Two completed Ancestry World Archives collections were launched live to search last week. Since both of these databases were indexed by the AWAP community these indexes are free to search for anyone.
This ambitious project, to produce a biographical dictionary of prominent British and Irish figures from the earliest of times up to 1900, began in 1882 and was spearheaded by George Murray Smith. Over 20 years later, and thanks to the efforts of hundreds of contributors, the final of 22 volumes was published. Now, over 100 years following the publication of that final volume, over 1,600 contributors to the Ancestry World Archives Project have created a free, searchable index to the more than 60,000 names contained in these volumes.
In the Dictionary of National Biography you will find detailed descriptions of many “notable” individuals, including birth dates and places, names of family members, possibly even job history and residential information.
In New South Wales between 1867-1911, many destitute and vagrant children were sent to “floating” public industrial schools by justices of the peace. The children would remain there until they were apprenticed out after the age of 12, discharged, or reached 18 years of age. The schools included religious instruction, moral, industrial, and nautical training, as well as elementary schooling. The Vernon and Sobraon were two ships that served as floating schools. The Vernon was replaced by the Sobraon in 1892 and both were moored in Sydney Harbour during their use. These records can contain a lot of really rich detail about the boys including birth date and place, parents’ names, religion and physical descriptions.
Even if your relatives are not found in either of these collections they are fascinating records to peruse. I’ve spent time with both of them and learned quite a bit about the times and the people. Happy searching and…
Until next time – Happy Keying!