Thursday, 22 March 2018

Meritorious Service Medals now available online at TheGenealogist

From TheGenealogist (

Meritorious Service Medals now available online at TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist has released the records of 29,000 individuals who were decorated with the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM). The roll of names for those who were awarded this British honour in the First World War have been released by TheGenealogist. Researchers can now look for holders of this medal up to 1920 from within their ever growing military records collection.

● See a copy of the image of the Medal Card with the theatre of war where the medal was won

● Details the name, rank, regiment and service number

● Unique “SmartSearch” links to the comprehensive military records on

● These new records cover British servicemen from The First World War

The medal was first awarded in 1845 to non-commissioned officers in the British Army who had a record of long service in the forces. Given originally
for long service of at least 20 years to servicemen who were of irreproachable character and already held the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal of their service, the First World War saw it awarded to those who performed acts of non-combatant gallantry in the performance of their military duty. In the second case the bravery was not necessarily while the serviceman was on active service and may have been in the saving or attempted saving of the life of an officer or an enlisted soldier.

Family history researchers searching for ancestors who had been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in the First World War will be able to find their forebears in this new addition to the military collection of records on TheGenealogist.

Read our article on a First World War NCO awarded his medal ‘For exceptionally good work’ operating night and day to keep the RFC’s aeroplanes at El Hammam flying.

(With thanks to Nick Thorne)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

ScotlandsPeople Centre increases charges for digital copies

It has been a while since I used the ScotlandsPeople ( computer system at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh (, but I have been alerted to a recent change of terms and conditions with regards to saving digital copies of the records when there. From the ScotlandsPeople charges page at

To book a search room seat at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh costs £15 per day. You can view as many records as you like for no additional charge. Printing copies of historical records costs 1 credit (£0.25) per page and the same pay-per-view charges apply if you wish to save an historical record to your account. Credits are available for purchase in batches of 8 (£2.00) in the Centre.

I have highlighted the change in bold. It used to be the case that you could save a digital copy of the image to a USB drive at the ScotlandsPeople Centre for 30p at a time, but this facility was disabled some time ago. It now looks like you can save digital copies to your ScotlandsPeople website account - but at the same costs as would be involved if using the website from home, i.e. 6 credits which amounts to £1.50.

Quite why the ScotlandsPeople Centre has ramped up the charges for digital copies at its main records centre is for it to explain to their customers. In the meantime, you may wish to obtain paper print-outs when on a visit, at a cost of just 25p each...

(With thanks to Christine Woodcock)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Friday, 16 March 2018

Ancestry celebrates Saint Patrick's Day

There are a couple of offers from Ancestry ( for Saint Patrick's Day.

First, Ancestry is offering a discount on its DNA tests:


Get 20% off the best-selling consumer DNA test, and discover the places in your past - around Ireland and further afield.

Price: €76*

*Offer valid from 16 March 2018 to 19 March 2018.
Price excludes postage and packaging costs. AncestryDNA is offered by Ancestry International DNA, LLC

Secondly, Ancestry is offering free access to its Irish Heritage Collection, including its new Boston Irish Catholic Collection, until end of play Monday 19th March 2018.

To search the records, visit its US platform at - there is also a free guide offering tips on Irish research at

Have fun - most of us who are Irish know it's definitely worth the effort! :)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Irish collections added to FindmyPast

FindmyPast ( has added the following Irish collections for Saint Patrick's Day:

Irish Tontines Annuitants 1766-1789

Search for your Irish ancestor in over 153,000 annuity statements, accounts of deaths, death certificates, and marriage certificates relating to the subscribers and nominees of the Irish Tontine. Popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a tontine was an investment plan designed for the raising of capital. Named after the Neapolitan banker Lorenzo de Tonti, who allegedly invented the tontine in France in 1653, subscribers would pay an agreed sum into the fund and thereafter receive an annuity from it. Upon a member's death, their shares would devolve to the other participants whose annuities would then rise in value. The scheme would be wound up when the last member died.

Ireland, American Fenian Brotherhood 1864-1897

Search for your ancestor's name in over 125,000 records taken from correspondence between members of the British Foreign Office regarding the activities of the American Fenian Brotherhood during the years from 1864 to 1897. Records include newspaper cuttings, letters, telegrams, lists of prisoners, and a number of photographs.

