Sunday 27 November 2011

1926 Irish census for 2016?

Claire Santry is reporting on her Irish Genealogy News blog that the 1926 census looks like it is being considered as a project for release in 2016, some five years away. This seems to be another instance of great intentions being pushed back by the Irish Government, along with plans for the Irish BMD records to be digitised (now apparently four years away at least) and the Roman Catholic records at NLI (no timetable).

Claire's full report is at


FindmyPast Ireland launches tree software

FindmyPast Ireland ( has launched its own dedicated family tree building software. Irish Central has the full story at


Saturday 26 November 2011

Great War Medal Collectors Companion

The following book from Naval and Military Press looks like it might be a useful companion for First World War research:

Great War Medal Collectors Companion, by Howard Williamson
Hard Back, 571 pages plus index. £60
Illustrated in full colour.

This new book by Howard Williamson, which has taken over eight years to research and write, is the definitive volume on Great War Campaign and Gallantry Medals. Profusely illustrated in full colour, it contains much previously unpublished information & original research. This book will pay for itself many times over by enabling the hidden stories and value of medals to be unlocked. A visit to our website to read the truly impressive contents will show just what a tour de force this publication is.

For further details visit


Business Archives Council workshop

The Business Archives Council will be holding a workshop in London on December 8th to help new researchers get the best from business archives and records.

For more information visit the Business Archives Scotland blog at


Oxfordshire 1911 census on The Genealogist

From TheGenealogist (

MAJOR NEW RELEASE: Over 198,000 records records have been added to our Diamond Premium subscription. The transcripts provide more detail than any previous census and the images on TheGenealogist are twice the resolution than have been available online before for 1911.

Our 1911 census allows you to use the new GRO marriage link. The records have been integrated into our existing search tools, so you can access the transcripts using our House and Street search, Keyword Master search and Family Forename search.


Friday 25 November 2011

The Parish of Longforgan

The latest Electric Scotland newsletter is out at, with the latest offerings including a new book, The Parish of Longforgan.

(With thanks to Alastair McIntyre)


Thursday 24 November 2011

Cruise progress - first report

Well it's so far so good on the Unlock the Past Scottish Irish cruise of New Zealand and Australia!

We started our cruise at Auckland, but prior to boarding on Monday I gave a series of talks at the city library last Saturday, in a session wonderfully hosted by Seonaid Lewis and the team there. On a day off we then managed to visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum, quite simply the best museum I have ever visited in the world to date so far. Quite apart from the Maori cultural performance (I need to learn the Haka!), my two boys were well impressed with the Spitfire on display and the First World War displays. For me though, the memorial part of the building was just superb, commemorating those who gave their lives in the New Zealand armed forces. Done exactly as it should be, with a lot of reverence and respect.

On board the Volendam, we set sail on Monday, initially for Tauranga. On board there are a few speakers taking part in the Unlock the Past cruise, including Perry McIntyre, Richard Reid, Keith Johnston, Shauna Hicks, Rosemary Kopittke, Jan Gow and yours truly, and I have managed to hear most speak so far, some amazing talks on Irish research from an Ozzie perspective. My first talk on board was a general intro to Scottish family history research on Tuesday, which was followed up with a talk on Scottish church records yesterday (Thursday). With Rosemary and Jan I also ventured to Hastings yesterday, in Hawkes Bay, for a brief hit and run talk raid to Hawkes Bay branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, which went down well! Today we have just arrived at Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, where I will be speaking on online Irish research and Scottish church records once more. We’re only four days into the cruise and already my two Scottish books have sold out, but we’ll be restocking in Tasmania next week, and those unable to obtain the book will be able to do so in due course freight free at the events we're attending.

Aside from the talks, my family and I had a great day on Wednesday in Rotorua, visiting the geysers there and taking my life in my hands on the Sky Swing. Freefall for fifty meters in a car, which then swings for a couple of minutes as a pendulum – on the top of a mountain! Hopefully the laundry bill won’t be too expensive…! We were travelling around the area during the day with Alan Phillips and wife Anthea, who have organised the cruise, and had a great time sightseeing.

It’s my eldest son Calum’s birthday today, now eleven, so we have a wee something lined up for him this evening – he’s already been impressed with the captain sending him a birthday card!

Anyway, ciao fer now, have to get ready for next talks in Wellington in a couple of hours time!

Pics - My boys deciding whether to become Maori warriors, the Holland America ship MS Volendam, the world's best museum in Auckland, and my testing warm volcanic rocks for sleep potential at Rotorua!


The Original Record update

Update from The Original Record (

New records added:

St Ives (Huntingdonshire) Fair Court
Among the possessions of the Abbey of Ramsey was the right to hold an Easter fair at St Ives in Huntingdonshire. This was an important gathering, attracting merchants from around the country, and from abroad. The fair was regulated by a fair court, 'curia ferie', or court of pyepowder: among the Augmentation Office court rolls there survives the record of the court for 1275 and 1291 (Portfolio 16, No. 16). F. W. Maitland edited selected cases from the 1275 proceedings for publication by the Selden Society, his expanded reading of the Latin text facing an English translation.

Captain Parker's Soldiers
Among the papers surviving at Browsholme Hall in 1815 was this list of the militia from a group of townships in Staincliffe wapentake of the West Riding of Yorkshire - Slaidburn, Bowland Forest, Easington and Newton in Slaidburn parish; Grindleton, Mitton cum Bashall and Waddington cum Bradford in Mitton parish; and Rathmell from Giggleswick parish. The soldiers' full names are given.

Cape Town Directory
The 1822 African Court Calendar and Directory, published under the sanction of government, includes this directory of Cape Town. The inhabitants are listed alphabetically by surname and christian name, with occupation and address.

Pensions on the Civil List
'The Pensions of England, Ireland, and Scotland, continued on the Civil List, and forming part of the Sum of 75,000£., Class No. 5 of the List, as it stood on the 30th Nov. 1830.' This list of the 1,050 persons receiving a total of £155,255 11s 2d in annual pensions from government funds, gives in each case date of grant, full name (surname first), and the net amount of the pension.

Arrivals at Buxton
Arrivals at Buxton reported in The Derby Mercury of 11 October 1837.

London Vestry and District Board Employees
The returns from the Vestry and District Boards elected under the Metropolitan Local Management Act summarising the rates and expenditure for the year ending Lady Day 1857 include the 'Names of all Officers employed as Clerks, Surveyors, Collectors, Health Officers, Inspectors of Nuisances, and other Officers employed under such Vestry or District Board; setting forth the Offices they severally hold, with the Amount of Salary, Fees, Poundage, Perquisites, Value of House Rent, and others Benefits enjoyed by such Officers under any General or Local Act, or otherwise.'

There are returns from Bermondsey, Camberwell, Fulham & Hammesmith, Greenwich, Hackney, Holborn, Mile End Old Town, Paddington, Plumstead (with Charlton, Eltham, Lee and Kidbrooke), St George in the East, St George, Hanover Square, St George the Martyr, Southwark, St Giles, St James & St John, Clerkenwell, St James, Westminster, St John, Hampstead, St Leonard, Shoreditch, St Luke, Chelsea, St Luke, Middlesex, St Martin in the Fields, St Mary Abbot's, Kensington, St Mary, Islington, St Mary, Lambeth, St Marylebone, St Mary, Rotherhithe, St Matthew, Bethnal Green, St Olave, Southwark, St Pancras, St Saviour's, Wandsworth, Westminster, Whitechapel, and Woolwich.

Inhabitants of the Borough of Derby
A petition to the Mayor of the Borough of Derby from inhabitants soliciting him to convene a public meeting to take into consideration the subject of Parliamentary Reform.


