Latest round up of family history stories

We’ve been putting together the News pages for Family Tree‘s June issue. In case you’ve missed any of the following stories, you will be able to read them in full in the magazine when it hits the shops on 17 May.

Capturing the digital universe

Capturing the digital universe. Copyright British Library.

Saving our digital memory
Six major libraries – the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the Bodleian Libraries, Cambridge University Library and Trinity College Library Dublin – have been granted the right to receive a copy of every UK electronic publication, on the same basis as they have received print publications such as books, magazines and newspapers for several centuries.

To mark the passing of the new regulations, curators and other experts from all the participating libraries chose the 100 Websites which they judge will be essential reading for future generations researching our life and times in 2013. You can see their choices at

Masonic periodicals online
The Library and Museum of Freemasonry, with King’s College London Digital Humanities and Olive Software, has undertaken a groundbreaking project to provide free access to searchable digital copies of the major English masonic publications from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries.

The major titles digitised for this project, which comprises approximately 75,000 pages, are as follows (shown with the dates of publication available digitally): Freemasons’ magazine or, general and complete library (later The scientific magazine and Freemason’s repository) 1793-8; The Freemasons’ quarterly review 1834-1849; The Freemasons’ magazine and masonic mirror 1856-1871; The Freemason 1869-1901; The Freemason’s chronicle 1875-1901; and Masonic illustrated: a monthly journal for freemasons 1900-1906.

Access to this digital resource is free via the Resources page of the Library and Museum website at or the project website at

New look website for Society of Genealogists
The Society of Genealogists (SoG) website at has a brand new look and refreshed content. The pictorial grid layout makes it simple to find your way around the site, which includes a new Learn section, as well as sections for publications to buy, becoming a member, society information, records, events and courses, news, and more.

Tynemouth World War I commemoration project
A biographical database, including photographs and images from original documents, of the more than 1,700 casualties of the Great War from within the former Borough of Tynemouth who were included on a Roll of Honour published in 1923, is being created by an enthusiastic group of volunteers based at the North Shields’ Linskill Community Centre. The database will be available for public use in early 2014. Learn more at

Knowledge and wonder
The Digital Public Library of America website is now live at, providing free access to digital content from America’s libraries, archives and museums. You can explore collections by date, place and keyword, and visit online exhibitions.

WWI pension record look-ups
The Western Front Association is offering a look-up service for the 6.5 million Great War records that it saved from destruction last November. There is a fee for look-ups and requests are subject to a 100-year rule. Further information and details of how to make a request are at The records will eventually be digitised and made available online.

Mary Rose sets sail
The new Mary Rose Museum opens to visitors on 31 May 2013 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – the very same dockyard at which the warship was built more than 500 years ago.
Tickets cost from £17 for the Museum and £26 for the entire Historic Dockyard including the Museum, on sale at or at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Revisions of Griffith’s Valuation for Northern Ireland
In conjunction with FamilySearch, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has digitised the Valuation Revision Books, 1864-1933. These are now available on the PRONI website at

New tools at FamilySearch
FamilySearch ( has made significant changes to its web services that allow visitors to collaboratively build their family tree online, preserve and share family photos and stories, and receive personal research assistance – all for free.

Family Tree is available in WH Smiths, leading supermarkets and all good newsagents, or you can download our latest issue as a digital edition right now – visit, the App StoreGoogle Play or Amazon Appstore. Single issues, back issues and subscriptions are available for PC, Mac, eReaders, smartphones and tablets. A free sample is also available for all devices.

Free access to 65,000 19th century books

JISC eCollectionsThe British Library and JISC Collections have announced the launch of JISC Historic Books, a new website developed by Mimas for researchers and students that includes recently digitised editions of more than 65,000 books from the British Library’s extensive 19th century collections.

Amounting to more than 25 million pages the resource spans subject areas including history, philosophy, poetry and literature, with the original typeface, illustrations and fold-out pages for each book. Many rare or inaccessible books published between 1789 and 1914 are now digital, discoverable and searchable for the first time, enabling their use by many more scholars and researchers than has been possible before now.

