Wednesday, 31 December 2014

FamilyRelatives adds 1841-1901 censuses subscription

From FamilyRelatives (www.familyrelatives.com):

We are celebrating the beta launch of the Censuses 1841-1901 and are offering 5,000 Census Subscriptions at a 25%* discount that's an incredible 3 months extra to your 12 month subscription at no extra cost.

That is a fantastic 15 months access for just £29.95 (or less than £2.00 a month). Simply select the Census Subscription on the purchase page and your additional 3 months will be added automatically to you your subscription.

We believe that this offer is unrivaled and is the best value access to the Births, Deaths, Marriages and the 1841-1901 Censuses for England & Wales currently available. You can access all the records on the website with millions of births, deaths, marriages, census, military, parish and international records which are all included in the “Census subscription”.

You must hurry though if you don’t want to miss out and once the first 5,000 Census subscriptions are gone that’s it. Offer is valid for 7 days or when the discounted subscriptions run out.

Enjoy 25% off & also get 3 months extra. Offer is valid for 7 days or when discounted subscription runs out.

NB: This collections contains the English and Welsh censuses, as we
ll as the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Scotland and Ireland are not included. From what I can see, the Premium Census Subscription also offers all the records available through the Standard subscription (which costs £25 for 12 months access), you just get the censuses as additional content for the £29.95 subscription.

(With thanks to FamilyRelatives)

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

Happy New Year for 2015 from Scotland!

It's been a mad old year here in Scotland, and we've another mad new year ahead of us!

Happy New Year / Bliadhna Mhath Ùr / Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise Daoibh from the Paton household in the west of Scotland - here's to a wealth of genealogical plunder in 2015!


(We couldn't afford a family photo, so my youngest son Jamie recreated us in Lego. Yes, I'm a wizard Harry, and the toy monkey is called Cokey...!)

Chris

For details on my range of genealogy guide books please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

Monday, 29 December 2014

London Metropolitan Archives beginners events in January 2015

London Metropolitan Archives has a series beginners sessions for those wishing to use the archive. The following is a summary:

Use LMA: Getting Started
Talk & tour
Tuesday 6 January, 11 - 11.30 am
Free - booking essential. Book online at Eventbrite.
Come along and tour the Information Area to find out how to get the best out of our research facilities. Meet at the Information Area desk.

Handling Documents at LMA
Workshop
Wednesday 7 January, 1 - 2 pm
Free - drop in session.
This practical session at London Metropolitan Archives aims to help you to handle archival items in the most appropriate way. As well as demonstrating how to handle various archival formats, a Conservator will also explain the dos and don’ts that apply in the Archive Study Area.

Family History Starter Sessions: Using LMA’s Digital Resources
Workshop
Thursday 8 January, 2.30 - 3.30 pm
Free - booking essential. Book online at Eventbrite.
Starting your family history? Come along to this workshop and learn how to get the most out of digitised family history sources, including LMA’s records on Ancestry. This workshop is aimed at beginners.

Use LMA: Using the Catalogue
Talk & tour
Wednesday 14 January, 11 - 11.30 am
Free - booking essential. Book online at Eventbrite.
There are 3.5 million record descriptions in our online catalogue! Let us help you find your way around with advice and guidance for searching the LMA OPAC.

A Visit to Conservation
Tour
Thursday 15 January, 2 - 3 pm
Free - booking essential. Book online at Eventbrite.
Meet members of the Conservation team and find out about the essential work which preserves our records for future generations.

Use LMA: Getting Started
Talk & tour
Wednesday 21 January, 11 - 11.30 am
Free - booking essential. Book online at Eventbrite.
Come along and tour the Information Area to find out how to get the best out of our research facilities. Meet at the Information Area desk.

Use LMA: Using the Catalogue
Talk & tour
Tuesday 27 January, 11 - 11.30 am
Free - booking essential. Book online at Eventbrite.
There are 3.5 million record descriptions in our online catalogue! Let us help you find your way around with advice and guidance for searching the LMA OPAC.

To book a place for any of these events visit http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/london-metropolitan-archives-2913691059

(With thanks to LMA)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Ulster Historical Foundation adds Cromwellian estate forfeiture records

From the Ulster Historical Foundation (www.ancestryireland.com), news of another database that has been added to the members area:

We are pleased to announce the addition of another database to our members’ section of our website, titled ‘Forfeiting Proprietors in Ireland, under the Cromwellian Settlement, 1657’.

This database of over 4,000 entries details the names of those, mostly Irish Catholics, by county and barony, whose estates were confiscated as part of the Cromwellian settlement of the 1650s.

In some cases the actual locality was recorded, in others a note describing the person was included, for example ‘killed at the siege of Derry, as a beseiger’ or ‘A Scotch Protestant, and in Arms agst, the State, in 1649’.

Counties covered were Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Fermanagh, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Londonderry, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Sligo, Tyrone and Wexford.

This list of names has been transcribed from O'Hart’s Irish Landed Gentry when Cromwell Came to Ireland.

To acquire membership, please visit the Foundation's website (see above).

(With thanks to the UHF)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Ellis Island records coverage extended to 1957

I've had an email from the Ellis Island Foundation records website, which recently relaunched at http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/, announcing a new museum experience for those who can get to New York, and more importantly for genealogists, an extension to its online records provision on the website:

We are excited to report that we're heading into the final stretch of the completion of the Peopling of America® Center! Due to your support over the past few years, the Post-Ellis immigration wing at Ellis Island, along with a dynamic new museum entrance, are scheduled to open next spring. If you haven't already visited the Pre-Ellis Era immigration galleries, we certainly urge you to plan a trip next summer so you can see your contributions at work in this expanded museum experience, soon to be renamed Ellis Island: The National Museum of Immigration.

We also want to thank you for your dedication and patience during the launch of our new website. With your valuable observations and suggestions we have made important changes and will continue working to improve the site. We are pleased that this new technology has allowed us to fulfill a desire expressed by many of you: expanding our Ellis Island/Port of New York arrivals database to include the years 1925-1957. That's over 50 million records available for free search online! The website also offers new features such as oral histories by Ellis immigrants and workers, family immigration stories submitted by our Members, and networking opportunities among newly-discovered relatives.

The Ellis Island Foundation is also constantly looking for donations to help fund its services - to make a donation, please visit http://libertyellisfoundation.org/donate.

COMMENT: I had to use the new website last week for the first time to search for a passenger record, and initially found it to be quite a culture shock from the previous incarnation. That said, once I got used to the new set up, I actually found it considerably better to use than its predecessor. So if approaching it for the first time in a while, persevere - it is worth it! The passenger search is directly accessible at http://libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger.

