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London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes Online

Nature of Source

Online access to the publication of official notices, including name changes, naturalisations, company and individual bankruptcies and medal awards. The site offers online searchable access to thousands of issues from the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes. The London Gazette is Britain's oldest continuously published newspaper published each working day by The Stationery Office (TSO) on behalf of Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO). TSO was created in 1996 following the privatisation of HMSO which continues to operate as part of The National Archives.

The newspaper was first published in November 1665 as the Oxford Gazette following the plague of 1665 which forced King Charles II to move the court from London to Oxford. The paper first appeared as the London Gazette from February 1666 after the Court returned to London. The Gazette is the official publication carrying a record of official notices, regulatory and legal information covering details of state, parliamentary, ecclesiastical, transport and planning matters as well as corporate and personal insolvency notices. Up to the mid-19th century, the Gazette reported on domestic and world events but with the emergence of rival daily newspapers and journals, the Gazette evolved into an organ specialising in reporting official and government notices and announcements.

Much of interest for the family historian can be found in the pages of the Gazette including the following:

Military
From the early 18th century, army and navy officer appointments and promotions were announced in the Gazette as were honours and awards and medals to the armed services. Officer and other ranks 'mentioned in despatches' for brave conduct in battle were also recorded.

Business
Information on legislation including patents, company law and partnership details and changes.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy
Publication of insolvency announcements following the 1712 'Act to Relieve Insolvent Debtors' which required publication of insolvency announcements. The Gazette also publicised bankruptcy notices but will only mention those that were imprisoned for debts or went through the courts and not those who paid off their creditors and therefore avoided an appearance at court.

Naturalisation
Publication of those granted British citizenship following the 1899 Naturalization Act.

Honours and awards and recruitment
From 1870 notice of civil service recruitment and examinations for all grades including postal staff working for the Post Office which, until 1969 was a government department. Public notices or honours and awards for government staff, businessmen and women or individuals including the Imperial Service Medal for non-managerial retiring civil servants including postal workers.

Trustee Act 1925
Under the provisions of the Act, the executor of a deceased's estate could place a notice in the Gazette calling on creditors of the deceased to make a claim against the estate. The provisions of the Act protected the personal representative from liability and were applicable regardless of whether a will was made. The notices provide the name of the deceased, their last address, date of death, name of executors and the probate court.

The old website has a useful help section with guides, FAQs and links. Complete sets of the Gazette are available at The National Archives the Guildhall Library and many university and reference libraries. For a history of the publication see:
Handover, Phyllis Margaret. A History of the London Gazette 1665-1965: HMSO, 1965

The Gazette is also published in Belfast and Edinburgh. The Belfast Gazette was first published on 7 June 1921. The Dublin Gazette now continues in the Republic of Ireland as Irish State gazette Iris Oifigiuil. The Dublin Gazette was originally published between 1705 and 1922 as the official publication of the Irish Executive as Britain's government in Ireland.

Period Covered

1665 - Onwards

Online Databases

www.thegazette.co.uk (There is still a London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazette, but the Gazette website will contain all notices from each publication in one place. In addition, there is content to support service specific areas around Insolvency, Wills and Probate, Awards And Accreditation and the All Notices board)
www.ancestry.co.uk (The London Gazette, London 1825-1962. Browsable images only and note that there are random gaps in this collection and it does not include every volume published between 1825 and 1962)