Old parish records to be made available online

10:59am Tuesday 26th February 2013

By Mark Stead

RESEARCHING family trees is to become quicker and easier in North and East Yorkshire and beyond – through an online alternative to leafing through ancient, dusty tomes.

Through the Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium, councils across the county will make local parish records available through the internet, with millions of documents becoming available to those researching their ancestry at the click of a mouse.

North Yorkshire County Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council have both teamed up with family history website findmypast.co.uk, which sees digital copies of records being made.

Parish registers were established during Henry VIII’s reign, with the earliest dating from the first half of the 16th Century, and were compiled by vicars of every parish in the country.

They record details of baptisms, marriages and deaths, as well as other information.

Coun Chris Metcalfe, the county council’s executive member for library and information services, said: “This is a vast resource and it will be of value to people all over the world who want to find out about their North Yorkshire roots.”

The digitisation could take 18 months to two years, after which records will be available at a Yorkshire section of findmypast.co.uk

A family history day organised by North Yorkshire’s County Records Office will be held at Harrogate Pavilions on March 16, providing information.

Visitors to East Yorkshire’s Treasure House and libraries will also be able to search and download information for free.

The region’s archives manager, Ian Mason, said: “Tracing your family tree in Yorkshire can be very confusing because there are so many different local authority and religious boundaries. This will make it simpler for people because they will be able to see registers from all archives in the partnership.”


Archive entries

ENTRIES in North Yorkshire’s parish records include:

• Eleanor Hill of Sessay, unmarried, aged 20 years. Died of a profligate life (burial, Sessay, 1804).

• John, son of John Rawling of Barton le Street; born under the Northfield hedge at Asenby (christening, Topcliffe, 1612)

• Thos Cassildine, a soldier of the 1st Regiment of Dragoon Guards cruelly murdered at Runswick in attempting to seize some smuggled goods (burial, Hinderwell, 1776)

• Richard Sturdy, John Cartman and Richard Sturdy; all poisoned by neglect of a servant girl in making a pudding (burials, Kirkby Wiske, 1791)

• Thos, son of Thos Lee. Died with drinking gin, aged 13 (burial, Thirsk, 1789)

• Strange occupations including: Thos Taylor of Rome, murderer (burial, Giggleswick, 1661); Amram Foljamb, butter searcher (burial, Whitby, 1739); Thos, son of Thos and Catharine Brown of Staithes, umbrella repairer (christening, Hinderwell, 1830)

• Parish records also frequently gave nicknames as well as proper names, including: Kateren Ditchborn, called Mother Mydnyght (burial, Helmsley, 1578); an illegitimate child of bouncing Eliz (burial, Thirsk, 1587); Eliz Johnson, widow, commonly called Bessy Malt (burial, Thirsk, 1793).

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