Genealogy news roundup: MyHeritage DNA tests go on sale at WHSmith

By Rosemary Collins, 13 September 2018 - 1:34pm

Plus: TheGenealogist releases Lloyd George Domesday Survey records for Brent; FamilySearch adds 1858–1957 wills index; North East Film Archive launches campaign to find forgotten film collections

WH Smith will sell MyHeritage DNA tests
WHSmith has announced a new commercial partnership with MyHeritage (Credit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Family history DNA testing kits are on sale on the high street for the first time after MyHeritage announced a partnership with WHSmith.

WHSmith shops will now sell the MyHeritage Family History Discovery Kit, which contains an at-home DNA test and three months' access to MyHeritage's online family history records, for £89.

Akiva Glasenberg, MyHeritage's business development manager, said the company had decided to offer the product because interest in DNA testing and family history in the UK had "skyrocketed".

As of last year, MyHeritage had 85 million registered users, offering many opportunities for users to connect with distant relatives using DNA test results and online family trees.


TheGenealogist releases Lloyd George Domesday Survey records for Brent

TheGenealogist has released the third stage of its 1910 Land Valuation, or 'Domesday', Survey records, covering the Brent area of North-West London.

The 'Domesday' survey was an initiative of the then-chancellor David Lloyd George to assess the value of land across England and Wales in order to raise taxes to fund a 'People's Budget'.

TheGenealogist is in the process of digitising the original tithe books and Ordnance Survey maps, which provide useful details such as where your ancestors lived, the value of the property and whether they owned or rented it.

The maps are particularly helpful because the British landscape has changed dramatically in the past century, making it hard to locate ancestors' houses on modern maps.

For example, the new collection shows that Brent, now a London borough, was a rural area with extensive farmlands and woods at the time.


FamilySearch adds 1858–1957 wills index

Details of wills proved in England and Wales between 1858 and 1957 are now available on FamilySearch.

In 1858, responsibility for proving wills in England and Wales transferred from Church courts to the National Court of Probate.

FamilySearch has added 1,024,884 transcribed records from the National Index of Wills and Administrations, listing each person's date of death, date of probate, town, where the will was registered and the names of the beneficiaries.

The complete National Probate Calendar for 1858–1966 and 1973–1995 is already available on Ancestry.

Researchers can also search the National Probate Calendar and order copies of wills for £10 each on the UK Government's Find a Will website.


North East Film Archive launches campaign to find forgotten film collections

The North East Film Archive (NEFA) has launched an appeal to find historic film and videotape collections capturing life in the region.

As part of the North East on Film Project, NEFA – which merged with the Yorkshire Film Archive in 2012 – will work to preserve and digitise the North-East's moving image heritage, and partner with cinemas, community centres, local interest groups and festival organisers to screen the films in the communities where they were first made.

Julie Ballands, North East on Film delivery manager, said: "Films and videos that document the social history of the region including the fashions, cars and buildings are all important, and we're not just after famous faces and professional productions.

"We've recently received some beautifully-shot home movies from Darlington that record a family's bonfire night celebrations in the 1940s, as well as some amazing 1960s advertising films from the former Vaux breweries in Sunderland.

"We know there is much more out there so we urge the public to get in touch!"

If you have a film or video you would like to share, please email or call 01642 384 022.


Findmypast adds new Scottish records

Findmypast has released five new indexes compiled by the Scottish Genealogical Society.

They include a transcription of the Edinburgh Broughton Place United Presbyterian Church Band of Hope Register, listing the names, ages and addresses of people who took temperance pledges with the church between 1886 and 1908.

Over 900 people took the pledges as part of the Presbyterian Church's anti-alcohol crusade, including many children.

In addition, Findmypast added four early censuses, two of which are taken from Kirk Session Records. They record the inhabitants of St Cuthbert's parish in Edinburgh in 1790 and Ladykirk, Berwickshire in 1811.

The other two censuses are a list of the inhabitants of the Burgh of Perth in 1766, compiled by local magistrates, and a list of over 5,000 inhabitants of Tingwall in the Shetland Islands in 1785.


Essex Archives digitises Industrial School admissions registers

Admissions registers of a home for destitute boys can now be explored on the Essex Record Office subscription website.

Spanning 1872-1914, the registers of the Essex Industrial School and Home for Destitute Boys contain details of 1,200 boys, including their reason for admission and sometimes information about their progress and what happened to them after they left the school.

The Industrial School, for boys aged seven to 14 who were convicted of vagrancy, opened in Great Baddow, Chelmsford in 1872 and continued to operate as a Home School until 1975.

The collection of 750 admissions register images can be found on the Essex Archives Online website by searching for Document Reference D/Q 40.


Ancestry announces three new indexing projects

Ancestry has released three new sets of records for volunteers to index online as part of its World Archives Project.

The material includes criminal records and photographs from the West Midlands; vital notices from Australian newspapers, 1841–2001; and ID applications from Stanislav, Ukraine, 1939–45.

The indexes will be published for free online when they are complete.



Sign up to our free email newsletter to get the latest genealogy news, research guides and special offers delivered to your inbox

How do you research overseas evacuees in the Second World War?
previous news Article
Genealogy news roundup: Findmypast adds Jersey German occupation records
next news Article
How do you research overseas evacuees in the Second World War?
previous news Article
Genealogy news roundup: Findmypast adds Jersey German occupation records
next news Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here