Tuesday 31 January 2012

Isle of Wight burials to go online

Burial records from the Isle of Wight are to go online by 2014, thanks to a project between the Isle of Wight Family History Society and the Isle of Wight Record Office.

The story is at www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/island-burials-list-to-go-online-42789.aspx, though there's not much more detail as yet!


Grenham's Tracing Your Irish Ancestors - due March

I mentioned a few months back that John Grenham was working on a fourth edition of his Tracing Your Irish Ancestors book, having spoken to him about it at the Back to Our Past event in Dublin, where he said he would be updating it to take into account new internet sites etc. The Genealogical Society of Ireland has now just tweeted that the book should be ready for March - worth saving your pennies up, as it is the definitive tome on Irish research.

(With thanks to @GenSocIreland)


London Metropolitan Archives events

From the London Metropolitan Archives (www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Records_and_archives/), the following events may be of interest for family history research:

Researching Criminal and Prison Lives 

This one day event will focus on the use of different types of criminal and prison records in historical and family history research. The sessions will demonstrate the ways in which we can illuminate the lives of criminals and prisoners in the nineteenth and early twentieth-century.

In presenting some case studies and the documents from London prisons and the Home Office that were used to construct them we can comment both on how the lives of criminals were affected by imprisonment and other engagements with the criminal justice system.

This conference held at London Metropolitan Archives on Friday 10 February from 10 am to 4.30 pm is £15 / £10 concessions - but you must book in advance on 020 7332 3851.

Reel London: Bexley in Archive Film 

Using archive films from the Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre, footage will include the opening of the clock-tower in Bexleyheath town centre (1912), Bexley Civil Defence during World War II and films showing civic events.

Included are Bexley Royal Charter Celebrations (1935), May Queen Celebration in Sidcup Green (1935/36), Communist Party rally (1947).

This event held at London Metropolitan Archives on Tuesday 21 February from 1 to 4 pm is FREE. The film clips will be shown on a rolling loop, for anyone to drop-in from 1 to 4 pm. Visitor information is available here.

Exploring LGBT Collections 

A workshop which introduces material from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) collections held at LMA. This event forms part of a wider celebration, known as LGBT History Month held every year during the month of February.

This workshop held at London Metropolitan Archives on Wednesday 22 February from 6 to 7.30 pm is FREE - but you must book in advanceon 020 7332 3851. Visitor information is available here.

Visitor information for all events is available at www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Records_and_archives/Visitor_information/

(With thanks to the LMA)


National Library of Scotland - reserved manuscripts

The National Library of Scotland (www.nls.uk) has news about reserving manuscripts:

'A new NLS service means reserved manuscripts are now available for delivery on request by readers, normally within a few minutes of arrival in the Special Materials Reading Room in George IV Bridge in Edinburgh. Reserved rare book and music items are also available on request. The new facility aims to provide a quicker service for readers who have special collections material on reserve rather than waiting for scheduled delivery times. All orders for items not on reserve will continue to be delivered at the advertised delivery times throughout the day. More information about these new arrangements is available on our website.'

For more on the story visit www.nls.uk/using-the-library/reading-rooms/north/reserves-delivery

(With thanks to the NLS newsletter)


New Commonwealth War Graves site

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has relaunched its website at www.cwgc.org. As part of the new site the interface for the Search for War Dead page has been expanded - in addition to previous search parameters you can now also search by rank, service number, regiment and even secondary regiment, as well as by honours and awards. From the site - "Future plans include a search on the "additional information" field of our records and more".

(With thanks to @TJFoxGodden and @BradfordWW1 on Twitter)


Using the new National Archives of Ireland catalogue

Readers of this blog will know that I was less than impressed with the new National Archives of Ireland website, and in particular the new catalogue, after its launch last week. Having been unable to establish how to access collections that were previously available, I emailed the archive and asked for some guidance. Archivist Elizabeth McEvoy has kindly replied with a step through guide, which I hope she won't mind me sharing. In particular I asked how to find the material in the  Dáil Éireann and Famine Relief Commission papers databases:

In order to access these databases, please follow these instructions on the "Search the archives" page at www.nationalarchives.ie/search-the-archives/:

1) Click on 'Advanced search" on the left hand column as indicated in the screenshot below

2) In the "archive creator" box at the bottom, either type in "Famine Relief Commission" or select it from the list by clicking on the icon box to the right of the "archive creator" box

3) In the "Word(s) from the title / content" box at the top, input the requested name or keyword and then click "Search"

4) The number of results found for the keyword will be returned eg "Found results: 100" - the results are then listed page by page The same steps apply for the Dáil Éireann papers which are listed as "Dáil Éireann" in the list (click on the icon box to the right of the "archive creator" box)

(With many thanks to Elizabeth McEvoy.)

COMMENT: I get it now, and it seems to work fine, though I still find it a bit footery. I would humbly suggest that the site does offer up some form of tutorial, however, for those who have yet to have the pleasure of reading this blog! :)


Upper Clyde Shipbuilding Work-in screenings

From the University of Glasgow Library:

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilding Work-in, The Mitchell Theatre in Glasgow is screening a series of films that were made at the time. The UCS Work-in lasted for fifteen months during 1971/2 and represented a desperate struggle for the Trade Unions and Shipyard workers, who were facing mass redundancy if the government did not subsidise the industry.

The screenings will take place from Wednesday 21st March to Friday 23rd March 2012.

For further details visit http://universityofglasgowlibrary.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/ucs-film-screening-at-the-mitchell-theatre-glasgow/


Monday 30 January 2012

New Falklands War book

The only Forgotten Voices book from the IWM that never clicked with me was Forgotten Voices of the Falklands, as I think it assumed too much of its readers in terms of what happened chronologically. This new book from The History Press looks like it might do the job to redress that:

Ordinary Heroes
Untold Stories from the Falklands Campaign
Christopher Hilton
To be released March 2012 at £12.99
Paperback original, ISBN: 9780752457147

Previously unpublished accounts of the Falklands War from the men at the sharp end

In 1982, 8,000 miles from home, in a harsh environment and without the newest and most sophisticated equipment, the numerically inferior British Task Force defeated the Argentinian forces occupying the Falkland Islands and recaptured this far-flung outpost of what was once an empire. It was a much-needed triumph for Margaret Thatcher’s government and for Britain.

Many titles have been published on the Falklands War, some offering accounts from participants in it. But this is the first one only to include interviews with the ordinary seamen, marines, soldiers and airmen who achieved that victory, as well as those whose contribution is often overlooked – the merchant seaman who crewed ships taken up from trade, the NAAFI personnel who supplied the allimportant treats that kept spirits up, the Hong Kong Chinese laundrymen who were aboard every warship.

  • Published to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the conflict, this is the story of what ‘Britain’s last colonial war’ was really like.
  • Interviewees drawn exclusively from lowest ranks of services
  • None previously interviewed for publication
  • Includes those normally overlooked, e.g. Merchant Navy (STUFT), NAAFI

Christopher Hilton was an author and former journalist (for the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Mirror). He was the author of more than sixty books, including Hitler’s Olympics, The Wall and After the Berlin Wall.

(With thanks to Christian Bace)


Brightsolid's growing US army

Scottish based Brightsolid (www.brightsolid.com) has announced a series of new appointments for its new US based division, with which it hopes to break into the American market. Here's the release:

Brightsolid online publishing, a leading online provider of historical and genealogical content, today announces that top genealogist D. Joshua Taylor has joined its new US operation with immediate effect, as business development manager and media spokesperson.

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS is one of America’s most prominent genealogists – a prolific genealogical researcher, speaker and author, who has also received numerous awards for his work. Adept at media interviews, he has twice been featured on the NBC series ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, helping both Sarah Jessica Parker and Ashley Judd trace their family trees.

