Saturday, 29 December 2012

2012 genealogy review - part 2

A few more stories you may have missed from May to August 2012!

May

Channel 5 popped up and showed us never to judge a channel on past performance with the simply brilliant series War Hero in My Family. This can still be watched online until June 2013 at www.channel5.com/shows/war-hero-in-my-family/episodes. Staying on all things military, Europeana unveiled its first findings from its WW1 roadshow across Europe (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/europeana-ww1-roadshow-results.html), and later in the month the new Falklands War Memorial was dedicated (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/falklands-war-memorial-dedication.html). In Dublin, the Military Archives announced plans to release a major collection of republican records concerning the fight for southern Irish independence (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/bureau-of-military-history-records.html). In Scotland I went searching for my MacGillivray roots in Inverness and got so angry about the aftermath of Culloden that I made a donation to the visitor centre (http://walkingineternity.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/macgillivrays-and-culloden.html).

FindmyPast Australasia had a revamp (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/findmypast-down-under.html) and Tasmanian records were added to Ancestry (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/tasmanian-records-added-to-ancestry.html) - not long after Ancestry passed 10 billion records online (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/ancestry-10-billion-records-and.html). Another major addition to Ancestry was its extended National Probate Calendar collection (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/national-probate-calendar-and-english.html)

There was industrial action at several national archive based repositories, and plans to phase out the National Archive's Documents Online service were first announced and then temporarily delayed. The Genealogist extended its Illustrated London News collection (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/genealogist-update.html) and part of a wall at Glasgow Cathedral's New Burial Ground collapsed (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/glasgow-cathedral-burial-ground-wall.html). The National Library of Wales hosted an exhibition on medieval wax seals (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/seals-in-medieval-wales-exhibition.html). I was asked to give a plug to the Catholic Heritage website (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/catholic-heritage-website.html) and controversy soon emerged over plans for the Scottish Catholic Archives (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/controversy-over-catholic-archive-plans.html).

FIBIS updated its Times of India records (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/fibis-updates-times-of-india-bmd.html), whilst in the US the American version of Who Do You Think You Are was axed after just three series (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/us-version-of-wdytya-in-doubt.html), leading to a sudden drop in the share value of Ancestry, its sponsor (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/ancestry-shares-fall-following-wdytya.html). The National Library of Scotland Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/national-library-of-scotland-bill.html), and SAFHS announced the date and venue for its 2013 conference (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/2013-safhs-conference.html). The Irish Lives Remembered site launched a series of county based discussion forums (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/irish-lives-remembered-forums.html), and concerns were raised about Ireland's privacy laws (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/gsi-seeks-irish-privacy-law-clause.html).Also in Ireland, the National Archives in Dublin suddenly dropped its genealogy advisory service.

The IGI mysteriously came back from the dead (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/igi-returns-to-familysearch.html), and I was delighted to learn that this blog, and its predecessor Scottish GENES, were to be archived by the British Library (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/british-genes-to-e-archived-by-british.html).


June

The UK shut down for two days and the Queen and her elderly husband were made to stand out in the rain for a bit to stare at a few boats. Lots of people went jubilee mad, and lots of others didn't (http://walkingineternity.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/jubilee-and-winds-of-change.html)...

Some photos from 1860s Gwynedd were placed online by the BBC (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/gwynedd-life-in-1860s.html). Belfast City Council made its burial records downloadable for just £1.50 each - one tenth of the current cost for a death certificate, and yet carrying more information (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/downloadable-belfast-burial-records.html). I found a great tribute to WW1 Scottish soldiers on YouTube (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/old-boys.html). War Hero in my Family ended its first run to great critical acclaim, and news that Ancestry was looking to sell itself emerged on Bloomberg (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/ancestrycom-up-for-sale.html).

The Bank of England launched its catalogue online (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/bank-of-england-archive-catalogue.html) and details on the forthcoming opening of the English National Football Museum were revealed (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/english-national-football-museum.html). A new genealogy advisory service was unveiled by the National Archives of Ireland (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/national-archives-of-ireland-new.html) and SAFHS announced further details for a special conference in 2014. Problems continued to bedevil the switchover to the new Discovery catalogue at TNA (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/tna-discovery-switchover-delayed.html). 150 brass plaques stolen from Tonbridge Cemetery in Kent were recovered by police (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/stolen-cemetery-plaques-recovered.html).

The Republic of Ireland announced plans to pardon almost 5000 wartime Irish Defence Force deserters who absconded to fight for the Allies against Hitler (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/republic-of-ireland-to-pardon-wartime.html), whilst sales of the Certificate of Irish Heritage turned out to be disastrous after its first year (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/low-certificate-of-irish-heritage-sales.html). The free monthly Irish Lives Remembered magazine launched (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/irish-lives-remembered-magazine.html) and ITV Wales donated its archive to the National Library of Wales (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/itv-wales-archive-donated-to-nlw.html). Europeana launched an online exhibition on the First World War (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/europeana-ww1-untold-stories-exhibition.html), and plans were announced in Wales for a major digitisation project concerning the same war (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/welsh-experience-of-world-war-one.html). Findmypast Ireland released more petty session records (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/more-petty-session-records-from-fmp.html) and MyHeritage announced its new SuperSearch facility (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/myheritage-releases-supersearch-search.html). In Northern Ireland, evidence that God is an Ulsterman was corroborated by plans announced for the digitisation of BMD records by Jan 1st 2014 (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/gro-northern-ireland-to-set-up.html)

ScotlandsPeople reduced the cost of access for its testamentary records (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/scotlandspeople-reduces-wills-and.html), whilst census record transcripts were added to Family Search. In a quiet corner of North Ayrshire, some wee shug by the name of Paton had a book released about the murder of his three times great gran, the UK's longest unsolved murder by a modern police force (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/now-available-mount-stewart-murder.html)...


