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Websites Featured in Web Watch

For ease of viewing the websites mentioned in “Web Watch”, a regular feature of our quarterly journal, the whole article is reproduced below.

Since websites, their content and their links are prone to frequent change, or even removal, we will only display the articles from the previous four issues of the journal.

Vol 33, No 4:  June 2020

The National Archives - TNA is offering free access to its digital records during lock-down with certain restrictions -

Find My Past -
FMP have added various military records, including 89,000 for the Coldstream Guards for 1800 to 1947, Royal Engineers Journal 1939 to 1945, RAF Operations Books and Combat Reports 1939 to 1945, The War Illustrated 1939 to 1947 and 1000 photos of Faces of the Fallen in WW2.  They have added 1.2 million parish records for the Medway area of Kent with links to the images on Medway Ark.  New parish records include 450,000 transcripts of burials for Surry, 31,000 more burials for London and 17,000 baptisms for Middlesex.  The Electoral Registers 1832 to 1932 have an extra 116 million records.
Ancestry -
Ancestry have added Newgate Prisoners 1785 to 1853 from TNA HO77.  Also Household Cavalry service records for 1799 to 1920 from TNA WO400.

Family Search -
The LDS have added 137,000 records from War Office Registers 1772 to 1935 from TNA WO25.  Also Dorset, Essex, Derbyshire, Northumberland and Surrey parish registers, Essex and Lancashire Non-Conformist records, and Devon and Cornwall marriages.

The Genealogist -
S&N have added 1.2 million more records from RAF Operations Books from TNA AIR27.  Map Explorer now includes colour Tithe Maps for Essex and black-and-white Tithe Maps for Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Oxfordshire. Kingston-upon-Thames area has been added to the 1910 Valuation Survey.  Also early trade directories.  They are offering free “First Steps” packages.

Deceased Online -
New additions include 191,000 burials in Norwich, and records from Pontefract and Wakefield crematoria.  A short guide entitled “How Do We Do It?”, describing its background and how it prepares records for digitisation and online presentation is at

National Library of Scotland -
NLS have indexed the OS Six inch 1888-1913 and added OS 1:10,560 1949-1969.

Surname Mapping -
Provided the surname has more than 100 holders, it gives contour maps for census years 1851-1911 and recent data 1997-2016.

Comparison of DNA test sites - Best DNA Test for Ancestry 2020:

10 Letters We Dropped From The Alphabet -

And finally, do you know these genealogy myths?

Vol 33, No 3:  March 2020

The GRO have added Births for 1984 to 2004.  However, there is no Mother's Maiden Name and has the quarter of registration rather than the month.  Some quirks on recording of Sex.  The full index records are on Ancestry and FMP. The GRO has permitted users of FreeBMD to take screenshots of the images of entries and share them online.

Find My Past -
FMP have added 3 million records from Royal and Imperial Calendars for 1767 to 1973 from TNA.  New parish registers include 105,000 from Durham, 151,000 from Northumberland, 350,000 for Dundee and Angus, 81,000 from Hampshire, and 1.5 million from Surrey.  85,000 more records have been opened on the 1939 Register. First World War Soldiers' Medical Records has another 21,000 records.  The Probate Index for 1858 to 2019 is now complete.  Global Christian Leaders Index from 1051 to 2016 has 105,000 records for UK.  Records have been added for Women's Army Auxiliary Corps 1917-1920 taken from TNA WO162 and WO368.  First World War Disability & Retirement Payments For Officers & Nurses has 36,000 records from TNA PMG42-47.

Ancestry -
Ancestry have added Bristol Non-Conformist Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers, 1644 to 1981, with 409,000 records.  University of London Royal Holloway and Bedford College Student Registers, 1849 to 1931, has 27,000 entries.  Imperial Yeomanry Records, 1899-1902 has 56,000 records from TNA WO128. Scotland, Ireland and Wales, Militia Attestation Papers, 1800 to 1915, from TNA WO96 includes 129,000 men, but outrageously you need an additional sub to see them on Fold3.  They have also added millions of Irish records.

