In a previous post (http://britishgenes.blogspot.com/2011/12/2011-what-year.html) I recalled my experiences of 2012 - now here is a summary of some of the stories you may have missed affecting British genealogy in the last year! Note that as British GENES did not start until September, there is more of a Scottish and Irish flavour to the earlier months of coverage. To visit the original stories in full - and considerably more! - visit both http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com and http://britishgenes.blogspot.com.
Saturday, 31 December 2011
2011 - what a year! Part 2
Your Family Tree reached its one hundredth edition and also launched a new digital edition for iPad. FamilySearch very briefly uploaded the Scottish 1881 census to its new embryonic website, and just as quickly removed it again. Ancestry controversially announced the end of its Expert Connect service, which many genealogists had come to rely on to source clients, although a handful had perhaps placed their eggs in too small a basket. The ScotlandsPlaces website added clock and watch tax records to its site, and the Irish government announced its was going to create a certificate of Irish heritage, with no legal validity whatsoever, but one which would grant benefits to tourists visiting Ireland which the Irish themselves could not enjoy.
Who Do You Think You Are? Live took place at the end of the month, and I managed to grab video interviews with many of the great and the good – Audrey Collins, Karel Kiely, Debra Chatfield, Jeanette Rosenberg, Tom Dennis, Janet Hancock, Alasdair MacDonald, Sherry Irvine, Robert Blatchford, Nigel Bayley and others – which can be watched on my YouTube channel. Deceased Online announced it was hosting records from Helen Grant’s Scottish Monumental Inscriptions service, and Fine Gael announced it was considering the release of the 1926
State census early. Ancestry launched its collections, and the National
Archives of Scotland announced the closure of the West Register House search
room in New
Zealand . The US version
of WDYTYA opened its second season with Vanessa Williams, in possibly the
American version’s best episode, and the Edinburgh BBC
threatened to delete many of its websites, including its popular WW2 People’s
War site – lessons from the wiping of old BBC
programmes on video clearly not seeming to have sunk in after forty years.
PRONI opened its new search rooms at Titanic Quarter in
heralding a bright new – and much cheerier – dawn for family historians in Belfast (the old premises were a dump!). The
new Scottish Public Records Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament, the
first major piece of legislation in 70 years, which now forces all public
bodies to have a strategy for the care of their records. Advanced Search was
rolled out to all counties bar two ( Northern
Ireland Sligo and Limerick)
on the RootsIreland site, thankfully almost rendering the original Standard Search
facility obsolete. FindmyPast
also launched, and Ancestry launched its Irish collections. Family Tree Maker
became available for Macs, and Ancestry launched an app for iPad. The
University of Bristol uploaded a range of Chinese trade directories. Rootstech
got underway in the Ireland
and Unlock the Past launched its first genealogy cruise down under. The NAS
finally agreed to allow photography of records in its search room at General
Register House. US
The National Library of Scotland completed its free release of 700 Post Office directories for
on its website. The National Archives at Scotland Kew rejoined
the publishing race with a new partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing, which
also acquired TNA’s back catalogue. The 1911 decennial census for
was released online and the 2011 Scotland
census was recorded. The NAS and GROS announced they were to merge in Edinburgh,
and military historian Richard Holmes, who I had the pleasure of working with
many years ago at the UK BBC, tragically passed
John Grenham launched a new online Irish genealogy course in partnership with the Irish Times, whilst
placed its historic student
newspapers online. The Society of Genealogists rewarded Glaswegian executive
producer Alex Graham for his contribution to the TV series Who Do You Think You
Are. The Titanic Heritage Trust announced it was creating a new database of all
who died, and their descendants, in time for the 2012 centenary. The 1911
census was released on Ancestry, though initially without an index. Glasgow
Alba finally became available on FreeView and Virgin and The Genealogist
released POW records online. The BBC’s 1986
Domesday project was brought back from the dead, and the Pensear website was
relaunched as Ireland Genealogy, carrying 1841 and 1851 census extracts from
across Ireland (previously for the north only).
Industrial action hit archives across the
closing TNA and restricting many others. The SAFHS conference was held in UK ,
and a hoax briefly scared everyone that the 2011 Edinburgh
census data had been stolen. FindmyPast added militia records to its military
holdings, and Todd Knowles was recognised for his work on his Jewish database.
Google signed a deal with the British Library, and UK BBC
TV Centre was put up for sale. FamilySearch reintroduced batch numbers to its
WDYTYA returned with one of its strongest series in many years, and new leadership was announced at the
genealogy course programme. ScotFamTree held its University
of Strathclyde AGM
in and the National Museum of
Scotland opened once more in plush new digs. Rudolf Hess’s grave was destroyed
by vandals, and Ancestry released Postal Service appointment books and Perth
wills online. The former London BBC Scotland digs
at Queen Margaret Drive
were placed on the Buildings at Risk register, and Nick Barratt and Laura Berry
released the first instalment of the Family History Show via YouTube. The end
of Windows XP support was announced for 2014 by Microsoft. I stumbled across a
Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae database on FamilySearch’s Community Trees site, and MyHeritage announced a novel split subscription initiative.
