Canterbury Archive Collection online

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 Canterbury Cathedral Family History2012. 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

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 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.

Old Books Genealogy

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.


Genealogy Snippets 11 July 2012

Genealogy Snippets are short news items that I think you would want to hear about sooner rather than later.

1. Family Search has just put online 76 million new records, those guys never do things in small numbers !! Amongst the countries covered are Canada, Ireland and New Zealand.

2. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has added more books to their collection. These items are only available for viewing at the library. For a list of the books click on

3. FindMyPast has just added to it’s Kent collection with 12,832 burials from Greenwich, Kent. Greenwich is on the edges of London so if you are missing someone in London then it would be worthwhile searching in the Kent collection for them. Date range is 1748 – 1793.

4.FindMyPast has also added to its Wales Collection, this time it is for the parish of Llanymawddwy, Mallwyd. Baptisms 1568 – 1894, Marriages 1568 – 1837 and Burials 1813 – 1888.

Think that is all the snippets for today, but I have just seen that Find My Past has just put up a major collection and that deserves a full post.

Online Parish Clerk

What is Online Parish Clerk?

clip_image002[8]Online Parish Clerk was created in 2000 over a pint of beer in a pub in Cornwall by Michael McCormick, David Stick, and Paul Brewer. They envisaged a scheme whereby a person would take charge of a county and enlist volunteers who would adopt a parish and then proceed to transcribe any and all the documents that would be useful to family historians researching ancestors from that parish. The resulting transcripts and information would then be place online with each county having a separate website.

What is the coverage of Online Parish Clerk?

Not all counties are covered by Online Parish Clerk and the overall coordinators for the whole scheme are always looking for people to take on counties not yet covered. The counties that are covered are

Cornwall Cumberland Devon
Dorset Essex Hampshire
Lancashire Leicestershire  
Kent Somerset Sussex
Warwickshire Westmoreland Wiltshire


What can you find on Online Parish Clerk?

© Copyright ChurchCrawler and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The list of items that have been indexed,  transcribed and place online is almost endless. Parish registers, Bishops Transcripts, Wills, Indexes, Bastardy Bonds, War Memorial lists, Monumental Inscriptions, and much more.

Taking the parish of All Cannings, Wiltshire, including the hamlet of Allington, as an example this is what is offered online

  • 3 x photographs of All Saints Church & Allington Bethal Strict Baptist Chapel
  • A list of Contiguous Parishes
  • A link to six external websites which have information on All Cannings
  • Three wills of parishioners of All Cannings
  • Knights Compositions 1628
  • Poll of Freeholder 1772
  • Bastardy Examinations 1865 – 1878
  • Casualties of WW1
  • Where the original parish registers are held and for what time period
  • Transcripts of Baptisms 1578 – 1680, 1689 – 1812
  • Marriages 1578 – 1685, 1700 – 1812
  • Banns 1755 – 1805
  • Burials 1578 – 1812
  • Notes from parish registers 1578 – 1848
  • Monumental Inscriptions from the Strict Baptist chapel

It can be seen that a wide range of records have been transcribed for this parish.

If your county and parish are covered by the online parish clerk scheme then I recommend that you take a look and see what is on offer.

For a more in-depth lesson on using the Online Parish Clerk go to the Madaboutgenealogy sister site at


Victoria County Histories

Victoria County Histories GenealogyThe series of books known as the Victoria County Histories are a goldmine for family historians and those interested in local history. The series started in 1899 and the project was dedicated to Queen Victoria hence the name. It was a massive undertaking to write a complete history of the land, places and prominent people of each English county, but the Victorian were ambitious people and obviously the founders of the VCH thought it could be completed. I think they would be surprised to find that the project is still being worked on and completion is a little way off.

The model for each county was that the topography, geology, flora, fauna and history would be covered, each area was to be written by a eminent specialist and the books were to be scholarly. Each set of county books ran into several volumes and most large libraries subscribed and still subscribe to the series.

What is in Victoria County Histories for the genealogist?

The volumes of interest are the ones in which the county is broken down into parishes. Each parish contains a history dating back as far as it is possible to go, even back to the Domesday Book of 1086 if it was recorded. There is mention made of prominent buildings such as the vicarage or rectory, the manor house and other landowners homes.

The history and lists of the inhabitants of the manor or manors within the parish, and theNorton Manor House Genealogy history and incumbents of the church. Mention is also made of any chapels attached to the parish church and also any non conformist meeting houses or chapels. Descriptions of charities set up to administer monies and properties left, often for the relief of the poor of the parish, in the wills of parishioners are recorded. Mention might also be made of any mills and fisheries within the parish.

There are also often sketch drawings of the church, manor house, coats of arms etc.

Where can Victoria County Histories be found?

Most major libraries will have the histories for their county and some may have a complete run of all counties published so far. County Record Offices will almost certainly also have copies. Copies of the histories can be purchased from the Institute of Historical Research who now run the project. However the cost per volume can be as much as £100.

British History Online

The British History Online website offers copies of the volumes on the internet free of charge and this is the main source that most genealogists use. Simply put the name of the parish you are interested in the search box on the front page of the web site, click and then scroll down the list of hits and chose the one that says “A History of the County of …..”. This will take you to the relevant page.

These histories will give you much valuable background information on the parishes in which your ancestors lived and worked. Occasionally you may even find your ancestors named and if they were holders of manorial rights then a line of succession to those rights will be listed. Take a look at these parish histories and I am sure you will soon be including them in your files for all your families.

What is RootsTech Genealogy Conference 2013

Since putting up the post about the hotel discount for RootsTech Genealogy Conference 2013 I have been asked “What is RootsTech?”

RootsTech – What?

RootsTech is a relatively new genealogy conference, butRootsTech 2013 Genealogy is unique as it brings together the developers and users of genealogical technology together in one place. Computer technology and family history are made for each other and this conference gives genealogists a glimpse into what the techies have in store for them. It also allows the technology developers and the big data providers to meet the people who they are targeting. Both parties can ask questions of each other and exchange ideas on what family historians want and what technology can deliver

The conference runs over 3 days and there are lectures, workshops, Exhibition Hall, demonstrations and speaker lunches. The programme for 2013 isn’t yet published as the call for presentations only closed on 30 June, but it is bound to be good.

RootsTech – When?

The dates for RootsTech 2013 are 21 – 23 March, so 3 full days packed with plenty for all levels of family history expertise.

RootsTech – Where?

RootsTech is held at the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. The Convention Center is just around the corner from the Family History Library and only a hop and a skip away from the beautiful gardens of Temple Square. The center itself is a modern facility and is ideal for such large events as RootsTech 2013.

RootsTech – Is It For You?

Is RootTech for you will be a question that will be on the minds of many genealogists. To give you a taste of what is on offer the organisers have put online a number of the 2012 presentations. I would suggest you start with the keynote lecture which started off the conference,” Inventing the Future, As a Community” by Jay Verkler and then dip into which ever subject appeals. There are also a series of presentations given by FamilySearch at RootsTech 2012. I am sure once you have had a taster you will be booking your flights and hotel room.

As more information becomes available I will be posting it online so watch this space as they say ……