Wednesday 13 February 2013

This week on Ancestry, FamilySearch and FMP...

The major databases have been refreshing their sites over the last week with a few updates worth mentioning.

I'll start with Ancestry. It says it has upgraded its Irish Civil Registration Marriage Index database but, as is its way, gives no indication of what that upgrade involved. I'd hoped it might bring the Marriage Search up to the same standard as FindMyPast's Marriage Finder (which can filter out marriage records that don't contain both the spouses you've named).

But it doesn't seem to have done so. I've just made a test search for my great grandparents' wedding, using only their surnames: Santry and Driscoll. These are South West Cork names and as a marriage combo they appear only a dozen times in the civil registration indexes so the Ancestry search engine should, if the marriage filter is working, find no more examples than that. Instead, the Ancestry search engine returned a long list of Santry marriages, but there are no Driscolls mentioned in the 'spouses' lists of the first couple of names.

Only when I added the year of the wedding – 1877 – did it get close. And still not very close. My gt grandparents' wedding record came third in the search return list. Neither of the marriages in first and second place had a Driscoll mentioned in the record.

So if the upgrade wasn't about the marriage filter, your guess is as good as mine about what it's been about.

Birth/Marriage/Death Records_MPU
More clear-cut is Ancestry's upload of a ton and a half of parish registers from the Church of England Diocese of Manchester.

The area covered by the diocese included Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Rochdale, Stretford and Trafford, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Leigh and Rossendale. The city of Manchester itself had long been an important trading centre, and many of these outlying areas had developed strong manufacturing and industrial bases.

As this part of southeast Lancashire is not a great distance from Liverpool and other Lancashire ports, many Irish flocked to the area in search of employment.

These register sets cover nearly 450 years, so they're worth checking for elusive Irish ancestors, even if you have no known connection to the area. This is what's in the collection:

  • Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1541-1812: 1,186,882 records*
  • Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930: 1,437,698 records
  • Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915: 1,702,491 records
  • Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985: 917,791 records
  • Manchester Cathedral: Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, 1573-1812: 376,533 records
  • Manchester Cathedral: Births and Baptisms, 1813-1901: 282,956 records
  • Manchester Cathedral: Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930: 409,330 records
  • Manchester Cathedral: Deaths and Burials, 1813-1866: 42,850 records
*The number of marriages in this record set is small and they date from 1754 to 1812. Use the "Any Event" and "Keyword" fields to search the marriages in this particular record set.

The collection is searchable in the regular way, but it is also possible to browse images of the registers by parish. Click here for the Manchester collection.

Ancestry also has a huge Lancashire and Liverpool collection. The latter has just been updated (no idea in what way) and both are worth checking if you have family from this region.

Over at FamilySearch, the England & Wales census of 1871 is coming along well. New record additions mean this collection is now 81% complete and holds 5,617,114 names.

There's also been an upgrade of new images to the England, Northumberland, Miscellaneous Records, 1570-2005 collection. This is a browse images only record set of Parish Registers, Electoral Registers, Non comformist Records, and Parish Chest. The 225,967 images now available come from towns and parishes throughout Northumberland. They're broken down into Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland.

FindMyPast has also seen a couple of new additions. The first is a collection of some 208 newspaper titles accessed from the British Newspaper Archives.

More titles – hopefully some Irish ones – will be added to the collection in due course, but for the moment, all the newspapers are from Scotland, England or Wales. This collection is now included in the Britain & Ireland package via the UK and Ireland sites, and all the World packages (via UK, Ireland, USA and AUS sites)

Some 9,000 Irish Soldiers Wills have been added to the same FindMyPast packages, too. This collection is also available free of charge at the National Archives of Ireland's genealogy site.