Sunday, 31 August 2014

Wha's like us? - WDYTYA Live Glasgow 2014

The last two days have seen the Who Do You Think You Are Live event (www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com) come to Glasgow for the first time. Despite the shock cancellation two weeks ago of the Sunday part of what was originally planned to be a three day event (which irked many vendors and led to a massive air of uncertainty as to how things would go) the event proved to be a massive success, at least for those exhibiting and attending. For many at the event, they had previously attended family history shows in Scotland, not least of which last week's fantastic event organised by the Lanarkshire Family History Society in Motherwell - but the brand behind WDYTYA elevates such shows to a new level, attracting many more exhibitors and vendors from much further afield. In Scotland we have not seen such a show on this scale before, and the public was most definitely hungry for it.

For two days I was extremely fortunate to be able to work alongside an Australian colleague, Alan Phillips, who brought his Unlock the Past (www.unlockthepast.com.au) cruises and book range all the way from Adelaide for his second WDYTYA Live show this year, having previously exhibited in London. Over the last three years I have produced a few genealogy books for him for the Australian market predominantly on Scottish and Irish themes, as well as having participated as a speaker on an Australian talks tour and on two of his successful genealogy cruises at sea (and will be doing so again on another sailing next July from England to the Baltic). From a personal point of view, it was great to see that my books, and many others in the range, are now being published in the UK for the first time, thanks to a new partnership agreement with Yorkshire based My History (www.my-history.co.uk), so these will soon become much easier to obtain on this side of the world. The titles can also be accessed as ebooks from www.gen-ebooks.com. We had a busy two days on the stand, the cruises in particular drawing a lot of interest. I've written about these extensively in the past, but to summarise - cruises, good weather, conferences, ballrooms, sunbeds, pools, daytrips, archives, good food, good company, origami towel animals!!! (see the cruises tag label on the right of this blog page for reports on what to expect!).

Friday was a very busy day to start with, and tailed off a bit in the afternoon, whereas Saturday was just manic from start to finish, up there with the busiest of busy days ever seen at London's Olympia venue, where the show has only exhibited previously. A major cause for concern prior to the event was that so many big vendors from the genealogy world would seemingly not be attending - no sign of My Heritage, British Newspaper Archive, FindmyPast, The Genealogist, the National Archives and others, for example, who frequently attend Olympia. In fact, in hindsight, they were genuinely not missed, as the Scottish offerings on many of these sites are limited at best - with the exceptions perhaps of TNA and the British Newspaper Archive, which would have done the business easily, and as a Scottish based company (headquartered in Dundee), it was felt really should have been there by many folk who I spoke to. But many other big vendors that had previously exhibited did attend, not least of which was Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk), which was mobbed from start to finish. ScotlandsPeople and the National Records of Scotland were there, equally backed up with queues for the whole event, and others such as FamilySearch.

But for many vendors, this was virgin territory. It's all too easy to think that with the annual hype over Who Do You Think You Are Live that it is a product that everyone must somehow know up here, but London is 300 miles away and at best gets three or four Scottish vendors exhibiting a year. In Glasgow, however, it was time to play for many for the very first time, and Scotland turned up in force. We had family history societies from the length and breadth of the country, the National Library of Scotland, the Mitchell Library from Glasgow, SCRAN, the Scottish Council on Archives, various local archives, Visit Scotland, the Universities of Strathclyde and Dundee, Scottish Monumental Inscriptions, and just about all of my colleagues from the Scottish Genealogy Network were floating about somewhere to help out in some capacity or another! From south of the border we had the Society of Genealogists, the Federation of Family History Societies, Deceased Online, My History and others, whilst from Ireland we had the Ulster Historical Foundation, the North of Ireland Family History Society, APGI and Ancestor Network. And many, many others, including exhibitors from Belgium and the Netherlands.


There were many personal highlights over the two days. I was very proud to be able to give a talk on Friday about the history of Scottish marriage to a Glasgow audience, which was packed out, many having to stand alongside the edges of the theatre to listen in. I've given many talks in London at WDYTYA Live, but the Weegies have a sense of humour unparalleled on earth (my granny was one!!), and we had a great craic for an hour or so. My colleague Marie Dougan, who runs Ancestral Consultants (www.ancestralconsultants.com), and who was also on the Unlock the Past stall, gave two talks on technology and genealogy over the two days, and after each of these I participated in a panel of genies to discuss issues raised, with some great questions from the audience.

I also did a couple of Ask the Expert sessions, where visitors could book twenty minute sessions to ask for advice - and on Saturday, who was the expert seated at my table before me but none other than Irish genealogy god John Grenham! The sessions were fully booked out and great fun to work on - a couple of women came to seek advice from me in the first of 3 sessions in an hour slot on Saturday, with one of them having a specific query, which I gave some suggestions on. They trotted off, and I dealt with another member of the public, but twenty minutes later the first two ladies came back for another slot - this time with the other woman now seeking help - I thought it was Groundhog Day at first! And speaking of catching up with folk again, a woman I met in London two years ago, whose ancestor's murder I had written about in my book The Mount Stewart Murder, which was investigated by the same chief constable at the same time that my own ancestor's murder was being investigated, popped by to say thanks for all the suggestions I gave her in London on how to find the murder trial papers!

I managed to speak to a few exhibitors briefly. Robin Urquhart from the National Records of Scotland mentioned a fantastic initiative in securing kirk records from the Netherlands (Rotterdam and Veen), which not only acted as session records and minutes, but also as consular records affecting many from across Britain. How these will be made available is still under discussion, but they are being translated, and it remains to be seen if they will be published in book form or perhaps with some form of online access.

The Scottish Cultural Resources Network (www.scran.ac.uk) was there, with Andrew Nicoll, formerly of the Catholic Archive and ScotlandsPlaces, now on the team, and he briefed about many updates soon to happen to the site - watch this space. Miriam Silverman was back in Glasgow, she's Ancestry's key archival scout, constantly looking for new materials for the site - I met her a while back in the Mitchell Library on one of her trips to Scotland, but she has been back regularly visiting various establishments, so hopefully we'll see more Scots content on the site soon! (Still stunned at how the team managed to get so many Irish Catholic parish records on the platform a few months back!). I also had a quick catch up with the University of Dundee team, for whom I will soon be writing an Irish family history module for their postgraduate genealogy courses - again, watch this space, I'm very much looking forward to it!

