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Findmypastie

Another 2.5 million court registers added to findmypast.ie

Records dating from 1851 to 1913

For immediate release

Leading Irish family history website, findmypast.ie has made a further 2.5 million court records available to search online in its Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912 record set, which exposes the petty crimes Ireland’s residents committed and how they were punished.

This new batch features 52 new courts in fifteen counties around Ireland. A further seven courts have been supplemented with records from additional years. This brings the total Petty Sessions Court Registers on findmypast.ie to over 15 million and the overall Irish family history records on the site to over 70 million.

Notable additions this time include a significant expansion to the records available for Galway, Roscommon, Westmeath and Limerick. Donegal also benefits from the addition of four new courts dating from as early as 1851, which should prove a real boon to family historians with ancestors from that county.

The variety of cases heard gives a real flavour for life in Ireland at the time. Runaway servants, shebeens and trespassing livestock are just a taste of the misdemeanors that can be found amongst the millions of registers.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager of findmypast.ie, said “The records of the Petty Session courts are endlessly fascinating and that is why we continue to top up this resource with more great family history records. It is always interesting to find out what your forefathers did to find themselves in front of a magistrate!”

New courts have been added to the following counties: Galway (9), Roscommon (8), Westmeath (7), Limerick (7), Donegal (4), Waterford (4), Tipperary (2), Cork (2), Carlow (2), Kilkenny (2), Mayo (1), Meath (1), Sligo (1), Wexford (1) and Wicklow (1).

This collection is also accessible on all findmypast international sites through a World subscription.

To find out if you have ancestors who had their day in court visit www.findmypast.ie

Findmypastie

FINDMYPAST.IE RELEASES IRELAND’S NATIONAL ROLL OF HONOUR 1914-1921

RECORDS REVEAL DETAILS OF IRISHMEN WHO DIED DURING WORLD WAR I AND BEYOND

 

Leading Irish family history website, findmypast.ie has published online for the first time in its entirety Ireland’s National Roll of Honour 1914-1921.

These records give details of Irishmen, who died whilst serving in the British Army during the First World War. Also included are those soldiers who died in the three years after the end of the war.

The database of transcripts has been created from all known available resources for Irish casualties published before 1922, including publications like Soldiers Died in the Great War and Ireland’s Memorial Records, as well as organisations like The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Newspaper articles, periodicals and other books were also used to collate the information. Furthermore, the material has been cross-referenced with the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses to provide a more precise list of Irish war victims for the period than has ever been previously available to family historians.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager at findmypast.ie said “These records are a great addition to our collections, especially for anyone researching their military ancestors. The vivid details in the transcripts really bring home what the war heroes in our family trees went through in the field of battle”.

Supplementary information contained in the transcripts, including newspaper obituaries and letters home from the soldiers, bring these military records to life. One such harrowing letter home from the Front Line reads:

“Dear Sally-I am sorry to inform you of the death of poor Jackie. He was killed on the evening of the 27th February, and Goggin wounded. He was speaking to me about an hour before that. I am not in the better of it since. We were after coming out of the trenches, and back in billets when Jackie was killed. There was a big heavy shell came through the house and killed six and wounded twelve. Poor Jackie was made bits of-his legs and hands and head were blown away. His body was in an awful state. The shell also killed a Frenchman and his family”

With over 15,000 detailed entries searchable on findmypast.ie now and more to come, the National Roll of Honour 1914-1921 is a rich resource for those with Irish ancestors, who served in the British Army during the Great War and the years that followed.

This record set is also currently available on findmypast.com and findmypast.com.au as part of a World subscription and will be added to findmypast.co.uk soon.

For immediate release

Over 2.5 million court registers added to findmypast.ie

Records dating back as far as 1842

Leading Irish family history website findmypast.ie has made an additional 2.5 million court records available to search online in its Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912 record set, which exposes the petty crimes Ireland’s residents committed and how they were punished.

