Saturday, 31 May 2014

Victoria Wallace announced as new CWGC Director General

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org) has a new forthcoming Director General, Victoria Wallace, currently the Leeds Castle Foundation and Enterprises' Chief Executive, who will be taking up her new post from October 20th 2014.

The CWGC has the full announcement at www.cwgc.org/news-events/news/2014/5/commonwealth-war-graves-commission-names-heritage-chief-as-its-new-director-general.aspx

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Devon FHS discount for FindmyPast subscription

From Devon FHS, concerning the release of parish records on FindmyPast:

New Devon Records on findmypast.co.uk.

Spanning 1538 to 1915, the Devon Collection is a rich source comprising comprising over 4 million fully searchable transcripts and scanned colour images of the handwritten parish registers held by the record offices in Barnstaple and Exeter.

http://blog.findmypast.co.uk/2014/explore-375-years-of-new-devon-parish-records/

In addition, as an exclusive offer for Devon FHS members only - get 50% off of a 12 month subscription to findmypast.co.uk. Pay as little as £49.75 for a year’s access to millions of family history records including the newly added Devon parish records. Hurry, the offer ends on Friday, 6th June 2014.

This offer is only available to new FMP subscribers, who are also Devon FHS members.

Full details of how to take advantage of this offer are on Devon FHS's Members Area via www.devonfhs.org.uk

If you are not already a Devon FHS member you may want to consider joining, to benefit from this very special offer. www.devonfhs.org.uk/shop/membership.php

(With thanks to Maureen Selley)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Friday, 30 May 2014

TNA podcast - Reluctant Regicides: Charles I trial revisited

The latest podcast from the National Archives in England (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk) is entitled Reluctant Regicides? The Trial of Charles I Revisited, a lecture by Dr. Andrew Hopper, approximately 40 minutes in length. You can listen to the lecture at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/reluctant-regicides/ or download for free from iTunes.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Scottish family history societies at WDYTYA Live Glasgow

Announcement from the Scottish Association of Family History Societies (http://safhs.org.uk):

Scottish Association of Family History Societies & the Federation of Family History Societies - WDYTYA? Live Glasgow

STAND 13-20
Friday 29 – Sunday 31 August 2014
9.30 – 5.30 each day

Representation by members of:

Alloway & S Ayrshire FHS
Anglo Scots FHS
Borders FHS
Central Scotland FHS
Lancashire Heraldry & FHS
Largs & N Ayrshire FHS
Lothians FHS
Renfrewshire FHS
Scottish Genealogy Society
Tay Valley FHS

SAFHS will also be in attendance with The Federation of Family History Societies in the commercial section of the Show

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

P&O Heritage website revamped

The P&O Heritage website has been given a bit of a facelift. Amongst the new features now available is a timeline on the company's history - the new site is accessible at www.poheritage.com. Family history research guides, on how to locate passenger and crew records, are also available on the site at www.poheritage.com/our-archive/research-guides.


Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Devon parish records added to FindmyPast

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has uploaded millions of new Devon parish records, including baptisms, banns, marriages and burials 1538-1915 from Devon Heritage Services’ Exeter and Barnstaple record offices. The data compliments a previous release for Devon from Plymouth and West Devon.

Tim Wormleighton, of Devon Heritage Services said: “We are delighted that, after a lengthy process of preparation involving a lot of hard work by a large team, people will now be able to access high quality images of the majority of Devon’s parish register entries online for the first time ever through findmypast”.

Full details are available at http://100in100.findmypast.co.uk

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Google launches online data removal request form for Europe

Google has created an online form for people in Europe to request that personal data be removed from search requests.

An interesting point is made by BBC correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones - "Some have pointed out that information won't be removed from google.com, just your local version of the search engine, while others question the sheer practicality." So something that may be removed from Google.co.uk may still be accessible at Google.com - the US has a First Amendment guaranteeing free speech, which would apparently make an equivalent scheme in the US - where Google.com serves - impossible.

The full story is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27631001

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Quakers launch online archive and library catalogue

News from David Blake of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Library and Archives:

We are very pleased to announce the launch of our new online catalogue of Archive and Library collections. For the first time, records of our archival and manuscript collections are now available to search online, alongside our growing catalogue of printed materials. Search across Quaker collections at www.quaker.org.uk/cat.

The new catalogue currently holds records for:

* over half of the printed material in the Library: books, pamphlets, broadsides, periodicals

* archives of most Britain Yearly Meeting committees going back to the 17th century

* archives of London & Middlesex Quaker meetings

* archives of other Quaker and Quaker associated organisations, such as Friends Ambulance Unit and Friends Temperance and Moral Welfare Union

* over 1,000 manuscript collections and personal papers of Quakers and Quaker families, such as the diaries of Elizabeth Fry

You can use the new catalogue to find out more about what we hold, search for material in new ways, and get the information you need to plan your research, even before visiting the Library. Check out the new catalogue here www.quaker.org.uk/cat, and, if you have bookmarked the old catalogue, update your bookmarks. 

We welcome feedback on the new catalogue: please email any comments and suggestions to library@quaker.org.uk.

David Blake
Head of Library & Archives
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
173 Euston Road
London NW1 2BJ
United Kingdom
Tel +44 (0)20 7663 1129
www.quaker.org.uk/library

See our blog Quaker Strongrooms at www.librarysocietyfriendsblog.wordpress.com

(With thanks to Wendy Archer)


Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

PRONI adds 1969-1999 coroners reports to catalogue

PRONI (www.proni.gov.uk) has indexed some 13,000 coroners reports from 1969-1999, of which more than 3000 refer to people who died in the Troubles. The entries are accessible via its online catalogue at http://applications.proni.gov.uk/LL_DCAL_PRONI_ECATNI/SearchPage.aspx.

