Genealogy news roundup: First date revealed for Who Do You Think You Are? 2018

By Rosemary Collins, 24 May 2018 - 2:16pm

Plus: Findmypast announces deal to digitise Kent parish registers; Federation of Family History Societies issues warning over CARN expiry; Research project appeals for stories of family history DNA testing

Michelle Keegan
Michelle Keegan's episode will air on 6 June (Credit: Getty Images)

The first episode of Who Do You Think You Are? series 15, starring actress Michelle Keegan, will air on BBC One at 9pm on Wednesday 6 June, the BBC has announced.

The episode will air as part of the BBC's Hear Her season to mark 100 years of women's suffrage and will show Michelle discovering a suffragette ancestor with a personal connection to Emmeline Pankhurst, as well as uncovering her family's links to Gibraltar during the Second World War.

Michelle Keegan is the star of BBC One drama Our Girl, which will return for its third series on 5 June.

The rest of Who Do You Think You Are? 2018, starring celebrities including Boy George, Olivia Colman and Lee Mack, is expected to air over the summer.


Findmypast announces deal to digitise Kent parish registers

Family history website Findmypast has announced a new partnership with Kent County Council in order to digitise the county's collection of over 2,500 Anglican parish registers.

The registers, held at the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone, date from the early 16th century to 1918, and include baptism, marriage, banns and burial records.

Online images of these records, available in searchable indexes, will be released on Findmypast in stages, with the first being published later this year.

Paul Nixon, content licensing manager at Findmypast, said: "We are delighted that so much of Kent's rich history and many of its people's stories will be better known through this partnership."

Findmypast announces deal to digitise Kent parish registers


Federation of Family History Societies issues warning over CARN expiry

The Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) has urged local authorities to sign up to a replacement to the County Archives Research Network (CARN) scheme, which is set to expire.

CARN is a nationally recognised system of reader's tickets, currently used at 68 local authorities, which allows researchers to produce a card instead of bringing identity and proof of address documents every time.

CARN is due to close on 30 November, and be replaced by the Archives Card, a new self-funding scheme incorporating user identification and 'smart' technology.

Around 40 local authorities have signed up to the new scheme, but unless at least 20 more join by 31 May, it will not be financially viable and will not happen.

The FFHS urged family historians and 'friends of' archives societies to lobby their local archives and authorities to join the scheme.

Archives interested in joining should email Jon Chambers of the Archives and Records Association at before 31 May.


Research project appeals for stories of family history DNA testing

A Manchester research project is appealing for people who've used DNA testing to explore their family history to take part in focus groups to discuss their experiences.

Double Helix History is a University of Manchester research project looking at DNA, public history, genealogy, family history.

The researchers are interested in hearing from people who've had their DNA tested for family history or are interested in doing so, whose family story has changed due to DNA testing, or who have concerns about privacy, ethics and biodata.

Volunteers will take part in two focus group sessions in Manchester Central Library on 26 June.

To register to take part, click here.


FamilySearch adds more Devon's Bishop's Transcripts

Free family history website FamilySearch has expanded its collection of Devon Bishop's Transcripts by indexing an additional 446,584 records.

The Bishop's Transcripts date from 1558 to 1887 and include baptisms, marriages and burials.

From 1538, Church of England parishes were required to keep records of key life events for their parishioners.

The Bishop's Transcripts were copies of these registers sent to the local bishop every year, providing an additional copy of the records.


FamilyTree DNA shuts down free databases over data protection concerns

FamilyTree DNA's free, public genetic genealogy databases, Mitosearch and Ysearch, were shut down today ahead of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on 25 May.

In a statement on the two websites, FamilyTree DNA said that it "did not make this decision lightly" but believed it was necessary given the resources involved in making the sites GDPR compliant.

It added that it had also considered "The current environment regarding DNA privacy as well as recent events in the news", such as the American police's use of samples on DNA database GEDmatch to identify a suspect in the 'Golden State' serial killer case.

The two databases allowed researchers to upload and compare testing results for their mitochondrial DNA (used to trace the paternal line) and Y chromosome DNA (used for paternal ancestors).


Working class oral history archive goes online

The Elizabeth Roberts' Working Class Oral History Archive is now available online thanks to a project by Lancaster University.

In the 1970s, Dr Roberts conducted one of Britain's earliest and most important oral history projects, interviewing people in Lancaster, Barrow and Preston about their memories of life from the 1890 to 1940.

Following a £45,000 digitisation project, transcripts of the interviews, indexed by theme were launched on the university's Regional Heritage Centre website on 19 May.

The next stages for the project are digitising a third set of oral history recordings covering life from 1940 to 1970, and a community history project to create an online exhibition for presentation alongside the transcripts.


National Library of Scotland adds commercial maps

A new collection of 220 maps of Scotland between 1840 and 1940, published by commercial map-makers, has been added to the National Library of Scotland's (NLS) free online collections.

They were published by companies including G.W. Bacon & Co., John Bartholomew & Son, J. & W. Emslie, Gall & Inglis, W. & A.K. Johnston and Edward Stanford.

There are many maps of the whole of Scotland, including geological maps, maps for tourists, and road maps for cyclists and motorists.

Other interesting maps in the collection include Robert and William Smith's pioneering Botanical Survey of Scotland maps (1900-1905), railway maps by J. & W. Emslie and 1907-1909 War Office maps of proposed east coast defences.


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