BrightSolid is a British company that is beginning to become a serious player in the online genealogical community. They are owned by DC Thompson, a private British company who has been in the publishing industry for many years. They entered the world of online family history with Scotland’s People. Scotland’s People is the best online site for Scottish research. They have great indexes and images to help with Scottish family history work. More recently, BrightSolid acquired two companies that have moved them into the position of a large player in the genealogical space. The first was FindMyPast. I have written about FindMyPast previously, but they are one of the best sites for finding British Ancestors. More recently BrightSolid acquired FriendsReunited and GenesReunited. FriendsReunited is the Facebook of the UK. It has more users in the UK than Facebook and has been growing more quickly. GenesReunited is a social networking site for family history. The goal of the site is facilitating individuals in connecting with their family as they do family history work. GenesReunited has become one of the most used sites in the UK. BrightSolid has recently begun adding records to their GenesReunited offering. The FindMyPast website has long contained a treasure trove of records. Many of these records are now available on the GenesReunited site. Just this last week they announced the addition of many passenger lists on the new site. They announced that from today users of the site will be able to view passenger lists online at www.genesreunited.co.uk. The lists include people onboard ships departing British ports for long-distance voyages across the world from 1890 to 1960. The passenger list records offer a range of information from simply the passenger’s name and age, to much more detailed information; the departure and destination ports, the ship’s name, date of travel as well as actual descriptions of the passengers themselves, such as, UK address, year of birth, marital status, occupation and nationality. Through these records it is possible to find some truly unique information about ancestors who voyaged overseas. As well as the range of detail that can be found in these records, there are also some famous names which can be discovered, in particular Hollywood royalty such as a two year old Elizabeth Taylor, a 56 year old Alfred Hitchcock, a 22 year old Audrey Hepburn and finally a four year old Olivia Newton-John who was on her way from London to Australia. If you have ancestors that immigrated to the United States or Australia from the UK these are some of the best records around. It is also work exploring the site for the social connections to family. It may be that you will find that you have British relatives who have been searching for the same ancestors. I had this experience when living in the UK. We found relatives who had descended from family that had not immigrated. We continue to have contact with them today ,and the genealogical information I have has been added to from their knowledge and research. This new site, and in some ways, new approach will change the way we think about family history in the coming years. The globe continues to shrink as we are able to identify and communicate easily with family all over the world. The GenesReunited site is breaking ground in this new era of family history.
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