Further information on coroners records from Northern Ireland can be found at www.proni.gov.uk/index/search_the_archives/proninames/coroners__inquest__papers_-_whats_available.htm.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Additions to PRONI YouTube channel

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (www.proni.gov.uk) has added the following talks to its YouTube channel

  • Improving Belfast 1911
  • Conference: Mount Stewart & the Wider World - Exploring the Londonderry Family Papers
  • Talk: Na Blianta Luatha: The Early Years of the Irish Language Movement in Northern Ireland

The channel is accessible at https://www.youtube.com/user/PRONIonline/videos

(With thanks to Garth Stewart at PRONI)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

National Archives of Ireland holiday closure

The National Archives of Ireland (www.nationalarchives.ie), based in Dublin, will be closed for a public holiday on Monday June 2nd.

So don't visit on that day. You won't get in...! :)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Electrical engineer lists and Norfolk church records on Ancestry

Two new databases from Ancestry which may be of interest if your ancestor was a British engineer:

UK, Electrical Engineer Lists, 1871-1930
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9057

UK, Electrical Engineer Membership Forms, 1871–1901
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9058

The source for each is records from the Society of Telegraph Engineers (later, Institution of Electrical Engineers), accessed from the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, London, England.


Also, two Norfolk, England, based FamilySearch databases are available now on Ancestry:

Norfolk, England, Archdeacon's Transcripts, 1600-1812
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9853

Norfolk, England, Marriage Bonds, 1557-1915
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9855

Full details on those via the links.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Funding allocated for Plymouth's new History Centre

News that a major new History Centre to be built in Plymouth has received significant grant funding from the HLF. The following press release (abridged) has been issued by Plymouth City Council:

£12.8M HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND GRANT WILL BRING PLYMOUTH LEGENDS TO LIFE AT MAJOR NEW ATTRACTION

Plymouth is celebrating a truly historic moment after scooping earmarked funding* of £12.8M from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create a major new historic and cultural attraction at the very heart of the city.

The HLF today announced the results of its major grants (applications of £5m and over) Board meeting which saw Plymouth approved to receive more than half of the cash needed (a total of £12,873,500) to create the much anticipated £21M 'History Centre' that will breathe life into the city's world-famous figures and most precious historic collections.

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: "Plymouth's heritage is of national importance. These exciting and visionary proposals are the first step towards developing a new and much-needed Plymouth History Centre. They will showcase a host of wonderful artefacts, photographs, films and records, which will now be safely housed in one place, for both local residents and visitors to explore. We're very proud to be supporting the creation of this 'treasure trove' and applaud the Council's plans to make it widely available so people can explore both their own personal heritage as well as Plymouth's rich history.'

The History Centre, which will not be the attraction's eventual name, will unite five separate heritage collections into one single location including treasures from the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery; Plymouth and West Devon Record Office; South West Film and Television Archive; South West Image Bank and the Local Studies and Reference Collection from the Central Library. Plymouth University is also an official partner through the engagement of Peninsula Arts and its world leading research and teaching in history and related disciplines.

The listed buildings on North Hill which currently house the Museum and Central Library will be refurbished, a new large extension added and the former St Luke's Church at Tavistock Place will also be renovated. Together this will create an attraction three times the size of the existing museum, which will include WOW spaces to showcase the staggering array of historic treasures that will be brought to life with interactive displays encouraging visitors to explore further.

An added dimension to the History Centre project is the development of the former St Luke's Church on Tavistock place, which will be restored to offer the largest gallery space in the South West. The aim is that this grand exhibition space will attract some of the most impressive and notable travelling national and international exhibitions to Plymouth.

Add the cash from the successful HLF bid to the Council's £5M investment and total funding for the History Centre currently stands at almost £17.9M. The remaining £3.1M will be sourced from other grants including European funding.

The History Centre project will receive an initial £940,300 grant from HLF to complete its development phase, which will involve a solid year of planning and consultation to work up the detailed designs for the buildings and exhibition spaces. Once the plans are approved, the remaining £11,933,200M will be released to undertake the build project, as well as transform three organisations into one major new attraction.

Maureen Selley, Chairman of the Devon Family History Society and one of the founders of the Heritage Consortium, said: "I am buzzing! Really buzzing! This work has taken place over many years by many people and we are thrilled it has at last been successful. I've been coming to the museum since I was two so it is a place dear to my heart. As I said to the HLF when they visited, the Plymouth History Centre is not a maybe, it's a must! Now with the Society and other stakeholders we'll actively support the development of the Plymouth History Centre."

To make the History Centre a truly community-led attraction, the Council and partners will be holding more consultation and engagement activities with the public to gather ideas and gain feedback that will be used as part of the development phase. More events like the Pop-up Museum, taking place in Drake's Circus next week as part of History Month, will be organised giving people the chance to get involved.

Some early ideas have been formed but the project team is keen to stress that much of the detail is up for grabs, and suggestions from the public are very welcome to ensure the Centre appeals to the widest possible audience.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the developing History Centre plans should visit the Love our past website, which includes some key dates for your diaries, examples of the city's show stoppers and an overview of what the History Centre is all about.

The planned opening date for the History Centre is by spring 2019.

NB: The full press release is at http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/newsreleases?newsid%3D338214. Also of interest is the Plymouth Herald story on the news at  www.plymouthherald.co.uk/12million-heritage-centre-project-bring-Plymouth/story-21146499-detail/story.html, and information and timescale on the presentation given at the recent Plymouth Local Studies Day is at www.saveplymouthshistory.org.uk/docs/26.pdf.

(With thanks to Maureen Selley - and congrats!)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Unlock the Past's Baltic genealogy cruise - presenters news

I blogged recently at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/8th-unlock-past-cruise-to-tour-northern.html that Unlock the Past has now confirmed a Baltic venture in July 2015 as part of its genealogy cruises programme. The cruise, starting and ending in Southampton, is scheduled to last two weeks and will include stops at Bruges, Berlin, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen, as well as a packed genealogy conference on the high seas.


Well now some news on some of the confirmed presenters so far. Cyndi Ingle from Cyndi's List fame (http://cyndislist.com) will be participating on her first Unlock the Past cruise, as will US based genealogist Paul Milner (www.milnergenealogy.com) on his second voyage with the firm, who specialises in British Isles research. From Australia will be genealogist Carol Baxter, and all the way from Largs, North Ayrshire, yours truly will also be taking part, in what will be my third cruise with Unlock the Past. Also provisionally signed up from Australia are Rosemary and Eric Kopittke and Helen Smith, whilst Carol Becker is another name down from the States.