(With thanks to the Ellis Island folk)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

My professional family history research service

Whilst many of you will read my genealogy blog for all the latest news and information that I can get my hands on concerning British and Irish genealogical research, and perhaps also my magazine articles and books on family history topics, I do work primarily as a professional genealogist, mainly within Scottish family history research, but also to some extent with Irish (particularly Northern Irish) and English research. (There's a bit of blurb about me at the top of this blog or via http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-chris-paton.html in terms of my qualifications and background.)

Whilst I can carry out research to establish family trees as gifts and presents, I also carry out considerably more work on 'brick wall' problems, where a detailed knowledge of areas such as Scottish land records and nonconformist church records can often lead to the resolution of problems using records not found online. In addition I can source and transcribe documents written in archaic forms of Scots and older handwriting styles such as Secretary Hand, such as sasines and tacks, and also explain the meanings of various documents such as trust dispositions, retours, charters and other document types. In addition to carrying out research at archives and libraries in Scotland, such as the National Records of Scotland or at various local archives, I do also carry out regular research trips to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast.

For several years my research rate has stayed the same at £20 per hour, plus expenses, but in the new year I will be increasing my rate from January 12th to £24 per hour. However, for any enquiries received prior to January 12th 2015, I will be happy to continue to research at my current rate of £20 per hour, plus expenses, no matter how small or large the work required.

So, if you have a research problem that you wish for me to address, or if you wish to establish a family tree for yourself or for others as a gift, please do drop me a note at enquiry@scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk and I will be more than happy to discuss your requirements. In the meantime, further information on my services is available at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

How to find 19th century Irish poor removals from Britain

In Britain the holding of the legal right of ‘settlement’ in a parish determined whether a person could claim poor relief from the relevant parochial authority when the chips were down, perhaps through unemployment or the ravages of old age. If a person did not hold an automatic right to settle, he or she could still move to a new parish with a ‘settlement certificate’ from his or her previous parish, which basically noted that the home parish would act as guarantor and accept liability if the applicant ever required poor relief from his or her new intended home. Without the right of settlement, a person could be forcibly removed from the parish in order to save it from a financial burden for which it did not wish to be responsible.

When the new poor law amendments acts were introduced in England and Wales in 1834, and in Scotland in 1845, the system of settlement was simplified, and new concepts such as ‘irremovability’ introduced, guaranteeing people the right to stay within a parish if they had already been there for a specific period of years. Under the new system, the process of removals continued. Although it died down considerably towards the end of the 19th century, such removals in fact continued until the abolition of the unions in 1930.

Amongst those who were affected by removal were thousands of Irish applicants in Britain. If upon examination it was found that they had no right of settlement they could be deported from the nearest port back to their home parishes of origin in Ireland, with the cost for such a removal charged to those parishes, even if they had been in Britain for decades. The result is that a wealth of documentation has survived concerning the fate of thousands of Irish folk forcibly ejected from the country and sent back over the water.

The primary place to start when searching for names of those removed is the local British county record office covering the area of interest. If you think that an ancestor spent some time in a workhouse (England/Wales) or poorhouse (Scotland), or claimed poor relief, a useful site to get you started in trying to find their initial application for such assistance is the Workhouses website at www.workhouses.org. Each institution has a dedicated page providing information on its history and any records known to exist, as well as noting the record office holding them (usually with a link to its site). Alternatively you can also search the catalogued holdings of most British records offices through the English based National Archives catalogue Discovery at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/advanced-search or via the Scottish Archive Network at www.scan.org.uk/catalogue.

The Moving Here website is sadly no longer available, but when running it cited a good example of the types of records you might find in such offices - thankfully the page has been cached by the Internet Archive at https://web.archive.org/web/20120516032448/http://movinghere.org.uk/galleries/histories/irish/settling/removal_1.htm. Amongst the many record types illustrated is a digitised copy of one of sixty five volumes from 1801-1835 recording the names of poor people who were deported from Liverpool to Ireland (in this case from the year 1834), as sourced from Lancashire Record Office. The site also gives examples of other useful records, including the original examination papers relating to an individual’s case, as well as material relating to the removal as held in the relevant Quarter Session’s papers for the area in question.

Another extremely useful website listing such removals is the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers site at http://parlipapers.chadwyck.co.uk/marketing/index.jsp. Unfortunately this is only available through subscribing libraries and academic institutions, and not to general public access. Here in Scotland, access is freely available to the public via the National Library of Scotland's Licensed Digital Collections (https://auth.nls.uk/ldc/).

The database itself contains all of the sessional papers created by the House of Commons from 1800-2008, with additional material going back as early as 1688. Amongst these papers are letters concerning individual cases and detailed annual reports from the second half of the 19th century recounting vast lists of Irish people on a parish by parish basis who were returned to Ireland. In addition to providing their names, the British parish of residence and the parish in Ireland to which they were removed, they also contain additional information such as their ages, the number of members within their family who were deported alongside them, the length of time spent in Britain and the causes for their removal.


To find the records on the website, the simplest way is to search using the catalogue, though you may need to use various search terms to locate the records, such as ‘poor removal’ and a date range. The earlier 19th century records tend to concern ether various bills and legislation on the poor laws themselves. The records listing removals in this period tend to be more statistical in nature, with most not naming those who were removed, and instead providing numbers of ejected from each parish with any associated costs. It is not until the middle of the century when more genealogically useful material begins to appear on the site. A good example is a 16 page document from 1849 listing correspondence between the Poor Law Commissioners of Ireland and England concerning the removal of a man called John McCoy from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Armagh in the previous year. Originally from Keady, McCoy had lived in Northumberland for 46 years, the last fifteen of which had been in All Saints parish in Newcastle, which should have rendered him ‘irremovable’. Despite this, he was deported after having claimed just three days poor relief at the workhouse, causing something of a row across the Irish Sea.

The first detailed list of paupers on the site is that published in 1863 detailing all the destitute poor removed from England and Scotland and sent back to Ireland from December 1st 1860 – December 1st 1862. Several similar reports then follow, with the latest equivalent list dating from 1878. The records are surprisingly detailed and list many individuals and their causes for removal, but are unfortunately not keyword searchable. This means that you will have to browse your way through them to the parish of interest. In most cases the counties and parishes are presented in alphabetical order, although the names of the individuals are not so arranged within each parish list.

The records can be immensely detailed. In 1875, for example, a listing for a Margaret Gillespie is noted by the authorities in Sunderland, describing her removal to Belfast. Although her age is not recorded, the record states that she had two children, four year old Mary Ellen and six months old Charles, and that she had resided in England for seventeen years, though with a ‘considerable time spent in Scotland’. The reason for her removal is given as her ‘inability to earn a livelihood’. In returns for Lancaster in the 1878 report, the information is laid out more formally, almost as if it was a census return. Patrick Mulhall aged 45, his wife Bessy aged 40, children Mary (19), Ellen, (17), Michael (15), Joseph (7) and Elizabeth (5) are each recorded separately one after the other, with all noted as having been in the city for seven months, and having returned to Belfast for a ‘want of work’.

