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More than 500 years of historic Hampshire records to be released to public for free

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HAMPSHIRE County Council is to make more than 500 years of historic records free to access at its libraries and record office from next year.

The council has signed an agreement with Ancestry, the largest family history site in the UK, to digitise parish registers and probate records.

The registers comprise Church of England baptisms, marriages and burials for Hampshire parishes in Winchester Diocese dating from 1536 to 1921.

A Hampshire County Council archivist studies historic records at the record office
A Hampshire County Council archivist studies historic records at the record office

The council's cabinet member for recreation, heritage and rural affairs, Cllr Edward Heron, said: "Exploring your family tree has never been more popular and technology is making it easier and more accessible than ever before.

"This new agreement will lead to over 500 years of fascinating historic documents held at Hampshire record office being professionally digitised and made available online.

He added: "Additionally, as part of this deal I’m particularly pleased to announce that Ancestry will also become available without charge throughout Hampshire’s 40 public libraries and at the Hampshire record office in Winchester.

"This innovative arrangement is an example of how we are exploring new ways of working to deliver high-quality services efficiently. The agreement with Ancestry is set to generate income for the county council to plough back into work to preserve our county’s heritage."

Ancestry content aquisition manager Kristian Lafferty added: "We’re so pleased to be working with Hampshire County Council to make this historically rich collection of records available online for the first time.

"These records will be a priceless resource for those who want to research their Hampshire roots in the UK and all over the world."

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