Wednesday, 20 September 2006

New Online English Genealogy Resource

Ancestry comes through again. I had been wondering what they were up to. There has been a drought this summer with nothing much new by way of major data collections appearing on any of their web sites. On Tuesday the wait came to an end as they released scanned and indexed pages from 430 London telephone directories. These are for the Home Counties of London - Middlesex, Essex, Kent, Hertfordshire and Surrey; in total 72 million entries between 1880 and 1984 covering both homes and businesses. There is a good search engine, standard for Ancestry, and you get to view the original published page as well as the transcription.

This new addition is a bonanza for anyone with ancestors in the area; its a rare English family that doesn't have a branch into the London area. Not everyone had a phone through most of the period, far from it, but if listed you should be able to follow their moves, and perhaps correlate when they disappear from the directory with a death index listing. Remember, this is scanned and OCRd material. Expect errors , missing pages and other problems. Only the head of household is listed. This is a situation, are their any others, where it helps to focus on how full the glass is and not how empty.