This unique card index was compiled in England from the 1790s until about 1970 and features a collection of notices from newspapers and various official sources, such as the London Gazette. Approximately 250,000 cards include announcements of births, marriages, obituaries, and deaths abroad; notices of wills, unclaimed estates, and filings under the Colonial Probates Act of 1892 (which recognized probates from courts in British possessions); and advertisements for missing persons and people seeking next of kin. The original newspaper clippings on the cards sometimes include annotations referring to additional information from other sources.
The cards can have content on both the front and back. The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies notes that the index can be “useful for locating information about individuals who seem simply to disappear.”