Mid-Antrim Museum events

A list of forthcoming events at Mid-Antrim Museum, at the Braid, Ballymena, is available in a news report at

Admission to all events is free. To book your place please contact Shirin Murphy T: 02825635977 Email: For more information visit


Richard Madeley at WDYTYA Live

Richard Madeley will be appearing as one of the slebs at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in February 2011.

(With thanks to WDYTYA magazine)


ScotlandsPeople Centre strike disruption

From the ScotlandsPeople Centre website (

Customers are advised that due to industrial action on Wednesday, 30th November, the level of customer service at the ScotlandsPeople Centre may be affected. If you have a booking for this day and wish to change it to another date, please contact the Centre on 0131 314 4300 or email us at:


National Archives strike closure

From the National Archives (

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has announced national strike action on Wednesday 30 November. As the strike coincides with industrial action by other unions, The National Archives will be closed to the public on this day.

We therefore ask visitors planning to come to The National Archives on 30 November to arrange their visit for an alternative day.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Please continue to check our website for updates.


My Heritage acquires World Vital Records

From My Heritage:

PROVO, Utah & LONDON, UK & TEL AVIV, Israel-- MyHeritage, the most popular family network on the web, announced today the acquisition of, Inc., maker of the family history content sites and This is MyHeritage's seventh and largest acquisition since 2007. The purchase marks a significant move into the US market commercially and operationally, and will boost MyHeritage’s offering to families with the addition of a vast database of more than 3 billion historical records. With offices and staff in Europe, Australia and Israel, MyHeritage will now be adding its first US-based office in Utah, the home of and often cited as the family history capital of the world.

“We are delighted to join forces with the talented FamilyLink team in Provo to deliver meaningful value to families across the world,” says MyHeritage CEO and Founder Gilad Japhet. “Combining close to one billion family tree profiles on MyHeritage with FamilyLink's massive library of historical data delivers a perfect one-stop-shop for families looking to discover and share their family history".

Founded in 2006, both and are subscription services which provide access to a huge database of historical content, covering several billion individuals within census, birth, marriage and death records, as well as the web’s largest archive of historical newspapers. This content will deliver new insights and value to the 60 million people who have signed up on MyHeritage in 38 different languages, creating more than 900 million profiles in 21 million family trees. When brought together under the MyHeritage umbrella, the company’s innovative Smart Matching technology will automatically match any of the new historical data to the relevant users' ancestors and relatives within the family trees.

“Our team of family history veterans couldn't be more excited about joining forces with MyHeritage”, said CEO Paul Brockbank. “This acquisition creates new horizons in exploring family history. People will receive the opportunity to search the most comprehensive historical content sources and make exciting new discoveries; share this information with their close family and save it into their family tree. Combined under the leadership of MyHeritage, the service will continue to flourish and add more value to millions of families”.

MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet adds: “The establishment of a US base for MyHeritage in Utah, the international center for genealogical research, is an important milestone in our growth and brings about an exciting opportunity for the company and the families we serve. MyHeritage provides the perfect service to collect the family’s treasured archive to share and keep for future generations in a setting that is friendly and secure – and now we're excited to top this off with vast amounts of content that will add more color and life to family trees. Through our powerful search engine and automatic Smart Matching technology we'll find your mother's yearbook, your great-grandfather's will and your ancestor's immigration record, leaving you with the time to marvel at, enjoy and share your family heritage. We'll do that on a massive, global scale, as we live in a world that is smaller and more tightly connected than ever before”.

This is the latest in a series of strategic purchases by MyHeritage since 2007 which have included Pearl Street Software, makers of and the Family Tree Legends software; free family tree backup service; European family social network market leader OSN (Verwandt) GmbH; Dutch family network ZOOOF; British family network and Polish family network

The majority of the employees will join MyHeritage, based out of the company’s new US office in Provo, Utah: bringing the benefit of their collective expertise within the family history and North American genealogy market. The CEO of, Paul Brockbank, previously CEO of Logoworks and GM of Hewlett Packard Web Print Solutions, will play a key role in supporting the transition over the coming months and will later join the MyHeritage advisory board. founder Paul Allen, previously a co-founder of, and's "We're Related" Facebook application, will not be part of the merger with MyHeritage.

In the short-term, MyHeritage will continue to operate the two sites and, with the intention of achieving full integration within MyHeritage in 2012. With immediate effect and for an introductory period, loyal subscribers and users of MyHeritage will be entitled to discounts of up to 50% on and subscriptions, and vice versa.

(With thanks to Laurence Harris)


Find My Past: Ripper trailer

Here's the trailer for this week's episode of Find My Past: Ripper

The episode airs on Thursday 24th November on Yesterday at 9pm and is repeated daily throughout the following week. Yesterday can be found at Sky channel 537, Virgin TV channel 203 and Freeview channel 12 and there is more info about the series at and their Facebook page at

(With thanks to Lee McKenzie)


Genealogical Publishing Company update

From Genealogical Publishing Company:

Genealogical Publishing Company ( is delighted to announce that hundreds of its publications are now printed in the UK and can be ordered from,, and other fine booksellers. These include the works of authorities David Dobson for Scotland, Brian Mitchell for Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Peter Wilson Coldham for England. To browse our collection, please visit, but be sure to order from a vendor on your side of the Atlantic.


Sunday 20 November 2011

New Borders FHS publications

Borders FHS has the following new publications for sale:

Edrom Burials 1783 - 1799 & 1817 - 1828 £4.

Newlands Mortcloths 1709 - 1759 £4.95.

Minto Monumental Inscriptions (Gravestone Inscriptions) CD £7.

Parish Registers in the Kirk Session Records £4

For more information visit


Heredis returns for the Mac

A new version of family history software Heredis is on the cards for the Mac. Dick Eastman and Doug Walker have the story at

If I remember right, the orginal version of Heredis had the funky 3D family tree display function - fairly useless for research purposes, but a lot of fun!


Australian records from Archive CD Books

Australian offerings from Archive CD Books Britain and Ireland (

Starting with New South Wales we can offer you Bailliere's New South Wales Gazetteer and Road Guide 1870. This is the 2nd edition of this important 19th century gazetteer. It contains a wealth of information for historians and genealogists, and will interest the general reader as well. There are entries for towns and villages, lakes, rivers and creeks, islands, bays, hills and mountains, counties, hundreds, local government areas, electoral districts, stations, runs and other localities and features.

We are also pleased to have a CD book of Sydney University Calendar 1887. Old university calendars contain a wealth of information on people associated with the university as well as an insight into the courses of study offered and university life and culture generally. And this CD which is searchable on any name, subject or word you desire.

Continuing with an educational theme the N.S.W Educational Gazette Vol 3-1 (Jun. 1893) to Vol 4-12 (May 1895) contains a wealth of information for family, local and educational historians. Here you will find long lists of teacher appointments and promotions, other personal notices on occasions - deaths, retirements, resignations and some obituaries.

Other NSW titles include Yewen's Directory of Landholders 1900, "first broad attempt at publishing a complete directory of landowners in New South Wales ..."
New South Wales Post Office Directory 1904, New South Wales Telephone Exchanges list of subscribers, New South Wales Public Service List 1925 and 1934 and The Australian Contingent: A History of the Patriotic Movement in New South Wales by F. Hutchinson.

Our Queensland titles include Pugh's Almanac and Directory of Queensland 1895, T. Pugh. This is a very rare publication that is really fascinating. For anyone with connections to Queensland this is the title for you! Also available is Queensland Post Office and Official Directory 1905.

Our South Australian titles include 2 volumes of the South Australian Directory 1876 and 1881 - A directory of Adelaide listing residents in each street. An alphabetical directory of people and their occupations.

