Friday, 1 October 2010

FindMyPast.co.uk adds Devon Parish Records 1754-1839

The following is a press release from Find My Past:

Devon parish records go online

.       857, 603 Devon parish records are available online, making it easier to find Devon ancestors
.       The famous dog breeder John Russell, the Jack Russell's namesake, can be found in the records


Today leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk launches the Devon parish records in association with Devon Family History Society.  Significantly, these new online records pre-date civil birth, marriage and death records and census records, enabling family history enthusiasts to delve even further back into their Devonian ancestors' pasts from the convenience of their own home.

The Devon parish records include 363,015 baptism records for 1813-1839; 271,193 marriage records for 1754-1837 and 223,395 burial records for 1813-1837.  The transcripts of these records are available to search at findmypast.co.uk from today as part of what is already one of the largest online parish record collections for England & Wales, currently comprising over 26 million baptism, marriage and burial records dating as far back as the reign of Henry VIII.

The search facility at findmypast.co.uk makes it possible to look up ancestors across all the parish records on the site just by entering a surname.  Previously, to search the offline records it was necessary to know where in the country your ancestors came from and then contact the relevant record office or family history society for that area, so this development will make it far easier for people to research their family history.

The decline of agriculture at the end of the nineteenth century caused many people to migrate to cities as well as overseas in search of work. Therefore many people now living across the UK or in other corners of the globe may find ancestors listed within the newly available Devon Parish Records that they never knew they had.

The county of Devon has produced many famous faces over the years that can be found in the Devon Parish records. These include Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first ever computer, Charles Kingsley the author of 'The Water Babies' and John 'Jack' Russell, who owned the foundation bitch of a line of fox hunting terriers that would eventually come to be known as the Jack Russell.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at findmypast.co.uk, says: "As a descendant of generations of Devonshire blacksmiths, I am particularly excited that the Devon Family History Society is working with findmypast.co.uk to put Devon parish records on our website and make them available to all. Like me, many people who have never lived in Devon themselves may discover that they have ancestors who were baptised, married and/or buried in Devon, and this is a great way to find out about them."

Maureen Selley, Chairman of Devon Family History Society commented: "This is a unique and very special resource that has been created over many years by members of Devon Family History Society.  By working with findmypast.co.uk to put these records online, we are enabling a wider international audience to become aware of these terrific records, allowing millions more people worldwide to discover their Devon ancestors."

Findmypast's Parish Record Collection brings together in one place the disparate records from local parishes, which have been collated by local family history societies since 1911, coordinated by the Federation of Family History Societies*. Since 2007 findmypast.co.uk has been working exclusively with the Federation to publish these records online, with many more records due to be added to the website over the coming months.

Findmypast.co.uk will also be working with FamilySearch to digitise the record collection of Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, with a view to matching their images of the parish records to the transcripts from Devon Family History Society that are now live on the site.

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