Friday 7 January 2022

FindMyPast & BritishNewspaperArchive: what's new/what's to come

While browsing round the FindMyPast website today I came across a New Year message from CEO Tamsin Todd. It contains some statistics for both FindMyPast its sister company BritishNewspaperArchive (BNA), the online home for the still-being-digitised newspaper collection of the British Library. I've noted below some of those likely to be of most interest to Irish genealogists.

I was surprised and pleased to learn that the newspaper database, currently approaching a page count of 47million after 5.6million were added in 2021, will continue to grow to 56million pages by 2023. This must surely mean there are more Irish titles yet to appear. (At present, there are 226 titles from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the online holding, either at the BNA site, or via FindMyPast's top subscription package site.)

I'll keep my fingers crossed there are many new titles from Ireland in the pipe. Historical newspapers have been extremely useful for establishing ancestral facts and details not recorded elsewhere, as well as stories, colour and context.

FindMyPast released 10.7 million new Scottish birth, marriage and death records last year, plus some 32 million searchable Electoral Registers from England and Wales covering the period between the 1911 and 1921 Censuses.

In addition, more than 800,000 crime records were added. This, says the company, makes FindMyPast's Crime, Prisons and Punishment collection  the largest searchable archive of British crime records available anywhere online. Another popular collection to have made its way into the database is the Francis Frith Collection of 300,000 vintage photographs, which records life in 19th-century Britain.

Exclusive to FindMyPast, the greatly anticipated 1921 Census of England & Wales launched yesterday after a mammoth 3-year project with The National Archives of the UK. Its 38million records are now being avidly searched by goodness knows how many researchers, including many Irish, around the world.

View the full Message and a selection of videos about the 1921 Census.