The full Great Western Railway (GWR) Shareholder Indexhas now been made available online, along with colour images of the original records. The index includes over 570,464 records covering the period from 1835 to 1932, recording 440,000 shareholders and related parties, such as executors and spouses. The records indicate when the original shares went through a change of ownership.
The subscription/pay-per-view website Find My Past has sent the following news release:
“The availability of the index on Find My Past has been achieved in partnership with the Society of Genealogists, who previously held the original paper index at their London headquarters. The index dates from when the GWR was created in 1835 and continues through to 1932. The records contain some famous names such as Charles Dickens, William Ewart Gladstone and Lewis Carroll, under his real name, Charles Ludwidge Dodgson.
“The Society of Genealogists originally produced its GWR Shareholder Index from ledgers created by the Great Western Railway. The original ledgers were compiled by the company for transactions relating to all shareholdings that changed hands other than by simple sale. In the records, the name of the shareholder is given together with an address, the names of the other parties (executors or legatees for death; husbands for marriages), dates of death, probate, marriage or another event. The purpose of these records was to record change of ownership of the shares, the death of the original shareholder being the most likely cause of an event.
“The infamous Great Western Railway was built along a network of tunnels, bridges and viaducts linking London to the West Country and Wales. Bristol merchants were desperate for effective transport links to London, to prevent the emergence of Liverpool as the country’s second port. In 1833, the famous engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was appointed chief engineer. He also became a shareholder, appearing in the index following his death from a stroke in 1859.
“The majority of events within the index are deaths in England and Wales. However, other events also caused shares to go through a change of ownership. They are as follows:
- Death 94%
- Marriage 1.4%
- Power of Attorney 0.8%
- Change of Name 0.8%
- Lunatics 0.1%
- Bankrupts 0.07%
- Others 2.83%
“Most events relate to individuals in England and Wales, but there are also a significant number of Scottish, Irish and overseas records:
- England & Wales 93.6%
- Scotland 4%
- Ireland 1.4%
- Overseas 1%”