February 25, 2016

On the Internet – March 2016

The release by Find My Past 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...
December 6, 2015

On the Internet – December 2015

A recent visitor to the Research Room asked where he could find the electoral registers for Staple Hill in the 1930s. After some digging, we discovered that they are available at Gloucestershire Archives in Gloucester...
September 3, 2015

On the Internet – September 2015

After their big release of local parish records at the beginning of the year, Ancestry has been rather quiet. Local records for other parts of the country have been published, but perhaps more interesting for us are images from the Ordnance Survey Popular Series maps 1919-1926...
June 22, 2015

On the Internet – June 2015

Anyone with local interests will welcome the recent release of new data from parish registers for the Bristol and Gloucester dioceses. Ancestry and Find My Past are both involved in this, but their offerings differ and there are the usual questions about what is actually included...
June 22, 2015

On the Internet – March 2015

Last time, I gave details of a new wills website and expressed the wish that it would be expanded to cover all wills from 1858. I must have been good in 2014, because my wish has come true, and you can now search for wills in Eng land & Wales from 1858 to the present day at https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills.

November 24, 2014

On the Internet – December 2014

Perhaps the most significant recent development has been the start of the long-awaited publication online of probate records for England and Wales. You can now search for wills from 1996 onwards at https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills.

November 10, 2014

On the Internet – September 2014

If you find poor law or census records indicate that members of your family spent time in the workhouse, Peter Higginbotham’s workhouse website at www.workhouses.org.uk  provides details of each such institution together with a lot of general information about workhouse life. Peter has now produced a similar website for children’s homes at www.childrenshomes.org.uk . It is still a work in progress, and although many homes are listed (68 in Bristol, for example), only a percentage have full details. However, you will usually find a map, information about who ran the home, who attended and when, as well as a list published items about the running of the school.

May 28, 2014

On the Internet – June 2014

The big news at the time of writing is the redesign of Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk). Although this had been announced in advance, no-one was prepared for the degree of change, or the poor execution which was immediately apparent. Favourite features had disappeared, and using the site required a totally different approach, which did not go well with users. The forums were full of complaints, with threats to cancel subscriptions and even to take legal action under the Trades Descriptions Act.

February 21, 2014

On the Internet – March 2014

The centenary of the start of the First World War has brought a number of new releases of military records relating to this and other conflicts. Sometimes, there appears to be confusion in the publicity between war diaries, which are the official day by day records of individual service units, and those personal diaries kept by soldiers, sailors and others. Both have their individual value.