Welcome to the NWKFHS Blog

Monday, 25 April 2011

London Metropolitan Archives - reductions in opening hours but new digitisation projects announced. FIBIS Free Searchable Database.

The Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) reports that at a meeting of the Family History Users’ Forum at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) representatives of family history societies with an interest in the boroughs covered by LMA, The FFHS and the Society of Genealogists gatherd to hear the latest news about a reduction in the budjet, the effect this would have on opening hours and the next phase of Ancestry.com's partnership with the LMA.

It was stated that savings in operating costs of nearly 16% must be achieved over the next 12 months, most of the savings would fall on staff reductions. It had previously been announced that Saturday opening would be cut completely, but in response to considerable comment from family historians the LMA will now open on one Saturday a month instead of the current two, subject to review. 
Following more presure the LMA has decided to close to the public on Fridays instead of Mondays (like The National Archives) in order to allow academics to have somewhere available on a Monday.  The Guildhall Library will remain open on a Friday.  Late opening is to be extended to Wednesdays, as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The new opening hours will start in November, after the annual closure for stocktaking during the first two weeks of November.

Digitisation in conjunction with Ancestry.
The 2½ year partnership with Ancestry has concentrated on Parish registers and  Poor Law records.  Wills and Electoral registers are next to be digitised and should be available online later this year. Then it is intended to digitise the City of London Freedoms.  Further into the future there are discussions with the Livery Companies which have deposited their archives with LMA.  There is a possibility that the City and Tower Hamlets cemetery records might also be considered in the future. 

FIBIS (Families In British India Society) Free Searchable Database.

FIBIS is devoted to members researching their ancestors and the background to their lives in India. If you have ancestors or family who were born or spent part of their lives in British India you should look at this site, it is a real asset to such research.

There is a free searchable database of some 710,000 individuals from 1600 until 1947. To find out more about the background to their lives you can use fibiwiki. It contains guides, sources and general background information.  Visit the FIBIS Website for more information and to search the database and fibiwiki.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


There are many sources for census from 1841 - 1911. Some on pay per view sites others are free to access. The most obvious free censuses that are are available are the 1881 (Carried out as a joint project between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Family History Societies). The site is Family Search

There is also FreeCen which can be found at FreeCen  Volunteers are busy indexing censuses from 1841 for England, Scotland and Wales. You can find details of what has been done to date and the present progress being made at FreeCen Statistics  Many family History Societies have also carried out their own indexing and transcribing.

On the North West Kent Family History site there is a free index for 1861 Census: Bromley (Kent) Registration District. The full name and age of each person is given. It covers the parishes of:

Bromley 5422 entries, piece number RG9/463
Chislehurst 2259 entries, piece number RG9/464
Foots Cray 285 entries, piece number RG9/464
St Mary Cray 1463 entries, piece number RG9/464
St Pauls Cray 531 entries, piece number RG9/464
Orpington 1725 entries, piece number RG9/464

If you have ancestors and family in the Bromley area in 1861 it is worth checking to see if they are listed. The Index can be found at Bromley 1861 Census Index

1801 and 1821 censuses for Dartford, Kent.

Though they are rare there are a few earlier censuses where details of the people have been preserved. In most cases it is the head of the households only. The 1801 and 1821 census for Dartford (Kent) parish are among those rare survivals.  In a joint Venture between Kent Family History Society (funded by a donation from Mr. C. Sanham) and Medway Archives they have now been filmed and scanned and are available on CD.

The 1801 for Dartford Parish is very unusual in that each family has the full names, including servants. Relationships are indicated either as 'wife', or for children can be read from the column headed 'Issue'The listing is arranged by location, e.g. 'High Street', then 'Overy Liberty' etc. Occupations are identified, but only as three broad classes as required by the government: these are 'Agriculture', 'Trade etc', or '3rd class' (those not in the other two).

In the 1821 census only heads of household are given, with their occupational class. However, there are the numbers in each household together with their age structure (categorised into 10-year age bands).

Details can be found at Dartford 1801 and 1821 Censuses

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Free Indexes, Transcripts etc continued


Wills can be an important source of information about your ancestor, what he/she owned and to whom it was left. In England wills have survived from Medieval Times. They were proven by the Church and other Courts.

The National Archives (The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey) at National Archives gives an outline of Wills.

Free Will and Probate Indexes.
Will of Margaret Lane of Horton Kirby, Kent. 1720
East Kent Wills and Probates 1396 - 1659.

Kent Archaeological Society has Indexed the Archdeaconry Court, Consistory Court wills from 1550 - 1659 and Including Calendar of Wills & Administrations 1396-1558, 1640-1650 by Henry R Plomer. The information includes Name, date when made and when probated, location and any comments and references. Those of the Calender of Wills provide, Name, alternative spellings,  year and references. They can be found at East Kent Wills 1396 1659 

East Kent Wills and Probates 1660 - 1858.