“We’re thrilled to have recruited such a dynamic and talented genealogist to represent us both to the media and the wider genealogical community”, says Neil Curtis, brightsolid’s new Senior Vice-President (SVP) of North America.

Speaking about his appointment, Taylor says: “Having seen what brightsolid has achieved on the UK genealogy scene, I’m excited about helping them fulfill their huge potential in the US.”

British-owned brightsolid has itself been at the forefront of technological innovations in family history for over three decades. It hosts over a billion genealogical records across its family of brands and was this month voted Best Genealogy Organization in the online Gene Awards.

As part of its move into North America, brightsolid is sponsoring RootsTech 2012, the major family history and technology conference, taking place in Salt Lake City from February 2-4 2012, where Taylor himself will be giving three talks. They will cover, respectively, the need for a universal standard in online digital archiving; best practices for using Cloud computing in family history research; and a forecast for future genealogy software developments.

Other new appointments to brightsolid’s new US operation:

D. Joshua Taylor is just one of several new appointments for brightsolid, following the opening this month of its new US operation, based in Santa Monica, California.

• Neil Curtis moves from his role as brightsolid Corporate Development Manager to focus on the US market as Senior Vice President (SVP) of North America.

• Rachel Denning joins as the General Manager of North America, after 14 years experience in the IT and web industries.

• Brian Speckart joins as Marketing Manager of North America, after a varied 15-year career in marketing and public relations, including teaching New Media Marketing at UCLA Extension.

• Katy Curtis will focus on North America as Finance Manager, after previously working as a director at KPMG.

(With thanks to @brightsolid_op and Carolynne Bull-Edwards)


New PRONI exhibition

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

Words Melted into Motion: W.R. Rodgers 

PRONI is hosting an exhibition on celebrated Belfast writer and broadcaster W.R. Rodgers. It will run from Monday 30th January to Friday 10th February 2012. The exhibition from BBCNI's Community Archive is entitled "Words Melted into Motion: W.R. Rodgers" and examines the life and work of Rodgers and his creative legacy. Visitors to PRONI can view the exhibition on the ground floor.

(With thanks to Gavin McMahon)


Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae improved on Internet Archive

The Internet Archive (www.archive.org) has new digitised images of the Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae on its site, sourced from Princeton Theological Seminary. The Fasti volumes record biographical summaries of the careers of each of the ministers of the established Church of Scotland from the Reformation of 1560 onwards. Direct links are as follows:

Vol 1: Synod of Lothian & Tweeddale

Vol 2: Synods of Merse & Teviotdale, Dumfries & Galloway

Vol 3: Synod of Glasgow and Ayr

Vol 4: Synods of Argyll and of Perth & Stirling

Vol 5: Synods of Fife and of Angus & Mearns

Vol 6: Synods of Aberdeen and of Moray

Vol 7: Synods of Ross, Sutherland & Caithness, Glenelg, Orkney and of Shetland, the Church in England, Ireland and Overseas

The site has previously hosted versions of the Fasti, though one in particular, Volume 5, was so poorly digitised that it was illegible, so these are a welcome addition. Copies are also available on Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk), though whilst these were a considerable improvement on the original copies on the Internet Archive, this new collection is equally as good, if not better, and completely free to access.

(With thanks to Simon Fowler)


Dublin's deserted children

FindmyPast Ireland's latest addition is a database containing the names of about 500 children taken into the care of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force in the years ending 30th June 1850 to 1854. The records are sourced from House of Commons papers from July 1854. For more information visit www.findmypast.ie/content/Deserted-Children-Dublin


Sunday 29 January 2012

County Clare GMaps tool

Clare County Library has launched a new mapping tool called GMaps, which overlays historical maps from 1842 onwards onto a Google map. The historical maps include historic OS maps, townlands survey maps, maps from the UK Hydrographic maps, and enough additional maps to make me seriously envious that I have no Clare based roots!

A seriously brilliant tool, available at www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/maps/index.htm.

(With thanks to Claire Santry's blog post at http://irish-genealogy-news.blogspot.com/2012/01/lucky-clare.html)


Saturday 28 January 2012

Family History Day Course in Leicestershire

Leicestershire Record Office is holding a family history day course at its premises in Wigston Magna on Saturday 11th February 2012. The BBC has more information on it at www.bbc.co.uk/thingstodo/activity/family-history-day-course/occurrence/59781


TNA podcast - Britain's first railway murder

The TNA podcasts are coming fast and furious these days - the latest is Researching Mr Briggs' Hat: an account of Britain's first railway murder. The podcast can be found at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/mr-briggs-hat.htm


Brightsolid's new baby - CensusRecords

OK, so it is not quite what I thought it might be! It would appear that the new announcement about to be made by Brightsolid at RootsTech might be for a new website called CensusRecords (www.censusrecords.com). The Genealogy in Time newsletter has picked up on it (see www.genealogyintime.com/GenealogyResources/NewGenealogyRecords/newest_genealogy_records_on_the_internet.html?awt_l=E0ZLd&awt_m=JmNteEts_Qk.Vy), and from the description it would seem to be another US census website. For more on what it has to offer read the newsletter's summary.

(With thanks to Genealogy in Time)


Friday 27 January 2012

2011 census scam warning

Else Churchill from the Society of Genealogists has news from the Office of National Statistics about a 2011 census scam email doing the rounds. The full story is at www.societyofgenealogists.com/census-email-scam/

(With thanks to @SoGGenealogist)


FamilySearch kicks British Isles out of Europe

FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org) has done something that no Tory or Irish minister has ever dared do - they've kicked the British Isles out of Europe! The new home page shows the British Isles as a separate category now to that of Europe.

I can neither confirm nor deny that Nicolas Sarcozy is a Mormon, or that he is behind such a fiendish plot...! :)

Must admit though - makes it much easier to see the British and Irish records. But I'm worried about the laughter I can hear from Downing Street...

(With thanks to Kirsty Wilkinson @genealogygirl via Twitter)

UPDATE: TNA's Audrey Collins takes a look at the new British Isles category in her Family Recorder blog at http://thefamilyrecorder.blogspot.com/2012/01/great-improvement-at-familysearch.html?spref=tw


West Ham records on Deceased Online

News of new Deceased Online (www.deceasedonline.com) records going online this evening:

Newham is latest London borough to add burial records 

Historic West Ham Cemetery dates back to 1857 – all records available now (going up from about 5pm)

• East London’s West Ham Cemetery, with all 180,000+ records now available, is the latest major London cemetery on www.deceasedonline.com

• The historic cemetery, dating from 1857, was one of the first publicly-owned urban cemeteries to open in London following the Burial Act of 1852. It features some fascinating graves and memorials.

• Data comprises computerised records, a searchable index, details of all occupants in each grave and cemetery section maps indicating grave locations. See database coverage section on website for full details.

• West Ham is the only cemetery managed by Newham Council which joins a growing list of local authorities to have added their data to Deceased Online.

The London database now comprises more than 1.5 million burial and cremation records with many more to come soon.

Just one month until Who Do You Think You Are Live – come and meet us on stand 813 

• Deceased Online will be exhibiting again at the UK’s leading genealogy and family history event, Who Do You Think You Are Live, at London Olympia, 24-26 February.

• Read about the exhibition at www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com

• We’ll be launching new datasets and an exciting new service for regular users of www.deceasedonline.com.

