A rchivist ’s top tips
BEST WEBSITES TO AID YOUR RESEARCH
Senior archivist Rhys Griffith: “Herefordshire FHS, which is very active and supportive, has produced comprehensive indexes to the local registrar’s records of births, marriages and deaths, as well as other datasets, such as all marriages in the county and listings of monumental inscriptions. These are available on our public access computers and for sale on the society’s website ( herefordshirefhs.org.uk).” not find it necessary, as they occasionally did in the old building, to pile on the layers.”
As a county and diocesan archive service, within the building you will find archives from a wide range of bodies, including the diocese of Hereford, all Herefordshire Church of England parishes, local government institutions from the 15th century to the present day, law courts, hospitals, schools, landed estates and manors, businesses and “a multiplicity of local organisations from the WI to the Scouts”.
Rhys says: “The parish records, of course, are the central resource for family historians and, after a sustained and proactive campaign of surveys and collection over the past seven One excellent resource is Herefordshire History ( herefordshirehistory.org.uk), initially funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Herefordshire in the Great War project. It is run by Herefordshire Libraries and hosts digitised material from libraries, archives and museum collections. The website is particularly rich in digitised local newspapers, including the Hereford Times, Hereford Journal, Ross Gazette, Leominster News, Ledbury Guardian and Kington Reporter. Other wartime items include photos, burial records, historic maps, postcards and letters. The site also includes copies of entries for burials at the Hereford municipal cemetery, and it continues to expand, with photographic collections of local people, events and places currently being digitised.
The current archive website ( herefordshire. gov.uk/archives) has useful information and research tools, such as indexes and a list of names on county war memorials ( bit.ly/1PrywyK). Rhys reports that in the future the section will be separated from the main council website. “We hope it will become more informative and easy to use. We have plans to digitise more collections and make them available on the website.”
Self-taught, Hereford-born archaeologist Alfred Watkins publishes Early British Trackways, coining the phrase ‘ley lines’. Though grounded in serious observation, his ideas will later be given a supernatural or mystical significance.
The Box of Delights, a children’s fantasy novel about a magical box that allows the owner to shrink, fly or enter a magical world, is authored by Ledbury-born Poet Laureate John Masefield.
Meanwhile, some interesting sources that can be found via Genuki include a guide to probate records ( genuki.org.uk/big/eng/ HEF/ ProbateRecords/about), plus there’s Wills of Herefordshire, containing abstracts of probate records at willsdb.gukutils.org.uk/ HEF/index. html. The council’s old Herefordshire Through Time website ( htt.herefordshire.gov.uk/27. aspx) is dated but interesting, and there are lots of fascinating old photographs available via oldherefordpics.blogspot.co.uk. You can also follow @ OldHerefordPics on Twitter.
The Herefordshire FHS website ( herefordshirefhs.org.uk) is full of suggestions, guides and contacts, and there are local history societies such as the Bromyard and District Local History Society, whose website is informative ( bromyardhistorysociety.org.uk). Also try the Media Archive of Central England ( macearchive. org). Some of its highlights are now available to view on the BFI Player as part of the Britain on Film project ( bfi.org.uk/britain- on-film).
Finally, to explore a digitised version of the illustrated 1811 work Pomona Herefordiensis, describing locally grown varieties of cider apples and perry pears, go to news.herefordshire. gov.uk/leisure/51406.asp.
One of the bestpreserved examples of Elizabethan wall painting is uncovered by workers stripping wallpaper from the walls of the town council offices in Church Lane, Ledbury.
The Herefordshire Family History Society website
The excellent Herefordshire History website