Skip to main content  
 
 

 
  •  
    Screenshot of the LMA online catalogue

    ​Screen shot of the OPAC

More new entries in the OPAC

London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) is constantly adding new records to its online catalogue and in the past year or so (2015-16), since we last reported on this work (in Autumn 2014), we have completed the transfer of around 70,000 new entries from legacy databases and volunteer projects. All the new entries contain personal names, which are now available for the first time in a fully searchable format. Nicola Avery, Principal Archivist (Systems) tells more.

The LMA online catalogue currently holds just over 4 million records describing the archive material held here. New entries are, of course, added to the catalogue when we receive additional deposits or donations of records, but we are also undertaking a programme to populate our online catalogue with the contents of paper lists, card catalogues and standalone databases which were compiled by LMA and its predecessor record offices before our online catalogue existed, or which have been put together by volunteer projects using Microsoft software packages. In the case of paper lists and card catalogues, we need to undertake a lot of data entry work in order to transfer the information into an electronic form; with standalone databases we need to edit the data to ensure it is compatible with the format and layout of our current software before migrating it into our dataset. There is therefore an enormous amount of work required to add this 'legacy' information to our online catalogue.

The new entries added over the last year all give more detailed information about already-catalogued volumes from several different series of records. All the new entries contain personal names not previously available for public searching.

The first series is connected with a long-running volunteer project at LMA, 'A Place in the Sun', which is working to compile a brand new index of individual insurance policies within the registers of the Sun Insurance Office. The volunteers have been entering information straight from the registers into Microsoft Access software and LMA's Collections team is following along behind, editing the data and transferring it into our online catalogue. We now have the contents of 200 registers, dating from 1785 to 1841, available to search online. Each entry contains the name of the insured person or business, the address of the property which is the subject of the policy, the date of the policy and details of any other persons, occupations or addresses mentioned in the policy as it appears in the register. The indexing project is still continuing, so look out for the contents of more registers on LMA's online catalogue in the coming months.

The next series of records relates to Freedoms of the City of London, recorded amongst the records of the Chamberlain of London between 1668 and 1805. This information was captured by a volunteer data entry project and has now been transferred from its original series of card catalogues into our online catalogue and is available in a fully searchable format. Each entry contains the name and address of the freeman, the name of his father and/or master as appropriate, the method by which freedom of the City was granted ie by servitude/apprenticeship, patrimony or redemption, the livery company of which he was a member, his occupation and sometimes date of birth.

Probate records have been added to the catalogue for wills proved by the Archdeaconry and Consistory Courts of the Diocese of London, and also for those proved by the Peculiar Court of Saint Paul's Cathedral which had jurisdiction over some parishes in the City of London, Middlesex, Essex and Hertfordshire. These probate courts formed part of the holdings of the former Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library (GLMS) which was responsible for deposited records relating to the City of London until its amalgamation with LMA in 2008. GLMS had indexed these probate records into Microsoft software and this information has now been extracted, edited and transferred to LMA's online catalogue. Entries include the name, address and occupation of the testator, the date of probate and, in the case of the St Paul's wills, the value of the goods left. These probate records date from 1591 to 1773.

Another series of records originally part of the GLMS holdings were the marriage bonds, allegations and licences granted by the Commissary Court of the Royal Peculiar at Saint Katherine by the Tower. This court had jurisdiction only over the Precinct of St Katherine, a small area to the east of the Tower of London. These marriage records, like the probate series above, had been indexed by GLMS staff into Microsoft Access and have now been transferred to LMA's online catalogue.  Details include names of bride and groom and date of the bond, allegation or licence.

More marriage bonds and allegations have been added to the catalogue, this time from the Archdeaconry Court of Surrey, part of the Diocese of Winchester whose jurisdiction included the London area south of the River Thames. These records were indexed by a volunteer project and had previously been available to view on LMA's website in pdf form. The records date from 1673 to 1791 and include the name, age, status, occupation and address of both bride and groom where this was available in the original documents.

The contents of all the records described above can be searched by personal name through our online catalogue. Just enter a name into the Search Terms box under Simple Search and when the results appear look for entries showing the following reference codes (you can sort your results by Reference Code to make this easier):

  • For Sun insurance policies look for entries with references beginning CLC/B/192
  • For City of London Freedoms look for entries with references beginning COL/CHD/FR, COL/CHD/AP or COL/CA
  • For Diocese of London probate look for entries with references beginning DL/AL (Archdeaconry of London) or DL/C (Consistory Court of London).
  • For Peculiar of St Paul's Cathedral probate look for entries with references beginning CLC/313/K/C
  • For Peculiar of St Katherine by the Tower marriage records look for entries with references beginning CLC/199
  • For Diocese of Winchester marriage records look for entries with references beginning DW/MP

Alternatively, if you want to target one of these series particularly, enter the personal name in which you're interested into the Search Terms box and the reference for the series as quoted above with a final asterisk (eg DL/C*) into the Reference Code box. 

2014 entries

In 2014 we completed the transfer of around 332,000 new entries from legacy databases and volunteer projects. All the new entries contain personal names, which are now available for the first time in a fully searchable format.

The first series is connected with a long-running volunteer project at LMA, ‘A Place in the Sun', which is working to compile a brand new index of individual insurance policies within the registers of the Sun Insurance Office. The volunteers have been entering information straight from the registers into Microsoft Access software and LMA's Collections team is following along behind, editing the data and transferring it into our online catalogue. We now have the contents of 187 registers, dating from 1790 to 1839, available to search online. Each entry contains the name of the insured person or business, the address of the property which is the subject of the policy, the date of the policy and details of any other persons, occupations or addresses mentioned in the policy as it appears in the register. The indexing project is still continuing, so look out for the contents of more registers on LMA's online catalogue in the coming months.

The second series relates to wills proved in the Consistory Court of the Diocese of London between 1513 and 1858. This information was also captured by a volunteer indexing project and has previously been available to view on LMA's website in pdf form. This has now been transferred from its original series of databases into our online catalogue and is now available in a fully searchable format. Each entry contains the name and address of the testator, the date the will was proved and any other information found in the registered copy of the will, such as occupations, previous addresses or alternative names or aliases.

The final, much smaller, series relates to inquests of the City of London and Southwark Coroners' Courts. These two courts formed part of the holdings of the Corporation of London Records Office (CLRO), which was responsible for the archives of the City of London Corporation until its amalgamation with LMA in 2004.  CLRO had indexed some, but not all, of the inquests into their own database structure and this information has now been extracted, edited and transferred to LMA's online catalogue. Entries include the name, age and occupation of the deceased, the date of the inquest, cause of death and inquest verdict. The inquests indexed by CLRO staff date from 1901 to 1927 for the City of London Coroner's Court and 1901 to 1919 for Southwark. The City of London cases are especially interesting as they include casualties of bombing raids during the First World War.

The contents of all the registers described above can be searched by personal name through our online catalogue. Just enter a name into the Search Terms box under Simple Search and when the results appear look for entries showing the following reference codes (you can sort your results by Reference Code to make this easier):

For Sun insurance policies look for entries with references beginning CLC/B/192;
For Consistory Court wills look for entries with references beginning DL/C;
For City/Southwark inquests look for entries with references beginning CLA/041 (City) or CLA/042 (Southwark).

Alternatively, if you want to target one of these series particularly, enter the personal name into the Search Terms box and the reference for the series as quoted above with a final asterisk (eg DL/C*) into the Reference Code box.


Notifications