Friday, 14 December 2018

Military Archives Oral History Project: Lebanon Stories - 40 Years of UNIFIL

From Ireland's Military Archives ( and @defenceforces):

Lebanon Stories - 40 Years of UNIFIL is the second phase of the Military Archives Oral History Project (MAOHP) and was launched this morning. The below clip is taken from the collection.

From the video description on YouTube (

This second phase of the Military Archives Oral History Project (MAOHP) was launched this morning. It was attended by Chief of Staff Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett DSM and former UNIFIL Force Commander Major General Michael Beary (Rtd) DSM among other veteran Irish Peacekeepers, family and friends who contributed to the project.

This video features some of the collected oral histories contributed by soldiers who served with UNIFIL over the course of four decades. It also includes accounts from local Lebanese civilians who highlight the positive impact that Óglaigh na hÉireann have made to their lives and their country.

142 extracts drawn from approximately 36 hours of interviews have been selected for this release to provide a first-hand account of Irish soldiers’ experience serving with UNIFIL. These clips also explore some Lebanese experiences living and working alongside Irish battalions over the course of the last 40 years.

The MAOHP page can be viewed here:

The Military Archives Oral History Project (MAOHP) began officially in 2015 with the aim of digitally recording memory, oral history and tradition associated with Óglaigh na hÉireann since its inception in 1922.


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Hampshire records added to FindmyPast

The following records have been added to FindmyPast (

Hampshire, Portsmouth, Portsea Island Rate Books
Search through over a million pages of poor rate books from as early as the 1700 through to the 1921. The books recorded the amount of rates paid at each property, ownership of the property, and its location in the parishes of Portsea and Portsmouth. Discover the history of your ancestral home, today. With each record you will find a transcript of the vital facts and an image of the original rate poor.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Hospital Records
Search for your ancestors in this fascinating collection of assorted hospital records and medical journals from St James Hospital between 1878 and 1918. At that time, the hospital was known as the Portsmouth Lunatic Asylum. Each result will give you a transcript of the vital facts and an image of the original hospital document. Images may provide you with even more information about your ancestor's life, condition and treatment.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Police Staff Records, 1908-1924
Discover your English police heritage in this collection of police records from Portsmouth. The collection has been digitised by Findmypast from the records held at the Portsmouth History Centre. The Portsmouth Police Service was formed in January 1836. The city had its own police force from 1836 until 1967. The city's fire brigade was also a branch of the police force when it was first formed.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Quarter Sessions Browse
Explore thousands of criminal records from these court Quarter Sessions, discover if your Portsmouth ancestors had been caught up in a criminal activity. Findmypast's browse search allows you to search each Session register from beginning to end. As well as the accused's age, aliases and home parish, the records will provide you with a wide variety of details relating to their offence, trail and sentencing.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Burials
Was your ancestor buried in Portsmouth, Hampshire? Discover your ancestor's burial entry in over 129,000 additional Portsmouth parish records to uncover the location of their final resting place. The new additions cover Portsea, Highland Road and Kingston cemeteries between the years 1831 and 1902.

England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1832-1932
Over 64,000 additional images covering the Parliamentary Borough of Portsmouth have been added to the collection. You can search the records by personal name, polling district, county and constituency, as well as by keyword search to discover the history of your family home in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Trade Directories 1863-1927
Explore more than 30,000 pages of Portsmouth trade directories. Trade directories are an excellent resource for anyone researching their family history and want to understand more about their ancestor's life. They provide insights into local business owners, trades people, civil servants, church leaders, school teachers and much more.

British & Irish Newspaper Update
This week we have added 106,638 new pages to the Archive. We have updated six of our recently added titles, with updates to five of our Irish titles, including additions from the 1970s to the Belfast Telegraph.

This week's updates include:

Belfast Telegraph - 1973-1978
Kerryman - 1991
Wexford People - 1997
The Bioscope - 1919-1920, 1922, 1924
Irish Independent - 2001
Evening Herald (Dublin) - 1999-2000

Further details at


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Scottish Ancestry Tour 2019

News for those who fancy a wee jolly to Scotland... :)

Scottish Ancestry Tour 2019

AncestryProGenealogists are excited to announce our newest Ancestry Tour in association with EF Go Ahead Tours.

The Scottish Ancestry Tour, running 19-29 October 2019, will cover Edinburgh, the Highlands and Glasgow, giving travellers the opportunity to explore their Scottish heritage and walk in the footsteps of their ancestors.

