Delve into the 'modern Domesday' books and browse over 800 fascinating new photos

5-6 minute read

By Daisy Goddard | April 28, 2023

Findmypast Friday

From postwar England to Ireland in the 1870s, there's something for everyone in this week's impressive record release.

We've got updates across the board this Findmypast Friday, with three new land record books, all-new photos, and over 300,000 newspaper pages, including two royal titles.

Read on for a full rundown of all that we've added.

England & Wales, Return of Owners of Land 1873

Published in 1873, this book was used to record the details of all owners of land over one acre in England and Wales.

You'll find both transcriptions and original images for the 269,706 records in this new set. You can expect to learn the name and home address of each person recorded, as well as the size of their land and its value.

There are a few acronyms pertaining to land size used in these records - so bear these in mind when exploring each entry. 'A' is an acre, 'R' is a rood, and 'P' is a square pool.

Unsurprisingly, there are more than a few high society figures listed in this book. One notable example is HRH Prince of Wales (Prince Albert Edward), who lived at Sandringham.

He owned over 6,724 acres of land, the annual rental value of which was listed as an immense £7,746 and 4s. This is the equivalent to around £500,000 in today's money - in 1870, it would have equalled 38,731 days of a skilled tradesman's labour.

Another notable figure whose name appears in this book is scientist Charles Darwin. He is listed as owning 28 acres in Down, Kent (valued at £171 and 10s).

If your ancestors owned a spot of land, their names may just appear in this detail-rich set.

Scotland, Return of Owners of Land 1873

This week's second new addition is the land ownership survey book pertaining to Scotland, which was carried out at the same time as the one for England and Wales. It similarly lists names, addresses, land sizes, and land valuations.

While the book for England and Wales is more precise with its land measurements, the Scottish counterpart recounts just acreage (meaning there's no acronyms to consider here).

We found the Duke of Argyll amongst these records. In 1873, his address was listed as Inveraray Castle.

He owned a mind-boggling 168,315 acres of land, which had a gross annual valuation of £45,672.

Ireland, Return of Owners of Land 1876

In conjunction with the books for England, Wales and Scotland, we've also updated and improved our Return of Owners of Land book for Ireland, which was recorded in 1873 but not published until 1876.

The 33,627 records in this set contain the same information as the other books: the landowners' names and addresses, as well as the size and value of their land.

Map of Ireland 1871

Ireland in 1871.

Given the complex pattern of land ownership in Ireland, with historic influence of the British state, there's a wealth of interesting details to be gleaned from this collection.

Bela Zola: Life in the Mirror

We've added 814 photographs to the Findmypast Photo Collection this week. Taken by Daily Mirror photographer Bela Zola between 1947 and 1955, these fascinating photos offer a real glimpse into the daily lives of the population in the postwar period.

Butlins 1954

Children being entertained at Butlin's holiday camp, June 1954. Explore for yourself here.

From family days at the beach and quirky headlines like that of 'Britain's tallest woman' to themes of race and migration, there are so many interesting stories to explore amongst Zola's photographs.

With this collection, we can glimpse the lives of Black Britons, Estonian immigrants, Cardiff's Muslim community, and much more.

Two all-new royal titles and more

Ahead of the coronation, we've added two new royal titles to our newspaper collection.

First, we have the King and His Navy and Army, a weekly illustrated journal that was released each Saturday. This general interest publication documented London's sporting and dramatic news, and even included a cookery column entitled 'The King's Menu'.

Our second royal title is Who's Who At The Coronation, which was published as a guide to some of the famous faces who appeared at King Edward VII's coronation in the summer of 1902.

Though the coronation was delayed due to the King's appendicitis, it went ahead at Westminster Abbey in August. You can browse this publication to find out more about the event's attendees, from nobles to professional golfers.

Thomas Vardon

Jersey-born golfer Thomas Vardon, featured in this new title.

But that's not all for this week's new titles. We've also added the Farnham Mail, a weekly publication that documented the day-to-day news of the Surrey market town of Farnham.

We've also updated 26 of our existing titles, with particularly big updates to the Manchester Evening News and our Huddersfield newspapers.

Here is a full rundown of everything that we've added.

New titles:

Updated titles:

What have you discovered? Using this form, let us know if you've found a coronation connection, blue blood, or even just a royally good story.

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