Headstones were vandalised in
GENUKI’s Borders pages were updated, and North Ayrshire’s Elgin pleaded to keep the graffiti
on its walls. FindmyPast regenerated, and Ancestry released apprenticeship
records from TNA. American site Footnote was renamed to the easily understood
Fold3.com (?!), and The Genealogist released some great Australian records.
FamilyTree magazine’s forum regenerated, and a new digital edition of the title was made
available. The Kelburn
Castle BBC sold off its magazines
division, including its Who Do You Think You Are title. TNA announced the
forthcoming digitisation of criminal records for
and England .
stood down as Registrar General for Wales ,
and a new rural broadband investment scheme was announced across Scotland .
Englishman Iain Turnbull, living on the Scottish Isle of Lewis, continued to
refuse to fill out the 2011 census unless he could do so in Welsh (an Irish
joke?!). FamilyTreeDNA announced it would now take third party results into its
databases. FamilySearch launched a new YouTube channel and Ancestry launched
railway employment records. A WW2 bomb scared the bejesus out of everyone at Britain , and Aberdeen
enjoyed National Heritage Week. Ireland
The National Family History fair was another resounding success in
, and the
Canadian Gazette digitisation was completed on the Library and Archives Canada website. Genes Reunited held a war memorial competition, and I went in search of
an axe murderer in Perthshire. The National Library of Ireland announced it was
seeking legal advice over the presentation of Irish Roman Catholic record
material on Ancestry, whilst the simultaneous civil registration indexes for Newcastle
release on Ancestry allowed more flexibility for marriage searches than
FamilySearch. Ancestry also released naval and convict material. School log
books for St. Kilda and Mingulay went online, and a new blog called British
GENES came into being. Free to access street indexes for the 1841-1911 censuses
were placed on ScotlandsPeople. FindmyPast released merchant navy material.
Black History Month was celebrated, and a British Home Children memorial
unveiled in Ireland . New bus
routes to PRONI made life easier for Peterborough
folk, and Derry Corporation records were released on its website. The
Certificate of Irish Heritage site went live. A WW2 SAS diary was discovered.
Google Plus welcomed everyone, LMA changed its opening hours, and My Heritage
consolidated its various English language blogs. There was uproar in Belfast
over proposal to delist archaeological and heritage sites that post date 1700,
and TNA received a Queen’s Award. Jen Newby took over the reins from Penny Law
as editor of Family History Monthly. Ireland
I helped to celebrate the census at a conference at TNA in London, and Find My Past launched to much acclaim as the UK’s first ever advertiser funded television series on the Yesterday channel. The Black Watch suspended its research service, and the British Empire Medal returned. Genealogists for Families was launched as a Kiva based charitable venture, and PRONI launched a YouTube channel. Back to Our Past in
was a success, as was the new Irish and Local History Handbook from the stable
of Bob and Liz Blatchford, and Ancestry launched its first 1911 census indexes.
launched prison registers online for the Republic, and Warwickshire and Dorset
records joined Ancestry. A Viking boat burial was found in Ireland ,
and the Times Digital Archive announced it would be extending its coverage.
Kerry burial registers went online, and Scotland appealed for funds for its
restoration, and also secured lottery funding. JSTOR provided free access to
its early journals content, and scientists recreated the Black Death. A
cemetery was devastated in Bletchley
by the very people tasked with preserving it, ‘succeeding where the rioters
failed’. Family Tree Maker 2012 was released in the Greenwich .
The Red Cross suspended searches into WW1 POW records, as the research was
getting in the way of the records’ digitisation. Family Tree Magazine’s website
regenerated. The first Scottish censuses joined FindmyPast, in transcript form
only. Lara Watson left Your Family Tree as deputy editor, and Discover my Past
England magazine sadly became an ex-parrot. UK
The Irish Government suggested the 1926 census might be released in 2016. There was more strike disruption affecting British archives, and the return of Heredis for Mac computers was promised. Plans for FindmyPast to go global were revealed, and the Family History Show launched its website. The Romany and Traveller
FHS took part in
the Remembrance ceremony at
for the first time. The British Newspaper Archive was released online,
initially as a beta then a full blown release. Guns on a spitfire excavated
from a Donegal bog were found to still be in working order. Ancestry added navy
lists to its holdings, as well as details of Silver War Badge holders, and
FindmyPast added Whitehall records. Scottish
Catholic Registers were added to Virtual Volumes in the NRS Historic Search
Room, and FIBIS launched a Cheshire DNA project.
Nursing records were released on FindmyPast and Documents Online, and the
Glasgow Roll of Honour project for the First World War was completed. Adam Rees became editor of Your Family Tree.
The Lost Edinburgh Facebook page returned, having previously been kyboshed by the RCAHMS over copyright issues. The
announced a new phone number, and the redundancy of 27 staff. Ancestry and My
Heritage released apps for Android and iPad, and My Heritage announced an
update to Family Tree Builder. The SSDI in the England
became cannon fodder for politicians, and the USA of the Year nominations were
revealed for 2012. Edinburgh City Archives relocated, and Scottish GENES became
an ex-parrot. The JewishGEN and JGSGB databases were updated, and archaeologist
Tony Pollard announced to heartfelt cheers across the nation that he wanted to dig up the European
Museum Falkland Islands (OK, I exaggerated that one!).
Databases from the NRS were made available in the ScotlandsPeople Centre, and the
British GENES Facebook page was launched.
Here's to 2012...!