New Suffragette Collection containing over 3,000 Police and Home Office records now available to search online at Findmypast
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Thursday February 1st: British family history website Findmypast in association with The National Archives has launched a new online collection of government records that tells the stories of individuals who fought for women’s suffrage. The Suffragette Collection, digitised from original records at Kew, reveals the struggles endured by the movement’s most ardent supporters and highlights the State’s response as it attempted to contain them.
The Suffragette Collection consists of more than 3,000 Metropolitan Police and Home Office records, many of which are now available online to the public for the first time. It has been launched to mark the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, the act that gave property owning women and female graduates over the age of 30 the right to vote for the first time in British history.
Today’s release marks the first phase of this ground-breaking collection and additional records will be added throughout 2018. To celebrate this historic anniversary, Findmypast is making these new records completely free to search and explore until International Women’s Day (March 8th), allowing family historians to explore their connection to this pivotal period of British history.
The collection brings together the stories of women from all classes who actively supported women’s suffrage, either by attending demonstrations and meetings or opting for militant “direct action”. Researchers can expect to find photographs, cabinet office papers, calendars of prisoners and Home Office papers on suffragette disturbances and prosecutions. The collection also includes an index of women arrested between 1906 and 1914, the official police watch list recording the details of over 1,300 militant suffragettes, reports of prison conditions, force-feeding, police surveillance and much more.
Tamsin Todd, CEO of Findmypast, comments: “We are honoured to bring these important documents online for the first time. This new collection offers unique insight into the incredible sacrifices made by women who risked health, livelihood and liberty in the fight for the right to vote. The Suffragette Collection, together with Findmypast’s world class British & Irish family history collections, provides everyone with the opportunity to discover their family’s connection to this important historical movement.”
Victoria Iglikowski, Principal Records Specialist – Diverse Histories, at The National Archives, said: “The National Archives collection offers a fascinating insight into the campaign for women’s suffrage. Our records often highlight personal experiences of female and male campaigners in their own words. Many of the files provide a first-hand account of demonstrations, court cases, imprisonment and force feeding. What is revealed is a highly organised, national movement from the smallest villages to the biggest cities, crossing class lines, in the first step towards voting equality”.
Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is a British-owned world leader in online family history. It has an unrivalled record of online innovation in the field and 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Lives of the First World War, The British Newspaper Archive and Genes Reunited, among others.
Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over eight billion family history records, ranging from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and conducting detailed historical research.
In April 2003, Findmypast was the first online genealogy site to provide access to the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England & Wales, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Since that time, the company has digitised records from across the globe, including the 1911 Census and the recently released 1939 Register which they digitised in association with The National Archives.
About The National Archives
The National Archives is one of the world’s most valuable resources for research and an independent research organisation in its own right. As the official archive and publisher for the UK government, and England and Wales they are the guardians of some of the UK’s most iconic national documents, dating back over 1,000 years. Their role is to collect and secure the future of the government record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible and available as possible. The National Archives brings together the skills and specialisms needed to conserve some of the oldest historic documents as well as leading digital archive practices to manage and preserve government information past, present and future.
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