A rchivist ’s top tips


Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - AROUND BRITAIN -

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.”

Post­card col­lec­tions

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

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