Monday, 11 December 2017

Mayflower 400 celebrations economic potential

There's a big US/UK aniversary coming up in 2020, which the genealogical community in England may be interested in:

New research commissioned by MAYFLOWER 400 reveals STRONG economic potential PRESENTED BY anniversary IN 2020

Survey highlights:
· Respondents identified as ‘Hot Prospects to visit in 2020’ equates to over 13.75 million US citizens
· Nearly 5,000 US adult citizens and members of New England Historic Genealogical Society and General Society of Mayflower Descendants surveyed
· US general panel favoured independent travel while nearly as many society member respondents preferred a package holiday
· 90% of Hot Prospects interested in attending historical talks and lectures as part of their Mayflower trip

Monday 11th December 2017, London: On behalf of Mayflower 400, the official national and international visitor programme formed to lead the 400th anniversary commemorations in 2020, Destination Plymouth has commissioned research in the United States by specialist research agency, Habit5, to evaluate the commercial and investment potential of this iconic anniversary.

Of over 25 million descendants worldwide from the 102 passengers and crew on board the Mayflower ship, over 10 million are US citizens. It is estimated the national Mayflower programme will drive growth in the UK visitor economy of over 1.4 million visitors during the commemoration year with an economic impact in excess of £76 million in turn creating around 2,000 jobs. This research was therefore commissioned as a benchmark study to be shared with stakeholders and businesses in England and the Netherlands to engage them to capitalise on incremental inbound tourist visits from the US associated with, or inspired by, Mayflower 400 and maximise opportunities the anniversary will generate during this crucial countdown period to 2020.

The aim of Habit5’s study was to determine the potential visitor market size and profile of visitors, and motivations for visits during, and as a result of, the Mayflower anniversary. Furthermore, the study sought to understand current awareness of the 400th anniversary, as well as provide insights on the appropriate messaging to target US visitors, establish the US market’s propensity to visit England and/or the Netherlands for the Mayflower 400th commemorations and, if so, explore the respondents’ intended length of stay and type of travel.

Habit5 logged 4,865 completed surveys by a US general panel which consisted of US adult citizens who have lived in the US for at least 12 months and taken an international holiday within the past three years, and the society members panel which consisted of members of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

The survey found that over half of all respondents had visited England in the past for leisure purposes highlighting the destination’s need to diversify tourism products and offer new attractions and experiences, beyond the obvious highlights of a first time visit, to entice US travellers to return for the commemorations.

Surprisingly, 80% of respondents in the US general panel were not aware of the forthcoming 400th Mayflower anniversary, however, following the anniversary being highlighted to respondents during the survey, 12% of the US panel population were ‘Very Likely’ Hot Prospects to visit England in 2020 with a further 36% classified as ‘Likely’ Warm Prospects. As a result, of the three sample groups surveyed, those identified as Hot Prospects to visit in 2020 equated to over 13.75 million US citizens. These results indicate an element of education around the anniversary should therefore be factored in by destinations and the trade when developing and marketing Mayflower 400 tourism products.

In terms of where they would like to visit, half of the Hot Prospects indicated they would wish to make a specific visit to Plymouth, Leiden, Boston and Southampton. Meanwhile, Plymouth ranked second after London for locations where the Hot Prospects would like to stay during the commemorations, followed by Leiden, Amsterdam, Boston and Southampton.

Some interesting differences emerged between the two panel groups; nearly half of the respondents on the US general panel would plan to travel independently to England in 2020 while nearly as many society member respondents would favour a package holiday. Furthermore, when it came to the length of stay, nearly half of the predominantly full time employed US general panel sample would plan a 4-7 night stay, whereas the society members (the majority of whom are retired) would favour an 8-10 night stay reflecting their commitment to experiencing a more immersive Mayflower holiday experience.

Over 90% of respondents in each segment were interested in attending historical talks or lectures while ‘historical group websites’ were a strongly favoured source of information, followed by tourism board websites and TripAdvisor. Furthermore 70% of Hot Prospects indicated an interest in itineraries that included some elements of walking on their trip.