Not everybody was forcibly removed though, and cases are also included of voluntary resettlement. In 1878, for example, 15 year old Luke Kerr is noted as having been in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire for some 19 weeks, but was removed voluntarily after recovering from the affects of an accident. Relatives in Ireland had advanced money to the poor law authorities in the city to pay for his removal, and he was then sent back to Skerries in County Dublin.

If you cannot gain access, some records are freely available on Raymond’s County Down website at www.raymondscountydownwebsite.com/html/index2.htm, covering the years from 1867-1869, and 1875-1878. Well worth a look!


For more on Irish research, check out my Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet book from Pen and Sword, available in paperback or in an e-edition - see my Books section above, where you can also find a range of other useful Scottish and British genealogy based titles.

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Free webinar on use of TNA's Discovery catalogue

The National Archives in England is hosting a free webinar on Monday 19th January 2015 entitled Using Discovery, our online catalogue. The webinar starts at 4pm, and you need to a book a place to participate. For further details see www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/events/webinar-using-discovery.htm

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Scottish Highlander Photo Archive now on Facebook

The Scottish Highlander Photo Archive and the Andrew Paterson Collection now also have dedicated Facebook pages located at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scottish-Highlander-Photo-Archive/312290658959675?fref=nf and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-Paterson-Collection/1498633620419866

The main SHPA website at www.scottishhighlanderphotoarchive.co.uk is updated with new images on an irregular basis (7,554 so far), whilst the Andrew Paterson biographical website at www.patersoncollection.co.uk, about a well known Inverness based photographer, is a static site with no updates. The purpose of the Facebook pages is to present additional material from the SHPA and
the Paterson Collection on a more regular basis.

(With thanks to Adrian Harvey)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

New third party databases added to Ancestry

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has added to three third party databases to its site - databases for which it permits searches, but where full details need to be obtained from a third party source. These are:

Web: UK, Coal Mining Accidents and Deaths Index, 1700-1950
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9735
Source: The Coalmining History Resource Centre

Web: United Kingdom, Women's Royal Air Force Index, 1918-1920
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=70694
Source: The National Archives at Kew

Web: Gloucestershire, England, Overseers Index, 1615-1888
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9741
Source: Gloucestershire County Council

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Denbighshire Archives hours cut from January

Denbighshire Archives has annoucned its new opening hours, with the service now just opening for two and half days a week.

The new hours are:

Monday- CLOSED
Tuesday- CLOSED
Wednesday- 1.30pm-4.30pm
Thursday- 9.30am-4.30pm
Friday- 9.30am-4.30pm

Further details are available at https://denbighshirearchives.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/new-opening-times-for-2015/. The archive's website is at https://www.denbighshire.gov.uk/en/resident/libraries-and-archives/denbighshire-archives/denbighshire-archives.aspx

(With thanks to Martin James via LinkedIn)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Naval and Military Press sale

Naval and Military Press is having a sale of its books, with a 20% discount. The sale ends on January 26th 2015. For further details visit www.naval-military-press.com.

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Friday, 26 December 2014

Eneclann's half price sale in Ireland

Ireland's Eneclann (www.eneclann.ie) is offering a sales promotion also:

All of our publications are now 50% OFF from today until January 12th 2015.

Many of our titles are now available on digital download, so you could get yourself a hard-disk full of serious bargains long before waiting the postman's return to action from his well-deserved holiday rest**.

If you purchase a download title and don't receive your download link immediately, don't worry - this is a busy time of year for us but we'll be on the case when your order is confirmed, and you should receive your link within a few hours or so.

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

New releases on FindmyPast as part of Start Your Family Tree promotion

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has some new collections available from today, as part of its Start Your Family Tree sales promotion. The new collections are:

Over 2.2 million New South Wales Births 1889-1914: a comprehensive index to the birth certificates from two distinct separate sets of records: the NSW Pioneers Index dating between 1788 and 1889; and the NSW Federation Index covering 1889 to 1918.

Over 1.6 million New South Wales Marriages 1788-1945.

Over 2.6 million New South Wales Deaths 1788-1945 .

Over 60,000 Devon Social & Institutional Records, gathered from 127 separate sources covering daily life in the 18th and 19th centuries

Over 11,000 Yorkshire, Sheffield Quarter Sessions 1880-1912. The court of Quarter Sessions was established in 1880 and its initial function was to hear criminal cases. The court sat every quarter, usually in January, April, July and October and, after each session, a Calendar of Prisoners was published to record the personal details of people tried at the session and their offences.

Over 17,000 South Yorkshire Asylum admission records spanning the years between 1872 and 1910. Records can reveal not only when a patient was admitted to the asylum, but also the suspected cause of their insanity and whether or not they recovered.

Over 45,000 Yorkshire, Sheffield Cathedral Church of St Peter & St Paul burial Index 1767-1812 records covering the period from 1767 to 1812.

Over 41,000 Lanarkshire, the people of New Lanark 1785-1935 records. This collection was formed using all surviving Lanark church records (baptisms, marriages, communion lists, irregular marriages and cases of fornication), Sheriff Court and High Court records (small debt and minor and major crime) as well as the Lanark prison register.

Over 90,000 United States, Revolutionary War Pensions containing the details of Revolutionary War veterans and their families. Pension applications for veterans of the Barbary and Indian wars can also be found.

You can also subscribe for a month at just £1. Further details at https://www.findmypast.co.uk/start-your-family-tree-week

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Ancestry.co.uk discount for new subscribers

If you ae just starting out on your family tree, the Ancestry website at www.ancestry.co.uk offers one of the world's largest platforms of records data and family tree information. The site has a new subscriber offer for a forty per cent discount, meaning that a year's subscription will cost just £69.99.

If you want to have a quick play before deciding whether you should subscribe or not, the site's UK collections are freely accessible until the end of Boxing Day/St. Stephen's Day.

For further details visit https://secure.ancestry.co.uk/subscribe/signup/register/O-24389?rtype=11&flowId=NewYears2015_UK&o_xid=63697&o_lid=63697&o_sch=Email

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

National Archives bookshop sale

The bookshop of the National Archives in England is holding a sale, with up to 70% discount on many titles. For further details visit http://bookshop.nationalarchives.gov.uk/.

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Free access to Scottish Valuation Rolls online

From ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk):

For the 12 days of Christmas, the Valuation Rolls are completely FREE to search!

From now until 6th January 2015, you can browse the index searches for Valuation Rolls 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1920 and the newly-released 1925 free of charge.

Have fun!

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Have a great Christmas break!

It's been a bit quiet on this blog over the last week or so as I have been working fast and furiously (but oh-so-methodically!), to deliver on research reports for clients from as far afield as Canada to Australia, and I have been up to my eyes in sasines, tacks, parish registers, estate papers, legal dictionaries and all sorts! Thankfully I'm now just about there, and getting ready to enjoy a great festive break here in Scotland.

