prisoners of War records in partnership with The National Archives.

The new Prisoners Of War 1914-1920 records are the first phase of what will eventually become a wider Prisoners of War Collection 1715-1945 at Findmypast, available online for the very first time. The collection will relate to the internment of both allied and foreign members of the armed forces, civilians and merchant seamen of various nationalities spanning 230 years. Although the majority of the collection is still to be digitised by Findmypast, 10 series relating to prisoners held by the Ottomans are now available to search.

The records available today come from The National Archives’ collection Foreign Office: Prisoners of War and Aliens Department: General Correspondence from 1906 (FO 383) and consist of lists and general correspondence. They contain the names, ranks and locations of PoWs and provide insights into life in the Ottoman camps.

Prisoners Of War 1914-1920 includes not only the names of military personnel taken prisoner – both allied and foreign – but also the names of civilians, seamen, fishermen, diplomatic employees and more. They also contain details of requests made by inmates for items including footballs and biscuits, details of visits by foreign diplomats and reports on camp conditions.

Through the records you can gain insight into the experience of a prisoner of war. Some volumes include inspection reports of prison camps which describe the buildings, provisions and equipment in detail. There are also testimonies from British prisoners held in Bulgarian prisoner of war camps.

The complete Prisoners of War 1715-1945 Collection will be released in phases over the coming year and, on completion, will contain the records of prisoners captured during the Jacobite Rebellion, French Revolutionary Wars, the Boer Wars, the First World War and the Second World War.

Caroline Kimbell, Head of Licensing at The National Archives said: “As the grand-daughter of a Gallipoli survivor I’m grateful to our partners at Findmypast for bringing these very human records to a worldwide audience for the first time. The collection marks the start of a complex and fascinating programme of PoW records through the ages.”

Paul Nixon, military historian at Findmypast said: “The Prisoners of War Collection comprises an extraordinary array of fascinating record sets and Findmypast is thrilled to have been awarded the licence to digitise and publish these records online for the first time.”

About Findmypast

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

Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over two billion family history records, 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 doing detailed historical research.

In April 2003 Findmypast was the first 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.

About The National Archives

For the record, for good… The National Archives is a government department and an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). As the official archive of the UK government and England and Wales, we look after and make available to the public a collection of historical records dating back over 1,000 years, including records as diverse as Domesday Book and MI5 files.

Our 21st-century role is to collect and secure the future of the record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible as possible. We do this by devising technological solutions to ensure the long-term survival of public records and working to widen access to our collection. The National Archives also advises on information management across government, publishes all UK legislation, manages Crown copyright and leads the archive sector. We work to promote and improve access to public sector information and its re-use. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announces the publication of Deborah Child’s, Soldier, Engraver, Forger: Richard Brunton’s Life on the Fringe in America’s New Republic


April 23, 2015 – Boston, Massachusetts – New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announces the publication of the latest work by Deborah Child.

In this richly illustrated biography, the author follows in the footsteps of Richard Brunton, a British grenadier who fought in the American Revolution before deserting in 1779. A trained engraver and diesinker, his primitive but charming works include some of the earliest pre-printed family registers in America. Despite his many talents and efforts, he was never able to make an honest living from his craft. Instead, he spent years living on the fringes of society, forging and counterfeiting currency, until his death in a New England almshouse in 1832.

Deborah M. Child is an author, lec­turer, and independent curator. A graduate of the Master of Arts Program at Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, she is the author of The Sketchbooks of John Samuel Blunt (Portsmouth Athenaeum, 2007). She is also a regular contributor to Antiques and Fine Art. Her essays include: “A Portrait to Be Treasured Once Again: A Copley Pastel of a Boston Maiden,” “Thank Goodness for Granny Notes: Rufus Porter and His New England Sitters,” and “Samuel Jordan: Artist, Thief, Villain.” She is now writing about another engraver of counterfeit banknotes who also spent time in the Massachusetts State Prison—and who may well have got his first lessons in engraving bank notes from Richard Brunton. Child lives in New Hampshire.

To order Soldier, Engraver, Forger, call NEHGS’s Sales Department at 617-888-296-3447, or visit the Society’s bookstore website, http://www.americanancestors.org/store/.

About NEHGS

The founding genealogical society in America, New England Historic Genealogical Society was established in 1845. Today it has a national collecting scope and serves 100,000 constituents through an award-winning website www.AmericanAncestors.org.

NEHGS’s resources, expertise, and service are unmatched in the field, and their leading staff of on-site and online genealogists includes experts in early American, Irish, English, Scottish, Italian, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, Chinese, and Jewish research. The NEHGS library and archive, located at 99–101 Newbury Street in downtown Boston, is home to more than 28 million items, including artifacts, documents, records, journals, letters, books, manuscripts, and other items dating back hundreds of years.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

HistoryLines Announces Official Launch


Site provides instant life sketches and personal timelines for ancestors, saving genealogist time

OSWEGO, Ill.—(PR Web)—Apr. 20, 2015— HistoryLines, a leading provider of historical solutions for genealogists and educators, today announced the official launch of historylines.com, a new website for users interested in genealogy and family history. The site allows anyone to better understand the lives of their forebears by describing the historical events and cultural influences that surrounded their lives. Users see their relatives in historical context with a personalized timeline and map, and can read a detailed, editable life sketch based on when and where their ancestor lived in history.

“After several months of large-scale beta testing, we’re very excited to be able to offer the HistoryLines experience to the world,” says Jeff Haddon, HistoryLines co-founder. “HistoryLines addresses two major pain points in the genealogy research process: the scarcity of personal details that tell an ancestor’s life story, and the time it takes to compose a life sketch from research results.” According to Haddon, HistoryLines hopes to dramatically simplify that process for genealogists and family historians.

“Anyone interested in giving HistoryLines a try can create their first two stories for free to explore all the features,” says Haddon. HistoryLines offers subscriptions at $9.99 per month or $59.00 per year. To encourage new users to try out the site, the company is offering 30% off new subscriptions forever with the promo code EARLYBIRD30. As long as the promotional subscriptions don’t lapse, the discount will continue indefinitely. The introductory offer is good through April 30, 2015.

In conjunction with the official launch, HistoryLines is introducing some new features that beta testers haven’t seen yet, including the ability to export and share their ancestors’ life sketches on social media and in PDF format. In addition, users are now able to pursue further research by accessing the source citations for all of the historical data that is presented.

Additional features include the ability to edit the existing life sketch and to add personal events to the timeline and story. Users can build a family tree on the site, or import their family tree via GEDCOM file upload, or from FamilySearch.org, thanks to HistoryLines’ partnership with FamilySearch.

Much of the technology and processes behind the HistoryLines site functionality is protected by a pending a U.S. patent. “As useful as the product is now, it’s only the beginning. We have a rich roadmap of exciting features and capabilities ahead of us. Our mission is to make genealogists’ lives easier,” says Haddon.

About HistoryLines

Formed in 2014, HistoryLines is dedicated to solving persistent obstacles to genealogical research and ancestral understanding. Its initial product offering, HistoryLines.com, is a subscription-based service that places ancestors in historical context and automatically creates an editable life sketch for each of them.