Family Search -
The LDS have added 691,000 records for Ireland Poverty Relief Funds 1810 to 1887. New parish records include 76,000 for Isle of Wight, 836,000 for Cumbria and 558,000 for Northumberland.  New search of unindexed digital images by location -

The Genealogist -
Greenwich has been added to the 1910 Valuation Survey.  Colour images of Tithe Maps for Cumberland.  500,000 more Norfolk parish records have been added.  A new release is RAF Operations Books with over 500,000 records from TNA AIR27.

Deceased Online -
They have added 230,000 records covering East Cheshire, 92,000 for Salford and some for Sandwell.

Scotland's People -
Annual addition of civil registrations: Births for 1919, Marriages for 1944, Deaths for 1969 (207,000+).

Irish genealogy -
They have added marriage records from 1845 to 1863 [Church of Ireland].

FreeREG and FreeCEN – Their search options have been expanded with new filters and fields.

Catholic Family History Society -
Margaret Higgins database of Catholics in England and their Friends, 1607–1840
Free big PDF 22.8Mb download (270,000+).

My Heritage - Amazing new free tool that allows you to change black and white images into colour pictures. - Free database of 158,000 records. 
They have millions of other records, often the same as other providers, but they require a sub.  Since My Heritage is not available in KCC libraries, I normally do not include them.

Forces War Records -
They have added over 2 million new Royal Air Force Records from 1918 to 1975.

Royal Line of Succession site -
This will show you the line of succession on any date in the last 200 years.
There's also a video introduction to the site -

Royal Air Force WW1 Casualty Forms -
The casualty forms of officers of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force who served on the Western Front and in the Middle East during the First World War.

The Victoria County Histories are a superb resource, fully referenced, are also mostly available online at British History Online -
The Victoria County History (VCH) volumes (of England) are heavy red books - indeed, they're known as the Big Red Books.  Now you can go walking or driving round England, with the 'Big Red Books' on your phone.  A new superb free app is called 'A History of English Places'.  It brings easy access to the place-by-place histories in the Victoria County History, along with the first edition of the Ordnance Survey map, and descriptions of the places (towns, villages and cities) drawn from the Topographical Dictionary of England (Lewis, 1848).

Historical Directories of England and Wales collection, maintained by the
University of Leicester Library -
and search “Digital Library of Historical Directories”.
Restored background pages, originally written by Andrew Hann -
How to Search video -

Auction sites – search for possible heirlooms at these sites -

Chris Paton's excellent blog is now at

New Gedcom version -

And finally -
Matt Round's Death Roulette is a game that randomly selects for you one of the many deaths recorded in 17th-century London.

Vol 33, No 2:  December 2019

The GRO have added the death indexes for 1984 to 2019.  The cut-off date and frequency of update are unknown.  The index gives only the quarter, and not the month, of registration, and only the year of birth, but it gives the full index info.  Use the fiche at the British Library to get the month of registration and full birth date.  Births for 1919 are expected to be added on 1st January 2020.
To search Births for Mother's Maiden Name blank or '-', try either `-` or "-" and the Phonetically Similar option.

Find My Past -
FMP have added over 2.7 million new deaths 2007 to 2017, provided by Wilmington Millennium, with the individual’s name, date of death, and location of death.  New parish records include 76,000 Cornwall burials, 104,000 for Northumberland and Durham, 80,000 London burials, 12,000 Swanscombe burials, 1.4m extra Norfolk entries, 70,000 Westmorland records, 174,000 for Cumberland, 63,000 Berkshire marriages, 23,000 Derbyshire burials, and numerous Scottish records.  An unusual addition is 13,000 records for the 1801 census of Liverpool. 
The England & Wales Probate Death Index 1960 to 2019 has 14 million records;  it is  easier to search than the official website but I have found records from my one-name study missing after 1995. Lancashire Wills & Probate 1457 to 1858 has had 26,000 new records added. The Scotland Will and Testament Index 1481-1807 has 164,000 records from the commissariat courts.  Scotland Mental Health Institutions Registers & Admissions 1808-1883 has over 63,000 additional records.  137,000 Yorkshire school records have been added.  Over 800,000 Scottish newspaper notices of births, marriages and deaths have been added.

