Tuesday, 4 August 2015

County Down lecture series from PRONI

From PRONI (www.proni.gov.uk) in Belfast:

LECTURE SERIES: Up Down; Stories that make a country.

Between August and October 2015 PRONI will be delivering a series of lunchtime talks bringing new insights into the events and works that shaped the people of County Down.

26th Aug – Philip Donald – Pure water for a thirsty Belfast: the need for a reservoir in Silent Valley
‘As the city of Belfast expanded during the 19th century, the population needed further sources of water. By the 1890s it had been decided to bring water from the Mourne Mountains via a pipeline and a reservoir formed in the Silent Valley. The needs of the city were initially met by water piped from the Annalong and Kilkeel rivers. The great civil engineer from Carrickfergus, Luke Livingston Macassey, consultant to the Belfast Water Commissioners, dominates the story of the search for water.’

2nd Sept – Ian Montgomery – Describing the Ards in 1683: the William Montgomery manuscript revisited

9th Sept – Philip Donald – Building the Silent Valley Dam, 1923 to 1933: Setting the Record Straight
The Silent Valley dam was first proposed in 1891 but carrying out the work was held up till after the First World War. The great dam became one of the first major works undertaken by the state in Northern Ireland. Major problems occurred in the excavations for the cut-off trench, and though an arbitration held in 1926 effectively resolved matters, it happened that the reputation of Frederick W. McCullough, design engineer, suffered in the years after his death in March 1927. : ‘This talk tells the complete story of the construction of the Silent Valley dam and re-appraises the parts played by the engineers and others who were involved.’

16th Sept – Sandra Millsopp – ‘A favourite watering place’: the development of Bangor as a Victorian Seaside Resort

23rd Sept – Lorraine Bourke - Another time: photographs of the Stewart family, marquesses of Londonderry

30th Sept – Allan Blackstock – The rising of 1798 in County Down

7th Oct – Tom McErlean – Nendrum Mill, Strangford Lough (619 AD): the oldest excavated tidal mill in the world

14th Oct - William Roulston – The Family Plot: Historic Graveyards of County Down

21st Oct – John Moulden – ‘The tune we played was the Protestant Boys’: songs and the battle of Dolly’s Brae, 1849

(With thanks to the PRONI Express)

Chris

For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.

How to safely handle archive and library collections

The National Library of Scotland (www.nls.uk) has uploaded a useful video that will be of use to all archive and library users concerning best practice for the consultation of collections materials.

Entitled How to Safely Handle our Collections, the recording is just over 6 minutes long and can be viewed at https://youtu.be/yRDAaO5nIng - it is also embedded below:



(With thanks to @NatLibScot)

Chris

For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.

Family history workshop in Angus

A free family history workshop is being held at Angus Archives (http://archive.angus.gov.uk/history/archives/), based at  Hunter Library, Restenneth Priory, by Forfar, DD8 2SZ on Thursday September 10th 2015, from 2pm-4pm. The aim is to highlight school, poor and legal records and provide practical advice on their use for ancestral research.

Spaces are limited, so you will need to book - for further details please telephone (01307) 468644 or email the archive directly at angus.archives@angus.gov.uk

Chris

For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.

Update on Historic Scotland/RCAHMS merger

From Historic Environment Scotland, the new organisation being created by the merger of Historic Scotland and RCAHMS:

Historic Environment Scotland Board Progress

Since its establishment in February, the HES Board, led by Jane Ryder OBE, is making good progress with the creation of the new organisation. The Board has been focussing on what is essential for 1st October when HES takes full powers, including all staff being transferred to the single body, agreeing the governance framework with the Scottish Government, the introduction of new regulations for heritage management, and the signing-off of the scheme of delegation which will establish how HES will manage the Properties in Care on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

Strategic priorities for the new organisation include establishing a new organisational identity and the development of the new corporate plan 2016-19 which will be open to public consultation later in the year.

Some of you may be aware of the recent recruitment campaign for the role of Chief Executive. Whilst we are disappointed not to be able to make a permanent appointment at this stage, this will not have any adverse impact on our plans for the new organisation. We are now looking to appoint an interim CEO who will work with the Board through this transition period and beyond, whilst also looking to secure a long term appointment, to be part of this exciting new chapter for the heritage sector.

Further details on progress will be accessible at http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicenvironmentscotland.htm.

(With thanks to the Historic Scotland and RCAHMS joint newsletter)

Chris

For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.

Bringing back websites from the dead

One of the most frustrating things that we can encounter in our research is a website that seems to be a gift from the genealogical gods, only for that site to suddenly disappear overnight. This may be because the site creator no longer wishes to maintain it, may no longer wish to pay the online hosting fees, may well have created a replacement, or may even have passed away. There is a way, however, to retrieve some of these sites, and that is to visit a site where a cached version may have been saved.

The most useful of these sites is perhaps the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, available at https://archive.org. If you do wish to locate an older version of a site that has since died, simply type in the URL to the Wayback Machine browser bar and then click 'Browse History'. If the project has grabbed a snapshot of the relevant site you will be given a page with both a bar along the top noting the various years and dates on which this was done, as well as an interactive calendar, from which you can then choose to revisit the earlier incarnation of the site on a particular date before its 'death'.

There are a few things to note. If a cached site contains a searchable database, or a third party link, those may not work in the cached version. It may also be that on the some of the dates on which a cached version is said to be held, a dreaded error message may pop up, but if this should happen, don't despair immediately, try some of the other dates on which it was said to have been recorded.

