Thursday, 26 February 2015

British GENES podcast launch

Well I've been toying with this as an idea for a while, and have finally bitten the bullet - the British GENES Podcast is born!

The aim of the new monthly podcast will be to bring some of the top stories each month from the British Isles and beyond. In this first edition (where I have been learning to find my feet using sound editing platforms and more!), I look at 3 parent babies, the use of DNA to preserve digital data, the National Records of Scotland's announcement on its future property requirements, historic Ordnance Survey maps for Northern Ireland, the possibility for digital access to English and Welsh vital records, and the value of the Statistical Accounts of Scotland. There's also information on the forthcoming Scottish Research Online course from Pharos Tutors which kicks off next week.

As I get more confident with it I will hopefully bring interviews with some of the great and the good in the local genie scene and wider afield, as well as tips to help with research, and more. At the moment I want to walk before I run! I'm still learning here, so hope to improve how this is recorded in due course (for example there is a minor hum in the background from the PC stack, noted for future reference!)

So here goes...



(Also available at https://soundcloud.com/chrismpaton/british-genes-podcast-01-27-feb-2015)

Please let me know what you think!

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.

Alloway and Southern Ayrshire FHS to cease

Bad news on the family history society front...

Alloway and Southern Ayrshire Family History Society held an extraordinary general meeting last month to discuss its future. Unable to fill its core officer posts and committee members, as required by its constitution, the society, which was founded in 1997, has reluctantly decided to wind up its activities after its current year end on March 31st 2015.

This is a very tragic development for the society, and symptomatic of the pressures affecting many societies today not just in Scotland but across Britain. I had the pleasure on a few occasions to give talks to the group in Alloway, the home village of Robert Burns, and will be sorry to see the society wind up its affairs. Thanks to all for their generous hospitality in the past.

The full announcement is available on the society website at http://asafhs.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/notices.

(With thanks to Jack Davis)

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.

Irish Probate Genealogy Partners established in Dublin

A new probate research service has been established in Ireland, as a collaboration between Eneclann and Heirs Ireland. The service is called Irish Probate Genealogy Partners, and details on its services can be accessed at www.probategenealogy.ie.

(With thanks to Laura Carroll at Eneclann)

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.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

TNA's Evaluating Archives survey

The National Archives in England (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk) is asking for people to participate in  short 10-15 minute survey to help it evaluate the impact of 'Archives for the 21st century', the government policy on archives.

For more on the survey, and to access it, please visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/evaluating-archives-21st-century/.

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.

Memories of Maritime Leith project

From Historic Scotland (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk):

Memories of Edinburgh’s maritime past explored in new project

A unique local community project has captured a series of personal stories, shedding new light on the rich history of Scotland’s once bustling chief port of Leith.

The Memories of Maritime Leith project saw members of the local Leith community invited to share their own personal tales and memories of the area, which was once the focus of the seafaring community for centuries.

Over a number of months, the project saw four residents of Leith share their own accounts, memories and experiences of the city’s nautical history, inspired by objects held at Trinity House Maritime Museum – once the former headquarters of the Incorporation of Masters and Mariners. The collection at Trinity House includes a vast array of objects and special items from naval history, from navigational instruments and models of ships to furniture, maps and even a 200-year-old harpoon.

These stories charting the memories of four ordinary people, have now been made into four special short-length films, capturing new insights into Edinburgh’s seafaring past.

The digital stories, featuring the participants’ memoirs are paired with personal photographs as well as other images, objects and paintings from the collection at Trinity House. All four short audio stories will be screened at a special event for those involved with the project to celebrate Leith’s maritime heritage and history.

The Memories of Maritime Leith films include:

A Bow-Tow Remembers by Sophia Abrahamsen
From Lerwick to Leith by Stephen Hall
Leith Docks by Ramsay Tubb
All at Sea by Andrew Grant

The Memories of Maritime Leith project was created in partnership with Historic Scotland, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and The Living Memory Association.

The completed films form a learning and educational resource, helping to raise awareness and engagement with Leith’s colourful maritime past. Trinity House will regularly screen the films as part of their community learning programmes and will be shared through talks for community groups and care homes in the area.

Commenting on the project, Craig Fletcher, Senior Learning Manager at Historic Scotland, said: “The Memories of Maritime Leith project engaged with older members of Leith’s community and encouraged them to share their own stories and memories of the area during the height of its maritime past.

“Each of the four films and story-tellers offer a truly unique perspective and insight into a different part of Edinburgh’s nautical heritage, bringing it to life with their own story and personal photographs.

“These digital stories will enable several individual’s personal accounts of Leith’s maritime past to be recorded and shared at a wider level for current and future generations.”

Miles Tubb, Project Coordinator at The Living Memory Association, added: “This community project provided the opportunity for Leith’s residents to revisit a part of their past and share their own individual account of their local community’s heritage with others around them.”

“We hope that people will enjoy hearing their stories first hand, and more about the objects which helped inspire them.”

The Memories of Maritime Leith project was funded by The Historic Scotland Foundation. The films will shortly be made available on the Historic Scotland website and YouTube channel; to learn more please visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/learning or www.youtube.com/historicscotlandtv

(With thanks to Grant Thomson)

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.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Scottish Monumental Inscriptions update

Scottish Monumental Inscriptions (http://scottish-monumental-inscriptions.com) have announced their latest data CDs, bringing the number available now to 354. The data can also be obtained as PDF digital downloads (though these do not come with the photographs included on the CDs).

Daviot Church (Inverness)
Insh Church (Inverness)
Kingussie Cemetery (Highland)
Struan Church (Perth & Kinross)
Dyke church (Moray)
Kirkton of Ardersier Cemetery (Inverness)
Petty-Torgrain Cemetery (Inverness)
Geddes Church (Nairn)
Ardclach Churchyard (Nairn)
Brachligh- Gollanfield Cemetery (Inverness)
Inverallan BG (Moray)
Fonab Cemetery (Perth & Kinross)
Insh Cemetery (Inverness)
Alvie Church (Inverness)
Auldearn Church (Nairn)
Ardersier Cemetery (Inverness)

The team are also looking for volunteer transcribers - for full details see the full newsletter at http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/?u=9022d2ef92f4a615d66f30b8e&id=7b5563b61e&e=e1af14fa02

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, 23 February 2015

Archiving the Troubles workshop at PRONI

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

In PRONI next week we have our Accounts of the Conflict -The Challenges and Opportunities in Creating a Digital Archive of Personal Accounts of ‘the Troubles’ Workshop (Wednesday 4th March 2015 at 10.30am – 12 noon)

A workshop lead by Professor Gillian Robinson and Dr Brendan Lynn, Ulster University.

Contact PRONI to reserve a place (at http://www.proni.gov.uk/index/contact_us.htm)

(With thanks to the PRONI Express)

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.

