Tuesday 25 September 2012

More Kent records join FamilySearch line-up

Two more collections from Kent have been added to the Family Search UK & Ireland collection. They are the Kent Register of Electors 1570-1907, which is grouped by Divisions and contains 131,968 images, and Kent Workhouse Records 1777-1911, which consists of 79,444 images of admissions and discharges browsable by Poor Law Union.

While these records may be of interest to a significant number of people whose ancestors left Ireland, I mention them more to highlight a growing trend of additions to the FamilySearch database. These two collections have been digitised by Family Search on behalf of the local council (in similar cases, it might be the records of a family history society or some other specialised archive). The terms of each contract is different but nearly always involve some restriction on public access. 

Under the terms of the Kent arrangement, online access is restricted to visitors at the Kent History & Library Centre in Maidstone, Family History Centers and the Family History Library in Utah.

The other type of arrangement increasingly being seen is the provision of a searchable index on FamilySearch to records held by a commercial organisation such as FindMyPast. While basic details from the record are returned from a free-to-all search on FamilySearch, the full record (and an image, if available) is only found on the commercial provider's database ie for a fee. The Irish Prison Registers collection is an example of this sort of deal.

Of course, it's not just commercial providers who can take advantage of these arrangements. Cash-strapped councils and family history societies may see them as a way to generate a bit of money, too.

UPDATE: The Kent collection on FamilySearch has been further strengthened with the addition of the following record sets on 27 September:
  • Bishops' Transcripts 1560-1911
  • Quarter Sessions and Court Files 1558-1899