Welcome to the NWKFHS Blog

Saturday, 28 May 2011

British Library Newspapers online in Autum 2011. Free Public Houses, Publicans and Beer Retailers in Kent site

The British Newspaper Archive.

In the Autum of 2011 The British Newspaper Archive plans to start to make available millions of pages of historical newspapers  online for the first time. The aim is  to start with Newspapers  published before 1900 and to include titles from cities such as Birmingham, Derby, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Leeds and York, along with local titles from London boroughs.

This will unlock a major resource for Family Historians. Up until now researchers have had to travel to London to search the papers. Now you will be able to do so from anywhere in the world. Searches will  be able to be carried out for  birth, marriage and death notices, engagements, anniversaries, in memoriam, birthdays and congratulations as well as obituaries and News articles both national and local.

The digitising is being carried out in partnership with brightsolid online publishing who will  make them available online via a paid-for website as well as integrating it into its family history websites. How much the cost will be we will have to wait and see.They will be free to search at the British Library. Full details can be found at The British Newspaper Archive you can also register  for up to date news about the project.

Historical Pubs, Public Houses & Beer Retailers in Kent

If  you had ancestors or family who were Publicans in Kent this site will help you locate them. Not just in Kent, but London and other counties as well. I tried it to check the details on some of my family involved in Pubs in the 1880's and early 1900's it not only gave me details about them but some others who I had not realised were in the trade.

Dead Pubs Kent will allow you to search the London & Southern England Pub History site and Street directory by historical Pub name, surname or street address. This information is udated daily so it is worthwhile checking every so often  It also has the 1882 Kent Post Office Directory Listing which gives details of Pubs and publicans. This is also updated regularly and you can also help by giving any information or post cards of pubs.

There is lots of information about Pubs and Publicans in  Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Middlesex, Suffolk, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Devon and Dorset. There is so much on this site that it would be worth your while to explore and see what is there. All the information is freely available. The Home page can be found at  Dead Pubs Index

Thursday, 26 May 2011

St George's House, Police Orphange. Milititary Indexes, Obits etc. at Officers Died and NCO's and Privates. North West Kent Family History Society AGM. Index of Paper makers of the British Isles. Brick makers Index.

St George's House Orphanage.

Though this site deals with  St George's, Northern Police Orphanage at Harrogate, Yorkshire,  from 1898-1956, and not Kent  I have included it because it has accounts of what life was like  for  children living  in an English Orphanage in the late 1800's and early to mid 1900's. If you had ancestors or family who were in an orphanage during this period it is worth a look.

It contains details of Staff and pupils at the Orphanage as well as photographs.  St George's House, Northern Police Orphanage.

Officers Died and NCO's and Privates

Two interconnected sites that hold an amazing amount of details about Officers, NCO's and other Ranks from the 1700's until 2003. It includes both the Army and Navy and contains details of men in many battles in North America, Peninsular Campaign, Waterloo, Crimea, India, The Boer War and the Afghan conflict up until 2009.

These sites have been around for a few years so you may have seen it. But if you have not and you have ancestors in the military or you are interested in the military it is worth looking at.

North West Kent Family History Society AGM.

Over 100 members attended the North West Kent Family History Society AGM at Sevenoaks, Kent.on Saturday 21st May. Among other activities the members heard talks from Bob Ogley (Author of In the Wake of the Hurricane about the Hurricane of 1987 and how it affected people in Kent)  on Kent in the 19th Century, A presentation by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and a presentation on the new Library and History Centre that is to open at  James Whatman Way, off Royal Engineer’s Road, Maidstone, Kent given by Stuart Bligh, Archives and Local History Service Manager.

Jean Stirk, the President of the Society decided to stand down after 9 years. Presentations were given by the Vice Presidents of the Society and by the Branches.  Jean Stirk is well known for her Index of Paper makers of the British Isles, which contains over 12000 entries British Association of Paper Historians 

David Cufley was elected President. David is an acknowledged authority on Brick makers Brick makers an extensive database of Brick makers and of people with connections to Brick makers.  David is also well known for his study of Ratcatchers and frequently gives talks on Ratcatchers, especially in Victorian times. 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Free Maps, allows you to create, customise, annotate and PDF your own maps. Surname Frequency in 1841-1901 censuses. THE REEL HISTORY OF BRITAIN Appeal for help

Find Free Maps

If you would like to use a map to illustrate or plot your family history  Free Maps allows you to  personalise your map and allows you to create, customise, annotate and PDF your own maps.