This year has been one heck of a year for me personally, having initially to deal with the aftermath of my mother's death from bladder cancer at the end of November last year, and then straight into the roller coaster that was Scotland 2014, with everything from being a spectator at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to canvassing enthusiastically in the Scottish independence referendum, an event that has changed our country forever, and quite considerably for the better (heck, I'm even in a political party now, despite there being absolutely no mention in the weather report of Hell having frozen over!). On the genealogy front I have been on trips overseas to Niagara in Canada to speak at the conference of the Niagara Peninsula Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (www.ogs.on.ca/niagara), a trip to Portugal to participate in a wonderful Lost Cousins conference (www.lostcousins.com), and another fantastic genealogy cruise with Unlock the Past (www.unlockthepastcruises.com) in Australia. It's also been the busiest year yet for client research, with some extraordinary projects, and some equally amazing personal research finds, buried amongst Perthshire estate records and within the vast resources of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

The Scottish Genealogy Network (www.scottishgenealogynetwork.blogspot.co.uk) has grown from strength to strength, with around forty members now, all working in some capacity as professional genealogists in Scotland, and we have enjoyed various archive visits and CPD sessions in venues from as far afield as Inverness to Edinburgh, and with our first international collaboration taking place next year here in Scotland (more on that in due course!). We even had a fantastic Who Do You Think You Are Live event in Glasgow for the first time, albeit for slightly shorter than had originally been advertised, not to mention the event's more regular slot in London earlier in the year.

If there is one genealogy development or highlight in the last year that I would say has been revolutionary, however, it has to be the launch of the Northern Irish GRO records platform, GENI, at https://geni.nidirect.gov.uk. Quite simply, after 14 years of performing research into my Irish family from here in Scotland, I can safely say that this site has transformed both my ancestral research in Ulster and the available funds within my bank account in equal measure! It goes to show that when a government gets on message, it can provide the most extraordinary catalyst not only for our extraordinary hobby, but also the subsequent revenue that will undoubtedly follow from ancestral tourism as folk return to our shores to look for their ancestral roots, whether in Scotland, Ireland, or elsewhere in Britain or the isles. To Alison McQueen, Alistair Butler, and all those at GRONI who made this project a reality (hell, I'm even going to toast NI's politicians here!), a hearty thanks from over the water...!

Next year I'm already scheduled for three more overseas trips (two events in Canada, a return to Portugal and a genie cruise around the Baltic countries), and am ready to get stuck in with research and other projects, including an updated book title and a new title for Unlock the Past, tutoring on Pharos courses on Scottish ancestry, and a wee bit more besides...! I'm intending to push the research side even more also, so do take a look at my research site at www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk if you're needing some ancestral help (help, not therapy!).

In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday break, and I look forward to getting stuck back in again shortly!

Some personal highlights from the year...!



Nollaig Chridheil, Nollaig Shona Dhaoibh, Merry Christmas - see you on the other side! :)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Free access to Ancestry.co.uk this Christmas

Good news from Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) for Christmas...

FREE ACCESS DECEMBER 24-26

Access more than a billion UK records and find your family’s story.
Explore all UK records FREE* and discover the lives of your ancestors.
Search free now

*Access to the records in the featured collections will be free from 12:01 am GMT on 24 December 2014 until 23:59 pm GMT on 26 December 2014. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an Ancestry.co.uk paid membership.

To see a full list of the records in the featured collections (and it is a hell of a lot!) visit http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/group/uk_irish_records

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Have RootsIreland search restrictions been removed?

I've been using the RootsIreland (www.rootsireland.ie) search today for some personal research, and it seems that some of the search restrictions that were imposed when it went to a subscription model recently have been lifted. I now seem to be able to do searches for children born to 2 parents without needing the child's name, and with a plus or minus year range of 10 years instead of 5. I've tweeted them to ask if they have indeed lifted the restrictions put in, but on today's work, it seems to be much more fit for purpose again. Will bring an update or response if I get one.

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Friday, 19 December 2014

FindmyPast adds 1871 Worldwide Army Index, and other record sets

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has released a few new UK collections on its site today. The most interesting is a new Worldwide Army Index from 1871, effectively acting as a census substitute for soldiers posted overseas that year (and following on from the already long established 1861 Worldwide Army Index):

Military Records
The 1871 Worldwide British Army Index - British Army Other Ranks & locations contains over 207,000 records compiled using data extracted from the War Office army pay lists held in The National Archives at Kew. As with the 1861 Worldwide Army Index the primary aim has been to identify the location of men serving in the British Army throughout the world as at the 1871 Census day – 2 April 1871. However, the index generally covers much of the June Quarter 1871. The Index contains the details of both officers and men of the Cavalry, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Guards, Infantry and Colonial units serving both in Britain and elsewhere in the British Empire. archives reference.

Also released:
  • England deaths and burials, 1538-1991 contain over 14 million International Genealogical Index (IGI) death and burial records for England
  • Wales, deaths and burials, 1586-1885 contain over 1,200 International Genealogical Index (IGI) death and burial records for Wales (mainly Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire)
  • The Ryedale baptisms contain over 12,000 records listing the details of Baptisms that took place in nine parishes across the Ryedale district in North Yorkshire.
  • Kent, Bexley Asylum Minute Books 1901-1939
  • North West Kent Marriages 1562-1951, Burials 1686-1983, and Baptisms 1560-1962 from the Parish of Westerham.

Further details at http://blog.findmypast.co.uk/fridays/

(With thanks to Alex Cox)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Scottish poll tax records from 1690s go online

The ScotlandsPlaces website (www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk) has added thousands of Scottish poll tax records online, as held within 88 registers at the National Records of Scotlnd. From the NRS news re3lease:

Poll taxes were imposed in 1694, 1695 and twice in 1698 in order to pay for the Scottish army and navy. Almost 1500 pages of tax records provide a snapshot of thousands of Scots from every walk of life, from cottars to dukes. They complement other historical tax records already available at ScotlandsPlaces in revealing life for ordinary people in late seventeenth century Scotland. From aristocrats to workmen, the Scottish poll tax rolls from the reign of William and Mary reveal an extraordinary range of people who were liable to pay the tax imposed to meet the cost of foreign wars and the defence of the kingdom. Searchable by parish, the tax rolls provide a valuable new resource for social and family history.

For details of the coverage visit ScotlandsPlasces dedicated Poll tax page at www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/news/poll-tax-1694-1698



(And before any local councils get excited, I think any arrears from this lot have long been written off...!)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

ScotlandsPeople website to be overhauled

The National Records of Scotland (www.nrscotland.gov.uk) is advertising a service contract for a consultancy to redesign the ScotlandsPeople platform at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, which has been running since 2002 under the care of Dundee based DC Thomson Family History (previously Brightsolid). The new site and service is intended to go online to the public in September 2016, with the new service contract running for 4 years, and with an option to extend it by two more (2 x 12 month extensions).