On Friday evening a huge number of genealogists hit the town for a meal, with some great craic, and a huge thanks must go to Emma Maxwell, secretary of the Scottish Genealogy Network and with her husband Graham, one half of the duo working for Maxwell Ancestry and the new Scottish Indexes platform (www.scottishindexes.com). Another seriously massive thanks must go to Else Churchill of the Society of Genealogists for all her efforts, and those of the SoG team, in getting the talks programme sorted - I didn't see a single talk that was not booked out. Glasgow was hungry for a great lecture programme at the event, and that's what the SoG delivered.

Finally, one of the reasons cited for the cancellation of the Sunday event was "poor ticket sales" in advance, but a member of Immediate told me that they had been bowled over by the number of walk-ins on the Saturday in particular - they had never had so many people just walk in off the street without a pre-booking at a WDYTYA event before. It had been put to me previously that perhaps Glasgow could not sustain a three day event - but then (and with lip firmly bitten!), I would have to retort that we didn't do too badly with the recent Commonwealth Games! Glasgow is not London or Bristol, it is a different market, a different culture, and has a different way of doing things - and it is fair to say that a bit more notice in announcing the event, and better advertising, may certainly have helped. I personally think Immediate were wrong to cancel Sunday, and that may be something it will need to reflect on for future events, particularly in its relationship with vendors, because whilst Immediate may hire a room, the vendors make the show, and they are its currency - an asset that needs to be invested in wisely and not just taken for granted. Despite such an error, the public received everything they deserved from the two days that were available to them, and that goes down to the energy and passion of the Scottish genealogy community, and those who came to play with us from elsewhere in the UK, and from overseas.

As the saying goes here: Wha's like us? Damn few an' they're a' deid! 




















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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Thursday, 28 August 2014

My 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts 3 SEP

My next Scottish Research Online course, taught through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd (www.pharostutors.com), starts on September 3rd. The course is five weeks long, costs £45.99 and is taught entirely online. The following is a quick summary of what to expect.

Scottish Research Online

Scotland was first to have major records digitized and offer indexes and images online. It has also been a leader in placing resource information on the World Wide Web. This course describes the major sites, the types of information and data that they offer, the forms in which databases are presented and how to analyze results. You will learn to lay the foundations for searching a family, how to select best resources and what to do next either online or in libraries and archives.

Instructor: Chris Paton

Scotlands People, Family Search, Ancestry, FreeCen: content, comparison, assessment
Essential Maps and Gazetteers
Civil Registration and Census Research Online
Searching in Church of Scotland Registers Online
Scottish Wills and Inventories Online
(Take It From Here)

Note: it is recommended but not required that students in this course sign up for the basic search option, 30 units/seven days, at ScotlandsPeople (cost is seven pounds)

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat.

STUDENTS SAID: "I particularly liked the fact that the course didn't just focus on the well-known BMD resources available, but on a much wider range of websites, including many which give extremely useful background information on the geography and history of the localities where our ancestors lived." "a very knowledgeable Instructor"

And here's a wee video setting the scene:



NB: Over the next two days, to tie in with Who Do You Think You Are Live coming to Glasgow, there will be a promotional code entitling you to 10% discount on the course price - the code is WDYTYA.

Hopefully see you there!

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Fyvie Homecoming Festival

Fyvie Homecoming Festival kicks off from August 28th-31st, with the event including a family history fair on Sunday 31st at Fyvie Castle. Present at the event will be Fyvie Heritage, Turriff & District Heritage Society and Aberdeen and North East Family History Society/ Full details are available at http://www.fyviehomecoming2014.com/events/120-tracing-your-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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Ancestry adds Irish Marriages in Walker's Hibernian Magazine

Ancestry has a new Irish collection: Ireland, Marriages in Walker's Hibernian Magazine, 1771-1812, located at http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9141. The following is a description of the dataset:

This database is an index to Irish marriages from the years 1771 to 1812 as found in Walker's Hibernian Magazine (first issued in 1771 and discontinued in 1812). It also includes as an appendix a list of births, marriages, and deaths for the years 1793 and 1794 from the Anthologia Hibernica.

Marriages are listed under both the husband's and the wife's surnames. This double listing optimizes your search capabilities because if you do not know one name, you can search under the other and find out what the spouse's name is.

Source: Farrar, Henry. Irish Marriages: Being an Index to the Marriages in Walker's Hibernian Magazine, 1771 to 1812. London, England: Phillimore & Co., 1897.

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

TNA podcast - Victorian murder

The latest podcast from the National Archives at Kew is entitled Did she kill him? Addiction, adultery and arsenic in Victorian Britain, a 47 minute talk by Kate Colquhoun.

The podcast is available at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/kill-addiction-adultery-arsenic-victorian-britain/ or can be freely downloaded 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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

AGRA updates membership criteria

AGRA, the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives, is a body representing professional genies based in England and Wales. It has just announced a major change to its membership criteria - here's the release:

AGRA, the body representing professional genealogists in England and Wales, has recently announced radical changes to both its Membership and Associateship criteria.

All applicants wishing to join the association will now have to attend an interview and in most cases will also be asked to undergo practical tests. The new rules also attach greater importance to formal qualifications and ongoing learning.

Under the new procedure, prospective Members and Associates will have a “face to face” discussion with AGRA’s Board of Assessors to determine their genealogical knowledge and business approach. Membership candidates may be set a research assignment, while Associates will be asked to demonstrate basic genealogical skills.

The Board has been deliberating for some time how the application process could be improved to keep pace with the changing nature of the field. Rising interest in family history has resulted in many more people entering the profession, drawn from a wider range of backgrounds. Potential Members will still be required to submit a portfolio of completed client work, as before, but the Board has come to the conclusion that this alone is no longer a sufficient basis on which to select Members.

Said Geoff Swinfield (member of the Board of Assessors): “AGRA plays a key role in setting standards within the profession. If AGRA is to be relevant in the future it must give its Members the opportunity to demonstrate that they meet the exacting standards which fit them to offer their services to the fee-paying public.”

