This week I thought I’d talk about a resource that is often overlooked: the London Gazette.
The Gazette is the world’s oldest continuously published newspaper, which started life during the Great Plague (1665) as the Oxford Gazette.
So – what’s so important about it?
The Gazette contains a wealth of information, including:
- State (including Royal Household), Parliamentary and Ecclesiastical notices
- Implementation of Statutory Instruments
- Corporate and Personal insolvency notices, including petitions for winding-up of companies and notices relating to meetings of creditors
- Transport and planning notices
- Other public notices
- Trustee Act notices (these are more important than you might think, and deal with the administration of a deceased person’s estate under their will or intestacy – always therefore worth searching).
In addition various supplements are published which include:
- The Queen’s Birthday and New Year’s Honours Lists
- Other honours and awards
- Details of Premium Bond prize draws
- Armed Forces Promotions and Re-gradings
- Companies information
You can search the Gazette online at www.london-gazette.co.uk
It’s always worth searching if you have an ancestor who was in business, in the armed forces or who you believe may have received an honour (for example, the OBE) or a bravery award (for example, the Military Medal). Last night I typed in the name of Thomas Patterson Rogers (the ancestor of a student of mine) and found, within minutes, details of his promotion through the ranks from private soldier to captain together with details of his actions which led to the award of the Military Medal. This last includes the date of the action and the name of the regiment – so it may be possible, armed with this information and his medal card, to discover more details about the battle itself.
Not all the issues of Gazette have been digitised to date, but it’s always worth searching, particularly for the period before 1800.
The home page for the Gazette also has links to the Belfast Gazette (first published in 1931) and the Edinburgh Gazette (first published in 1799).
I’ve included a link to the London Gazette on my page ‘Useful Websites’.