The Second World War in Northern Ireland website

I'm not sure that I have come across this site before, but if you are interested in the home front situation in Ulster during the Second World War, I'd recommend having a look at Andy Glenfield's comprehensive website The Second World War in Northern Ireland at http://ww2ni.webs.com. There are some interesting pages on incidents such as the Belfast Blitz (which my grandparents were caught up in) and instances I certainly wasn't familiar with, such as a bombing at Bangor in County Down.

(With thanks to my brother!)

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.

Glamorgan schools activities in the First World War

There's an interesting piece at http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/world-war-one-how-schools-8665218 on the role of Glamorgan based schools during the First World War, including fund raising activities for refugees and entertainment for recuperating wounded troops. The article utilises school log books held at Glamorgan Archives.

(With thanks to @GlamArchives and @WalesRemembers)

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.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The last heir - ultimus haeres records and retours

Another repost from other wee blog, this time from a case study I uploaded in August of last year concerning some fascinating documents known as ultimus haeres records. Enjoy!

I recently had an interesting case to look at where a client contacted me to try to trace the relationship between a John Menzies and James Alexander Playfair MacLaren, with Menzies having been appointed as MacLaren's heir some two years after his death in 1910. The client had already obtained some solicitor's records and some sasines (land transfer records) outlining to a degree what had happened to the deceased's estate, but without the relevant genealogical information. There were mentions of family trees having been drawn up to prove the claim - could I essentially find the other side of the conversation, and work out the relationships by locating the mentioned tree charts?

The deceased was a gentleman called James Alexander Playfair MacLaren, who had passed away in November 1910. He died without any immediate lawful issue, and no claimants were immediately forthcoming as prospective heirs. In Scotland, if no claimants step forward in such circumstances, after a suitable period the estate goes to the Crown as Ultimus Haeres, which is Latin for the 'last heir' (see www.qltr.gov.uk/content/ultimus-haeres). The papers that my client held seemed to indicate that this was what had happened to James' estate, and so the first step was to first confirm that it had indeed fallen to the Crown. To do this I ordered up the Ultimus Haeres lists for the year in question, and confirmed it to be the case (they are catalogued under E869).

Next up, I then called up the Treasury Report in which the case would have been mentioned. In some cases genealogical evidence can be found included alongside these reports, and it was hoped that the family tree chart might have been included here - sadly this avenue turned out to be something of a damp squib in this case, however, simply noting that James' unclaimed estate had fallen to the Crown on 14 FEB 1911, with his lands due to be sold off in 9 lots. After any debts incurred by the deceased were paid off, the rest was to go to the office of the King's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer in Edinburgh, or KALTR (today it would be to the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer).

My next avenue now was to consult what are known as the Procedure Books, catalogued under E851. These provide a summary of developments concerning the administration of the Ultimus Haeres process, but also any subsequent claims made on the Crown by prospective heirs late to respond to the initial advertisements made by the KALTR for claimants to step forward. In this case I was now fortunate to get a 5 page summary of written conversations held between the agents of John Menzies and the KALTR's office. This slowly began to reveal some genealogical information. For starters, it noted that James MacLaren was the eldest lawful son of the late James MacLaren, draper of Coupar Angus, who was brother german of John MacLaren of Beechhill, a solicitor ('brother german' means a full brother), and that James junior had died at Auchterarder on 3 NOV 1910. In September 1911 the first mention of the name Menzies appeared, with a Jessie Menzies claiming to be the descendant of the deceased's grandfather's sister, though no names were provided. An exchange of letters requiring proof followed, and in February 1912 a solicitor was noted as claiming that John Menzies was MacLaren's rightful heir.

The thing is... the KALTR office was deeply unconvinced. There was a question mark over whether the relevant documents to support the claim had been found as proof, with particular concerns over a marriage document that seemed to imply that MacLaren's grandfather was aged 13 and a half when he married.

This was useful stuff, but what I really needed was the written conversation from the KALTR, not a summary, and as such, I next called up the letter books for the period from 1910 to 1913, which are catalogued under E854. The first thing to note about these books was the appalling quality of the letters, which had been kept as carbon paper copies. A few were so faded they were close to being illegible, but I photographed them all and was able to enhance some of them when I got home. These not only revealed the genealogical problem causing the KALTR office grief, but also the workaround that led to Menzies being confirmed as heir.

It transpired that the issue causing problems was the fact that Alexander McLaren (Laren or McLaurin), the grandfather, was said to have been baptised in February 1787, but that he had an older brother born in December 1785. This meant that the earliest that Alexander could have been born was September 1786 (assuming his mum fell pregnant again within a couple of weeks, which was optimistic!). This therefore put a question mark over whether Alexander was truly 14 when he married Elizabeth Cochrane in October 1800 - the age of 14 being the minimum legal age for marriage at that point for males. The minimum age for girls to marry back then was 12, but this was far from the KALTR's concern - the bride in this case was supposed to have been aged 24! John Menzies was said to be the grandson of Alexander's sister Jean MacLaren, and again there were problems confirming that she was related to Alexander. In short, the KALTR was having none of it, and was of the mind to reject the application of John and Janet Menzies to make a claim on the MacLaren estate that had fallen to the Crown, noting the relationship to be "unsatisfactorily established" in July 1912.

And that's when it got really interesting! Clearly frustrated with the KALTR's objections to the claim, the solicitor on behalf of John Menzies went down a separate tack - to have John formally recognised as an heir via the Services of Heirs procedure, and to have Janet Menzies appointed as an executrix dative for the moveable estate. Janet was first recognised as such in January 1913, and a month later John's application to be served heir went before the court. The Services of Heirs process was the Scottish jury based process by which anyone making a claim on heritable estate had to be first recognised as the lawful heir. There were two types of 'service' that could be applied, the easiest simply being a 'general service', the process pursued by Menzies' agents, where a jury simply looked at the evidence put before them and said yes or no as to whether the claimant was who he or she said they were (the other was a 'special service' where any land in question was also brought into the proceedings). Against the KALTR's objections, the Sheriff Court in Perth took a look at the family trees and other evidence placed before it and contented itself that John Menzies had the right to be recognised as MacLaren's heir-at-law. A last check in the indexes to the Services of Heirs from 1913 confirmed that John Menzies was duly served as heir as "second cousin" to James Alexander Playfair MacLaren. It seems that this move by Menzies' solicitor to have him recognised by a court as a lawful heir was enough to force the KALTR to release the assets held by the Crown which had been surrendered to it as Ultimus Haeres, to John Menzies, despite its overwhelming objections.

Although there were many references to family trees and genealogical documents being bandied about between the relevant parties, no tree was found in the papers that have survived from the case - but the detail in the records at least provided the information that allowed Menzies to satisfy his claim as understood and believed by a court of law. Unfortunately the Sheriff Court papers from the period have not survived, nor the solicitors' papers, and so this cannot be pursued further. The question remains as to who was right. Did the KALTR office have a legitimate problem with the evidence it was asked to consider - or did the Jury listening to the services case get it wrong?!

An interesting case!

For more on Scottish land records and inheritance, my book Discover Scottish Land Records is available from Unlock the Past at www.gould.com.au/Discover-Scottish-Land-Records-p/utp0283.htm - both print and ebook versions are available.

