Although you will read this in March, when hopefully the worst of covid is behind us, the days are longer and the skies brighter, it is being written in those dog days between Christmas and New Year. Just the time perhaps for some on-line research, and I am certainly finding that the recent new releases are giving me the opportunity to push back through the years and find some details from the eighteenth century that were not available previously. It is always good to go through one’s old research and see what might have been unavailable the first-time round.
I was unable to write an internet article for the September 2020 Journal, so this one includes some of what I already had drafted. It may therefore be a little out of date. Other material has resulted from some of the enquiries we received when the Research Room was closed. These enquiries often revealed good sources of information for subjects we had not needed to research before.
The big data release for us locally in 2019 was the publication of the Bristol Diocese parish registers on Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk). These were described at length in the December 2019 Journal, but experience of using these records has highlighted some problems and peculiarities. Now Ancestry has taken the next step with publication of over 400,000 nonconformist records held by Bristol Archives. These will be a useful resource for many people, but to avoid disappointment you need to be aware of what is included and what is not.