Friday, 30 January 2015

FindmyPast adds Essex, Warwickshire and Tasmania records

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has added the following:

Over 600,000 parish records from Essex
Over 845,000 parish records from Warwickshire
Over 425,000 births, marriages and deaths from Tasmania, Australia

Further details at http://blog.findmypast.co.uk/fridays/

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

Ancestry DNA kit - first glimpse

Yesterday I announced that AncestryDNA, Ancestry's autosomal DNA testing kit, is now available in the UK and Ireland - see http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/ancestry-launches-ancestrydna-service.html.

Today my kit arrived in the post - I will let you know how I get on!


(With thanks to Ancestry)

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Forthcoming events at the National Archives (Kew)

Forthcoming events at the National Archives at Kew:

Vanishing for the Vote: diverse suffragettes boycott the 1911 census FREE
Thursday 29 January 2015 18:00-19:00

The published word: making the most of electronic publications for your research FREE
Tuesday 3 February 2015 14:00-15:00

Using published sources for First World War family history research FREE
Thursday 5 February 2015 14:00-15:00

Further details at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

National Records of Scotland estates review and future direction of travel

I've had some fairly major news today from Anne Slater, Head of Public Services, at the National Records of Scotland (www.nrscotland.gov.uk), following up on my posts of November 14th 2014 about the current Estates Review being undertaken by the body (see http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/are-nrs-buildings-going-up-for-sale.html and http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/more-on-national-records-of-scotland.html). It concerns the strategic direction of the future for the NRS, and how it intends to develop over the next few years, and I'm grateful to Anne for permission to share the news - the easiest way to do so is to simply quote the relevant section from her email:

"In line with the requirement of all Government bodies and departments to ensure our estates portfolio remains fit for purpose and cost-effective we embarked on our Estates Review last year. We recognise the important role we have as the guardians of some of Scotland’s most treasured possessions and information and are committed to making sure that we do that job well at the same time as improving our services to customers.

"Our long-term aspiration is to co-locate the majority of our staff in a fit-for-purpose facility in Edinburgh, and to expand and improve our archive and public facilities at Thomas Thomson House in the west of the city. Although there are no immediate plans for NRS to move out of General Register House or New Register House, these buildings do not feature in our core estate over the long-term. This intention remains subject to a number of challenges and constraints, not least funding, and at this stage this is our preferred direction of travel over the long-term, not a hard and fast commitment.

"However as the realisation of this strategy will take a number of years and remains dependent on funding, we have also agreed a short term plan to address our two immediate priorities – to improve archive storage (for all records), and to build a more cohesive, collaborative organisation. These plans include extending the current archive facility at Thomas Thomson House, with digitisation facilities and public search rooms to provide better customer access to physical records, securing modern office accommodation for our staff in the same area, and re-locating the West Register House archive to Thomas Thomson House.

"Over the next few months we will develop an implementation plan that will allow us to make these changes whilst meeting our existing commitments. A component of the implementation plan will be engagement with our customers who use our services to develop a plan in line with their needs."

Following the above, I contacted Anne to ask for a possible timescale on this. I have been advised that the first phase of the strategy is envisaged to perhaps take up to five or six years to implement. In terms of a purpose built facility - if it indeed happens - this is still a long way off, but what the above is stating is that it is the preferred direction of travel in the long run to aim for this.

COMMENT: I have previously stated my thoughts concerning the present system offered at the National Records of Scotland in comparison to the services provided by the equivalent repositories in Belfast and London (see http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/comparing-uks-three-national-archives.html), which on many (though not all) fronts, are considerably further ahead. I've always held the view that New Register House and General Register House are merely bricks and mortar, and that what is actually important is whether or not I can access the documents I need to see, within reasonable constraints (for example, conservation considerations). A purpose built facility with onsite storage would certainly be in the interests of all, and whilst it is disappointing to note that such a development is perhaps at least a decade away from being considered, it is at least now on the radar in terms of direction of travel. The fact that a shorter term interim step in making better use of Thomas Thomson House is to be implemented is certainly to be welcomed. This is still five or six years away, and certain issues concerning the use of the facility still remain, however, I have been heartened to see efforts being made recently to address some of these, though there is clearly much still to be done.