From the tender:

NRS wishes to appoint a service provider to deliver a flexible service which we anticipate will be developed and expanded over the course of the contract. The service provider will deliver web design, application development, search functionality, e-commerce, testing, secure web hosting, infrastructure, website management (including further expansion) and support for the replacement service to support internet access to the official ScotlandsPeople online service (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk). The replacement service must go live to public users on 1.9.2016, when the current contract expires.

It is expected the new service provider will begin design and development of the new service from August 2015 with all testing phases completed and signed-off by the end of July 2016 in readiness for the new website service to go live on 1 September 2016, ensuring the ScotlandsPeople service to the public is seamlessly maintained from the ‘Go live' date.

The deadline for applicants is January 20th 2015. Full details for the NRS requirements can be viewed at http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:426525-2014:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0

(With thanks to Design Week at www.designweek.co.uk/latest-opportunities/scottish-family-history-service-to-be-overhauled/3039564.article)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Ulster Historical Foundation adds eight new databases

The Ulster Historical Foundation has added several new databases to its Ancestry Ireland platform at www.ancestryireland.com including two major new databases for those with Roman Catholic ancestry from Belfast. Here's the detail:

We are thrilled to announce the addition of eight new databases to the members’ section of our website, containing over 36,300 new names.

The largest database is the burial register of Milltown Cemetery in Belfast covering the years 1869 to 1895 and containing over 27,000 names.

Milltown Cemetery, which opened in 1869, is located on the Falls Road in Belfast and is the main Catholic cemetery in Belfast.

The database contains the name, age and address of the deceased as well as the date of burial and is an invaluable resource for researching Belfast ancestors many of whom moved frequently.

In addition to this burial register, we have a database containing over 1,600 names of those who purchased burial plots in Milltown Cemetery between 1924 and 1931, detailing their names and addresses.

We have also added over 5,400 names by townland and parish from the 1803 Agricultural Census for County Down, as well as the names of those subscribing to the publication of the ‘Historic Memorials of the First Presbyterian Church in Belfast’ in 1887 and the names of members of First Derry Presbyterian Church by pew number from the year 1883.

Earlier records which have been transcribed by our volunteers include a petition by residents of the parishes of Kilrea and Tamlaght O’Crilly in County Londonderry which declared the signatories to be opposed to the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland in 1745; a list of those who were restored to their estates in Ireland by King Charles II in 1660 and a list of those people who were issued with transplanters’ certificates in 1653 and 1654 to move to Connaught.

Access to the database is free for members of the Foundation.

(With thanks to the Ulster Historical Foundation)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Jersey headstone inscriptions added to The Genealogist

It's all been very quiet from TheGenealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk) in terms of any news releases, so I've had a quick look on the site to see what's been happening. The latest news is that some 22,000 records have been added to their Headstone project with inscriptions from 23 cemeteries from the Island of Jersey. Also available are inscriptions from 13 cemeteries from Buckinghamshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Somerset, The West Midlands and Wiltshire.

For further details visit www.thegenealogist.co.uk/news/#latest and www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2014/the-hidden-treasures-of-gravestones-209/.

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Games of Crowns exhibition looks at the 1715 Jacobite Rising

The National Library of Scotland is hosting an exhibition as part of the lead up to the three hundredth anniversary of the 1715 Jacobite rising, when Jacobites loyal to James VII  first rose up against the Hanoverian regime, just 8 years after the union of Scotland and England to create the political entity of Great Britain. The exhibition charts the period from 1688, with William of Orange's arrival in England, to the Rising itself. Here's the blurb from the NLS exhibitions page (www.nls.uk/exhibitions) :

Game of Crowns: The 1715 Jacobite rising

10 December to 10 May

Treachery, power struggles, royal in-fighting and religious wrangling are all reflected in the 'Game of Crowns' exhibition at the National Library of Scotland.

The exhibition tells the story of the 1715 Jacobite rising as the 300th anniversary approaches. Using contemporary records, books, maps, portraits and songs, it explains this turbulent period of British history.

One of the documents on display will be the order for the massacre of Glencoe in 1692, when 38 members of the clan MacDonald were slaughtered because of their suspected Jacobite sympathies.

The attempt to restore the Stuart dynasty to the throne ended in defeat with James VIII — the Old Pretender — returning to exile in France. Thirty years later, his son, Bonnie Prince Charlie, suffered a similar fate with the failure of the 1745 uprising.

The exhibition looks in detail at the period from 1688 to 1715 and the fierce contest for Crown of Great Britain, closing with a look ahead to 1745.

For further details visit www.nls.uk/exhibitions/jacobites

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Friday, 12 December 2014

North Tipperary records added to RootsIreland

Tipperary North Genealogy Centre has added the Roman Catholic parish of Loughmore-Castleiney from 1798-1899 to its database at www.tipperarynorth.rootsireland.ie, also accessible via www.rootsireland.ie.

COMMENT: RootsIreland is a transcript based site, and currently the largest online presence for Irish parish records available. I just wanted to flag up an example of how the site can both hinder and yet help at the same time.

Last week I was trying to locate a marriage from Ulster for a couple that I believed were Church of Ireland in terms of their religious denomination. I had located children from the mid-1860s, but could find no marriage on GRONI's GENI site (www.geni.nidirect.gov.uk), which was odd, as the civil registration of Anglican marriages commenced in April 1845. There was similarly nothing in the Anglican parish records, which I consulted on microfilm in PRONI. As a last resort, I tried to find the marriage on RootsIreland. The couple I was searching for was a Robert McCOLLUM and a Letitia MOONEY, and no such entry was found. However, a Roman Catholic record in the same village dating back to 1850 was located for a couple called Patrick McCOLLUM and Letitia MONEY. It seemed unlikely, but I took a look at the microfilm anyway - and found that the RootsIreland transcript was in fact wrong. Not only was 'Patrick McCOLLUM' in fact a mistranscribed 'Robert McCOLLUM', but 'Letitia MONEY' was in fact recorded in the Catholic register as 'Letty MONEY' - Letty was what she was recorded as in some of the children's records that I had previously found. The fact that it was the right couple was confirmed when I later discovered that their (known about) first daughter was in fact baptised as Roman Catholic also. Not only had the transcriber misinterpreted Robert as Patrick, but he or she, for reasons best known to him/her, had also deliberately changed Letty to the more formal version of Letitia, which is not at all what was recorded in the register.

This flags up two points - the first is that the RootsIreland database can be exceptionally helpful as a finding aid. The second is, however, that it can also make some fairly spectacular mistakes with its transcripts. The moral here is that if using a transcription site (and RootsIreland is but one of many), ALWAYS check the original records if you can also. With Irish Roman Catholic registers this will become certainly much easier to do when the National Library of Ireland places its digitised microfilms online for free next summer 2015.

