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26 11 2014

Lunacy Registers and Warrants, 1846-1912

Search these new Lunacy Records to discover what life was like for those in lunatic asylums and hospitals between 1846 and 1912. The records are packed with detail about patients and criminal lunatics – the most notorious being Aaron Kozminski, the alleged Jack the Ripper.

The Patients’ Admission Registers note the name of the patient, the hospital or asylum, and the date of admission and discharge (or death). Meanwhile the related Criminal Warrant and Entry Books reveal the departure from prison and arrival at asylums of convicted criminals judged insane.

RECORDS | 06 11 2014

WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920

As part of our Remembrance Day commemorations, we’ve just added these WWI Service Medal & Award Rolls. These rolls are particularly helpful because they include not only a soldier's last unit, but often previous units as well.

The records also show people who have lost their medals. You’ll see thousands of crossed-out entries, with comments like ‘medals forfeited’ or ‘no medal'. One of the more controversial entries is Private Percy Toplis, who found notoriety after murdering a taxi driver.

RECORDS | 15 10 2014

Wigan Parish Records, 1580-1979

We’ve just added parish records from the historic town of Wigan, 1580-1979. Wigan has a long and important heritage, with a large population even before the Industrial Revolution, because of its coal mines and cotton mills.

These valuable collections contain thousands of Church of England baptism, burial and marriage records. If you've been struggling to find your family in other perts of old Lancashire, make sure you try here.

RECORDS | 25 09 2014

Debtors' Prison Registers, 1734-1862

If your ancestors struggled with debt before the 1860s, they could have found themselves locked up for many years. This new collection of prison records is packed with engrossing detail about the unfortunate people jailed for debt or bankruptcy. Discover how much they owed and how long they were jailed for, as well as details of their time inside.

People had to pay their debts before they could be released, and their debts added up in prison too – they had to pay for their keep and extra freedoms like living in areas just outside the prison walls. So they often found themselves in prison indefinitely unless their family could pay their debts.

RECORDS | 16 09 2014

Birmingham Rate Books, 1831-1913

We’ve just added rate books from all over the Birmingham area from 1831 to 1913. Rates were collected to support those who were ill or poor, to maintain the roads and churches and cover other parish expenses. They were based on the value of a house.

You’ll discover how much money was collected, who lived in the house, who owned it, and its address.

RECORDS | 12 08 2014

Naval Service Records, 1802-1919

Did your ancestors serve in the Royal Navy? This new naval collection will reveal their lives in service. You can discover their ranks, whether they applied for pensions or gratuities, and even whether they won medals!

You'll also discover applications to right wrongs, like inaccurate accusations of desertion, or applications for discharge by foreigners or apprentices forced into service.

EVENTS | 07 08 2014

Sir Tony could be coming to an archive near you!

Exciting news! To mark the World War I Centenary, we're hosting a series of exclusive family history events with archives across the country, where you can meet our special guest speaker - Sir Tony Robinson.

Each event will discuss the importance of remembering our wartime ancestors, highlight some of the best resources for WWI family history research, and hopefully inspire people to find their own relatives who fought.

They're all completely free, but spaces at each venue are limited, so we're opening up a ballot for entry. Find all the information on dates, locations and how to apply for a place.

RECORDS | 15 07 2014

Naturalisation Certificates, 1870-1912

If you're descended from immigrants - as so many of us are - you'll find this new collection invaluable. We've just added more than 60,000 new records, showing those who became British citizens through naturalisation.

Becoming a citizen was important, as it gave people rights liking voting or inheriting land. In these records, you'll find plenty of information for your tree, including birthplaces, ages, addresses and occupations. Plus, see if you can spot historical figures like author Joseph Conrad (listed as Conrad Korzeniowski).

EVENTS | 11 07 2014

Family history special offers

Family history is full of surprises - especially for the next 12 weeks. With new series of your favourite family history shows on television, we'll be celebrating by emailing you a series of exclusive offers.

Check your preferences to make sure you can receive our emails. Then sit back and wait for an array of prize draws, special previews and more!

RECORDS | 01 07 2014

Parish Atlas, 1538-1832

It's just become even easier to find your ancestors in our parish records, with this brand new Parish Atlas. It outlines old parishes in England, Wales and Scotland, shows how boundaries changed over the years, and shows you nearby parishes, so you can check for wandering relatives.

You can look for a parish in the Atlas itself, or follow links to the maps from several of our related collections. For example, try our new Lancashire Parish Records, 1538-1986, where we've just added more than 5 million new records.

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