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Help people find out who they really are!

[Tuesday 01 March 2011]

Volunteers are being sought for a family history project which could help people around the world find out who they really are.

The North Yorkshire County Register Office is seeking people to help transcribe historic hand-written documents containing information about births, marriages and deaths since the Victorian era.

The County Register Office - located in Bilton House, Harrogate - is the central repository for the county’s archived birth, death and marriage registers which date back to July 1837 when civil registration in England and Wales began. The Certificate Service team there are responsible for issuing duplicate certificates from these registers – last year producing and issuing approximately 6000 Certificates.

Many applications received are for entries held in the very old registers and in order to locate the register entry, the staff have to carry out quite time-consuming manual searches of hand-written index books.

With people increasingly searching the Internet for family history records, North Yorkshire County Council is planning to introduce an online ordering and payment system for copy certificates later in 2011.

In order to streamline the process of searching, a small team of volunteers, made up of local family historians, regularly come into the Register Office to transcribe and type up the hand-written indexes. Once this has been done, the index lists are then forwarded for inclusion on the family history and genealogy website, Yorkshire BMD www.yorkshirebmd.org.uk

This transcribing work is invaluable and since there are still several thousand entries waiting to be indexed, the Certificate Service staff are looking for more volunteers to join the team in putting the remaining indexes to the registers online.

Anyone with an hour or two spare who wants to help with this very worthwhile task, is asked to contact the Certificate Service Supervisor – Sheila Atkinson – on 01609 532106 or by email Sheila.atkinson@northyorks.gov.uk

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