Workhouses, Wills, Churches & More – 400 Years of London History Launches Online[i] – World First

Ancestry____logo1.bmpOne in two Brits with ancestors in collection, including J.K. Rowling, David Beckham and Patsy Kensit

  • 77 million records when complete, including workhouse, parish, school
  • Famous names include Oliver Cromwell, Samuel Pepys and William Blake, as well as ancestors of contemporary celebrities JK Rowling, David Beckham, Patsy Kensit and Britney Spears
  • An estimated 165 million people around the world has an ancestor in the collection, including more than half of the British population[ii] 

The definitive collection of records detailing the rich history of London and its inhabitants over 400 years is available online for the first time today at leading social and family history website Ancestry.co.uk, in partnership with London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library Manuscripts following a competitive tender by the City of London to digitise and exclusively host their collection online.

Starting with records from London’s infamous Victorian workhouses memorably depicted by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist, the London Historical Records, 1500s-1900s will include more than 77 million records, providing an unprecedented insight into the colourful history of one of the world’s greatest cities.

Key record types include parish and workhouse records, electoral rolls, wills, land tax records and school reports. According to a recent family history survey, more than half of the current British population will have an ancestor in the London Historical Records, 1500s-1900s.

Furthermore, it is estimated that approximately 135 million people from the U.S., Canada and Australia will also be able to trace ancestors in the collection due to London’s status as the city at the centre of the British Empire for centuries.

Assembled over time direct from various London institutions, the collection includes the names of millions of ordinary Londoners alongside famous and infamous figures from the city’s past. Notable examples include Oliver Cromwell’s marriage record, the baptism record for poet Samuel Pepys and the burial register listing for writer and statesman John Milton. Continue reading

Irish Databases at Ancestry.com

St. Patrick ancesry.bmpIn honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d browse around Ancestry.com and post a recap of some of the more popular Irish databases that are available through World Deluxe memberships. Here’s are some favorites I found:

Ireland, Index to Griffith’s Valuation, 1848-1864
This database, an index to one of Ireland’s premier genealogical resources, Griffith’s Valuation, references approximately one million individuals who occupied property in Ireland between 1848 and 1864. The Griffith’s Valuation, or Primary Valuation of Ireland, was executed under the direction of Sir Richard Griffith to determine the amount of tax each person should pay towards the support of the poor within their poor law union. This involved determining the value of all privately held lands and buildings in rural as well as urban areas to figure the rate at which each unit of property could be rented year after year. The resulting survey was arranged by barony and civil parish with an index to the townlands appearing in each volume. The original volumes of the survey are held in the National Archives, Dublin and Public Record Office, Belfast.

Ireland, Tithe Applotment Books, 1824-1837
The Tithe Applotment Books record the results of a unique land survey taken to determine the amount of tax payable by landholders to the Church of Ireland, the established church until 1869. They are known as the Tithe Applotment Books because the results of this land survey were originally compiled in nearly 2,000 hand-written books. This data set represents a virtual census for pre-Famine Ireland. Since it covers all of Ireland it is immensely important in terms of constructing, not just an image of a particular family line, but of wider social conditions in the country. Only the six counties that constitute present-day Northern Ireland – Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh, and Tyrone, covering 223 parishes, are included.

Irish Flax Grower’s List
In 1796 the Irish Linen Board published a list of almost 60,000 individuals who had received awards for planting a specified acreage of flax. Those who planted one acre were awarded 4 spinning-wheels, and those growing 5 acres were awarded a loom. The records include the name of the individual, county, and parish. The records cover most of Ireland.  The Flax Growers List is arranged by civil parish in each county except for Dublin and Wicklow, which were not included in the records.  The counties available are; Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Derry, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim,  Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon,  Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone, Waterford, Westmeath,  Wexford.

The Royal Irish Constabulary 1816-1921
The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) was created in 1816, and initially staffed mainly by Irish-born men. However, toward the 1900s, and especially afterwards, the RIC recruited men from countries such as England, Scotland, Wales, and the United States. The records of the RIC were only indexed annually by the date of enlistment. Until this database was created, the only way to identify whether an ancestor joined the forces was an extremely time-consuming search. Some people joined for a few days or weeks, others stayed for years, and quite a few migrated. There are mentions in the index on whether a person emigrated, died, or married. Continue reading

TGN Expands Ancestry.com’s Technology Team

Ancestry____logo.bmpMike Wolfgramm Appointed to Chief Technology Officer, Jonathan Young Takes Vice President of Development Position

PROVO, UTAH – March 5, 2009 – The Generations Network (TGN), parent company of Ancestry.com, today announced that current Senior Vice President of Technology, Mike Wolfgramm, has been appointed the company’s Chief Technology Officer.  Additionally, Jonathan Young has joined The Generations Network as Ancestry.com’s Vice President of Development.

“For the last ten years, Mike has spearheaded efforts to stay ahead of the company’s continually increasing technology needs, making him a natural choice for this position,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network. “This new role gives Mike strategic oversight in key areas of growth. He will continue to direct the overall management of and responsibility for all technologies driving our core Ancestry.com platform, in addition to playing an important role for technology matters pertaining to TGN’s international businesses and strategic corporate initiatives.”  

Mike Wolfgramm has been with TGN since 1999, serving in executive roles over global technology.  His responsibilities included overseeing Ancestry’s global network sites and MyFamily.com and most recently served as the company’s Senior Vice President of Technology. With more than fifteen years of experience in the area of technology and product development, Wolfgramm has served in senior development roles at a number of successful technology and web-based businesses, including Open Market, Inc, Reed Elsevier, Mead Data Central, and WordPerfect. Wolfgramm is a graduate of Brigham Young University, where he received a bachelor’s in computer science.

To support Wolfgramm’s new role as Chief Technology Officer, Jonathan Young has recently joined TGN, reporting to Wolfgramm as Vice President of Development. Young’s responsibilities include orchestrating the development and delivery of Ancestry’s global platform, currently incorporating nine international sites. Additionally, Young will partner with Eric Shoup, Vice President of Product, to drive Ancestry product strategy.

“We are pleased to have Jonathan Young join the Ancestry.com team,” said Sullivan. “With Jonathan’s breadth of experience, he’ll be able to advance the growing number of Ancestry.com’s development efforts. He’s a great addition to our team, and I’m confident that he’ll make a very significant contribution to the future success of our organization.”

Jonathan Young joins TGN from Earthlink, where he most recently served as Vice President of Development and was responsible for all development, testing, subscription and billing platforms across multiple sites. Prior to his two years at Earthlink, Young spent ten years at Turner Internet Technologies. While at Turner he served as the Vice President of Product Development, where he was responsible for product management and development functions for Turner’s internet properties. Young earned his Bachelors Degree in Astrophysics and Asian Studies from Williams College. 

More on the Chris Haley/June Baff DNA Reunion

HaleyBaff1.bmpLast week I posted a story about a fascinating reunion that was to take place this past Saturday in London, England, at the Who Do You Think You Are?-Live conference. This morning, our friend Megan Smolenyak of RootsTelevision sent us a link to a video of the reunion. The video gives lots of information on how they made the connection and explains how the DNA testing made the reunion possible in a fun and easy to understand way. 

Click here  to view the video of the reunion at RootsTelevision.com.  

Learn more about DNA testing at Ancestry.com.