The historical records of millions of Londoners from the last four centuries have gone online for the first time. The London Historical Records, whose documents are archived in the London Metropolitan Archives in Clerkenwell under the auspices of The City of London Corporation, has released workhouse and parish records, electoral rolls, wills, school admissions and divorces, from the 1500s to the 20th century, via website ancestry.co.uk. All 77 million documents from the London records will be online by 2011. Ancestry estimates that some 135 million people worldwide, in countries such as South Africa, Australia, the United States and Canada, will be able to find a relative in the records, as will half the British population. Ancestry provides a 14-day free service, after which a subscription is required.

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