(With thanks to Anne Slater)

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

New version of Canadian Directories database released by LAC

Library and Archives Canada has released a new version of its Canadian Directories database at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/directories-collection/Pages/search.aspx. The site contains directories for the Ontario cities of Hamilton, Kingston and London and for the counties of Southwestern Ontario.

For more on the announcement, visit the archive's dedicated blog at http://thediscoverblog.com/2015/01/29/canadian-directories-online/

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

Ancestry's US headquarters to move

The US headquarters of Ancestry (www.ancestry.com) will be relocated to a new $35 million purpose built facility at Lehi, Utah.

Thomas MacEntee has the full story at http://www.geneapress.com/2015/01/ancestry-to-build-new-headquarters-in.html

(With thanks to Thomas via Facebook)

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

Ancestry launches AncestryDNA service in the UK and Ireland

Fairly major news from Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) in the UK:

ANCESTRY LAUNCHES GENETIC FAMILY HISTORY DNA TEST IN UK AND IRELAND

Revolutionary DNA test utilises advanced science to pinpoint genetic ethnicity and help people discover family origins
  • AncestryDNA test examines a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 different genetic locations
  • Service will help people discover and connect with new relatives – linking their DNA results to a network of over 15 billion records and 60 million family trees
  • New technology targets more relevant and recent family history

AncestryDNA, the market-leading genetic family history DNA testing service, has launched in the UK and Ireland today – revolutionising the way that people can discover more about themselves and their family history and also connect with relatives they previously didn’t know existed.

AncestryDNA is offered by a subsidiary of Ancestry – the world’s largest online family history resource – and uses advanced DNA technology to reveal genetic ethnicity and uncover new family connections with other people who have taken the test. When combined with Ancestry’s existing database of over 15 billion records and 60 million family trees, this creates the ultimate family history resource.

Following its US release in 2012 AncestryDNA now has a database with DNA samples from 700,000 people who have discovered fascinating and sometimes surprising information about their own heritage. This international database is of huge benefit to UK and Irish users and will become even more so as it grows with the addition of DNA from the UK and Ireland. The database is expected to grow even further when AncestryDNA launches in other international countries later in 2015.

The AncestryDNA test uses microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, which surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations via a simple saliva sample. Analysis of the DNA data provides a prediction of the locations of ancestors from 26 separate world-wide populations including Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and South and North Africa.

In contrast to Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, which only test one line of your family and generally provide information about ancestry several thousand years ago, the AncestryDNA autosomal test targets the last few hundred or thousand years. This enables people to learn more about their more immediate family history.

AncestryDNA can also help people identify relationships with unknown relatives through a list of possible DNA member matches. These results are a great starting point for additional research, collaboration, or to help people expand their family trees.

Ancestry subscribers in the UK and Ireland will also have the opportunity to use new online interface tools to link their DNA results with their existing family trees and research. With millions of family trees online at Ancestry, more people than ever before will now be able to connect with new relatives and share their results.

Catherine Ball, Vice President, Genomics and Bioinformatics at Ancestry, comments: “While family history research is most often focused on discovering more about the past, the AncestryDNA test uses the best modern technology to help users find out more than ever before about who they are and where they came from. When used in conjunction with existing Ancestry services, it also provides an exciting opportunity to discover and connect with new relatives – in fact the vast majority of customers from the UK and Ireland can expect to connect with 3rd or 4th cousins in the US immediately. As more customers from across the globe are added to the network, it will provide an exciting opportunity to connect some of the major migrations from the UK and Ireland.”

Dan Jones, General Manager International at Ancestry comments: “AncestryDNA provides people with a unique and engaging experience that helps them make amazing discoveries about their family history. The product has been a great success since it launched in the US and I am excited that it is now available in the UK and Ireland and in time will be offered in other International markets.”

Costing £99, plus shipping, AncestryDNA kits are dispatched within six days of an order, with the test results taking from 6-8 weeks to be delivered. Tests are available for purchase at www.ancestrydna.co.uk.

COMMENT: Ancestry are kindly sending me a kit so that I can work through the experience of an autosomal DNA test, which I will blog about in due course. I'm looking forward to this as I have had a few requests from known cousins in recent months to take such a test - though obviously the key advanatage will be in searching for unknown cousins! (I have previously been tested for Y-DNA through FamilyTreeDNA, and mitochondrial DNA through the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation).