Ancestry -
Ancestry have added UK Officer Service Records 1764 to 1932 from TNA WO76, but outrageously you need an additional sub to see them on Fold3.  WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards 1914 to 1923 from the Western Front Association are also only on Fold3.
They have added burials in Brompton Cemetery 1840 to 2012 from TNA WORK100, but these may be the same as those on FMP and Deceased Online. Bristol parish records have been added and additions have been made to their Surrey parish records.  They have added 2018 to recent death records from Wilmington Millennium.  London Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records 1738 to 1926 have been added.  Divorce records for 1917 and 1918 from TNA J77 have been added.

The Genealogist - 
Colour images of Tithe Maps for Bedfordshire and Warwickshire have been added.  Hackney, Tower Hanlets and North Buckinghamshire have been added to the 1910 Valuation Survey.  Histories for 50 Regiments and school records have been added.

Family Search -
The LDS have added 775,000 Shropshire, 1.1m Essex, 1.2m West Sussex and 112,000 more Huntingdonshire parish registers.  Also 67,177 burials in Rusholme Road Cemetery, Lancashire, 1821 to 1933.  There have been additions to many counties parish records.

Forces War Records -
They have added over 500,000 records for the recipients of the Army Long Service Good Conduct Medal.

Scotland's People -
They have added more than 3,000 Presbyterian baptism records covering the period 1752 to 1855.

Stirling Burials -
Stirling Council has made available 83,221 burial records online free.

French records site Filae launches English language platform -
The site gives access to 1.5 billion names from French records.

Index to Institutions in the 1901 Census of England and Wales -

Regular list of updates by Claire Santry -

National Library of Scotland : overlays for selective periods of time -

Help in using Google to search for ancestors and others -

Snazzymaps -
See this explanation -

Dangers of Gedcom transfer -
assess.ged is a special Gedcom file which you may use to perform a comprehensive review of the Gedcom import capability of any program that reads a Gedcom file and imports the contents.

And finally – I was glad to have met the well-known genealogist Roy Stockdill a few years ago and driven him from a conference at the Ashford International Hotel to the station.  He died in October and Dick Eastman in his tribute included an article that Roy wrote in 2000 -

Vol 33, No 1:  September 2019

Find My Past -
FMP have added 5.2m transcripts of Essex parish registers, 64,000 Middlesex baptisms, 52,000 Huddersfield baptisms, 44,000 items for Kent, and 264,000 for Liverpool.  Merchant Navy records for Portsmouth has 135,000 entries.  28,000 more records have been added to the Greater London Burial Index.  Recent Electoral Rolls has increased by 1.6m.

Ancestry -
Ancestry have indexed Essex parish registers, but the images require a subscription to Essex Ancestors Online.  Even with a sub to both websites, there is no direct link to click through to the image.  But Peter Calver of Lost Cousins has found the crucial info -

The Genealogist - 
With TNA they have added over 100,000 HO24 Prison Registers and Returns 1838 to 1875 for Millbank, Parkhurst and Pentonville.  Also over 500,000 parish records from Norfolk including Bastardy Bonds, 75,000 new War Memorial transcripts and 60,000 further headstone transcripts.  Their Map Explorer now includes Charles Booth's Poverty maps of London.

Family Search -
109,000 records of Free, United Presbyterian, United Free and Other Protestant Churches in Scotland 1736 to 1990 from the National Archives of Scotland CH3 series have been added.  Also an index of 188,000 Herefordshire Bishop's Transcripts.

Deceased Online -
They have added 8,000 burials for Headington Cemetery, Oxford.

