500 Years of London History to Launch Online-77 million Names

ancestry.co.uk.gifAncestry chosen to host City of London’s historical ‘London records’- largest collection in existence 

The most comprehensive collection of historical London records, covering 500 years of the city’s history, is to be made available online for the first time. Following a lengthy tendering process, Ancestry has secured the exclusive online rights to digitize and host key records from London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) and Guildhall Library Manuscripts.

LMA’s historical record collection, which is owned and managed by the City of London, is considered to be of international importance, particularly given London’s prominence at the centre of the British Empire for almost 300 years from the mid-1700s.

As the City of London’s official partner, Ancestry will be responsible for providing global access to The LMA Collection. Original images of all historical records will be available on Ancestry.co.uk, the UK’s leading family and social history website, and more than 77 million names searchable using key information such as name, date and place.

Dating from the early 16th Century through to 2006, the collection details the lives of both princes and paupers. Included are parish records, school records, electoral registers, wills, lists of workhouse labourers from the Poor Law ledgers and a comprehensive list of those granted ‘Freedom of the City’.

The collection will take several years to index and image. Until now, those wishing to view records have had to visit LMA or the Guildhall Library, both based in Central London. Collection records have featured on Who do you think you are? episodes about the family histories’ of Patsy Kensit, Barbara Windsor and Stephen Fry.

Online access to LMA records has long been anticipated by family history enthusiasts in the UK and internationally: it will allow millions of people with ancestors who lived in or passed through London at some point in time to trace their roots, whether it be to the City’s slums or its more affluent boroughs.

The first records will launch on Ancestry.co.uk in early 2009, with the following prioritised for launch in the coming year:

Parish records – records from more than 10,000 Greater London parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials dating from the 1530s to the 20th Century
Poor Law documents – relating to the administration of poor relief, including workhouse registers from 1834 onwards
London school admissions – records from 843 individual London schools dating from the early Victorian times through to 1911, providing admission and personal details for millions of London students

Josh Hanna, Senior Vice President of Ancestry, International comments: “Ancestry is thrilled to be selected as the City of London’s official partner in hosting The LMA Collection, especially as these records have such broad appeal and significance to so many around the world.

“In advance of participating in the tender process, we asked our members in the UK and elsewhere what they wanted and their overwhelming response was for the LMA records – even more so than for the 20th Century censuses.”

Dr Deborah Jenkins, Assistant Director of the City of London’s Department of Libraries, Archives and Guildhall Art Library, comments: “It has always been the City of London’s goal to make these important collections available to the wider public through digitisation and so we are delighted to announce Ancestry as our official partner in bringing 500 years of London’s history online.”


16 thoughts on “500 Years of London History to Launch Online-77 million Names

  1. This is wonderful news. I had heard that Ancestry might be losing it’s value, just the opinion of friends. But I don’t see that happening. Ancestry seems committed to finding and adding records. I will be a customer for a long time.

  2. I am so excited! I know my ancestors left London area in 1844 and went to Canada, so I know nothing about them axcept the parish record I have found for the family in 183o something. Thanks, Alice

  3. William Atkinson was born about 1759. Do you have any information on him? He was born in England.

  4. Fantastic news about the LMA deal. As a user of LMA – I make the round 180 mile trip about once or twice a year – I am usually disappointed on how little I find for hours of searching. This will save me hours of research and travelling time. Well done Ancestry.
    However, a lot of London records are kept by the City of Westminster – are you going to be looking at these too?

  5. Hi – this is like fine classical music to my ears – wish I lived in UK to assist with the LMA & Guildhall records ‘online’ entering. I assist with NSW Australia data entering. Trust you are able to get sufficient helpers and that you can complete within the time allocated.
    Best Sybil Burden

  6. Brilliant news it will be great to have the LMA records online.

    Thank you Ancestry for providing a great web site.

  7. have been trying to trace family beyond 1810, but am stuck as the parish church is no longer there and I know records are at LMA but don’t live near London. Great news this is to be available online

  8. I would have a very difficult time-ala what I went thru 15 years ago-without Ancestry.com.

  9. This is great news…especially as we were recently there, and in the short time that we had, found items, but ran out of time to “pour’ over the records.. Hopefully , we can now make copies of the items that we need. One was my husband’s school records, which contradicts the history that he was always told..regarding the Evacuation during the War.! Time spent away has now been questioned!!

  10. Well done. Ancestry.com really has been a leader in making information available to people over the whole world.

  11. Now Six months since the announcement – What is the status.
    Ancestry.au are increasing their charges talking about new data but WHEN?

  12. Why am I being asked to pay for this service when I already have a yearly subscription.

  13. Well I am in Australia on UK Heritage which I was told would include LMA data as was same as UK Premium package with AU data. When I posted on 5 March I was expecting to be able to access LMA data when it appeared. Then it appeared 24 March and I could not access. I used help to email and reply was I should be able to access and to ring AU number when they opened. By the time I rang the UK Heritage PLUS package appeared and I was told I should upgrade. BUT I paid for ALL data.

    I am now waiting for a reply to my follow up email

  14. I have been searching for the parents of Mary Hyde (Born 6 Jul 1810 in London, England. She was married 26 Dec 1831 in St George Hanover Square, Middlesex, England to George Henry Chambers.Ebenezer Hyde and Maria Hyde are the ones that witnessed the marriage. She died 17 Sep 1850 in Oakland, Wayne, Michigan and is buried with her husband in 1850. I have no idea how she got from England to Michigsn and is buried in Oceola, Livingston, Michigan. Her whole line is stopped as I can’t seem to find any more information to help find her parents.

  15. Hi Marilyn
    Well I did hear from Ancestry and now have LMA data but it is early days as yet and I cannot see anything on Ebenezer for whom I looked as a fairly unique name

    07 MAY 1804
    10 MAY 1804 Lying In Hospital Endell Street, Holborn, London, England

    Mother: MARIA
    and that sounds like a good time frame for a possible brother of your Mary. A Maria being a witness sounds more like a cousin rather than a sister. Or perhaps even the mother as found above

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