As previously mentioned, there are substantial discounts available if you wish to book early before May 31st 2014 - with an early booking discount of AU$50 from Unlock the Past, and a special Celebrity Eclipse bonus of US$100-US$125 on-board credit for bookings before the same date.

As ever with Unlock the Past Cruises - should be fun!

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

First World War POW records on TheGenealogist

From The Genealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk), the following is an abridged press release:

First World War P.O.W. Records launched online

TheGenealogist uniquely has launched over 80,000 fully searchable records of British and Commonwealth prisoners, of all ranks, captured in the Great War. Many thousands of Allied servicemen were taken prisoner in the First World War and comprehensive records have been notoriously difficult to find with many related  records being destroyed in the 1930s and the World War 2 Blitz of 1940. The new records provide access to records of all servicemen taken prisoner between 1914 to 1918.

Search all Ranks from The Great War.
From senior Officers Captured, to the NCOs and Privates in the Infantry, the records are all found in the exclusive ‘Prisoner of War’ collection on TheGenealogist.  You can search all ranks for the first time on any family history website, giving access to the many soldiers, sailors and airmen captured and held behind enemy lines.

The records are fully searchable and provide the main details including, forename, surname, rank, regiment and the date the information was received. Records are found quickly and easily using the specific ‘Prisoner of War’ interface on TheGenealogist. It is also possible to trace if a soldier was moved around in captivity, as certain soldiers had multiple records published by the War Office.

The records also provide details on sadly if the prisoners never made it home. Conditions and treatment did vary but on the whole it was tough and often brutal with food scarce and sanitary conditions basic. Typhus and cholera epidemics were sadly all too common and many of the records detail the prisoner died in captivity. With records such as these, TheGenealogist provides a further link to view where the person is buried or commemorated.

The comprehensive collection is derived from daily and weekly lists published by the War Office during and after the First World War.

Mark Bayley, Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist comments: “The new Prisoner of War records we’ve published are a great new unique resource for all family historians. If our ancestors were either officers or in the lower ranks, there’s now more chance than ever to discover their details including when they were taken prisoner and when they were released. Sadly many men never returned and our records will hopefully show the brave men who endured the terrible hardships of the Prisoner of War camps will not be forgotten and can now easily be traced by their descendants.”

(With thanks to David Osborne)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

More on Scottish and English WW1 soldiers' wills

I've just received the following from Ken Nisbet of the Scottish Genealogy Society (www.scotsgenealogy.com), concerning the new First World Wars wills collection now available online at ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), as announced earlier (see http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/scottish-first-world-war-soldiers-wills.html).

In fact, there's quite a bit more available than First World War wills...

Just some extra info re these wills although the date range on the web-site shows 1914-1948 they in fact go back to the 1860's (I had one for 1865). If you enter the word "foot" in regiment you will get some of them. They can be very useful for giving an exact date and place of death in Scotland/England or overseas as I have found wills for soldiers dying in India and at Netley Military hospital Southampton, they also cover scots who died in non-Scottish regiments. The second world war ones can be useful with a place of death for example a second cousin who was killed near St Valery as piper with 2nd Seaforth's the will gives an exact place of death which the CWGC site does not.

Note that the wills are available in a separate collection to the main wills collection on ScotlandsPeople.

Also, thanks to Geoff Swinfield and Diana Bouglas, it seems that the English soldiers' wills database at https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/ has been extended beyond just the First World War also - it seems coverage now provides from 1900 to the early 1950s.

(With thanks to Ken Nisbet, Geoff Swinfield and Diana Bouglas)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Scottish First World War soldiers' wills go online

News of the latest addition to ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk):

Historical Wills of Scottish Soldiers Go Online

The last wishes of Scottish soldiers at the Front: The National Records of Scotland release Soldiers’ Wills from WW1, WW2, the Boer War, Korean War and other conflicts between 1857 and 1964

The wills of 31,000 Scottish soldiers are being made available online by the National Records of Scotland as part of commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The poignant documents include the last wishes of 26,000 ordinary Scottish soldiers who died in the Great War.

The new records contain the wills for ancestors of some famous Scots. For instance, John Feeley, the great-great-grandfather of the Paisley musician, Paolo Nutini, is included. Private Feeley served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and died of wounds sustained during the Battle of Arras on 23 April 1917. Feeley left all of his property and effects to his wife, Annie, who lived until 1964.

Researchers at the National Records of Scotland have also discovered the will of Andrew Cox, the uncle of Dundee-born actor, Brian Cox. A rope-worker before the war, Private Andrew Cox served with the Highland Light Infantry and was killed in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, aged 22 - sadly, his body was never identified. Like many unmarried soldiers, Andrew Cox left all of his possessions to his mother, Elizabeth.

The records are drawn from all the Scottish infantry and cavalry regiments, as well as the Royal Artillery, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Army Service Corps, the Machine Gun Corps and other units, and a few who served in the Royal Flying Corps and the RAF. Almost all the wills were written by soldiers below officer rank, but some wills for commissioned officers are also included.

In addition to the wills from the Great War, there are almost 5,000 from Scots soldiers serving in all theatres during the Second World War, several hundred from the Boer War and Korean War, and wills from other conflicts between 1857 and 1964.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government, said:

“These small but powerful documents are a testament to the sacrifice in wartime made by thousands of Scots, not only the soldiers themselves, but also their families and loved ones.”

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

“We are privileged to be marking the centenary of the start of the First World War by making these remarkable records available. They give us a unique insight into the service of Scottish soldiers during the First and Second World Wars, but also in other conflicts before and since.”

Annelies van den Belt, the CEO of DC Thomson Family History, who enable the ScotlandsPeople website on behalf of the National Records of Scotland, said:

“We’re very pleased to add this new set of records to the ScotlandsPeople site. These fascinating documents make for poignant reading and we’re sure that anyone who views the wills will feel a strong emotional connection to those who lost their lives in these conflicts.”

The Soldiers’ Wills are available at www.ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick and Inverness.