(With thanks to Richard Gray)


Canterbury Cathedral records to be digitised

From Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk):


o Project announced to increase access to over a million baptism, marriage and burial records dating back to 1538 
o First time that images of the original parish records from East Kent churches will appear online

Today leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk has announced that it has been awarded a contract by Canterbury Cathedral Archives to publish online for the very first time historic records from the archive. The first phase of the Canterbury Collection project will see a browsable version of the parish registers of the historic Archdeaconry of Canterbury go online in the coming weeks at findmypast.co.uk.

An estimated 270,000 images containing over a million entries will be published on the website, covering parish churches from a wide expanse of East Kent, including:

o the city of Canterbury
o the towns of Faversham, Wye and Elham
o Thanet
o towns along the east Kent coast stretching from Whitstable in the north round to Hythe in the south

The launch has been timed to coincide with the temporary closure of Canterbury Cathedral Archives for refurbishment, so that family historians and local historians can continue to enjoy access to these fascinating records until the Archives reopens in autumn 2012.

From the initial online launch in February, visitors to the findmypast.co.uk website will be able to browse through the scanned pages of the parish records to search for their ancestors. At the same time, findmypast.co.uk will start to transcribe the records, with a view to creating an index and making them fully searchable on the website later this year.

Paul Nixon, Content Licensing Manager for findmypast.co.uk, said: "We're really looking forward to seeing these invaluable records from Canterbury Cathedral Archives go live on findmypast.co.uk, strengthening the site's position as the natural home for UK parish records."

Canterbury Cathedral Archivist Cressida Williams, added: "Working with findmypast has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to expand access to these records to a worldwide audience. This resource will be a great asset for anyone with an interest in the history of this part of Kent."

The Canterbury Collection will join an impressive array of UK parish records at findmypast.co.uk, including records from Manchester Archives, Cheshire Archives, Plymouth & West Devon Record Office and Welsh Archives, in addition to over 40 million parish records from family history societies throughout the UK in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies.

(With thanks to Debra Chatfield)

COMMENT: My claim to fame is that my second cousin David MacDonald Paton was made Honorary Canon of Canterbury Cathedral in 1966. Completely irrelevant, but heck, if I want to name drop, I will...! :)


ScotlandsPeople system now at Mitchell Library

I'm just off the phone from the Glasgow Genealogy Centre (www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/BirthDeathMarriage_Citizenship/GenealogyCentre/) at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, and have been told that they have just updated their computer system in the last week to the same system now in use at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh. That's amazing news for wee shugs like me on the western fringes of the known universe (Ayrshire)! Hoping to go up in the next week or so to do some client research, and can confirm when there.

The Glasgow based centre has 15 spaces and open Monday to Friday from 9.30am-4.00pm (an hour less than Edinburgh which is open 9am-4.30pm). The cost of access is £15 for a day, with booking at present required usually a day or two in advance.

(With thanks to the Glasgow Genealogy Centre)


IHGS now on Twitter

The Canterbury based Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (www.ihgs.ac.uk) is now on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/TheIHGS or @TheIHGS. Well worth following!

(Thanks to @GeneJean)


TNA podcast - No Vote No Census

The latest podcast from the National Archives is No Vote No Census, by Elizabeth Crawford, from the recent Celebrating the Census conference in London. This is another of the talks I missed, so looking forward to hearing it. The podcast is available at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/no-vote-no-census.htm


Francis Nearne SOE file - free download

The National Archives a free copy of Francis Nearne's WW2 Special Operations Executive file for a month through its Documents Online service at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=8766191. Francis was a brother to two other agents, Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne, though apparently not a patch on either! Eileen's story as a radio operator in occupied Frances was revealed for the first time in 2010. There's more on the story at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/667.htm.

Not necessarily useful for your own research, but it's always interesting to see examples of record types!


Electric Scotland update

The latest transcription works in progress from Electric Scotland (www.electricscotland.org) include:

  • Jamieson's Dictionary of the Scottish Language
  • Scottish Poets in America
  • Chronicles of Gretna Green
  • Life Jottings of an Old Edinburgh Citizen
  • James Ballantine
  • Calendar Of Documents Relating to Scotland
  • Northern Notes and Queries
  • A Description of the Scenery of Dunkeld (New Book)
  • From the Highlands to High Finance - The Carolina McColls
  • Collection of epitaphs and monumental inscriptions, chiefly in Scotland
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's Article on Robert Burns baptisms & burials 1765-1812

For more visit www.electricscotland.org/showthread.php/2633-Newsletter-27th-January-2012

(With thanks to Alistair McIntyre)


Talking Scot forum down?

The Talking Scot discussion forum at www.talkingscot.com appears to have been down for the last few days, although some pages on the main website are still accessible (Societies, Sources, Libraries, Registrar, Census).

In the meantime, if you're stuck for somewhere to have some Scottish genealogical banter, other forums including strong Scottish content are the new version of ScotFamTree (www.scotfamtree.org.uk) and Rootschat (www.rootschat.com).

If I hear any more on TS, I'll let you know.

UPDATE (30 JAN): Managed to have a quick look at the forum yesterday, but it seems to be down again. I was able to read that users were finding the issue to be intermittent, but the moderators are working on it.


Northern Irish death certs to add parents names

Claire Santry is reporting that the GRO in Belfast (www.nidirect.gov.uk/gro) is to follow the lead of the Republic of Ireland, and in particular Scotland, in including the names of parents on death certificates. The Republic has done so since 2005; Scotland since 1855. This now leaves England and Wales as the only two countries in the British Isles not to do so.

I'm not often impressed by the GRO in Belfast, which charges £14 per certificate, but on this one I'm glad to see them taking such a useful step. The full story is on Claire's post at http://irish-genealogy-news.blogspot.com/2012/01/northern-irish-death-certs-to-record.html


Durham Records Online update

New on Durham Records Online (www.durhamrecordsonline.com):

Gateshead East Cemetery burials 1901-1906 
11,247 burials at Gateshead East Cemetery, covering 1901-1906. Besides many street addresses in Gateshead, residences mentioned include Bensham, Dunston, Felling, Low Fell, Newcastle, Salt Meadows, Teams, and Whitley.

Marriage bonds: 
1824-1826 1,479 marriage bonds filed in 1824 through 1826 in the Diocese of Durham. These are brand new, not previously in our bond index.

Coming soon: 
• filter a burial search by spouse name (example: find only the burial of a Mary Thompson who is listed as the wife of William Thompson)
• Tynemouth Christ Church baptisms 1813-1817
• South Shields baptisms & burials 1763-1797
• Newcastle All Saints marriages 1822-1824
• Denton

(With thanks to Holly Cochran)


Wednesday 25 January 2012

The National Archives - Records site changes

Changes seem to be coming thick and fast now from The National Archives website at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk. The site has now announced its A-Z research guidance is being restructured within the Records section - for more information see www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/665.htm

(With thanks to @UKNatArchives)


English nonconformist libraries catalogue online

Doctor William's Library and Congregational Library now has an online catalogue at http://mailgate.dwlib.co.uk/Heritage/. The catalogue lists materials relating to English nonconformist Protestant and Congregationalist history. For links to the libraries themselves visit www.dwlib.co.uk./index.html

(With thanks to @sheenatait via twitter)


Burns page on National Records of Scotland site

It's silly season with Robert Burns again, and the National Records of Scotland has set up a dedicated page in honour of his 253rd birthday at www.nas.gov.uk/about/090717.asp. If like me you have little interest in the man, do have a look anyway - the site gives a good overview of certain record types that feature Burns, using him essentially as a case study. It's a good page.

(With thanks to @ScotlandsPeople)


Tuesday 24 January 2012

Haggis have rights also

(From my Walking in Eternity blog a year ago)

I know it is Burns Night and all that, but there comes a time when one must reveal the horrors of our society in all their true manifestation. Personally I am a bit bah humbug about Burns, kilts, tartan and all the rest of the bubblegum that many would have you believe is a true representation of Scottish culture (they'll be inventing religion next!).

