The Spectator Archive now online

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The Spectator was first published in June 1828 and then as now it reported on the world current affairs from a British point of view. Not everyone will have a member of their family mentioned in this publication, but those who do will find a rich vein of information. Also of interest to family historians will be the reports written about the events of the day, these were written at the time and will have an immediacy that perhaps history books might lack.

As an example I put in the surname Pottinger and came up with 137 results, 106 of which referred to material written in the 1840’s concerning Sir Henry Pottinger who came from the Irish side of the family and his activities in Hong Kong and India. To test a search for background information I put TonyPandy Riots into the search box and it came up with 3 articles about these now largely forgotten riots of 1910 & 1911.

Well worth spending some time on, but beware like all research into newspaper archives it is very easy to get sidetracked !

Wombles Family Tree

FindMyPast YouTube Video

I came across this FindMyPast YouTube video from WDYTYA Live 2013, presented by Myko Clelland of FindMyPast, it gives a good basic outline of how to trace your family history using FindMyPast and as an example they use the Womble family! It is 27 minutes long so won’t take up much time and is worth a look if you are interested in starting your genealogy journey.

Plus don’t forget the lessons that can be found on this website just click on the “Family History Lessons” tab at the top of this page.

The Great Parchment Book now online

The Great Parchment Book now onlineThe London Metropolitan Archives have been conserving, digitising and preparing for online publication the Great Parchment Book which is a survey of the estates of the Irish Society and City Livery companies in Northern Ireland. The survey dates from 1639, so this is an important online release for those of us who have family in Northern Ireland around that time period.

There is a 5 minute introduction video which I can recommend as it gives an overview of the history of the document. You can search under people, places and companies. there is also a blog where you can keep up to date on the project.

Sadly none of my Northern Ireland names come up, but it is worth the few minutes it takes to undertake a search to see if your family feature in this very interesting book.


Sussex Parish Registers now online free

Sussex Parish Registers now online freeFamilySearch has uploaded parish register images and indexes for Sussex 1530 – 1900, it’s hard to tell if every parish is online yet, but I recommend that you look at the Wiki as this has a coverage list. The press release from FamilySearch show that 110,000+ records have been indexed and there are 5,147 images available so don’t expect images for every parish, in fact I think this number of images would amount to just about one parish.

Taking into account the above this is still an important addition to the FamilySearch Parish register Collection and I have no doubt that the rest of the images will be going online in the near future. Those of you who read an earlier post may remember me reporting Diane Loosle from the Family History Library in Salt Lake saying that all the films and fiche stored in the famous granite vaults will have been digitised and online with 5 – 7 years, indexing will take 100 years at present rate of progress. If you would like to help with indexing I am sure they would be pleased to hear from you, link below.



Images – Looking down the hill to All Saints Church, Old Heathfield © Copyright Andrew Hill and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

British Telecom Digital Archives

British Telecom Digital ArchivesIf you have an ancestor who worked in the telecommunication industry then this new online digital archive will be of interest. It is a joint venture by BT, Coventry University and The National Archives to bring together more then half a million images, letters and other documents dating back to 1846.

I put the surname Roberts into their quick search and it came up with 271 references, I chose an entry that looks interesting and this information came up……………

Claim for wayleave payment by W T H Roberts of Birling, Kent

Finding Number   POST 30/1042C

Level   File

Extent   1 folder

Date   1903

Creator Name   Post Office registry

Admin History   W T H Roberts made a complaint that a line of telegraph poles passed through his private property. He claimed for wayleave payment. The case was also known as the Pilgrim’s Way case.

Description   Papers relating to a claim for wayleave payment by W T H Roberts of Birling, Kent including correspondence with Roberts; plan showing the route of line; sketches showing the poles; and consents by the Malling Rural District Council and the District Council for the Rural District of Strood, Kent for the construction and maintenance by the Post Office of a line of telegraphs at the side of the road between Birling post office and the Black Boy Public House, Upper Halling via Standgate Road and Old Pilgrim Road. Former file reference E 18469/1903.

Format   Manuscript

Language   English

Condition   Good

Fascinating document if you have the Roberts family of Birling on your family tree.

The image collection looks to be a real asset if your family worked in the early days of telegraph whether it was laying cables to working at the Post Office.