Date: 04/09/2012 Category: Libraries and Archives
From travellers to military personnel, from the workhouse to the dockyard, the people and places that feature in Medway’s history are are just waiting to be discovered.
With more than 600 visitors a month, the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre (MALSC) in Strood is a must-visit for those wanting to research their family tree or discover more about local history and geography.
Parish registers, council records, title deeds, workhouse records, burial records, school log books and electoral records are all good starting points for finding ancestors.
And these can often result in some surprising information about relatives explains Cindy O’Halloran, senior archive and local studies assistant.
She said: “People are often surprised to find their ancestors were in the workhouse but many people went in for health reasons as it was the only place that offered any kind of medical treatment.
“School records might also reveal naughty relatives who were entered in the log book, or if they missed school through hop-picking duties or illness and epidemics.
“We learn a lot from our customers, they are very important to us. We may have the facts but they have the stories and memories, which bring the facts to life.”
Maps, photos, newspapers and directories help those interested in local history build up a picture of the past. And this information can also affect the present, inspiring street names for new roads and providing useful background for land earmarked for development.
Cindy said: “The archives aims to preserve the history of Medway for future generations. We’re always interested in people’s stories and photos of buildings now long-gone but that remind us of Medway’s past.”
Thursday, 6 September to Saturday, 3 November
The Defence of Kent Project: The findings in Medway
Monday, 19 November to Tuesday, 29 January 2013
These we have loved: Shops, stores and emporia of Medway
Naval collection – an important book-based collection on the history of the Royal Navy at Chatham Historic Dockyard.
Textus Roffensis – an Anglo Saxon manuscript said to have inspired the Magna Carta.
Dickens Collection – includes copies of his published works, criticism, letters, plays and readings, books about places he visited and loved.
Synagogue register, Rochester Cathedral records and Church of England records.
Records of Cobham Hall – provides an overview of how an estate was managed and is well used by art historians and researchers and those interested in cricket, thanks to its Ashes connection.
MALSC is supported by the Friends of Medway Archives (FOMA) and among other duties, the volunteers help out with packaging, translating, fund-raising and are an invaluable asset to the archives centre and its customers. For more details visit: www.foma-lsc.org
MALSC and Medway Libraries offer customers free access to Ancestry UK
On Tuesday and Thursdays mornings the Medway branch of the Kent Family History Society are based at the archives centre to help people with researching their family tree.
Online resources include CityArk database, Medway images, and newspaper index.