Kate Winslet and Sir Laurence Olivier are among the famous people whose ancestors can be traced online after Surrey County Council launched a digital archive of centuries of records.
The authority has teamed up with family history website Ancestry.co.uk to publish more than 2.5 million historic Surrey records detailing baptisms, marriages and burials from 1538 to 1987. The originals are kept at the council-run Surrey History Centre, where they are preserved in temperature and humidity controlled rooms.
Among the other famous names featured in the records are authors PG Wodehouse, Lewis Carroll, Sir Barnes Nevill Wallis, the inventor of the bouncing bomb used in the Dambusters Raid, and Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy, who captained Darwin’s voyage around the world.
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services Helyn Clack said: “We’re always keen at the county council to embrace innovation and now you can trace the roots of Kate Winslet and Sir Laurence Olivier’s ancestors or find out about your great great grandfather at the click of a mouse.”
Visitors to the county council-run Surrey History Centre can use Ancestry.co.uk for free. Members of Surrey libraries will be able to search the records free of charge at any branch.
More records will be published online during the year.