This week's Findmypast Friday marks the release of fascinating British army records from the War of 1812 and the First World War, baptism records from the English county of Northumberland, a list of Scottish Presbyterians who signed the National Covenant to defend their faith during the 17th century, a valuable Irish census substitute and the first ever Australian census.
New South Wales, 1828 Census householders’ returns
Containing nearly 1,000 records, the 1828 New South Wales Census was the first census ever to be taken in Australia. Previous government statistics were based on “musters”, a head count of assembled convicts and settlers. The 1828 census recorded the details of nearly 1,000 convicts and settlers at a time when the settlement was expanding rapidly. Indigenous Australians were not counted. The 1828 census is the only complete 19th century census to have survived and consists of original householders’ returns; the form filled in and signed by householders on census night rather than the more usual enumerators’ books. Each record contains a transcript and an image of the original record held by the State Records Authority of New South Wales. Forms will typically include the individuals name, occupation, birth year, arrival year, ship name, residence, class (whether free settler or class of convict) sentence, religion and details of their land and livestock.
Over 39,000 records have been added to our collection of Northumberland and Durham parish records. The records not only reveal your ancestor’s name but also the names of their parents’, their occupations and where they lived. The records include baptisms from Presbyterian, Independent, Wesleyan, Methodist and Anglican parishes. The collection now contains records from over 350 parishes and villages.
British Army, Casualty Index War of 1812
The British Army Casualty Index War of 1812 contains the details of over 12,000 soldiers in the British Army who died, deserted, or were imprisoned during the War of 1812 (or the Anglo American War). The War of 1812 was a two and a half year military conflict fought by the United States of America against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, its North American colonies, and its American Indian allies. British losses during the War are estimated to be have been over 1,600 killed in action, 3,679 wounded and 3,321 dead from disease. Each record consists of a transcript of the original source material that will reveal the soldiers name, birth place, former occupation, rank, regiment or unit, place or action, company officer, company number, removal date and manner of removal – this may include information on how a soldier died or whether he deserted or was a prisoner of war.
British Army, Deserters and Absentees in Police Gazette 1914-1919
Containing over 13,000 records, Deserters and Absentees in Police Gazette 1914-1919 is comprised of lists of deserters and absentees published in Police Gazette during the First World War. The Gazette was primarily distributed to police forces around the British Isles and contained lists of persons wanted by police, missing or stolen objects, missing people and habitual criminals. During the war, it also provided lists of deserters and absentees from Britain’s armed forces. The lists were produced as a supplement every fortnight and most of the men listed were picked up and sent back to the army for court martial. Punishments could be severe but although execution was used in some cases it was not the norm. Some deserter’s evaded capture altogether, changed their name and went on to live a completely new life. Each record contains and image and transcript of the original source material. Records list the soldiers name, age, regiment, service number and the date and location of their desertion. Unsurprisingly, many deserters went missing after a visit home so each deserter’s last known address is included. Listings also included a full physical description.
British Jewry Book of Honour 1914-1920
The British Jewry Book of Honour 1914-1920 contains nearly 57,000 colour images and transcripts of the original document. This two volume book was published in 1922 to record and honour the contribution made by the 50,000 + Jews who served in the British and colonial forces during the First World War. The book was edited by Reverend Michael Adler who was the first Jewish chaplain to serve in HM Forces. It describes Jewish enlistment, casualties, military honours, Jewish Units and the work of Jewish hospitals and other Jewish institutions and agencies. Importantly, it contains alphabetical lists of those killed in action, those who were awarded military honours and the nominal rolls of Jews who served, listed by service and by regiment. There are indexed photographs of many of these individuals and the book also contains letters of support and acknowledgment from distinguished men of the day, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Winston Churchill wrote a foreword to the book in which he pointed out that although Jews only made up a tiny fraction of the Empire’s population, some 60,000 enlisted and fought in the war; of whom 2,324 gave their lives, and 6,350 were wounded.
Scottish Covenanters 1679-1688
Scottish Covenanters 1679-1688 contains over 81,000 records. The Covenanters were a Scottish Presbyterian movement that played an important part in the history of Scotland, England and Ireland, during the 17th century. They signed the National Covenant to defend their faith against the intrusion of the government after King Charles I forcefully introduced the Book of Common Prayer in Scotland. The records list the individuals who signed the Covenant and became rebels of the state. Each records contains a transcript created using sources held by The National Archives and the National Library of Scotland. Transcripts include the Covenanter’s name, county, a description (often their occupation or relatives) and place. Transcripts also include the original document’s source and archive reference.
New South Wales, 1828 Census householders’ returns
Containing over 11,000 records, the Church of Ireland parish record search forms were filled out by Irish Public Records Office staff while dealing with Old Age Pension applications. The pension was introduced in Ireland 1908 and record office staff would be required to prove an applicant’s eligibility by checking dates of birth in parish and census records. Since many births, marriages or deaths were not recorded in Church of Ireland registers, confirmation of the applicant’s age would then be looked for in the 19th Century censuses. Many Irish census records were destroyed in the Public Records Office fire of 1922 making these records and invaluable census substitute for those with Church of Ireland ancestors. The forms were used by Record Office staff to document their findings and often contain notes on other family members uncovered during the course of their research. Each record contains a transcript and an image of the original search forms. The information varies according to what kind of search was carried out but will usually list the applicants name, birth year, parents name as well as the source type, year, parish and county.
Remember to check our dedicated Findmypast Fridays page every week to keep up to date with the latest new additions.