News / Exciting new project with the British Library

Exciting new project with the British Library

2 March, 2011

Findmypast.co.uk and the British Library are working together on an exciting project to digitise a treasure trove of family history resources that the library holds. When we launch the collection in 2012, the records will be available online and fully searchable for the first time.

The project will involve scanning the UK electoral registers that cover the century that followed the Reform Act of 1832, along with records of baptisms, marriages and burials drawn from the archives of the India Office.

This fantastic collection is another step that we’re taking to make researching your past even quicker and simpler. Searching these records would previously only have been possible by carrying out hours of manual searching in the library’s reading rooms.

Elaine Collins, our commercial director, said: ‘We’re very excited to be involved with this fascinating project. The electoral rolls are the great missing link for family historians: after censuses and civil registration indexes, they provide the widest coverage of the whole population.

‘To have Irish and Scottish records alongside England and Wales is also a huge advantage. These records will join the 1911 census, Chelsea Pensioner Service Records and many more datasets available online at findmypast.co.uk, which enable people to make fantastic discoveries day after day.’

To stay up to date with all the latest developments in this groundbreaking project, make sure you’ve registered on findmypast.co.uk and signed up to receive our monthly newsletters. Keep an eye on our blog too for all our news first.

The British Library

  • Gerry Froggatt

    FMP just gets better and better. Must attend WDYTYA next year.

  • http://bobhsdiscussions@groups.facebook.com Mark Andrew

    The Battle of Britain Historical Society are very pleased to have FMP supporting our School Memorial Plaques

  • PHYLLYS DONALD

    wonderful news….great work and thanks Findmypast Team

    • Mike Callaghan

      Hello Sandra
      Found a William Hillier born 1795 and christened 29 March 1795 in Bitton, Gloucs.
      Father was Nathan Hillier and mother Hester.
      Not sure if this is the one you are looking for.
      Regards
      Mike

  • Sandra kenyon

    I’m looking for William hillier b1797 in bitton, gloucester, England. Join the scots foot guard in 1822 in gloucester and retired in 1844 in London. I have his discharged papers. I can’t locate his parents. Can you help me.
    Sandra hillier Kenyon
    S

    • Mike Callaghan

      Hello Sandra
      Found a William Hillier born 1795 and christened 29 March 1795 in Bitton, Gloucs.
      Father was Nathan Hillier and mother Hester.
      Regards
      Mike

  • Susannah Shepherd

    Fantastic news for those of us with Anglo-Indian heritage – what time period do the India Office records cover?

  • Lesley Beckett

    I can’t wait! Thank you FMP team you make my research easier everyday

  • gill Bowron

    That is great news on Elestrol Rolls, this site just keeps getting better and better. Thanks for all the hard work

  • Susie

    Absolutely delighted with the new information FMP are digitising. Well Done and keep up the good work!

  • Hilary

    You are doing such a great job on FMP. I wish I could help from New Zealand.

  • pam Griffiths

    Does anybody know where I can order a birth certificate from for Minnie Amelia Carney born in India 1878 where father Michael served with 2ND West Surrey Regiment.

    • Mr. Rolfe

      Not sure where records of The Empire are to be found, but from what I’m aware she’s my Great Grandmother – I assume you’re related?

      • Julian Rolfe

        Hi Mr Rolfe
        Are you reserching the same minnie amelia Rolfe ( nee carney) india born, settled in chelmsford Essex, married Arthur rolfe ?
        regards
        Julian Rolfe

    • Julian Rolfe

      Hi Pam,
      Is this the same Amelia Carney who married Arthur Rolfe on 6/2/1898 in chelmsford essex, ?
      regards
      julian

  • jo mcs

    Looking for Samuel Calderbank born 1872 in lancashire nowhere to be found after 1891 could he have gone abroad or joind up.

  • http://findmypast.co.uk Betty Wade

    Looking for George WADE born London c1837. Mother Sarah. Father George

    Married Mary Anne WALSH, (born 1844 County Longford, Ireland).
    St Joseph’s Church, Guernsey Island. 12 May 1862.
    Mother Mary QUINN. Father Michael WALSH (Barrack Sergeant Guernsey
    Island)
    Cannot find any records of George’s birth or parents in London at any time prior to or after 1862.. Maybe he was also in the Army like father-in-law.

    George WADE & wife Mary Anne migrated to Australia from Plymouth 18 June 1864, aboard Sirrocco

  • Patrick Edworthy

    Really good news re the merging of the British Isles records, plus the availability of India House data.Any thoughts on taking on the British BMD in Ceylon?

  • http://findmypast.co.uk anita carlisle

    WOW! just when I thought you could not improve on perfection fmp have done it again.

  • Sylvia Williams

    Great news. I hope you do not leave Wales till last.

  • http://FMP Mary Paterson

    Could FMP search and publish the army personel who travelled to the East. China Singapore etc. between the 2 world wars..they are not in the passenger lists on line. Many troop ships went through Singapore to China in the 1920s to 1930s and cant find any record of the troops on the ships.
    Kind Regards
    Mary

  • Kate Dorrington

    Great work FMP, it will be a top site not that it isn’t now. I found out where my great grandmother was born through the 1911 census, no one in the family had a clue, so thankyou again. All the best Kate

  • PHIL DUGGAN

    Alongside the royal marines medal rolls are there plans to scan/digitise the royal navy , Royal navy volunteer reserve, Royal navy Reserve, etc officers/other ranks,medal rolls in the future?? these would be invaluable. Also the Board of trade pouches (mercahnt navy ) service documents. Excellent news on the india office records.!

