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The e-newsletter of the Sussex Family History Group

The Keep is coming!

Good progress continues to be made on site in building The Keep, the new historical resource centre for East Sussex and Brighton & Hove. The repository block has reached roof level and the external design frieze has now been erected around the upper walls of this part of the building. This frieze has been designed by local artist Carolyn Trant and features the history and landscape of East Sussex and Brighton & Hove from the Hastings fishing sheds in the east to the London Road viaduct in Brighton in the west.

Good progress continues on new historical resource centre

The 'people block', which will house the public and staff areas including the SFHG room, is also well underway and work proceeds on the car park and energy centre, which will house the biomass boiler. The contractors are aiming to bring the energy centre online as soon as possible to assist with the drying out period for the repository block and make it ready for the proving period.

While the building progresses work is continuing on the layout of the internal spaces and selecting furniture, fixtures, fittings and equipment. The collections are being prepared for the move and a team of volunteers are helping to make sure that everything is correctly boxed and fit to travel. All the boxes will be bar-coded to assist with the move and with the locations and productions in the new building.

The Keep will take 93 weeks to build including the three month testing period for the environmental controls in the repository block, so that the building can be licensed by The National Archives. It is hoped The Keep will open to the public later in 2013.

Further information about The Keep and updates on progress of the project can be found on the County Council's new look website at • Wendy Walker, Senior Archivist and Programme Manager, ESRO.

Criminals and victims

Due to be launched at this month's SFHG Conference is the latest CD of Quarter Sessions transcriptions published by the Parish Register Transcription Society. This, the latest CD of data extracted by Michael Burchall from original records held by the East Sussex Record Office, is Sussex Criminals & Victims 1800-1825. This has detailed abstracts from Quarter Sessions at Chichester, Horsham, Lewes, Midhurst and Petworth listing the charge, offenders, victims, jurors and the verdict and the punishment. Over 30,000 persons are named and indexed.

Also recently available from SFHG Publications are more CDs of Parish Register transcriptions, including Ardingly, Henfield, Pagham, Southwater, Tangmere and Wisborough Green.

More recent publications are listed on the SFHG website.

SFHG Data Archive

The Data Archive is an ongoing project through which we aim to make available much of our transcribed data exclusively for members to access free.

Data is gradually being uploaded to the SFHG Data Archive. There are now nearly 2.5 million records - in particular baptisms, burials and census data. Also available are names from the Sussex People Index.

To view this data use the username and password as used for the Members Only pages on the SFHG website.

Certificate price rise

From 1 April there are a couple of revisions to the statutory legislation for birth, marriage and death certificates obtained from local registrars' offices. That means that for historic certificates used for genealogical research the price is to rise from 9 to 10.

There no change for the cost of certificates obtained from the national GRO for England and Wales at Southport, which remain at 9.25. (Order online at

Brightsolid/FMP goes Stateside

Brightsolid, a leading online provider of historical and genealogical content in the UK, has now entered the US genealogy market with the launch of a new pay-as-you-go site This is the first genealogy site in the US to give customers access to census records on either a pay-as-you-go basis or by subscription.

Later this year they will launch as their flagship American brand. This follows the existing findmypast sites in the UK, Ireland and Australia.

Site promotes reciprocal grave tending

Tendagrave ( is a free service for people who cannot, for whatever reason, tend a family or friend's grave. It will put you in touch with other people in a similar situation. You then offer to tend a grave in your local area and, in return, your loved one's grave will also be lovingly looked after.

The Tendagrave website matches you with someone in the area of your beloved's grave. Then you can arrange for flowers to be delivered to them, or discuss with them the services you need. The idea is that no money changes hands.