Temporary halt where new projects are concerned...

As those of you that know me in 'real life' will know, we are imminently expecting a new addition to the family. I'm now to all intents and purposes on leave from one employed role, and that will extend officially to both roles at the beginning of May. The same will be the case for my research and writing, which I fit around my other commitments.

My new book was released on 15 March (just in time! See link to Secret Norwich at the top of the page for details), and there will be a couple of events related to that in the next couple of weeks, but otherwise you're unlikely to hear much from me until Heritage Open Days, which this year extend over two weekends in September. My postponed talk from March will most likely take place then as its focus on women before the bench ties in perfectly.

I'll be doing my best to keep up with developments in local family history and will post updates of these now and again (in fact, there's a good one coming up very shortly...!) but I make no promises as to the frequency of these as newborn and toddler will be front and centre for the foreseeable. The same goes for my blogs on my One-Name and One-Place sites, but I will aim to respond to all email enquiries, as I always have, as best I can.

Download Suffolk wills

Suffolk Record Office have been busy digitising their original will collections. 

Search at www.suffolkarchives.co.uk (@keytothepast on twitter) for your people and places of interest. Where you see an entry with an image, you can download for £6. You'll need to register for an account first. You can narrow your search by ticking the box saying 'Images Only' on the left hand side of the catalogue search.

It's a work in progress with more to come but a very positive development for Suffolk research.

Note: prior to the switch away from ecclesiastical courts in January 1858, probate was dealt with in several different church courts that worked in a hierarchy. In Suffolk, the records for the Courts of the Archdeaconries of Suffolk and Sudbury are held by Suffolk Record Office branches (there are also various peculiars). There is a useful wiki here. Wills proved higher up the system may be held by Norfolk Record Office as the home of records for the Consistory (Bishop's) Court of Norwich (search at www.archives.norfolk.gov.uk with those 1800-1857 digitised and freely available at www.norfolksources.norfolk.gov.uk). Even higher up, records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (the Archbishop's Court) are held at The National Archives and downloadable from Discovery or viewable at www.ancestry.co.uk.

Edit: Suffolk Record Office have confirmed today (25 April) that the indexing of all their wills is a work in progress, along with the digitisation - so keep checking back on the site!

Norfolk Archdeacons' and Bishop's Transcripts (Browse) on FindMyPast

Now available on FindMyPast are browsable collections of Norfolk Archdeacons' and Bishop's Transcripts. These are also available on other sites.

As with all collections (and these are a great addition) keep in mind that not every parish sent records to the relevant archdeacon and/or bishop every time they should have done!

Use transcripts particularly to check up on illegible entries in the original parish registers (these are contemporary transcripts) or to find entries from now destroyed records, for example.

The searchrooms at Norfolk Record Office: The Archive Centre and Norfolk Heritage Centre have detailed lists of which transcripts exist for each Norfolk parish as well as microform access to them (in addition to digital access to various subscription sites). FindMyPast's press release suggests that 32 parishes (of a possible 700+) are in their Archdeacons' collection, amounting to more than 70,000 entries. There are more than 210,000 entires in their Bishop's collection, which tend to be of a later date.

Note: The Bishop covered the diocese of Norwich which included most of Norfolk and Suffolk, but there were two Archdeacons in the county - one for the Archdeaconry of Norfolk, and the other for the Archdeaconry of Norwich.

Yarmouth Independent added to British Newspaper Archive

Another useful addition to the British Newspaper Archive for East Anglian researchers: The Yarmouth Independent.

Full details can be found here. It's a few days now since the collection went live, and new pages have already been added. In summary, there are currently 2109 issues on the site, amounting to more than 22,000 pages. These date  from between 1862 and 1937 (with several gaps).

Newsplan says that the paper began as the Yarmouth Free Press in 1855 and eventually became incorporated with the Yarmouth Mercury. Originals and microfilm can be found at Great Yarmouth Library locally (contact the library for specific dates and coverage).