However, tolerable as one has to be amidst such nonsense, I ABSOLUTELTY DRAW THE LINE at what some will do to fulfil such traditions.

Ladies and gentlemen, the terrifying evidence...

Not from this wee shuggie actually... this is from Mr Paton the Butcher, who lives down the road from me in Largs...!

Mr Paton - haggi have human rights also!

(Incidentally, Mr Paton is a very lovely man, and I have researched his family tree for him, which can be seen on his website at www.patonbutchersayrshire.co.uk - and his haggis is nice!)

Scotland's Greatest Story family history research - www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk


Dorset FHS jubilee event

Dorset Family History Society will be celebrating its 25th anniversary at a Family History Day at Parkstone Grammar School, Sopers Lane, Poole BH17 7EP on Saturday 31st March 2012 from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. FREE admission and FREE parking. For further details visit www.dorsetfhs.org.uk/openday.htm

(With thanks to Janet Wildig @YrTreeSearcher)


Middlesex baptisms on Origins

From Jane Hewitt at British Origins (www.origin.net):

  • Middlesex Baptisms Index: 1538-1751 on British Origins
  • January Sale: 20% off all subscriptions until 31 January 2012!

Middlesex Baptisms Index 1538-1751 records nearly 100,000 baptisms (nearly 300,000 names) in Middlesex and London which are not included with the International Genealogical Index. In nearly all cases the names of the parents are given, and sometimes maiden name, occupation, birth date, and other details.

January Sale! We are offering a 20% discount on all subscriptions until the end of January. To take advantage of this offer, enter the code: jan2012 in the promotional box on the checkout or sign up pages once you have chosen your subscription (valid until 31 January 2012 for the initial payment on any recurring subscription and for 72 hour access).

(With thanks to Jayne)


PRONI announces lecture change

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

Dear All

Due to events beyond our control I wish to advise that the lecture on Crime due to be held this Thursday in PRONI has now been cancelled. Janice Holmes instead will be giving her lecture on Religion to be held at the same date and time. This free lecture starts at 6.30pm on Thursday, 26th January 2012.

Many apologies for this inconvenience.

(With thanks to Gavin)


FindmyPast goes to Utah

Just received a press release from Brightsolid, announcing its sponsorship of the American based Rootstech conference in Utah from February 2nd-4th. This line's interesting:

• CEO Chris van der Kuyl will be announcing the launch of a new product into the US market 

Are we about to see a FindmyPast USA? A consolidated FindmyPast platform of the three existing sites? The British Newspaper Archive getting an airing overseas? Something else? No idea! The only other mention of it:

As well as sponsoring the conference itself, brightsolid will also be using RootsTech to announce the launch of a new product into the US market and sponsoring key elements within the conference. 

Elsewhere in Salt Lake City:

Van der Kuyl will address a brightsolid-sponsored lunch on Thursday, 2 February with a talk on, “Why Everyone Deserves Their Own Episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and How brightsolid Will Help You Get There.” RootsTech overall will include no less than 11 different talks by members of the brightsolid team, who will also join a range of discussions and workshops between leading family history content developers and uses. 

Brightsolid will also have a large stand at RootsTech, showcasing not just brightsolid’s global network of findmypast sites (including www.findmypast.co.uk; www.findmypast.ie and www.findmypast.com.au) but also the Scottish Government site, ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) and the British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk). The latter is a unique treasure trove for the family historian, containing millions of pages from the British Library’s newspaper collection, featuring more than 200 newspaper titles from every part of the UK and Ireland published in the 18th and 19th centuries.

RootsTech will assemble all these resources in one place for the first time. The brightsolid stand there will also boast a presentation area for 15 to 20 people, where visitors will be able to see demonstrations of brightsolid sites and meet production developers. “If English is your mother tongue, the brightsolid stand will be where you’ll find your roots”, says van der Kuyl. 
Brightsolid is also sponsoring Exercise Your Funny Bone, an evening of comedy on Thursday 2 February, presented by comic Ryan Hamilton, recently named by Rolling Stone as one of Five Comics To Watch.

(With thanks to Carolynne Bull-Edwards)


London Docklands baptisms

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has released some baptismal records for London Docklands - for more, see www.findmypast.co.uk/content/news/docklands-jan12.html


North Devon Record Office temporary closure

Another notice from the Federation of Family History Societies (www.ffhs.org.uk):

Thank you to Maureen Selley, Chairman of Devon FHS, for the following information. For more information check the website www.devon.gov.uk/index/democracycommunities/neighbourhoods-villages/record_office/north_record_office.htm

Please note that the North Devon RO in Barnstaple will be closed during the same period as the Devon Record Office in Exeter: two weeks from 6th - 19th February 2012 inclusive

The North Devon Local Studies Centre will also close for this period. This will allow staff to make some changes to the reading room layout, necessitated by a reduction in staffing levels there.

(With thanks to Beryl Evans) 


Surrey's infrastructure 1779-1982 event

Surrey History Centre in Woking is holding an event on January 28th entitled Researching Surrey's Infrastructure: 1789 - 1982, which will be looking at its deposits of plans of roads, railways and canals of Surrey.

The BBC has more at www.bbc.co.uk/thingstodo/activity/researching-surrey-s-infrastructure-1789-1982/occurrence/54793


Queen's Colleges of Ireland records

FindmyPast Ireland (www.findmypast.ie) has released registers of the Queen's Colleges of Ireland 1849-1858 (Belfast, Cork and Galway) on its site.

For more, see www.findmypast.ie/content/news-queens-colleges-ireland

(With thanks to Brightsolid on Twitter @brightsolid_op)


Hackney Archives reopens

From Beryl Evans of the Federation of Family History Societies (www.ffhs.org.uk), who received the following message from Libby Adams, Principal Archivist at hackney:

Hackney Archives is re-opening its public searchroom, in the new Dalston CLR James Library, on Tuesday 24 January at 9.30am. Please note that for the time being, the archives will not be available, as the relocation of the collections to the new building is not yet complete. For the time being, only local studies sources on open access in the searchroom will be available, including maps, digitised photographs, local history reference books, and sources on microfilm and microfiche. For our new contact details, opening hours and full details of the sources which will be available from 24 January, please see our website at www.hackney.gov.uk/archives.

(With thanks to Beryl and Libby)


National Archives of Ireland - new website

What in the name of God has the National Archives of Ireland gone and done? It's not often I see a major archive revamp its website and find it an unbelievably backward step, but unfortunately the NAI has done just that with its online presence at www.nationalarchives.ie.

Where before the site had several key databases that could all be easily found and searched individually, for example the Australian Transportation Registers and the Famine Relief Commission Papers, these all appeared to have disappeared when I went looking for them and instead been replaced by one solitary catalogue, which was as clear as treacle to operate. Is this a complete catalogue - there's a few headings in a Browse section beside it, but absolutely no indication of how complete it is or what it holds? When I typed in a name and looked for several people, nothing popped up.

It took some time but I found one of the old databases eventually. When I went to the Genealogy Section, I found an Introduction page, from which I had to click on Genealogy Records, then a link that says Ireland-Australia transportation records (1791–1853). At this point when I clicked on it I had to download the entire database as a CSV file document to be read by Excel, rather than just perform a simple search as before. I've since spent twenty minutes looking for the Famine relief database and the old Dail Eireann database, and I'm still not there.

Aesthetically the site looks tidier, but maybe it is just the Ulsterman in me, as I am looking at this new site and experiencing one simple thought repeatedly. NO, NO, NO....