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

TNA podcast: First World War - putting it all together

A podcast from the National Archives in England that I have overlooked mentioning from November 18th, which may be of interest, is Audrey Collins' hour and ten minute long talk entitled Putting it all together: using archives to discover your community’s involvement in the First World War.

It can be located at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/first-world-war-community-putting-together-use-archives-piece-together-communitys-involvement-first-world-war/ or downloaded for free from iTunes.

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Northern Irish Petty Sessions Courts records

Following on from news that FindmyPast has completed the addition of petty sessions court registers for the Republic of Ireland to its site, as sourced from the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin (www.nationalarchives.ie), I've often wondered about the Northern Irish equivalents. Last week, I asked about this at PRONI in Belfast (www.proni.gov.uk). I was advised that the catalogue reference number for these is HA/1/1 up to HA/1/117.

Each collection varies in its coverage - HA/1/1 covers Ahoghill from 1918-1936, whilst HA/1/2 is for Antrim 1840-1980, for example. The HA prefix stands for the Ministry of Home Affairs.

I've not had a chance to play with them yet, so have no idea how easy or difficult they may be to use, or whether they might be indexed, but the easiest way to see what is held is to access the Browse function of PRONI's catalogue, and then under the category of H in the alphabetical list choose HA - the HA series will then be displayed in numeric order in list form.

Whilst records for some of my ancestors' areas disappointingly only seem to start from, or survive from, the early 20th century, Belfast looks particularly promising, with records going back to 1850.

Next time I go over, I'll see if I can find out a bit more!

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

FindmyPast completes Irish Petty Session Records collection

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has added another 700,000 entries to its Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912 collection, completing the set. The list of updates is noted at www.findmypast.co.uk/articles/irish-petty-sessions-order-books?_ga=1.120957198.748980542.1411385021.

There are also further additions to its English and Welsh marriages collections, and to its newspaper offerings. Further details area available at http://blog.findmypast.co.uk/fridays/.

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Highland Light Infantry's Glasgow battalions database

Glasgow City Archives has launched a new First World War database giving details of almost 2800 men who served in the 1st and 2nd Glasgow battalions of the Highland Light Infantry, aka the the Tramways Battalion and the Boys' Brigade Battalion. The database, drawn from data collated by volunteers John and Margaret Houston from Glasgow City Archive's holdings, is available in the form of an online PDF document at www.glasgowfamilyhistory.org.uk/ExploreRecords/Documents/HLI%20Glasgow%20Battalions%20Alphabetical.pdf. It includes details such as rank, religious denomination, height and even boot size.

For further details visit www.glasgowfamilyhistory.org.uk/blog/Pages/New-WW1-resource-released.aspx.

(With thanks to Kirsty Wilkinson)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

New Zealand cemetery records 1800-2007 on Ancestry

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has added a new database which may be of interest to those with New Zealand bound relatives. The New Zealand, Cemetery Records, 1800-2007 collection has been sourced from the New Zealand Society of Genenalgists, and contains information on some 1623788 individuals.

To access the collection visit http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=60547

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

English and Welsh wills available online from 1858-present

The Probate service has now launched its new online ordering service for wills and other probate materials for England and Wales for the period from 1858-1996, extending the already available provision for wills from 1996 to present, and soldiers wills. The service address is at https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk


On the front page there are only two search fields available, surname and year, both of which must be filled in. Once you have performed a search on these a page from the probate calendar for that year is returned (providing abbreviated summaries of estates that went through the court system, appointed executors, value etc), and an online ordering provision, for which you need to type in the date of probate, date of death, surname and forename, the relevant registry office (from a drop down menu), and the folio number. Once filled in, you then add your order to the basket.

I'm assuming that the calendar pages returned are done so on the basis of a search for the first three letters of a surname, as a search of Paton in one year returned two calendar pages, when in fact all those for Paton were located on the first page only. Just be careful when using it that if more than one page of calendar entries is returned, that there are in fact three separate buttons to see additional entries, marked previous year, next page or previous page (depending on which you are currently on), and next year - I've inadvertently clicked on the wrong one when using it before realising my error.

At present, English and Welsh calendar entries have previously only been available on Ancestry from 1858-1966, so this could be a very useful tool to obtain some basic and free information beyond that date before buying the will itself.

One thing I would urge the organisers to add, however, is a simple 'how to' guide and a bit of explanation about the probate system down south. It is great for genealogists and those who have previously read up on it, but for newcomers this site may be a bit spartan. It also wouldn't hurt to actually tell people up front what the costs of a document is going to be if ordered up - it is £10 per entry, and once paid you will have 31 days to access the copy of the will presented.

One other thing I have found is that for the provisions of date of death and date of probate which have to be added, there is a drop down calendar presented for you to select the relevant dates (which are mentioned in the calendar summaries). But it is actually presented in an online calendar format (i.e. a date calendar, not a probate one!), which means that it is also a potentially useful tool if you want to work out what day a particular date occurred on, going back to 1858.


A bit bland in appearance, and perhaps not particularly friendly for complete beginners, but this will certainly become a very useful tool for those studying English and Welsh family history.

(With thanks to Wendy Archer)

UPDATE: I've been reading some online feedback from genealogists who regularly use the English/Welsh service. A couple of issues have been flagged up - the first is that there is an issue in finding probate in 1996 for people who who died in 1995. More alarmingly, it seems that there are quite a few gaps in the calendar images available - so if death took place pre-1967, it may be worth double checking with the Ancestry calendar images also in case there is something available there that isn't on the probate service site. Ancestry's calendars collection is entitled England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966 and is available at http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=1904

(With thanks to Di Bouglas and Judy Lester)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Scottish 1925 Valuation Rolls now online

The ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) has now added the 1925 Valuation Rolls to its website. The rolls first commenced in 1855 on an annual publication basis. To dare, the rolls for 1875, 1885, 1895, 1915, 1920 and 1925 are now available.

For further infirmation visit http://nrscotland.gov.uk/news/2014/the-duke-and-the-tattooist-–-the-1925-valuation-rolls

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Family Historian version 6 now available

Calico Pie has now released its Family Historian Version 6 programme. For a list of new additions to the software, please visit www.family-historian.co.uk/features/whats-new-in-version-6.

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Latest news from PRONI (user forum update)

I was in Belfast today to attend the latest user forum meeting of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (www.proni.gov.uk), and to do a little bit of client research also. It’s been a busy day, in a festive city, but here’s a summary of the latest key developments from Northern Ireland’s national archive.

The session opened with an update by Wesley Geddis on the Irish Archive Resource platform (www.iar.ie), Ireland’s embryonic but rapidly growing equivalent to Scotland’s SCAN catalogue, and England’s Access to Archives catalogue (at least, that is before it was assimilated by the Borg, sorry, Discovery!). The all Ireland based site has been up and running for a few years, and indeed we had a presentation about it earlier in the year, but there has been something of a big push and relaunch with the platform in the last couple of months, which has seen it grow considerably.