The additions feature forty-four new courts in nineteen counties around Ireland. A further fifty-five courts have been supplemented with records from additional years. This brings the total Petty Sessions Court Registers on findmypast.ie to over 12 million records.

Notable new courts that have been added are the Limerick City Children’s Court and two courts with pre-famine records – Moynalty, Co. Meath and Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. As well as that, for the first time, seven new courts from Co. Longford have been added, bringing online over a quarter of a million new records for the county. Also well represented with totally new courts are Laois (five) and Cork (four).

Being drunk in a public place, being drunk in charge of a cart, failure to pay rent and allowing livestock to wander on the road are among some of the most common misdemeanors that our ancestors found themselves in court for. Although most defendants got away with a fine, the variety of cases heard gives a real flavour for life in Ireland at the time.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager of findmypast.ie, said “We are really excited about this add-on to our Petty Sessions court records. As usual, the stories you can find in them really paint a picture of what life was like in towns and villages in Ireland at the time. From harrowing stories in the Limerick City Children’s Court to amusing ones in Longford’s seven new courts, there is something for everyone in there”.

New courts have been added to the following counties: Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford and Westmeath.

To find out if you have ancestors who had their day in court visit www.findmypast.ie

ARLINGTON, VA, 10 May 2013: The National Genealogical Society presented the Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award to Julie Potter Miller, cg, at its annual banquet on Friday evening, 10 May, at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Established in 2011, the Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism recognizes long-term volunteer service to NGS and the genealogical community at large. Julie has served on the NGS Board of Directors since October 2006 and has been vice president since October 2010. She served as conference chair for the NGS 2010 Family History Conference in Salt Lake City and for the NGS 2012 Family History Conference in Cincinnati. This year she continued to serve on the conference committee overseeing the conference blog and social media publicity and provided knowledgeable guidance whenever asked.

“Julie is consistently out in front, leading the charge,” said NGS President Jordan Jones. “She is knowledgeable, fair, and thinks about the long term, consistently pushing the board to explore new and innovative ways to use technology to better serve NGS members.” Stefani Evans, 2013 NGS conference chair added, “Julie has freely shared her experience and project management skills while serving on the conference committee again this year. In every interaction, she has been kind, thoughtful, and patient.”

In addition to her service to NGS, Julie has served as president of the Colorado Genealogical Society, Colorado Chapter of APG, and the Bloomfield Genealogical Society. She served on the board of directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors and volunteers at the National Archives Rocky Mountain Regional Branch.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists. Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.

Arlington, VA, 10 May 2013: The National Genealogical Society held its annual banquet on Friday evening, 10 May, at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, to present awards that acknowledge and honor genealogical scholarship and service. Each year, these awards are presented to organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to NGS programs or have performed outstanding work in the field of genealogy, history, biography, or heraldry.

National Genealogical Society Hall of Fame: Beginning in 1986, the National Genealogy Hall of Fame program, administered by the National Genealogical Society, has honored outstanding genealogists whose achievements in the field of American genealogy have had a great impact on our field. Qualified nominations are solicited annually from genealogical organizations. Those nominated must have been deceased for at least five years and have been actively engaged in genealogy for a minimum of ten years. Their contributions to the field of genealogy in this country need to have been significant in a way that was unique, pioneering, or exemplary. Such contributions could have been as an author of books or articles that added significantly to the body of published works, served as a model of genealogical research or writing, or made source records more readily available. Nominees could also have been a teacher or lecturer, or contributed to the field through leadership in a genealogical organization or periodical.

Entries are judged by a panel of genealogists from various parts of the United States. This year, Earl Gregg Swem, whose nomination was made by The Virginia Genealogical Society, was elected to the NGS Hall of Fame. For thirty-seven years his career was devoted to the collection and publication of materials on Virginia and Virginians. He was the assistant librarian at the Virginia State Library for twelve years and then became the head of the William and Mary College Library from which he retired in 1944.