For Tasmania we are excited to have the Tasmanian Royal Kalendar and Almanack 1849, McPhails Directory of Tasmania 1867- this important early directory features over 160 pages of directory listings; and Tasmania Post Office Directory 1903.

Victoria's titles include Letters from Victorian Pioneers which includes a fold out map and 58 letters. Sands and McDougalls Melbourne and Suburban Directory 1865 containing street, alphabetical, and trade directory Melbourne and suburbs, together with a miscellaneous directory of useful information. F.M Dickers Ballarat and Ballarat East Directory 1865-1866 including Buninyong, Browns, Clunes, Creswick, Smythesdale and Scarsdale for 1865-66. Ballarat District Directory 1904 Trade and Professional Directory of Ballarat West, Ballarat East, Sebastopol and Buninyong, together with Illustrations and descriptive information.

Electoral Rolls are the nearest thing Australians have to census records, at least at the start of the twentieth century Bendigo Electoral Roll 1922 is therefore an extremely important, and useful resource.

Western Australia titles include the Western Australia Post Office Directory 1905 and a Centenary catalogue of farms and Stations Consisting of 95 pages plus large foldout map, this publication begins with a list of properties sold by Joseph Charles between January 1921 and April 1929.

Feel free to check out our General Australia catalogue for more titles.


Monaghan records added to RootsIreland

From RootsIreland (, news of new records for Monaghan (including some Church of Ireland records):

The Irish Family History Foundation's Online Research Service (ORS) are pleased to announce the availability of an additional 35,000 birth, marriage and death records from the Monaghan Family History Centre in Co. Monaghan.

The following parishes have now been added:
Church of Ireland Currin 1816-1922
Church of Ireland Errigal Shanco 1877-1974
Roman Catholic Tydavnet 1825-1826

Roman Catholic Aghabog 1836-1898
Church of Ireland Clones 1755-1939
Church of Ireland Donagh (St. Salvators) 1736-1897
Roman Catholic Donaghmoyne 1858-1886
Church of Ireland Ematris (St. John's & Kilcrow) 1795-1839
Roman Catholic Killeevan (Newbliss) 1867-1880
Roman Catholic Monaghan 1839-1900
Roman Catholic Tullycorbet (Ballybay) 1862-1884

Roman Catholic Aghabog 1840-1906
Roman Catholic Clontibret 1860-1882
Roman Catholic Donaghmoyne 1872-1880
Roman Catholic Drummully 1865-1881
Roman Catholic Ematris (Rockcorry) 1849-1890
Roman Catholic Kilmore 1836-1900
Roman Catholic Monaghan 1827-1926
Roman Catholic Muckno (Castleblayney) 1835-1920
Roman Catholic Tullycorbet (Ballybay) 1862-1876
Roman Catholic Tydavnet 1823-1881

NB: Records continue to be available for 3.50 Euros for the rest of November.

(With thanks to RootsIreland)


Saturday 19 November 2011

Find My Past - Ripper

I'm going to miss it, but I have the Sky+ box set to record!

Find My Past - Ripper

Karen Miller, Dan Nielson and Oliver Boot discover their ancestors share an astonishing connection to Jack the Ripper.

Don't miss it: tune in to the Yesterday channel at 9pm on Thursday 24 November to watch the episode: Freeview channel 12, Sky 537, Virgin Media 203.


Ancestry - beta image viewer available

Ancestry ( has news of a new beta image viewer on its blog at, to replace its former Advanced Viewer.


FindmyPast to widen access to international records

Well all is going well here in New Zealand, yesterday's opening sessions at Auckland City Library went down great, and some great topics throughout the day. In one of the talks from Rosemary Kopittke on the various FindmyPast websites around the world she outlined some future plans for the platforms which will be of great interest to many beyond New Zealand! I had heard about these a few months back, but this was the first I had heard of it in the public domain, so now's as good a time as any to share!

There are three FindmyPast websites at present, for the UK, Ireland and Australasia -, and At present, to use each site you need to purchase individual subscriptions. Around March of next year there will be a development that will allow you to purchase 'bolt-on' packages to the site that you mainly use, to draw in records from the other sites - in much the same way that at present you can purchase additional record sets for your Genes Reunited account, for example additional military records packages to your subscription. Indeed, my understanding from another source is that the GR platform technology is that being used as the basis for the new look FindmyPast platform.

In addition, for those using the Australasian site, there will be a revamp to the look of the site in December, which will reconfigure the collection categories along much the same lines as those of the UK site, and in the very near future the number of records on this version of the site will double, significantly enhancing the material available.

Exciting times ahead for FindmyPast in all its aspects!


Friday 18 November 2011

Charles Dickens and the Supernatural

The British Library will be holding a Folio Society Gallery exhibition, A Hankering after Ghosts: Charles Dickens and the Supernatural, from 29 November 2011 to 4 March 2012.

“Among his good things should not be omitted his telling of a ghost story. He had something of a hankering after them …”
- John Forster, The life of Charles Dickens

This free exhibition will mark the bicentenary of Charles Dickens’ birth and will take place in the Folio Society Gallery. The exhibition will explore the many ways in which Dickens uses supernatural phenomena in his works, while placing them in the context of scientific, technological and philosophical debates of his time.

(With thanks to the British Library)


Heritage Lottery Fund WW1 commemoration

With thanks to Beryl Evans of the Federation of Family History Societies ( for the following:

The Heritage Lottery Fund has launched a campaign to encourage applications for funding to commemorate the centenaries of the First World War.

Applications will need to be made in the normal way via the HLF’s ‘Your Heritage’, ‘Heritage Grants’ and ‘Young Roots’ programmes (i.e. there is no separate grant programme for this initiative). For more information and to download a leaflet go to -

Louise Ray
Funding and Development Advice Manager
Telephone +44 (0)20 8392 5347
The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU

Beryl Evans


New on Electric Scotland

Recent additions to Electric Scotland:

Electric Scotland News
What's new on
The Flag in the Wind
Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland
R. B. Cunninghame Graham, Fighter for Justice
Through the Long Day
Nether Lochaber
The Social and Industrial history of Scotland, from the Union to the present time
Traits and Stories of the Scottish People
The Cottagers of Glenburnie
Jamieson's Dictionary of the Scottish Language
Scottish Poets in America (New Book)
Letters from the Mountains (New Complete Book)

For the latest newsletter, with further details, please visit


Thursday 17 November 2011

Horncastle Family History Group news

News on Horncastle Family History Group's forthcoming programme from the Horncastle News (

MISSING Ancestors was the talk given by Peter Edwards at the October Meeting of Horncastle Family History Group.

Everyone went away with somewhere new to search and Pete’s enthusiasm encouraged everyone to believe they were just hiding away.

Plans are in hand for the Christmas social evening and the workshop in January.

This will take the form of a beginners evening and members will take completed projects to show what can be achieved.

There will also be a sales table of items such as books and CDs.

On July 21, the Horncastle branch host the summer social for the Lincolnshire Family History Society and next year will also celebrate 25 successful years as a group.

The next meeting is on Wednesday, November 23, at 7.30pm, when broadcaster Alan Stennett will give a talk about ‘Lincolnshire Lads on the Veldt’.

Visitors are welcome, admission is free, and there are refreshments and a raffle.

Members will be there from 7pm to help with queries.


The Original Record update

From The Original Record (

Added this week:

Manchester Directory
W. Parson compiled this Manchester trades directory included in the second volume of the History, Directory, and Gazetteer of the County Palatine of Lancaster, by Edward Baines, published in 1825. The names are arranged alphabetically by surname and christian name, with address, including house numbers where appropriate.

Bankers, Merchants and Traders of Bristol
These bankers, merchants and traders of Bristol, being 'deeply impressed with the importance of extending the commercial relations of this Country with the East Indies, China, and other Countries to the Eastward of the Cape of Good Hope' petitioned the mayor to convene a public meeting to consider the East India Monopoly.

