May family history records roundup: Free China Families website launches

By Rosemary Collins, 2 May 2019 - 12:46pm

This month, a free records website for foreign nationals in China launches, Findmypast adds Durham bishop's transcripts and more

British prisoners China Second World War
British prisoners of war leaving Hong Kong for a Japanese internment camp, December 1941 (Credit: Keystone/ Getty Images)

Tracing your family history has become easier than ever as more and more records are being released online. We've put together a handy guide to help you discover the latest datasets for researching your ancestors.

If your family lived in China, don't miss this new free website for discovering their records. Plus, Findmypast adds more Durham bishop's transcripts and more.

 

China Families

What's been added?

China Families is a new website launched by a team led by Professor Robert Bickers of the University of Bristol, with records of thousands of foreign nationals who lived in the 19th and early 20th centuries

What can the records tell you?

The site will continue to be updated, but it currently contains approximately 60,000 names, with record sets including British Supreme Court for China intestate and probate records; cemetery records; staff lists for the China Navigation Company and Chinese Maritime Customs Service; and names of Allied civilians interned by the Japanese army during the Second World War.

Family historians can search for an individual by name to find transcripts of the original records. The collection includes British, European, American, Australian and New Zealander families, as well as Jewish refugees who came to China to seek refuge from the Nazis.

Where do they come from?

The records were created during the publication of Robert Bickers books in the past 15 years. A companion site, Historical Photographs of China, has nearly 20,000 photographs of foreign nationals in China shared by their descendants.

 

Findmypast

What's been added?

Findmypast has updated its collection of Durham bishop’s transcripts, with 741,000 more baptisms, 296,000 marriages and 554,000 burials. The records date from roughly 1639-1919. It has also added collections of Devon port books from 1595 to 1705.

What can the records tell you?

In 1598, an Act was passed requiring all parishes to create copies of their parish registers and send them to the bishop. The transcripts are crucial alternatives where the original parish registers are missing, and contain details such as your ancestor’s date and place of birth, marriage and death and the names of their parents and spouse. They are particularly useful as the north-east of England is one of the hardest areas to find parish records for.

The port books cover ships administered in the Devon ports of Appledore, Barnstaple and Bideford and include the names of the ship, its masters and merchants, its cargo and its destination (transcription only).

Where do they come from?

The Durham bishop’s transcripts are available to browse on FamilySearch and have been indexed by Findmypast. The Devon port books were transcribed by Nimrod Research.

 

Other records

Ancestry has added parish registers from Kent (also available on Findmypast) and Cheshire (also available on FamilySearch).

TheGenealogist has added 146,000 debtors’ prison records (1697-1862) to its criminal records collection.

The Families in British India Society has added the Times of India June-December 1898 arrival and departure notices, comprising 4545 arrivals and 2400 departures, to its free database.

The National Library of Scotland has added a new series of one inch to the mile military maps of Scotland from the Second World War on its maps website.

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has added 8,325 births (from the Carrick-on-Suir Census of 1799) and 5,000 marriages (1,000 from the Registry of Deeds and 4,000 from the 1719-1845 Killaloe Marriage Index) to its Early Irish Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society has launched the Great Migration Parish Web Mapping App, which shows the last-known parish for 1,795 emigrants who left England, Wales and the Netherlands for New England between 1620 and 1640.

 

 

 

 

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