The Society undertakes a range of transcription and scanning projects, including Parish Registers, Cemetery Registers, Census Returns and Memorial Inscriptions (MI's), working in close co-operation with the various archives offices and local authorities. These projects generally result in CD publications which we hope will both help with your own research and contribute to the Society's income.
Work continues on our Parish Register Digital Scanning Project, publishing facsimile images of the registers on CD. We also tackle various other records for the parishes in our area of interest. Details are given below.
We have a number of volunteers working at transcribing various parish registers and other records. Their efforts are outstanding and we have much to thank them for. Working in their own homes, often from poor copies of old documents they produce a large amount of data in a digital format. Also our thanks must go to those volunteers who check the output from the transcribers, a most important task.
An increasing amount of project work also takes place at the Society Library on a Wednesday.
I do need another editor to assist me in producing the final versions. If any volunteer is interested in helping with this important task and would like to get more information, please contact me. Due to the large amounts of paper involved it really does need to be someone who lives in the area. Offers please to Projects Coordinator Bob Woodward (right), email address below.
Below is a summary of work in progress and recently completed. See also Publications News.
Parish and Cemetery Registers
Archdeaconry of Rochester
Parish registers of the 27 Archdeaconry of Rochester churches that lie in the north west Kent area (held at Medway Archives) have already been scanned and published on CD-Rom as images. Some of these are being transcribed and the work is progressing well. Dartford Holy Trinity burials 1788-1926 have been published (CD17).
Stone, St Mary - the PR's are being transcribed and work is already well advanced. Marriages 1722-1955 and burials 1718-1963 are complete, awaiting publication.
Horton Kirby, St Mary - burials 1813-1954 completed and published (CD51); pre-1813 burials are being transcribed.
Meopham, St John - have been transcribed by Meopham House Group, now awaiting publication.
Meopham, Mount Zion Baptist Church We have been in touch with the minister and have permission to copy/publish the surviving records (mainly burials, 1835 to date).
We have now been successful in discussions with Bromley Local Studies & Archives, in that we've been able to publish images of several parish registers that they hold. We are still hopeful that we will be able to publish more of these, though this is subject to the agreement of the parishes concerned.
We have dealt with two sets of records held by Greenwich Heritage Centre, namely Charlton St Luke and Crooms Hill Roman Catholic church. The registers were filmed, scanned and published on CD-Rom in 2007, and Charlton is now being transcribed. We are also currently transcribing Greenwich St Alphege baptisms, c.1750-1850.
We're also currently investigating the position with regards to PR transcripts of Eltham St John.
A year or more ago, I first reported that the Society was hoping to publish facsimiles of Lee and Lewisham parish registers held by the Lewisham Local Studies & Archive Centre. These had never been filmed before and were therefore not available except as original documents. After discussion with the Archive, we had offered to fund the filming and scanning of these registers at no cost to the Council. Unfortunately the Council has not seen fit to reply to our offer, one way or the other. We can only assume they do not wish to co-operate with us to place this unique data into a readily accessible format to the benefit of family historians everywhere.
London Metropolitan Archives
For historical reasons the LMA holds the registers of some of the parishes that now lie within Greenwich and Lewisham boroughs. We have successfully negotiated agreement to enable us to publish those records they hold that lie within our area, this involved the ordering of 113 reels of microfilm covering over 400 registers. In 2008 we produced image scans from these registers, i.e. for Deptford (St Nicholas, St Paul), Greenwich (St Alphege), Woolwich (St Mary) and Lewisham (St Mary) - see the Publications pages. A number of these registers are being transcribed.
However it is becoming more difficult to gain access to further records. We had hoped to include the registers for the mid and late Victorian parishes in this area but following their agreement with Ancestry, the LMA will no longer give us access to the films, this comes has no surprise and is another example of commercial organisations gaining a monopoly in controlling access to public records.
Centre for Kentish Studies
Registers of some thirty parishes within our area are held by the CKS at Maidstone. Some time ago we made an approach to ask them to co-operate with the Society by allowing us to scan their Registers with a view to publication. However, CKS has yet to decide how to treat their records in this digital age.
National Burial Index
The Society has donated burials for Charlton St Luke and Northfleet Cemetery to the 3rd Edition of the NBI. See also the NBI page.
There has been a project to record Stone Cemetery, undertaken by members of Dartford branch. The inscriptions have all been recorded and typed, and the work has been published.
Stone St Mary MIs have been recorded, we await permission to publish.
Dartford, St Edmundís Pleasance MI's: A new project to record the inscriptions that are still readable, comparing with the listings created by Dunkin (History & Antiquities of Dartford, 1844) and Leland Duncan.
We recorded Bessels Green Unitarian Church burial ground in 2010 and this transcript was published on CD in 2011, with JPG images of the gravestones. We've also recorded the nearby Bessels Green Baptist Church burial ground during 2011-12, this awaits publication. A further private Baptist burial ground at French Street near Westerham has also being recorded, the results are now being written up for publication.
MI's at the churchyard of Chevening St Botolph were recorded some years ago. We have a few recording notebooks, but the project awaits a detailed plot plan (started in 2011), and completion of some sections that were not previously tackled.
The 1851 census for the bulk of our area was transcribed and name-indexed by the Society some years ago, and has all been published - initially in book form (seven volumes), later on microfiche. We have re-published some of these volumes on CD-Rom, but with the important addition of original page images. Though five of these CD's (Greenwich parish, Deptford parish, Bromley RD, Dartford RD, Sevenoaks RD) have been published, the project is now dormant due to the wide availability of on-line transcripts & images. For details of this CD-Rom series see 1851 Census on CD-Rom.
For more information on our census indexing see Census Indexing Coverage
The Strays Coordinator for Kent is Society member Audrey Rainer. Existing card indexes and paper lists are being computerised.
We are working on various sets of records:
Bexley Asylum Minute Books consist of 10 volumes overall, covering 1901-39. They include names of people, mainly staff, notables, some patients and trade companies involved with the hospital. These have all been indexed against the date of the minutes mentioned. The project is now finished and published (ref CD49). The original books will be deposited at Bexley Local Studies
Gravesend Gaslight Company Minute Book
The book has been digitised and a CD held at the library. Indexing has been finished but requires checking.