The new criteria also take into account the growing availability and importance of formal qualifications within the genealogy profession. The Board feels that anyone setting out to become a professional genealogist with genuine commitment should already have, or be actively studying towards, a qualification in genealogy; this has therefore been made part of the minimum requirement for acceptance into the Associate scheme. Membership candidates who hold certain higher level qualifications, currently from IHGS (the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies) and Strathclyde University, will have the added advantage of being exempt from some of the entrance criteria.

In recognition of the importance of ongoing learning within this fast-changing profession, all candidates will be expected to provide evidence that they are engaging in continuing professional development.

These changes will ensure that AGRA Membership remains a hallmark of quality for professional genealogists practising in England & Wales, and that the Associate scheme attracts committed and able candidates with the potential to progress to Membership.

The new criteria take effect from 1st September 2014. Documents describing the new criteria in detail can be found by following the “membership application” link on the Join AGRA page of the website: www.AGRA.org.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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Doing the ice bucket challenge!

My son fitted me up - I got nominated to do the ALS ice bucket challenge! As I'm a genealogist, it was only fitting that I nominated several members of my family to follow suit...! :)

Here goes...



(It's also available at http://youtu.be/-Nrg4H3aQ14)

The ALS challenge is raising money for motor neurone disease. To make a donation to MND Scotland please text ICED14, with your chosen donation amount, to 70070 - further details are available at http://www.mndscotland.org.uk/2014/08/ice-bucket-challenge/

(Thanks Jamie...!)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Friday, 22 August 2014

FreeBMD server upgrade

I've just picked up on a message from FreeBMD (www.freebmd.org.uk), the volunteer project to make freely accessible all indexes to English and Welsh birth, marriage and death indexes from 1837-1983. The site is updating its servers, which may temporarily lead to some performance issues:

You might have noticed that there has been a delay with the most recent update to the FreeBMD database. We are currently planning on moving the site to new servers and we will update the database when that move is completed. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause but hope that the move to new servers will help us to provide a better service in long run. We anticipate that the move will happen over the next couple of weeks and during that time there might be short periods where the site is unavailable, or certain facilities are unavailable, but we are working to try and keep disruption to a minimum. Thank you, in advance, for your patience whilst we complete this. Progress as of 31st July: We are currently testing how FreeBMD works on our new servers; this is ongoing and we don't have a firm date when it will be completed. Thank you for your continued patience. We will provide further information on progress by the end of August.

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Smithsonian Institute launches Transcription Centre site

This one is interesting, courtesy of the American magazine, Family Tree (not to be confused with the British one of the same name!). It concerns the Smithsonian Institution's new Transcription Centre website at https://transcription.si.edu/ to crowdsource a volunteer effort to make its records even more accessible. The article is available at http://blog.familytreemagazine.com/insider/2014/08/22/SmithsonianLaunchesWebsiteToCrowdsourceOldDocumentTranscriptions.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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

PRONI's First World War conference in Belfast

Details of PRONI's forthcoming First World War conference in Belfast:

CONFERENCE: Researching The First World War: Sources and Resources
When: 5th September 2014, 10am - 4.30pm
Where: PRONI

To mark the launch of PRONI’s Guide to First World War sources (see http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/proni-launches-first-world-war-records.html) we will be hosting a conference. This will be aimed at community groups and researchers. It is designed to illustrate the sources in PRONI for First World War research and the other resources available to groups or individuals planning First World War projects.

The Keynote address will be given by Dr Timothy Bowman of University of Kent, on “Ireland In The First World War”. There will also be contributions from Jason Bourke on “East Belfast and the Great War”, and The Museums of the Royal Irish Regiment. Speakers from The Living Legacies 1914-18 Engagement Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland Screen, Community Relations Council and Heritage Lottery Fund will also be attending.

Please email (proni@dcalni.gov.uk) or call (028 90 534800) to reserve your place, admission is FREE.

(With thanks to 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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

WW1 British army officers' records catalogued

The National Archives at Kew has announced that some 140,000 army officers records from post-1913 have now been catalogued, and can be searched by name via Discovery (in category WO 339). Cataloguing work took place over three years by The Friends of the National Archives.

The full story is at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/958.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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Thursday, 21 August 2014

North of Ireland FHS Open Day

The North of Ireland Family History Society is hosting an Open Day at its Research Centre and Library in Newtownabbey this Saturday 23rd August from 10.30am-4.30pm. The cenre is located at Unit C4, Valley Business Centre, 67 Church Road, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, BT36 7LS.

For more on the society visit www.nifhs.org.

NB: The society will also have a presence at Who Do You Think You Are Live (www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com) in Glasgow on Fri 29th-Sat 30th, at the SECC in Glasgow. It's a big society :)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Scottish Genealogy Network members at WDYTYA Live Glasgow

If you are planning on attending Who Do You Think You Are? Live (www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com) in Glasgow, and you work as a professional genealogist within Scotland, please ask anyone wearing these badges at the event about what the Scottish Genealogy Network can offer by way of support and help.


There are no membership fees, we're an informal self-help networking body that meets once a month at a different venue across Scotland to discuss issues of relevance to our industry, to pool ideas for problems which may be encountered in research, and which organises its own programme of CPD events twice a year here in Scotland. And we're a friendly bunch :) For an idea of the sorts of activities we get up to, please visit our dedicated blog site at http://scottishgenealogynetwork.blogspot.co.uk.

If you don't work as a genie, many of our members will be participating in the Society of Genealogists' Ask the Experts area (I'll be doing my own stint there each day from 3-4pm). Book a twenty minute slot to discuss any genealogical issues you wish to work through, and we'll do our best to help!

See you there!

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Monday, 18 August 2014

WDYTYA Live Glasgow announces vendors and exhibitors

Who Do You Think You Are Live has uploaded a list of the vendors who will be attending the show at the end of next week at the SECC in Glasgow. The list is accessible at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/about-show/our-exhibitors.

Amongst those exhibiting are Ancestry, the National Records of Scotland (with ScotlandsPeople), FamilySearch, the Universities of Strathclyde and Dundee, Deceased Online, and many others, including all the way from Australia, Unlock the Past, to promote both its genealogy books and genealogy cruises (I'll be helping on the stall!). Who Do You Think You Are magazine will also have a special edition to tie in with the event, including an article written by yours truly on how to start off with your research!