Fellowship in the National Genealogical Society recognizes a valued servant of the National Genealogical Society. This year’s Fellow, Donn J. Devine, is a retired Brigadier General with the Delaware National Guard and a resident of Wilmington, Delaware. He has been the archivist of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington since 1989. He served eight years as a director of NGS from 1994-2002. Donn was one of the first lecturers on the appropriate use of DNA and serves as the administrator of two family DNA projects. He has been Board-certified since 1987 and has performed many services for the genealogical community at large. He chaired NGS’s committee on standards and currently serves on the Records Preservation & Access Committee and is a member of the NGSQ Editorial Board. He is a former trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (1992-2006), for which he currently serves as general counsel. He is a past president of the Delaware Society, Sons of the American Revolution, and is a trustee of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.

Among Donn’s publications are “Sorting Relationships Among Families with the Same Surname: An Irish American DNA Study” published in The National Genealogical Society Quarterly in December 2005. His articles have been published in The American Genealogist and The Delaware Genealogical Society Journal. His most recent article, “The European Origin of George Falk (1823-1900), Brooklyn Watchmaker” was published in The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Record in January 2013.

For his years of service to the genealogical community; his dedication to meticulous adherence to best practices in the field of genealogy as researcher, writer, and lecturer; and for his unflinching volunteer efforts on behalf of the National Genealogical Society and the genealogical community at large, the NGS Board has elected Donn J. Devine a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society.

William Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship is awarded to a librarian whose primary focus is genealogy and local history and who is employed in a public, academic, or special library. This year’s award, and a $1,000 prize underwritten by ProQuest, went to Elizabeth Crabtree Wells, manager of the Special Collection Department at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Active in the genealogical and historical community, she served as past president of the Alabama Genealogical Society, the Birmingham Genealogical Society, and is a founder and past president of the Society of Alabama Archivists. She is a regular lecturer at the Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. She is co-author of The History of Judson College. Elizabeth holds a BA from Judson College, an MA from Auburn University, and a MLS from the University of Alabama.

The Award of Merit is presented to an individual or non-profit genealogical or historical organization to recognize exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy over a period of five or more years, which has significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy. For over twenty-five years Carolyn Marguerite Hutchinson Brown has taught genealogy classes and passionately and unabashedly promoted genealogy. She has published six books on her family and her husband’s family lines and has authored many articles published in a variety of genealogical publications. She also founded the Bouse Genealogical Society in Bouse, Arizona, in 2008. She continues to chair, teach, and mentor the group today. As the nomination form concluded, “One person can and does make a difference!”

Family History Writing Contest: Paul K. Graham of Salt Lake City, Utah, was the winner of the Family History Writing contest with his entry, A Love Story Proved: The Life and Family of Laura Lavinia (Kelly) Combs. This award is to encourage NGS members to write a family history that covers at least three generations and not more than four generations of their family.

National Genealogical Society Quarterly’s Award for Excellence: This award is presented for an outstanding article published in the NGSQ in the previous calendar year. The winner of this year’s award emphasized the importance of cultural practices, comprehensive research, and creative problem solving. For 2012, the editors have chosen Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: The Bittner Family from Bavaria to New York, by F. Warren Bittner, cg, published in the September 2012 issue of the NGSQ.

Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources: This year’s recipients were Robert S. Davis of Hanceville, Alabama, and Ted O. Brooke of Cumming, Georgia. The title of their entry was Georgia Research: A Handbook for Genealogists, Historians, Archivists, Lawyers, Librarians, and Other Researchers. This award is for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a book, an article, or a series of articles that discuss genealogical methods and sources, which serves to foster scholarship and/or advances or promotes excellence in genealogy.

Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book: This year’s recipient was Helen Schatvet Ullmann, cg, fasg, of Acton, Massachusetts. The title of her entry was Some Descendants of Roger Billings of Dorchester, Massachusetts. This award is for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a family genealogy or family history book published in the past five years. Entries serve to foster scholarship and/or otherwise advance or promote excellence in genealogy.

Senior Rubincam Youth Award (for students in grades 10-12 or between the ages of 16 and 18): Andrew Staton of Simpsonville, South Carolina, was this year’s winner. The title of his entry was My Windsor and Young Ancestors. The Senior Rubincam Award was established in 1986 to honor Milton Rubincam, cg, fasg, fngs, for his many years of service to the National Genealogical Society and to the field of genealogy. The award encourages and recognizes our youth as the next generation of family historians.

Home Study Course Scholarship: Kristin Harms of Alpharetta, Georgia, was the winner of the Home Study Course Scholarship. Harms received the award for having demonstrated her serious interest in pursuing a career in genealogy. Criteria include attending genealogy conferences and training, subscribing to genealogical publications, and membership in NGS.

The renowned NGS Home Study Course provides a solid foundation for researchers just starting out and new possibilities for experienced researchers more difficult problems. The self-paced, year-long course is published on CD and is offered with a grading option. Learners receive feedback from experts while conducting their personal research.

Ann C. Hilke was presented with the NGS Past President’s pin in recognition of her dedication and service to NGS.

MyHeritage delivers historic U.S. Census records to millions of families worldwide

Travel back in time: Global family history network gives users a snapshot into the lives of their ancestors from 1790 to 1930

PROVO, Utah & TEL AVIV, Israel – May 1, 2013: MyHeritage, the popular family history network, today announced that it has added the entire collection of U.S. Federal Censuses conducted each decade from 1790 to 1930 to its growing database of billions of historical records. Combined with innovative technologies and affordable prices, MyHeritage makes it easier and more accessible than ever to illuminate the lives of one’s ancestors during this fascinating period in American history.

Among the nation’s largest and most important set of records totaling around 520 million names, the Censuses provide information about individuals residing in the U.S. including age, address, education, occupation, place of birth, race, native language, marital status, relationship to head of household, neighbors – and more. Family history enthusiasts can now search the indexed images of the U.S. Censuses and discover the legacy of former generations between 1790 and 1930 in the U.S.

To make discoveries easier, MyHeritage offers a sophisticated system of automatic record matching for the family trees on the site, dramatically reducing research time. New information uncovered in the Censuses triggers a domino effect of new discoveries within the MyHeritage global network of family trees and records. Resulting connections with other family trees could shed light on the roots of many families who immigrated to the U.S., connecting them to long-lost relatives abroad. Translated to 40 different languages, MyHeritage is the only company to deliver discoveries from the U.S. Censuses to a global audience.

The new records, which include the remaining fragments of the 1890 U.S. Federal Census mostly destroyed in a fire, complement the existing 1940 U.S. Census which is already available on MyHeritage. A summary of any census record can be viewed for free and users can choose between affordable pay-as-you-go credits or a data subscription for full unlimited access to all historical content, including the images of the original census pages.

“Adding the U.S. Censuses is paramount for offering a one-stop shop for family history”, said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “With this move we maximize value for users by combining the best family tree tools and the most powerful matching technologies with a massive library of historical content. The U.S. Censuses add incredible new value for our users, who will receive a string of new discoveries, and act as a catalyst for taking research further into the past and across new borders. This is just the tip of the iceberg as we’re set to add significant additional collections of historical records, both from the U.S. and around the world, in 2013.”

The U.S. census records are also being added to WorldVitalRecords and FamilyLink, and will be made available soon to the users of Geni – three additional websites owned and operated by MyHeritage.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is a family history network helping millions of families around the world discover and share their legacy online. Pioneers in making family history a collaborative experience for the entire family, MyHeritage empowers its users with innovative social tools and a massive library of historical content. The site is available in 40 languages. For more information visit MyHeritage.