Institutions pay a single service fee to access the material, with content then free at the point of access for students, researchers and academics. More than 140 institutions have already joined the service, which is also available via the British Library’s reading rooms.

Visit for more information.

Oral history: BBC Radio 4’s Listening Project

BBC Radio 4 has launched The Listening Project, an ambitious new partnership between the network, BBC Local Radio, the BBC’s national radio stations and the British Library that aims to capture the nation in conversation.

The Listening Project will invite people across the UK to share an intimate conversation. Some of these conversations will be broadcast by the BBC and curated and archived by the British Library building a unique picture of our lives today and preserving it for future generations.

What people talk about is their choice. Radio 4’s Controller Gwyneth Williams said: ‘I’d like to invite listeners to help us catch, broadcast and archive for the nation those rare exchanges that really matter; those conversations that can change the course of a life; that are utterly memorable; that we have all had and never forget.’

Audiences will also be able to submit their conversations to the BBC through The Listening Project website where they will also find guidance on how to plan and record conversations. The website launches on 19 March 2012.

Beginning on 30 March, The Listening Project will broadcast edited three-minute versions of conversations on Radio 4 on Fridays, just before the Radio 4 news at 1pm, 5pm and midnight. A 15-minute omnibus edition will air on Sundays at 2.45pm. Beginning on 25 June, five 15-minute specials will air Monday to Friday at 1.45pm. All broadcast conversations will be available online along with a free download of the weekly compendium programme.

The Listening Project will be presented by Fi Glover for Radio 4. BBC national radio stations and BBC Local Radio stations will also be creating their own Listening Project programming. The British Library will also play a key role in The Listening Project – full-length versions of conversations and some of the online uploaded conversations will be stored at the library to be preserved in perpetuity as part of the nation’s oral history.

Join the conversation
Follow #listeningproject on Twitter.

WIN! Love Letters: 2000 Years of Romance

Love Letters

COMPETITION CLOSED: Congratulations to our winner Tracy Messenger, Wiltshire!

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Family Tree has teamed up with the British Library to offer you the chance to win a copy of its recently published title Love Letters: 2000 Years of Romance.

This is the first ever anthology to reproduce original love letters in each of the writers’ own hand. Featuring letters drawn from the library’s unique and vast collections, the romance spans from 168 BC to the 20th century and offers a rare insight into the intimate thoughts, feelings and desires of iconic individuals such as Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Horatio Lord Nelson, Oscar Wilde and Mervyn Peake.

For your chance to win, simply answer the question below by 28 February.

On what date does Valentine’s Day fall?

About Love Letters: 2000 Years of Romance
Edited and written by Andrea Clarke, Curator of Early Modern Historical Manuscripts, Love Letters displays and transcribes in full 25 letters with engaging commentaries about the correspondents and their circumstances, as well as portraits of the writers and recipients. From the raw passion of Rupert Brooke’s letter to Cathleen Nesbitt – ‘I will kiss you till I kill you’ – to the hurt and dejected pre-wedding note from Charles Dickens to his fiancée – ‘do not trifle with me’ – Love Letters exposes ‘every shade of love’ through these personal and private letters between lovers over hundreds of years.

Andrea Clarke, author of Love Letters, says: ‘In an age of emails, tweets and texted “I luv u’s”, Love Letters invites us into a privileged realm and reminds us why the written word is so special. We are delighted to share these handwritten, intimate exchanges between couples – some famous, others now lost to history – with a wider audience.’

Love Letters is also available to buy from the British Library shop (020 7412 7735). ISBN 978 0712358255. RRP £10.

• To enter the competition, you must answer the multiple choice question correctly.
• Closing date of the competition is 11.59pm on 28.2.12.
• There will be one winner, receiving a copy of Love Letters: 2000 Years of Romance worth £10.
• Winners of the competition will be announced via the website
• Only one entry is permitted per person.
• Competition is open only to those aged 18 and over.
• No purchase is necessary to enter.
• There will be no cash or alternative prize available.
• The judges’ decision as to the winner is final.
• No correspondence will be entered into.
• Promoters reserve the right to amend or withdraw the competition without notice due to circumstances beyond their reasonable control.

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