There are currently 75 archive services contributing catalogue content to the platform, with some 500 collections now available to search – of these, 50 are from PRONI, though that is a still a drop in the ocean compared to the 10,000 collections that PRONI’s own website’s cataloguing efforts details. It was explained, however, that in this regard, IAR is not quite following the same remit as SCAN and A2A – whilst for some of the archives involved, IAR provides the only online catalogue, for PRONI the platform offers more of a sampler of content from the archive. When I asked about the nature of the material comprising the PRONI contribution, it was explained that some of the content is material that PRONI holds that is cross border in nature. Whilst Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are today separate countries, each of their national archives actually holds a great deal of content concerning the other’s jurisdiction, with, for example, some estates papers collections involving landowners who had territory and property in the north and the south when Ireland was a single country. Most of the archives represented on the site are located in the Republic, with only Derry City Council offering additional material from Northern Ireland at present.

Next up we had a digital preservation session from Hugh Campbell, who showed us the latest update to the online catalogue that will be happening when new digital content is added in the near future. The revised catalogue function will be very similar to its current incarnation, with an additional column offering a ‘digital record’ link if an image is available, whether a photo, Word document, PDF, etc. Hugh provided an interesting overview of how the archive processes digital contributions now, with most local council submissions to the archive from the early to mid 2000s now very much supplied in that format. There are five stages – 1) quarantine, where nothing is trusted until debugged etc!; 2) data preparation, the stage where metadata is added; 3) archival storage, 4) a back up created and replicated to a secondary data store; and then 5) access – first to the PCP internal catalogue (staff only acess), and then onwards to the CALM catalogue (PRONI’s search room based catalogue), and the online eCatalogue for home users.

Gavin McMahon then discussed a new online payment system that will hopefully be introduced by the end of this current financial year, to help facilitate payments handled by the archive’s enquiries unit. Gavin explained that last year PRONI received 3316 enquiries, 884 of which involved searches and document copying. I wasn’t aware that PRONI offered such a copying service, having assumed their wasn’t one, as the catalogue offers no links to purchase documents noted. But at present there is indeed a system where you can request PRONI to perform a search, for a fee, and to have any documents forwarded. This at present involves having to send forms to folk to which they then add their credit card details, but the new system will hopefully make the service a bit more 21st century friendly by offering a secure online payment platform.

Linking on from this, Glynn Kelso gave us a quick update on some welcome new developments coming through soon for search room users. PRONI is currently revising its fees schedules and its statutory rules, now that the archive is well and truly bedded in now at Titanic Quarter. The first change announced will be a simple one, but it is planned that mobile phones will be allowed in the search room, handy if you keep your family tree on an app! The caveat is that the ringer must be set to silent, and you still cannot use cameras on your phones or tablets. On that front though, a major development is also intended. Subject to a few t’s to be crossed and i’s to be dotted, PRONI is hoping to introduce a permit system to allow researchers to use cameras (inc tablets and phones) in the search rooms. Unlike the provision on this at TNA and at NRS, there will be a charge at PRONI, as Glynn explained that they have a statutory obligation to reclaim some income – however, we’ve been assured that any fees, when agreed, and if all issues concerning copyright and other similar matters are satisfactorily resolved, will be minimal. This is going to be a great development, and will add another useful document copying option in addition to the scanner already available in the productions area. All of these changes are hoped to be in place by the end of this financial year to mid 2015.

Sticking with the search rooms, another new addition to the archive is a new Registry of Deeds archive from 1923-1989, courtesy of Northern Ireland’s Land Property Services department. There are now two dedicated desks in the search room offering access, with searches on the database permitted by name of the grantor, and I think it was stated that there are three members of LPS now based at PRONI, so there should be someone on hand to help facilitate searches ands to retrieve the relevant memorials. I didn’t have time today to explore this further, but this sounds a potentially useful facility, not just for the legal fraternity, but for genealogists also.

Forthcoming events announced to be happening at PRONI include:

3 FEB 2015 – Seeking Refuge: Germany and Ireland in the 1930s – a half day Holocaust themed conference

18 MAR 2015 – first of a new ten part lunchtime family history lecture series to be held each Wednesday at PRONI, with PRONI staff and guest speakers offering talks on various subjects

30 APR 2015 – Gallipoli conference – a half day event in conjunction with the Western Front Association.

Other developments – one of the great things about the PRONI user forum is that you get to catch up with folk from other areas of the genealogy world. Gillian Hunt was at the meeting, and mentioned that the Ulster Historical Foundation (www.ancestryireland.com) now has a new publication out, Ballymena and the First World War, which is available from the organisation and at Ballymena Library – I think Gillian said it was free, but don’t quote me on that!

Also present at the meeting was Alison McQueen from GRONI. I asked her if the new GENI platform (www.geni.nidirect.gov.uk), which offers online access to images of NI based civil registration birth, marriage and death certificates, will receive an annual update, as ScotlandsPeople does each year, in January? In fact, that’s not how the GENI platform is set up – the closure periods for births (100 years), marriages (75 years) and deaths (50 years) that are implemented on the site to restrict access to more recent records, in fact move forward each week by a week (with occasional exceptions). So there is no need for an annual update – in this regard, that’s actually an improvement on the Scottish equivalent from NRS. Useful to know! GRONI will be exhibiting at WDYTYA Live next year in Birmingham, as will NIFHS (www.nifhs.org), but PRONI confirmed that it unfortunately will not be there.

Thanks to NIFHS’s Ann Robinson, there was one final bit of info that I gleaned, which I did not know about previously, which concerns the calendars for wills and probate materials as supplied by the probate service in NI. Apparently the authority is supposed to supply calendars up to four years ago on an annual rolling basis, but the most recent calendar available at PRONI is in fact for 2005. That may be useful to know if you are searching for a more recent will at the archive.

(With thanks to all at the meeting)


Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

More Irish dog license register entries added to FindmyPast

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has added 3.6 million more entries to its Irish dog license registers collection for Ireland.