(With thanks to my client for permission to share the story)

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.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Historic Northern Irish OS maps on NI Environment Agency website

In November last year I noticed that the Ordnance Survey for Northern Ireland website had been relocated to www.nidirect.gov.uk/osni, but that the historic OS maps were no longer available there (see http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/ordnance-survey-ni-historic-maps.html). I queried this with them and was told that it was hoped they would be online in the near future.

Well it seems that the Northern Irish Environment Agency now has them hosted on its platform at http://maps.ehsni.gov.uk/Mapviewer/Default.aspx. You will find the historic six inch series of Ordnance Survey maps for the north under the Historic Maps link, with the earliest dating from 1829-1835, and the latest historic map available dating from 1945. The site is completely free to access. You can zoom in and out by clicking on the + or - sign at the top, and can also select an area using the + key, simply clicking with the left button of your mouse and dragging across the area of interest. You can then use the hand icon to grab onto a map once zoomed in, to drag it across the screen, or under the Navigation menu option on the left simply drag your mouse across the compass image to achieve the same thing. (One thing to bear in mind is that if you don't use it for too long, your access will time out, and you will need to reload the site.)

If like me, you lost several years of your life through the stress of using the old version of this database, I think you'll be in for a much happier time now! Conclusive proof that God is indeed an Ulsterman.

Been saying it for years... :)

(With thanks to Lorraine Stewart via the Scottish Genealogy Network Linked In forum)





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.

Genealogy Radio Show looks at Irish surnames

The latest Genealogy Radio Show podcast is now available from Lorna Moloney, and features a discussion with Sean J. Murphy on Irish surnames.

To listen to the podcast visit https://www.mixcloud.com/raidiocorcabaiscinn/the-genealogy-radio-show-episode-5-series-2-sean-j-murphy/

(With thanks to Lorna)

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.

Magna Carta, 1215 and beyond

For those studying English legal history, the National Archives at Kew has uploaded a new educational resource page on the Magna Carta document sealed in 1215, designed to restrict the ambitions of the English king John.

The page, entitled Magna Carta, 1215 and beyond is available at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/magna-carta/.

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.

More lecture recordings added to Ulster Historical Foundation website

From the Ulster Historical Foundation (www.ancestryireland.com):

New 'Voices from the Past' Lectures

Guild members can check out our latest additions to the Members Area as we have continued to digitise and upload audio recordings from some of our past conferences. Our ‘Voices From The Past’ lecture series should prove to be a great resource for those interested in genealogy and history.

This week’s additions include:

Movements of British population in 17th Century Ulster by Dr William McAfee
Irish Genealogical Research: A sense of Direction by Tony McCarthy


Also, new books available from the organisation's bookshop include the following:

Mapping Sligo in the early nineteenth century, RRP £25.99 their price £9.99
Navan Fort: Archaeology and Myth, RRP £22.00 their price £9.99
A Brief History of Ireland RRP £8.99 their price £3.99
We Declare: Landmark Documents in Ireland’s History RRP £20.00 their price £6.99

Available from www.booksireland.org.uk.

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.

Royal Artillery honours and awards database added to FindmyPast

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) releases this week include a database entitled Royal Artillery Honours & Awards 1886 - 2013, sixteen further parishes added to the Wiltshire baptisms database, and records for the Yorkshire parish of Longfield, St Mary.

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

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.

Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services 1900-1928 on Ancestry

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has a fairly major release for those with Royal Naval ancestors, in the form of a new database entitled UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1900-1928, available at
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=60522. The records have been sourced from the Admiralty Records collection at the National Archives in England, catalogued under ADM 188.

From the site:

These registers record the service of seamen in the Royal Navy. Records include birthdate, birthplace, vessels served on, and dates of service. The registers include seamen who began their service beween 1900 and 1918, with dates of service up through 1928. Make sure to check the image of the original record, where you may also find occupation in service, physical description, reasons for discharge, and other personal details.

You can find details on the system used for assigning service numbers at TNA’s website (see http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1897).

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.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Pre-1841 published population lists in Scotland

The Scottish Association of Family History Societies has added a new database to its website detailing pre-1841 population lists that are known to have been published - it can be accessed at http://www.safhs.org.uk/populationlists.asp.

The counties for which the database currently has entries are: Aberdeen, Angus (Forfar), Argyll, Ayr, Banff, Berwick, Dumfries, Fife, Inverness, Kirkcudbright, Lanark, Midlothain (Edinburgh), Moray (Elgin), Orkney, Peebles, Perth, Renfrew, Ross and Cromarty, Roxburgh, Selkirk, Shetland, Stirling, Sutherland, Wigton and West Lothian (Linlithgow).

(With thanks to Doug Stewart)

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.

Catholic Family History Conference 2015

The Catholic Family History Society has announced that it will be holding a conference at the Carrs Lane Conference Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham, B4 7SX on Saturday October 3rd 2015.

For further details on the programme, and on how to book a place, please visit https://catholicfhs.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/conference-3-october-2015/.

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.

Glasgow to host heraldry conference in 2016

News concerning a heraldry conference coming to Glasgow in 2016:

The 32nd International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from Wednesday 10 August until Saturday 13 August 2016.

Organised under the auspices of the Academie Internationale de Genealogie and the Academie Internationale d'Héraldique, this is a biennial event, dedicated to topics of heraldic and genealogical interest, and bringing together scholars and other interested persons from around the world.

Recent Congresses have been held in St Andrews (2006), Quebec (2008), Stuttgart (2010), Maastricht (2012) and Oslo (2014). The Oslo Congress programme is still available online, and gives a flavour of the event (https://www.congress2014.no/).

Register your interest for Glasgow 2016 at www.congress2016.scot - more programme details will emerge, and there will be a call for papers on the theme of "Origins and Evolution".

For the first time, students of Genealogy and Heraldry will be encouraged to offer Poster Presentations.

(With thanks to Bruce Durie)

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.

Obtaining copies of recent grants of Arms in Scotland

I'm doing some research at the moment which has involved the exploration of a 17th century Coat of Arms as part of a gentleman's story that I am investigating. Although I'm clued up on the basics, heraldry is one of those subject areas where I rarely tread, but in pursuit of this, I contacted the Lord Lyon's office in Edinburgh. The Court of the Lord Lyon is the body which has responsibility for the granting of Arms in Scotland, for prosecuting the illegal use of Arms, as well as for various other ceremonial functions. The wonderful Sophie Reilly, the court secretary, has been exceptionally helpful, noting a recent matriculation of the Arms that I am interested in from 1999, which is a potential research avenue I'm now pursuing.

This raised a broader question, the answer for which may be of interest. In terms of obtaining the recent grant of Arms, it occurred to me that I had no idea what the mechanism was to do so. The ScotlandsPeople website at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk hosts the digitised images of grants of Arms from the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings from 1672 (when it commenced) to 1913, which cost £10 each to download. I therefore asked Sophie what the procedure was for entries recorded after this. It's very easy - simply email the Lyon office and for a fee of £15 they will send an image by email and a transcript of the entry in the Public Register. Contact details for the Lyon Office are available at www.lyon-court.com.

