Museum archives

Discussion in 'Research Hints' started by Huncamunca, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    In your search for archives about your ancestors, don't forget to try museums. There's a huge variety of them, from the national to tiny local ones. Even small museums can have important archives. For example, the archives at Witney & District Museum where I'm a volunteer include

    • hundreds of deeds from one of the local solicitors
    • records of some local businesses and societies
    • the only known surviving register of inmates at Witney Union workhouse
    • an undertaker's ledger
    • an almost complete series of quit rent books from 1858 to 1890, showing the owners and occupiers of hundreds of properties in Witney, Hailey, Crawley and Curbridge.
    • tithe maps of Witney and Hailey
    • enclosure award for Hailey
    • 1844 poor rate for Witney

    There's also a large photographic collection and all sorts of ephemera e.g. billheads from local traders.

    Like many museums, we have very limited resources and so have not yet been able to get our archive catalogue online. However, thanks to the effort of one volunteer, the card index to our main photographic collection is now computerised. The next step is to link it to thumbnails of the photos and to upload it to our website.

    Many other museums do have online catalogues: check their websites and/or Access to Archives (A2A).
     
    Jellylegs, Stafford, arthurk and 3 others like this.
  2. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I couldn't agree more Huncamunca - especially as regards photographs.

    Best wishes
    Ann
     
  3. Ma-dotcom

    Ma-dotcom A Bonza Little Digger!

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    Tough side is, there are now so many sites asking for volunteers for transcribing etc, it's hard to stay with those you have & fit in just one more.
    When you hear about one you'd really like to be with, you are already up to here with others.
    How many hours in a day again?
     
  4. Eve

    Eve Well-Known Member

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    Huncamunca - Witney museum sounds like a great place to volunteer - I wish I lived a bit closer ! Unfortunately My town doesn't have a museum (although they do have a museum store, so we live in hope) Well done Witney
     
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  5. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    There are some photos of this in my Museum Archives album. Hope to upload some other examples soon.
     
  6. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Besides museums in the area where your ancestors lived, it is also worth looking for collections relating to what they did for a living. Here are just a few examples:

    Regimental museums:
    http://www.
    armymuseums.org.uk/index.htm

    RAF Museum (London NW9)
    http://www.
    rafmuseum.org.uk/research/default/archive-collection.aspx

    National Museum of the Royal Navy (Portsmouth)
    http://www.
    royalnavalmuseum.org/index.htm
    (online catalogue unavailable at the moment: it is being upgraded)

    Museum of English Rural Life (Reading)
    http://www.
    reading.ac.uk/merl/collections/merl-archives.aspx

    People's History Museum (Manchester)
    http://www.
    phm.org.uk/
    (see 'Archive & Study Centre' tab)

    National Railway Museum (York)
    http://www.
    nrm.org.uk/ResearchAndArchive/archiveandlibrarycollections.aspx

    For lots of others, try putting a place name or subject into the on-site search here:
    http://www.
    culture24.org.uk/home

    Happy hunting!
     
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  7. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    I should take my own advice more often! Just found a lovely 1849 painting of a Sunderland ship called the Tagus, in the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums online catalogue. My ancestor James Oliver Johnson was master of the Tagus a few years before this, until he was lost overboard somewhere in the Atlantic.

    I will be e-mailing them to see if I can buy a digital copy or print.
     
    Jellylegs, Ma-dotcom and Stafford like this.

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