(With thanks to Claire Santry at the Irish Genealogy News blog)


Monday 23 January 2012

Genealogy Rock Stars

John Reid, of the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog, has been in touch to ask me to give a quick plug for a survey he is running just now entitled Genealogy Rock Stars. Who are the speakers and writers that you look forward to hearing from? The survey is worldwide and there are a few nominees from the UK and Ireland, including Anthony Adolph, John Grenham, Else Churchill, Nick Barratt, Audrey Collins and yours truly.I'm more of a genealogical shug really, though it's nice to be nominated! There are also nominees from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The deadline is this Saturday 28th January - to cast a vote visit John's blog at http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2012/01/vote-now-for-your-favourite-rock-star.html

(With thanks to John Reid)


Possible Famine burials found in Tuam

Archaeologists have uncovered what may be a mass grave of Famine victims in Tuam, County Galway, possibly residents of the former workhouse. The full story is at  http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2012/01/up-to-dozen-victims-of-great-irish.html 

(With thanks to FindmyPast Ireland via Twitter @FindmyPastie)


Legislation.gov.uk site wins award

The National Archives has won an award for its Legislation.gov.uk website - the full story is at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/664.htm


Quebec FHS website

Slightly beyond the British Isles, but loads of Brits settled there, and they did ask nicely! lol News from the Quebec Family History Society about the launch of its new website:

MONTREAL, January 15, 2012 — The Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) is proud to announce the launch of its new website at www.qfhs.ca. Located at the same address as the genealogical society’s original site, the website features several new sections, such as Gary’s Genealogical Picks, research tips, surname interests, and a bulletin board.

QFHS members researching their ancestors in Quebec will benefit from the new Jacques Gagné Church Compilations in the members’ section. Long-time member Jacques Gagné has compiled historical information and the location of records for more than 1,000 English and French Protestant churches across the province, from 1759 to 1899.

ABOUT QFHS The Quebec Family History Society is the largest English-language genealogical society in Quebec, Canada. Founded in 1977, it is a registered Canadian charity that helps people of all backgrounds research their family history. Its members, in addition to researching their Quebec roots, research historical records in all Canadian provinces and territories, the United States, the British Isles, and Western Europe. At the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library, members have free access to a collection of 6,000 books, manuscripts, and family histories, plus thousands of microfilms, microfiche, historical maps, and periodicals, and access to billions of online genealogical records, including the world deluxe edition of Ancestry.ca.

(With thanks to Susan Gingras Calcagni)


Sunday 22 January 2012

Death registration problems in Kent

There's an interesting article at www.thisiskent.co.uk/Grieving-families-caused-distress-new-death/story-14985441-detail/story.html concerning problems relatives are having when registering the deaths of loved ones in local libraries. Kent County Council recently changed how births and deaths should be registered.

Aren't libraries where you are supposed to get books and knowledge from?

(With thanks to Rosemary Morgan @rosemarymorgan and @UKpling)


ScotFamTree returns

The ScotFamTree forum, Scotland's friendliest family tree forum, had a bit of a rough time in recent months in trying to relocate to a new site address. The good news is that it is now back up and running at full steam at www.scotfamtree.org.uk and one of its members, Pamela McGowan, has put together a wee video to explain a bit more about what the site can offer.

ScotFamTree describes itself as a forum - I tend to think of it more as an online based family history society, which has meetings drawing members to Scotland from across the world twice a year. I had the great pleasure last year of actually giving a talk at its AGM in Perth, and there is a winter meeting coming up soon on February 4th. If you have Scottish interests, you'll find friendliness, humour and complete irreverance there in equal amounts, or as I like to say in my native Norn Irish - it's great craic!  Over to Pam....

(With thanks to Pam) 


Saturday 21 January 2012

Scottish resources listings

Scottish based genealogist Kirsty Wilkinson has added two useful resources to her website that may help with your Scottish based research. The first is an up to date listing of Scottish based family history societies at www.myainfolk.com/Resources_files/Scottish_Family_History_Societies.pdf (7 pages), and the second a list of pre-1841 census and census substitute listings at www.myainfolk.com/Resources_files/Scottish_Population_Listings_Pre1841.pdf (24 pages). Both can be downloaded in PDF format.

(With thanks to Kirsty)


Unrelated certificate search

Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry's Unrelated Certificates Index site at www.bmsgh.org/search/Unrelated_Certs_index.html has recently been updated. From the site:

The Unrelated Certificates Index is a rapidly growing collection of individual surnames from mainly British Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates which have been kindly donated by family historians, which are either not relevant or no longer required. There are also a few entries from other miscellaneous holdings such as Wills, Burial Certificates, etc. It is estimated that the collection currently amounts to approximately 100,000 individual names.

Information can be requested for £1 per entry. I'm not sure if this project only indexes the key individuals e.g. child born, spouses, the deceased etc, or all names on a certificate.

(With thanks to @GenSocIreland via Twitter)

It is interesting to think of all the information that can be found on a certificate that is not indexed but which may equally concern our ancestors. On a typical Scottish marriage certificate on ScotlandsPeople, for example, you have the names of both spouses, their four parents, the minister's name, and two witnesses. That's nine people, of whom only two are indexed. One project I am aware of that has tried to index by more is the UK Marriage Witness Index via World Vital Records (www.worldvitalrecords.com), which contains just under 60,000 names of witnesses to marriages from 1655-1992. Great idea - and fairly virgin territory for a new indexing project if anyone is looking for one!


Surrey libraries campaigners secure temporary victory

Surrey County Council has been forced to pause and take a breath, thanks to a High Court injunction preventing it from closing its libraries or placing them under volunteer control. The injunction allows The Surrey Library Action Movement (SLAM), campaigning against the closures, more time to build its case against the move before it goes to court within the next few weeks.

For more on the story visit http://slamupdate.wordpress.com and www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2106840_judge_grants_injunction_against_library_closures.

(With thanks to Rosemary Morgan @rosemarymorgan via Twitter)


Friday 20 January 2012

End of the present TNA online catalogue

The National Archives at Kew will formally launch its new online Discovery catalogue at the end of January. Discovery will completely replace the old online catalogue by March 31st 2012, at which point the Documents Online service will also be replaced with a new documentary delivery service. A beta version of Discovery has already been up and running for nine months.

For more on the development visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/663.htm.

(With thanks to the National Archives) 


More from Deceased Online

Further information on the new Scottish MIs released from Deceased Online:

Records for 50 Scottish burial sites being added
First records online now!

www.deceasedonline.com is uploading tens of thousands of headstone and memorial transcriptions from over 50 burial grounds and cemeteries across Scotland over the next few weeks
• Data for the first 15+ burial grounds mostly in the Highlands region are immediately available with records for Dundee, Edinburgh, Lanarkshire, the Lothians, Perth and other areas to be added shortly
• Users can search these records specifically by using advanced search, selecting ‘collections. They can then either purchase access to a whole cemetery/churchyard collection or, for a reduced fee, just the subset of headstone images with inscriptions containing specific surnames.
• Useful tip: once you have purchased a collection or subset there is the facility to search the collection for anything. For example, you can search for such words as ‘drowned’ or ‘killed’ and all relevant references from memorial inscriptions will be highlighted.
• The records date back to the 17th century with many from remote burial sites. See full details in the database coverage section at www.deceasedonline.com.

Come and meet us at Who Do You Think You Are Live, 24-26 February 2012 
• Once again, Deceased Online will be exhibiting at the UK’s leading genealogy and family history event, Who Do You Think You Are Live, at London Olympia, 24-26 February.
• Read about the exhibition at: www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com
• We’ll be launching new datasets and an exciting new service for regular users of www.deceasedonline.com.