All wills 1660-1858 Archdeaconry Court registered wills, Achdeaconry Court original/office copy wills and Consistory Court registered wills  are included and provide the same information as above.They can be searched at East Kent Wills 1660-1858 In total there are 84,085 people, 138,035 records in the Indexes.
You can also search here Kentish Administrations  Kentish Administrations, 1559-1649 Abstracted by Leland L. Duncan and Alphabetized by John Blythe Dobson. 

North West Kent Wills and Families. Up to 1650.

A free index of 19000 entries of Wills and Probates from that gives  name, parish, date and notes. You can purchase a CD which includes transcripts of the Wills. They can be searched free at NW Kent Wills

Rainhan, Kent. Index of Wills, Perogative Court of Canterbury.

A small Index of Wills of Rainham inhabitants on Parish Chest. Transcribed by David Auger. Rainham Wills

Kent Genealogy.

Maureen Rawson's site contains some 2450 transcripts of Kent wills. All pre 1858. Kent Will Transcripts pre 1858 There is also a summary of Edenbridge, Kent Wills by Lionel Cole on the Kent Genealogy site at  Edenbridge Wills

To be continued.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Free Memorial Inscription transcriptions and indexes and Free Tithe Awards and Schedules

There is a wealth of Information that can be searched for free of Memorial Inscriptions and Tithe records for Kent and South East London. If you have ancestors and families in South East London and Kent they are worth looking at.  

Memorial Inscriptions.

Kent Archaeological Society.

The Kent Archaeological provides a wealth of Information for Memorial Inscriptions for Churches in the North Kent area, including parts of South East London, and for other areas of Kent

The Memorial Inscription transcriptions and other notes were collected by Leland L Duncan and two people known as Bax And Rice. They cover a period of between the 1760's to 1923. We owe a debt of gratitude to these three, especially Leland Duncan for many of the Inscriptions they recorded are now faded and range from difficult to impossible to read. Even in Leland Duncan's time some were starting to fade and wear away.

Thanks to the Kent Archaeological Society we can now read  many of the Memorial Inscriptions and use them to find information and details about some of our Ancestors and families.

The Kent Archaeological Society Memorial Inscriptions can be found at http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Libr/MIs/MIslist.htm

St Mary the Virgin, Horton Kirby. Head Stone starting to erode. Thanks to Kent Archaeological Society the inscription can be read. "George and Lydia infant son and daughter of Robert and Lydia RUSSELL ye son dy'd June 5th 1710, ye daughter May 20th 1711."
NWK Family History Society

The North West Kent Family History Society has, for now,  free to search transcripts of the Ladywell and Brockley Cemetery Memorial Inscriptions with the names of nearly 37,000 individuals buried there. You can search the transcripts at http://www.nwkfhs.org.uk/ladywell.htm

Tithe Awards and Schedules

Kent Archaeological Society.

The right to receive tithes was granted to the English churches as early as 855 AD. One tenth of the produce of a farm, small holding etc were payable to the Church. By 1835 this system ended with the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 and tithes were replaced with a rent charge decided by a Tithe Commission. Tithe Commutation surveys were carried out from the 1830s to 1840s The records of land ownership or Tithe Files made by the Commission have in the large part survived and are a valuable resource for historians.

The Kent Archaeological Society, aided by local Societies and individuals, are in the process of placing transcriptions of the Tithe Schedules on their site. They have made tremendous progress with many Parishes online. If you have ancestors or family in the area of South East London and Kent this could provide you with invaluable information.

The tithe awards and schedules can be searched at http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Maps/Maps%20intro.htm

The tithe maps that were produced by the Commission are not on the Kent Archaeological site They have been digitised and are available on a CD for £15 from the Centre for Kentish Studies, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XX  Tel: 01622 694363  Email: archives@kent.gov.uk .  The web site for the CKS is

To be continued...

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Kent Land Deeds and Documents Index - Another Kent Photograph

Free Kent Land Deeds and Documents Index.

For a while there are some free searchable Indexes available on the NWKFHS web site. One is an index of deeds and other documents of the Kent area that were rescued from a solicitor's office and obtained by the Society. http://www.nwkfhs.org.uk/searchable.htm will take you to the web page where you can download a pdf file giving the details of 863 entries from the 1800's through to the 1900's.

If you do find a connection with one of the names indexed you can either visit the Library in person or request a photo copy or further details from the Research Co-ordinator (a charge is made for this service). Full details are on the web site.

Photograph, Ida Maud Whitling. September 1907.

Though this photograph is not within the NW Kent area it is in Kent.

The photograph is of Ida Maud Whitling (born August 1907). On the back is inscribed her name and that she was 9 weeks old. Thus the photo was taken about September 1907 at Deal, Kent. Holding her is her mother Ada Emma, nee Wootton, Whitling, born circa 1882 at Chislet, Kent. Standing next to them is Ida's father Frank Barton Whitling born about  1879 at Caterham, Surrey.