And remember that it is illegal to use someone's coat of Arms in Scotland if they are not granted in your name, as a set of Arms can only be owned by one person. If you don't own them, but use them, you're essentially committing theft. Best avoided really - I've seen the outfits of the Officers of Arms, and they look like they mean it...! :)

(With thanks to Sophie Reilly)

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.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Scottish Research Online course starts March 4th

My next Scottish Research Online course, taught through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd (www.pharostutors.com), starts on March 4th 2015. The course is five weeks long, costs £49.99 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:



To book a place on the course, please visit http://www.pharostutors.com/coursedescriptions.php#102

Hopefully see you there!

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.

Libraries NI announces opening hours review to make budget savings

Libraries NI in Northern Ireland has announced a review into its opening hours to make further savings, and has confirmed that the temporary reduced hours imposed for its premises from the start of November 2014 (see http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/library-hours-cuts-in-northern-ireland.html) will now last until autumn this year at least, as plans continue to make £2.385 million in savings.

In announcing the review, Irene Knox, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, said "No libraries will close as a result of these savings" and added that "Reducing opening hours is very difficult for our customers and our staff and the Board of Libraries NI deeply regrets having to take this course of action. We will consult openly with people during this process and we are inviting people to engage with us regarding the policy and proposals. In all of our actions we want to be fair to customers, to libraries and to our staff.” The full announcement is at www.librariesni.org.uk/AboutUs/Public-Consultations/Opening_Hours_Review_2015/Consultation%20on%20Library%20Opening%20Hours%20Announced.pdf.

A Review of Library Opening Hours 2015 page is now up and running on the body's website at www.librariesni.org.uk/AboutUs/Public-Consultations/Pages/Review-of-Library-Opening-Hours-2015.aspx which includes details of the proposed review and a link to a survey for the public to make their views known. The introduction to the survey notes:

The draft Budget for 2015/16 requires Libraries NI to make savings of 7.5%, which is £2.385 million, compared with the initial budget for 2014/15. The draft budget document states 'While the Minister has given the libraries sector a measure of protection from cuts to avoid library closures, there will be reductions in opening hours, and on discretionary spending such as book stocks and building maintenance. Libraries NI will continue to prioritise its resources to encourage new users from areas of social deprivation to make use of the wide range of facilities and activities on offer, whilst at the same time provide a service for everyone. The needs of those in rural communities will continue to be at the forefront of Libraries NI's outreach programme.'

There is a network of 98 libraries in Northern Ireland and in each library skilled and committed staff deliver a range of valued and valuable services to the public. The Board of Libraries NI believes that it is important to maintain the network of sustainable libraries across Northern Ireland, but in order to do so and live within budget it has no option but to reduce opening hours and is, therefore seeking your views on the draft policy and proposals.

"Emergency reduced" opening hours were introduced urgently without consultation in November 2014 because of the in-year budget cut of 4.4%. This consultation relates to the on-going cut in the budget and attempts to regularise the opening hours in accordance with the draft policy.

The revised opening hours take account of the proposed 2015/16 budget allocation to Libraries NI; it is anticipated that this will be finalised in March 2015.

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.

Far Away Hills - new book by Jean Debney

I always say that if you have a family story to tell, for God's sake tell it! This looks a good read:

PRESS RELEASE

Poignant story of one family’s love, loss and tragedy — set between the backstreets of Glasgow and the feral prairies of Canada - inspired by the author’s mother’s evocative private diaries.

In the twilight years of the nineteenth century, Sal McBride has been separated from her pioneering husband for what feels like an eternity. The time has finally come for her to escape the poverty stricken tenements of Glasgow and join him in the vast wilderness of the Canadian prairies. Although she is unprepared for the tortuous physical and emotional journey, Sal is determined to remain strong for her two young children. On the brink of what will be her greatest adventure, Sal will come face to face with the ultimate cruelties of life as her quest exacts its harsh and thankless toll.

Based on the author’s own ancestral history, Far Away Hills traces the tumultuous journey of a young, fragile family struggling to make their way through an unforgiving world, to find a new home. At the heart of the story, is its narrator Margaret, based on Debney’s own late mother whose diaries were carefully noted on her faithful Underwood typewriter. Promising to one day tell her mother’s story, Debney embarked on a pilgrimage to Canada and then across it by train to the Saskatchewan prairies, to see for herself the limitless landscape of her mother’s memories. Debney was amazed by what she found there; the unbecoming beauty of somewhere often depicted as flat and monotonous, a sense of freedom and hope. Remarkably, her grandparents’ house was still standing, rooted in isolation, exactly as her mother had described it.

Beautiful but harrowing at times, Far Away Hills is Debney’s faithful tribute to her mother, with the character of Sal McBride, her grandmother, a true pioneer with great aspirations, determined to battle to the ends of the earth in order to reward her family with a better life. Debney artfully weaves the diaries together with her own historical research, revealing the challenges that led Sal to her eventual end in Saskatchewan Canada. Fans of North American literature will enjoy this enlightening story of pilgrimage and familial love, set against the vivid social and cultural history of Britain and Canada at the turn of the nineteenth century.

About the author: Born in Birmingham, Jean Debney graduated with a degree in Glass Design before embarking on a seventeen year career as a teacher of engineering. A keen historian and Doctor of Education, Debney has published a number of books each with history and women at their heart, including Breaking The Chains (2010) and Jewels of Our City (2013) which charted the history of Birmingham’s Cradely Heath district and the Jewellery Quarter respectively. Jean lives with her husband and two dogs in the South of France. Far Away Hills by Jean Debney (published by Clink Street Publishing RRP £8.99
paperback, RRP £4.99 ebook) is available online from 24th February 2015 from retailers including amazon.co.uk and can be ordered from all good bookstores.

(With thanks to Kate Appleton)

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.

One month's Irish Times Archive access for a Euro

Claire Santry has news of a new subscription package for the Irish Times newspaper that will be starting imminently from Monday 23rd. The subscription will include access to the newspaper archive, but there will be an introductory offer for a month's access at just a Euro. There is a caveat - you need to cancel ten days before the sub is up as it will automatically renew at the full rate of 12 Euros a month.

For full details on how to do so, visit Claire's blog post at www.irishgenealogynews.com/2015/02/fancy-months-sub-to-irish-times-archive.html.

(With thanks to Claire)

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.

West Yorkshire poor law and rental records on Ancestry

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has just uploaded two new English collections:

West Yorkshire, England, Estate Rentals, 1380-1932
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9012

West Yorkshire, England, Select Poor Law and Township Records, 1663-1914
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9017

The source for the collections is various holdings of the West Yorkshire Archives Service, as outlined in the above links.

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.

Storing data in DNA for a million years

Over the last few years you will have heard people discuss how our DNA stores the data of our ancestry, whether Y-DNA information from our paternal ancestors (used for surname lines), mitochondrial DNA to preserve a time line through our maternal ancestors, or autosomal DNA which preserves DNA information from each of our parents and several lines going back on all fronts.