COMMENT: I'm told there'll be another announcement from the company in the next few days, so stay tuned!

(With thanks to Richard from Deceased Online)


Isle of Man mission papers catalogued

The Irish Archives Resource website now has a catalogue entry of papers from the Isle of Man Jesuit mission from Ireland from 1825-1849. The original records are held at the Irish Jesuit Archives. Further information is available at www.iar.ie/ArchiveDetails.shtml?44109245;44109483;44109483

(With thanks to @archivesireland)


Sunderland war horse exhibition

An exhibition is currently underway at County Hall in Durham City telling the true "war horse" story of Sergeant George Thompson, of the Durham Light Infantry, during the First World War. The exhibition, from Durham Record Office, runs until March 31st 2012.

For more information visit www.sunderlandecho.com/news/local/sunderland_soldier_s_real_war_horse_1_4163294

(With thanks to Tyne and Wear Archives @TWArchives)


Family history workshop in Edinburgh

The National Library of Scotland is running a Discovering Family History workshop in Edinburgh on February 21st at 6pm:

Find out what resources the Library holds to help you with your family history research. The workshop includes some practical information on how to become a reader and will include a short tour of the public area.

To book for the event visit https://auth.nls.uk/events/.

(With thanks to the National Library of Scotland)


Dingwall heritage hub proposals

A new Heritage Hub is under consideration by Dingwall History Society and Highland Council. For more on the plans visit www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/news/newsreleases/2012/January/2012-01-20-01.htm#.TxlDM6U1KYA.twitter

(With thanks to @HighlandCouncil via Twitter)


Titanic photos gallery

The Belfast Telegraph has uploaded a collection of rare images from the construction and launch period of the Titanic. The collection can viewed for free online at www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/nostalgia/titanic-tragedy-exclusive-archive-images-from-belfast-telegraph-16097178.html (click on ticket image to start)


HistoryPin upgraded

The HistoryPin website (www.historypin.com) has been upgraded with new features, including a new pinning feature and the display of street addresses with photos. For more information visit http://blog.historypin.com/2012/01/20/historypin-upgrade/

(With thanks to @HistoryPin)


Norfolk Record Office on Facebook

Norfolk Record Office now has its own Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Norfolk-Record-Office/212070242221022

(With thanks to @NorfolkRO via Twitter)


PRONI lecture - Coughs and Sneezes

One more from PRONI (www.proni.gov.uk)

The next talk in the PRONI/Linen Hall Lecture Series will be deliverd by David Huddleston, Head of Records Management, Cataloguing and Access at PRONI. The title of the talk will be Coughs and Sneezes spread diseases: Medical and Health Records at PRONI. The presentation will cover records relating to the Workhouses, hospitals , Mental Health, Public Health, Nursing, Tuberculosis, dispensary books, and 18th and 19th century private records which give an insight into local remedies and cures for anything from flatuance to sore teeth.

The lecture will take place at 1pm on Wednesday, 25th January 2012, at the Linen Hall Library. Admission is free, but its best to book your place in advance as seating is limited.

'Coughs and sneezes spread diseases: Clap them in a hankerchief!'

(With thanks again to Gavin McMahon)


The Family Tree: The Roots

Something a little different! A new music CD entitled The Family Tree: The Roots by Radical Face, aka Ben Cooper, is now available for sale. It forms the first of a new CD trilogy going under the banner of The Family Tree, and was recorded in Jacksonville using 19th contemporary instruments. You can hear samples from each of the tracks via Amazon at www.amazon.co.uk/Family-Tree-Roots-Radical-Face/dp/B005J0HOOG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1327049046&sr=8-2, whilst a review of the album is in today's Independent newspaper at www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/album-radical-face-the-family-tree-the-roots-6291906.html.

I doubt it will help you break any brick walls down, but may give you something to think to as you look for new options!


More Scottish material for Deceased Online

Blogger John Reid is reporting a new update on Deceased Online (www.deceasedonline.com), via a new series of headstone images and inscriptions from Helen Grant's Scottish Monumental Inscriptions service (www.scottish-monumental-inscriptions.com). This new batch is for several areas in the Highlands, including Abernethy, Invershiel, Balmacara, Banchor, Newtonmore and Ballidbeg, Lagan, Glenelg, Grantown-on-Spey, Fort Augustus, Kilmonivaig and Gairlochy, Kingussie, Kirton and Lochalsh, Plockton, Aviemore and Killiecrankie. Several other records for Scotland have already been previously released through the site.

The full list of new cemeteries included is at https://www.deceasedonline.com/servlet/GSDOSearch?AcctView=Login&SrchView=Basic&DetsView=Content&ListSource=Contributors&section=CONTRIBUTORS&context=SMI_HIGHLANDS&lang=E&sessionid=8557667 - John's blog post is at http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2012/01/scottish-highland-mis-at-deceased.html

Incidentally, if you're down under, Scottish Monumental Inscriptions CDs are also available from Gould Genealogy via www.gould.com.au/Cemeteries-s/850.htm.

(With thanks to John Reid)


TNA - Archives Media Player

The National Archives at Kew has developed a new Archives Media Player, which will carry its audio and video podcasts. At the moment most of the material it hosts is audio, with the video content being audio lectures signed in British Sign Language. TNA's podcasts are simply brilliant, albeit mainly concerned with topics down south, and completely free to listen to. The media player page is at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

If you want to watch a bit of genealogical bubblegum for the eyes, put an episode of Who Do You Think You Are on - if you actually want to learn something, invest the same amount of time in a TNA podcast! :)

(With thanks to The National Archives via Facebook) 


Thursday 19 January 2012

PRONI lecture - Crime

From the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (www.proni.gov.uk):

The next PRONI/Open University lecture will take place on 26 January 2012 and will be on the subject of Crime. The talk will be delivered by Dr Barry Sheen, and will be accompanied by examples from the PRONI archives. The convener of the course, Dr Janice Holmes, will provide an update on her own attempts to trace her family tree using records relating to Kilwaughter, near Larne.

This free lecture starts at 6.30pm on Thursday, 26th January. Places are still available, but booking is essential. Call 02890 534 800 to register.

COMMENT - better get in early before someone steals your seat! (Sorry, tried to go all thematic there, not sure it worked...!)

(With thanks to Gavin McMahon at PRONI) 


Family History Show episode 3

Episode 3 of the Family History Show, produced by Nick Barrat and Laura Berry from Your Family History magazine, is now available to watch at at www.familyhistoryshow.net/the-vodcasts/episode-3

(With thanks to Nick via @familyhistorysh)


FindmyPast adds 1881 Scottish census

FindmyPast has added the 1881 Scottish census to its holdings at www.findmypast.co.uk. Further details are available at www.findmypast.co.uk/content/news/scotland-1881.html?sourceID=13&utm_source=aw_uk&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=gen

(With thanks to @FamilyTreeFolk on Twitter)


Irish electoral registers catalogued

The National Library of Ireland has made available through its online catalogue details of the island's county and city based electoral registers, as noted in the following announcement on its website at www.nli.ie/blog/index.php/2012/01/18/new-adventures-in-periodicals/:

Catalogue records for Irish county and city electoral registers (with holdings information, i.e. what we have) are now available on the library’s online catalogue for the first time. A simple keyword search ‘electoral registers’ and the city or county you’re interested in, will retrieve the relevant records.

Additional news is also carried in the announcement about other developments such as the 'Ceased Title Project'.

(With thanks to @FindmyPast Ireland)


FindmyPast additions for Cheshire and Dublin

The British FindmyPast website (www.findmypast.co.uk) has added 3749 burial records for the Cheshire parish of Appleton to its site, as sourced from the Cheshire Family History Society.