Ada Wootton and Frank Barton Whitling were married at Blean, Kent in 1906. The 1911 census gives the following details:

Poplar Farm, Middle Deal Road, Deal Kent

WHITLING, Frank Head, Married 5 years, 32, 1879, Corn Merchant And Farmer Caterham, Surrey  
WHITLING, Ada Wife Married,29, 1882  Cheslet Kent  
WHITLING, Ida Daughter Single, 31, 1880  Deal Kent  
WHILTING Daughter, under 1 month, 1911,  Deal Kent   
CRIDGE Sarah Nurse Widow, 64, 1847,  Deal Kent. 

In 1937 in the Eastry, Kent Registration District Ida M Whitling married Arthur S Cuthbert. Is she connected to you?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Is this Mann one of yours? and WWII POWs

From time to time I find a photograph in an auction or some such place which is connected to Kent. In this case it is a photograph taken in Bronson, Michigan. On the back is inscribed "Charles Satherwaite Mann - Familly lived at 99 Church Lane Charlton".

Being curious I checked the 1901 census and at 99 Church Street there was the following:

Robert Mann, Head 53 born circa 1848 Lewisham Kent 
Ellen Mann ,Wife 49 born circa 1852  Ash Kent
Carrie Mann, Daughter 20 born circa 1881  Greenwich Kent 
Dudley Mann, Son 19 born circa 1882  Old Charlton Kent
Mildred Morfee, Stepdaughter 25 born circa 1876 Female New Cross Kent 
Edward Morfee, Stepson 23 born circa 1878 Ash, Kent

A check of Free BMD shows that Charles Sathertwaite Mann birth was registered Dec quarter 1873 at Greenwich. The 1881 census shows his parents as Robert and Lillette Mann.

19 Clarendon, Villas Robert Mann Head Married 33 abt 1848 Male Architect & Surveyor Lewisham Kent Lillette H. Mann Wife Married 30 abt 1851
Charles S. Mann Son   7 abt 1874 Scholar Deptford Kent
Neva M. Mann Daughter   6 abt 1875 Female Scholar Greenwich Kent
 Lillette M. Mann Daughter   4 abt 1877 Female Scholar Greenwich Kent
George H. Mann Son   2 abt 1879 Male Scholar Greenwich Kent
Caroline A. Mann Daughter   1 abt 1880 Female Scholar Greenwich Kent
Villas Septimas Robinson Father in Law Married 55 abt 1826 Male Metal Merchant Hackney Middlesex Martha Robinson Mother in Law Married 53 abt 1828 Female   London Middlesex Alice Attwood Servant.

Charles parents. Robert Mann and Leilette Harriott Robinson were married  7 September 1872 at  St John's Deptford, Kent. Leilette died in 1887 and Robert remarried  to Ellen, nee Harden, Morfee 18 April 1891 at St Jude, Peckham.

The NWKFHS Journal often has articles and photographs of families and individuals it is worth checking the indexes of the Journal at http://www.nwkfhs.org.uk/jcontent.htm copies of articles can also be ordered. Full details of how to order are on the web site.

POW photographs. During WWII The War Department of the Red Cross and St John War Oganization issued a Journal free of charge to the next of kin of POWs. Though names of the POWs were not given letters were published as well as photographs. The Prison camp was identified on all the photographs, like the one below taken from the September 1943 issue. Do you recognise anyone? By using the zoom button of your browswer you can increase the size of the photograph.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Hello, welcome to the NWK FHS blog. I hope to keep you up to date with what is happening in the Society's area and with the Society. If you are interested or would like to know about the Society and what it can offer please look at the pages on the Society Library and the various Branches.

Some  news.

The new Research Service for members & non-members went ‘live’ on our website during January 2011 and was publicised in our March Journal 2011.  Being a new service and having no idea as to how many queries we may get along with organizing volunteers on a rota basis, it was decided to restrict the service in the initial stage to our Society Library only.  Once the system is organized and running smoothly we hope to extend it to archive visiting research.

Forms for requesting a search can be found on the North West Kent FHS Website at http://www.nwkfhs.org.uk/.

The Centre for Kentish Studies has announced that there will be a series of closures at the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone and the East Kent Archives Centre in Whitfield near Dover in preparation for the move to The Kent History and Library Centre being built at James Whatman Way, Maidstone.

The closures are

07/03/11 to 12/03/11 at CKS and EKAC
02/05/11 to 07/05/11 at CKS and EKAC
27/06/11 to 09/07/11 at CKS and EKAC
29/08/11 to 03/09/11 at CKS and EKAC
24/10/11 to 29/10/11 at CKS and EKAC
30/01/12 to 04/02/12 at CKS and EKAC

More information can be seen at

The Society's Annual Meeting and AGM will be held at on 21 May 2011 at Sevenoaks Community Centre, Otford Road, Sevenoaks, Kent. TN14 5DN. Starting at 9.30am. Among the speakers will be Bob Ogley, Kent in the 19th Century and Stuart Bligh on the new Centre for Kentish Studies. There is also a presentation by the War Graves Commission. Various Stalls will also be attending.

Visitors are welcome to come along to hear the talks and browse the stalls. A donation is always welcome. Further details can be found at http://www.nwkfhs.org.uk/agm2011.htm