Findmypast to digitize Guernsey’s birth, marriage, death, and German Occupation records

Insights into births, deaths, marriages, and other family events in Guernsey’s history are
being digitized by Findmypast, following the signing of a contract between a group of
Guernsey organizations and the UK-based genealogy company.

The substantial project will see millions of Greffe records, parish church registers,
Occupation identity cards and conveyances digitized over the coming months and made
available to the public online on Findmypast’s website.

Guernsey is the second-largest island in the English Channel with a population today of about 64,000. It is not part of the UK, but its head of state is the British monarch. During the Second World War, Guernsey was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany. 

A Steering Group comprising key stakeholders from the Priaulx Library, Island Archives, the Church of England, La Société Guernesiaise, and the Greffe was created to oversee the
project and select a digitization partner. The contract was signed with Findmypast after a
tender process held throughout 2023.

Island Archivist Vikki Hart said, “Guernsey has previously fallen behind other jurisdictions in digitizing its records, and this opportunity is an excellent chance for us to catch up. These are popular records for viewing and are therefore handled frequently, so digitization will help us to preserve the original records and make decisions around conservation.”

Findmypast will be sending two full-time staff to the island, but will also be looking to recruit Islanders to support with the work. They aim to create a team of six people to help carry out the project with work set to start in the coming months.

The main focus of the work will be the key records for family history research: births,
marriages and deaths recorded at the Greffe, and baptisms, marriages and burials recorded in parish church registers. Other complimentary records will also be digitized, including documents from the German Occupation and conveyancing documents. Data protection considerations will limit this to records created a certain number of years ago.

All of the scanning work will be carried out on-island at the Priaulx Library, Island Archives and Greffe.

The original records will continue to be preserved at the various archives.

Mary McKee, UK Archives Manager at Findmypast, said, “We’re looking for some local support to help with the digitization process, so please do get in touch if you have a passion for the island’s history and broadening public access.”

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