Manufacturers and Traders petitioning the Mint
This memorial of Manufacturers and Traders, mainly of London and Edinburgh, was presented to the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, expressing 'their grateful satisfaction at the course pursued by your Lordships in regard to the Chinese treasure received as the ransom of Canton, whereby the gold contained in the Sycee silver and dollars was extracted at the Royal Mint and made beneficial to British interests', and urging that 'a similar refinement of the treasure since paid, or hereafter to be paid, as an indemnity by the Chinese, may be adopted, and that the price usually allowed in the London market for refining may be realized at once among British manufacturers, tradesmen, and artisans, before the bullion shall be sold to serve as a remittance either now or hereafter to foreign countries.'

North Lincolnshire Poll Book
The Poll Book for North Lincolnshire (Lindsey) in the General Election of 1852 was prepared from the poll clerks' lists, and so is arranged polling district by polling district, and within those by township or parish, but with non-voters listed separately at the end of each polling district. The 9,620 voters are listed not by residence, but by the parish or township in which lay the property that gave the right to vote: consequently 260 electors appear twice on the register. 1,797 did not vote. Many of the electors lived outside the area, or even outside the county. The names are listed roughly alphabetically by surname, with christian name, residence and occupation: with a key to the nature of their property (freehold fr, rented rt, or copyhold ch), and for whom the votes were cast (CR.: Rt. Hon. R. A. Christopher, who received 5,585 votes; CH.: Sir Montague J. Cholmeley, 4,777; S.: James Banks Stanhope, 5,575). Each elector had two votes. The franchise comprised all adult m
ales in possession of 40s freehold, or £10 copyhold or leasehold, annual value.

Electors of Dublin University
The roll of all persons entitled to vote at elections for members to serve in Parliament for the University of Dublin lists living graduates of the university, arranged alphabetically by surname and christian name(s), with current residence, dates at which their degrees were conferred - Vern. denoting the Spring, Aest. the Summer, and Hiem. the Winter Commencements - and date of registration. Members of the Senate and electors on the books of Trinity College are distinguished by a dagger. Where an elector's name is given in italics, he was no longer known at the residence given.

The Home Office issued monthly lists of aliens to whom Certificates of Naturalization had been granted by the Secretary of State and whose oaths of allegiance had been registered in the Home Office. These notices, from January to December 1925, refer to naturalizations from December 1924 to November 1925. The lists give full name (surname first) with any aliases; country of origin; occupation; full postal address; date of taking the oath. A dagger indicates re-admission to British nationality.

Imperial Service Medal
Awards by king George V of the Imperial Service Medal to officers of the Home Civil Service. The names are arranged alphabetically by surname and christian names, with office or rank in the service.

(With thanks to The Original Record)


Who Do You Think You Are? Live ticket offer extension

From Who Do You Think You Are? Live:

We’re happy to announce that we have extended our early bird offer of just two tickets for £20* until Monday 21st November to give every subscriber a chance to get the best value tickets to the show.

Grab this opportunity to attend the world’s biggest family show which will give you access to a wealth of family history resources, information and advice all under one roof. Be quick – this offer will end at midnight on Monday!

For more info see


Wednesday 16 November 2011

More Irish certificate madness

Claire Santry has posted news that Cork is looking at adopting a Certificate of Cork Heritage or a Cork Passport. On a more useful development for family historians, there is apparently to be a new genealogy centre constructed at Shandon.

Claire's full post on the subject - with an assessment of the public reaction to the passport idea - is at

I'm tempted to suggest the idea of an 'Irish passport' - where Irish people can have a document that allows them to enter and leave the country as citizens of the state and entitle them to discounts to all sorts of state run heritage attractions - but I suspect it may prove to be too controversial...! :)


Pembrokeshire Archaeology day

Pembrokeshire Archaeology Day is on Saturday 19 November, 2011 The event will be held at Merlin Theatre, Pembrokeshire College, Merlin’s Bridge, Haverfordwest, 9.30 am - 4.00 pm, and will feature a number of guest speakers and displays.

For details on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales' presence at the event visit

(With thanks to the RCAHMW)


Family History Show website

Nick Barratt's and Laura Berry's Family History Show, which launched initially on YouTube a couple of months ago, now has its own dedicated platform at Each month they plan to bring news and views via online 'vodcasts' (video podcasts), with the first edition including an interview with Millvina Dean, a survivor from the Titanic. The site also provides options for various social networking link-ups via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube etc.


ScotFamTree back online

From genealogy forum ScotFamTree:

Hello all SFTers ! This is just a wee message to let you all know that our
forum is back online.

Not all sections are open yet but we're working on this, please feel free to
log-in and take a look around.

For all Tier 1 AND 2 members,there is a message posted in the ''chat'' area.

Hope to see you online very soon.

There's a new web address at - the forum has had a bit of trouble in recent weeks whilst migrating to a new platform, but thankfully now looks to be back on track!


Tuesday 15 November 2011

Short intermission from British GENES...!

There will now follow a short intermission....!

I am flying to New Zealand tomorrow for a two week Scottish & Irish genealogy cruise, as well as a shore based talks tour from Auckland to Sydney, as part of a venture organised by top down under genies Unlock the Past ( As such, there will be a restricted service from this blog for the next three weeks, simply because I won't be able to guarantee internet access on a daily basis. I will, however, do my very best to keep you up to date, as and when I can, and will share a few photos and videos from New Zealand and Australia hopefully when I return!

In the meantime, if you are down under, the full shore based programme can be accessed via (I will not be speaking in Tauranga or Melbourne, but will be at all other venues). Lots of great speakers including Rosemary Kopittke, Shauna Hicks, Perry McIntyre, Richard Reid, Helen Smith, Jan Gow and Brad Manera - hopefully we'll see you there!

PS: have set Sky+ to record Find My Past while I'm away...!


North Yorkshire CRO temporary closure

One more from Beryl at FFHS:

Please note that the North Yorkshire County Record Office will be closed for collections work and staff training from Monday 28 November to Saturday 3 December 2011 (inclusive). Staff will continue to respond to urgent telephone and written enquiries during this period. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

(with thanks to Carol McLee)


Denbighshire RO temporary closure

And another one...!

From Sarah Winning, Archivist at Denbighshire RO:

Please note that Denbighshire Archive Service will be closed for annual
stocktake- Monday 12th December-Friday 16th December.

Denbighshire Record Office
The Old Gaol
46 Clwyd Street
LL15 1HP
Phone: 01824 708250
Fax: 01824 708222

(Thanks again to Beryl at FFHS)


Essex RO temporary closure

Thanks to beryl Evans from the Federation of Family History Societies ( for passing on the following from Ruth Costello, Archivist for the Essex Record Office (

Please note that the Essex Record Office will be closed for stocktaking from Monday 28 November to Saturday 10 December inclusive. We will reopen on Monday 12 December at 9 a.m.


Trace Scottish ancestors in Quebec

Quebec Family History Society is holding a one day workshop entitledTracing Your Scottish Ancestors, with presentations from Jackie Billingham, Susan Gingras, and Gary Schroder at the society's library on 173 CartierAve, Pointe Claire QC, from 10am-4pm on Saturday 26th November 2011. Admission is $30 (Canadian).

For more visit

(With thanks to @BIFHSGO on Twitter)


Monday 14 November 2011

Trojan warnings on genealogy sites

A huge thanks to Alasdair MacDonald from the University of Strathclyde for a warning about two well known genealogy websites which appear to have been hacked by trojan viruses. The first is, the site detailing migration to New York prior to the establishment of Ellis Island - the second is the Clan Donald DNA Project site. I've not listed the actual web addresses as I don't want to tempt fate, but Ali comments that several of his students have been hit by trojans from the sites, which neither AVG or McAfee picked up, although Ali himself uses Avast which did pick them up.