This is a press release I received from findmypast.ie about their new initiative to collect stories of the ANZAC’s or the Australia and New Zeland Army Corps. My Great Grand Uncle Richard Fenton Toomey was an ANZAC. I have written about him here.

April 25th is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand and everyone remembers the great sacrifice these people made.

Press Release

Thousands of new Australian and New Zealand military records added to mark Anzac Day

With Anzac Day fast approaching, Australians and New Zealanders are preparing to reflect on the heroic efforts of their ancestors. To commemorate this important event, leading family history site, findmypast.ie has just launched its inaugural Findmypast Anzac Memory Bank and has also added thousands of new Australia and New Zealand military records to its World Collection.

The updated archives will make it easy for those with Australian and New Zealand ancestors to investigate their family’s past and learn more about their achievements and efforts during Australia’s and New Zealand’s international conflicts. Some of the new records available on findmypast.ie include:

Australasian Imperial Expeditionary Forces Roll of Honour – An index to the roll of honour of the soldiers and sailors of Australian Imperial Expeditionary Forces
New South Wales Roll of Honour – A comprehensive list of the names of service personnel extracted from honour rolls in schools, public halls, clubs and village war memorials across NSW
New Zealand War Medal Roll – An index of returns of Officers and Men of the Colonial Forces who made applications for the New Zealand War Medal for services before 1866
New Zealand Boer War Servicemen – A list of New Zealand servicemen who took part in the Boer Wars

The updated military records will be another essential tool for anyone currently using the Anzac Memory Bank available on findmypast.ie. The Anzac Memory Bank is a commemorative archive, which contains heroic stories, exclusive photos, and expert information about Australian and New Zealand involvement in all wars and conflicts around the world. Users have shared their own personal and family stories, photos and diary entries so that others can learn what it was like to live through these times of turmoil.

Paul Nixon, military expert from findmypast, commented: “The updated military records and the online functionality of the Anzac Memory Bank make it easier than ever for those interested in Australian and New Zealand family history to commemorate the efforts of their bravest ancestors. The simplicity and ease of use make findmypast.ie a fantastic resource for finding out more about your military ancestors.”

Tara McMahon is one of countless Australian and New Zealand descendants who have discovered the phenomenal efforts of their ancestors with findmypast.ie. She said of her great uncle:

“Private Francis McMahon of the 10th Lighthorse Division was killed in action on the third wave at the Battle of Hill 60. Witnessing his death was one of Australia’s first Victoria Cross recipients, Lieutenant H.V Throssell. Through findmypast.ie I found a private letter from Lieutenant H.V Throssell to his commanding officer commending the efforts of my ancestor and three other men who took part in the battle. Lieutenant H.V Throssell spoke about my great uncle for years after the war as he toured Australia recalling the moments resulting in his Victoria Cross award.

“Were it not for findmypast.ie I would never have known of the exceptional bravery and passion that my great uncle displayed. It fills me with pride to know that one of Australia’s bravest men commends my ancestor for his bravery!”

In addition to the updated records on findmypast.ie, Inside History magazine are thrilled to announce a collaboration to produce an exclusive free digital magazine. The digital magazine will showcase new international historical records as well as providing intriguing case studies from around Australia. The free digital magazine is available on iPad by visiting the Anzac Memory Bank on findmypast.ie.

With even more military records included in the findmypast.ie archives and a new digital magazine it’s easier than ever before for Australian and New Zealand descendants to uncover the lost history of their ancestors.

The new records are available on all of findmypast’s international sites as part of a World Subscription.

This is a press release received from Findmypast.ie today.

Hollywood star, Tom Cruise, flew into Ireland this week to discover his family history with the help of records found on leading Irish family history website, findmypast.ie.

The star, whose real name is Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, was invited by Tourism Ireland to re-connect with his Irish ancestry during his promotional tour of his latest film, Oblivion. He was presented with a family tree, dating back six generations to 1825.

