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Bank of England Archive launches online catalogue

For the first time researchers from around the world can search the Bank of England’s Archive Catalogue online. More than 56,000 descriptions of records are currently available to search; records that include many named individuals and are therefore an invaluable source for family historians.

The catalogue enables researchers to identify relevant records, although it will not usually reveal specific names because records are not catalogued in this much detail, so a visit to the archive will be necessary to search the records.

The key staff records are House Lists (from 1694) and Salary Ledgers (from 1718), which together give the summary of an employee’s work. Although less extensive, the reports and minutes of the Committee of the Examination of Clerks (1799 – 1939) are a rich source of family history information, often giving details of an applicant’s schooling and work life prior to the Bank. Among other records, the archive holds detailed First World War staff records and records of the employment of porters and messengers (1892-1915). The new ‘Name Search’ is a quick and easy way to learn about senior staff. It contains brief biographies that link to all the relevant records in the catalogue.

For records of Bank customers and individual holders of government stock, there are indexed ledgers dating from 1694 (although customer accounts are not held beyond 1900). These ledgers give details of transactions so are useful for establishing the finances of an individual over time. The indexes to the stock ledgers often include the address and occupation too; however, the ledgers are arranged according to specific stock so researchers will need to know which stock was held in advance. The Bank of England will extracts can help as they detail how stockholders intended their stocks to be disposed of. The majority of these are now held by the Society of Genealogists.

Names may inadvertently appear in other records too, such as court minutes or department files, which researchers are also welcome to explore at the archive. Researchers should note, though, due to Data Protection there is a 100-year closure period on all records containing personal details of individuals.

To view the catalogue, visit http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/CalmView/.

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