You are hereby duly warned!

(Thanks to Ali)


Barking and Dagenham newsletter

The East of London Family History Society's Barking and Dagenham branch has a newsletter now online at

Amongst the news is the closure of Newham Archives until Spring 2012, whilst Stratford Library is refurbished.


Romany and Traveller FHS at Remembrance Service

The Daily Mail has a report on the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, including details of the Romany and Traveller Family History Society's participation, its first time at the event.

The full story is at


Find My Past Trailer - Mutiny on the Bounty

This week's episode of Find My Past looks at the Mutiny on the Bounty - here's the trailer:

About the episode

The mutiny on the Bounty was a mutiny that occurred aboard the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty on 28 April 1789. The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian against the commanding officer, William Bligh. According to most accounts, the sailors were attracted to the idyllic life on the Pacific island of Tahiti and repelled by the harsh treatment of their captain. Eighteen mutineers set Lieutenant Bligh and 18 of the 22 crew loyal to him afloat in a small boat. Mutineers then settled on Pitcairn Island or in Tahiti. The Bounty was subsequently burned off Pitcairn Island to avoid detection and to prevent desertion. Descendants of some of the mutineers and Tahitians still live on Pitcairn island.


Penelope Geoghan is 70 years old and lives in Southfields, London. She loves and took a ‘gap year’ aged 56 to spend time with friends abroad and stop off wherever took her interest. She is excited to find out about her fascinating family history.

Ken Ford is 67 years old and lives in Andover. with his partner and son. Also has a grown-up daughter. He works part time for the police and has had a very varied career including spending sometime in the Merchant Navy. Ken qas incredibly shocked to find out his ancestor was involved in the Mutiny on the Bounty and is excited to learn more.

Marysia Stickland is a mum of 3 young boys and lives in Northwood. Her husband is in the Royal Marines. Marysia wants to learn more about her family history so she can share the stories with her sons when the get older.

The episode airs on Thursday 17th November on Yesterday at 9pm and is repeated daily throughout the following week. Yesterday can be found at Sky channel 537, Virgin TV channel 203 and Freeview channel 12 and there is more info about the series at and their Facebook page at

(With thanks to Lee Washington)


Glasgow poor law records talk in Belfast

Irene's off to Belfast! From the website of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (

Dr Irene O’Brien, the City Archivist for Glasgow will be giving a public presentation on Scottish Poor Law Records. This will take place in the Lecture Theatre at PRONI at 2pm on Friday 25 November. Irene will highlight the wonderful riches within the poor law records in Glasgow City Archives. The wide-range of biographical information about so many of the poor makes these records one of the most important sources for family history. The large number of Irish applicants means they are a vital source for those with Irish ancestors.

Admission is FREE and open to all but booking essential. Please contact PRONI / email to secure your place.


Europeana: Remembering the First World War

From Europeana (

Europeana Collections 1914-1918: Remembering the First World War

Europeana Collections 1914-1918 will create by 2014 – the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War - a substantial digital collection of material from national libraries and other partners from eight countries that found themselves on different sides of the historic conflict. See:

The First World War was a conflict on an unprecedented scale that affected the every-day lives of virtually all Europeans and many people living in other parts of the world. The memory of the war, its events and consequences, its victims and victors, remains very much alive today. It has become part of the individual and collective memory of Europe.

The three-year project will make over 400,000 WWI sources publicly and freely available online for the first time – content that is often rare and highly fragile because of the deteriorating quality of the paper it was produced on and generally only accessible in reading rooms.

The digital collection will span the full range of national library collections including books, newspapers, trench journals, maps, music sheets, children’s literature, photographs, posters, pamphlets, propaganda leaflets, original art, religious works, medals and coins.

This material will highlight the importance of the First World War for a common European identity and reflect the experiences of people from different ethnic, linguistic, political, social and religious communities on all sides of the conflict, including those opposed to the war. It will permit new interpretations of history that go far beyond traditional military history and include artistic and cultural reinterpretation of the experiences of 1914-1918.

Professor Sir Andrew Motion commented on this project: "It is wonderful to learn that the British Library will work with partners from across Europe to digitise material relating to the First World War, and to make this accessible to all online. This is a tremendously important project that will transform access to Europe's shared cultural heritage in the run-up to the anniversary of the War's outbreak in 2014."

All the digitised collections will be made available through, where they will join related material from other institutions as well as family papers and memorabilia from the war digitised by private individuals in Germany and the UK.

Jamie Andrews, the British Library’s Head of English and Drama said: "I am delighted that the British Library is working with Europeana, and with colleagues from across Europe, to build an online collection of material relating to all aspects of the First World War, and the ways that it touched civilians and servicemen from all parts of the world.”


Movietone available via AP Archive

Just received this, for all you history buff media moguls needing some archive content...! :)

From TODAY, the incredible British Movietone archive is available from AP Archive.

British Movietone spans the period 1895 to 1986 and is perhaps the world’s finest newsreel collection, covering almost a century of news events, politics, celebrities, music, royals, sport, popular culture, fashion and social history.

We can deliver British Movietone footage as digital files or on videotapes and DVDs. We will soon be adding the entire digital archive to the AP Archive website, but in the meantime, please search and simply quote to us the story number/s that you need and we will do the rest. British Movietone veteran researcher, Anne Seymour is now part of the AP Archive team and can help you locate whatever shots you need.

For enquiries, email or call our London office on +44 (0)20 7482 7482.


Sunday 13 November 2011

War, women and why? Three books to explore!

Next Wednesday I will be heading off to New Zealand for a while, and have sorted some reading matter to take with me, so figured I'd give a few quick plugs before I go! They are all new releases from Pen and Sword (

Women's Lives: Researching Women's Social History 1800-1939, by Jennifer Newby

OK - Jen's the editor of Family History Monthly, and as I've known about this coming out for a while, I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in! It is quite a weighty tome, and is packed with six key sections broken down into chapters, with the individual sections looking at women in domestic service, those who worked on the land and in the factories, as well as middle class women, aristocratic women, and criminals. A nice wee additional gem is a four page timeline of relevant developments and acts tucked in at the very end before the index.

Tracing Your Second World War Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians
, by Phil Tomaselli

This looks a good meaty take on the war for genealogists. In flicking through it I have just been somewhat delighted to note there's a good section on how to search for people at Bletchley Park - Catherine Paton, I will find you! - and lots of other goodies, covering all the services in some depth. There are twelve many chapters, with several sub-sections, and also a look in the final one at Commonwealth and Empire research. Like Jen's book, this is also published by Pen and Sword.

Family Matters: A History of Genealogy, by Michael Sharpe

This one looks an absolute cracker! It's a hardback book at £19.99 providing an account of the history of what I and many others do for a living, and one that as a former documentary maker therefore really appeals to me. Never mind what it is that genealogists do for a living, whether as a hobby in quiet times or as a merchandiser or vendor providing a service, just what was the sequence of events over the last few centuries that led us to the situation where we are at today? There are nine chapters included, and at 258 pages, this is definitely going to be an indepth read - from what I can make out, it predominantly looks at the English situation, although goes beyond England's shores and borders on occasion, but I can't imagine the situation will have been that much different in Scotland or elsewhere.