It is a very useful resouce and allows you to illustrate your family history with a map/maps and it is free. 

Surname Frequency in 1841-1901 censuses

At  Your Family History there is a very useful and interesting site. You can find out the frequency that your surname occurs in the Censuses from 1841 to 1901. It will also give you the most frequent forenames used for that surname. A vey useful guide to surname distribution from 1841-1901.

If there are variations to the surname you are researching you may need to search under the variation as well.


NEW 20 PART SERIES FOR BBC2. Presented by Melvyn Bragg. Liz Kempton, a researcher for BBC Entertainment Production North would like to hear from anyone who might be able to assist with a new series she is working on.

The programmes will focus on different aspects of British life in the twentieth century, told through the rare and unseen film archive of the British Film Institute and regional film archives. Episodes will focus on a different aspect of social history and will be filmed at a different location, where the programme makers will take their original 1960s mobile cinema. See Vintage Mobile Cinema
One of the episodes Liz is currently looking at is titled 'The Dawn of a New Era' and will look at the Mitchell & Kenyon films, as well as life in the years 1900-1914.  She would love to speak to anyone whose family memories have been passed down from this time. 

Please get in touch with Liz direct on either of the telephone numbers below with any information you are willing to share.  The following link also takes you to the press release which gives you a few more details about the series  Press Release
Any help would be much appreciated. Please feel free to pass this email on to anyone who you think may be interested

Liz Kempton
The Reel History Of Britain
BBC Entertainment Production North / Room 4041 / New Broadcasting House /

Oxford Road
/ Manchester / M60 7HB 
+44 (0) 161 244 3718 / +44 (0) 7791 622 443

Friday, 20 May 2011

Free Military, Civil Service, Bankrupts records, London Gazette. Blacksmiths Index. Free downloable list of all lifeboat personnel who have lost their lives.

Military, Civil Service, bankrupts records in the London Gazette.

The London Gazette gives details of Officers of the Army and Navy appointments, promotions and resignations and is available free online to seach and see copies of the original pages (pdf) that can be down loaded. Though this is an important resource not everybody is aware that it is avilable.

You can search by name, year/s and so forth. You can also search for bankrupts and debtors as well as retired members of the Civil Service who were given medals to recognise their service. This included such people as Postmen, Police, Messengers, Plumbers and Shipwrights to mention just a few. The search page can be found at London Gazette

Blacksmiths Index

This site is worth looking at if you had an ancestor who was a Blacksmith or just checking if one of you ancestors is listed. Blacksmiths in Kent and many other counties are listed, plus any details that are known. This index is growing and includes other countries such as America and Australia. There are also other indexes for Coopers, Farriers and Millwrights just to name a few.  Blacksmiths Index

RNLI Memorial. to all lifeboat personnel who have lost their lives since the foundation of The RNLI in 1824 .

The RNLI memorial sculpture at Poole, Dorset, is the only place where all of them who lost their lives are named together. You can download the full list at RNLI Memorial

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Free searchable Military database of Soldiers in later Medieval England. Marden, Kent Memorial Inscriptions. UK Genealogy Archives. Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (NCSE)

The Soldier in later Medieval England.

Whether you are fortunate enough to be tracing your family history into late 14th - 15th centuries in England or if you are carrying out a one name study or are interested in early occurrences of your family names this free searchable database should be looked at. Not just English soldiers are recorded but also Welsh, Scottish and some other nationalities.

"The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) awarded a Research Grant worth just under £500,000 to Dr Adrian Bell of the ICMA Centre and Professor Anne Curry of the University of Southampton to challenge assumptions about the emergence of professional soldiery between 1369 and 1453".   The project has produced a valuable on-line searchable resource for public use that is of interest to genealogists as well as historians. 

The database really consists of three searchable databases. A great many of the people listed are not Nobles or Gentry (though they are listed as well) but 'ordinary' men, Men at Arms, Archers etc. First name, Surname, Rank, the Captain, The Commander, the year, Activity (Naval, garrison etc) are amongst the details given. The Protection Database gives more information such as (if known) length of service, where served, occupation, nationality etc.  

