Friday, 1 June 2012

Royal household staff records online

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has uploaded 50,000 staff records from the Royal Archives covering the period from 1526 to 1924. The full story is at www.findmypast.co.uk/content/news/royal-archives

(With thanks to @findmypast)

UPDATE: Here's an abridged version of the press release (with thanks to Debra Chatfield)

ROYAL HOUSEHOLD STAFF RECORDS GO ONLINE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Discover who served Britain’s Kings and Queens from King Charles II to King George V, at findmypast.co.uk

Have you ever wondered who works in a Royal Household, or whether you might have a connection to someone who served the Royal Family? In celebration of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, family history website findmypast.co.uk, in association with the Royal Archives, has today launched the Royal Household Staff Lists, a detailed collection made available online for the first time.

Previously only accessible at Windsor Castle by appointment, these rarely viewed records cover royal residences across the UK including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and St. James’ Palace, and include 50,000 staff records from the reign of King Charles II to King George V between 1660 and 1924. With details such as name, occupation, age, length of service and salary, the records paint a vivid picture of life in a Royal court, revealing what it takes to run a Royal Household and the wide range of duties involved in serving the British Monarchy.

Extraordinary Job Titles in the Royal Household*

Chocolate Maker to the Queen
Yeoman of the Mouth to Her Majesty Queen Mary in the Pantry
Necessary Woman to the Corridor and Entrance Hall
Keeper of the Lions in the Tower
Moletaker
Master of the Game of Cock Fighting
Groom of the Removing Wardrobe
Groom of the Stole
Strewer of Herbs
Laundress of the Body Linen

The records reveal charming details of life in the Royal Household. Queen Anne, for example, had such a penchant for barley cream and posset, according to records from 1702, that she engaged two women of the Bedchamber to make them and other ‘spoon meats’ for £60 per annum. Examples like this provide a fascinating snapshot into royal tastes centuries ago.

Professor Robert Bucholz, renowned expert on officials of the Royal Household and Professor of History at Loyola University of Chicago, commented: “The court at Whitehall, St. James’s and Buckingham Palace was not just the seat of the most powerful government in the world; it was the political, social and cultural centre of the nation. Thus the records of Royal Household staff, preserved in the Royal Archives at Windsor and now made available online through findmypast.co.uk, are the record of their service to the British crown.

Bucholz continued: “Professional historians have long had access to these records, but now ordinary citizens from around the world have the opportunity to track down ancestors here. Indeed, even I – an American of German and Mexican descent – found a namesake: one George Buckholtz, livery pony boy, undoubtedly part of the German contingent serving at the later Hanoverian court.”

Debra Chatfield concluded: “People across the globe continue to be fascinated by the British Royal Family, as well as the relationship between ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ life. In the year of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this is the perfect opportunity to explore your family history and discover whether you have an ancestor who worked for the Royal Household.”

The Royal Household Staff records can be searched for free at www.findmypast.co.uk/search/other-records/british-royal-archives/. Transcripts and scanned images of the original documents can be viewed with PayAsYouGo credits or a Full subscription,

Chris


British GENES is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES and Twitter @chrismpaton Check out my Scotland's Greatest Story research service www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
New book: It's Perthshire 1866 - there's been a murder... www.thehistorypress.co.uk/products/The-Mount-Stewart-Murder.aspx (from June 12th 2012)

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