A rchivist ’s top tips
BEST WEBSITES TO AID YOUR RESEARCH
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service's Service Manager Pamela Birch: “Always take a note of the reference of any document you consult, even i f it prove s to be useless to your research. That way you can retrace your steps if you need to without reinventing the wheel and the archive staff will think you are wonderful!”
Pamela adds: “We’re delighted that the volunteers who worked so hard for us on our ‘Paths to Crime’ project have decided to stay with us and work on a new project. They have rebranded themselves as ‘The Marriage Bureau’ while they undertake the cleaning and cataloguing of our collection of marriage licence bonds. These have never had a proper catalogue and so work to record not only the parties to be married but also sponsors and additional information will open them up as a resource for the family historian.”
Meanwhile, other volunteers are cataloguing two major postcard collections. “These are a delight both visually, with pictures of Bedfordshire in the early-20th century, and with the messages on the back – a new baby, snow in June, a good harvest, a The county archives service is hoping to make its own website ( bedfordshire.gov.uk/archive) more user-friendly in the near future. “There is a vast amount of information on our site but it is not always as easy to find as we would like,” Service Manager Pamela Birch explains. Meanwhile, the catalogue ( bedsarchivescat. bedford.gov.uk) has recently been upgraded and currently includes 85 per cent of the catalogues available – while The National Archives Discovery contains catalogues not yet available. Remember, too, that you can access the Bedfordshire Gaol Register at apps. bedfordshire.gov.uk/grd.
Luton’s World War One project is at www. worldwar1luton.com. It includes a People page listing local soldiers and civilians compiled from the 1918 Absent Voters List, Rolls of Honour and information researched and uploaded by volunteers. The Archives Service also produces two daily online blogs: From the Frontline ( bedsatwar.blogspot.com) and The Homefront ( bedshomefront.blogspot.com). You can follow both on Twitter (@ BedsAtWar).
More than 355,000 Bedfordshire burials are included on Findmypast’s National Burial Index ( bit.ly/1NrVOR0), and there are 33,515 entries in England & Wales Christening Records (1530-1906) on Ancestry ( search. ancestry. co.uk/ Places/ UK/ England/ Bedfordshire/ Default. aspx). FamilySearch’s Bedfordshire wiki is at familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/ Bedfordshire_Genealogy. The Bedfordshire Family History Society ( bfhs.org.uk) has published transcripts of most Bedfordshire parish registers and there’s also a CD with an index to the registers of 130 parishes.
Other useful pages include the Bedfordshire section of the War Memorials and Rolls of Honour website ( roll- of- honour.com/ Bedfordshire), Bedfordshire Parish Churches ( bedfordshireparishchurches.co.uk/wp) and this selection of online indexes: fhlfavorites. info/ Links/ British/ England/bedfordshire. htm. To find out more about the revamped Higgins Bedford (formerly the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bedford Museum), go to www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk. And to read the unusual story of the Panacea Society, a unique religious group founded at 12 Albany Road, Bedford, in 1919, try panaceatrust.org.
The 'From the Frontline' daily wartime blog
The FamilySearch wiki page for Bedfordshire