Muster roll database consists of about  94,962 service records taken from muster rolls, held at The National Archives (TNA), for the years 1369 - 1453.
Protection database.  Some 25,495 records that are taken from the treaty rolls, gascon rolls and Scottish rolls housed in The National Archives (TNA), for the years 1369 - 1453.

Normandy Garrison database.  About 128,525 records drawn from mainly French repositories and record service for the English crown, in the occupation of Normandy from 1415 - 1453.

The database can be searched at  The Soldier in Late Medieval England

Marden, Kent Memorial Inscriptions.

Marden Parish Church and the Marden History Group have jointly placed the MI's for St Michael and All Saints Church. The Memorial Inscriptions are of those buried in the churchyard, memorial plaques in the church as well as those buried at the former Wesleyan Chapel and at the Congregational Church. The database includes Memorials that have been removed. There is also a grid plan of the churchyard. The Marden MI's can be found  Here 

UK Genealogy Archives.

A growing site of various Free sources. UK Genealogy Archives  It has a database of transcripts of Marriage records extracted from many parish registers published by Phillimore & Co. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: "Phillimore Parish Registers - Marriages series". Clicking on the name in the search result takes you to a scan of the original publication. There are no Kent Parishes but with the movement of people it could be that an ancestor in Kent was born and or married elsewhere. Volumes currently indexed are:

Berkshire Parish Registers - Marriages volume 1-2
Derbyshire Parish Registers - Marriages volume 1-4
Gloucestershire Parish Registers - Marriages volume 4
Somerset Parish Registers - Marriages volume 2

There are other resources available on the site including The Heralds Visitations of Kent 1619. The entire publication is available free to view, some 260 pages. Though it is not searchable and thus has to be 'read' in the 'old fashioned way' the book itself has an index. The Heralds Visitations 

The Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (ncse)

At  The Nineteenth-Century Serials Index there is a free, online edition of six 19th century periodicals and newspapers. They are fully searchable, the results of which will take you to a copy of the page. You can also browse through the issues.

Monthly Repository (1806-1837) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833). Northern Star (1838-1852). Leader (1850-1860). English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864). Tomahawk (1867-1870). Publishers’ Circular (1880-1890)

If you are interested in what your ancestors might have read and what might have influenced them this site will give you an idea. Some periodicals such as English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864) covers the period when an attempt was made to allow married women to own property. The paper demonstrated the potential for women to play a full part in nineteenth-century society.

The site is a collaboration between Birbeck, University of London, King's College London, the British Library, and Olive Software. It was funded from January 2005 to December 2007 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Free British Military Searchable Index. Kent War Memorial Transcription Project. Stapelhurst, Kent, Free to view transcriptions of Parish Registers. NWKFHS Meetings.

Military Genealogy has a free searchable index of over 2 million UK Armed Forces personnel starting from 1630. The index search will give you the number of personnel of any given name, the period the name occurs, e.g. Napoleonic Wars, Boer War, WWI, WWII and the Regiment or Ship that they served in or on.

If you wish more details you can subscribe to the site for a 3, 6, or 12 month period. The subscription gives full unlimited access to the site. (It is a shame other subscription sites do not follow this example).  The index can be searched Here 

Kent War Memorial Transcription Project.

This site is Kent's largest and most comprehensive online civic war memorials commemoration website. It covers all the Kent boroughs, districts and parishes and the South East London (GLC) boroughs that were in Kent until the 1920's. It contains Transcripts of 526 memorials and many photographs of the war memorials listed. The work is ongoing to include more. There are also many links inside to other Memorial websites.    Kent War Memorials

The site also has details of casualties whose names were never officially recorded by the authorities and many of whom were buried in unmarked paupers’ graves. To date they have taken up 118 such cases with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). So far 47 of these cases have been approved by the CWGC and some others are being appealed.  Kent's Forgotten Men

At Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles you can find details of the men listed in the Roll of Honour, 1914-1914 casualties and much more.

Stapelhurst, Kent. Free to view transcriptions of Parish Registers.

