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Friday Update Number Four

Posted on 24 April 2020

We’ve come to the end of another (very sunny!) week of remote working at the Borthwick Institute.

If you follow us on social media or are part of the many very active York community and heritage groups online you may have heard more about our new York COVID-19 archive project which is very much getting off the ground now.  We’ve already begun to receive enquiries to our dedicated email address ( and you may have caught our Keeper of Archives Gary Brannan talking to Jonathan Cowap on BBC Radio York last week.

In addition we have been continuing to add new content to our online catalogue Borthcat. Unfortunately Borthcat has been having some technical difficulties this week so we are not able to share this with you yet.  Although you can still access Borthcat, you may notice some sections missing or that it is working more slowly than usual.  We can report however that IT is working on the issue and we hope to have the full catalogue back up and running normally as soon as we can.

In the meantime you may enjoy this fascinating new blog by our Archives Trainee, John.  Amongst his many tasks John is responsible for photographing many of the original probate records ordered by customers.  It was as he was fetching one of these probate records that he came across an intriguing inventory of goods owned by one Isaac Havelock of York.  Isaac died sometime before September 1640 and his inventory included not only an impressive array of clothes and furniture but also 132 books, 43 of which are named.  Drawing on the Universal Short Title Catalogue and his own research John has pieced together an enjoyable exploration of just how much you can learn from a single probate record.