Genealogy news roundup: Ancestry adds Bedfordshire land and court records

By Rosemary Collins, 24 August 2017 - 2:30pm

Plus: Buckinghamshire records available on Findmypast; New Staffordshire collection on FamilySearch; LMA acquires Whitechapel Bell Foundry records

The land tax was first introduced in 1692

Thousands of records of historic land ownership and petty sessions in Bedfordshire are now available on Ancestry.

Website subscribers can access two new land ownership collections – 534,240 land tax records from 1797 to 1832 and 45,819 land valuation records from 1838 to 1929.

The land tax was first introduced in 1692 to raise money for the war against France and was levied on all land held by landowners with an annual value of more than 20 shillings.

In addition, Ancestry added 118,272 records and 19,111 images from the petty sessions in Bedfordshire courts from 1854-1915.

Buckinghamshire records available on Findmypast

Family history website Findmypast has added over two million records tracing five centuries of life in Buckinghamshire.

The new index of original records held at Buckinghamshire Archives includes over 870,000 baptisms, 101,000 banns, 485,000 marriages and 662,000 burials. It dates from the 16th to the 20th century.

The records allow researchers to find details such as their ancestor’s name, dates, place of residence and parents’ names.

Other new records added to Findmypast this week include the over 1.7 million records from US Marine Corps muster rolls and over one million Irish wills and administration records.

New Staffordshire collection on FamilySearch

Millions of church records from Staffordshire are now available in a new collection on free family history website FamilySearch.

The index of 4,852,180 baptism, marriage and burial records spans the period from 1538 to 1944 and includes links to images of some records on Findmypast.

Famous people from Staffordshire include Captain Edward John Smith, who went down with the Titanic when it sank in 1912.

The records, from the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service, show that Smith’s father, also called Edward, married Catherine Hancock in Shelton on 2 August 1841. Their son Edward was born on 27 January 1850.

LMA acquires Whitechapel Bell Foundry records

The records of the oldest manufacturing business still in operation in the United Kingdom have been added to the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA).

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry has been active since it was founded in 1570, manufacturing bells of every size including the bell of Big Ben – which fell silent for four years of maintenance work this week – and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

The firm closed its historic Whitechapel foundry in June this year, and large numbers of archives were moved to LMA, although they remain the property of Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

The documents date mainly from the mid-19th century onwards and include partnership agreements and other foundation papers, minutes, correspondence and legal papers. The earliest surviving document is a 1709 agreement to supply a clock bell for St Paul’s Cathedral.

TheGenealogist expands criminal records collection

TheGenealogist has added half a million new records to its Court & Criminal Records collection.

The new additions, which include both indexes and images, are from two collections in The National Archives: The Home Office: Criminal Registers, England and Wales (HO77) and the Registers of Convicts in Prison Hulks Cumberland, Dolphin and Ganymede (ADM 6).

The records cover crimes from the theft of shirts or potatoes to murder and bigamy. One offender, Christian Crane, was found guilty in February 1811 of being “a rogue and vagabond”.

Many of the records are already available on Findmypast’s criminal records collection.

Manchester women invited to take part in suffragette project

Women in Manchester are being urged to share their stories of living and working in the city as part of a project to celebrate 100 years since women received the vote.

For Women’s Words 2018, women who were born, work or live in the city are invited to submit stories, poems, and reflections of up to 1,000 words describing their memories and experiences.

A selection of the pieces produced will feature in a limited edition reimagining of the original The Suffragette magazine, edited and curated by artist Lucy May Schofield.

Women’s Words is open to submissions from 24 August to 24 November. Participants will also have the chance to explore traditional ‘making’ practices such as textiles, letterpress and cyanotype, and take part in oral and collaborative storytelling sessions. There will be an opportunity for those who feel they cannot write well in English to have their stories retold and written down by someone else.


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