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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.

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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.

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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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The National Institute for Genealogical Studies has release the following information on a new course that they are offering starting on March 4th.

7 February 2013 – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – The National Institute for Genealogical Studies has a new course, Creating Genealogy Programs for Adults & the Younger Generation. This excellent course was written by Jennifer Holik who has authored a number of books about developing genealogy programs for children and societies/libraries. The first course start date is Monday, March 4, 2013 and will be offered every three months. It is six modules in length.

The course description is:

Engaging adults in genealogy has typically been a task for genealogical societies rather than libraries. Today however, many libraries are creating adult genealogy groups and programs. Attendance for these programs is easier to obtain than perhaps a youth program in genealogy. But, these libraries are also looking for ways to engage the youth in genealogy. The problem lies in how to capture their interest and create a program that will convey the basics of research in a way that is both meaningful and engaging.

This course provides an example of creating an adult genealogy program first, as a way to lay the foundation for a youth program. It follows with examples of youth programs for those in grades one through twelve. The examples are laid out into one hour, one and a half-hour, half-day, and full-day workshops and cover the basics of research while also incorporating social and local history. The final result is a rich and useful youth genealogy program. Requirements and suggestions on assisting youth who are earning Scout-type badges follows and finally, you will take the youth workshop beyond the classroom. You will learn ways to continue your own education, create and provide additional resources for your library, and connect with others.

NOTE: Although this course is written with the librarian in mind, it is also suitable for the society organizer, archivist, professional genealogist, or teacher.

You can sign up for the course and order printed materials on the National Institute for Genealogical Studies website.

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