In the meantime, Debbie Kennett, a member of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, and Honorary Research Associate attached to the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London, has posted her initial thoughts on the new test (which she has previously undergone when made available in the United States) at http://cruwys.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/ancestrydna-test-now-on-sale-in-uk-and.html.

(With thanks to Bryony Partridge at Ancestry)

UPDATE: 30 Jan - see http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/ancestry-dna-kit-first-glimpse.html

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Romany & Traveller Family History Society to attend WDYTYA Live

From Who Do You Think You Are Live (www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com):

Welcome to the Romany & Traveller Family History Society!
We are excited to announce that the Romany & Traveller Family History Society (RTFHS) are joining us for the first time! Is there a story in your family that one of your ancestors was a Romany Gypsy? Or have you come across people in your own research that look as though they may led a travelling lifestyle? Come along and visit the RTFHS and find out more!

The show will be taking place at the Birmingham NEC from April 16th-18th. Further details are available via the website.

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

British Library's National Newspaper Building formally opened

The British Library's new newspaper facility at Boston Spa, Yorkshire, was formally opened last Friday 23rd January, the end of a long process to relocate the newspaper facility previously based at Colindale in North London, at a cost of £33 million.

The full press release is available at http://www.bl.uk/press-releases/2015/january/british-library-opens-national-newspaper-building

(With thanks to @evergreen_anc on Twitter)

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

Historic Environment Scotland Board Announced

From Historic Scotland and RCAMHS:

Historic Environment Scotland Board Announced

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop has announced the first Chair and board members of Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

Jane Ryder OBE, former Chief Executive of the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator and Chair of Arts & Business Scotland, will become the first chair of the HES board. She has been appointed for four years and will be joined by nine board members.

• Dr Janet Brennan is Chair of the Scottish Castles Association, conservationist and author.
• Alan Clarke has over 40 years’ experience in tourism, leisure and marketing and retired in September 2014 as CEO of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
• Trudi Craggs is qualified as a solicitor in Scotland and is a partner in CMS Cameron McKenna LLP.
• Professor David Gaimster is Director of The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow.
• Andrew Holmes qualified as a civil engineer and has worked in a variety of public sector posts dealing with planning, technical and property issues, retiring as Director of City Development for Edinburgh City Council in 2008.
• Dr Coinneach Maclean trained as an archaeologist and was Deputy Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland.
• Dr Fiona McLean is Vice Chair of the Board of Governors for the University of the Highlands and Islands.
• Dr Paul Stollard is an architect who has specialised in the fire safety of buildings for over 30 years. He has taught architectural design and history in a number of universities.
• Dr Ken Thomson took up his role as Principal of Forth Valley College in August 2013 following six years as Depute Principal.

Ms Hyslop said: “Jane brings with her immense experience in setting up a new body from her time with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and in-depth knowledge of Scotland’s museum and historical assets. The new board contains the breadth and strength of the skills and knowledge required to make the most of Scotland’s rich heritage.

“The appointment of the Board is a major milestone in the creation of the new public body to lead on the delivery of Our Place in Time, Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment.

“As well as delivering on our commitment to public service reform by creating a single public body for Scotland’s historic environment, I am pleased that for the first time all of the work carried out by the bodies will be set within a single strategic framework.

“I have been really impressed by the efforts of the staff in both organisations in getting us to this point in the journey, and I very much look forward to working with Jane and the new board to take forward this exciting and ambitious agenda.”

The new Chair, Jane Ryder, said: “It is a huge privilege to be the first chair of Historic Environment Scotland. The opportunities identified by Our Place in Time and its shared vision, the expectations placed on HES and the skill and enthusiasm of the staff who will come together to form that body all add up to an exciting time for the historic environment.

“I look forward to working with my fellow board members and the excellent staff of the two existing bodies to make the ambitious vision set out in Our Place in Time a reality.”

The new Board will start its work on 1st April and be given all its powers on 1st October 2015. Full details about the appointments can be found on the Scottish Government website at http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Historic-Environment-Scotland-Board-1507.aspx.

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.