The release by Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk) of the 1939 Register occurred just as the last Journal went to press. I was unable to include any review as part of my usual article, but a brief note appeared elsewhere as a filler. I have now used the Register to a greater extent, and have also learnt from the experience of others.
To recap, the 1939 Register was carried out on 29th September 1939, and the information gathered was used for the conscription, rationing and identity cards that were all expected to be needed in a time of war. It was like a census, in that it showed who was living where on a particular date, but the information collected was different. Date of birth is shown rather than age, and place of birth and the relationship between individuals was not collected.
Initially, there was a charge of £6.95 for each household viewed, but access to the Register is now included in a standard subscription.
Enough information is provided initially for you to be able to identify that you have the correct household, and you can see both a transcript of the household and an image of the original Register. The image shows a whole street, so you can see the neighbours, some of whom may be family members, or other people you recognise. Those born less than 100 years ago and not known to have died are crossed through to make them illegible, and women known to have married later have their married names shown. In theory, the information is up to date to 1991, but that is not reliable, and there are the inevitable transcription errors.
I have found the Register more useful and informative that I had expected, and I think others have found the same. The date of birth is useful, and if you find someone shown as a widow, it narrows down the period when you should look for the death of a spouse. The transcription states the number of people in the household, which helps in identifying who has been crosssed through.
A surprisingly interesting new database on Findmypast is called “Knights of the Realm”. It lists people who have received British honours, and includes people from before 1500. Among many with famous surnames like the Berkeleys are some with less priveliged backgrounds, including someone who I know was born illegitimate in 1939. The list includes people who gained honours in Commonwealth countries.
Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has recently announced some interesting new datasets, whichmay help add some interesting detail to your family tree. One is the Freemason’s Register, 1751 – 1921. The registers list the name of the lodge, the date joined, and sometimes the address and occupation. Although the register is of the United Grand Lodge of England, I found details of members of an Australian Lodge. A different section of society is covered by the Police Gazette 1812 – 1902, 1921-1927. This record of crime can be searched by name, place, topic, etc, and the only problem I had was in finding the word on the page. Not everyone listed is a criminal, since the names of victims and police officers are also indexed. As an example, the Police Gazette lists a number of criminals who escaped from Bristol Gaol at the time of the 1831 riots.
The third new dataset on Ancestry is of Gloucestershire Non-conformist baptisms 1739-1987. The originals are in Gloucester Archivers, which indicates the area covered, but a large number of the records cover the period after 1837. Although the expected transcribed data is supplied, there is also a link to order a copy of the original from Gloucestershire Archives.
The Genealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk) has announced the completion of its project to digitise Englih tithe maps and link them to transcriptions of the schedules. This data is only availablwe for those with the most expensive Diamond subscription.
A reminder about the Bath Record Office database “Bath Ancestors”. This is an index to documents concerning individuals held by the Record Office, and includes removal orders, vaccination records, war memorials, etc. It is easy to search, and you can request a copy of the original document. Go to www.batharchives.co.uk/bath-ancestors.
If you have Nailsea connections, and especially if you share the Sage surname, then Ian Sage's wbsite at http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/ian.sage/index.html will be of interest to you. It has links to lots of family history and local history records, and many other documents and refernces. Another locally based website concerns Hanham and can be found at http://hanhamhistory.blogspot.co.uk/ It is the site of the Hanham Local History Society, and contains a number of interesting features on the history of the area.
The Bristol Potters and Potteries website contains extensive research carried out by Reg Jackson. As well as lists of potteries, it contains lists of individuals who worked at them collected from various records, and also has an extensive account of the Brislington Pottery. It can be found at www.bristolpottersandpotteries.org.uk/
The BAFHS website (www.bafhs.org.uk) has a downloadable list of places of worship in the BAFHS area. You can find it under “Research Room” and then “Downloads”. A similar list covering Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire, but with more detail and with hyperlinks to other information sources can be found at http://churchdb.gukutils.org.uk/chabout.php
Finally, if you would like to develop your family history skill through a free on-line course, the University of Strathclyde have one at https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/genealogy