The research into Cruise’s family was completed by Fiona Fitzsimons and Helen Moss of award-winning history and heritage company, Eneclann, partner company of findmypast.ie. The genealogists used several sources to compile the research including US census, Irish famine immigrant and civil registration records found on findmypast.ie.

The marriage of Patrick Russell Cruise and Teresa Johnson in Warrenstown House, Co. Meath in 1825 saw the unification of two ancient families, with origins in competing cultural and political traditions. These are Tom Cruise’s great-great-great grandparents.

Fiona Fitzsimons, lead researcher on Cruise’s family tree said: “The key to successfully tracing Tom’s family history was to find the person who provided the link between Ireland and America. The records on findmypast were the perfect research tool. We used the U.S. Census records to trace his immigrant ancestors and the U.S. records for births, marriages and deaths to build a family profile over two generations. Armed with this information, we searched the Irish records to join the dots and trace the family before they left Ireland.”

The married couple emigrated to New Jersey in 1825 where the star’s great-great grandmother, Mary Paulina Russell Cruise was born in 1832. She went on to marry Dillion Henry Mapother of Louisville, Kentucky in 1858. Mapother had links to Co. Roscommon and this is the origin of Cruise’s little-known, double-barreled surname today.

Niall Cullen, from findmypast.ie said: “We are very excited that the Irish roots of such a famous person were found with the help of records on our website. Some of the research even links Tom’s ancestors to lands in Hollywood, North Dublin! It seems that even the world’s biggest celebrities are interested in finding out about their Irish family history”.

The records used during the research are available on all of findmypast’s international sites as part of a World Subscription.

This press release is from findmypast.ie

RECORDS REVEAL 400 YEARS OF WESTMINSTER’S HISTORY

Leading family history website findmypast.ie has today published online for the first time parish records held by the City of Westminster Archives Centre.

The Westminster Collection comprises fully searchable transcripts and scanned images of the parish registers dating back over 400-years.

The 3 million records cover the period 1538-1945 and come from over 50 Westminster churches including St Anne, Soho, St Clement Danes, St George Hanover Square, St James Westminster, St Margaret Westminster, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St Mary-le-Strand and St Paul Covent Garden.

Some of the fascinating documents now available online detail the wedding of Theodore Roosevelt, the former US President, in 1886; the marriage of UK Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel; and the marriage of poet Percy Shelley.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager at findmypast.ie, said: “This collection is one of the largest UK regional parish record collections we have ever published online.

“Wherever they are in the world, those tracing their London ancestors can now search this historical goldmine and uncover fascinating stories. Whether you are a family historian or a social historian, there is something that will intrigue everyone in these records”.

Adrian Autton, Archives Manager at Westminster Archives commented: “The launch of the Westminster Collection is of huge significance and makes Westminster records fully accessible to a global audience. This resource will be of immense value to anyone whose ancestors lived in Westminster and to anyone wishing to study the rich heritage of this truly great city.”

The new Westminster Collection at findmypast.ie joins a growing resource of official UK parish records from local archives, including Cheshire Archives & Local Studies, Manchester City Council and Plymouth and West Devon Records Office, with many more in the pipeline, due to go live in the coming months. In addition, over 40 million UK parish records from family history societies can be found at findmypast.ie in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies.

The Westminster Collection is available on all of findmypast’s international sites as part of a World Subscription.

This marks the first phase in findmypast.ie’s project with City of Westminster Archives. In the coming months the following records will be published online too:

• Non-conformist registers 1694-1945
• Cemetery registers 1855-1990
• Parish rate books 1561-1900
• Settlement examination books 1701-1840
• Removal registers 1710-1867
• Poor relief lists 1715-1869
• Workhouse admission and discharge books 1725-1869
• Apprenticeship registers 1640-1869
• Bastardy records 1657-1825
• Militia records 1780-1816
• Watch, constables and beadles’ records 1736-1830
• Wills and probate records 1504-1829

About Westminster City Archives

Westminster City Archives aims to provide a centre of excellence, where archives and local studies materials are acquired, preserved and made accessible, in order to raise the profile of Westminster’s unique heritage within a global context.