Church Of Ireland Histories & Reference Guides

Search over 800 records from two publications; 'The National Churches: The Church of Ireland' and 'Some Worthies of the Irish Church' to learn more about the history of the Church of Ireland. Both titles are presented as portable document formats (PDFs)

Armagh Records & Registers

Browse through 600 pages of the 'Historical Memoirs of the City of Armagh' to learn more about the history of Northern Ireland.

Antrim Histories & Reference Guides

Search over 600 records taken from George Benn's 'A History of the Town of Belfast from the Earlier Times to the Close of the Eighteenth Century'.

Dublin Registers & Records

Over 2,000 additional records have been added to our collection of Dublin Registers & Records. Dublin Registers & Records contains 22 Irish titles comprised of PDF images, including parish records (baptisms, marriages, and burials) from the Church of Ireland, census indexes, school registers, monumental inscriptions and printed histories.

Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary History & Directories

Additional records have also been added to our collection of Royal Irish Constabulary History & Directories. Released in association with the National Archives, the collection contains an assortment of pay records, lists, directories, commendation records, treasury books, Constabulary Code books and training manuals.

Further details and links are available at


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Family Tree announces Family History Week

From the UK's Family Tree magazine (

Family Tree Family History Week

Join us for the first-ever Family Tree Family History Week

This spring Family Tree is launching Family History Week – a free online genealogy event of seven days jam-packed with genealogy advice to help family historians of all levels discover new things about the hobby they love.

Where will it take place?
Family History Week will be an online event based at where each day, 16-22 April 2018, there will be family history tutorials, useful downloads, essential guides, prizes, quizzes and much more for family historians to enjoy.

Who can join in?
Family Tree would like to welcome family historians and genealogy businesses from all sectors of the heritage community to get involved during the week across social media platforms.

How can you find out more?
The programme for the week will be announced at soon. If you would like to get involved or find out more please contact or

Keep up with the latest news on Family History Week via:
Twitter @familytreemaguk
Instagram @familytreemagazine
Catch all the coverage with #FHWeek

Helen Tovey, Editor of Family Tree, said: “We’re really excited to be launching our first online Family History Week, and we’d like to welcome family historians from all over the world to join in. Our genealogy jamboree will include downloads, guides and discussions to help you trace your tree. From getting starting to getting organised, from dusty old documents to DNA, we’re going to be covering genealogy gems like this during the week. And our goal is that by the end of the seven days we’ll all know a whole lot more about our family histories and would have had a lot of fun learning too!”


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Secret Lives conference

Details of this year's Secret Lives genealogy conference in Leicestershire, England:

Secret Lives. The Hidden Voices of our Ancestors

Four major genealogical organisations in the UK are coming together to host a major family history conference

held from Friday 31st August to Sunday 2nd September 2018
at Jury’s Inn, Hinckley Island Hotel Watling Street, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 3JA

Bookings for the Secret Lives genealogy conference hosted by the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), the Guild of One Name Studies, the Halsted Trust and the Society of Genealogists are going very well. In fact they are going so well that the early bird allocation of rooms from the venue are now all sold. But don’t worry we’ve secured some more accommodation and there are still places available at hotel for full or day conference attendance.

We are very much delighted to have sold the places so quickly but as a consequence, have not been able to honour our initial commitment to keep the early bird offer open until the end of April.  So, all tickets are now at full price – and there are not that many of these. We anticipate that the conference will be fully booked by the end of May.

As a consequence of us not being able to maintain early-bird tickets until the end of April, we will be giving anyone who books between now and the end of April, a voucher for £15. This voucher will have no actual monetary value but can be exchanged, at conference only, for money off either books from the Society of Genealogists bookstall or off DNA kits being sold by the Guild of One-Name studies.

Bookings can be made via the SoG events pages

A full three stream programme of 33 fascinating talks for over three days is now published on the conference website featuring nationally and internationally known genealogists and historians, including Dr Janina Ramirez, Emily Brand, Nick Barratt, Sarah Wise, John D Reid, Michelle Patient, Dr Penny Walters, Janet Few, Angela Buckley, Kirsty Wilkinson and more.