There is much more of a Scottish presence this year, with many archives and family history societies, but also some surprise omissions from the main UK vendors - for example, FindmyPast is not attending, nor the British Newspaper Archive, The Genealogist, nor even the National Archives from Kew. However, with a packed talks programme and a chance to talk with folk on many stands not normally exhibiting at the London event, this will be very similar and yet very different experience at the same time - and above all, a fun day out if you want to get stuck into your ancestral research!

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Friday, 15 August 2014

DeceasedOnline adds two Hertfordshire cemeteries records

From Deceased Online (www.deceasedonline.com):

Hertfordshire burial records now 200,000+

Burial records for two more Hertfordshire, England cemeteries are now available on www.deceasedonline.com

The addition of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council's Welwyn Hatfield Lawn and Hatfield Hyde cemeteries means that there are now 10 Herfordshire cemeteries' records exclusively available on Deceased Online.

The Hertfordshire records date back to 1801 and include over 200,000 records for 90,000+ individual names and burials.

The records comprise: Scans of original registers; grave details identifying all those buried in each grave; and cemetery section maps indicating the section location of each grave.

(NB: DeceasedOnline will be at WDYTYA Live in Glasgow)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Changes to UK copyright law and data-mining permissions

I've just received the following from Tahitia McCabe, who runs the Genealogical Studies Postgraduate Programme at the University of Strathclyde (www.strath.ac.uk/genealogy/), which she has very kindly given me permission to share with British GENES readers. It concerns recent changes in UK copyright law from 1 JUN 2014 which will be of interest to those who may wish to 'data mine' certain websites for genealogical purposes, for non-commercial activities only. Here is Tahitia's summary:

It allows researchers doing non-commercial work to data mine databases they have legal access to without the need to ask for permission and database providers cannot use tools such as imposing download speeds that would prevent researchers from benefiting from this exemption.

Here is the text from the attached guidance from the Intellectual Property Office:

The new copyright exception will allow researchers to make copies of any copyright material for the purpose of computational analysis if they already have the right to read the work (that is, work that they have “lawful access” to). They will be able to do this without having to obtain additional permission from the rights holder. This exception only permits the making of copies for the purpose of text and data mining for non-commercial research. Researchers will still have to buy subscriptions to access material; this could be from many sources including academic publishers.

Publishers and content providers will be able to apply reasonable measures to maintain their network security or stability but these measures should not prevent or unreasonably restrict researcher’s ability to text and data mine. Contract terms that stop researchers making copies to carry out text and data mining will be unenforceable.


Tahitia has also notified me that it is now also possible to legally make backups of digital items such as e-books - additional information is available from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-copyright-law and at http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/news/breakthrough-copyright-law-reform-confirmed

(With thanks to Tahitia)

NB: If you wish to sign up for the University of Strathclyde's genealogical studies courses, the 3rd week of September is the latest time you will be able to do so. The university will also have a stand at the forthcoming Who Do You Think You Are Live event, where you can find them at tables 64 & 65.

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

1861 census book for Milton added to ScotlandsPeople

ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) has released a further 1861 Census enumeration book, for the Milton district in Glasgow, with 15 pages of entries not previously available. They have also updated the indexes for all census years on the site, correcting many errors to improve searchability.

The site has also added a new PDF download facility to allow for the download of multipage documents (such as testaments) as a single PDF document. To do so, use the 'Download as PDF' button at the top right of the image viewer.

(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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Ancestry hosts medical records from New South Wales

If your ancestors migrated to New South Wales in Australia, these medical records collections on Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) may be of interest:

New South Wales, Australia, Medical Registers, 1925-1954
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=8819

New South Wales, Australia, Hospital & Asylum Records, 1840-1913
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=8812

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

National Archives at Kew - user forum dates

The National Archives (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk) will be holding public user forum meetings on the following dates:

Wednesday 20 August 2014, 12:30-13:45
Thursday 16 October 2014, 12:30-13:45
Tuesday 18 November 2014, 17:30-18:45
Thursday 22 January 2015, 12:30-13:45
Tuesday 17 February 2015, 15:15-16:30

Full details are available at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/get-involved/user-forum.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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Meeting with the National Records of Scotland

Today I had a very productive two hour meeting in Glasgow with Anne Slater, Head of Public Services at the National Records of Scotland, to discuss my recent blog posts criticising the archive's current working practices, in particular from the perspective of working genealogists. I just want to say a huge thank you to British GENES readers who subsequently commented their experiences on those blog posts, to those who sent comments privately by email, and also to members of the Scottish Genealogy Network (www.scottishgenealogynetwork.blogspot.co.uk) who graciously contributed some of their experiences also. I was able to present a document to the NRS with many of these comments, which flagged up certain themes and issues which will be taken further for discussion. I would also like to sincerely thank Anne for her time in coming through to Glasgow for our conversation.

I can't really comment on the discussion we had as yet, other than to say that I did sense a very welcome will there for the archive to further engage with its user base. In the meantime, one bit of news that did emerge is that the NRS website at www.nrscotland.gov.uk, which has been hovering quite a bit in the background for a long while, is soon to be further developed, with the eventual aim of it replacing the two current sites for the NAS and the GROS (though these will continue to run in parallel for a while) with one single platform.

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

UK, Naval Officer and Rating Service Records, 1802-1912 on Ancestry

From Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk):

FIRST LOOK: SEARCH THESE NEW RECORDS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE
Be the first to enlist with new UK naval records

Does the sea run in your blood? Find out in UK Naval Officer and Rating Service Records, a detail-rich collection compiled for Royal Marines, Coastguards, Dockyard workers, Sea Fencibles, and Convict Guards.

This week’s special offer lets you search them first, before anyone else gets hold of them. This gives you a head start on your family research this summer and helps you find your seafaring ancestors.

The collection is fully titled UK, Naval Officer and Rating Service Records, 1802-1912 and is accessible at http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9050

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Foundling Museum exhibition - The Generous Georgian

News of a major exhibition at the Foundling Museum in London (www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk):

The Generous Georgian: Dr Richard Mead
26 September 2014 -4 January 2015

The story of an eminent physician and patron of the arts who helped create the Foundling Hospital

For the last major exhibition of the Foundling Museum’s 10th anniversary year, the focus turns to the life and work of Dr Richard Mead (1673-1754), one of the most eminent physicians, patrons, collectors and philanthropists of his day, and a significant figure in the early history of the Foundling Hospital.

