Genealogy news roundup: Funding granted for burial sites database

By Rosemary Collins, 1 February 2018 - 2:45pm

Plus: Oldham Evening Chronicle archives preserved; MyHeritage allows users to contact DNA matches for free

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The church of St John the Baptist in Harescombe, Gloucestershire. Credit: Stephen Dorey

The first national database of burial sites in England and Wales will be created thanks to a £586,700 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The grant was given to Caring for God’s Acre, a non-religious charity focused on preserving and celebrating burial grounds, to fund the Beautiful Burial Ground Project.

Caring for God’s Acre described one of the purposes of the four-year project as to “Create a bespoke database with interactive map where individual burial sites can be mapped, linking biological records to a particular site, easily accessed by all and linked to other national heritage databases”.

In addition, it will encourage citizen science and historic and cultural recording of both graveyards and the wildlife they contain.

 

BMD and census records free on Findmypast to mark 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote

Thousands of British and Irish census, birth, marriage and death records are available for free on Findmypast for the next week to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

In addition, more than 3,000 Metropolitan Police and Home Office records revealing the authorities’ surveillance of the suffragette movement are available on the website in a new collection.

The census and BMD records will be free until 8 February, while the suffragette collection will be free until 8 March – International Women’s Day.

To view them, users will have to register for a Findmypast account but will not be charged.

BMD and census records free on Findmypast to mark 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote

 

Over 105,000 Wiltshire wills released online

A new collection of thousands of historic wills and probate records from the West Country is now on Ancestry.

The records are held at Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre (WSHC) and come from the historic diocese of Sarum (an archaic name for Salisbury), which covered modern-day Wiltshire and Berkshire, together with parts of Dorset and the parish of Uffculme in Devon.

The collection, digitised by Ancestry staff and the WSHC, includes more than 105,000 wills and over 290,000 related records such as grants of administration, guardianship bonds and inventories of goods.

In total it has records of 118,751 individuals and 514,518 images.

Over 105,000 Wiltshire wills released online

 

Oldham Evening Chronicle archives preserved

The archive of the Oldham Evening Chronicle, which faced an uncertain future after the newspaper closed, will be preserved after it passed into public ownership.

The newspaper opened in 1854 and continued publishing as an independent paper until its last issue in August 2017.

Jean Stretton, leader of Oldham Council, hailed the “brilliant news”, saying: “It would have been a tragedy for this important collection to have been lost to future generations”.

The archive of newspaper cuttings and images, which is 25.35 cubic metres in size, will be held in temporary storage before being made available for public use after the collections store at the new Oldham Heritage and Arts centre opens in late 2019-early 2020.
 

MyHeritage allows users to contact DNA matches for free

MyHeritage DNA test users are now allowed to contact matches without subscribing to the website.

The Contacting DNA matches feature, which lets potential relatives message each other, remains free for users who uploaded DNA data to the website and is now free for those who don’t have a subscription plan.

In a blog post, MyHeritage said: “We are making this free because this has been a frequent request by our users.

“In addition, we believe it will benefit the community because more people will be contacting their DNA Matches, resulting in more family reunions, more discoveries, and increased collaboration.”

 

People’s History Museum appeals for submissions to Representation of the People Act exhibition

The People’s History Museum in Manchester is inviting members of the public to submit entries to a new exhibition exploring the impact of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted the right to vote to all men and some women.

Participants are invited to submit an object, photograph, artwork, memento, banner or piece of campaign material from the past or present that depicts their story of representation, or that of their family.

A selection of submissions will be included in ‘Represent! Voices 100 Years On’, a feminist zine-style exhibition which opens on 2 June.

Jenny Mabbott, head of collections at the People’s History Museum, said: “Having an understanding of the stories and sacrifices of those in the past gives us a greater insight into the ongoing fights for representation and equality.”

To find out more, email represent@phm.org.uk.

BMD and census records free on Findmypast to mark 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote
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How women won the right to vote
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BMD and census records free on Findmypast to mark 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote
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How women won the right to vote
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