Finally, I've just gone into a mad phase of wanting to find out more about the Anglo-Irish War and the subsequent Irish Civil War, and so in the last two weeks have read two useful books on the subject: Essential Histories: The Irish Civil War 1922-23 by Peter Cottrell (Osprey, 2008) and British Voices From the Irish War of Independence 1918-1921: The Words of British Servicemen Who Were There, by William Sheehan (2007, Collins Press). I'll be taking a book on the history of Carrick-on-Suir in Tipperary with me to read also, as I want to try and find out what my wife's lot got up to! :)


Devon's Top Fifty Churches

A new book on Devon's top fifty books has been published, written by Todd Gray, Chairman of Friends of Devon’s Archives, and President of the Devon Family History Society. The author will be giving a lecture at Branscombe Church on November 21st at 7pm, about some of the county's best religious buildings, and to raise funds for the church.

The full story is at


Saturday 12 November 2011

Monaghan records to go online Monday

Further records for County Monaghan will be added to the Roots Ireland website ( on Monday.

(With thanks to @rootsireland on Twitter)


Family treasure chest found in Belfast

A case full of family history papers spanning two world wars has been found in Belfast and reunited with descendants of the family concerned. One of those really irritating stories you wish would happen to you one day! :) The full account is at and concerns the papers of a Henry Campbell, who worked as a tram inspector for the Belfast Corporation, and how they have been reunited with his nephew, Denis Waring.


Friday 11 November 2011

British Newspaper Archive beta - initial thoughts

The British Newspaper Archive has now launched a beta version of its website at which will be available until Monday, November 14th. Despite it being a beta, the site is charging those who have previously registered with it a sum of £6.95 for 1000 credits - to view a page costs 10 credits, about 7p, which seems a fair price for a page, as that's about 100 pages worth, not bad. The beta intro page asks that none of the material is copied as yet, including use of screengrabs, so this is a non-illustrated preliminary assessment based on what I have seen so far.

The project is a partnership between the British Library and Brightsolid, the company behind A rough tally suggests there are 157 separate titles available, though the range of what is available varies - there is a title for Ayr, for example, with only one edition online! When originally previewed the site seemed to imply that only English titles would be made available in the first batch, and I'm happy to say that this is not the case - though this really should be qualified. For Ireland, for example, I can see three titles available for Belfast, Dublin and Cork. That's the good news - the slightly weirder news is that the titles for Belfast and Dublin are already freely available via library based subscriptions to the British Library 19th Century Newspaper Collection. For Scotland, the situation is better - there are new titles for Stirling, Dundee, Elgin, Falkirk, Motherwell, Dumfries and Dunfermline - but equally, the titles for Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and one for Dundee, are also freely available in the 19th Century collection, if you have access. I have not checked how much duplication there might be with English or Welsh material, though I see the Illustrated Police News there, which is on the 19th C collection. So it is worth checking against the 19th C collection via local library access before purchasing something that you might actually be able to get for free elsewhere.

The site itself is quite friendly on the eye, and seems to work fine. One thing that might irritate a few people is the fact that with the lists of titles presented, there is no date range given - I can't imagine that that would be a big deal to implement, but when addressed on the sites FAQs it suggests that it is because they will be adding more material. That's fair enough, but can't they just amend the date range when they do?!

This site is going to be GREAT, but I'm just surprised to see as much repetition as there is from the other British Library newspaper project. I had been given the nod a few weeks back that there would not be much by way of Irish material, and that is certainly the case, but I am really pleased to see such a wide range from Scotland, probably more than I was expecting. A point to note is that the earlier 19th C newspaper project is going to stand still, but this new site will continue to expand over the next 10 years - so a site to keep returning to for a while me thinks!

A major new resource, but please - add year ranges!

Now off to have a really good play...! :)


War Horse movie trailer

I saw the trailer for War Horse today - suspect Spielberg may be about to do with the First World War what he did with the second in Saving Private Ryan - a good job. Here's the trailer:

Definitely one to see.


Prison hulk records and Ancestry updates

Ancestry's what's new page is showing a new prison records collection, although it is stating it to be an update rather than new. However, the American Ancestry based World Archives Project blog at is showing it as a new release. The collection is the UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849 set - here's the blurb from the site:

This collection consists of registers and letter books of prisoners on convict prison hulks in England between 1802-1849. A hulk is a decommissioned ship that is either technologically out of date or cannot make it through the open sea without taking on water, but is still able to float without problems. There were many of these ships available when engines started to power ships instead of sails, so the hulks were moored in harbors and used as floating prisons or for other purposes. The hulks’ place in harbors also made it easier to hold and transport convicts being sent to Australia. The first prison hulks in England appeared after a 1776 act allowed them to be used to house prisoners.

The collection contains a letter book relating to the establishment of hulks written from 1847-1849 and the registers of prisoners on 19 different hulks between 1802-1849. The registers contain:

Date received
Birth year
Date convicted
Where convicted
More about this collection

After the prison hulk named the Captivity was broken up in 1816, convicts were transferred to the Leviathan. The National Archives cites these records as belonging to the Captivity, with reservations. has cited these records as belonging to the Leviathan, with reservations.

Ancestry also notes updates to the following collections for London, but as is the practice with Ancestry, there's no note of what the update actually is - so it may be worth having another look just in case:

London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921
London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906
London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980
London, England, Poor Law Records, 1834-1940


West Yorkshire Archive Service news

With thanks to Beryl Evans of the Federation of Family History Societies (, as well as Jackie Depelle and Katy Goodrum, on the following news concerning West Yorkshire Archives:

The Archive Service has been working with Leeds City Council to provide improved accommodation for and access to the irreplaceable archive collections relating to Leeds District. We have explored several options for potential sites and partnerships and have costed remedial work to the Art Deco Sheepscar building. The Sheepscar building has a number of problems related to its age and construction and the National Archives has declared it no longer fit for purpose. Having explored a range of other options, none of which proved to be workable or affordable, we have now received approval from the Executive Board of Leeds CC to move out of the Sheepscar building and convert space for storage and public access at the Joint Services HQ complex at Gildersome. This option provides the best storage and access we can achieve at a reasonable cost in the immediate future. It also means that the collections currently held at Sheepscar will be located at the same site as those Leeds collections currently housed in our modern outstore at Joint Services HQ. For the first time, nearly two-thirds of Leeds archives will be accommodated on the same site.

This project will provide:

* Much improved storage conditions for collections, ensuring their preservation
* Much improved security for collections, staff and customers
* Fully-accessible, modern, customer accommodation
* Free customer parking

We are planning for the new facilities to be ready in the third quarter of 2012. There will need to be a short time when the service cannot provide a public service, while the collections are in transit. We will make information available as soon as the timetable is finalised and keep that time to a minimum.

I am pleased to be able to assure you that, in spite of the problems the building gives us, no collections have been damaged. The staff and Conservation Team continue their vigilance and interventions and will ensure that archives remain safe until we can effect the move.

Katy Goodrum
Head of Archives


Military records on Genes Reunited

From Genes Reunited (


To coincide with Remembrance Day, UK family history site Genes Reunited have added to their growing number of military records.

From today people interested in tracing their ancestors with military backgrounds can visit The new release includes The National Roll of the Great War 1914 -1918 which has brief biographies of soldiers who survived the Great War and also information on those who supported the War, such as nurses and civilians, who rarely feature in other WW1 Records.

The complete list of the new military records added to is below.

1861 Worldwide Army Index
Paddington Rifles 1860-1912
Royal Fusiliers Collection 1863-1905
Surrey Recruitment Registers 1908-1933
Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
Distinguished Conduct Medals
National Roll of the Great War
Royal Marine Medal Roll

The 1861 Worldwide Army Index includes soldiers who served across the World in Queen Victoria’s empire states. The index is also useful for members to identify men missing from the 1861 census.

The newly added military records are available online at and can be viewed on a pay per view basis or Platinum members can choose to add on one or more of the record sets to their package at a low cost.

