History News

News on useful information to help you research your Essex ancestors

Police Gazette – crime and criminals

Punch cartoon: a Peeler
An early policeman, sometimes called a Peeler or Bobby (Punch cartoon 1845 PD)

Ancestry.co.uk has just released the United Kingdom’s Police Gazettes for the period 1812-1902, 1921-1927.

The Police Gazette was published by the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police Service and contains information on crime and criminals, especially wanted criminals, missing persons and army deserters. It also circulated details of stolen property and often includes the victims’ names.

For wanted persons it includes names and aliases, physical descriptions, where they were from, occupation, known associates and much more. Occasionally it features photographs or sketches of wanted persons.

The collection can be searched by:

  • Name
  • Birth year
  • Publication year
  • Event year
  • Event location
  • Event Type
  • Role in Crime
  • Conviction Place

Well worth a look if you have criminal ancestors.

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Tithe Maps and your family history

The Genealogist has released a database of tithe maps and their schedules for England and Wales covering 40 counties and containing over 14 million names.

These maps were drawn up in England and Wales following the passing of the Tithe Commutation Act, 1836. Tithe maps and their accompanying tithe apportionment schedules can help you research your family tree in several ways. They can show where your ancestors lived, the land they owned and what the land was used for. For local historians it can show the land ownership of a whole village or parish and how the land was used. They are often one of the earliest detailed maps of a parish available to the researcher.

Copies of the tithe maps can be found in The National Archives or your County Record Office. But before the end of 2015 there was no central database for the names of landowners appearing in the various tithe maps held in the National Archives and Country Record Offices. Now the Genealogist database goes some way towards providing a central database.

The counties covered are: Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Brecknockshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarfonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, County Durham, Cumberland, Denbighshire , Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Glamorganshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Merionethshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Pembrokeshire, Radnorshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire, Westmorland, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, York City and Ainsty and Yorkshire.

More information on The Genealogist website.

Posted in Essex History, Essex Resources | Leave a comment

Civil registration certificates at the ERO

You can now order Birth Marriage and Death certificates from the Essex Record Office providing the event was registered in the following registration office areas:

Castle Point & Rochford
Epping / Loughton

It will cost £10 and will be posted within five working days.There is an express service available at £25 and £18 (not including p&p).

For more information and to order, go to the ERO’s website.

Note that these do not include the birth, marriage and death registers for the former parts Essex now administered by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Thurrock Council and the London Boroughs of Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Waltham Forest, Newham and Redbridge.

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Was your ancestor a Freemason?

Ancestry.co.uk have now made available the Freemasonry Membership Registers for England 1751-1921 and Ireland 1733-1923. Containing over 2 million records, they reveal details such as name, profession, birth year and other personal information. This now makes it now very easy discover if there were Freemasons in your family. These registers list men who belonged to the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).

Link: England, United Grand Lodge of England Freemason Membership Registers, 1751-1921

If you are seeking members before 1751 and after 1921 then the Library and Museum of Freemasonry can carry out a search of the records for you (cost implication)

For further information of Freemasonry try the resources section of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry.

Also try searching the Masonic Periodicals Online

Posted in Essex Resources, Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

Essex Record Office – new website

Update your bookmarks, the Essex Record Office ‘ERO’ now has a new website: essexrecordoffice.co.uk. It is now much easier to discover everything the ERO has to offer the researcher. So have a look at the website of what I consider to be one of the best County Archives in the country.

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1939 Register online at FMP

FindmMypast in conjunction with the National Archives have published the 1939 Register for England and Wales. This Register is a very useful database for researching your ancestors as it goes some way towards bridging the information gap caused by there being no census records between 1922 and 1951.

Furthermore, the 1921 census is not due to be released until 2022. Extracts from the 1939 Register were previously only available by application to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, and then only for a deceased person.

At the outbreak of the Second World War the National Registration Act 1939 required a national registration of the civilian population of England and Wales as at 29 September 1939. The registration was needed to help to administer the issue of identity cards and ration books. The registration books are arranged in National Registration Number order and address. The Register reveals the whereabouts of the civilian population on a specific date. Serving members of the forces do not appear in the Register although members of the reserves auxiliary forces or civil defence services may be listed.

There are over 7000 volumes, each containing up to 2000 residences. Over 40 millions names appear. The information supplied was as follows:

  • National Registration number
  • Residence
  • Surname
  • First Forename
  • Other Forename(s)/Initial(s)
  • Date of Birth
  • Sex
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation, profession, trade or employment
  • Membership of Naval, Military or Air Force Reserves or Auxiliary Forces or of Civil Defence Services or Reserves

The provision of a date of birth is extremely useful as this can narrow down the search for a birth certificate to a specific quarterly volume. In addition, because the register was updated at least until 1948, provision of the change of name following marriage will also help narrow down searches.

There are two downsides to the Register. The first is because of data protection; if a person would now be under 100 years old then the information is redacted (hidden). These entries will be reviewed regularly by Findmypast as time goes on. The other downside is that on launch it will cost £6.95 per household or £24.95 for a 5 household bundle (£4.99 per household). It does not form part of the normal Findmypast subscription.

Whatever the price, though, this is certainly a welcome additional of a new database for the family tree researcher.

Posted in Essex Resources, Miscellaneous, UK History | Leave a comment

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