Meanwhile, across the water, the Irish FindmyPast site (www.findmypast.ie) has added a directory of freemen from the city of Dublin, covering the period 1774-1824. Further information on the release is available at www.findmypast.ie/content/Freemen-of-Dublin_City-1774-1824.

Incidentally, FindmyPast Ireland recently tweeted that it has heard that there will be three new Irish titles made available soon on the British Newspapers Archive, though no timescale has yet been given.

(With thanks to both FindmyPast websites and @findmypast via Twitter)


Northern Scotland journal - free sample issue

The Scottish Association of Family History Societies (www.safhs.org) is carrying a news item on a new version of a journal entitled Northern Scotland, which was first established in 1972. It underwent something of a revamp in 2010, and is now available online via www.euppublishing.com/journal/nor, with an annual personal subscription for a print copy or online edition at £23.50. This entitles you to the whole current volume (it is published annually) and access to many articles going back to 2000.

However, if you wish to test the water with it, there is a free edition available online, which contains the following articles in PDF format:

Introduction to new series 
Marjory Harper and James Hunter

Scotland's Global Impact 
Ewen A. Cameron

Scotland and Empire: Ethnicity, Environment and Identity 
John M. MacKenzie

The Scots Brigade in the Eighteenth Century
Stephen Conway

Jacobite Scotland and European Great Power Strategy 
Daniel Szechi

Rendezvous in Edinburgh: Highland Gael and Mohegan Indian in Auld Reekie in 1767 
Margaret Connell Szasz

Highland Soldier: Imperial Impact and Image 
Edward M. Spiers

Several book reviews are also available.

Have fun!


New roof for Scottish Maritime Museum

The Scottish Maritime Museum (www.scottishmaritimemuseum.org/index.php) in Irvine is to get a new £1 million roof, the Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced.

The museum will be reopening in June, with the boatshop, pontoons and shipworkers' flat becoming accessible from April. History Scotland magazine's Celebrating Scotland site has the full story at www.celebrate-scotland.co.uk/News-and-Features/New_roof_for_A_listed_Scottish_Maritime_Museum/

Delighted to see this happen - I made a fly on the wall TV series a few years back and one of the people I was following lived across the road from the museum, which was fairly dilapidated and depressing to look at. Good to see it coming back to life - it has one hell of a story to tell.

(With thanks to @HistoryScotland)


TNA microfilms offer - overseas participation

A British GENES reader in Canada has been in touch to ask if you have to be a UK resident to apply for the microfilms going free in a lottery from the National Archives at Kew. I've contacted TNA and have now received the following response:

People/societies overseas can apply but collection from Kew on the specified days would still be required

This alludes to a condition laid out in the original press release, as follows:

We are not seeking payment for these films, but successful applicants must collect the films and meet all costs associated with removing the films from The National Archives in Kew. The films must be collected, by appointment, on one of the following days: 20 February, 27 February, 5 March, or 12 March 2012.

The full announcement again is at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/662.htm

So - yes, you can take part in the lottery if you live overseas, but it's up to you to have the films picked up if you win!

Good luck! :)


Sampson Papers from Clare catalogued

Clare County Archives has added a catalogue description of the Sampson Papers to its site, covering 1790-1970. The Sampson family was based at Williamstadt House in the county:

The papers in this collection cover a date span of 1790 to 1970, with the majority of the papers dating from 1920 to 1960. They comprise of some original but mainly copy legal papers including deeds, leases, conveyances, marriage settlements and wills, along with a number of maps, bills, and receipts,and a great deal of correspondence between Kerin, Hickman and O’Donnell, solicitors of the Sampson’s and various state bodies and commercial companies on behalf of individual members of the Sampson family.

The majority of the lands referred to in conveyances, leases and settlements as well as in litigation and testamentary papers relate to Sampson property located in County Clare, and concentrated in the baronies of Tulla Upper and Lower. Prior to 1898 parts of County Clare located in the north east of the county and now in the barony of Tulla Upper were situated in County Galway in the barony of Leitrim, and are referred to as such in earlier documents. Other lands referred to in these documents relate to property acquired by the Sampson’s outside the county including lands at Rodeen Upper, barony of Lower Ormand, Co. Tipperary, and the lands of Bal Ivor, in the barony of Garrycastle, Co. Offaly.

The full catalogue description is available at www.iar.ie/ArchiveDetails.shtml?37550144;37550425;37550425

(With thanks to @archivesireland via Twitter)


North West Kent sporting stories appeal

To reflect the Olympics year, North West Kent Family History Society is appealing for stories for its June and September journals concerning past sporting successes in the region. From the society's website:

During your own researches you might have found some stories, photographs or memorabilia associated with past international, national county or local sporting activities and connected to the NW Kent area. Whilst I would love to hear about local past Olympians, I am equally happy to celebrate any achievements that fit under the broad banner of sports.

For more information on how to contribute, visit http://northwestkentfamilyhistorysociety.blogspot.com/2012/01/do-you-have-family-stories-photographs.html

(With thanks to North West Kent FHS)


Isle of Lewis map - in Old Norse

Western Isles based historical association Comann Eachdraidh Uig has placed an interesting map on its site depicting place names in Uig, on the Isle of Lewis, in Old Norse. The map was designed by Angus MacDonald. To access the map visit www.ceuig.com/archives/4021

(With thanks to Comann Eachdraidh Uig)


The Genealogist update

The Genealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk) is advertising that it has almost completed its fully searchable collection of English and Welsh 1911 census images, with the addition now of records for Cornwall, Worcestershire and Devon.

The site has also released the 1896 Devon & Cornwall Deacon's Court Guide and County Blue Book via its Diamond subscription, and the following directories to both its Gold and Diamond subs:

  • Kearsley's London Register 1787
  • Hampshire, Milford-on-Sea Guide and Directory, 1925
  • Buxton Guide and Directory, 1876
  • Thom's British Directory 1873
  • North East Lancashire with Bury and District, 1876
  • Bristol Guide and Directory 1793-1794
  • Birmingham Post Office Directory 1850
  • Worcestershire Post Office Directory 1850

Also some more parish records:
  • Staffordshire Rowley Regis Parish Registers 1539-1812
  • Devon, Hemyock Parish Register 1635-1837
  • Essex, The Parish Register of Lambourne 1582-1709

And finally, the site has added fully searchable birth indexes for England and Wales from 1930-2005:

We have now added over 6.2 million birth transcripts, bringing the total number of birth records to over 54.5 million. These transcripts can be used with a tool that lets you search across all our Birth, Marriage and Death transcripts, with built in SmartSearch technology, automatically showing partners full name where available, and enabling you find potential parents from a birth, potential children to a marriage and potential birth records from a death record.

(With thanks to The Genealogist)


Wednesday 18 January 2012

Oxfordshire History Centre stocktaking

A note from Paul Gaskell of Oxfordshire Family History Society (www.oxfordshirefhs.org.uk):

Stocktaking closure at the Oxfordshire History Centre - modification of dates 

The annual stocktaking closure of the Oxfordshire History Centre takes place shortly, and there has been a modification to the closure dates that were originally publicised last Autumn. The Oxfordshire History Centre will close at 5.00pm on Saturday 21 January 2012 and will re-open at 9.00am on Saturday 4 February 2012. A change of plan means that the centre will be closed on the "middle" Saturday - so the centre will be *closed* on Saturday 28 January 2012. That differs from stocktaking closures in previous years, and from the dates for the 2012 closure that were originally announced last Autumn.

Further details can be found at :- www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/public-site/oxfordshire-history-centre

(With thanks to Paul)


Lithuanian Shtetl records talks

From the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (www.jgsgb.org):

"Yizkor Elohim….,” May God remember….