July

A new Scottish Post Office Directories page was launched by the National Library of Scotland (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/new-scottish-post-office-directories.html) and Audrey Collins flagged up the 175th anniversary of the English and Welsh GRO (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/happy-birthday-civil-registration.html). Belfast's PRONI site had a bit of a facelift, and Scapa Flow's First World War shipwrecks were mapped (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/scapa-flow-war-wrecks-mapped.html).

Everyone went a little doolally over the Olympics...

Ancestry was the news with details emerging of of some sort of relocation to Dublin (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/more-on-ancestrys-plans-in-ireland.html). Jackie Bird presented a great documentary on Scotland's Forgotten War: Korea (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/scotlands-forgotten-war-korea.html), and FindmyPast launched its Canterbury Collection (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/findmypast-launched-canterbury.html). The UK's 30 year rule for government file releases was changed to 20 years (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/30-year-rule-to-change-to-20-years.html).

In Scotland, Kirsty Wilkinson gets my genie of the year award for her brilliant guide to Scottish poor law records holdings (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/scottish-poor-law-records-guide.html), and plans for Ancestry's forthcoming release of Lord Morpeth's roll from 1841, a major Irish census substitute with almost 300,000 names, were revealed (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/coming-soon-irish-1841-census.html). First World War airmen records were released by the National Archives at Kew (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/ww1-airmen-records-now-searchable.html) and the National Archives in Ireland fixed its catalogue (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/national-archives-of-ireland-catalogue.html).

The US version of the FindmyPast site stepped out into the light (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/all-new-findmypast-in-beta.html), soon launching with a heavily discounted 'Pioneer subscription', and the digitisation of more India Office records by the British Library and Brightsolid was announced (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/more-india-office-records-to-be.html). Eneclann in Dublin also announced plans to computerise Irish Military pension records (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/eneclann-to-digitise-irish-military.html). A petition was launched to save the Scottish Catholic Archives (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/former-keeper-speaks-out-on-catholic.html). FamilySearch launched a new London research guide (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/familysearch-london-research-guide.html).

In a quiet corner of North Ayrshire, some wee shug by the name of Paton had a book published by Australian venture Unlock the Past, entitled Discover Scottish Land Records (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/discover-scottish-land-records-now-on.html), and elsewhere in Scotland, the Scottish Genealogy Network began to hit its stride (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/the-scottish-genealogy-network.html)!


August

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission started a new project to raise awareness of war graves in the UK (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/cwgc-to-erect-signs-around-uk.html), and the Irish Bureau of Military History records went online (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/irish-bureau-of-military-history.html).

An Irish Presbyterianism history conference was announced for September 2013 (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/irish-presbyterianism-conference-in-2013.html), and the Certificate of Irish Heritage descended further into the realms of mockery with relaxed criteria for applicants (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/certificate-of-irish-heritage-shambles.html). Also in Ireland a series of Dublin based lunchtime talks were held on various subjects at the NAI (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/nli-lunchtime-talks-series.html).

I wrote several posts on the contradictory positions of the various FindmyPast websites around the world, with the US site offering professional genealogists access via subscription, but not the other sites, despite the same records collections being made available. (This was subsequently resolved, with UK based genies now having the same privilege as their American counterparts.)

Deceased Online launched a new blog (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/deceasedonline-blog-launches.html) and the Federation of Family History Societies created a new page concerning forthcoming WW1 centenary related events (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/ffhs-websites-new-ww1-section.html). FindmyPast released a useful 1918 muster roll for the RAF (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/raf-1918-muster-roll-online.html), and Ancestry released Articles of Clerkship records for Britain (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/uk-articles-of-clerkship-1756-1874.html). FamilyRelatives relaunched its site (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/familyrelatives-relaunches-with-beta.html).

Plans for a new family history themed comedy were announced by the BBC (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/family-tree-bbc-mockumentary.html), and the new series of Dallas went head to head with the new series of Who Do You Think You Are (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/dallas-versus-wdytya.html). Back to comedy for a moment, the GRO at Southport once again confirmed its complete lack of ambition to digitise its resources (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/gro-no-plans-to-recommence-digitisation.html). Wolverhampton Archives won the 2012 National Archive Volunteering Award (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/congratulations-to-wolverhampton.html), and the Scottish Catholic Archives was granted a temporary reprieve (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/scottish-catholic-archives-reprieved.html).

Tax records and Ordnance Survey field books were added to a new section of ScotlandsPlaces, behind a paywall (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/tax-records-and-os-name-books-added-to.html), and Google Street View in 3D provided a lot of fun (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/google-street-view-in-3d.html)...

The Wellcome Trust launched an online history magazine (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/wellcome-history-magazine.html), and in a quiet corner of North Ayrshire, some wee shug by the name of Paton accepted a tutorial position for the University of Strathclyde postgraduate genealogical studies programme (http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/university-of-strathclyde-tutor-role.html).

To be continued...!

Chris

Having a Christmas present crisis?! Check out my range of genealogy books at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html - perfect for the family historian's Christmas stocking...! Also now out - new Kindle edition of Tracing Your Family History on the Internet, from http://tinyurl.com/d3vqtz5

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