- Project to publish parish records from six counties in next six months
- Wiltshire first county available online from April 6, 2017, includes records of the first woman mauled by a tiger in England and the celebrated architect Sir Christopher Wren
Birmingham, April 6, 2017: Leading family history website, Findmypast, announced today the launch of their Six Counties in Six Months project which will see the online publication of vital parish records from six counties across England over the next six months. These records expand further Findmypast’s unrivalled collection of English and Welsh parish records – the largest collection available online.
First up is Wiltshire, published today to mark the opening of Who Do You Think You Are Live! 2017. The Wiltshire parish records will be followed by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Warwickshire.
The Wiltshire collection comprises transcriptions of nearly 5 million parish records of baptisms, banns, marriages and burials dating back to 1538. They form the largest online collection of Wiltshire records and are available only at Findmypast.
They are full of fascinating details of life through the ages and will provide researchers from all over the world with the opportunity to uncover the stories of the inhabitants for the very first time. Anyone can go online and search for their Wiltshire ancestors by name, location and date.
Paul Nixon, Head of UK licensing at Findmypast, said: “What a terrific way to launch our six-in-six campaign with the announcement of close to 5 million parish records from Wiltshire. There has never been a better time to be a family historian and Findmypast continues to lead the way in releasing exciting new collections which help people connect with their ancestors.”
Famous names in the records
Hannah Twynney was the first person in England ever to be mauled by a tiger. Hannah worked as a barmaid at the local White Lion Inn. At the time of her death, there was an exhibition of wild animals in Malmesbury and she made a habit of teasing the tigers. One unfortunate day, while Hannah was enjoying herself, a tiger escaped from the cage and mauled the young woman. Our records show that she was buried at St Peter & St Paul in Malmesbury on 24 October 1703. Her gravestone in Malmesbury remembers the awful story with a poem: ‘In bloom of life, she’s snatched from hence, she had no room, to make defence, for tiger fierce, took life away, and he she lies, in a bed of clay’.
Christopher Wren, the acclaimed architect, was born in East Knoyle, Wiltshire. Across London, Wren designed more than 50 churches, including the incredible St Paul’s Cathedral, after the Great Fire of London. Although, the first two designs he submitted to Parliament for the Cathedral were turned down. He is also known for designing the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford, Trinity College Library at Cambridge, and the monument to the Great Fire of London.
Thynne (Thynn) family – numerous members of the Thynne family of Longleat, the Marquesses of Bath, are found in the burial records. They include the record for John Thynne, 4th Marquess of Bath buried at Longbridge Deverill on 29 April 1896, the great-great-grandfather of the current, colourful Lord Bath of Longleat.
William Henry Fox Talbot, the celebrated pioneer of photography who, through the use of chemicals, improved the processes of developing, fixing, and printing. The records show that he was buried at Lacock Abbey on 21 September 1877. Today, Lacock Abbey is the location of the National Trust’s Fox Talbot Museum and Village.
Benjamin Pitman famous for introducing the eponymous Pitman shorthand in the United States. He was baptised in Trowbridge, Wiltshire on 8 September 1822. Pitman immigrated to the United States in 1853 to instruct Americans to use the shorthand system developed by him and his brother Isaac. Pitman toured America and lectured on the use of the Pitman system. Later he became an official stenographer and attended the trial of the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.