Here's an interesting thing though - how about embedding a copy of our family tree into DNA and using it as a hard drive for the next million years? In fact, how about embedding all data ever collated into DNA? Science fiction? Not in the slightest, apparently...

Scientists have successfully experimented with preserving data in DNA in Zurich. For the full story visit www.sciencealert.com/a-dna-hard-drive-has-been-built-that-can-store-data-for-1-million-years, with the press release available at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150212154633.htm

Personally, I still like having a CD collection and a bundle of thumb drives...! :)

(With thanks to Helen Smith via Facebook)

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.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Belfast Newsletter indexing and other Ancestry WAP projects

I've just had a quick look at Ancestry's volunteer based World Archive Project (for indexing) page to see what is up and coming, and note that the Belfast Newsletter, which has been on the site for some time in a browse only format, is currently close to having vital records intimations notices from 1738-1925 indexed. Unfortunately, however, the project is only unlocking part of the paper's potential, as the instruction "Do not key any vital information from regular news articles" sadly reveals. Nevertheless, this will be a useful resource when uploaded for public access.

Here is what is on the WAP slate just now:

Listed as 'Active':
Ireland, Famine Relief Commission Papers, 1844-1847

Listed as 'Unavailable' (for new transcribers):
Belfast, Northern Ireland, The Belfast Newsletter, 1738-1925
London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1828-1930 (Update)
Surrey, England, Regimental Rolls, 1892-1947
West Yorkshire, England, Quarter Session Orders, 1637-1914
West Yorkshire, England, Removal and Settlement, 1627-1912

The WAP page is available at http://community.ancestry.co.uk/wap/dashboard.aspx.

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.

National Records of Scotland search room closure for computer upgrade

The National Records of Scotland (www.nrscotland.gov.uk) has announced a temporary search room closure at the end of this month:

The Historical and Legal Search rooms will be closed to the public from 12.00 pm on Friday 27 February and will re-open at 9.00 am on Tuesday 3 March. We are undertaking a significant computer system upgrade and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

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, 16 February 2015

New opening hours for Essex Record Office

News of hours changes at Essex Record Office. From Monday 6th April 2015 it will close on Mondays and on alternate Saturdays. The new opening hours are:

Monday: (closed)
Tuesday: 10am - 8pm
Wednesday & Thursday: 10am - 5pm
Friday: 9am - 4pm
Saturday: alternate Saturday opening, 9am - 4pm

Full details are available at www.essex.gov.uk/Libraries-Archives/Record-Office/Pages/Record-Office.aspx

(With thanks to Beryl Evans at the Federation of Family History Societies and Ann Church of Essex FHS)

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.

Buckinghamshire Family History Society Open Day 2015

From Buckinghamshire FHS (www.bucksfhs.org.uk):

Buckinghamshire Family History Society Open Day 2015

Buckinghamshire's major family history event will take place in 2015 on Saturday 25th July, from 10am to 4pm at The Grange School, Wendover Way, Aylesbury HP21 7NH.

This free event will have something for everyone - whether you are a beginner or an experienced researcher - and wherever your ancestors came from.

The Society’s research facilities will be available, including our Names Database (over 5 million names), Parish Register library, Bucks People (genealogies, histories, documents), and Bucks Places. Let us help you track down those elusive ancestors. Our bookstall will carry parish register transcripts and other research aids for sale, and there will be lots of free help and advice available.

There will be the opportunity to meet guest family history societies from around the country, representatives of local history societies, and a wide range of commercial suppliers of maps and books, software, archival materials and services.

Tea and coffee will be available; why not bring a packed lunch and make a day of it ?

Entry is free, and free parking is available at the venue. By bus from Aylesbury bus station take Arriva service 50 towards Wendover, and ask to be set down on Wendover Road opposite Chaucer Drive, about eight minutes walk.

From about Easter our website will be updated frequently to list all organizations attending:

(With thanks to Graham Gough)

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.

Friday, 13 February 2015

There Was a Soldier... - the 2015 SAFHS conference

The Scottish Association of Family History Societies 2015 conference will be hosted by Central Scotland Family History Society on Saturday 25th April 2015, and is entitled There was a soldier...  The event will take place at Allan Park South Church, Dumbarton Road, Stirling, FK8 2QJ, and as usual, there will be a family history fair, as well as a talks programme from five speakers on military themes.

For more information on the conference, including details on the talks programme, please visit www.csfhs.org.uk/safhs_conference_2015.htm,

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.

Ulster Historical Foundation - new books and updated Co. Antrim records source list

The Ulster Historical Foundation (www.ancestryireland.com) has updated its source list for vital records on its database for County Antrim - the new list can be accessed at www.ancestryireland.com/search-irish-genealogy-databases/genealogical-sources/bdm-sources-list-county-antrim/. The equivalent list for County Down is currently being updated.

Note that some Ulster Historical Foundation records are also available on RootsIreland (www.rootsireland.ie), but if using a debit card on that site I noticed recently that purchases there add an extra 1 Euro on top of the subscription cost asked for. There is a source list for UHF supplied records on that site also, I've yet to compare them, but suspect the UHF's own site will be more complete. However, if you have a tonne of records to look up, it may work out as a cheaper option to use a subscription there instead - it's worth weighing up what is on offer from both sites for your needs.

The organisation also has two new books available on special offer for February:

Men and Arms: The Ulster Settlers, c. 1630, retails at £19.99, Members can purchase it for only £13.99 using the coupon code found in the members' area of the website. Non-members, using code FebFever, can purchase it for £16.99.

The Famine in Ulster, retails at £11.99, Members can buy it now (using the coupon code), for only £8.39 (non-members, using code FebFever, can purchase it for £10.19).

(With thanks to the UHF)

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.

Online exhibition: Northern Ireland and the History of Australia

It's amazing the things you keep finding on sites that you think you know like the back of your hand! I've just found an interesting online exhibition on the Public Record of Northern Ireland website entitled North to South: Northern Ireland and the History of Australia, available via www.proni.gov.uk/index/exhibitions_talks_and_events/online_exhibitions1/north_to_south_northern_ireland_and_the_history_of_australia.htm.

If you have Northern Irish connections in Oz, it's well worth checking out - topics include Convict Settlement, Ned Kelly, Free Settlement, The Workhouse Orphans, The Gold Rush, Australia Bound, Building The Cities, Who's Who, and Ulster Place Names Transplanted in Australia.

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.

TNA podcast - advertisements from the First World War

The latest podcast from the National Archives in England is entitled The huns have got my gramophone: advertisements from the Great War, a 43 minute long talk by Amanda-Jane Doran and Andrew McCarthy.

It can be listened to at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/huns-got-grammophone/ or downloaded for free via iTunes.

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.

New material added to WW2 American Air Museum website

From the Imperial War Museum at Duxford:

New historic material added to the American Air Museum website

Unseen personal snapshots and aerial photographs from the Second World War extend this remarkable digital resource

In October 2014, IWM Duxford launched a new crowd-sourcing website for the American Air Museum. The website is a digital record of the memories and stories of the men and women of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) who found themselves serving their country from somewhere in England during the Second World War. It also records the memories of the British people who met and befriended them.