A leading expert on poisons, scurvy, smallpox and public health, Mead’s patients included Queen Anne, George II, Sir Isaac Newton and the painter Antoine Watteau. Mead was no stranger to daring acts and fierce controversies, with stories of drinking snake venom in his investigations into the effects of various poisons, and fighting a duel to defend his theory on smallpox treatment. He also possessed a deep-seated passion for the arts, demonstrated in a lifetime’s patronage of painters such as Allan Ramsay and a revered collection of masterpieces that included works by Dürer, Holbein, Rembrandt, Poussin and Canaletto.

Smallpox was endemic in Georgian England, and killed an estimated 400,000 Europeans throughout the eighteenth century. Though vaccination against smallpox was developed by Edward Jenner at the end of the century, inoculation was promoted decades earlier. Dr Mead was an ardent and effective advocate of this procedure, which saved the lives of many, including foundlings. Of the 247 children who were inoculated at the Foundling Hospital, by 1756 only one had died of the disease.

Exploring Mead’s diverse contributions to Georgian society - the collector, the philanthropist and the physician - this exhibition reunites key objects from Mead’s life and collection, such as the ancient bronze Arundel Head (2nd Century BC) and Allan Ramsay’s half-length portrait of Mead (above), evidence of his significance in London’s cultural landscape.

Items from the Foundling Museum archive, such as the minutes from the very first Governors’ meeting, and the logs of daily life at the Foundling Hospital in the first year, are also on display to illustrate Mead’s relationship with the Hospital and the important role he played in its early history. Mead dedicated considerable time and energy to the Hospital, encouraging his noble clients to support the charity, serving as a Governor and giving his clinical expertise pro bono. His contribution went even further, to attending sick children and advising on nurses’ salaries and what medicines to keep in stock.

Mead’s home on Great Ormond Street backed onto the Foundling Hospital grounds, and housed his magnificent collection of paintings, sculptures, antiquities, coins and a library of over 10,000 books. Painters and scholars were given access to Mead’s renowned collection which, in a time before public galleries, offered visitors a rare chance to view artistic masterpieces from around the world.

Mead’s generosity in every aspect of his life meant his family were burdened with huge debts following his death. Perhaps anticipating this, Mead’s will ordered for the sale of thousands of objects from his incredible collection - in an auction lasting 56 days! Through a number of key objects, we highlight a once-legendary collection which, compared to that of his contemporary and founder of the British Museum, Sir Hans Sloane, is not so well known today.

This exhibition celebrates the energy, learning and wide interests of a truly generous Georgian who, according to his contemporary the writer Samuel Johnson, “lived more in the broad sunshine of life than almost any man”.

The Generous Georgian: Dr Richard Mead is supported by the Wellcome Trust, the City of London Corporation, Royal College of Physicians and Verita.

(With thanks to the Foundling Museum)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Who Do You Think You Are Live Glasgow cuts date

Who Do You Think You Are Live (www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com) has just made the shock announcement that it is cutting one of its 3 dates in Glasgow, Sunday 31st August. The show will now run on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th only. On Twitter it has stated that those who have prepaid for tickets for the Sunday should get in touch with the organisers.

Words fail me.

UPDATE: Very angry reactions from vendors so far, with some travelling from Northern Ireland, others having prepaid accommodation, etc. In response, WDYTYA Live has tweeted "We are personally contacting all exhibitors today and ensuring we're doing the best for everyone."

The world's largest family history show just got a lot smaller.

UPDATE: This is getting a bit appalling now. I've just been told that Immediate is emailing vendors to tell them that ticket holders for the Sunday event will now be given a Friday and Saturday pass instead, and as such, the event is not expecting to lose out on visitor numbers - and as a consequence it will not be reimbursing stand costs. So in essence, vendors are now paying three days fees for two days' service. Shocking treatment of vendors and exhibitors.

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Monday, 11 August 2014

Naval records indexes and Philadelphia passenger lists on Ancestry

Some new third party datbase resources now accessible via Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk):

Web: UK, Naval Officers' Service Record Cards and Files Index, 1880-1950s
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=60381

Web: UK, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Service Records Index 1903-1922
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=70688

Also available are some new US bound passenger lists:

Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1948
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=8769

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Hebrides People site update

It's been a while since I've heard from the Hebrides People (www.hebridespeople.com) folk on the Isle of Harris, so it's great to be able to bring the following update from Chris Lawson of Co Leis Thu? - it's a bit lengthy, but does give both an update on new additions to the database, but also a useful case study as to how to use the site. Here goes...!

UPDATE

The immediate news is that we have now added Lochs Parish to the main data-base, so that it now includes Lochs and Stornoway parishes – the whole eastern side of Lewis - as well as Harris, bringing the total number of entries to sixty-three thousand! We were now working on the Parish of Uig, which, with a bit of luck and a lot of embrocation for my typing fingers, should be ready by the end of the autumn.

I am frequently asked how clients can get the most results from the databases , and perhaps the best explanation is to give an example. We had an enquiry recently from a client in Connecticut whose ancestor was George, a son of William and Rachel MacLeod, who had come from the Isle of Lewis in the mid-eighteen hundreds.

Most emigration from Lewis at the period was to the Eastern Townships of Quebec, near the border with the USA, from 1838 to 1863, and to Bruce County, Ontario, near Lake Huron, in the 1850s.

We can then look up the hebridespeople.com website; this is done by buying credits – minimum £10 for 10 credits, with reductions for larger quantities.

We look first in the emigrants section, of which the entry screen costs one credit. If we call up all William MacLeods on the emigration section of the data base, we find twenty-three William MacLeods – which is interesting, but not particularly useful! – but there is also a summary of the information for each. From this we can see only one that fits the details we have, so we can call up his entry. Alternatively by specifying more details on the entry screen we can call up directly any that fit.