Take for example a highly popular Scottish site in its day, Scotsfind, at www.scotsfind.org, which sadly ceased to work in 2010. One of the most useful things about this site was the various PDF documents it hosted with historic records such as Edinburgh apprentices, Edinburgh marriage registers, Inverness testaments, a presbytery book from Kirkcaldy, as well as all sorts of one name study lists, including records for families such as Biggar, Bird, Cossar, Doig, Dryburgh, Edmondston, Fiddler, Oliphant, Trotter, and many, many others. A search using the Wayback Machine allows me to find several cached versions of the site from 2002 -2010, each with its own dedicated archive URL address. On some of these, the links to the hosted documents just don't work; but on others - for example at https://web.archive.org/web/20070116015458/http://scotsfind.org/ - they most certainly do, and what was once a dead site can be retrieved and can continue to be used.


There may be many reasons for wanting to try to find an earlier version of a website. Whilst an update to a website may in theory be a good idea, sometimes the new site may not be quite as descriptive as its predecessor was, or it may be that information has been replaced. A site that previously offered information for free may have subsequently put it behind a pay wall or membership wall, and yet that data may still be accessible on an earlier cached version. My own personal family history site has changed dramatically since I first started it in 2001, and I often go back to see how things have progressed on certain lines, or to re-evaluate info I may have removed. For example I once had all the information on a murder case on the site, which I later removed to create space on the site - but there is a cached version of what I once had online, which can be very useful to see.

The reason I mention this now though is that I had the chance to meet the wonderful Cyndi Ingle of CyndiList (www.cyndislist.com) on the recent Unlock the Past Baltic genealogy cruise, and one of the questions I asked her during her talk on her website was about broken links; is she happy to accept cached versions of dead websites as a replacement URL on her site? The answer was an emphatic yes.

An old website no longer accessible in an everyday search may not necessarily be lost forever, and can very easily be retrieved in many cases through sites such as the Wayback Machine. So the moral of the story is that those old internet listings guide books you may be about to throw out may not be quite so useless and out of date as you may think!

Chris

For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.

Call for papers for 2016 First World War conference at TNA

The National Archives in England (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk) is seeking proposals for papers to be delivered at a conference at the facility from September 8th-10th 2016, entitled Dissenting Voices and the Everyday in the First World War. The deadline for submissions is October 15th 2015.

For further background details visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/calls-for-papers-for-first-world-war-conference/, whilst the call for papers document itself is available at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/fww-call-for-papers.pdf.

Chris

For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Possible strike action may force early closure of National Archives at Kew

The National Archives at Kew, England, has announced that a possible London Underground strike may occur on Thursday 6th August. If this happens, the facility will be closing early on that day at 5pm.

For further details visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/possible-tube-strike/.

Chris

For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.

Recently catalogued collections by National Monuments Record of Wales

The latest monthly edition of the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW) Archives and Library Bulletin, which lists all newly catalogued materials by the body, is available online at http://heritageofwalesnews.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/national-monuments-record-of-wales.html.

For previous months' editions going back to December 2013, please visit www.rcahmw.gov.uk/HI/ENG/Our+Services/Donate+Records/Recent+Acquisitions/

Chris

For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.

My next Scottish Research Online course starts September 2nd

An early notice of my next Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd course, Scottish Research Online, which commences on September 2nd for a 5 week run, and which is priced at £49.99. Here are the details:

Scottish Research Online (102)

Scotland was first to have major records digitized and offer indexes and images online. It has also been a leader in placing resource information on the World Wide Web. This course describes the major sites, the types of information and data that they offer, the forms in which databases are presented and how to analyze results. You will learn to lay the foundations for searching a family, how to select best resources and what to do next either online or in libraries and archives.

Instructor: Chris Paton
  • Scotlands People, Family Search, Ancestry, FreeCen: content, comparison, assessment
  • Essential Maps and Gazetteers
  • Civil Registration and Census Research Online
  • Searching in Church of Scotland Registers Online
  • Scottish Wills and Inventories Online
  • Take It From Here

Note: it is recommended but not required that students in this course sign up for the basic search option, 30 units/seven days, at ScotlandsPeople (cost is seven pounds).

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat (See our How the Courses Work guide at http://pharostutors.com/courseshowwork.php).

STUDENTS SAID: "I particularly liked the fact that the course didn't just focus on the well-known BMD resources available, but on a much wider range of websites, including many which give extremely useful background information on the geography and history of the localities where our ancestors lived." "a very knowledgeable Instructor"

To sign up for the courses, please visit http://pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102.

COMMENT: Please note that the course starts on Wednesday September 2nd, and will likely be followed by the first online chat session the following Tuesday evening, but this will depend on the numbers doing the course, and where they may be based. If there are significant numbers I may run two chat sessions in different times, but again, that will depend on the numbers subscribing. If you cannot make a chat session, a transcript of the conversation will be made available shortly after, so you won't miss out, and there is a dedicated forum available throughout for questions you may have throughout the five week block, which I'll be more than happy to answer!

I look forward to hopefully seeing a few of you there!

Chris

For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.

Toronto OGS call for presentations

From the Ontario Genealogical Society (www.ogs.on.ca):

This is a quick reminder that the deadline for submitting proposals for presentations at the Ontario Genealogical Society's Conference 2016 is Friday August 14, just a couple of weeks away.

The Conference will take place on June 3-5, 2016 at Toronto's International Plaza Hotel and will be hosted by the Toronto Branch of OGS. The theme of Conference 2016 is “Genealogy on the Cutting Edge”.

The Call for Presentations can be found on the OGS Conference website at http://www.ogs.on.ca/conference/call-for-presentations/. To submit proposals or ask questions, please contact the Conference 2016 Program Committee at: conference2016@ogs.on.ca.

Chris

For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.