Rhoda Breakell, Head of Genes Reunited comments: "We are proud to be adding to our growing number of military records on Genes Reunited especially on such an important and symbolic day".


Thursday 10 November 2011

Ballymena talks and workshops

TO COMPLEMENT a new exhibition, Exploring Your Roots , Mid-Antrim Museum is offering a series FREE talks and workshops to help you uncover your family tree.

For more information visit our website or contact Shirin Murphy tel: 028 25635977 email:

November 10: Unlocking PRONI. This talk by Dr. Ann McVeigh will show you how the Public Record Office can help trace your family tree. 14.00-15.00 The Braid, Ballymena.

November 12: Local Ancestors: Tour of the Old Churchyard, Ballymena. This session will also include a ‘behind the scenes’ private tour of Mid-Antrim museum. 10.30-12.30, The Braid, Ballymena.

November 15: Researching Farming Families a talk by Dr. William Roulston. 19.00-20.00, The Braid, Ballymena.

November 24: Family history on the web. Mary Bradley from the Local Studies library looks at on-line resources as well as exploring the library’s rich collection of resources. 18.30-20.30, Ballymena Central library, Linenhall St.

November 29: Townlands & Placenames a talk by Dr. Kay Muhr. 19.00-20.00, The Braid, Ballymena

December 1: Introducing the Dippam website – a practical session on the online archive of documents and sources relating to the history of Ireland and Irish emigration by Dr. Paddy Fitzgerald. 18.30-20.30, Ballymena Central library, Linenhall St.

December 6: Presentation on the work of the Ballymena Family History society, including a practical workshop by Brian O’Hara, 19.00-20.00, The Braid, Ballymena.

Exploring Your Roots opens on Thursday, November 10 at Mid-Antrim Museum at The Braid, and will be on display until January 6. The exhibition looks at how museums can be a unique resource for those seeking to find out more about their family history.

Admission to the exhibition is free.


Discover Your Ancestors on sale Nov 20th

With thanks to Philippa McCray of the Federation of Family History Societies ( for the following:

You may be interested to know that a new publication Discover Your Ancestors in association with will be on sale at WHSmith from November 20th, 2011.

"Content rich and bursting with information about researching your family history, Discover Your Ancestors brings never-before-seen content, ideas and inspiration to people interested in this fascinating topic".

The publication is also available in the USA, Canada and Australia.

Discovery Your Ancestors, 188 pages, perfect bound, £4.99.

You can also order a copy directly from the publishers. Please send a cheque for £5.99 (includes P&P) payable to Discovery Media Group Holdings and send to Discovery Media Group, Discovery House, 63 Dundale Road, Tring, Herts, HP23 5BX, UK. (Please add £3 if you are ordering from abroad.)

Comment: I'm happy to say I have a couple of features included in this - looking forward to seeing it in print!


Family Historian version 5 news

From Calico Pie, a news update about my favourite family history software package!

Family Historian 5 - Coming Soon and a Free Upgrade Offer Now

10th November, 2011. Calico Pie today released details of version 5 of Family Historian, the UK's leading genealogy software program. The new version is due for release in February 2012, but thanks to a Christmas offer, anyone who buys Family Historian 4 now from a participating stockist, or as a download, will get a free upgrade to version 5 when released.

Version 5 - a Great Christmas Present
Although version 5 isn't quite ready yet, you can still effectively give it as a Christmas present! This is how:

While stocks last, customers who buy the full version of Family Historian 4 on or after November 10th, from participating stockists only, will be sent a free CD upgrade to version 5 when it is released. So you can give friends or relatives version 4 to unwrap on Christmas Day, with the upgrade to follow shortly. Or you can just keep it yourself of course...

Also - anyone who buys the download version of Family Historian 4 now (full version) will get a free downloadable upgrade to version 5 when released.

For full details of this offer, including the list of participating stockists, see

What's New in Version 5
* New tool for creating family tree books and booklets
* Much improved website generation and support for family tree CDs & DVDs
* New Fan Chart diagrams
* New 'flat' style All-Relatives diagram (much-requested)
* Improved data entry - especially with regard to date-handling and date validation
* New query for detecting possible errors with dates in existing records
* Enhanced 'How Related' tool shows graphically exactly how people are related
* Improved, more comprehensive backup-and-restore
* Improved import and export, including direct import from other program formats
* All reports have enhanced performance and features, including optionally an index
* Silhouettes can now be used in diagrams where required
* Much improved support for background pictures in diagrams
* Much faster diagram loading
* New reports, including a new 'how-related' report
* New tool for marking lines connecting individuals & branches in diagrams
* New 'shapes' toolbar for diagrams, including 'smart shapes' such as arrows
* Extensive new formatting options for diagrams
* Enhancements to the query capability for searching & analyzing records
* Support for plugins - a new way of extending the power of the program
* Integrated access to a new Plugin Store, with numerous free plugins adding even more features - such as a new mapping tool - and more being added all the time
* Numerous improvements to make the program even easier and more enjoyable to use
* And much more...

In the coming weeks, we will be adding more details about version 5 and the new features on our website, at


Remembrance: a civilian story from WW1

Last night I had the great pleasure to give a talk at the Central Scotland FHS in Stirling about the 5500 British and British Commonwealth civilians interned at the Ruhleben POW camp in Germany during the First World War, amongst whose number was my great uncle, John Brownlie Paton. We regularly commemorate the sacrifices made by the military in the war - quite rightly - but sacrifice came in many other forms. The loss of freedom for four years, as experienced by those interned was one example, but there were others.

My own family remembers the First World War for a very different reason - the loss of my civilian great grandfather in Brussels in 1916. The following post was originally made on my Walking in Eternity blog a year ago, and is reprinted by way of as tribute to those whose names are never remembered in the official narrative of the war:

Every time a war anniversary comes along, we of course commemorate the sacrifice of the fallen. Yet that commemoration almost always focusses on the military side of the war in question. For my family, the First World War led to a completely different ordeal, entrapment for my great grandfather and his family for the duration as civilians in occupied Brussels. It was a decision that would cost the life of one and misery for others.

Blackford born David Hepburn Paton (right) was the manager of two shoe shops in Brussels, working on behalf of R & J Dicks, a shoe factory based on Glasgow Green. When war was declared, like many David assumed it would all be over by Christmas. His eldest son William, also an employee of the firm, left for Scotland to join the Royal Army Medical Corps. David instead made the fateful decision to stay behind to look after the two shops in his care on behalf of his company. With him were his wife Jessie (from Inverness), and sons John, Charles (my grandfather) and his daughter Annie, all born in Brussels.

Brussels was occupied by the German army on August 20th 1914. At first the civilian 'alien' population was monitored, but by the end of October the German public was demanding retaliation for the arrest of several German civilians in Britain. Although mass internment was the last thing the German government wanted, it was forced to concede to public demand, and on November 6th the order was given for all British males of fighting age to be arrested and taken to Ruhleben, near Berlin.

We cannot be certain, but it was almost certainly at this point, or just prior, that David went into hiding in Brussels. He was kept in a series of safe houses, and for the next sixteen months remained undiscovered. But in early 1916 he became seriously ill after collapsing, and tragically died on March 12th 1916. Family tradition has it that he died in the house of a Dutch gentlemen who had been hiding him, and had collapsed after an argument. His body was said to have been left out on the street for the authorities to find, for fear of others being arrested as collaborators. David's son William received the following letter from David's Glasgow based brother Joseph, whilst in service with the RAMC at Gallipoli:

Dear William

By the time you get this letter, I suspect you will have learned the sorrowful news, that your poor Father, has been unable to stand the strain any longer of what he has been passing through since war began, and we have indirectly got word of his passing away. I would rather keep such news from you but perhaps you would rather that I should tell you. I went to your Colonels wife (Mrs Thomson) and she very willingly offered to write to her husband, asking him to break the news to you, and I would follow with a letter giving you what details we have which are very few.

