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Enabling Online Searching – Digitisation, transcription & online searches of Royal Kingston burial records

The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames has 39 grave registers and indexes for the two cemeteries in Kingston and Surbiton, containing 80,000 records going back into the nineteenth century. With only the last ten years’ records available to view on their BACAS management system, family and genealogical research was a slow and staff intensive process. Digitisation was seen as a priority to enable online searching and to permanently preserve the original registers.

Royal Kingston Burial Records

The cemetery registers were in daily use, so TownsWeb carried out the scanning of the register pages on site. The images were supplied at 300dpi in TIFF and JPEG formats on an external hard drive with additional backup copies, one of which was held securely off site by TownsWeb Archiving. TownsWeb also supplied Kingston with its virtual viewing software to allow pages to be turned, printed and faxed. The software provides the facility to cut and paste sections of the pages into other applications such as Microsoft Word and Outlook so that information can be emailed.

Key search data was transcribed from the records to provide a fast search facility. TownsWeb’s experience in transcribing old handwritten copy into typed text guarantees a very high level of accuracy. The cost of transcription was kept to a minimum by capturing only key search fields and then linking these to the original scanned pages.

Working with Kingston’s IT team, TownsWeb designed and developed the burial records search pages, providing remote public access online to search records and download pages. Opening up these historic records has widened public interest and saved valuable staff time.

Kingston’s unique copies of hand-drawn cemetery maps were also scanned, reprinted and laminated so the originals could be safely and permanently archived.

‘TownsWeb Archiving are a highly professional and friendly company whose ability to scan the records onsite meant there was no disruption to the service. All the work was completed on time, within budget and to the highest standard.’

Paul Muggleton, Kingston upon Thames Cemeteries

http://www.kingston.gov.uk/directory/20/grave_records

TownsWeb Archiving Ltd can be contacted on 01536 713834 or via email at [email protected].