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Archive for December, 2008

Online Courses in Genealogy and Family History

Wednesday, 10th December, 2008

The following announcement was written by Pharos Teaching & Tutoring Limited:

Top military historian Simon Fowler joins Pharos’ roster of family history experts to lead a Pharos online course on researching military ancestors. Starting on 20 January 2009, the five-week course will look at the major resources available online and in record offices, such as The National Archives and the Imperial War Museum.

“I’m looking to forward to working with Pharos. Their courses and tutors are highly regarded,” said Simon, “Military genealogy is something which has really started to appear on the web over the past couple of years. And I think students on the course will be surprised by what they find.”

Simon has published many guides to researching military history, particularly on Army genealogy and the First World War, for The National Archives, Pen & Sword and Countryside Books: “In researching these books I have found many great resources which I have enjoyed sharing with readers.”

He is also an experienced lecturer and tutor. “I’ve always enjoyed the interaction with students in lecture rooms, but it will be a fascinating challenge to recreate this buzz through chatrooms and forums.”

Pharos Teaching & Tutoring has been providing a unique way of learning about British and Irish family history – through online courses – since March 2006

Other Courses in Winter/Spring 2009:

  • 19 January – Become a Better Genealogist
  • 20 January – Military Men and Women: Records of Britain’s Armed Forces 1750 – 1920
  • 2 February – The National Archives Catalogue – Finding People
  • 10 March – Scottish Research Online
  • 20 March – Writing Your Family History
  • 16 March – Searching for Wills and Administrations in England & Wales
  • 23 April – Caribbean Family History
  • 5 May – Scotland 1750 – 1850: Beyond the OPRs

Pharos was the first British company to provide online family history classes aimed specifically at helping researchers with British and Irish ancestry Arrangements for courses are simple and flexible making it easy to get started, study in your own time without having to travel, get help from experienced teachers, and chat about family history with other students. Courses are aimed at beginners and experienced researchers alike.
For more information on courses at Pharos, email –

600,000 Additional U.K. Records of Birth, Baptism, Marriage and Burial

Thursday, 4th December, 2008

The official U.K. National Archives site for Non Parochial and Non Conformist records has just added over 600,000 records of birth, baptism, marriage and burial. These have not previously been searchable online and again contain images of  birth and baptismal records. The records were previously viewable on microfilm as part of the  RG8 series.

Among the more extensive collections in this series are the registers of the British Lying-in Hospital at Holborn, these provide detailed maternity records covering the period 1749 to 1868.
The records can include the following information:-

The Date and order of admission, Woman and Husbands Name, Occupation, Woman’s Age, Parish, Time of Reckoning, Came in, Went out on leave, Returned, Delivered, Child Baptised, Woman Discharged, Recommenders Name

Below is an example from the Register of Births and Baptisms and a Register of Deaths in the British Lying-In Hospital in Endell Street, St Giles in the Fields, Holborn, Middlesex:

On the 17th June 1758, Rachel Ward wife of John a Staymaker aged 27 of the parish St Martin in the Fields was admitted. She gave birth to a boy on the 17th June who was then  baptised on the 25th June with the name Thomas. She was Discharged 5th July. Rachel Ward was recommended to the hospital by Lady Carpenter.

Both the original record of the hospital entry and the baptism images can be viewed, printed or downloaded plus the details viewed and a small tree printed.

The “Lying in” hospital records provide a level of detail that just isn’t available in parish records.

This new release also has registers of burials in the Victoria Park Cemetery, the New Burial Ground, Southwark, Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, Hackney, and the Bethnal Green Protestant Dissenters Burying Ground; registers of Chapels Royal at St James’s Palace, Whitehall and Windsor Castle.

The royal chapel records can be very interesting with diary like entries:-

“February 2nd 1684/5 Candlemas Day, being Monday Be it remembered that his majesty King Charles II was seised with a most violent fit of an apoplexy, which terminated in an intermittent fever of which he died about 12 the Friday following being February 6th. In the afternoon of which day his Royal Highness James Duke of York and Albany etc was proclaimed at Whitehall-gate at Temple Bar and at the Old Exchange in the City, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, etc.”

In addition there are further non conformist records of births and baptisms.

The rest of the series contains the archive of the Russian Orthodox Church in London, 1721-1927. The records include not only registers of births, marriages, deaths and conversions, but also comprehensive general records on the day-to-day workings of the church. The usual language is Russian, with some Greek; there are a few documents such as certificates, letters and passports in English, French and German.

These records are freely searchable on

The Long, Long Trail

Wednesday, 3rd December, 2008

I’ve just come across this site The Long, Long Trail which is all about the British Army in the First World War and aimed at the family and military researcher.

The Long, Long Trail was selected as best overall website for researching military ancestors by the BBCs “Who do you think you are?” magazine and it certainly seems to be a very useful site if you are looking for more information about an ancestor who was in the Army during World War 1.

Researching a soldier

A soldier’s life

Understanding military documents

London Burials Index 1538-1872

Tuesday, 2nd December, 2008

Over 32,000 names have been added to the London Burials Index 1538-1872 with St Leonard Shoreditch Burials.  You can search them on The Origins Network.

The London Burials Index, containing records of over 300,000 burials, combines Boyd’s London Burials, an index completed by Percival Boyd in 1934 to “a few of the burials in the London area” (in fact over 240,000), Cliff Webb’s London City Burials (over 35,000) and St Leonard Shoreditch Burials (over 32,000).

The records include the last name, first name, age, year of death and the burial ground (parish). While Boyd’s entries were restricted “as far as possible” to adult males and only occasionally show the age, the London City and St Leonard Shoreditch Burials records cover all burials – men, women and children – and nearly always show the age.

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