The Diary: Family history moves into the future

Angela Treweek,left, and Cheryl Baiey have been transcribing the records from the Middlewood Lunatic Asylum records
Angela Treweek,left, and Cheryl Baiey have been transcribing the records from the Middlewood Lunatic Asylum records
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FAMILY history? It’s never been so futuristic.

Every single baptism, marriage and burial ever registered in Sheffield is to be digitised and put online.

The records - including hundreds of thousands of names dating back to 1538 and chartered in hundreds of books - will be searchable in just a few seconds from any computer terminal anywhere in the world.

It is hoped the project, led by Sheffield Archives and specialist company Find My Past, will make tracing South Yorkshire family history easier than ever.

“That’s the idea,” says Angela Treweek. “Although, the actual process of transcribing the records in the first place isn’t that easy.”

Ah.

Angela is one of a loyal band of amateur archivists who has volunteered to help transcribe the original books for the new electronic archive. That means going through old volumes and compiling them into named alphabetised lists before they are placed online.

“Why volunteer?” asks the 67-year-old of Watkinson Gardens, Waterthorpe. “Because I enjoy it. And it’s lovely to think that by doing this now you’re helping people in the future to find out about their own families. It will be a great tool.”

It is hoped the full set of records will be online by 2015.