The American Air Museum website has been made possible through the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which awarded a grant of £980,000 to IWM Duxford, in December 2013, towards the redevelopment of the museum and the creation of the website.

Since we launched it, over 45,000 people have visited the website, from across the United Kingdom, United States and beyond. We have lots of regular users who are contributing their stories and photographs including key individuals who have made nearly 2,000 additions to the site.

We’ve now added fascinating new material to the American Air Museum website which makes it a bigger and more comprehensive historic resource.

English Heritage has donated over 700 aerial photographs of wartime airfields in use, or under construction, across the United Kingdom between 1940 and 1947. Many of these images have not been seen by the public before.

Mike Evans, Head of Archive at the English Heritage Archive said: “The aerial photographs in the care of the English Heritage Archive are a unique picture of the English landscape at a time when the pressures of war changed it out of all recognition. I am delighted that we have been able to contribute some of these images to the American Air Museum website, and so add another layer of information to the rich collections of photographs and memories which are already on the site."

These photographs show the pace at which the English landscape was changed by the war and by the arrival of the United States Army Air Forces. There are fascinating details in the images. In a number of the photographs of Duxford’s airfield, you can clearly see the baseball pitch, which has been demarcated by the running boots of servicemen, in the field behind the accommodation blocks.

You can browse all of the English Heritage aerial photographs on the American Air Museum website with the following search - http://www.americanairmuseum.com/media?search=EH

The American Air Museum website launched with 5,000 images from the Roger Freeman Collection. Roger Freeman (1928-2005) was a hugely respected aviation historian and native of East Anglia.

We are delighted to announce that a further 5,000 images from Roger’s collection have been added to the digital collection on the American Air Museum website. Many of these images have not, up to now, been publically available.

The photographs show the variety of experiences of serving members of the United States Army Air Forces in Britain during the Second World War. Images depict the different roles undertaken by members of USAAF and also the aircraft, combat missions and events , alongside the off-duty leisure time and local communities.

As a result of user feedback, we’ve also added a series of new features to the website, including the ability to see a timeline of edits and additions you’ve made to the website. You’ll also be able to see what other users have edited by clicking on their activity tab. We’ve made changes to our map function, including markers for aircraft crash sites and cemeteries. It is now easier to see if a person is buried or commemorated at an existing cemetery, as we’ve cross-referenced our entries for the burials of airmen with the American Battle Monuments Commission cemetery at which they are remembered.

Jenny Cousins, Project Leader, American Air Museum said: “The photographs that the museum has in its collection only have meaning if we know and understand what they depict. 70 years on from the Second World War, there are still people alive who lived through it and have strong, formative memories of it. We have a last opportunity to capture these stories, to record their testimony and to retain it for future generations. We’d love to see some people who worked in aircraft factories or building the airfields adding themselves to our database. Everyone’s experience of war is important to us. We’re touched by the public response we’ve had to making this collection freely available online. People have really got behind the spirit of what we are trying to do – reveal the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.”

Discover the American Air Museum website at www.americanairmuseum.com

See our film clip of personal stories here http://Youtu.be/pGRYq9hwdEo

(With thanks to Esther Blaine)

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.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Crossrail's Bedlam Burial Ground Register project online

The following may be of interest to those with ancestors from London, England. It's an online searchable database of many of those who were buried in Bedlam (Bethlem) Burial Ground in the 16th and 17th centuries, a project produced as part of an archaeological excavation by CrossRail to remove 3000 skeletons at Liverpool Street Station, where the old Bedlam Burial Ground was based, and where construction work is now underway.

The project used 16 volunteers to trawl through old parish registers. A short video on their work is available at http://youtu.be/Q60UJMKkzlA and presented below:


Partners involved in the project were London Metropolitan Archives and the Museum of London. For more on the project visit www.crossrail.co.uk/news/articles/crossrail-history-hunters-to-unearth-secrets-of-bedlam, whilst to search the database, visit www.crossrail.co.uk/sustainability/archaeology/bedlam-burial-ground-register#

(With thanks to Audrey via Facebook)

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.

Ancestry releases Gloucestershire parish records

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has released the following parish records collections for the English county of Gloucestershire:

Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=4732

Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, 1813-1913
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=5066

Gloucestershire, England, Confirmations, 1834-1913
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=5137

Gloucestershire, England, Marriages, 1754-1938
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=5156

Gloucestershire, England, Burials, 1813-1988
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=5158

The source for these is Gloucestershire Anglican Parish Registers, as held by Gloucestershire Archives.

Further details are available via the links.

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.

English tithes maps added to TheGenealogist

The Genealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk) has released historic tithes maps for four English counties, with more due soon. The following is the press release:

Detailed Town and Parish Maps go online for the first time

TheGenealogist has added maps to its comprehensive National Tithe Records collection.
All aspects of society were captured by this survey
  • Identify the land your ancestors owned or occupied in the 19th century
  • Get an idea of their working lives by the usage made of the plots by your forebears.
  • Fully linked tithe maps for Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire with other counties to follow shortly
  • Geographically placing where your ancestors worked and lived
  • In partnership with TNA, TheGenealogist is making it possible to search over 11,000,000 records from across England and Wales and to view theses valuable original apportionment documents with linked maps on one website.


It’s always been a challenge to find where our ancestors lived, but now these records can help you explore the fields and houses in their home villages and towns. Never before have family historians been able search nationwide for these ancestral maps. We plan to have complete coverage in the next few months.

Tithe maps allow you to pinpoint your ancestors from our records. They show the boundaries of fields, woods, roads, rivers and the location and shape of buildings. The detail recorded within the maps and apportionment records will show you how much land they owned or occupied, where exactly in the parish it was, what the land was used for and how much tithe rent there was to pay.


The Tithe Commissioners maps are now housed in The National Archives (TNA). Due to their age and the materials used the original maps are often too fragile to handle. These were microfilmed in 1982 and some of the maps have deteriorated over the last 30 years. The first stage of the project is the release of these as online images.

There are over 12,000 main maps plus thousands of update maps as the boundaries of fields changed over time.

The second stage will be the delicate conservation and digitisation of the original colour maps.

“Tithe records are a rich resource for family historians as they cover owners and occupiers of land from all strata of early Victorian society.

These maps can be three to four meters in length by several meters in width and have gone through a multiple levels of digitisation and processing so that the huge maps can load instantly, even on a mobile phone.This fantastic resource was created in the period from 1837 to the early 1850s as a result of one of the largest surveys into the usage, ownership and occupation of land in England and Wales since the Domesday book.”
Mark Bayley - Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist

Diamond subscribers to TheGenealogist are able to view apportionment records for all of England & Wales, with the accompanying maps now being live for Middlesex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire. The maps for the rest of England and Wales will follow over the coming months.

See www.TheGenealogist.co.uk/Tithe to freely search the records and learn more about them.

