Do you have ancestors in Leicestershire or Rutland? Head to the Find My Past website where today they have launched a new collection of 1.8 million parish register and associated records for the two counties. You can search the indexes free. Transcriptions of the entries and digitised images of the original registers and documents can be seen on a pay-to-view/subscription basis.

Interestingly, Find My Past has selected a Romany Gypsy, Absalom Smith, as an example of the typical entries to be found in their new database. They say: “Leicestershire burials contains a record for Absalom Smith, the ‘King of the Gypsies’. Smith was buried in the parish of Twyford on February 10th 1826. He was responsible for enforcing the gypsy ‘code of laws’ and adjudicating any infringements. He was a renowned athlete (especially good at running and jumping) and fiddle player who could often be seen performing at country events. Smith died at the age 60, leaving behind a wife, 13 children and 54 grandchildren.”

Read more about the new collection here.