Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hertfordshire-related updates on FindMyPast (Registers and Newspapers)

FindMyPast has announced that nearly 2 million new Hertfordshire register records have been added to their collection and list the current holding at

As usual they do not list the changes so there is no list that you can check to see what had changed that will affect your own research since last time. As is common with many other systems they are reluctant to tell you that a search was negative because the relevant records were not online or not indexed. If you search for my grandfather, by father, and myself in the Sandridge register, you will only find my father, who was baptised in 1908. You are given no reason for the other missing entries but a look at the list shows that the parish baptisms have been indexed between 1898-1910. Further investigation shows that the online images come from a register that runs from 19th June 1898 (on page 1)  to 5th May 1935 (on age 100). So baptisms in 1901 before 19th June 1908 are not indexed, while baptisms after 1910 are online as images - but not indexed. What is more the original register has been manually indexed by surname on the front cover (image opposite Page 1) and back cover (image opposite page 100).

The list of parishes shows Sandridge Marriages indexed between 1898 and 1901 - but I could not find a single example from the register so have no idea what, if any, has been indexed. In fact the Banns are indexed for a much longer period, including the years 1898-1901, proving that weddings did take place during this period. There are no Sandridge burial registers yet online. If you are interested in a particular village you will need to check what is (or is not) online with care.

The newspaper collection  now contains nearly 7 million pages, but the June updates did not include any papers relating to Hertfordshire. The most relevant papers already online are:
Bucks Herald 1833-1909
Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 1813-1871
Cambridge Independent Press 1839-1913
Chelmsford Chronicle 1783-1950
Essex Standard 1831-1900
Hertford Mercury and Reformer 1834-1868
Herts Advertiser 1925
Herts Guardian, Agricultural Journal & Advertiser 1852-1867
Luton Times and Advertiser 1856-1914
As can be seen the coverage of Hertfordshire is poor. Nothing from places such as Hemel Hempstead, St Albans (apart from one year for just one of the many papers published in the town at various dates) and Watford, with nothing from Hertford after 1868.

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