(With thanks to Nick Thorne at TheGenealogist)

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.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Forthcoming talks at National Records of Scotland

The following family history talks are being held at the National Records of Scotland (www.nrscotland.gov.uk) in Edinburgh:

Using NRS for Family History
Thurs 12th Feb, 2-3pm
Free, General Register House

Getting the Most Out of ScotlandsPeople
Thurs 19th Feb 1-4.30pm
£7 admission fee, includes refreshments and a session on the search system, General Register House

Using NRS for Family History
Tues 14th Apr, 2-3pm
Free, New Register House

To book a seat call 0131 3144300.

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.

Ireland's Valuation Office House and Field Books online soon

Claire Santry is reporting on Irish Genealogy News that the Valuation Office House and Field Books, containing the original notes that led to the publication of Griffith's Valuation, will be going online fairly soon at the National Archives of Ireland website (www.genealogy.nationalarchives.ie) and via FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk). The exact upload dates are yet to be confirmed.

These will be followed by the upload of the NAI's copy will books from the latter part of the 19th century, as well as the pre-1858 indexes of wills and administrations granted by Ireland's ecclesiastically based diocesan and prerogative courts.

For the full story, visit Claire's post at www.irishgenealogynews.com/2015/02/digitisation-plans-for-griffiths.html.

(With thanks to Claire)

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.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

1911 Census added to Starter and Gold Subscribers on TheGenealogist

From TheGenealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk):

1911 Census added for Starter and Gold Subscribers

TheGenealogist has added the 1911 Census to their bargain Starter and Gold Personal Premium subscriptions with prices from only £14.95. Subscribers now have access to the complete census collection from 1841 to 1911 and BMDs at a very competitive rate.

Starter packages are from only £14.95, for a quarterly membership. With the impressive search tools, that TheGenealogist is renowned for, it makes this a great way to start your research.
  • SmartSearch allows you to easily view a couple’s marriage in the BMD records on its site
  • Family forename search - powerful option to do a search for a family group by using first names only
  • Address Search - find who lived at a property (see example attached to this press release below)
  • Gold subscribers also have access to Parish, Nonconformist, Electoral, Military and Directory records. Subscriptions start at £24.95 for a quarterly membership.

The 1911 census records give details of all those enumerated, in England and Wales, recording people residing in every household on the night of Sunday 2 April 1911. It is an invaluable aid to family historians as the 1911 census was the first in the UK where the census return was filled in by the ‘Head of the Household’ and so allowing researchers to see their ancestors actual handwriting.

Mark Bayley, Head of Content for TheGenealogist, said “With the addition of these census records to our great value Starter and Gold subscriptions, family historians have an enhanced package that includes all the important records needed by those researching their ancestors.”

TheGenealogist Gold package is available to new subscribers for a special price of only £68.95 for a year’s membership. To take advantage of this limited time offer go now to: www.thegenealogist.co.uk/GOLDFEB15

(With thanks to Nick Thorne)

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.

Clarity over Irish additions to British Newspaper Archive

I noticed not long back that none of the recent Irish content being added to the British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) was going beyond the late 19th century. Whilst what is being made available is of course very useful for 19th century research, I also have a lot of ancestry in Northern Ireland in the 20th century, and so tweeted the team earlier (via @BNA) to ask if there were any plans for any post-1900 additions to the site. The following was the response:

Hi Chris, we're focusing on out of copyright Irish material at the moment (up to 1871). More modern material requires an agreement with the copyright holder, so digitisation takes a lot longer for us to negotiate and process. We’re constantly working on this, so over time you will see more 20thC content appear. If there are any particular titles you or your readers would like to see online, please do suggest/vote for them via our feedback forum: http://help-and-advice.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/forums/243704-newspapers-we-should-add-next

So for the moment it looks like Irish content will only be added up to 1871 - although confusingly, the Belfast Newsletter, previously digitised as part of the British Library 19th Century Newspaper Collection, and now also on the BNA site, does go up to 1900 (whilst Ancestry has it online up to 1925, albeit unindexed). Somewhat disappointingly, if 1871 is indeed the cut off, it may be quite a while before we ever see online what is Northern Ireland's other main national newspaper today, the Belfast Telegraph, it not having commenced publication until September 1st 1870.

(With thanks to the BNA)

PS: Don't forget that my genealogy guide book British and Irish Newspapers is available to show you how to gain access to many titles from across the British Isles, both online and offline - see http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html for further details!

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, 9 February 2015

The working lives of ordinary Scots

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland blog has an interesting piece entitled The Working Lives of Ordinary Scots at http://statacc.blogs.edina.ac.uk/2015/02/09/the-working-lives-of-ordinary-scots/, written by Dr Elizabeth Ritchie, Centre of History, University of Highlands and Islands.

It's the first post on the blog since it was launched back in September 2014 - hopefully the first of many more to come!

For the Statistical Accounts themselves (gazetteer descriptions compiled by church ministers in every Scottish parish in the 1790s and 1830s) visit http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/.

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.

Inside the new British Library newspaper storage facility

I've just watched an interesting short video that the BBC put on its website a couple of week back, exploring the British Library's new newspaper archive at Boston Spa in Yorkshire. It's short and sweet, but shows how groundbreaking a facility it is, mixing genealogy and robots! To see the video visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30929009?cid=social_20150209_40128466&adbid=564827352165654528&adbpl=tw&adbpr=45937003

(NB: This may not be accessible to readers outside the UK - if not, I suggest Googling the title of the article to see if it might pop up on the international BBC news platform)

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.

New South Wales wills released on FindmyPast

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has released over 400,000 New South Wales wills from 1800–1952 on its site. Here's the (abridged) blurb:

The digitised wills, sourced from originals held by the State Records Authority of NSW are now available online only at findmypast.com.au. Covering the years 1800 to 1952 they include handwritten copies of the original wills from 1800 to 1924, and typed copies of wills from 1924 to 1952, allowing people to discover more about their own family tree or simply, have a sticky beak into how the rich and famous lived. The wills cover anyone in NSW who had probate granted in the NSW Supreme Court in this time period, meaning people can also explore anything from who previously owned their house to any notable figures that lived in their neighborhood.

The records also reveal some weird and wonderful requests that were made during these times. With examples ranging from one gentlemen who was extremely preoccupied about how his alcohol supplies would be cared for after his death to a parent who excluded his son from his will due to his ‘rapacious, ungrateful, unnatural and cruel conduct’; these wills will prove to be a treasure trove of historical information.

Consumers cannot only read up on their own family history, but can also discover more about some of Australia’s wealthy and most recognised families. The wills include fascinating details such as the deceased’s address, occupation, beneficiaries, the contents of their estate and their date of death as well as additional and anecdotal notes.

The Will Books are an invaluable resource to Australians and will only strengthen the already large and diverse collection of records available at findmypast.com.au. Through findmypast.com.au’s access to the new set of Wills and its other 2 billion records, the following information has been found:

Geoff Hinchcliffe , Director of State Records NSW added, ‘’The will books are one of the most vital sets of records held by State Records and provide a unique insight into the past lives of people in New South Wales. This agreement with Findmypast is really important as it makes one of State Records most valuable resources more easily accessible to more people online than it is today.”