Image - the First World War will of Andrew Cox, uncle to actor Brian Cox. Photo courtesy of the National Records of Scotland.

NB: For the rest of what was the UK at this point - Irish First World War wills are freely available at http://soldierswills.nationalarchives.ie/search/sw/home.jsp; for England and Wales, visit pay-to-use site https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/. Some UK soldiers' wills are also calendared (abridged) in the National Probate Calendar on www.Ancestry.co.uk.

(With thanks to Grant Millar at DC Thomson Family History)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Forthcoming events at TNA - June

Forthcoming events at the National Archives at Kew (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk):

05 June 2014
Special Operations Executive (SOE) service some alternative sources

11 June 2014
Webinar: Tracing British battalions or regiments during the First World War

12 June 2014
Did she kill him? Addiction, adultery and arsenic in Victorian Britain

19 June 2014
1314 and all that: What was going on at the Battle of Bannockburn

25 June 2014
Writer of the month: A Very British Murder

26 June 2014
The Grand Tours and conflicting identities of eighteenth-century English catholic travellers: Sir Thomas Gascoigne (1745-1810) and Henry Swinburne (1743-1803)

28 June 2014
Conference: War and peace - Diplomacy, Espionage and the First World War

Further details at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/visit/events.htm

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

TNA podcast - Georgian Londoners

The latest podcast from the National Archives in London is entitled Georgian Londoners – the making of a modern city, a talk by Lucy Inglis, lasting just under 47 minutes. It can be accessed at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/georgian-londoners-making-modern-city/ or downloaded for free from iTunes.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Extended opening hours at Aberdeen archive

From Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives' website:

EXTENDED OPENING HOURS FROM TUESDAY 13TH MAY

BOOKING ESSENTIAL!

On Tuesday evenings from 13th May to 30th September 2014 the Old Aberdeen House office in Dunbar Street, Old Aberdeen, will remain open until 6:30 pm provided you give at least 24 hours notice of your visit. To make appointments, please email archives@aberdeencity.gov.uk or telephone 01224 481775.

Chris


Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Graveyard survey training with Historic Graves

I had a very enjoyable day today in Glasgow learning basic graveyard survey techniques at the city's Necropolis. John Tierney from Historic Graves (www.historicgraves.com), which is based in the Republic of Ireland, was in Britain for a few days to help people in both Manchester and Glasgow train those interested in survey techniques.


We initially met at 10am at the Bridge of Sighs, on the entrance into the Necropolis, with a few of our number experiencing travel issues thanks to an Orange march which had decided to manifest itself in the city centre. After a brief introductory talk by John on some of the tools of the trade that he uses, we then went to the Sigma section of the cemetery to learn some basic recording, photographing and interpretation techniques. What do you photograph? How should you record the information? How and why does geo-referencing the data help? These and many other questions were explored as we worked, and lots of tips offered along the way, including when the best times of the day are to carry out survey work, how to counter poor light levels, and more.

There were seven of us in total, so I spent the first part of the day partnered with Scott, who works in his spare time as a tour guide with the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis, as well as being its webmaster. We each took a turn both working as photographers and spotters as we recorded several monuments, including some tricky memorials that had fallen into disrepair, and which posed some interesting issues on how best to capture the images. After half an hour or so I then partnered with Roger Guthrie, who I've often met before as the man at Glasgow City Archives who brings document productions to the table when I've ordered them, and who certainly knows a fair bit about about the city. We had to record what we saw before us on sheets designed to both record what we see - including sketches - and extract relevant data in summary form also. Again there were some interesting issues, such as whether we should record the names of people as being commemorated on a monument if they were not actually buried there e.g. if the deceased's father is noted. In this we decided that all those named should be commemorated, but I did clarify with John about whether the Lord God Almighty should also be included, as he popped up a lot also! Quite wisely John suggested that we perhaps leave him off, or the database could become somewhat unwieldy... :)

We broke for lunch and popped into a local hotel by the Cathedral, where I had a chance to talk to John about the work currently being done by his organisation in Ireland. The company concentrates its efforts in the Republic, particularly in the south west, and in a typical week John's team will perhaps survey 2 typical Irish graveyards, comprised of about 150 stones in each. The idea for such a venture arose out of the archaeology industry about three years back, as an offshoot of parent company Eachtra Archaeological Projects ('eachtra' means 'history' in Irish; rendered as 'eachdraidh' in Scotland), and its main aim at the moment is community empowerment, something that particularly came to the fore last year with The Gathering, and the south's concept of reverse genealogy that has been so successful (via initiatives such as Ireland Reaching Out (www.irelandxo.com). On the company's website this is in fact the first thing flagged up as its mission statement - "A community based heritage project which digitally records and publishes historic graveyard surveys and stories." As this suggests, its main aim is to help communities learn the techniques necessary to be able to take on such a surveying project, to learn how to gather its own data and to preserve it on the Historic Graves database, or via their own standalone set up. The training session today in Glasgow (and Manchester) is a first step into Britain to try to bring the same sort of approach here, particularly as we dive further into a digital age.

One of the things I mentioned to John in the Necropolis was that the form we used had a field for 'townland' to be filled in, which I informed him was not a concept we had in Scotland (in Ireland, by contrast, it's a very important subdivision of a parish). In return, over lunch he mentioned something fascinating about another Irish land division, the 'barony', which I had thought had ceased to be useful in the mid to late 19th century. John described how he had in fact come across instances of Irish regiments not being raised in the First World War across parishes, but in fact across baronies, showing that they were still being utilised in the early 20th century for some practical purposes. All very interesting stuff - in fact, the ability to network and discuss different areas of expertise and experience today was another key aspect of what made it all so enjoyable.

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis partnered with Historic Graves on today's venture, and it was also interesting to chat with the organisation's Ruth Johnstone about some of its current work. For the last three years the group has been bringing students over from Poland to help them for a few weeks, and as part of their architecture degrees, for one of their modules requiring community initiatives, and as such we had one of the students with us today. The Friends have been up and running as a charitable venture since 2005 (their impressive website is at www.glasgownecropolis.org), organise tours, and are also involved in fundraising to help restore the Monteath Mausoleum, their current conservation project.