For further details visit http://blog.findmypast.com/2014/our-latest-irish-records-3-6-million-new-dog-licence-registers/ - the coverage available is listed at www.findmypast.com/articles/ireland-dog-licence-registers---list-of-courts?_ga=1.146090100.1944738132.1410182647

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

West Yorkshire bastardy records

A new collection on Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) for those with Yorkshire connections:

West Yorkshire, England, Bastardy Records, 1690-1914
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=2582

Detailed list of the records in this collection:
  • Bingley and Haworth Township records, Bastardy receipts, 1803–1822
  • Bingley and Haworth Township records, Accounts of payments to mothers of illegitimate children and receipts under filiation orders, 1806–1825
  • Bingley and Haworth Township records, Bastardy payments,1810–1821
  • Bingley and Haworth Township records, Bastardy receipts, 1826–1843
  • Bingley and Haworth Township records, Payments to women previous to filiating and bastardy payments, 1827–1843
  • Bingley and Haworth Township records, Filiation orders, 1834
  • Magistrates' minute book covering Bingley, Idle, Heaton, Keighley and Haworth, 1817–1821
  • Bradford City Court Bastardy orders, 1894–1947
  • Brighouse Borough Bastardy orders, 1899–1951
  • Brotherton St Edward parish records, Bastardy orders, 1848
  • Upper Osgoldcross Court at Castleford, Bastardy orders, 1888–1946
  • Darrington with Wentbridge St Luke & All Saints parish records, Illegitimacy papers, 1794–1824
  • Emley St Michael parish records, 1743–1839
  • Hemsworth St Helen parish records, Bastardy bonds, 1690–1765
  • Horbury St Peter parish records, Bastardy book, 1834–1846
  • Huddersfield Magistrates, 1877–1899
  • Keighley division, Applications for bastardy orders, 1848–1880
  • Keighley (Court at Bingley), 1844–1915
  • Keighley (Court at Bingley), 1895–1959
  • Kippax St Mary parish records, Bastardy Orders, 1798–1843
  • Northowram Township bastardy accounts, 1817–1829
  • Royston St John the Baptist parish records, Bonds of putative fathers, 1714–1830
  • Royston St John the Baptist parish records, Affiliation papers and correspondence, 1770–1830
  • Royston St John the Baptist parish records, Affiliation accounts and vouchers, 1789–1826
  • Royston St John the Baptist parish records, Filiation orders, 1796–1831
  • Royston St John the Baptist parish records, Filiation proceedings, warrants, etc., 1812–1826
  • Sandal Magna St Helen parish records, 1783–1840
  • Sandal Magna St Helen parish records, Warrants to apprehend fathers, 1795–1830
  • Sandal Magna St Helen parish records, Bonds of Maintenance, 1796–1799
  • Sandal Magna St Helen parish records, Summons to reputed fathers, 1820–1831
  • Sandal Magna St Helen parish records, Warrants for disobeying bastardy orders, 1825–1842
  • Slaithwaite Bastardy orders, 1854
  • South Kirby All saints parish records, Filiation orders, 1792–1813
  • Thornhill Township Filiation orders and papers, 1767–1843
  • Thornhill Township Bastardy accounts, 1827–1857
  • Wakefield Borough, 1870–1915

The collection is sourced from West Yorkshire Archive Service in Wakefield

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Who Do You Think You Are Live 2015 tickets offer

From Who Do You Think You Are Live (www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com):

Tickets are now on sale for the next Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Coming to Birmingham for the first time, we’ve moved to the NEC and the show will now take place in Spring; from Thursday 16 to Saturday 18 April 2015. We can’t wait to bring the UK’s largest family history show to the West Midlands. For a limited time only, we're offering our exclusive early bird tickets - 2 tickets for £22. Quote EARLY2422 when booking. But hurry; it’s only available for two weeks so book now!

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Glasgow smallpox vaccination registers 1801-1825 online

The following announcement has just been emailed to me by Tahitia McCabe from the University of Strathclyde's genealogical studies programme, and concerns information gleaned from an archive visit attended by her students last week at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow:

"The archivist told us of a newly digitized resource that I thought folks might be interested in knowing about. We were told of a number of small pox vaccination registers which run from 1801-1896 from vaccination clinics run by the College for anyone who wished to have their child vaccinated. These were run in Glasgow but presumably could include people from outside Glasgow. They are arranged by date and there is no name index. The earlier ones have more details and from a look at the 1801 register the information taken down was:
  • Date of vaccination
  • Name (usually of the father)
  • Sex of the child being vaccinated
  • Name of the child (in some cases)
  • Age of the child being vaccinated
  • Place of abode
  • Name of people doing the vaccination

The registers for 1801-1825 have been digitized and can be viewed from the College’s website. A potentially important resource for information pre-civil registration.

The registers and a few more digitized resources can be found on their Digital Volumes website at: http://www.rcpsg.ac.uk/library/digitalvolumes.aspx "

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Update on recent London Probate Service developments

The following has been sent to me by Diana Bouglas, following a meeting at the London Probate Service yesterday to discuss concerns over the closure of the search room, the new online service, and the postal service from Leeds for probate documents.

Meeting Held at the London Probate Search Room on 2 December 2014

The meeting was led by Sarah Christou, Senior Operations Manager at HM Family Division. She was supported by Diane Rice and Mark Burden who are the probate managers for the southern and northern registries respectively. About 20 odd users attended, including six members of AGRA, professional probate genealogists, and amateur family historians.

There are two main items to report.

Firstly, the earlier period, which will (we were assured) go online on the 12th, will not look like the 1996+ period which is already avalable. For 1858-1995, images of the calendar pages will be available. The calendars used are the full London set which includes annotations, so things like further grants, reseals and folio numbers should also show. The search boxes we complete will be the same as with the 1996+ search but we will then be able to scroll through results via the calendar images page by page within a given year or forward and back from year to year. The cost will remain at £10 for now.

For 1996+, HMCTS managers acknowledged that the online service is currently deficient, especially regarding the lack of the deceased's address. The reason for this, we were told, was the interpretation of advice given by the Information Commissioner at the beginning of this project several years ago. The reason given was that living descendants might still be at the same address. Because there has been so much negative feedback, managers will now revisit this advice and see if it can be interpreted differently, allowing at least part of the deceased's address to be shown. If this is possible, the data might be added quite quickly. We were told that all this was quite feasible so long as the Information Commissioner is happy. In any event, the whole site is still being developed and is likely to evolve and change over the coming months.

Irrespective of what happens on the above, the London search room must close for new orders on the 12th and completely by the 19th. Search rooms at district registries throughout England and Wales will also be closing but they will keep at least some of them open until the 1996+ issues are resolved. The postal service available through the Leeds registry will continue for the present.

Delivery times are currently advertised to be within ten working days. This longer time has been introduced temporarily to make sure orders can be satisfied during the early days when there may be a spike in demand, especially from overseas applicants. When it settles down, they hope to get back to a 48 hour delivery service and, in any case, current delivery is often less than ten days.

Feedback is encouraged and we were told that it is all considered and devolved to different members of staff depending on the subject. Feedback via the online site can be given on any relevant topic, including complaints, non-delivery, copy quality issues and suggestions for developing the site. An initial response should be received within 48 hours.

Diana Bouglas
3 December 2014

(With grateful thanks to Diana)

Chris

Stuck for a Christmas gift?! I have a series of genealogy books available in the UK, Australia and Canada, on Scottish, Irish and British based subject areas. Further details at http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. Santa approves!