If so, you’ll be interested to know Medway Council has published Medway’s original parish registers online. The parishes covered lie in the Rochester Archdeaconry area which extends from Dartford and Gravesend in the west to Rainham in the east, and focuses on the Medway Towns.  The earliest registers date from 1558, and the collection continues in one form or another into the 20th century. Viewing and copying images is free. The project, known as Medway Ancestors, was made possible by a grant of £49,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the images are hosted on the Medway Archives website CityArk. You can see them at http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/

If you have ancestors from Dorset here’s a new resource you’ll find useful. The ‘Origins’ network has just put all Dorset marriages 1538-1856 online, a database of around 150,000 records searchable by name, including witnesses. The marriages have been transcribed by Somerset & Dorset Family History Society from parish registers, Bishops Transcripts and non-conformist circuit registers, so a pretty comprehensive database. You have to be an ‘Origins’ subscriber to see them, of course, either for 3 days, a month or a year (see  http://www.originsnetwork.com).

The Origins network has a peculiar set-up: you can subscribe to British Origins, Irish Origins or Scots Origins to view the records for each country; or for a higher fee you can have ‘Total Access’ to all three. Take note though that Scotland makes its public records freely available online, so there’s really no need to subscribe to Scots Origins unless you want to use their ‘enhanced’ search facilities.

Good news for everyone with early ancestors in Essex. In September Essex Archives put its pre-1700 parish registers online at http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/. This searchable database contains about 80,000 images of original parish register pages. It also contains their catalogue of parish registers so that you can see at a glance which parish registers they hold and in what format. Note though that parish registers for the London Borough of Waltham Forest (formerly in Essex) are deposited at the Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow, not at Essex Archives.