Weekly round-up: Northamptonshire Hearth Tax records go online

By Jon Bauckham, 1 May 2014 - 3:55pm

Introduced by the government of King Charles II in 1662, the Hearth Tax required householders to pay a duty for every hearth or stove in their dwelling. The surviving paperwork can prove highly important for genealogists researching people in the 17th century (Credit: Alamy)

Northamptonshire Hearth Tax returns from 1673-1674 have been published at Origins.net, featuring searchable details of over 22,500 individuals across the county. The records provide a major census substitute for genealogists, detailing evidence of a family’s residence at a certain place and giving clues as to their wealth and status. To search the records, click here.

History Weekend tickets now on sale

Tickets have gone on sale for BBC History Magazine’s annual History Weekend, due to be held in Malmesbury, Wiltshire from 16-19 October 2014. The event will see almost 40 leading historians and authors give a range of talks and lectures on a wide variety of subjects, with Tracy Borman, Suzannah Lipscomb and Dominic Sandbrook among the confirmed names. Lecture subjects will range from Britain’s pagan heritage and myths of the First World War to Lawrence of Arabia and the inextricable link between war and gold. Find out more at historyweekend.com.

Shropshire records hit findmypast

As part of its pledge to release 100 sets of records in 100 days, findmypast has made over 2 million Shropshire parish records available to browse online. The records are fully searchable and include documents spanning from the introduction of Church of England parish registers in 1538 and continue up until the turn of the century in 1900. Interested family historians can view some 155,000 scanned colour images of original documents, as well as transcripts of baptisms, banns, marriages and burials in the county.

£10,000 grant to restore East Midlands graves

The UK Government has pledged £100,000 to restore memorials to First World War Victoria Cross recipients, with funds granted to five memorial sites across the East Midlands, as well as going towards the restoration of five headstones in Nottinghamshire. The fund will complement a second government project to lay paving stones at the place of birth of Victoria Cross recipients across the country. Volunteers from the Trent to Trenches organization are also running commemorative events for the 100,000 soldiers from Nottinghamshire who died in the war.

Symbolic football kit to honour Fife war dead

Scottish football team Raith Rovers has launched a new club kit to honour former players who gave their lives in the First World War. The team’s new jersey is black and green, the colours of the Hunting Stewart tartan, and contains the word ‘Remember’ in place of a club crest or sponsor logo. The strip commemorates the players who signed up to the McCrae Battalion, the nickname of the 16th Royal Scots Battalion, specially formed for amateur and professional sportsmen. Seven Raith players signed up, with three losing their lives in action.

Irish soldiers' wills database updated

The National Archives of Ireland has uploaded its collection of over 9,000 WWI Irish soldiers’ wills to its website, enabling genealogists to browse the collection in its entirety for free. The wills belong to those Irish soldiers who fought and died in the British Army, and most are from the First World War period. In addition, the Archive has included a small number of wills from the late-19th century and the Second Boer War of 1899-1902. To search the collection, click here.

Census search forms now online

In addition to Irish soldiers’ wills, the National Archives of Ireland have also uploaded census search forms to their website covering the 1841 and 1851 censuses. These played an interesting role in Irish history: they were used to prove the age of applicants when pensions were introduced in 1909, as official registration of births in Ireland did not begin until 1864. Claimants could give their name and location of residence in either 1841 or 1851, and officials would check the censuses to find proof of age. To search, click here.

BBC World War One at home tour

The BBC is continuing its commemorations of the First World War centenary with a tour of shows and festivals around the UK. The events will comprise hands-on activities such as creating recruitment IDs and learning about the vital progress of medicine, as well as performances and interactive sessions enabling participants to reflect on the trauma the war caused in the communities it affected. The tour is due to feature eight flagship events, as well as 17 others over the course of May to September. To find out more, click here.

Alex Blake 

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