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You can also continue to explore all our records here at Origins until early 2015.
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England and Wales 1881 Census comes to Origins.net
Origins.net now includes a new full index to and digitised images of the original 1881 Census records for all counties in England and Wales. The 1881 Census includes the personal details of 25,974,439 individuals and provides a snapshot in time for all households including any servants, lodgers, or visitors. For each person present in each household on the 3rd April 1881 details are given of their names, ages, address, occupations, relationship to head of household and place of birth.
Search England and Wales 1881 Census
Census records can be used not only to further your search for ancestors, but also to broaden your knowledge of the wider family or your community, supplementing information found in other sources. Geographic mobility can be easily tracked through the given birthplaces, and social mobility through addresses and occupations and open up other avenues for research.

The census records are searchable by name, age, parish and county.
Search England and Wales 1881 Census on British Origins Census searches available via Origins.net
Kent Will Abstracts 1328-1691 on the National Wills Index
This dataset contains indexed abstracts (summaries) to wills proved in the Archdeaconry & Consistory Courts of Canterbury for people living in or near Faversham 1450-1642 & Thanet 1328-1691. The dataset also includes abstracts to a small number of wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

The Consistory and Archdeaconry courts, in the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Canterbury, intermingled and overlapped but basically covered Eastern Kent.
Search Kent Wills Abstracts  1328-1691
Images of the typed abstracts are available online. These abstracts contain a detailed summary of the information found within each will including all names and places appearing in the will (testators, executors, witnesses and beneficiaries) plus incidental information such as relationships, occupations, date of death / burial place and value of estate where found in the original document.

The abstracts are in an easy to read format, eliminating the problems incurred in deciphering old handwriting and negotiating your way through the legalise found in what were very important legal documents. The original documents are unlikely to give any additional information.
Northamptonshire Hearth Tax Abstracts 1673–4 on British Origins
Hearth Tax returns of the second half of the 17th century are a major census substitute resource for local and family historians, providing lists of names midway between the period of surname formation in the Middle Ages and the present day.

This collection includes all legible details relating to over 22,500 individuals found in the original Hearth Tax lists 1673–1674 for the whole of Northamptonshire.
Search Northamptonshire Hearth Tax 1673–1674
Why use Hearth Tax records?
Hearth Tax records can provide firm evidence of a family’s residence at a certain place in time. For those seeking lost ancestors the distribution of a surname in a specific area may be determined very easily and the location of a particular family quickly revealed. It is also invaluable when researching a specific place, undertaking house history, population movements, patterns of employment, and early modern local government jurisdictions.
The number of hearths in a household is also a clue to a family’s wealth and status.

History of the Hearth Tax
With a need to raise revenue after the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and the restoration of Charles II as King, it was decided in 1662 to levy hearth money (or chimney money). This was a property tax on buildings worth more than 20 shillings a year in rent. The number of hearths, fires and stoves there were in a building calculated the tax. However there were some exemptions. For instance, people who received poor relief did not have to pay hearth tax. Some industrial buildings were exempt but not forges, locksmiths or bakers’ ovens.

The tax, which was collected twice yearly – (on Lady Day and Michaelmas Day) - was 2 shillings per hearth per year. It was a very unpopular tax because the tax commissioners had for the first time the right to come into the home - to count the hearths. Attempts to avoid paying by blocking up a chimney could, if discovered, be rewarded with a doubling of the tax.

It was also a very inefficient tax. During the lifetime of the tax some of the collecting was farmed out to private individuals who all took their cut and it therefore simply did not raise enough money. The tax was eventually dropped in 1689.

The tax was collected according to the administrative units of the time, namely county, hundred and constablery or township, which may or may not be the same as the parish. In the cities, towns and boroughs the constables or sub-collectors often worked according to wards whose boundaries again may or may not be the same as those of the parish.
Additional Devon Wills 1164-1992 - FREE online
The updated index now includes over 300,000 Devon probate records from over 60 sources, and is freely available to search online.
Search the collection for FREE
This index has been created as a combined project by Origins.net and the Devon Wills Project to compile a consolidated index of pre-1858 Devon wills, administrations, inventories, etc. Many Devon probate records were destroyed by enemy action, when the Probate Registry was destroyed in the bombing during the Exeter Blitz in 1942. Thus the aim of this index is to create a finding-aid to enable the researcher to determine what probate materials were originally recorded and most importantly what documents have survived and where they can be located.
York Peculiars original probate documents available online
Obtaining copies of the original probate documents for York Peculiars Probate Collection 1383-1857 has now been made easier and cheaper.
Search York Peculiars Probate Collection 1383-1883
Most of the York Peculiars Probate records held at The Borthwick Institute for Archives have been digitised, and National Wills Index subscribers can now purchase the original documents images using Pay per View credits and view these images directly from the index records.
Search York Peculiars Probate Collection 1383-1883
This collection makes available, exclusively on the National Wills Index, a comprehensive index to over 25,000 wills and other probate documents proved in the 54 Peculiar Courts of the Province of York between 1383 and 1857.

The index notes which documents are currently available online for this ongoing digitalization project. Where documents have not yet been digitised, copies can be ordered online, which will then be emailed as digitised images.