Under the guidance of AncestryProGenealogists expert genealogists, Kyle Betit and Kirsty Wilkinson, travellers will be able to research their family history in the major genealogical collections held at the National Records of Scotland, Highland Archive Centre and Glasgow Mitchell Library, as well as to visit several specialist libraries and archives. In addition, visits to museums and historic locations, including the Highland Folk Museum and Culloden Battlefield, will bring the past to life and enable travellers to gain an insight into their ancestors’ lives.

Each traveller will receive an AncestryDNA kit in advance of the tour which may highlight areas of Scotland where ancestors originated and reveal new cousins. A pre-trip family history review with an AncestryProGenealogists expert will enable participants to identify ancestral homelands and to get the most out of the tour. Travellers will also have the option, at an additional cost, to arrange personalised ancestral home visits to locations where specific ancestors originated and to explore the places they lived, worked and worshipped.

For more information and to sign up for the Scottish Ancestry Tour visit

(With thanks to Kirsty Wilkinson)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Monday, 10 December 2018

Northern Ireland's Prisons Memory Archive

At the stakeholders meeting of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland ( on Friday 7 December 2018, we were given a presentation by Lorraine Dennis on an extraordinary collection in Northern Ireland, the Prisons Memory Archive.

The Prisons Memory Archive is comprised of a series of a thousand pictures and 175 interviews recorded at Armagh Gaol and at the Maze and Long Kesh Prison from 2006-7. Initially recorded as the Prisons Audio Visual Archive, the interviewees comprise of staff, probation officers, prisoners, chaplains, teachers, and visitors with stories to tell from the period of the Troubles (although not exclusively).

The aim of the project was to empower the participants to tell their stories by taking them back to the sites in question. The recordings vary from minutes to hours, with extensive site footage.
The project today is recognised internationally as a model of best practice for an oral history archive.

Of course, the Troubles still remain a sensitive subject to this day, and at one point we were told how there has at times been hostility from many quarters about the project, which probably means that the team have got something right in terms of an approach that favours neither one perspective or another. Indeed, the recordings themselves are anonymous in terms of the political leanings of those involved, and people are labelled by their name only, with participants having self-identified for labelling purposes on how they wish to be referred to.

A taste of the archive's recordings is available online at, but the big development now is that in partnership with the Prisons Memory Archive Management Group and Queen's University Belfast, PRONI is cataloguing and hosting the collection (with Heritage Lottery Funding) as part of the Visual Voices Project, with all of the original recordings to be made available for consultation at the archive under D4616. These can be viewed on four dedicated CALM PCs in the main search room search room, with headphones provided. It was noted that some of the recordings are quite large and so may take a minute or so to load up.

Twenty five recordings are now available at PRONI, with a further 150 to be transferred over the next 18 months.

A huge thank you to Lorraine fort such a fascinating insight into such a seriously valuable and worthwhile project. For a taste of what to expect, watch video trails at


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Sunday, 9 December 2018

Chester parish records added to FindmyPast

New records added to FindmyPast this week (

British Army, Honourable Artillery Company

Over 18,000 new Index Cards and POW records covering the years 1939 to 1945 have been added to the collection. The Index cards record brief and abbreviated details of service histories while the POW records list the location & date of capture, liberation, escape or death as well prisoner and camp numbers for HAC members held by German or Italian forces.

Cheshire Diocese of Chester Parish Baptisms 1538-1911

Over 35,000 new records covering the Widnes and Warrington areas have been added to the collection. These new additions cover the following parishes:

• Culcheth, New Church -1599 to 1928
• Hargrave, St Peter - 1883 to 1928
• Kelsall, St Philip - 1868 to 1928
• Warrington, All Saints - 1887 to 1896
• Warrington, St Barnabas - 1902 to 1923
• Warrington, St Paul - 1907 to 1920
• Widnes, St Mary - 1818 to 1917
• Widnes, St Paul - 1884 to 1928

Cheshire Diocese of Chester Parish Marriages 1538-1910

Over 14,000 new records covering 7 parishes have been added to the collection. These new additions cover:

• Culcheth, New Church – 1607 to 1928
• Hargrave, St Peter – 1841 to 1928
• Kelsall, St Philip – 1869 to 1928
• Warrington, St Barnabas – 1905 to 1928
• Warrington, St Paul – 1907 to 1928
• Widnes, St Mary – 1859 to 1907
• Widnes, St Paul – 1895 to 1925 Search these records

Cheshire Diocese of Chester Parish Burials 1538-1911

Over 13,000 new records have been added to the collection covering:

• Culcheth, New Church - 1607 to 1928
• Kelsall, St Philip - 1868 to 1928
• Widnes, St Mary - 1858 to 1910

British & Irish Newspaper Update

This week we have added 142,416 new pages to The Archive. We have two brand new titles joining the archive this week, the Enniscorthy Guardian, published in Wexford and covering dates between 1889 and 2005, and the Kerryman, with pages covering the years between 1904 and 2002.

