Pontefract and Wakefield: Branching out in family tree research

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Tens of thousands of records from cemeteries in the Wakefield district will be helping people from all over the world find out more about their family trees.

Bosses at Wakefield Council have become the first authority in the north to sign up to put their burial and cremation registers on the UK’s only central website.

Nearly 130,000 records for Pontefract and Wakefield will be uploaded on to the Deceased Online website.

At the moment the records are in hundreds of separate volumes- meaning research would take hours. But putting them online means they can be quickly accessed.

Deceased Online also has registered users in more than 58 countries, meaning people across the world can discover their ancestral links with the UK.

Coun Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for the Environment and Communities, said: “Wakefield is very proud to become the first Northern council to be part of this site and we hope it will encourage other councils to follow. It is a great tool to help people track their ancestry and learn more about where they came from.”

Genealogy pages are already the second most visited on the Wakefield Council’s website attracting thousands of visitors wanting to research their heritage.

Deceased Online allows users, free of charge, to search the database and if relevant records are found they are given the option to purchase access. The data available includes digital scans of burial registers and grave details.

Deceased Online Director, John Evans, said: “We are delighted that Wakefield has decided to become the first authority in northern England to place its records on the website. The addition of Wakefield helps to build the national database which we are striving to establish. ”

* For more information on carrying out research or looking into your family tree using the records, please visit: www.wakefield.gov.uk or www. deceasedonline.co.uk

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