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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.

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