Several people have asked recently if there is any news about progress on the project to scan and transcribe the 1911 census. This work was contracted to the company Scotland Online, which now owns Findmypast.
On the Findmypast website is the following statement. “Scotland Online is delighted to announce that the scanning of the RG78 series – Enumerators’ Summary Books – is now complete. Some 570,000 images have been produced. Transcription of these images is now well underway and due for completion by the end of Dec 2007.” I cannot confirm exactly what this means, but it would appear that progress is being made, and that it will not be too long before parts of the 1911 census are available. Findmypast is at www.findmypast.com.
If you have interests in Cromhall, then you will be interested in the developing Cromhall website at www.cromhall.com/archive/. It has old school photos, images and transcriptions of memorials and information both about the present day village and its history. If you have Cromhall connections, there are some photographs of people who need to be identified.
Cromhall is one of the parishes whose church is included on a website called “Cotswolds and Area Parish Church Montages” It can be found at www.allthecotswolds.com/ and the montages include photos of the exterior and interior of each church, together with images of memorials, bells, the font, etc. The area covered includes Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Bath & North East Somerset, which runs from Nempnett Thrubwell to Welford on Avon. A good site for getting a sense of where your ancestors worshipped.
I recently had an enquiry from someone in the United States trying to trace a lost friend from their Bristol childhood in the 1940s. I used some of the usual family history sources to check a married name, and then tried the phone book at www.bt.com but without success. I then thought of 192.com which includes the electoral register for the whole country and a variety of other sources. This is a subscription website, but if you go to www.192.com/ you can do a search without paying which will at least give an indication of whether a payment is worthwhile. The minimum payment is £9.95, which was money well spent for my correspondent, since within hours she had spoken to her friend from the past.
Personal websites often contain some useful information, and Patsy McMillan, who lives in Waikiki, New Zealand has included on hers a transcription of inquests from the Gloucester Journal, 1722-1838. Lots of events in the Bristol area are included, and the website can be found at www.genebug.net .You can search by name or places using the “Find” option on your browser, or just browse through and read the tales of human depravity and tragedy.
The BBC Bristol website also has a lot of interesting historical information about the city. It can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/bristol/history/ . Despite the name, the area covered includes Bath, and there are links to articles and videos on subjects like the Combe Down mines, the Downend air crash, and John Cabot. There are links to other local websites, including that of our own Society, and the whole thing will keep you happily occupied for hours.
Following the Society visit to the sparkling new Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre in Chippenham, I had a look at the Wiltshire Community History website, which has been compiled by staff at the centre from resources available there. It can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/ , and will be invaluable to anyone with family history in Wiltshire. Each modern parish has its own page, with a thumbnail history, maps, and links to other sites. These can help you find photographs, details of local newspapers, the name of the registration district, and even literary references and the names of local authors. Many parishes throughout the country have their own websites, and in some counties the online parish clerks provide considerable family history information. This Wiltshire site is an interesting example of another approach.
There are many different contact sites, and they vary in the membership requirements and cost. One that I know is popular with some Society members is Curious Fox (www.curiousfox.org.uk/). You can search the contact lists by surname or village name, and can then see if anyone has similar interests to yourself. You can get a feel for the site by registering as a free member, but to make full use of all the features, and to post queries yourself, costs £5 per year.
If you have either slave or slave-owning interests in the West Indies, then you will find some interest in the slave registers which have been recently added to the Ancestry website. These were compiled to prevent illegal activity following the abolition of the slave trade, and the originals are in The National Archives. They are available as part of the subscription to the U.K. edition of Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk), and they are also included in the library edition. Checking by the name of a slave may not be that productive, since the name may have been given at the time of purchase, and this often a single name or a nickname. Checking the database by the name of the slave owner will tell you where plantations were owned and at what period. The Pinney family were Bristol slave owners, and 343 of their slaves are listed on the site. Note that the database is incomplete, and further names can be found by consulting the original registers.