You can see that the ease of identifying the correct person depends on the amount of starting information – there are over 350 John MacDonalds on the database, so obviously a great deal of information would be required to identify any one person of that name, whereas a Farquhar MacLennan is probably unique. Our database does not of course claim to be wholly comprehensive (though we are adding to it all the time) but it does cover all the main families we can trace in the main emigration areas.

In our case, we have identified the appropriate entry, so we can call it up, at a cost of 5 credits -

William MacLeod ; born 1813; married to Rachel Finlayson; son of Donald MacLeod and Margaret MacKenzie; left from Branahuie, Stornoway Parish, Isle of Lewis; settled in Lingwick Township, Compton County, Quebec, in 1842

The information about where they came from and where they settled is gathered from census returns both in Scotland and in Quebec, which also give us an indication of ages – neither William nor Rachel appears in the OPR for Stornoway Parish. We know from Quebec records that William and Rachel both died in 1899, but the records do not show parents’ names. However, we know from oral tradition that William was a brother of a Mrs Catherine MacLeod of Bayble, Lewis, and her death register there in 1907 shows her parents as Donald and Mary MacLeod.

There is even less formal information about Rachel – only an entry in the census of 1841, but her Gaelic patronymic is remembered as Raonaid Dhomhnaill ‘ic Sheorais – Rachel, daughter of Donald son of George – that her father was drowned when she was a young girl and that she was brought up by her uncle John Finlayson of Coll, in Lewis.

References are shown for our emigrant register – Q608 – and our Hebridean register – 8325. These refer to Family Notes and a handwritten Family Sheet, both of which can in many cases be accessed direct from the emigration database.

Alternatively, or in the case of non-emigrant families, we can then move to the main Hebridean database. This is currently available for the Parishes of Lochs and Stornoway on Lewis, and for the Parish of Harris, but other parishes are being entered as available.

Again access to the entry sheet costs one credit, and again, the more information you have, the easier it is to identify the correct entry – on this database there are already over 700 John MacDonalds, and many more to come!

Having chosen the correct entry, you can then download it for a further five credits. This will give parents, where known, spouse where appropriate, date and place of birth (though pre-1855 these may be from census records and not necessarily wholly accurate), date and place of marriage, date and place of death (if known) our family tree reference for the person and spouse, and where they have been located in appropriate census records from 1841 to 1901.

Access can also be had to Family Notes, which give earlier family history, the first generation of children, and their marriage details and references. These cost a further ten credits.

In the example we are using, we get more information about the members of the extended family of William (Ref 8325) and Rachel MacLeod - Donald MacLeod of 11/12 Branahuie is believed to have been a son of Murdo, but nothing further is known about him. He was married to Mary MacKenzie, daughter of John MacKenzie and Ann MacKinnon, with four of a family – Margaret, who did not marry; Isabella, who married Roderick MacIver of Tolsta and emigrated to the Eastern Townships of Quebec; Catherine, who married Donald MacLeod (8456) of 37 Lower Bayble, and William, who married Rachel Finlayson, daughter of Donald Finlayson (7285) of Tong, and also emigrated to the Eastern Townships of Quebec, where they were among the first settlers on the shores of Lac Megantic.

If we call up the Family Notes for Rachel’s cross-reference (7222) we find – George Finlayson of Aird Tong was a son of James Finlayson, who according to some sources came to Lewis from Lochcarron in Wester Ross in the 1750s. George Finlayson was married to Ann MacLeod, but nothing further is known about her. George had a brother John who appears in estate rentals in Tong as mac Sheumais mhic Anndra – son of James son of Andrew. George Finlayson had five of a family – John, of whom nothing further is known; Ann, who married Murdo MacIver in Quebec; Kirsty, who married John MacDonald, also in Quebec; and Donald, whose daughter Rachel married William MacLeod (8325) of Branahuie and Quebec.

Access is also available to family sheets, which are working family tree sheets, hand-written by Bill Lawson, showing the family from the earlier records to the 1920s, with cross-referencing of spouses. These also cost ten credits, so that the whole information made available costs twenty-six units (£26) – surely a bargain for the amount of information provided. If your starting information is less exact, you may have to spend more credits in making the first identification of the correct family, so the moral, as in all genealogy, is to do your homework first!

Not all researches will end up so successful as this of course – there are many cases where the source information is just not available – but perhaps this example will show what can be done.

(With thanks to Chris Lawson)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Friday, 8 August 2014

FindmyPast adds Wakefield and Cleveland records

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has added over 28,000 new Wakefield and District baptism records and 150,000 National Burial Index records from Cleveland.

The Wakefield and District baptisms contain 28,372 records comprised of transcripts of original parish registers made by the Wakefield and District Family History Society. The new additions cover 9 parishes: Wakefield All Saints, Warmfield St Peter's, Chapelthorpe St James, Monk Bretton St Paul's, Felkirk St Peter's, Ryhill St James, Wragby St Michael's, Wakefield St Andrew's, South Ossett Christ Church, so there are now over 30 parishes from Wakefield district in West Yorkshire available to search on Findmypast.

150,000 more burial records, transcribed by the Cleveland Family History Society, have also been added to the site.

(With thanks to Alex Cox)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Routes to Your North East Roots event in Aberdeenshire

A quick heads up to say that I'll be speaking tomorrow and Sunday at the Routes to Your North East Roots event at Haddo House and Country Park, a Homecoming Scotland 2014 event in Aberdeenshire. There will be a various other speakers, loads of family history societies and vendors, on what promises to be a great two days oop north!

The talks I will be giving are:

Saturday

3.30pm: “Scottish Marriage – Instantly Buckled for Life” – Warning: this talk may contain more than a dash of antenuptial fornication! Until 1939 and 2006 there were many ways you could be legally married in Scotland that were not found elsewhere in the UK, thanks to the unique legal system north of the border based on Roman Law. If you cannot find a marriage on ScotlandsPeople, this talk may help to explain why.


Sunday

11:00am: “The Godly Commonwealth - Discover Scottish Church Records” – The Scottish Reformation of 1560 dramatically changed Scotland from a Roman Catholic to a Protestant nation, but the nature of that Reformation was one that has been fought over ever since. With the Kirk’s ambitions to control education and discipline in pursuit of a Godly Commonwealth, its constant splits and the hellfire damnation of John Knox himself, understanding its role and history within Scottish society is crucial to understanding how to research your family history prior to the advent of civil registration in 1855.