If you are researching your family history and your ancestors or family lived in Staplehurst Kent you can view free of charge transcriptions of the Baptism, Marriage and Burial registers of All Saints, Staplehurst. They cover the period 1538 - 1900 for baptisms; 1538 - 1883 for marriages and 1538 - 1873 for burials. Banns from 1754 - 1809.The Transcriptions can be found  HERE

The marriage transcriptions contain both the Bride and the Groom's names and can be searched by Brides surname.

An Index of Wills and Inventories from 1449 to 1857 can be found on the same site at Wills and Inventories  Other indexes such as Marriage Licences can be found at Other Information

NWKFHS Meetings and Talks.
Did your ancestors live or come from the Kent and South East London areas and are you are researching them and the community they lived in? Why not see what NWKFHS can do to help.  If you are in the area or can make a trip why not visit one of the Branch meetings? It will give you the opportunity to meet like minded people, discover what is available to  help you and at the same time hear a talk by an expert in their field. 

NWKFHS has 3 branches where you are welcome to come along and see how they could help and you can meet fellow family historians. More details of all Branch meetings can be found at NWKFHS Branches and should be checked first before making any journey.

Over the next couple of months the meetings and talks are as follows:-

Bromley Branch. Bromley Methodist Church,
College Road, Bromley BR1 3NS
Start 10.30am. 

18 June 2011.  Timothy Cox "I do like to be beside the seaside" - the development of seaside holidays
16 July 2011. Helen Allinson Farewell to Kent - assisted emigration from Kent in the 19th century
20 August 2011. Ian Waller You may wish you had never started this! - overcoming the challenges of FH research

Dartford Branch. Dartford Technology College,
Heath Lane, Dartford, Kent
Start 10.30am

4 June 2011. Chris Taft The Rise of the Post Office Underground Railway
2 July 2011. Francine Payne The History of the Darenth Hospitals
6 August 2011 Peter Hartley A Royal Interlude

Sevenoaks Branch. Sevenoaks Community Centre,
Otford Road, Sevenoaks, Kent
Start 7.15pm.

9 June 2011. Audrey Gillett Nobody Knew - Nobody Cared
14 July 2011. Ian Waller Sold, Separated & Divorced
August 2011. No Meeting

You can also visit the Society Library Summerhouse Drive, Joydens Wood Estate, Bexley, DA5 2EE  where experienced Family Historians are on hand to help and advise. The full details can be found at Society Library 

Saturday, 7 May 2011

British History Online, two new Free record collections. Free Searchable Indexes for Marden Kent. Cemetery Records, NWKFHS.

British History Online. New Records.

Two new major collections have been added to the website. Hearth Tax records for 1662 - 66 for London, Westminster and Middlesex. Some 60,000 names are listed. You can search the indexes here Hearth Tax records

There are also records of the Court of Common Pleas for the period 1399-1500  (If you are lucky enough to be back to that period). 

The information given on the site about these records is  "The records of this central common law court for the fifteenth century; records held by The National Archives with the class of CP40. Hitherto unpublished, the database was first produced as part of the AHRC-funded 'Londoners and the Law' project (AHRC AR119247). It was further augmented by the 'London women and the economy before and after the Black Death." You can search here  Court of common pleas

For anyone not familiar with British History Online it is a digital library "containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles. Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust, we aim to support academic and personal users around the world in their learning, teaching and research". It is free to use and a great resource.

Marden Kent. Free searchable Indexes for Births, Marriages and Burials.

The Marden Heritage Centre has won the Family History Monthly magazine Archive of the Year 2010. If you have ancestors who lived in the Marden area they have a free searchable index of St Michael's and All Angels Church. The Indexes gives dates of baptism, marriage of burial. In the case of marriages both the groom and brides name is given.
You can search here Marden Indexes You can if you wish order Full Transcriptions or copies of the record. See Research for how to order and costs.
NWKFHS Cemetery Records. Bexleyheath, Dartford East Hill and Watling Street, Stone and Swanscombe.
North West Kent FHS has published several CDs containing the original copies of a number of cemeteries in NW Kent and South East London. Bexleyheath Cemetery,  Burial Registers & indexes 1879-1943; East Hill & Watling St Cemeteries, Dartford, Burial Registers & indexes 1856-2006, on 2 CD's; Stone Cemetery, Burial Registers & indexes 1899-2006 and Swanscombe Cemetery, Burial Registers & indexes 1895-2006 They are not available on any pay per view site. Full details of these and other such records can be found at NWKFHS Burial Records