Part 2 of the day's session then was classroom bound - a floor up within the hotel! We were given a presentation summarising some of the approaches we had employed earlier in survey work, but were also talked through various software programmes to help record and manipulate sound (to create audio soundscapes of cemeteries, for example, or to perhaps record interviews about relevant oral history concerning burials), and to host the data generated by the survey itself. Again the concepts of community genealogy and citizen researchers were heavily promoted, and one thing that I was delighted to hear - publish early and fix errors as you go along, This is what I do on my own family history website, because if I don't, I'll be dead before it is pitch perfect for any academic purpose! That's not to say he meant don't worry about errors - he meant get something up online, you can always go back and add to it, and enhance it with additional photos, or better photos, extra context, that sort of thing. But once it's up and online, it's in a position to start working for you, you can always refine it as you go along after. He also discussed strategies for making the online database then direct traffic to other core activities a group may be interested in, such as tours or publications.

Today's event was part of a two day session, with Monday 26th providing a further opportunity to practice the same techniques. I unfortunately won't be able to make this session, but if you wish to do so, visit the project page at http://historicgraves.com/blog/events/training-project-necropolis-glasgow-24th-26th-may-2014 for further details. It's definitely something I would encourage genealogists who have not done surveying before to have a go at.

Finally, a huge thanks to John and also to the lady from archaeology charity Archaeology Scotland (www.archaeologyscotland.org.uk), which also partnered in today's venture - sorry, I forgot to get your name, but the lunchtime drinks were appreciated! (UPDATE: it was Kate Phillips - thanks Kate!)


Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Glasgow School of Art archives saved - but library destroyed

Muriel Gray has released a statement on behalf of the Glasgow School of Art, describing the damage caused by yesterday's shocking fire in the city centre. Obviously many students will be devastated to lose work, which I truly sympathise with, having been an art college student myself many moons ago, but included in the statement is detail concerning the school's historic record:

"Bad news first is that we have lost the iconic and unique Mackintosh library. This is an enormous blow and we are understandable devastated.

But the most amazing, almost miraculous news is that the majority of the building is still intact. Due to one of the most astonishingly intelligent and professional pieces of strategy by the fire services, they succeeded in protecting the vast majority of the building, apparently by forming a human wall of fire-fighters up the west end of the main staircase and containing the fire.

Also after ensuring no lives were in peril they displayed an impressive understanding of the precious nature of the building, and due to their careful and meticulous handling of each developing situation the damage is considerably less than we dreaded. We have run out of words with which to thank them, but the school has most certainly gained a new gallery of heroes.

Tragically many students have lost some or all of their work, but many others have had theirs preserved, and curators and academic staff can expect to be allowed to enter the building in the next few days to try and assess what can be salvaged.

The joy that our archives are safe combines with the delight in seeing most of our beloved building bruised and battered but most certainly not destroyed.

As for the library, Mackintosh was not famous for working in precious materials. It was his vision that was precious and we are confident that we can recreate what was lost as faithfully as possible.

Our main concern right now is the welfare of the students and the impending graduation and everyone is working hard together to achieve the best outcome for all."

The full statement is available at http://gsapress.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/statement-from-muriel-gray-on-state-of.html

(With thanks to @earthlamb and @fionahyslop)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

IGP transcribes 60,000 Irish headstones

The Irish Genealogy Project Archives Headstone Project has now transcribed the inscriptions of some 60,000 headstones across the island of Ireland. To access the collections - free of charge - visit http://www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/headstones.htm

(With thanks to the As They Were blog at http://astheywere.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/congratulations-to-igp-60000-headstone.html)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

36th (Ulster) Division First World War diaries online

The National Archives at Kew (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk) have released a third tranche of First World War army war diaries. This one will be of particular significant to those with ancestors from Northern Ireland who fought in the conflict. From the news announcement:

The unit war diaries provide interesting accounts of battles and events, as well as insights into the daily routines of British troops on the Western Front. This third tranche (WO 95/2432 - WO 95/3154) contains the diaries from the Kitchener Divisions and those of the Territorial Force (later The Territorial Army).

Amongst this batch are the unit war diaries for the 36th (Ulster) Division, which had many casualties on 1 July 1916, and the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division, which was the last division to leave the UK for France in March 1917.

Further details at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/933.htm

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Who Do You Think You Are Live in Glasgow update

Some developments on Who Do You Think You Are Live at the SECC in Glasgow from August 29th-31st...

The website at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com has been updated to fully reflect the Glasgow theme now, so you'll find articles there by Rosemary Bigwood for example on births, marriages and deaths in Scotland, as well as some useful resources to get underway with Caledonian research.

There's also some information on the venue, and in particular, a provisional talks timetable, though some talk slots are still TBC. This can be accessed directly at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/workshops-scotland. There's a fair range there, and it's particularly great to see so many members of our Scottish Genealogy Network amongst the speakers, including Michael Tobias, Judith Russell, Tahitia McCabe, Chris Halliday and Marie Dougan.

I previously announced that I was giving two talks at the event, on Northern Irish research, and on the fun and games surrounding Scottish marriage across the ages, but I've also now signed up to help as a panellist for a series of keynote workshops at lunchtime each day by genie chum Marie Dougan. Still early days on this, but from what I can gather Marie will be doing three technology themed talks, and then there will be a Q&A panel after each talk - there's more on all of this at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/news/keynote-workshop.

A list of exhibitors has as yet to go online, but show tickets are now available for the event at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/prices

You can also pre-book talks tickets via the following links:

Friday
http://wdytyaglasgow.seetickets.com/event/who-do-you-think-you-are-live-scotland/the-secc/787082

Saturday
http://wdytyaglasgow.seetickets.com/event/who-do-you-think-you-are-live-scotland/the-secc-glasgow/787116

Sunday
http://wdytyaglasgow.seetickets.com/event/who-do-you-think-you-are-live-scotland/the-secc-glasgow/787117

As for news of celebrity involvement etc, no news as yet, but it can't be too long now before we know who will be there, and in particular who the exhibitors and societies are that will be in attendance.

(With thanks to Else Churchill)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Historic Graves offers survey training at Glasgow Necropolis

Irish based Historic Graves (www.historicgraves.com) is crossing the Irish Sea this weekend to offer two days of training in historic graveyard survey, recording and publication at Glasgow's Necropolis, the city of the dead, in partnership with Archaeology Scotland and Friends of Glasgow Necropolis.

The company is holding two day long sessions, on Saturday 24th and Monday 26th May 2014, each starting at 10.00 am and finishing at 4.00pm, with an hour long break for lunch at 1.00 pm (lunch not provided). The sessions are open for anyone to attend - if you want to do so, meet at the Bridge of Sighs at 10.00am each morning. For further details on what will be happening, visit the company's site at http://historicgraves.com/blog/events/training-project-necropolis-glasgow-24th-26th-may-2014.

Incidentally, I notice that Glasgow and West of Scotland FHS have just redesigned their website at www.gwsfhs.org.uk. On its dedicated Glasgow Necropolis page (www.gwsfhs.org.uk/content/glasgownecropolisproject.aspx) there is a YouTube video showing local historian Ronnie Scott doing a quick tour of the Necropolis. It's reproduced here also, to give you a flavour of what you'll see if you go along!



(With thanks to Historic Graves via Twitter @historicgraves)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Newspaper access via British Newspaper Archive and FindmyPast

I've just received an email from the British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) about new 'improvements' - but thankfully it's an email pointing out changes that have already recently happened. (I don't think I can take much more by way of 'improved' websites these days...!)

However, one thing worth flagging up is that the British Newspaper Archive has recently started offering a new monthly subscription at a rate of £9.95 a month. This is in fact the same monthly rate being offered by its sister site FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) - which also offers access to the British Newspaper Archives in its 'UK' subscription, although its Irish titles are not included in this version. (Sorry Northern Ireland - their rules!) For these, you will need to have the World subscription, at £12.95 a month.

If you are only looking to research in Britain, ordinarily this would mean that signing up to FindmyPast would be a much better deal for the same subscription rate, as you would get the mainland British titles as well as everything else that the FindmyPast site offers in its 'UK' subscription. So what's the downside? Well, it is access to the new version of the FindmyPast website - and to say that it has a few issues to deal with just now is probably the understatement of the year. (I'm just back from a library in Scotland which has a corporate access to the website, and I heard the librarian there apologising profusely this morning to another customer about how it used to be brilliant, and now err... isn't quite so brilliant). However, some of the site works better than other parts, so it may still be a better deal. Personally, even before the update to FMP, I preferred to use the BNA site separately, but the options are there (it is also accessible via the Genes Reunited site at www.genesreunited.co.uk, but not at the same rate as these two sites)..

Don't forget that my new book - British and Irish Newspapers - published in Australia, is now available both as a paperback and as an ebook (PDF format) from Gould Genealogy - via http://www.gould.com.au/British-and-Irish-Newspapers-p/utp0285.htm (paperback) or http://www.gen-ebooks.com/british-and-irish-newspapers.html (ebook). It not only covers how to get around the British Newspaper Archive, it also focuses on many other online offerings, and shows how to locate many titles not digitised and available only in  libraries across the two islands. The print copy is AU$23 (about £12.50), whilst the ebook is much cheaper if you are in the UK, retailing at AU$7.95 (about £4.30).

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

ScotlandsPeople service - forthcoming launch event in Inverness

From the latest ScotlandsPeople newsletter:

Official launch of the ScotlandsPeople service at the Highland Archive and Registration Centre (HARC) - Inverness, Tuesday 17 June 2014

While the ScotlandsPeople service has been available to access at the Highland Archive and Registration Centre (HARC) in Inverness since 14 October 2013, the official launch of the new service will take place on Tuesday 17 June 2014.

Starting at 2pm, the launch event will include a demonstration of the way that the information contained in ScotlandsPeople can be combined with original archive material to allow you to get more from your family history research. Registration staff will be running 'taster sessions' to demonstrate how to make the most of the computer search system, while Archive service staff will be on hand to explain the processes involved in undertaking family history research and creating a family tree from the information gathered. So if you're in the Inverness area on the 17th, please feel free to attend the launch at the HARC.

To find out more about this event and the ScotlandsPeople service in Inverness, visit the HARC website at http://www.highlandarchives.org.uk.

COMMENT: I was at the HARC last weekend as part of the Scottish Genealogy Network's CPD event, and it is a great set up - there are four ScotlandsPeople terminals available in the family history centre, and plenty of support materials to complement the online records - and the archive is just in the next room! Well worth a visit.

Inside the HARC family history centre

(With thanks to ScotlandsPeople)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

First World War Glasgow site launches

A new website has been launched by Glasgow City Council called First World War Glasgow (http://www.firstworldwarglasgow.co.uk/) which provides up to date information on the city's commemorative events for the conflict, as well as access to the Glasgow Roll of Honour (in downloadable PDF format). You can add stories to the site concerning those involved in the war, and read about the city's contribution. There's also a hefty links section on many related sites and subjects.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Bannockburn Live

From Visit Scotland (www.visitscotland.com):

Don’t miss Bannockburn Live, set to be one of the highlights of Homecoming Scotland 2014. This unforgettable two-day event takes place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June and commemorates one of the most epic battles in Scottish history - the Battle of Bannockburn 1314.

Watch the battle performance involving re-enactors from across Europe, choreographed by Clanranald, known for their work in blockbuster films like Gladiator. Wander through the battle encampments and be transported back 700 years to medieval Scotland. Chat to real-life Scottish Clan Chiefs in the Clan & Family Village, research your own family history and listen to well-known Scottish musicians including Dougie MacLean and Julie Fowlis in the Music Arena.

Check out the event programme and buy tickets today at www.bannockburnlive.com

Ticket prices:
Adult (14+): £20 + booking fee
Child (5-13): £12.50 + booking fee
Family (Max. 2 adults and min 2. children): £55 + booking fee
Children under 5: Free

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Lanarkshire FHS Family History Fair in Motherwell

A quick heads up for Lanarkshire Family History Society's Family History Fair at Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre on Saturday 23rd August, from 9.30am-4.30pm.

Last year this event was the phenomenal genealogy event of the year in Scotland, I've never seen an event here which generated such a buzz, so I'm looking forward to even more fun there this year! I'll be giving a talk there on Irish genealogy research, with other speakers including Fiona Watson, Irene O' Brien and Bruce Durie. There will be a whole host of exhibitors (including, I'm delighted to see, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland), and various other activities including workshops and even butter churning and hands on weaving for the weans!

For more information on the day's programme, please visit http://lfhsshow2014.weebly.com.



(With thanks to Allan Colthart)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

PRONI hosted talks in Belfast for June

From the latest newsletter from PRONI in Belfast (www.proni.gov.uk), details on events coming soon in June:

TALK: The Hidden History of Protestants and the Irish Language
Thursday 11th June, 1pm to 2pm

Linda Ervine, Irish Language Development Officer at East Belfast Mission, will be in PRONI to deliver a talk that will look directly at the historical links between Protestants and the Irish Language.

http://www.proni.gov.uk/index/exhibitions_talks_and_events/talks_and_events/hidden_histories.htm


LUNCHTIME POETRY: War Words: poetry inspired by the First and Second World Wars
Monday 30 June, 1pm to 2pm

PRONI is pleased to announce details of a special poetry reading on the theme of war. The First and Second World Wars inspired gifted writers from Wilfred Owen to Timothy Corsellis to commit to paper their personal wartime narratives. These texts, often graphic and harrowing, have gone on to become parts of the world's cultural fabric. Join us to hear two locally-based writers who have been similarly inspired.

http://www.proni.gov.uk/index/exhibitions_talks_and_events/talks_and_events/war_words.htm

(With thanks to Garth Stewart at PRONI)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Forthcoming Essex family history conference

I've been asked to give this a quick plug - no probs!

29-31 August 2014 - Conference
Dig For The Past, Look To The Future

Holiday Inn, Festival Leisure Park, Waterfront Walk, Basildon, Essex SS14 3DG, England

Organised by the Essex Society For Family History on behalf of the East Anglian Group Of Family History Societies

Celebrating 40 years of both the Essex Society For Family History and the Federation Of Family History Societies, and to commemorate the start of the Great War

16 speakers in two streams of lectures

[w] http://home.btconnect.com/esfh
[e] events@esfh.org.uk

(With thanks to Trevor Rix)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

1905 New York state census online at Ancestry

Ancestry has released the 1905 New York State Census online at http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=7364 - definitely one to check out if your British or Irish ancestors emigrated to the region.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Bunhill Fields burials available on Deceased Online

From Deceased Online (www.deceasedonline.com):

The National Archives' Bunhill registers now available on Deceased Online

Records for one of London's most historic and fascinating burial grounds are now available on Deceased Online

Bunhill Fields, located a stone's throw from The Barbican Centre just north of the City of London, is an old burial ground and the records available, 1704 to 1854, are all registers from The National Archives RG4 collection.

The records include many great luminaries, writers and reformers from Georgian, Regency and early Victorian London including Daniel Defoe and William Blake. See full details

NB: Whilst I was in Ontario, Deceased Online also released some additional records for Aberdeenshire - more details here.

(With thanks to Deceased Online)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Why not keep a diary? In pen and ink...

In an age where as genealogists we all seem to be increasingly scrabbling around for online resources using tablets, PCs, Macs and mobile phone devices, why not take a few minutes each night to keep a diary - using pen and ink?!

I've just started to write my seventh diary of daily events. I've been keeping diaries on a regular basis, with just a few gaps, since 1999, when as part of a Scottish Television crew I spent three and half months filming in the United States for a series on the history of the Scots, Irish and Welsh in the country. The trip saw me visit locations in thirty different states, as well as several areas of Canada on brief flying visits, and in my diary I wanted to jot down not only an account of the shoot, but also my first impressions of many of the areas I was to visit. Now when I look back I read accounts of everything from meeting members of the Cherokee in North Carolina, visiting John Paul Jones burial place in Florida, gazing in wonder at Yosemite Fall in California, an encounter with the Ku Klux Klan and a visit to Gracelands in Tennessee, sailing into Halifax harbour in Nova Scotia on board a British man o' war vessel, and a trip to Ellis Island, where we had the run of the museum for two hours before it opened to the public. The TV series was duly broadcast, and now remains in an archive somewhere - but in terms of a chunk of my life, the diary, along with a few photographs, remains the only record.

So useful did I find the experience that later in the year I started to keep a second diary, but for a slightly different purpose. I had started to learn Scottish Gaelic whilst living in Bristol, and as with any language learning, the best way to do so is to force yourself to engage with it as often as possible. Thus I started to write down accounts of my daily life in Gaelic (and, at first, seriously bad Gaelic!), but no sooner had I started it than I was recording my father's involvement as a train guard in the Ladbroke Grove train crash in October 1999. The following year I got married in Ireland, and conscious of just how useful the diary was becoming as a record, I wrote that day's entry in English, as I did again in November when my first son was born, as I wanted them both to be able to read those events in years to come. I soon realised that if I kept writing in Gaelic, no-one else would be able to read it in my family, and so from 2001 the diary entries have since been kept in English. They recall my previous career making documentaries, the birth of my second son, the illnesses and deaths of my grandmother and father-in-law, many trips to see family in Ireland and England, my subsequent life as a genealogist since 2006, and much, much more. My last diary in particular, kept from December 2012 to April 2014, has seen some tragic and extraordinary events, from my mother's and aunt's deaths, to the marriage of my brother and the birth of my first niece.

As a regular blogger, you might think that I would advocate using a computer to keep diary entries - and at times, I have tried, though never for long. I can certainly write faster with a keyboard, and can often keep more detailed accounts when I do so - but there is something truly special about writing daily entries in pen and ink, not least the fact that it now tends to be the only time I ever do use pen and ink. The volumes I keep feel like something I can pass on in years to come, and will hopefully preserve a wee bit of what made me me, with my bad handwriting, occasional flares of temper, humour and sarcasm, my politics, opinions on anything and everything, the odd doodle, and even a few pics to help illustrate some events along the way.