Forces War Records -
They have added over 1.5m new Royal Air Force records from 1918 to 1975.

Populations Past – Atlas of Victorian and Edwardian Population -  Maps showing numerous analyses of population, include fertility, childhood mortality, marriage, migration status, household compositions, age-structure, occupational status and population density.

Restore old photos with paid-for software -

Can't tell the Henry system from the Ahnentafel?

Map of London in Shakespeare's day -

Message in a bottle -

And finally, don't be taken in by heir hunting scams -

Vol 32, No 4:  June 2019

The National Archives -
TNA has catalogued nearly 18,000 bundles of correspondence received by the Home Office between 1820 and 1839, in HO17. Most of this series comprises petitions for clemency.

1939 Register - Audrey Collins at TNA has found the script of the Registrar General's broadcast to the nation on the evening of 29 September 1939, National Registration Night.  You can listen to it, read by an actor, or read a transcript at

Find My Past -
The big news is that FMP have loaded over 2.6m parish records for Kent held at Maidstone, including Romney Marsh, Lympne and Lydd.  Also 2,000 Poor Law items.  They have added additional parish records for Berkshire, Cardiganshire, Lincolnshire, Durham [Bishop's Transcripts] and Devon non-conformist.  They have added 876,000 records of WW1 Prisoners of War from the Red Cross and 85,000 further WW1 Medical records from TNA MH106.  Physicians and Surgeons 1830 to 1923 has 31,000 entries.  410,000 records have been added to the National Burial Index for Essex and other counties.  The Scottish Criminal database 1801 to 1923 has 130,000 records.

Ancestry -
Ancestry have added Wills and Probates for Wales 1513 to 1858.  Parish records with images for Cheshire have been added and 800,000 further Bishop's Transcripts for Norfolk.  They have also added parish records for Kent from Maidstone, index only, with content and coverage unclear.
A topical addition is D-Day War Diaries and Photographs with more than 100 records, including war diaries and photographs from the day, sourced from 42 regiments around the UK.

The Genealogist - 
Islington joins the 1910 Valuation Survey with annotated maps.  Their new Map Explorer includes Ordnance Survey maps, current street maps, satellite views plus the 1910 Valuation Survey maps which can be overlaid to see how localities have changed – watch the video at
They have also added 146,000 criminal records 1697 to 1862 from TNA PRIS10 and 11, and over 300,000 Merchant Navy apprentices 1824 to 1910 from TNA BT150.

Family Search -
Family Search are celebrating 20 years online.  It was so successful that it made up 10% of all internet traffic at that time and users had to be limited to 30 minutes a session.
They have added or updated 0.9m for Northumberland and 2.6m for Derbyshire.  They have added a further 1.5m Family Notices from the British Newspaper Archive.  390,000 records from TNA WO25 War Office Registers 1772 to  1935.

Irish Genealogy -
They have added free images for Births 1917 to 1918, Marriages 1864 to 1869 and 1942 to 1943, and Deaths 1967 to 1968.

Scotland's People –
They have added the Valuation Rolls for 1940.

Forces War Records -
They have launched an update to their records page and when you view a record, the system will try to cross-match it with other records in their databases.

Cheshire Tithe Maps Online -
Updated site with new viewing options making it user and mobile friendly.

New Hearth Tax website -
Launched by the Universities of Roehampton and Graz.  At present the site has the records for London & Middlesex and Yorkshire East & West Riding.

How to find useful genealogy videos -

Layers of London maps -
Now includes WW2 Bomb Damage maps, but don't forget Booth's Poverty maps, post WW2 aerial photos and earlier maps back to 1520.
Alternatively try the updated Anglo-Saxon map of London -
or the 1815 Panorama of London 20 feet wide -

Advice on publishing the books that you have written on your family -

And finally, create a Wordle from a Gedcom -
This creates a list of surnames to paste into the Wordle creation website.
A Wordle is a “word cloud” with words with different fonts, sizes and orientation.

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