For a full outline of the talks programme and the family history fair, including a list of the participating vendors and societies, visit http://www.northeastscotlandroots.com/haddo2014/ - hopefully I'll see a few of you there!

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Well done to the Mitchell Library!

There is a God...


The Family History at the Mitchell service in Glasgow (www.glasgowfamilyhistory.org.uk), located on the 5th floor of the Mitchell Library, is now a proper hub!

Well done to all concerned for enabling this. I was doing some client research there yesterday, and it really did make one hell of a difference - so a HUGE public thank you!

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Ancestry's forthcoming English archive tour with Tony Robinson

From Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk):

SIR TONY ROBINSON MAY BE COMING TO AN ARCHIVE NEAR YOU

Sir Tony Robinson to host exclusive WWI family history events at archives around the country

Sir Tony Robinson to speak and meet guests at local record offices
Events will also feature talks from local representatives and Ancestry.co.uk family history experts
Free to attend but places are limited – register online from today

Actor, author and historian Sir Tony Robinson is touring the country for a series of exclusive family history events to mark the WWI centenary.

Hosted by Ancestry.co.uk and in association with The Keep (East Sussex), Essex Record Office, Liverpool Record Office and Tyne & Wear Archives, the evening events, taking place in August and September, will be held at the following locations:

· The Keep, Woollards Way, Brighton, BN1 9BP
Tuesday 26 August, 6pm – 9pm

· Liverpool Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 8EW
Thursday 4 September, 6pm – 9pm

· Essex Record Office, Wharf Rd, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 6YT
Monday 22 September, 6pm – 9pm

· Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4JA
Wednesday 24 September, 6pm – 9pm

At each event, Sir Tony will discuss the importance of discovering WWI ancestors and talk about his experience learning of his own family links to the Great War. He will also be taking part in an extended Q&A session following his speech, when guests can quiz the TV star.

In addition, each evening will feature a talk from a representative from the archive and an Ancestry.co.uk spokesperson, who will explain how to get started with family history, including how best to make use of more than 20 million WWI records on Ancestry.co.uk.

For more information and to register to attend, visit the Ancestry.co.uk blog at http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/. Guest list spaces at the event are free but limited, and successful applicants will be selected at random and notified by email.

Sir Tony Robinson comments: “With the centenary taking place this year now is the perfect time to discover more about our WWI ancestors and ensure their stories are never forgotten.”

Miriam Silverman, Senior Content manager from Ancestry.co.uk comments: “After the success of last year’s ‘Ancestry Archive Tour’, where Tony and the team visited archives across the country from Cornwall and Dorset to Norfolk and Manchester, we’re delighted to be able to host a further tour in this centenary year.

“The areas we are visiting have rich and varied histories not least in terms of the amount of young men who answered the nation’s call and went off to fight in WWI, with many of them never coming home. At these events, we’re hoping to inspire people to uncover or learn more about the war heroes in their own family trees and preserve these stories for generations to come.”

(With thanks to Bryony Partridge)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

UKBMD's Local BMD Project seeks volunteers

From UKBMD:

The Local BMD project, which has been running for over 10 years, involves volunteers working with local Register Office staff to create online indexes of births, marriages and deaths from 1837.

The Local BMD indexes are more accurate than those held by the General Register Office (and others available online) because they are compiled from the original registers held locally and not from the quarterly returns that were submitted to the GRO by local register offices. Additionally, the Local BMD indexes identify where each event took place and may also include the mother’s maiden name for births, names of
both partners plus the name of the church or venue for marriages, and ages at death for deaths.

So far only a small proportion of the transcribing is complete, and the next phase of the Local BMD initiative is to seek help expanding all aspects of the project.

If you would like to know more about this project and how you can help, visit http://www.UKBMD.org.uk/localbmdproject

Links to all the current Local BMD websites can be found on the UKBMD website at http://www.UKBMD.org.uk/localbmd

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Who Do You Think You Are - 10 Years, 100 Shows: review

The BBC broadcast a special one off retrospective programme on the last ten years of Who Do You Think You Are? tonight, entitled 10 Years, 100 Shows. The verdict? A huge thumbs up.

Who Do You Think You Are started in 2004 as a BBC2 series, produced by Wall to Wall, originally co-funded by the Open University and intended to act as the opening act of what the BBC used to call a 'learning journey' - you watched the programme, thought hmm, yes, could do with a bit more, then switched to a red button feature with a bit of background on the records featured, would think again, hmmm, could do with a wee bit more still, so then switched to BBC4 to watch a tie in series called Family Ties (remember that?!). By now the thought had appeared: maybe this might be something I could have a go at? So you then switched to the BBC website, and ultimately ended on another link heading towards the Open University website, and before you knew it you were completing a course and your learning journey, and then ending up with a graduation photo on your office desk, and a genealogy addiction for life.

That was the plan, that was the funding motivation - and then something else happened. Someone realised it was actually a successful series. But oh my God - it's on BBC2? Wasn't that where Newsnight lived? What will the neighbours think?! So they moved it to BBC1. At this point, I personally think the series, after an initial success, briefly lost its way for a short period, and temporarily dumbed down a bit - it was not long before we were soon realising that each series was seemingly working on what seemed to be a repetitive menu of the Irish story, the First World War story, the Holocaust story, the royal story. It all got a bit predictable. Thankfully, a few years back that particular rut was broken, and suddenly it became an interesting prospect again - and continues to be so.

Each series has had its ups and downs, largely to do with the stories it depicts and the celebrities it features - as with all areas of life, some will interest some, others will bore others. In recent years, I think the quality has actually been improving fantastically - there is still the occasional odd one that won't quite float the boat for viewers, and we will always disagree on which episodes they are. But what worked about the anniversary programme tonight was something I've not really seen in the series since the first run all those years back - this was actually a distillation about the potential of genealogy, not the long winded emotional journeys of celebrities. Archives, white gloves, emotional discoveries, relatives who were whores, criminals, victims of persecution, incorrigible rogues - a serious inventory of the sheer potential of what all of us already on the journey know is out there awaiting us after we find our first certificate or census entry.