Records such as birth, marriage and death certificates tell a partial account of our lives - but in years to come, whilst they may help our descendants to picture certain aspects of our lives, they will never reveal a full picture. So why not help the process along a little?! It's easy to keep a diary - a sentence or two a night, or perhaps a couple of entries a week, is all it takes - and in years to come, your descendants may well be as impressed with you, and as well informed about you, as those ancestors that you as a genealogist are currently spending so much time and effort on trying to bring back from obscurity!

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Ancestry uploads Hampshire and Surrey datasets

Some new English collections on Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk):

Hampshire, England, Allegations for Marriage Licences, 1689-1837
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9147

Surrey, England, Licensed Victuallers, 1785-1903
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=4835

Surrey, England, Jury-Qualified Freeholders and Copyholders, 1696-1824
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=4833

Surrey, England, Land Tax Records, 1780-1832
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=4792

The Hampshire records are digitised from Hampshire Allegations for Marriage Licences Granted by the Bishop of Winchester, 1689–1837. Vols. 1 and 2, published by The Harleian Society in London in 1893. The Surrey records have been sourced from Surrey History Centre, Woking, Surrey. Full details via the links.

The following collections have also apparently been updated, but there's no indication on Ancestry as to how or why:

Surrey, England, Baptisms, 1813-1912
Surrey, England, Marriages, 1754-1937
Surrey, England, Burials, 1813-1987
Surrey, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

TNA podcast - Big Ideas: Sense and sensitivity

A more techy presentation in the latest National Archives podcast from Kew - Big Ideas: Sense and sensitivity is a 50 minute talk from Tim Gollins about digital archive preservation and a collaborative project between TNA and the University of Glasgow.

It's available at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/sense-sensitivity/ or free from iTunes.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

FindmyPast adds First World War army service records

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has added the surviving First World War British Army service records from the National Archives' catalogued War Office collections WO363 and WO364. About a third of the records still exists, the other two thirds being destroyed in the Second World War.

Both collections have previously been made available on Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) and on FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org) - though whilst Ancestry is searchable, the latter is a browse only database.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.

Ancestry's 'Canadian' British Regimental Registers of Service collection

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) is one of those websites that we know we couldn't live without in genealogical research terms, but from time to time it occasionally incorrectly lists collections when they are launched, for which a quick request often sees a change from the powers that be in Utah (where its parent body Ancestry.com is based). Last night I was alerted to a military resource on Ancestry that resolved a very long standing brick wall - and the reason why I was not able to do so prior to now was the fact that the resource in question is actually not listed for what it actually is.

Here was my research problem - my four times great grandfather William Halliday served with the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Regiment of Foot, aka the Royal Regiment or the Royal Scots. I had previously been to the National Archives at Kew on two occasions (in 2011 and last year) to work out his service details, by ploughing through the muster rolls for his battalion. I learned that he had signed up for service on December 3rd 1819, but did not join the battalion in India until September 1820, and served on many campaigns in India until his eventual death in 1831, on board a vessel sailing for Scotland from India. In India he married and had two children, a son and a daughter, with the son my three times great grandfather. (The story I've uncovered on them is briefly mentioned in Emma Jolly's book Tracing your British Indian Ancestors, from Pen and Sword).

In tracing back to William's first muster roll entry, however, it simply noted that he had "transferred from Europe" - and there was some further confusion with payments commencing for 7 years service and 14 years service which implied that he may have actually signed up earlier in 1814 and 1817, and not 1819. Not knowing from where he had transferred, and potentially which other regiment (if he had signed up earlier than 1819) put me off one other fairly obvious possibility in hindsight, that he may have been directly recruited by the 1st Foot themselves.

Step forward Edinburgh based genealogist Kirsty Wilkinson... At the Scottish Genealogy Network CD event last Saturday, Kirsty gave a great talk on a project she was working on concerning Edinburgh military attestation records held at Edinburgh City Archives. As the Royals Scots was the regiment to which William joined, I asked Kirsty if she had found any entries in the collection for a William Halliday, to which she replied she had not. However, last night, she very kindly sent me a note from a collection she had been using on Ancestry, entitled Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900. There was a William Halliday listed there, a private who had attested in December 1819, but with the 1st Battalion - might this have been him?

At first, the page did not indicate what had become of this person, but it did give me a description of him, an age (born 1797), and birthplace, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, Ireland, not Scotland. The collection is fully searchable by name, but only lands hits on the pages where the soldiers' names are noted - in this case, however, the description was actually carried across two pages. When I stepped through to the following page, lo and behold, there it was - a note to say that this William in the 1st Battalion had transferred to the 2nd Battalion in March 1820. Having been through the muster rolls for the 2nd Battalion at this point, there is only one William Halliday - so this is almost certainly my four times great grandfather, an Irishman rather than a Scot.

So what are these records? Well one thing is for certain, they are not Canadian! These are British Army regimental depot description books held at the National Archives at Kew (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk) under WO25, offering a description of soldiers upon attestation, but often worth consulting to see what became of a soldier many years later. They have been digitised and presented as a collection of British Army records for soldiers who saw service in Canada - but they are depot books for British regiments that served across the whole of the British Empire, with many soldiers named within them having never set foot in Canada. OK, I can see that they are available to Canadians via their Ancestry platform as an important record set for research, but they are equally useful back here in the country which created them in the first place!

As currently presented, they are accessible via the basic subscription of the Canadian based Ancestry site - www.ancestry.ca - but not as a standard military resource through the UK site. To access them here you need to have a worldwide subscription for the site. I have emailed Ancestry to ask if they might consider renaming them, or at least granting British users of Ancestry access via the basic subscription, as with other military resources. The person I have emailed is away until the 22nd, so I'll bring an update in due course (or if I hear sooner!).  I just wanted to alert you all that a fundamentally brilliant UK military resource is there online - but in disguise, and at the moment, out of reach for many.

(With thank to Kirsty Wilkinson, @genealogygirl on Twitter)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And FindmyPast - please reinstate the original Scottish census citations on your new site.