Amanda Lumley, Executive Director of Destination Plymouth said, “The research evidences the significant potential the Mayflower 400th anniversary presents to the UKs visitor economy. We encourage the travel trade in the UK, US and Dutch markets to capitalise on this opportunity in order to generate valuable tourism business through driving visitors to follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims and experience the Mayflower 400 compact partner destinations first hand”.

For more information on the Mayflower 400 programme please visit:


Note to editors:

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage, one of the most influential journeys in global history and a defining moment in the shared history of Britain, the US, the Native American Nation and the Netherlands.

The anniversary provides a special opportunity to inspire people across our nations with the stories of that iconic voyage, exploring themes of migration, tolerance, freedom and democracy that have such contemporary relevance.

An exciting national and international programme, the Mayflower 400 commemorations will highlight the significance of the special relationship between our nations; transform communities, provide cultural, business and visitor links; explore the different sides of the story; and celebrate the people and places of this epic pioneering tale.

The 11 UK Mayflower 400 Compact partner destinations within the Mayflower 400 programme are:
· Austerfield, Doncaster
· Boston, Lincolnshire
· Dartmouth, Devon
· Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
· Harwich, Essex
· Immingham, Lincolnshire
· Plymouth, Devon
· Scrooby & Babworth, Nottinghamshire
· Southwark, London
· Southampton, Hampshire
· Worcestershire

For further press information and images please contact:
Daniela Resenterra / Josie Self / Annabel Jenkins
020 7593 1771 / 1758 / 1770 / /


Needing a Christmas present for a family history obsessed love one (or for yourself)?! 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, 8 December 2017

Latest updates to the Irish Newspaper Archive

From the Irish Newspaper Archive (

The world's oldest and largest Irish Newspaper Archives continues to grow. We have updated the archive with the following new content:
  • The Belfast Newsletter 1939 - 1949
  • The Drogheda Independent 1884 - 1891 + 1905
  • The Dundalk Democrat 2000 - 2001

The weather is changing and its getting cooler outside there could not be a better time to hide yourself away this weekend and make new discoveries with our new content. Enjoy 25% off our annual and monthly membership rates with coupon code: New002

Learn more on the origins of the newspapers below:

The Drogheda Independent Archive
The Drogheda Independent was established in 1884 and offers over 133 years of Irish history. The Drogheda Independent was closely linked with the Land League movement and identified itself with the plight of the small farmer.

The Belfast Newsletter Archive
The Belfast Newsletter was the first newspaper published in Belfast [and in Ulster] and the oldest surviving newspaper in Ireland. The Belfast Newsletter was established over 250 years ago in 1738 by Mr. Francis Joy. The original title was The Belfast Newsletter and General Advertiser, its first issue was in a single sheet-form.

The Dundalk Democrat Archive
The Dundalk Democrat was established in 1849 by Mr. Joseph A. Cartan. The paper was originally produced from a hotel owned by the Cartan family. Cartan was a staunch nationalist and pro- O’Connell supporter.

Coupon Code: New002 - 25% off Yearly and Monthly Membership.

(With thanks to Andrew Martin)


Needing a Christmas present for a family history obsessed love one (or for yourself)?! 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, 7 December 2017

Archive accreditation workshop at PRONI

From the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (

UK Archive Service Accreditation – Free Information Seminar & Policy Writing Workshop

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)
Friday 8th December
1.30pm – 16.00

Do you work in an archive or an organisation which holds archive material?

Archive Service Accreditation is the UK management standard for archives, supported by a partnership of archives and professional bodies. This free half-day seminar will be a chance to find out more about the programme, its structure and content, and how to make an application. You will also find out how Accreditation can be used to support archive services even if they are not currently expecting to make an application.

The session will conclude with a participatory workshop drafting a management policy for a small archive service, which will show how clear policies can support effective working – and take the fear out of policy-writing!

13:30 Registration and introductions
13:45 Introduction to Archive Service Accreditation: the programme, the standard and how to apply
14:45 Comfort break
15:00 Policy writing workshop: 45 minutes to write a policy for a small archive service, which meets at least 6 Accreditation requirements
15:45 Questions and wrap up

To book a place, visit Eventbrite

(With thanks to PRONI)


Needing a Christmas present for a family history obsessed love one (or for yourself)?! 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

TheGenealogist adds 1930s UK outbound passenger lists

From TheGenealogist (

Press Release: New BT27 Passenger Lists go online for the 1930s decade

TheGenealogist has just released over 2.7 million BT27 records for the 1930s. These Outbound Passenger Lists are part of an expanding immigration and emigration record set on TheGenealogist that feature the historical records of passengers who sailed out of United Kingdom ports in the years between 1930 and 1939. With the release of this decade of records, the already strong Immigration, Emigration, Naturalisation and passenger list resources on TheGenealogist have been expanded again.

The fully searchable BT27 records from The National Archives released today will allow researchers to:
  • Discover potential family members travelling together using TheGenealogist’s SmartSearch. This unique system is able to recognise family members together on the same voyage. In this situation it will display a family icon which allows you to view the entire family with one click.
  • Find people travelling to America, Canada, India, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere in the Passenger lists of people departing by sea from the United Kingdom.
  • View images of the original passenger list documents that had been kept by the Board of Trade's Commercial and Statistical Department and its successors.
  • Discover the ages, last address and where the passenger intended to make their permanent residence.

These fully indexed records allow family historians to search by name, year, country of departure, country of arrival, port of embarkation and port of destination.

Those with ancestors who sailed from Britain in the 1930’s will welcome this fascinating new release from TheGenealogist, which adds to their current Emigration records, now totalling over 19 million and dating back to 1896.

See our article:

(With thanks to Nick Thorne)


Needing a Christmas present for a family history obsessed love one (or for yourself)?! 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

Monday, 4 December 2017

Yorkshire and American records additions to FindmyPast

The following are the latest releases on FindmyPast (

Yorkshire Memorial Inscriptions
Our Yorkshire Memorial Inscriptions have been supplemented with over 13,000 additional records from Rotherham Family History Society.

Yorkshire Burials
We've added even more Yorkshire records this week in the shape of new additions to our collection of burials from 'God's Own Country'. These latest releases consist of Methodist burials from Brunswick Chapel, South Street and Carver Street in Sheffield.

Massachusetts, Boston Crew Lists, 1917-1943
This exciting new collection will help you to find out if your ancestor worked aboard a ship arriving into Boston. Included are transcripts as well as original images that can reveal your seafaring relative's occupation on board, physical description and in some cases, even their signature. Brought onto the site via the original holdings at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), this unique resource is a welcome addition to our existing Boston collection.

Massachusetts Deaths, 1969-2010
Another new addition to our Massachusetts records, this collection of death records details those who died in the Bay State over the past half a century.

United States Obituary Notices
This vast resource of over 6 million records has been transcribed from the website and could help you unlock unknown details on your ancestor's death in America.

United States Marriages
Our premium collection of US marriage records has grown again with the addition of over 30,000 new records from the states of Kentucky, Maryland and South Carolina. This release also sees the addition of a brand new county to the collection - Somerset County, Maryland.

Further details are at


Needing a Christmas present for a family history obsessed love one (or for yourself)?! 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

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Latest developments at PRONI in Belfast

Yesterday I attended the quarterly stakeholder meeting at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland ( It was a cold but beautiful day in Belfast, and
a great ferry crossing from Cairnryan, despite the 4.30am start to get there! It was also a slight odd experience for me as my wife was also heading to Ireland, to Kilkenny, at about the same time, so I had to give her a quick wave from the other end of the island!

The following were some of the items discussed:

i) On cataloguing, the following records are currently being worked on:
  • Belfast Natural Field Club D4614
  • As part of the Londonderry Papers from Mount Stewart, records concerning the Women's Legion, and the fight for suffrage, are being made available via D3099/14.

ii) Acquisition strategy – PRONI's last collection policy was created in 2013, and so the archive is currently working on a follow up, to update some aspects. Amongst the issues it will cover will be the types of records that the archive will accept, the records it won't accept, and discussions on digital accessions, a massively changing and ever increasingly important area.

iii) Annual records release - the next batch of government records to be released under the now 20 year rule will take place in a few weeks, with records mainly from 1992, some of them on political issues from the day, but not all. As usual, there will be an event tying into this in a couple of weeks time at PRONI.

iv) The digitisation of church records was deemed a success this year, and new collections are already being identified for next year. 51 Belfast churches have been identified as on a wish list to work on, for records up to 1900, with some a re-recording of previously poorly filmed microfilm records, but others completely new. They are from a variety of denominations – Church of Ireland, Non-Subcribing Presbyterians, Reformed Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists. The archive has also contacted some external bodies with holdings to see if they might be willing to participate, including a further 64 Church of Ireland parish churches in County Antrim,, and the Methodist Historical Society of Ireland.

v) PRONI volunteer policy – PRONI is hoping to take on 3 volunteers for a 6 month period to assist with efforts at the archive, for which expenses will be paid. If you are interested, application forms are on the PRONI site at – but get in quick, as December 8th is the closing date!

vi) Strategic vision – PRONI is intending to start work on a new strategic vision document. A key anniversary is coming up for the archive in 2023, which will be the 100th anniversary since the Public Records Act which created the body. The archive will look at various issues, such as the role of digital records, collaboration, and statutory goals. There will be three themes, based on trust, memory and engagement. Since opening at Titanic Quarter, PRONI has evolved dramatically in terms of its popularity, its ambition, its collaborations, and knows that this evolution will continue in the years ahead. As one staff members stated, "The days of us just being a place where you come and look at records are over!"

vii) PRONI is planning to commemorate People's Representation Act 1918 with an event on 6th Feb, and intends to turn its Suffrage resources online into an interactive experience. There will also be an exhibition on the theme of suffrage next year.

viii) Archive accreditation – no Northern Irish institution has yet gone through the process of archive accreditation, and so PRONI hopes to be the one of the first, submitting its application next March 2018. A visitor from the English based National Archives will be at PRONI next Friday 8th December to speak to bodies which might be interested in doing likewise. For more on this, visit

ix) PRONI has just launched a fantastic new exhibition on site, entitled Medieval to the Modern: Reformation, Transformation and Continuity, produced in collaboration with Libraries NI. The exhibition will be at PRONI for another week, will then move onto Belfast Central Library for a month, before travelling around libraries across the Province. I managed to grab a few snaps of the exhibition, and although I was only able to spend a few minutes looking at, it definitely looks worth the effort to make a trip into the archive or the city centre to see it.

Finally, after completing some client work yesterday, I managed to briefly explore some of the new digitised repositories at PRONI yesterday. First, the church records that the archive has digitised are accessible through its on-site catalogue (not from home), and once located, are accessed in the form of full colour PDF documents which must be browsed. For the most part the quality was quite good, although I did notice that there seemed to be quite a bit of compression on the quality, which I presume may present some potential issues with smaller text and handwriting. I'm not sure if a higher resolution version is available to staff if this were to happen (there will clearly be a high quality archive standards digital version for conservation somewhere on site).

Secondly, I spent some time on the one of the computers providing access to GRONI's GENI platform, for civil registration records of births, marriages and deaths. The provision at PRONI (and at GRONI itself) allow you to access records to the present day, unlike the online platform at An emotional find for me considering it was the fourth anniversary of my mother's death a few days ago was a copy of her birth registration, which I had never actually looked at before (Whit?! What kind of genie are you?!). I also discovered for the first time some of the names of my granny's siblings who had not survived infancy. The set up is the same as that you use at home, and you will need your log-in details – do remember to do so, PRONI can't help you if you don't, as they are merely hosting GRONI's system. I can actually envisage a trip to Belfast in the near future just to use this again – the indexes are so detailed that you can achieve a lot before paying a penny, but of course you can also see the original records there for £2.50 each. Note though that even if you access the recent records at PRONI, they will not be available to see on your account when you return home if they are within the closure period, even if you have paid for them.

Overall, another great visit to my favourite archive on Earth, and it was great to catch up with people including Ann Robinson from NIFHS, Stephen Scarth, Tom Gribben, and Gillian Hunt from the Ulster Historical Foundation (pictured right).

A quick word to end with on how to get there from Scotland by ferry if you choose to do so! Right now, Stena is offering a midweek deal for Tuesday to Thursday of a return trip to Belfast for foot passengers from Cairnryan at just £5. If you don't book in advance, it is still possible to get a midweek deal for £10 return. For Fridays to Mondays, the cost goes up for foot passengers to £26 return. See for details. The 7.30am ferry gets you to PRONI or to Belfast city centre for 10am, and you can do a full day's work before heading back home on the 7.30pm ferry, getting in to Cairnryan just before 10pm (and you'll have tme to quickly visit the German market at City Hall - see below!). If taking a car to Cairnryan, parking is £5 for the day. It will never be cheaper, so why not treat yourself to a wee research trip before Christmas?! But if you do, remember that there will be no productions available from December 11th-15th, with access only available to self-service microfilms, the catalogue and digital collections - and do remember your visitor card. Heck, I might even try and get back again before Christmas!

(Thanks to all at the meeting, and to all the wonderful staff at PRONI for another great year's work!)


Needing a Christmas present for a family history obsessed love one (or for yourself)?! 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, 29 November 2017

Recent additions to the British Newspaper Archive

There seems to have been a considerable slowdown in the rate of new material being uploaded to the British Newspaper Archive ( over the last month. The following are the additions from the last 30 days, mainly English titles:

Windsor and Eton Express

The Graphic
1869-1898, 1900-1901, 1903-1911, 1914-1932

Coventry Evening Telegraph
1898, 1904, 1906, 1908-1913, 1919, 1926, 1928-1929, 1931, 1933-1934

Todmorden Advertiser and Hebden Bridge Newsletter
1862-1867, 1869, 1871, 1873-1876, 1878-1895, 1898-1910, 1913-1934

Melton Mowbray Mercury and Oakham and Uppingham News
1881-1894, 1898-1900, 1904-1909, 1911, 1913-1915

Surrey Gazette
1860-1865, 1867, 1871-1872, 1875, 1879

Leominster News and North West Herefordshire & Radnorshire Advertiser
1884, 1886-1896, 1898-1910

Isle of Wight Times
1862-1866, 1871, 1873-1874, 1876-1879, 1889, 1897, 1901-1913

Cambrian News
1881-1883, 1885-1889, 1891-1896, 1898-1909

Daily Herald

Ross Gazette
1897, 1910


Needing a Christmas present for a family history obsessed love one (or for yourself)?! 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, 28 November 2017

FindmyPast launches new UK subscription tiers

FindmyPast ( has announced a series of three new subscription tiers for all future subscribers.

The Starter package costs £8.95 a month, or £72 a year, and allows you to access English, Welsh and Irish civil registration records indexes, and British and Irish censuses (varying coverage), as well as somewhere to store your family tree online (even once your subscription expires).

The Plus package is £12.95 a month, or £120 annually. It offers all the above, plus British and Irish parish records, British wills and probate, British and Irish electoral registers and directories, British and Irish education and employment records, Specialist Irish records, British and Irish migration and travel records, and Military, Armed Forces and conflict records.

Finally, the Pro package at £15.95 a month or £156 a year offers all the above, plus various US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand collections, and access to PERSI and newspapers, including the British Newspaper Archive offerings for Britain and Ireland.

