Genealogy news roundup: FamilySearch to introduce sign-in for users

By Rosemary Collins, 23 November 2017 - 3:02pm

Plus: Findmypast adds First World War soldiers’ medical records; 1910 Lloyd George Domesday survey available on TheGenealogist; Plans for new Carmarthenshire archives approved

FamilySearch users are being directed to sign up for a free account

From 13 December 2017, all users of free family history website FamilySearch will have to have an account to view its collection of records.

Visitors will see a prompt telling them to either register or sign in to their existing account to use the site.

Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch, said a large percentage of visitors were “not benefiting from much of what FamilySearch has to offer” because they didn't have accounts.

FamilySearch also explained that to continue offering features like family trees, apps, digital books, and dynamic help, it would have to “assure all its partners that its content is offered in a safe and secure online environment”.

However, it informed users that membership would remain free and that it would not share their information with third parties without permission.

FamilySearch, which is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, holds millions of records in different languages, transcribed or digitised by volunteers.

They include birth, marriage and death, census and military records.


Findmypast adds First World War soldiers' medical records

Medical records of injured servicemen in the First World War are now available on Findmypast.

The family history website has added the series 'MH106, War Office: First World War Representative Medical Records of Servicemen' from The National Archives (TNA).

The records, containing 212,000 names, are the only surviving First World War medical records and were kept as a representative sample of the total.

For data protection reasons, Findmypast has only published records where the admission date is at least 100 years ago, meaning more will be added in the coming years.

Findmypast adds First World War soldiers' medical records


1910 Lloyd George Domesday Survey available on TheGenealogist

A comprehensive survey of the nation in 1910, accompanied by maps, will be made available to view on TheGenealogist.

The 1910 Land Valuation Survey, or ‘Domesday’ survey, was an initiative of the then chancellor David Lloyd George, conducted as part of a plan to raise taxes on land in order to fund the 'People's Budget', which included plans for welfare initiatives as well as new battleships that could compete with Germany.

The records and maps, held by The National Archives, are in the process of being digitised on TheGenealogist. The first set of data, for the City of London and Paddington, has been released this week, with information from across the country due to follow.

Family historians can search for their ancestors’ names to find out their address in 1910, accompanied by images of the original records and five feet to the mile Ordnance Survey maps used in 1910.

Although the valuation books for London are also on Ancestry, the maps, linking to the records, are exclusive to TheGenealogist, enabling you to find the exact place where your ancestor lived.


Plans for new Carmarthenshire archives approved

Carmarthenshire county council has approved plans for a new £2 million facility to house the Welsh county’s archives.

The archives will be housed in a three-storey building behind the library on St Peter’s Street, with the public search room located on the top floor.

The records are currently being stored in Cardiff and Swansea after the old archive facility had to close because of mould problems.

Cllr Alun Lenny, chair of the planning committee, called the plan for the new archives “excellent and exciting”.


Deceased Online adds Lambeth and West Norwood cremation records

Records of 90,000 cremations in Lambeth, dating from 1915 to 2012, can now be searched on Deceased Online.

The records come from West Norwood crematorium – located in one of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ Victorian cemeteries – and Lambeth crematorium, which opened in 1958.

Website users can search for basic details for free, while digital scans of the original cremation registers are available to purchase.

Deceased Online has also digitised the records for Lambeth, West Norwood, and Streatham cemeteries, which will be released at a future date.


Family historians encouraged to submit images of trouser-wearing women

Photographs of women who defied convention by wearing trousers are being sought as part of a new online archive.

‘Women in Trousers’ is a new free website bringing together images of trouser-wearing women from the 1850s to the 1960s, run by Cardiff University.

The 'Who Wore the Trousers?' section includes pictures of women wearing trousers submitted by family historians, wh oare invited to email them to

Dr Becky Munford, reader in English Literature at Cardiff University’s School of English, Communication and Philosophy, who organised the project, said: “The response to the request for images for the ‘Who Wore the Trousers?’ section of the archive has already been fantastic.

"With several moving stories emerging from these photographs, this is one of the most exciting and valuable parts of the project. We would love to hear from anyone who has a photo to share or a story to tell”.


Ipswich borough council criticises Suffolk archive plans

A local council has raised a number of concerns with plans for a new archive facility in Ipswich.

A report prepared ahead of a meeting of the Ipswich borough council planning and development control committee criticised Suffolk county council’s plans for The Hold heritage centre because of a lack of a masterplan setting for the eastern elevation.

It also recommended that the building be made more environmentally friendly, with options including ensuring that at least 15% of its energy came from decentralised and renewable or low carbon sources and exploring the possibility of a green roof.

The report quoted the Ipswich Society, which seeks to preserve the town’s old buildings, as saying that while it supported the idea of The Hold, it was concerned that the proposed building itself was “a camel, a building that tries to meet the needs of all users and thus becomes a mish-mash of different styles”.

Ipswich borough council is a consultee in the planning process, with decision-making power resting with Suffolk council.

Cllr Tony Goldson, Suffolk county council’s cabinet member for health, said the council was now working with the design team to see how the front of the building and the eastern elevation could be made more visually striking.


Website for Mayflower passengers and descendants launches

The first website to provide comprehensive biographies of the Mayflower pilgrims, as well as an online community for their descendants, has now launched.

The Mayflower Heritage and History website has been developed by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, which announced a partnership with the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in July, as part of preparations to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the voyage in 2020.

The website features biographies of the Mayflower passengers and crew, with explanations of the resources used to research them, and the chance for the estimated 30 million Mayflower descendants alive today to add their name and photograph to an online gallery.

The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth to America in September 1620, transporting the first Puritans to the new world.

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