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

FFHS Competion. Miscellaneous Parish Records for Kent

New Competition
The Federation of Family History Societies is running a competion, "Who is the most interesting person in your family tree?" Write an account of your most interesting person and bring them to life in no more than 1,000 words.You can find further information and details of how to enter at FFHS Competition
First prize is a one year’s Full Subscription to findmypast. 2nd Prize, One year’s Diamond Premium Subscription to The Genealogist.co.uk. Third prize One year’s Premium Membership to Ancestry.co.uk. 
The Federation is also running a competition for those under 21. Write an article of no more than 1000 words about your most interesting ancestor. Details are at FFHS under 21 competition .
Both competitions close on 31 December 2011.

Miscellaneous Parish Church Records. Parishes of Darenth, Dartford, Horton Kirby, Longfield, Meopham, Southfleet and Swanscombe Kent.

A CD(OR49) published by NWKFHS. It includes various Churchwardens Accounts, Poor Law Records, Settlement Examinations and Removal Orders. As well as Surveyors of the Highway Accounts. Facsimile pages taken from 17th-19th Century Parish Chest material deposited at Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, Strood, Kent. Further details can be found at Parish Chest Records

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Missing Baptisms for St Alfege, Greenwich now published. Writing your Family History and access to Open Data.

NWKFHS has produced a new CD (CD 38) containing Transcriptions and an Alphabetical Index of the Baptisms registers for 1813-38 that contains over 15000 entries. 

The importance of this index and the transcriptions is that they include several pages of Baptisms that were omitted when the registers were filmed many years ago. These missing pages are not available on the Ancestry database or any pay per view site.

The NWKFHS publications details will soon be updated on the website to include the full details. The CD will also be available from Parish Chest in the near future. NWKFHS publications available at Parish Chest can be seen here NWKFHS Publications via Parish Chest and can be paid for by Credit Card.

In the meantime the CD can be ordered by post. To download an order form go to  NWKFHS Publication The Ref. for the CD is CD38 St. Alfege, Greenwich Index and Transcriptions 1813 - 38. Price GBP £8 plus postage of GBP £1 for the UK and GBP £2 for elsewhere.

Writing Family History. U3A

Some 1/4 million people belong to the University of the 3rd Age and benefit from the many courses on offer. "Membership is not related to a specific age but to a period in one’s life (the third age) after the second age of full-time employment and parental responsibility.  Anybody in their third age can join U3A and this includes people who are working part time.  There is no lower age for membership". If you live in   Australia it is available through a partnership between Third Age Trust (the UK national U3A organisation) and the U3A Online Inc.(based in Australia).
If you are interested in writing your family History or just starting to do so  you might be interested in this course for beginners that aims to help develop or improve information gathering and writing skills using a computer. Topics covered include "planning your history, collecting information, storing and collating it  then using that material to bring your history to life by writing the stories of the people concerned in a way that will be interesting to the reader".

No entry qualifications are required. They are designed purely for personal interest and enjoyment. They offer no credit on completion.  The courses have been written by volunteers who are experienced tutors or course leaders in their fields.  The courses are aimed at U3A members, ex-U3A members who are no longer able to attend a U3A, and those unable to access conventional courses for one reason or another (e.g. restricted mobility, disability, etc).  The U3A website is at U3A


There is an interesting project at worldnames.  It is an outcome of various academic research projects at University College London and there is no charge for the service provided. It  helps  to further  research into the geography of family names.

Open Genealogy Alliance: historic and genealogical data.

FreeBMD and ORG are building a broad Alliance to campaign for Open Data in the genealogy sector.  Historic data such as births, marriages and deaths, or censuses has been collected for public benefit, and is available to companies through purchasing agreements, but is frequently hard or expensive for individuals to access. Restrictive licensing is also reducing the impact of voluntary transcribers who want to republish historic archives. More details can be found at Open Rights Group and the Manifesto also supported by FreeBMD is at Right to Culture in the Digital Age