COMMENT: It's worth noting that most English and Welsh civil registration BMD indexes are available freely at FreeBMD (, most historic Irish BMD records are available at for free (with additional indexes freely available on FamilySearch up to 1958), and the surviving Irish censuses are freely available at So the Starter package offering to me seems a little light really in terms of what you're getting for your money.

FindmyPast itself highlights its Plus package as the recommended one - which I would concur with - although it is unfortunate that the British Newspaper Index collections are presented with the most expensive Pro subscription option.

For professional genealogists, as always, do check the site's Terms and Conditions (, as there are slightly different terms for those using the site in a professional capacity.

If you are doing Scottish research, just bear in mind also that FindmyPast describes some of its collections as British, which are actually English and Welsh only (e.g. British wills and probate, and British and Irish Civil BMDs). If Scottish research is your aim, do take a look at the collection descriptions first. Note also that, for reasons beyond its control, FindmyPast, as with Ancestry, only offers transcripts of Scottish censuses (images accompany the English and Welsh equivalents), and does not include the 1911 Scottish census. The 1939 Register offering similarly does not contain returns for Scotland or Northern Ireland (which are held by separate agencies to that for England and Wales - the NRS in Scotland, and PRONI in Northern Ireland) .


My next 5 week long Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs course commences Nov 6th 2017 - details 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

Useful research tool for IrishGenealogy records

Thanks to Joe Buggy via Twitter (@TownlandOrigin) for a useful tip a few days ago. Joe flagged up a great blog post at which demonstrates how to use a special online tool that allows you to step through pages on the Irish civil registration birth, marriage and death registers as hosted on IrishGenealogy (

The tool itself is located at and you simply paste in the URL of the web page that shows the PDF document on the site - once in, and submit is clicked, you can step through the relevant register a page at a time, 5 pages, 10 pages or 50 pages.

It's a great tool, and the timing was perfect as I had to order up an official copy of a marriage record this morning for a client's Irish passport application. The address of the church was difficult to decipher, but going back a page or two I was able to locate it by seeing other examples of the handwriting which recorded it.

Incidentally, I'm not sure who S. Wilson is, but he/she has a great site at with some useful resources for Irish research - well worth a look!

(With thanks to all mentioned!)

UPDATE: Shane Wilson - thanks Shane!


My next 5 week long Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs course commences Nov 6th 2017 - details 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, 23 November 2017

Booking opened for Scottish Genealogy Virtual Conference

I am delighted to say that I will be participating in an online virtual conference, Scottish Genealogy Virtual Conference, being hosted from Ontario on January 27th 2018 by Genealogy Tours of Scotland (

I will be kicking off the event with a talk entitled Finding Your Ancestors Before 1855: Pre-Civil Registration Research. Following the presentation, I will continue to be available online to answer any questions you might have about the information presented. (Have mercy, be gentle, etc...!)

Also speaking in the conference are four fellow presenters:

“Seek and Ye Shall Find” Using the Kirk's Archival Legacy to Unveil the Lives of Your Scottish Ancestors, presented by archivist Margaret Fox

Using the NLS Maps to Build Your Family History, presented by National Library of Scotland Maps Manager Craig Statham

Researching Your Highland Ancestors, presented by genealogist Chris Halliday

Cleared to Canada: From the Highlands and Islands to Canada, presented by genealogy educator Christine Woodcock

All are fantastic speakers, so this is really going to be a great day for those interested in Scottish family history!

The registration fee is just $79.99 (Canadian) and allows for unlimited access to the talks, handouts and the marketplace for 72 hours. The live chat will only happen on January 27th.

You can register for the event at - I look forward to taking part and hopefully speaking to you and answering any questions then!

NB: Here's the really good bit. If you're in Scotland, bear in mind this is a Canadian hosted event, and so it will be starting in the afternoon our time. Seriously - just how more civilised an event can it be?!

See you there! :)


My next 5 week long Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs course commences Nov 6th 2017 - details 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