The York Peculiars Probate index usually provides the following information:
  • Testator's last name and first name
  • Occupation
  • Places associated with person
  • Date
  • Document type
  • Court concerned
  • Borthwick Institute reference
England and Wales 1901 Census comes to Origins.net

Origins.net now includes a full index to and digitised images of the original 1901 Census records for all counties in England and Wales. The 1901 Census includes the personal details of 32,461,105 individuals and provides a snapshot in time for all households including any servants, lodgers, or visitors. For each person present in each household on the night of 31 March/1 April 1901 details are given of their names, ages, address, occupations, relationship to head of household and place of birth.
Search England and Wales 1901 Census
Census records can be used not only to further your search for ancestors, but also to broaden your knowledge of the wider family or your community, supplementing information found in other sources. Geographic mobility can be easily tracked through the given birthplaces, and social mobility through addresses and occupations and open up other avenues for research.

The census records are searchable by name, age, parish and county.
Search England and Wales 1901 Census on British Origins Census searches available via Origins.net The 1891 and 1881 Censuses will be added to Origins.net during early 2014.
London Poor Law Abstracts 1581–1899 on British Origins

Genealogical Abstracts from the City of London Parochial Poor Law Records.
These poor law records were originally deposited in the Guildhall Library, London, but are now deposited at London Metropolitan Archives. Volumes I - VII.

Poor Law records are a major source for those interested in both local and family history and touched almost every aspect of the lives of those who had fallen on hard times or whose predicaments drew them to the attention of the parish officers.

The parish officer / overseer of the poor was expected when necessary, to feed, clothe, house and find work for his poor inhabitants. He apprenticed pauper children and diligently pursued the fathers of illegitimate children born in the parish. But ultimately he protected his parish from the claims of paupers who were not his responsibility.

Thus these records can allow you to prove relationships between both members of the same family and between families and places. A large number of families lived a hand to mouth existence, illness or death of the main wage earner or a bad harvest or other disaster could cause a family to become dependent upon poor relief. Poor Law records can provide the means to help you to follow these 'pauper' ancestors through their trials and tribulations.

These poor law abstracts (summaries) contain a complete summary of the details contained within each entry and includes all details including names and places plus incidental information such as relationships and occupations where found in the original documents.
Devon Wills Project 1312-1891 on the National Wills Index

This index has been created as a combined project by Origins.net and the Devon Wills Project (DWP). DWP is a collaborative project involving the Devon Family History Society, the Devon Record Office, GENUKI/Devon, and the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office to compile a consolidated index of pre-1858 Devon wills, administrations, inventories, etc.

The majority of wills and administrations of Devon people were proved or granted in either in Devon itself or in London. The originals of those wills proved in London (very nearly all at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, "PCC") have survived. However many probate records for the county of Devon and Diocese of Exeter including the Exeter Principal Registry were destroyed by enemy action in 1942, when the Probate Registry was destroyed in the bombing during the Exeter Blitz of WWII. Thus the overall aim of this index is to create a finding-aid to enable the researcher to determine what probate materials were originally recorded and most importantly what documents have survived (original document, copy or abstract) and where they can be located.

Sources currently online
The current index includes over 132,540 records of probate documents compiled form the following sources:
  • Index of the Wills and Administrations relating to the County of Devon proved in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple, 1563-1858
  • Calendar of Wills and Administrations relating to the counties of Devon and Cornwall, proved in the court of the Principal Registry of the Bishop of Exeter, 1559-1799, and of Devon only, proved in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Exeter, 1540-1799. British Record Society Vol 35 (1908)
  • Calendar of Wills and Administrations relating to the counties of Devon and Cornwall, proved in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Exeter, 1532-1800. British Record Society Vol 46 (1914)
More details on current sources and upcoming sources
Chichester Consistory Wills 1482-1800 on the National Wills Index

This is an index to wills proved in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Chichester 1482-1800. The jurisdiction of the Consistory Court extended over the whole of the Archdeaconry of Chichester, comprising the Deaneries of Arundel, Boxgrove, Midhurst, and Storrington, and thus covered the western part of the County of Sussex.

The index to over 22,100 wills recorded in the Consistory Court of Chichester 1482-1800 is now available to search on the National Wills Index. This index - originally published in 1915 as British Record Society Volume 49 - includes names of testator / testatrix, place, often occupation and document reference, which will help you locate the original document at West Sussex Record Office.
Lichfield Consistory Court Wills 1650-1700 on the National Wills Index

Between 1541 and 1836 the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry was extensive, covering the entire counties of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, north Shropshire and north Warwickshire. The bishop of Lichfield and Coventry had jurisdiction over probate in this area, which was exercised through the Lichfield Consistory Court.

The index to over 28,000 wills and testamentary documents recorded in the Lichfield Consistory Court 1650-1700 is now available to search on the National Wills Index. This index - British Record Society Volume 125 - includes names of testator / testatrix, occupation and place of abode, which will help you to locate the original document at Lichfield Record Office.
Pettigrew & Oulton Directories available online

Irish Directories collection now includes Pettigrew and Oulton's Dublin Almanack and General Register of Ireland 1835-37, 1839, 1841, 1843-45, available under the Dublin Directories search.

Pettigrew and Oulton's Dublin Almanack and General Register of Ireland includes street lists supplemented by alphabetical lists of individuals, making it possible to track an individual around the city, an important feature, since changes of address were much more frequent in the nineteenth century, when the common practice was to rent rather than purchase.

Pettigrew and Oulton records officers of virtually every Dublin institution, club and society, as well as clergy of all denominations. Coverage extended outside Dublin, noting names of many officials, administrators and clergy in large towns. This is particularly useful for areas which were not served by a local directory, or for which none has survived.

Just as importantly these directories contain a tremendous amount of information on day-to-day activities and services, giving an insight into life in Ireland in past times.
For information about material found on Origins.net contact pr@origins.net

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