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Norfolk and North American releases this week

This week, explore everything from Norfolk to North American history

Picture of Jessie O'Hara - Brand Marketing Assistant
Jessie O'Hara
25 February 2022

Discover thousands of untold stories in this week's release.

It's a big week at Findmypast, with two new record collections and an incredible 89 new and updated newspapers.

This collection is part of the wider 1860 US Census, as enslaved people were enumerated on a separate schedule to free people. While they were not enumerated with their name, the 1860 Slave Schedule details their estimated age, their race (black or mixed-race), whether or not they had any infirmities, and whether or not they were a fugitive of the state. The enslaver, however, is noted by name.

A snapshot of the US Slave Schedule, 1860.

This collection dates directly before the American Civil War, beginning 1861, and following that, the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862. The Emancipation Proclamation didn't end slavery - it simply stated that the enslaved people in specifically rebel states were free, leaving those in loyal states untouched by the proclamation. Additionally, it was entirely reliant upon a Union victory.

An illustration titled 'Reading the war news in New York', Illustrated London News, 1861.

However, it sparked a fire within much of the American population, and changed the character of the war. Each progression of the rebel troops expanded the boundaries which defined the freedom of thousands of enslaved people. The Proclamation went on to announce that newly-freed people could fight as soldiers in the war. This led to over 200,000 black and mixed race people being freed from slavery, and fighting for the Union Army and Navy - meaning the newly liberated could now become liberators.

Two American soldiers pictured in the Illustrated London News, 1861.

While this collection may not be as informative when used standalone, it becomes absolutely key when considered alongside other sources. The 1870 US Census, for example, is an excellent resource when tracking people freed during the American Civil War as they worked to rebuilt their lives after emancipation. If you have a hypothesis about your enslaved ancestors, or if you're trying to trace their journey through slavery and consequent liberation, this collection can confirm your theories and solidify your ancestor's story. It is entirely free to view.

Perhaps you've already discovered the burial records for your ancestors in Norfolk, but the story doesn't end there. Monumental inscriptions can be an excellent resource for painting a bolder picture of your family.

A poignant monumental inscription for a John Trett, 1849.

These records detail the exact inscription on your ancestor's grave, which may even indicate other family members' names. Some records also note the exact location of the grave, and if your ancestor had a military career, some will list the rank and regiment. All of these can give you more avenues to explore when discovering your family history, but more than that, they often include sentimental and poignant notes from family members. There's no doubt that this index will help you build a closer connection with your history.

What's headlining this week?

Newspapers race ahead of our other releases, with an incredible 29 new titles and 60 updated titles. It's all about local history this week, with titles from Birmingham to Brixham, from Darlington to Dover. Many of these newspapers document a more recent history, with 18 of our new papers focusing on the 1980s or later. Perhaps it's time to take a break from your centuries-gone ancestors - will you find someone closer to home? Explore more with the full list of new and updated titles below.

New titles:

Updated titles:

Findmypast Fridays Live

Join Rose in diving headfirst into our extensive newspaper archive, and discover how best to optimise your search.

Newspapers are an incredible resource for discovering not only personal family history, but exploring the wider social and economic history in your area. Check out this blog article on the one million pages we have available for free on Findmypast, and as ever, make sure to email your discoveries to