Free ‘local’ resources, as recommended by YOU!

As Wikitree’s Sarah Callis mentioned in her presentation throughout our 2021 conference: “Our ancestors should not simply dates and names – they’re individuals. And we need to study extra about them!”

The excellent news is that it’s doable to construct a story round them – and, it’s really doable to do it utilizing free sources.

Take one in all our volunteers who’s researching her Scottish roots. Utilizing FreeCEN, she discovered her 3x nice grandparents, William and Ellen, within the 1851 census. He was a soldier with the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, and so they have been at the moment in barracks at Stirling Fort with their three younger sons. However by 1861, Ellen was a widow, dwelling in Plymouth, incomes a dwelling as a washerwoman.

Curiosity sparked, our volunteer got down to fill within the gaps. Wikipedia provided a wealth of data on the 93rd, and the Internet Archive supplied a web based ebook giving movements of the regiment. Then, contacting the archivist at the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders’ Museum gave additional insights into military life – similar to this enlightening story he advised about what it meant to be a military spouse: 

“Mrs Kiddie’s husband had died. Through the funeral, one other soldier requested if he might marry her. To his shock, she mentioned it was too late – she had already agreed to marry one other soldier. You see, it took a sure power of character to be a soldier’s spouse and address all of the related hardships of military life – and girls of such character have been scarce.”

Work on constructing her ancestor’s story continues for our volunteer, however it simply goes to indicate the wealthy vary of free sources out there on the market. 

An early photograph, taken at Scutari, of officers and males of the 93rd Highland Regiment, shortly earlier than their engagement within the Crimean Struggle, 1854. Via Wikimedia Commons

Your suggestions revealed

So, right here we go together with YOUR suggestions for FREE native or occupation-specific family tree sources. (For the nationwide sources you really useful, please see our previous blog.)
The primary advice was for the Forest of Dean Family History Trust the place you will see that sources starting from parish data, marriage licence allegations/bonds and census identify indexes to memorial inscriptions, surname pursuits and abstract convictions registers. Merely register to go looking the data without spending a dime. It additionally has a preferred discussion board described as ‘a really useful device for breaking down brick partitions’.

Subsequent, the Lancashire BMD and Yorkshire BMD websites have been really useful as examples of a number of related county tasks geared toward putting the unique registrars’ indexes on-line. Be aware the phrase ‘authentic’ as a result of there’s a distinction between the unique indexes and the Basic Register Workplace (GRO) index that has been made out there to the general public. The GRO index consists of re-transcribed entries which have been submitted quarterly to the GRO in London for the nationwide catalogue. Nevertheless, the easy act of creating this secondary GRO copy launched many errors and omissions – and that’s what these varied county tasks search to rectify.

Staying with Lancashire, one other advice was the location of the OnLine Parish Clerks (OPC) challenge for the County of Lancashire. Its purpose is to extract and protect the county’s parish data and supply on-line entry to them, freed from cost. It additionally offers different information of worth to these researching in Lancashire. All data has been compiled and transcribed by volunteers who’ve usually turn out to be concerned within the challenge due to their curiosity in a selected parish the place their very own ancestors lived.

Additionally really useful was the Cornwall OPC Database, which contains parish data and ‘further searches’ starting from apprentice indentures and land data to muster rolls and wills. Different sources embody emigration data, British Military & Navy BMD, and Cornish newspapers, plus hyperlinks to helpful data similar to naming patterns, previous occupations and trades, and on-line books about Cornwall.

From a distance…

Sheffield Indexers, one other advice, is a web site that began in 2001 with the purpose of indexing genealogical data particular to Sheffield and make it out there in a simple-to-access format. Entry is freed from cost, with all transcriptions supplied by voluntary sources for the good thing about the genealogical neighborhood. It was began by Elaine Pickard who grew up in Sheffield however has lived in Ottawa for 50 years! She is ably assisted ‘on the bottom’ in Sheffield by Vicki Theaker, who coordinates the crew of transcribers. There may be additionally a searchable message discussion board the place anybody can ask for assist from educated native genealogists.

And now for a few burial web site suggestions: Adur & Worthing Councils Burial Search and Bath Archives Burial Index. In case your ancestor lived within the Adur and Worthing areas, this web site provides a easy burial register search to allow you to search out individuals buried in both Broadwater or Durrington cemeteries. The outcomes let you know the place they’re buried and supply a map.  

In case you consider you will have an ancestor buried in Bathtub, you may search on this web site. Data can embody identify; dates of delivery, loss of life and burial; age at loss of life; cemetery and grave location.

Shocking outcomes

Staying with Bathtub, in case your ancestors lived there between 1603-1990, the Bath Ancestors searchable database might be an actual gem. It comprises over 76,000 data of people that lived in and round Bathtub. The data have been listed and transcribed by volunteers utilizing authentic paperwork held by the Bathtub File Workplace. The database contains transient particulars taken from the unique sources, which is often sufficient to allow you to determine people. The positioning states: “We index sources similar to Coroner’s data, vaccination data, and Board of Guardian data. We’re all the time including to it and it could give you shocking outcomes…”

One other advice is Essex and Suffolk Surnames, family tree and native historical past web site run by one in all our FreeREG transcribers, Helen Barrell. It provides transcriptions of parish registers wills and poor regulation data, plus different historic paperwork, tales about households and attention-grabbing individuals, and hints and ideas for analysis. There’s additionally a web page of hyperlinks to free online books for Essex and Suffolk genealogy – and a advice to attempt Ancestorian, which is a social community only for household historical past.

Staying with Essex, three extra websites have been really useful for this county.

Essex Family History is a web site that covers the cities and villages within the Dengie Hundred space in jap Essex. As the location states: “Household historical past analysis has two strands – firstly, discovering particular information about your ancestors; after which secondly, discovering out how they lived and what their world was like.” Accordingly, the location divides its information into two areas. The Household Historical past index contains information starting from BMD and commerce directories to court docket data and sporting data. The Native Historical past index offers hyperlinks to details about the realm’s native and social historical past – for instance, ‘buildings and bodily options’, ‘on a regular basis life’ or ‘village statistics’.

In case your Essex ancestor was within the army, this web site might assist Military in Essex Family History. It covers the Essex Army, in its varied types, from 1415 as much as 1958 when the Essex Regiment was amalgamated into the Royal Anglian Regiment. Or maybe your ancestor was within the Police? If that’s the case, the Essex Police Museum might be a helpful useful resource. It holds a big assortment of service data for officers who served over 80 years in the past, hyperlinks to ‘Historical past Notebooks’ free publications, and a digital archive of editions of the Essex Police newspaper.

And final, however not least, the Tameside Local & Family History web site was really useful. It concentrates totally on pre-1837 sources for the cities which make up Tameside and should not out there elsewhere on-line. There are images, transcriptions of commerce directories, census returns, and tax assessments; historic articles about Tameside individuals and locations; and a discussion board.

Ready to be found

Thanks to everybody who submitted their suggestions – reviewing the websites has been an eye-opener for us, and simply goes to indicate what number of different related websites have to be ‘on the market’. It’s only a query of in search of them, and listening out for ideas. So, our volunteer along with her Sutherland Highlander soldier ought to take coronary heart – there’s nonetheless way more she will be able to study him and the household. It’s simply ready to be found.