To get access to the newly released wills and Findmypast’s millions of other records, visit http://www.findmypast.co.uk/new-south-wales-wills, Findmypast has a special for the launch of these new wills; offering customers $5 for one month’s access to their entire record collection.

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.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Durham Records Online update

New additions to Durham Records Online (www.durhamrecordsonline.com):

Auckland St. Andrew burials 1559-1653
4,152 burials at Auckland St. Andrew, also known as South Church, from the beginning of the register in 1559 to the end of 1653. This register is one of the oldest in the county.

Durham St. Mary the Less (South Bailey) marriages 1560-1797
477 marriages at St. Mary the Less, also known as St. Mary in the South Bailey, in the city of Durham, from the start of the register in 1560 to the end of 1797. We now have marriages here from 1560 to mid-1837.

Bishopwearmouth: Sans Street Methodist (Sunderland circuit) baptisms 1797-1837
320 baptisms at the Wesleyan Methodist chapel on Sans Street in Bishopwearmouth (Sunderland), from the first birth recorded in the register (1797) to the end of the register in Oct 1837.

Newcastle, All Saints parish,
We have added 2 more years of baptisms at the most recent end of the spectrum (we already had 1813-1834 online), started working on the earlier baptisms, and completed the most detailed period of burials. These are all from the Bishop's Transcript, with some checking against the film of the original register.
1,848 baptisms covering 1835-1836
1,263 baptisms covering 1798-1800
1,960 burials covering the detail-rich period of 1798-1812

Coming Soon:
Heighington marriages 1570-1700
Durham Diocese marriage bonds 1831-1837
Tynemouth baptisms 1833-1838
Newcastle St. Ann baptisms & burials
Seaham Harbour St. John marriage updates (adding the missing occupations, abodes, etc.)
South Shields St. Paul Presbyterian baptisms 1809-1968
Jarrow, Ellison Street Presbyterian baptisms 1857-1968

(With thanks to Durham Ancestors Online)

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.

English and Wales Probate Service website improvement

The Probate Service's Find a Will website at https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk has been improved to fix a problem concerning the inability to locate a will for someone who died in 1995, but did not have probate granted until 1996, which can now be done. The service covers England and Wales, though you will find Scots, Northern Irish and other folk who had estate taken through the system if part of their estate was based in England and Wales, so worth checking it for everyone!

(With thanks to Diana Bouglas via LinkedIn)

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.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Routes To Your North East Roots website update

The Routes To Your North East Roots website at www.northeastscotlandroots.com has been given a bit of a facelift. From the site:

The purpose of this website is to give you an initial steer on your journey, acting as a directory to the organisations and institutions in the City of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire which hold original records or secondary sources of information that you may find useful in the quest for your ancestors.

(With thanks to North East Scotland Roots)

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.

Paving the way to a GRO based England's and Wales' People style service

The London based Society of Genealogists (www.sog.org.uk) is reporting that the Westminster Government has accepted an amendment to its Deregulation Bill which will allow for the publication of information from GRO issued vital registers for births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales, in a manner beyond the issue of a formally certified, and expensive, certificate.

At the moment genealogists in England and Wales are second class citizens within the United Kingdom when it comes to accessing historic records, which cost £10 each to purchase from local superintendent registrars' services, or £9.25 each from the English and Welsh GRO based at Southport (www.gro.gov.uk). By contrast, although official Scottish certificates are £12 each, and Northern Irish certificates are £15 each, there are alternative, and much cheaper means of access - for Scotland, via the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) and the ScotlandsPeople Centre service (www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk), and in Northern Ireland via the GENI service at www.geni.nidirect.gov.uk, the search room facility at the GRONI in Belfast (www.nidirect.gov.uk/gro), as well as a cheap photocopy extract service for pre-1922 BMD records provided by the GRO in the Republic of Ireland (www.welfare.ie/en/pages/general-register-office.aspx).

Commenting on the announcement, the SoG's genealogist Else Churchill said “Having worked for over 15 years to reform the GRO system and to gain better access to this vital information for family historians in non-certified form I am delighted that the Government has at last paved the way for a more efficient and cost effective service encompassing modern technology.” The full announcement, including discussion from the parliamentary proceedings via Hansard, is accessible at www.sog.org.uk/news/article/gro-information-on-births-marriages-and-death-doesnt-have-to-on-expensive-c.

Whilst this announcement does not in itself create an England's and Wales' People type service, it does remove the barrier to such a provision being made. For too long those seeking ancestral records from England and Wales have been ignored in seeking a solution, and should no longer be discriminated against on economic grounds simply because they wish to note who their ancestors were. It will be interesting to see how - and indeed, if - this develops further.

(With thanks to the SoG and the FFHS)

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.

Down and Out in Scotland book now available in Australia and Canada

My new book, Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, published by Unlock the Past, is now available to purchase in Australia and Canada.

To obtain a copy from Australia, visit the Gould Genealogy website at www.gould.com.au/Down-and-Out-in-Scotland-Ancestral-Crisis-p/utp0286.htm. The price is AU$16.50 (which includes GST).

To obtain a copy from Canada, visit the Global Genealogy website at http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/scotland/resources/2590286.htm. The price is Can$18.50.

An ebook version will be available shortly via www.gen-ebooks.com, and you will also be able to place orders next week at the Unlock the Past booth at the RootsTech 2015 conference in Salt Lake City, United States.

Many of my other Unlock the Past titles are also available in the UK from My History at www.my-history.co.uk/acatalog/Unlock-the-Past-Booklets.html - I'll update when I hear if and when the book will also be made available here.

In addition to my latest book, Unlock the Past is also publishing four other titles in its recently redesigned range, including one more of mine. These are:

Irish Family History Resources Online (2nd edition) by Chris Paton
AU$19.50 Inc GST
http://www.gould.com.au/Irish-Family-History-Resources-Online-p/utp0282.htm

Buried Treasure: What's in the English Parish Chest by Paul Milner
AU$15.00 Inc GST
http://www.gould.com.au/Buried-Treasure-English-Parish-Chest-p/utp0562.htm
(also Can$17.00 at http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/england/resources/2590562.htm)

'Til Death Us Do Part: Causes of Death 1300-1948 by J. Few
AU$10.00 Inc GST
http://www.gould.com.au/Til-Death-Us-Do-Part-Causes-of-Death-1300-1948-p/utp0261.htm

500 Best Genealogy and Family History Tips by Thomas Macentee
AU$15 Inc GST
http://www.gould.com.au/500-Best-Genealogy-and-Family-History-Tips-p/utp0425.htm

Nurses and Midwives in Australian History: A Guide to Historical Sources by N. Kyle, R. Russell & J. Blundell
AU$17.00 Inc GST
http://www.gould.com.au/Nurses-and-Midwives-in-Australian-History-A-Guide-p/utp0323.htm



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.