Lectures are aimed at family historians interested in tracing ancestors who may be less represented in mainstream records, whose voices are difficult to hear or who might be overlooked or indeed elusive. We’ll hear about poverty and lunacy, soldiers and mutineers, Duchesses and fallen women, divorcees and squatters, slums and manors, witches and free gentlemen, slaves and spies, monks and infanticide and more.

Catch up with news and developments on the conference Face Book page where you’ll find interviews with some of our speakers and details about all the talks (which will also be recorded for delegates so don’t worry if you can’t make up your minds which talks to listen to on the day)

Follow the SecretLives2018 conference chat on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

(With thanks to Else Churchill)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Railway work, life and death project

I have been contacted by Dr. Mike Esbester about a University of Portsmouth and National Railway Museum project website underway entitled Railway Work, Life & Death, located at

From the home page:

Welcome to the website for the Railway Work, Life and Death project, a joint initiative between the University of Portsmouth and the National Railway Museum (NRM). We’re aiming to make it easier to find out about railway worker accidents in Britain between 1911 and 1915 – who was involved, what they were doing on the railways, what happened to them and why. Although today most people don’t realise it, working on the railways 100 years ago was incredibly dangerous, with hundreds killed and tens of thousands injured each year.

In this project a team of volunteers from the NRM, to whom we’re immensely grateful, have painstakingly been through reports produced by the state-appointed Railway Inspectorate between 1911 and 1915, detailing investigations into railway worker accidents. They’ve extracted the details found in the reports – things like names, ages, roles, companies and details of the accident – and entered them into a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is now available, on this website, so that anyone who’s interested can easily learn more about work and accidents on Britain’s railways around the time of the First World War. We think this will be of great interest to all sorts of people: railway enthusiasts, family historians, railway museums and heritage centres, the current railway industry and academics.

The Railway Work, Life and Death project is making use of accident reports produced by the Railway Inspectorate, the body that was created by the state to oversee railway safety. It is also asking for contributions from the public on any further information that might be available. To access the database of accidents on the platform, please visit and scroll to the bottom of the page for the link.

(With thanks to Dr. Esbester)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Glasgow burial registers online

As part of the new look results pages for FamilySearch (see, I have been looking at the catalogue results lisiting on the Scotland search page. Although it can still be quite hard work sifting through the thousands of results listings, the use of filters helps to an extent to narrow down the numbers to help locate some gems. Amongst these, I have discovered that many of Glasgow's burial registers are now freely available online.

Records for the Glasgow Necropolis, the Eastern Necropolis, the Southern Necropolis, Riddrie Park Cemetery, Lambhill Cemetery, Cardonald Cemetery, and many others, are available - see,%20Marriage%20and%20Death~Cemeteries.

Not all records are as yet available for each cemetery as digital microfilms - for the Eastern Necropolis, for example, digitised registers covering 1861-1874, 1878-1885, 1912-1944, 1944-1995 are available, but the gaps exist only in the form of conventional microfilms, at least for now. But I have already made many finds for my family in Glasgow through the records.

So if you have Glaswegian ancestry, have fun!


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Sunday, 11 March 2018

New FamilySearch layout reveals many new online holdings

I have just noticed that FamilySearch ( has changed its layout on pages identifying records per individual country. Each page now lists collections for that country within various categories, as follows:

Indexed Historical Records
Search collections of records for documents about your ancestors. You can filter which collections you would like to search within.

Image-Only Historical Records
Can't find records for your ancestors when you search? Try our collections that haven't been indexed yet. Select a collection to start browsing the images.

Catalog Material Available Online
Various categories

These vary from country to country - for example, there are no collections for Ireland as 'image-only historical records'. But the collections can also be filtered down to collection types, and there are some nice surprises. For example, in searching Catalog Material for military collections within the Irish section, I have just found a collection called Irish personnel of the British Army, containing free to access digitised registers of births, marriages and deaths from 1883-1931.


Have fun exploring!


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Developments at PRONI, Northern Ireland's national archive

I was unable to attend the recent user forum meeting at PRONI ( in Belfast on March 2nd, so am grateful to Gavin McMahon for a copy of the minutes. The following are the key developments at Northern Ireland's national archive just now...

Anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918:

There will be a number of activities on this in 2018, being organised by NI's Department for Communities -

· NI Direct has a web page which pulls together activities of key stake holders,
· An information pack is being developed and an interactive learning packages for schools.
· An Exhibition which will be launched on 2 July

Steps to Partition:

Two PRONI facsimile packs are being updated for next year, one on the Plantation which is being revised and updated by the Ulster Historical Foundation, to be launched in May 2018.

PRONI is working with Dr Timothy Bowman and Jim McBride CCEA in revamping an educational resource (Steps to Partition) that will be aimed at A Level students and which anyone can use. Approximately 30 documents will be added into the pack which will be a PDF document and should be released in May.

Archive Accreditation:

PRONI is continuing its efforts towards Archive Accreditation.


Cataloguing of the papers of the Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club (D4614) is now complete, and will be published shortly.

Work continues on cataloguing papers relating to the Women’s Legion in the 1930s/1940s within D3099/14/2/1/2. This includes correspondence (organised by correspondent) and correspondence (organised by theme) and correspondence relating to the Mechanical Transport Section. Work has also started on papers relating to the Air Section. There are approx. 6 boxes still to be catalogued including papers relating to the Land Army, the Mount Stewart canteen, the Red Cross and the War Service Legion.

There are improved catalogue descriptions and updated access decisions for D4403 (Bangor Union masonic Lodge).

Work is ongoing with the Harland and Wolff Drawing Office Papers deposited by Titanic Quarter. Specifically carrying out cataloguing on ships plans at D4413/5/14. There are about 30 boxes of plans dating from 1930’s to 1970’s. Ship numbers and names will be included in catalogue descriptions.

New accessions:

Shaw and Moat Family Papers (D4654) – Papers of Richard Humphreys Shaw (c.1808-1888) of Dunmurry, Belfast and Tobermesson, Co. Tyrone comprising personal correspondence, including letters from his sisters who immigrated to Mississippi; accounts, including bills, receipts and handwritten lists mainly relating to his farm at Tobermesson, and a small amount of printed material and newspaper cuttings (c.1841-1919).

Hugh Alexander Papers (D4655) – Papers relating to Major Hugh Moore Alexander comprising two annotated albums containing photographs by Major Alexander during his service with the Royal Army Medical Corp and depicting scenes of army and civilian life in Mesopotamia and Northern Russia during the First World War. Major Alexander was born in County Cavan in 1892. (c.1917-1944).

Royal Belfast Golf Club (D4650) – Minute books relating to the Royal Belfast Golf Club, the oldest golf club in Ireland. Four additional volumes were received, 2 each for the men’s and lady’s branches of the club. We now have 8 volumes of minutes for the club, 1888-1922.

Islandreagh Beetling Mill (D4656) - Lorraine and Liam visited Islandreagh Dyeing and Finishing Company in Dunadry on Wednesday 21st February to appraise and bring back records. There were five or six sacks of binders with business records dating back to c.1930 as well as several boxes of records in the manager’s office. Three boxes of material were taken including sample thread book; an order book; a day book; a sales ledger; an account book and samples of correspondence demonstrating the international dealings of the company. C.1930-1992. Unfortunately earlier material for the mill was reportedly destroyed by the previous owner. The mill has probably been in operation since the late 18th century.

Church records digitisation:

The PRONI Reprographics Team has now completed digitisation and QA on 46 volumes for this year’s Church Records digitisation scheme. This is out of a total of 73 volumes it hopes to digitise this year, leaving up to 27 volumes to go. The original records will be returned to the participating churches and the digital copies made available in the PRONI search room later this year.


PRONI is rolling out a pilot volunteering scheme for which 30 people submitted applications. The project will involve bringing in three volunteers for six months. Training will be included as part of the scheme. Projects will be based in Private Records, Reprographics and Public Services. In Private Records, it is hoped that the volunteer will contribute to work around indexing and cleaning documents from the Young and Mackenzie (architects) archive. The terms for volunteers being able to claim for expenses etc. were outlined. The volunteer in Public Service will be name indexing absentee voters.

Beyond 2022:

PRONI is particpating in the Beyond 2022 project, which is aiming to create a virtual repository of the Public Record Office (Four Courts, Dublin). The virtual repository layout has been created but not populated. The proposal is to create links to surrogate archives held elsewhere eg PRONI. Further details can be found on the Beyond 2022 website at

(With thanks to Gavin and all at PRONI)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at