  • http://www.findmypast.co.uk jessmoore

    Hi Phil,

    Keep an eye on the site in the near future – we may have something that interests you! I can’t say more for now I’m afraid…

    Thanks,

    Jess (findmypast.co.uk web editor)

  • http://FMP Pat

    I’ve really been struggling for a few years now. I was told before my mother passed away six years ago, that my Great Uncle died at sea. Mum thought that he may have been in the navy but not sure if it was the merchant navy or royal navy. I did make some progress when the 1911 census was released as it states that one child had died so sometime between 1901 and 1911 census Harry Hunt died aged between 18 and 28. I just cannot find reference to him anywhere….. I’d so much love to find this missing piece of the puzzle. Most of what Mum told me over the years has proved to be true so I have no reason to believe otherwise. Just waiting and waiting for more records to come online!

  • Paul

    any update for the progress of the project to digitise all of the UK electoral rolls? I am eagerly awaiting this resource to break down some long standing brick walls!

  • Toni

    I have been looking forward to the India Office Records but haven’t heard anymore since the above. Can you tell us when these records will become available?

  • Tracey

    Any update when the UK electoral registers resource will actually be launched?

  • http://www.findmypast.co.uk jessmoore

    Hi all,

    We’re afraid we can’t give you an exact date for when these records will go live, but we’re working on bringing them to you as soon as we possibly can!

    We’ll update you as soon as we have more news.

    Thanks,

    Jess (findmypast.co.uk editor)

  • Kristina Cameron

    Hello. I have some information about Farquahar Cameron a pensioner and was discharged from the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.
    He was born Kilmorack, Inverness and served in the following
    2nd Garrison Battalion, 97th foot, 74th Foot, Portsmouth Marines, 74th Foot and 26th Foot. between 1787 – 1808.
    Question: Why so many regiments? and how do I find information about his family, are they on the papers? and where am I able to get a copy of his records.
    Thanks
    Kristina Cameron

  • http://www.findmypast.co.uk jessmoore

    Hi Kristina,

    Sounds like you need to submit your query to our experts, who answer a couple of family history questions each month. If you’d like to be in with a chance of having your question answered by our experts, please register or opt to receive newsletters in My Account:

    https://www.findmypast.co.uk/register.action

    As our experts are very busy, we can’t guarantee that your query will be answered – but if yours isn’t answered next month, then you might get lucky the month after!

    Hope this helps,

    Jess (findmypast.co.uk editor)

  • Maureen

    Can you tell us when the India Office Records records will become available?

    Thanks
    Maureen

    • http://www.findmypast.co.uk jessmoore

      Hello Maureen,

      We’re working on the British India records and will publish them in the coming months, starting with the ecclesiastical returns. This is as specific as we can be at the moment but we’ll let you know as soon as there’s more news.

      Thanks,

      Jess (findmypast.co.uk digital content manager)

  • Maureen

    Thanks you Jess
    Maureen

  • Jonny

    I do hope that you will include a ‘browse’ facility when you release the India Office records. The usefulness of of the digitised records will be an order of magnitude greater if you do.
    Most if not all FMP datasets rely on the user searching on a number of fields – for example, surname, forename, place of birth etc.- based on transcriptions of the originals. The user can view the page on which each result is found, but cannot view the pages either side, or indeed the whole dataset. Unlike your major competitor, where the user can browse the whole dataset.
    The usefulness of FMP datasets therefore relies on the accuracy with which the original dataset has been transcribed, and experience shows that this is not 100%, and the user therefore has to guess what the transcription might be in order for the dataset to be useful.
    Family historians frequently encounter situations where another page in a dataset contains vital information that the user did not even know existed – just as examples, the baptism of a twin that happens to be on the previous page of a parish register, or relatives living in the same village but on the next page of the census.
    I have some familiarity with some India Office records though looking at films and I urge you to include a browse facility.
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
    JW

    • http://www.findmypast.co.uk jessmoore

      Hello Jonny,

      Thanks for taking the time to let us know your thoughts. I’ve passed your comments onto our product team – we appreciate the feedback.

      Thanks,

      Jess (findmypast.co.uk digital content manager)

  • Maureen

    Hello Jess

    I read Jonny’s comments with some dismay. I have used FMP in the past, but I had no idea there was no browse facility.

    I have been waiting with anticipation for the India Office Records to come online. I have in the past looked at many microfilms of these records. I know from experience the information I sought may not have been on the same page as the record I was looking at. As an example, although I think the name of the town the record came from was on every page, the name of the actual church was often on a different page. This is because the records were done on a quarterly basis, so the records for that quarter for a particular church may extend over several pages with the name of the church only appearing on the first page, or sometimes only on the last page, near the signature of the minister or priest.

    Given the difficulty associated with accurate transcription of names, indeed some of the names I have seen written in the IOR microfilms would only enable a guess at the name, I believe it is very necessary for people to be able to browse through the records themselves, as there may be other clues in the records which are significant to the researcher, but not to the transcriber, which enable accurate identification.

    In addition, I have used the microfilms of the India Office Records for research purposes, when I was looking at some of the records relating to one of the Orphan Schools. This involved looking through a Volume of marriage records, looking for the particular Orphan School. If there is no browse facility, it seems I would not be able to use the records for this type of research.

    If there is no browse facility, a FMP subscription would certainly be less appealing to me. There must be many people who would feel the same. I do hope a browse facility can be included.

    Could you also advise if some of the “additional” BMD records from the India Office Records being the Madras Corrections IOR/N/2/C/1-12 http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=059-iorn&cid=1-2-178#1-2-178, the Madras Omissions IOR/N/2/O/1-6, the Roman Catholic Returns for the three Pesidencies (IOR/N/1/RC/1-5, IOR/N/2/RC/1-8, IOR/N/3/RC/1-5) and series IOR/N/4-13 will be included in the records released on FMP

    Thanks
    Maureen