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Berkshire Family Historian
December 2001

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Berkshire Family Historian
Main Page, December 2001 Contents

1901 Census

At long last, and after a vociferous and spirited debate on the validity of paying to view the public records which until now have been free, the digital version of the 1901 census returns will be available on January 2 on the Internet. Use of the index will be free, and it will be possible to conduct a number of searches: by name, place, address, institution or vessel. Wildcards for single or multiple characters may be used and a soundex match to identify names with similar phonetics, such as Brown and Browne will also be available. However, charges will be made for viewing the digital pages of the returns. The Public Record Office has set the charges at 75pence for an image of the census page. Viewing the details of an individual will cost 50pence but viewing the details of a household will be an additional 50pence. Credit cards may be used to view the pages, but a more flexible method to pay will be the prepaid voucher scheme. The vouchers will be obtainable in units of 5, 10 and 50. Credit card payments are only valid for 48 hours but vouchers have a six-month life span. While the charges may seem high frequent visits to the Family Records Centre in London would soon cost more than the PRO fee.

The Society intends to make the prepaid vouchers available from the Bookstall in denominations of 5 and 10. If you would like to purchase any number of vouchers send a cheque, made payable to BFHS, to the BFHS Bookstall, Research Centre, Yeomanry House, 131 Castle Hill, Reading RG1 7TJ.

In addition the Research Centre will be holding a series of Internet evenings for members. The first will be held on Tuesday, 15th January, 2002. <For current information (May 2003) on computing activities see>.

One final, and exciting, prospect is that the PRO is planning to digitize the 1891 census and it will be made available on a county by county basis beginning with London. It's expected that the whole country will be completed by the end of 2002. There are also plans to do the same for the 1881 census. The images are already being scanned and they will be linked to the Federation of Family History Societies database with a possible launch at the end of 2002.

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Berkshire Family History Society 2002

updated 31st May 2002
revision 27th May 2003