– This is the Morpeth Roll.
It’s about as tall as the Empire State Building
and it’s three and a half times the length of a football field.
The Morpeth Roll essentially is a thank you note to Lord Morpeth
who was the Chief Secretary of Ireland from about 1835 to’41.
It was estimated at the time that it had 270,000 signatures.
making it one of the largest such testimonials in existence
provided to George Howard Vica Morpeth.
THE WORKD’ S LONGEST THANK YOU NOTE -A GREAT BIG STORY BY ancestry
– I am Quinton Atkinson, senior director of global content at Ancestry
and this is the archival vault at Ancestry.
The content team is responsible for finding out
where documents exist throughout the world
that could provide discoveries for people.
We then digitize records,
and then we creat searchable indexes.
The Morpeth Roll is important because it captures
a group of people in Ireland pre the 1845 famine
but also because in 1922 a lot of the records documenting
people within Ireland were destroyed by fire during the Civil War of Ireland.
The Morpeth Roll really is a census substitute
for those that lived at that time in Ireland.
I am Professor Terence Dooley, principal investigator of the Morpeth Roll Project.
The Morpeth Roll is a token of gratitude
for the reforms that have been introduced to Ireeland by Lord Morpeth.
On the presentation of the gift itself, Morpeth decides
to bring it back to his home at Castle Howard in Yorkshire
and there it remains for 180 years.
That is until 2009 when the Lord Morpeth Roll was discovered in the Castle Howard archives.
My name is Louise Walsworth-Bell. I’m a paper conservator
and part of the team that worked on the Morpeth Roll.
Well this is the spool on which the Morpeth Roll was rolled,
and it would have fitted into this chest.
There are enormous difficultieswith handling a document of that size
so it’s really important that we would make the object handleable.
Digitization has massively facilitated research.
The beauty of coming to Ancestry is that I can
type in the name of an ancestor I’m looking for,
we search then all of the documents that we have, and if we find a match,
you can click on the image and actually see that digital image.
Ancestry has probably created electronic indexes
from handwritten documents more than anyone else in the world.
We use an overhead digitalcamera with lighting to highlight
the writing on the page and move it a frame at a time,
so that we can make sure we preserve
every stroke of the pen,
every color variation of the parchment.
At the end, after we’ve captured every single image,
those are stitched together in a document
that now appears online.
I think the beauty of the digitization of the roll by ancestry
is it enables access not only here within
Ireland but worldwide, so it becomes accessible.
This roll actually reaches out now to a much wider
The records that the content team at Ancestry are searching out
and digitizing range from yearbooks with photos in them to
the military file of your great-grandfather as he served in World War I.
Whatever the record type, our goal is to bring you
the richest experience of connecting with your ancestor.
(Irish highlands music)