• Change of Leadership at Free UK Genealogy

    Camilla von Massenbach, founder trustee of FreeBMD (the predecessor charity of Free UK Genealogy and Free UK Genealogy CIO), and chair since its beginning in 2002 has announced her resignation as chair.  

    Camilla together with Graham Hart, Ben Laurie and David Mayall - all still trustees - created the FreeBMD project in 1998. This was one of the first crowdsourced projects (the word 'crowdsource' didn't get invented for another 8 years - link is to the first use recorded by the OED). Rootsweb noted at the time "The FreeBMD project is expected to take forever probably, and the next 15 years certainly". Camilla was part of the management team, and acted as Scan Coordinator. 

    By 2013 - the most optimistic estimate for completion -  the project had reached the 1960s for births and marriages, and the early 1970s for deaths. Today, we are rapidly approaching the completion of the initial target of all registrations to 1983. FreeBMD has demonstrated beyond a doubt the need for free access to genealogical data, and the ability of a volunteer organisation to achieve this.  

    Two other projects which were started very shortly after FreeBMD, FreeCEN (which presents Census data) and FreeREG (which presents data from Church of England registers of baptism, marriage and burial, and similar sources) became part of the family, and the charity changed its name from FreeBMD to Free UK Genealogy to reflect its curation of all three projects, and its wider aims to advocate free access to historic documents.  

    Most recently, on 1st January 2017, the unincorporated charity incorporated as Free UK Genealogy CIO, and Camilla will continue to serve as a Trustee.

    For almost 20 years Camilla has been a thoughtful and supportive founder and leader of a visionary organisation achieving truly remarkable results. I am pleased to say that Richard Light has agreed to be our next Chair. Richard has been chairing the Policy Group within the charity for over a year, and has a particular interest in linked data. I look forwards to working with Richard in his new role, and continuing to work with Camilla.

    Pat Reynolds

    Executive Director, Free UK Genealogy CIO