Tuesday, August 19, 2008

3.2M UK parish records added to FindMyPast.com

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FindMyPast.com. Please address all inquiries to debra.chatfield@findmypast.com.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FINDMYPAST.COM EXTENDS ONLINE PARISH RECORDS COLLECTION

Online access to millions of nationwide parish marriage records pre-dating the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths

UK family history website findmypast.com today announced it has added 3.2 million marriage records to its Parish Records Collection at http://www.findmypast.com/parish-records-collection-search-start.action?redef=0. The new parish records, dating back to 1538, join the 15 million burial records already available to search on the site.

The Parish Records Collection brings together in one easy-to-search central place the disparate records from local parishes, which have been collated by local family history societies since 1911, coordinated by the Federation of Family History Societies.

The registers are particularly valuable sources of information for people seeking to research their family tree back further than the civil records of birth, marriage and death, which began in 1837, and the nineteenth century censuses.

Easy to search

Thanks to the cross-database search facility at findmypast.com, you will be able to search for your ancestor by surname across all the parish records on the site without needing to know where in the country they came from, helping people to delve even deeper into their ancestors' pasts.

Famous people in the parish marriage records

Among the famous names recorded in the parish marriages is writer Charles John Huffam Dickens, whose marriage to Catherine Thomson Hogarth took place in Chelsea on 2 April 1836, just one year prior to civil registration in England and Wales.

In the same year, on 5 July, engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel's marriage to Mary Elizabeth Horsley is shown in Kensington.

Both records have been contributed by the West Middlesex Family History Society.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at findmypast.com said: "The parish registers are an essential resource for anyone trying to trace their ancestors back to the early sixteenth century. By publishing these records online, findmypast.com is helping to open up new avenues of research for family historians worldwide from the comfort of their own home."

Over the coming months findmypast.com will be adding parish baptism records to the website too.

About findmypast.com

Leading UK family history website findmypast.com (formerly 1837online.com) was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online in April 2003.

Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two million images, the company launched the first website to allow the public easy and fast access to the complete indexes, which until then had only been available on microfiche film in specialist archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK today.

Findmypast has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 600 million records dating as far back as 1538. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records.

In November 2006 findmypast launched the ancestorsonboard.com microsite in association with The National Archives to publish outbound passenger lists for long-distance voyages departing all British ports between 1890 and 1960.

As well as providing access to historical records, findmypast is also developing a range of online tools to help people discover and share their family history more easily, beginning with the launch of Family Tree Explorer in July 2007.

Over 1.7 million people in the UK have researched their family trees and findmypast.com has over 800,000 active registered users, revealing the mass appeal of genealogy and findmypast.com's position as the leading family history website based in the UK.

In April 2007 findmypast's then parent company Title Research Group received the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007 in recognition of their achievement.

Findmypast.com was acquired in December 2007 by brightsolid, the company which won The National Archives' tender to publish online the 1911 census.