Were there are any criticisms? A few - where was Nick Barratt? Not just as an interviewee (he was a key part of the beginning, in terms of research and as the original series genealogist) but because I WANTED AN ANNIVERSARY RED BUTTON FEATURE!!!! And it would have been nice to reference the success of the brand a little - as in the show, the magazine, the worldwide phenomenon (we did see Kim Cattrall, whose programme was also broadcast in the US version).

We did get some majorly satisfying highlights, a reflection of the one off moments we all remember. Alex Kingston's 'whores' (and Alexander Armstrong's hilarious spoof version), Jeremy Paxman saying 'bastard', Ian Hislop fighting an umbrella on Skye, Matthew Pinsent's descent from God, and Natasha Kaplinsky's emotional visit to a synagogue with her relative, who suddenly sang a heart-rending song in the ruins, amplifying the tragedy of the recalled Holocaust experience that they had been piecing together.

And they also caught up with those from past shows to ask how the episodes had affected them, including, I was delighted to see, the William Hartnell of the WDYTYA world, Bill Oddie, otherwise known as the First Celebrity. I still rate his episode as the best ever, not just for impact, but for content, and it proved that the WDYTYA TARDIS really did have a journey ahead of it.

So happy birthday Who Do You Think You Are - and let's get cracking with the next series!

If you missed the programme, check it out on the BBC iPlayer over the next 7 days at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04d8tdg/who-do-you-think-you-are-who-do-they-think-they-are-10-years-100-shows (UK only)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Be afraid - the scariest newspaper intimations column ever

It's amazing the kinds of things that you can find on Twitter, but this may be the scariest newspaper intimations column ever - see https://twitter.com/IainRowan/status/496775108363841537/photo/1 :)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Jersey Heritage - World War 1 blog

Following on from news of PRONI's new WW1 themed monthly blog yesterday from Belfast, I've been informed that Jersey Heritage is doing something rather similar - here's the blurb from the site:

What actually happened in Jersey during the Great War? How did islanders cope with a conflict that was so close to home and yet so far removed? Jersey Heritage is setting out to answer these questions over the course of the next four years by putting together a blog about daily life on the home front. Starting on Monday 30 June, and every Monday after that for the next four years, find out what was going on in the Island 100 years a century ago.

To read the blog visit http://jerseyheritage.org/ww1-blog.


(With thanks to James via the Comments feed on this blog)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

New Zealand WW1 service records online

From Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand:

More than 141,000 First World War service files are now available online, adding to the wealth of information detailing New Zealanders experience of the war made available by Archives New Zealand and the National Library.

In possibly the largest and most complicated digitisation project in New Zealand’s history, Archives New Zealand staff identified over 141,000 First World War files, scanned the often crumbling, fragile pages and then digitised them and published them online.

All 141,000 files can now be accessed at: http://www.archives.govt.nz/world-war-one

The full story is at http://ww100.govt.nz/archives-new-zealand-and-national-library-open-the-files-on-the-first-world-war


(With thanks to Nicole Edwards via the British GENES Facebook page)

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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

First World War global view map launched on TNA

The National Archives at Kew has launched a First World War 'global view' map, showing the global impact of the conflict and linking to various contemporary documents. From the site:

You can see countries, territories and empires as they were during wartime alongside a map of the present day for comparison. This first release focuses on the involvement of countries and territories from across the British Empire during wartime. For each of these, you can read about key events, historical figures and lesser known stories from the war. There are also images and links to our records held here at The National Archives.

The full story is at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/951.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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

PRONI events in Belfast - September to November

From PRONI (www.proni.gov.uk):

At a Glance....PRONI Autumn Schedule

CONFERENCE: Researching the First World War – Sources and Resources
When: 5 September 2014, 10am – 4.30pm

CONFERENCE: By Land, Sea and Air - Transport & Mobility through the archives
When: 8 September, 9.30am – 4.30pm

BOOK LAUNCH: 1641 Depositions (Irish Manuscripts Commission)
When: 9 September, 1pm – 2pm

European Heritage Open Days 2014
When: 13 – 14 September, 9am – 4.45pm (Saturday 13th), 10am – 4pm (Sunday 14th)

LUNCHTIME TALK: Rita Duffy (artist)
When: 19 September, 1pm – 2pm

Culture Night 2014 – PRONI and the Home Front
When: 19 September, 4.30pm – 7.30pm

THE ROAD TO WAR LECTURE SERIES: Ireland’s Entry Into War, 1914: Acceptance or Refusal?, Dr Catriona Pennell, University of Exeter
When: 25 September, Ulster Museum Lecture Theatre, 7pm

THE ROAD TO WAR LECTURE SERIES: Militarism in Ireland, 1912–18, Professor David Fitzpatrick, Trinity College, Dublin
When: 9 October, PRONI, 7pm

BELFAST CORPORATION LECTURE SERIES: Introduction to the Belfast Council, Robert Corbett, Belfast City Council
When: 14 October, 1pm – 2pm

LUNCHTIME TALK: An Unrepentant Romantic - Remembering Richard Hayward by Paul Clements
When: 17 October, 1pm – 2pm

BELFAST CORPORATION LECTURE SERIES: Building the City Hall, Robert Corbett, Belfast City Council
When: 21 October, 1pm – 2pm

THE ROAD TO WAR LECTURE SERIES: 'If the nation is to be saved women must help in the saving’: Women and War in Ireland, 1914-18, Dr Senia Paseta, University of Oxford
Thursday 23 October, PRONI, 7pm

LUNCHTIME TALK: How to undertake War Grave Research – War Graves in Belfast, Nigel Henderson
When: 24 October, 1pm – 2pm

BELFAST CORPORATION LECTURE SERIES: Signature Events at Belfast City Hall, Robert Corbett, Belfast City Council
When: 28 October, 1pm – 2pm

LUNCHTIME TALK: How to undertake War Grave Research – War Graves in Northern Ireland, Nigel Henderson
When: 31 October, 1pm – 2pm

BELFAST CORPORATION LECTURE SERIES: Councils and Corporations, Ian Montgomery, PRONI
When: 4 November, 1pm – 2pm

Full details at http://www.proni.gov.uk/index/exhibitions_talks_and_events/talks_and_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 please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks