Surrey County Council has teamed up with family history website Ancestry.co.uk to publish thousands of historic documents online from as far back as the Tudor period.
The records will bring to life the lives of millions of people who have lived, worked and died in Surrey.
They include Church of England baptism, marriage and burial registers going as far back as the reign of Henry VIII, as well as 18th century tax lists, admission registers for Victorian mental hospitals and the names of the men of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey and East Surrey regiments who joined up between the world wars.
The original paper and parchment records are all held at Surrey County Council’s History Centre in Woking where they are preserved in temperature and humidity controlled rooms.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games, said: “Through the county council’s deal with Ancestry.co.uk, our precious documents will be at the fingertips of researchers online around the world, while protecting and preserving the fragile originals for future generations.
“Surrey’s history is incredibly rich and varied which makes it a source of endless fascination. These online records will bring that past to life, connecting us directly with the people and events that shaped the Surrey of today.”
Visitors to the Surrey County Council’s History Centre will be able to use Ancestry.co.uk for free. Members of Surrey libraries will be also be able to search the records free of charge at any branch.
The task of photographing and indexing the records will begins this month. The first online records are due to be available on Ancestry.co.uk next year.
Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
Ancestry.co.uk contains more than one billion records in collections. These include the most comprehensive online set of England, Wales and Scotland censuses from 1841 to 1911, the fully searchable England and Wales birth, marriage and death indexes and World War One British Army service and pension records.