The Archives Centre is designated by the Bishop of London, under the terms of the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978, as the repository for ecclesiastical records for the pre-1965 City of Westminster and has also been appointed by the Lord Chancellor as a repository for specified classes of public records under the provisions of Section 4 of the Public Records Act 1958. These include Petty Sessions records, probate records of the Westminster Commissary Court and Coroner’s Court records. It is also recognised by the Master of the Rolls as a repository for manorial and tithe documents under the Law of Property Act 1922 and the Tithe Act 1936.

The Archives Centre holds extensive collections relating to family, local, business and community history in the geographical area of the present day City of Westminster, including the former Metropolitan Boroughs of Paddington and St Marylebone. Among the resources available are books, pamphlets, directories, newspapers, journals, maps and plans, over 60,000 prints, drawings and photographs, local government records from 1460, electoral registers, census returns, parish registers, and business archives.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The biggest collection of historical criminal records from England and Wales is being published online for the first time by leading family history site www.findmypast.ie in association with The UK National Archives.

Over 2.5 million records dating from 1770-1934 will be easily searchable and provide a wide variety of colour, detail and fascinating social history, chronicling the fate of criminals ranging from fraudsters, counterfeiters, thieves and murderers and their victims.

They contain mugshots, court documents, appeal letters, examples of early Edwardian ‘ASBOs’- where habitual drunks were banned from pubs and entertainment venues –and registers from the prison ‘hulk’ ships, which were used when mainland prisons were overcrowded. One such hulk, the ‘Dolphin’, housed 6,000 prisoners between 1829 and 1835.

There are details of Victorian serial killers including Amelia Dyer, who, between 1880 and 1896, is believed to have murdered 400 babies by strangling them with ribbon and dumping them in the Thames. She was hanged at Newgate Prison in 1896 aged 57.

Another particularly gruesome murderer who appears in the Crime, Prisons and Punishment records is Catherine Webster, who killed widow Julia Martha Thomas, 55. She pushed her down the stairs, then strangled her, chopped up her body and boiled it. Julia’s head was found in David Attenborough’s garden in 2010.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager at findmypast.ie, said: “These records provide anyone with roots in the UK an amazing chance to trace criminals and their victims in their family. They feature incredible descriptions of criminals’ appearances, demeanour and identifying marks, giving you a real insight to who each person was. The British newspaper articles also available on findmypast.ie show how the crimes were reported in the press of the day – which supplements the criminal records and makes searching through them as enjoyable as it is easy, as you cross-reference one against the other”

Paul Carter, Principle Modern Domestic records specialist at The UK National Archives added: “These records span several government series and show the evolution of the criminal justice system in the nineteenth century as the country dealt with the impact of industrialisation, urbanisation and population growth.

“They record the intimate details of hundreds of thousands of people, beginning with judges’ recommendations for or against pardons, to petitions through which criminals and their families could offer mitigating circumstances and grounds for mercy, and later, licences containing everything from previous convictions to the state of a prisoner’s health.

“As well as the Georgian highway robber, the Victorian murderer and the Edwardian thief, the courts often dealt with the rural poacher, the unemployed petty food thief or the early trade unionist or Chartist. The records are a fascinating source for family, local and social historians.”

The information in the records comes from a variety of UK Government departments including the Home Office, Prison Commission, Metropolitan Police, Central Criminal Court and the Admiralty. The records from 1817-1931 will be published first followed by the period 1770-1934 in the coming months.

The Crime, Prisons and Punishment records are available on findmypast.ie as part of a Britain & Ireland or a World subscription. They are also available online at findmypast.co.uk, findmypast.com and findmypast.com.au.

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