Just a couple of hours ago FindMyPast announced the launch online of the Canterbury Collection. This is a major addition to their offerings for Kent and is a significant archive to have as a partner.
What is the Canterbury Archive Collection?
The Canterbury Collection is housed in the Canterbury Cathedral Archives which at the present time is undergoing extensive building works and is closed until the autumn of 2012. The archive holds records relating to the cathedral and city of Canterbury, Kent, the parishes within the historic Archdeaconry of Canterbury, other local institutions and local family archives. A catalogue of their holdings is online at www.archives.canterbury-cathedral.org
FindMyPast and the Canterbury Archives announced their partnership earlier this year and it has meant that whilst the archives are closed the material is still available for research. Also, of course, it means that those who are unable to visit Canterbury can now have access to the documents. The documents released today are of the parish registers of the churches within the Archdeaconry, and is of scanned images not transcripts so it is as good as being at the archives. The images at the present time have not been indexed, but it is hoped that indexes will be available later this year.
What can you expect to find in the Canterbury Archive Collection?
A lesson on parish registers can be found at Mad About Genealogy’s sister site Teach Yourself Family History, this lesson explains what details the records will contain at what time period.
How to use the Canterbury Archive Collection.
The collection is available on www.findmypast.co.uk which is one of the major subscription website. The records will also be available at the Canterbury Cathedral Archives once they reopen in the autumn. It would be wise to phone the archives first to ascertain when the archives will be re-opened and to book a seat in the reading room as space is limited.
Because the images have not been indexed the “old” way of researching will have to be employed. The parish will need to be identified as the most likely place for the event to have occurred and the time period that it would have happened in. Then it is a case of reading through the register page by page. This won’t be as onerous as it sounds as the registers make fascinating reading.
The time period covered is 1538 – 2005, but of course this period will vary parish to parish depending on when the church was built and if the records have survived.
So if you have ancestors in Canterbury Archdeaconry of Kent then this collection certainly merits time spent researching.