History News

News on useful information to help you research your Essex ancestors

New index at General Register Office

birth certificate

A welcome new improvement has just been implemented at the General Register Office. It is a new free Birth and Death Index with additional data fields. For instance, the most welcome of all: the mother’s maiden name on the birth index.

The index is separate from the existing index which can be found on Free BMD or commercial websites like Ancestry. The new index cover the dates from 1837 to 1915 for births and 1837 to 1957 for deaths.

The search result gives the information required to enable ordering of the certificate: year, quarter, registration district, volume, page number.

To find out more information visit their Questions page.

An additional small change to their website is that registration is required before you are able to search the index.

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Ancestry free access weekend

woman and child - words - celebrate free access weekend

Ancestry.co.uk are offering free access to UK and Irish records this weekend from now until 9 October 2016 at 23:59 BST. These records include the census and bmd indexes. You will need to register and once the offer is finished you will not be able to view the images again. So make sure you download them or ‘print screen’ them.

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New medical records on Ancestry

Joseph Lister
Joseph Lister, surgeon and a pioneer of antiseptic surgery, features in the medical directories released by Ancestry

If you have ancestors involved in the medical profession in the UK and India then the latest database releases on Ancestry will certainly interest you. The new releases cover a wide range of practitioners: from doctors to midwives to physiotherapists.

The databases are:
UK & Ireland Medical Directories 1845 – 1942
Roll of the Indian Medical Service 1615 – 1930
Midwives Roll 1904 – 1959
Dentist Registers 1879 – 1942
Medical and Dental Students Registers 1882 – 1937
Physiotherapy and Masseuse Registers 1895 – 1980

Each database varies as to the contents of each record, so check the full details on the relevant Ancestry page linked above.

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Essex Herald now online


british newspaper archive website

The British Newspaper Archive has now added another Essex newspaper to its archive: the Essex Herald, covering the years 1834, 1863, 1873 – 1874, 1879, 1881 – 1884, 1897, 1899. A total of 1,492 issues.

This now means that the following Essex newspaper titles are in the archive

· Essex Standard: 1831 to 1900 4,169 issues
· Essex Newsman: 1870 to 1950 4,554 issues
· Essex Herald: 1834 to 1899 1,492 issues (many gaps)
· Chelmsford Chronicle: 1783 to 1950 6,378 issues

For more help see our article on searching the British Newspaper Archive where an example search is shown.

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Shakespeare’s World project

extract state letters
State letters from 1533 to ca. 1630 copied ca. 1650.

If you are skilful at transcribing handwriting from the 16th and 17th centuries then why not contribute to Shakespeare’s World, a project to transcribe thousands of manuscripts and documents created in and around Shakespeare’s lifetime, 1564–1616.

Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., with the aid of Zooniverse.org at Oxford University, and the Oxford English Dictionary of Oxford University Press, are running this project to transcribe the manuscripts in their collection. These manuscripts were created by thousands of men and women covering all types of topics: from state papers to personal letters, and from legal to literary documents, and even food recipes.

Your transcriptions may well throw up new words or spelling variations of known words which have yet to be recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary. Your discoveries will eventually be added to the dictionary.

More information on Shakespeare’s World.

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Essex Archives Online – new website

essex archives online website

The Essex Record Office have today relaunched their online catalogue. Formerly called SEAX it is now called Essex Archives Online and still includes the former Essex Ancestors part of the website. The website works much the same as the old one, but images that were previously free to view still remain free but now require registration first before veiwing. The parish registers and wills still require subscription payment.

It seems to me that the main reason for the relaunch is to make it mobile friendly. This all well and good, but for those with desktops it now means far more scrolling. Before you could view 20 entries at once it is ow only 7 or so.

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