We also have updates this week to six of our existing titles. There are extensive nineteenth century updates to Scottish title the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, as well as further updates to Irish titles the Evening Herald (Dublin) and the Irish Independent. We have added new pages to the Manchester Evening News and the Tavistock Gazette.

Further details at


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Latest news from PRONI's stakeholder forum meeting

On Friday 7 December 2018 I had the pleasure to attend the final Public Record Office of Northern Ireland ( stakeholders meeting in Belfast, after a fairly dodgy ferry crossing on the Irish Sea! It was a fairly packed session, with lots to report on.

We started the meeting with a lengthy briefing about the Prisons Memory Archive project, which deals with the legacy of imprisonment at two major Northern Irish prisons, in Armagh and Long Kesh/the Maze. I won't discuss the project here, but will do so in a separate blog post in the next day or two.

Elsewhere in the meeting we also had an update on the archive's recent cataloguing efforts. Work continues on the Londonderry Papers, with recent additions for papers held by the 7th Marquess, under D3099/11. Also catalogued now are the papers of the Augher Co-operative Agricultural and Dairy Society, from 1887-1955, under D3057, with papers such as minutes and accounts included.

With regards to new accessions, new collections currently being processed are photos from the Steeple Community Association, covering the Steeple estate in Antrim, and dating back to the 1960s, which are being digitised for catalogue access. Papers from the Cairnshill Residents Association from the 1980s onwards have also been deposited.

Of family history interest are the recently deposted papers of genealogist John McCabe, which have been donated by his brother, and which cover a period from the 1950s-2016. These are not available yet, but will be under D4692. I believe that this includes lots of work on the United Irishmen.

Other accessions include the papers of the Northern Irish Council for Ethnic Minorities from the 1990s onwards (under D4697) and the Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters dating back to 1918.

On PRONI's church records digitisation project, in the last year 73 volumes have been digitised, bringing the total up to 386. These comprise the records of 30 churches, from three denominations, and can be accessed via the onsite catalogue (called CALM). The full list of holdings is now available in the search room and on the website at I believe the list is also being integrated into PRONI's Guide to Church Records at

New records for digitisation next year are already being gathered, with material from Dundonald and Aghadowey Presbyterian Churches, and Ballyrashane Church of Ireland already sourced. Some non-subscribing presbyterianm churches are also now showing an interest in participation.

We then had apresentation from janet hancock on the new Absentee Voters Lists from 1918 for Armagh and Derry/Londonderry. Janet highlighted that there are published indexes to these, but also original manuscripts held, and that it is worth consulting both, as the manuscript volumes occasionally have slight differences with updates. Further information is available at

Some work is happening soon to rearrange access for some items on the PRONI website, with a new resources page that will be created for materials currently available in areas such as the Decade of Centenaries section, for example on Suffragette resources. Digitised copies of recent exhibitions will also be added. PRONI's YouTube channel is also being restructured shortly.

Finally, some quick headlines:
  • PRONI is launching a new maritime lecture series of talks on Wrecks and Rescues in the new year, and next year projects will also commemorate the 400th anniversary of Derry's walls, the 80th anniversary of the Second World War, and 50 years on from Civil Rights.
  • The Land Registry Service, currently available in PRONI's search room, is moving in February to new premises. 
  • The recent suspension of Freedom of Information enquiries in PRONI, caused by the ongoing political stalemate at Stormont, has a few knock-on casualties for genealogists, not least for access to the 1939 National Identity Register.
  • Next year, Back to our Past in Belfast will be held at the Waterfront Hall.

And finally...! If you haven't had a chance yet, do get yourselves along to the Christmas Market at City Hall - it's brilliant! :)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Thursday, 6 December 2018

MyHeritage LIVE 2018 classes now available online

From MyHeritage (

MyHeritage LIVE: All 24 Classes from MyHeritage LIVE 2018 Now Available Online

Our first-ever user conference in Oslo was an incredible success, and we're delighted to share recordings of all 24 classes which are now available online for free. Delivered by MyHeritage staff and internationally renowned genealogists, the sessions covered genealogy, DNA, and the intersection between the two.

Full details at


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Newgate Prison Records on TheGenealogist

From TheGenealogist (

Newgate Prison Records reveal thieves and Marie Antoinette’s libeler

TheGenealogist is adding to its Court and Criminal Records collection with the release of almost 150,000 entries for prisoners locked up in Newgate prison along with any alias they were known by as well as the names of their victims. Sourced from the HO 26 Newgate Prison Registers held by The National Archives, these documents were created over the years 1791 to 1849.

Newgate Gaol, London from TheGenealogist’s Image Archive

The Newgate Prison Registers give family history researchers details of ancestors who were imprisoned in the fearsome building that once stood next to the Old Bailey in the City of London. The records reveal the names of prisoners, offences the prisoner had been convicted for, the date of their trial and where they were tried. The records also give the name of the victims and any alias that the criminals may have used before.

Use the Newgate Prison Registers records to:

* Find ancestors guilty of crimes ranging from theft, highway robbery, libel and murder

* Discover the victims of crime

* Uncover some of the aliases used by criminal ancestors

* See descriptions of offenders with details of their height, eye colour and complexion

* Research records covering the period 1791 - 1849

Read our article about Marie Antoinette’s libeler locked up in Newgate:

(With thanks to Nick Thorne)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Sunday, 2 December 2018

All about the Guild of One Name Studies presentation

From the Guild of One Name Studies (

The recording of the November webinar 'All about the Guild' is now available to all at

The recording includes a tour of the website, a discussion of the benefits and services the Guild offers, a discussion of the seminars planned for 2019 as well as an overview of what is planned for the 40th anniversary celebration at the conference/annual general meeting in March 2019, and a bit about the Pharostutors courses for one-name studies.

Some of what's described on the website is accessible to Guild members only - hopefully an encouragement to join the Guild!

Speakers include Tessa Keough, Alan Moorhouse, and Julie Goucher, with Paul Featherstone in the background.

There are also several handouts you can download at the link above.

(With thanks to Wendy Archer)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Saturday, 1 December 2018

British Newspaper Archive passes 29 million pages

The British Newspaper Archive ( has now passed 29 million pages.

The following are the additions for the last month:

Enniscorthy Guardian
1889-1904, 1916-1917, 1921, 1987-2002, 2004-2005

The Bioscope
1909, 1911-1918, 1921, 1923

Evening Herald (Dublin)

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
1865-1866, 1871, 1874, 1876, 1878, 1883-1885, 1887, 1895-1896

Tavistock Gazette

1904-1912, 1988-1990, 1994-2000, 2002

Belfast Telegraph
1935, 1963-1972

Sunday Tribune
1993-2003, 2005

Heywood Advertiser
1856-1862, 1864, 1868-1874, 1876, 1878, 1880-1884, 1886-1888, 1890, 1892-1893, 1895-1896, 1898-1910, 1912-1920, 1974

Weekly Chronicle (London)

Baldwin's London Weekly Journal

Lady's Own Paper

Sun & Central Press

Eastern Daily Press

Western Mail

Surrey Advertiser
1875, 1878-1888, 1890-1894, 1896-1897, 1899-1903, 1912-1913, 1929, 1931-1933

Wexford People
1994-1996, 1998-2004

Dublin Evening Telegraph
1907, 1923

Liverpool Echo
1881-1883, 1885, 1961

New Ross Standard
1889-1910, 1915, 1988-2001

Drogheda Independent

Lloyd's List
1898-1900, 1905

Perthshire Advertiser

South Wales Daily Post

Lichfield Mercury
1967, 1969-1970, 1974-1979, 1981-1982, 1993-1999


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

PRONI adds Armagh and Derry absent voters lists

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland ( has added surving Absent Voters Lists for Counties Armagh and Derry to its website. From PRONI:

What are Absent Voters Lists?

The 1918 Representation of the People Act made special provision so that people engaged on War Service could vote. This included members of the armed forces, the Merchant Navy and those serving with the Red Cross and similar organisations. Men and women who were qualified to vote could be registered as Naval and Military voters and vote either by post or via a proxy. As well as being included in the main Register of Electors for each consistency, the Naval and Military voters were also placed in a separate Absent Voters List. These lists included details of the voter's rank and service unit, and will be of interest to people researching the War service of individuals and those studying participation in the War in particular localities.

What Absent Voters Lists exist?

PRONI holds specific Absent Voters Lists for counties Armagh and Derry~Londonderry. These lists have now been digitised and are available online, alongside a name index for each county. Reference is made to absent voters within the 1918 Electoral Registers for other counties, however, only Armagh and Derry~Londonderry have absent voters clearly identified on a separate list which includes service information.

What information is recorded in the Absent Voters Lists?

The lists generally include Surname and Forename of each absent voter, along with information on the Polling District, Registration Unit and address (i.e. Street or Townland). In the case of Naval and Military voters, information on service number, rank and unit is included. In some cases, additional information has been added at a later date which corrects or updates the original entry. As different procedures were followed in each County when compiling the lists, the format of the records varies.

To access the lists, which are presented as downloadable Excel files, visit


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