Some 77 million documents dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries and including the ancestors of David Beckham and Britney Spears are to go online, under a service launched Thursday.
New records on Ancestry.co.uk
- London, England, Poor Law Records, 1840-1938
- London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1834-1906
- London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1834-1934
- United Kingdom and Ireland Obituary Collection
- London, England, Marriage Licences, 1521-1869
The archives from the London Historical Records feature details of around 165 million of the capital's citizens over the centuries, including head of state Oliver Cromwell and poet William Blake.
Around 250,000 records are currently available, with all 77 million uploaded by 2011.
The final collection will include parish and workhouse records, electoral rolls, wills, land tax records and school reports.
Tracing the family history has become an increasingly popular hobby in Britain, thanks to the availability of records online and television programmes showing celebrities discovering the quirks of their ancestry.
"We estimate that half of Brits will be able to find an ancestor in this collection," said Josh Hanna, senior vice president of the website Ancestry.co.uk which is hosting the London records.The collection "pre-dates civil registration and census, and documents the history of a great city and its people, their birth, poverty, fortunes, faith, education, marriage and death," he said