Mr Van D' Endon (Leige) was in Brussels on Business some few weeks ago, and on returning send word to Mr Traill that Mr Paton had died of shock due to nervous breakdown. Mr Traill of course wrote Greenhead, and Mr Hay told me the contents of the letter. What a pity they did not all clear out of Belgium when they could have. Of course, you must understand I was almost going to write false news, but one hardly can discredit the report of a man connected with the Firm, who was in Brussels so lately, and I think we must accept it as being too true. As to your Mother and the rest we have no news. I thought on writing your Mother, and paid a visit to the Belgian Consul to get his advice. At first he said Yes I could risk writing, but he had in his office a Belgian lady whom he called in he said the only way was via Holland. If I knew any one in Holland, I was first to write a letter to your Mother, send it on to Mr Traill (for I told the lady of him) he was to re-write the letter and send it on to Brussels. This, of course, could be done Willie if Traill was willing, but how do we know that they are living at Rue de Mont Blanc now. The chances are very much the other way, so I hardly know what to do. We will get the full and correct account of everything by and by, but the suspense is very trying, worse than if we knew the very worst.

I am very sorry indeed to have to give you such sad news, but sorrowful things are happening daily just now. First we thought of withholding the news from you for a time but then we thought of this plan being the best. I have not told Inverness yet. Do you think I should. I will do so, if you wish it. As to date of your Fathers death we gather it is on or about March 15th nothing definite. You will feel the loss very keenly as we all do and we hope that God will spare you to come home and look after those (being the eldest Son) whom he has left. No more at present will write to you again.

Hope you will bear up and stick to your duty. God bless you.

Your loving Uncle Joe

The circumstances of David's death were further explained in the company AGM minutes from 1916 , as held at Glasgow's city archives in the Mitchell Library:

In addition to material, we have given many men to the war. Our Roll of Honour consists of 135 names. Of these, all were volunteers. Out of the eligible men of military age, 94 per cent offered themselves voluntarily. Out of these ten have been killed, ten wounded, one "gassed", and one is reported as missing. Besides these we have lost the manager of our shops in Brussels; after the German occupation he remained for many months in concealment, doing his best for the Company's interests. I regret that the strain and anxiety cost him his life...

But that was not the end of the story. David's widow Jessie remained in Belgium with my grandfather and his brother John. John was soon after arrested by the Germans and transported to Ruhleben camp, where he was interned for two years, having just turned of age. As inflation hit Belgium, things grew increasingly more difficult for the family. A letter from Jessie to her brother-in-law James Paton, a manager of a Singer Sewing machine factory in London, explains how uncomfortable life was becoming:

British Legation, The Hague. July 16th 1917

The Netherland Legation (British Section) at Brussels present their compliments to His Britannic Majesty’s Minister at the Hague and on behalf of Mrs J. Paton, a British subject residing 100 rue d’Espagne, Brussels, have the honor to beg Sir Walter Townley, if possible, to communicate the following message to her brother Mr. James Paton, Singer Works 42 St. Paul’s Churchyard, London E.C.:-

“Dear Jim, As things here would have become impossible for us, I should like to know what you would advise me to do. Matters concerning the Firm here have been decided & an indemnity of three months given. Viz until the 15th Sept. 1917 when the 75 francs I have been receiving since the 16th March 1915 will cease. Then of course I shall be entirely without means. Myself & the two children who are still with me. The small sum left after the exceptionally heavy expense of poor David’s illness & death is gone & had I means I should be allowed only to touch a very small sum monthly. The cost of living here at the present moment is 10 times (and in some cases 20 times) more than in 1914 so you can well imagine my extreme anxiety in case we will be as we have been. Over the winter in such case I shall be in a bad way. Kindly write to the firms and explain as I could not explain myself properly from here. I shall leave it to your good judgement as to what you will say & arrange for me as I know you will do everything in my interest. Kind regards to every one. We three are pretty well, hoping this will find you all the same. Your loving sister J. Paton”

Brussels, July 9th 1917.

By March 1918, things were becoming desperate:

Mr. de Kattendycke,

I hope that you will forgive the liberty I take in writing to you, but the expense of living here at the present moment is impossible. The £3 which the firm of R. and J. Dick allow me is really not enough for food without speaking of other expenses.

I am entirely depending on what the firm sends me, having no other means whatever. My boy of thirteen is ill through nothing but privation and I can see things getting worse every day. I have no idea what arrangements will be made with the firm after the war, but in the meantime we must live and at the rate things are, £3 is just equal to £1, therefore what I receive is not enough.

I should certainly not trouble you if there were any other way of doing, and believe me I appreciate and am very much obliged for the kindnesses you have already done for me.

Hoping to hear from you as soon as possible, I remain

Yours truly,

Mrs. D. H. Paton

The thirteen year old son ill from privation was my grandfather Charles (right, as photographed in Brussels in 1907).

None of this story was known by my father when I first started my family history research over a decade ago - it has all been slowly pieced together through tracing previously unknown cousins in Glasgow and London, sourcing materials from the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and the National Archives at Kew, from a three day research trip to Belgium a few years ago to retrace the family's footsteps, and many other sources.

If there is one legacy of the whole story it is perhaps this - when the Second World War approached in the late 1930s, Charles, by now married, moved from Scotland to Northern Ireland with his Scottish wife; his mother and sister were also hurriedly moved to Inverness from Glasgow by his brother William. Did Charles move to Ulster because he was fearful of a German occupation of Britain, having witnessed the blitzkrieg sweeping through Europe, and having already experienced life under an occupation? It is a fascinating question to which I will likely never get an answer - but it may well be that David's decision to stay in Brussels in 1914 led to me being born as an Ulsterman and not as a Scot (or a Belgian for that matter!).


Free WW1 records on Ancestry

As announced on this blog on Tuesday, Ancestry ( is making its WW1 records collections for service and pension records, and medal index cards, available for free until November 13th.


Excavated Donegal Spitfire guns still work

OK - anything to do with a Spitfire and I go all gooey!!!!

BBC Northern Ireland is showing a programme next year about the excavation of a Spitfire which crashed into a bog Donegal in 1941, and which was recently excavated in an archaeological dig. As part of the excavation, six fully preserved Browing machine guns - the weapons of the craft - were retrieved and found to be in perfect working order. For a clip from the new programme showing the guns being fired for the first time in 70 years, see - Dan Snow is the presenter.


Series 2 WDYTYA US to be shown in UK

The second American series of Who Do You Think You Are is to be shown from November 16th on BBC1 (except BBC1 East by looks of it). Most of the network gets it at 22.45, with Northern Ireland and Wales at 23.15.

Interestingly it looks like each episode is 30 minutes only - which is shorter than the US original version, implying a significant amount (up to 10 mins or so) has been edited out. The first edition features Steve Buscemi, an American actor - the transmission order is not the same as the US run, therefore, which commenced with Vanessa Williams (from Ugly Betty fame). All eight programmes of the series are due to be broadcast, though it is unclear as yet as to whether that will be in a single run.

I have seen the second series already, and it was a great improvement on the first - though an edited version may be a bit of a backwards step, as the US version is quite punchy compared to the UK edition. The second series also removed a lot of the dreadful advert breaks repetition at the start of each part, so quite what is being cut remains to be seen.

(With thanks to @debbiekennett on Twitter)


PRONI - Poverty lectures on YouTube

The second recent batch of talks from the current seven part PRONI / OUI lecture series is now available on PRONI's YouTube channel at The subject for this session was Poverty. They are presented here in order:

(With thanks to Gavin McMahon at PRONI)