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.
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.
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.
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.