Thursday, November 25, 2010

Plymouth and West Devon Family History Records Set to Go Online

November 24, 2010


  • awarded contract by Plymouth and West Devon Record Office to publish its record collection
  • 343,257  images of records containing details of 3.5 million individuals will be published online for the first time

Leading family history website has been awarded the contract by the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office to digitise and publish online its family history records for the very first time, in an exclusive partnership. will work with FamilySearch International, the world's largest repository of genealogical records, to make the collection fully searchable online, making it easier than ever before to trace Devonshire ancestors.

Over 1500 volumes of records covering an area that includes historic Plymouth, the Dartmoor expanses of Lydford, and the Royal Navy dockyard at Devonport, will be digitised over the coming year. Details of the lives of over 3.5 million Devonians can be found within the 343,257 images. Among the records being published online are:

  • Baptisms, marriages and burials dating as far back as 1538
  • Monumental inscriptions
  • Records of funerals
  • Churchyard plans
  • Churchwardens' accounts
  • Electoral rolls
  • Bastardy bonds
  • Settlement orders
  • Rate books
  • Apprenticeship indentures

These records will be joining what is already one of the largest online collections of over 26 million parish records dating back 650 years at

Today's announcement follows on just a few weeks after published online over 223,000 transcripts of parish baptisms, marriages and burials from Devon Family History Society. Those transcripts will soon be matched up with the images of the original parish registers, to be supplied by the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, enabling family and local historians to view facsimiles of the original historic documents online for the first time.

FamilySearch will scan original images of the registers for to then transcribe and make available and fully searchable online at with an index search on

Nicola Moyle, City Curator of Plymouth and West Devon Record Office commented: "We are committed to making our archives much more accessible and easy to use. We're really excited to be working with and FamilySearch to digitise these records so that they will be easily available to everyone at the simple click of a button."

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at said: "We are extremely excited that the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office has chosen to make its family history collection available through Once these records are online, it will be possible for anyone to find out if they had Devon ancestors just by entering a surname in a search engine. They will then be able to see an image of the original parish register, which in some cases could be up to 650 years old."

The online records will be free to access at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office but will be chargeable if viewed from home or elsewhere, either by buying PayAsYouGo credits or included within a subscription to

Leading UK family history website (formerly was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online in April 2003.

Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two million images, the company launched the first website to allow the public easy and fast access to the complete indexes, which until then had only been available on microfiche film in specialist archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK today. has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 750 million records dating as far back as 1538. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records.

In November 2006 launched the microsite in association with The National Archives to publish outbound passenger lists for long-distance voyages departing all British ports between 1890 and 1960.

In April 2007,'s then parent company Title Research Group received the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007 in recognition of their achievement. was acquired in December 2007 by brightsolid, the company who were awarded The National Archives' contract to publish online the 1911 census, which it launched in January 2009.

About Plymouth and West Devon Record Office
The Plymouth and West Devon Record Office is the principal archive repository within Plymouth and the West Devon area. It exists to collect and preserve the historical records of the area and to promote and encourage their use by all who want to study them.

The Record Office holds records of the old borough and modern city of Plymouth, as well as the West Devon area. From 1 April 1998, it has been run as an independent archive service by Plymouth City Council and forms one of the services provided by the Community Services Department.

The Record Office holds original records (archives) of many organisations and individuals. Dating from circa 1190, they include deeds, charters, minute books, letters, registers, manorial documents, reports, diaries, financial records, maps, plans, photographs, card indexes, microfilms and microfiche.
The office is open Tuesday to Friday to view records and staff are happy to answer queries by telephone and email.

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organisation in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. For over 100 years, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide and operates over 4,500 family history centres in 70 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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