Geoff Munitz on Shtetl Records from Olkiniki, Lithuania

The Eastern European Special Interests Group (SIG) of the JGSGB (Jewish Genealogy Society of Great Britain) is hosting a talk on Sunday 22nd January 2012 when member Geoff Munitz will speak on genealogical records from Olkiniki, a Schtetl near Vilna and Trakai District in Lithuania. His talk will include a brief history of the shtetl; the all-Lithuanian database; Russian revision /family lists including Alpha Male Lists from 1816-1901; vital records – Birth, Marriage, Divorce, Death; Tax and Voters Lists (including Box and Candle Tax records); and the Poll-Tax/Census of 1784 – a list of the districts, provinces, kahals and towns as they are organized in the 1784 documents for the territory that became Lithuania, Belarus, eastern Poland and northern Ukraine.

The talk will start at 2.30pm in the JGSGB Library at 33 Seymour Place W1 and is free to members. Non-members, who are warmly welcomed, pay £5 at the door. Visitors are asked to advise their intention to attend, by email to RAYMUSIK@aol.com. There’s a map of the venue at www.streetmap.co.uk/postcode/W1H5AP. The talk is expected to end at 3.30 and will be followed by the ever-popular ‘Round-Table’ Q&A session where members and guests can join tables discussing either Polish, Lithuanian or Romanian sources and research. Questions on other Eastern European regions – Latvia-Estonia, Russia, Ukraine and other Baltic states – can also be answered by the Group’s regular team of mentors. The library remains open until 6pm and if you arrive at 2, there will be some time to browse the shelves before the meeting.

Geoff Munitz is an established member of JGSGB, having delivered several lectures to the Eastern European group already. His expertise derives from his personal interest in his subject matter, especially Olkiniki (currently known as Valkininkas), it being the hometown of his maternal great-grandparents.

Schtetls were Jewish villages of Central and Eastern Europe, mainly in the areas which constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Galicia and Romania. The concept of shtetl culture is used as a metaphor for the traditional way of life of 19th-century Eastern European Jews. Olkiniki Schtetl was located 30 miles south-west of Vilnius (Vilna), in the Trakai district of Vilnius gubernia.

Yiskor or Yizcor Books are Memorial Books, written after the Holocaust by survivors to document the shtetls which were destroyed and to record the names of those Jews killed by Nazis or Nazi sympathizers. They are a source of valuable information about life in Jewish towns before the Holocaust and for genealogical research.

(With thanks to James Taylor)


Behind the scenes of newspaper project

A fairly in depth article on the behind the scenes work of the British Newspaper Archive digitisation project is available at http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/analysis/2139419/scenes-british-library-digital-newspaper-project. The project is a partnership between Brightsolid and the British Library, and the article looks at costs, process, copyright issues, royalties and much more. It's quite an eye opener.

(With thanks to Brightsolid via Twitter)


Roman Catholic records in ScotlandsPeople Centre soon

The Scottish Roman Catholic records currently available for access on the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) will soon be available for consultation within the ScotlandsPeople Centre (www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk) - I've been told provisionally that they should be there by the end of January. I am unclear, however, if the online closure periods restricting access to BMDs by 100, 75 and 50 years respectively, that are observed by the website, will also be observed in the centre (it is not the case with the statutory records, which are accessible to the present day in the centre, but not online).

Note that the Catholic records online also include records from across the United Kingdom and British overseas military bases, via the Bishopric of the Forces Collection, which the Scottish Catholic Archives holds on behalf of the bishopric based in Aldershot.

Having attended the centre yesterday for the first time in a fair few weeks (I've been busy on other fronts!), a huge thumbs up to the ScotlandsPeople team for providing access to the digitised records of the National Records of Scotland on terminals within the SP Centre search rooms - it made a hell of a difference to the research I did yesterday.

On the down side, a big thumbs down to the cafe, which sells soup (no grumbles there, nice soup, healthy portion!) but then tells you it has no spoons to allow you to eat it with, only teaspoons.

Seriously - teaspoons?!! lol


Gillian Waters joins Pharos team

Medievalist Gillian Waters has joined the Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd (www.pharostutors.com) team, where she will be teaching a new five week course entitled Introduction to Medieval Genealogy, from April 19th 2012. Gillian has worked at the National Armouries Museum in Leeds from 1996-2011 and teaches at York University. A full biography and details on the course can be found on the Pharos website.

FYI, the only course starting up in February from Pharos that still is still advertising available spaces is:

Researching Your Welsh Ancestors (Eilir Daniels, 5 wks, £45.99)

And another quick plug for my own Scottish Research Online course, starting from March 8th, 5 weeks at £45.99...!

(With thanks to Helen Osborn)


Haverhill Family History Day

Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex Family History Societies will be taking part in a Family History Day at Haverhill Library on Saturday January 21st. The full story is at www.haverhillecho.co.uk/community/community-news/family_history_day_at_haverhill_library_1_3407523


Daniel O' Connell's descendants

The Irish Independent newspaper has an interesting piece about the last wishes of a London lady who was married to the great great grandson of Daniel O' Connell, famous for Roman Catholic emancipation in the country, and his attempts to repeal the deeply unpopular act of union with Britain in the 19th Century. Her ashes have been spread over both the River Thames and buried at Derrynane Abbey in Kerry in equal measures. The full story is at http://www.independent.ie/national-news/descendants-of-the-liberator-daniel-oconnell-take-ancestral-funeral-route-2991848.html

(With thanks to the Genealogy Society of Ireland via Twitter @GenSocIreland)



British GENES is a totally free news blog and always will remain so. It does not ask for PayPal donations, subscription fees or charge for "plus editions". Anything I can discover that I think might be of interest to your research, you are more than willing to have it - just as soon as I can get it posted!

If you wish to quote from British GENES stories, please do so, all I ask is that you attribute the blog as the source to each, as I do when I locate material from other blogs, tweets, press releases etc. It's nothing short of a common courtesy really.

It won't hurt a bit, and trust me, you'll feel all the better for it - that warm glow inside just cannot be beaten!


Tuesday 17 January 2012

TNA offers free microfilms via lottery

No doubt someone will have a small coronary about this (!), but the National Archives is now getting rid of some of its microfilms, the records having been digitised. The films will be offered on a lottery basis, so you need to register interest quickly if they might be of use. And some of them will be of use - amongst the records going free are WO97 Royal Chelsea Hospital Soldiers Service Documents, and HO 11 Convicts Transportation Registers.

The National Archives has the story at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/662.htm - the list of microfilms available is at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/surplus-microfilm-on-offer-2012.pdf


National Library of Wales open day

The National Library of Wales is holding its Open Day on Saturday 28th January free, from 9.30 a.m - 5.00 p.m. Present will be the BBC's Huw Edwards (presenter of the forthcoming 6 part series The Story of Wales, an OU/BBC co-production), and April Mc Mahon, and there will also be a programme of talks and all sorts - more information is available at www.llgc.org.uk/index.php?id=5693&cylchwhat01/12s. A free bus service will be available all day to ferry people from the town centre to the facility.

The National Library's spring programme is also now available at www.llgc.org.uk/index.php?id=158&cylchwhat01/12s

(With thanks to the National Library of Wales)


TNA podcast - Histpop

The latest National Archives podcast is from the Celebrating the Census conference at the archive last year, and discusses the totally fantastic Histpop website, which carries census reports from the UK amongst its many holdings. I was at this talk, well worth a listen via www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/histpop.htm.

By the way, if you have never used Histpop (www.histpop.org), you need to visit it right now. Seriously...!


Donald Trump gets coat of arms

After four years, the Court of the Lord Lyon has given Donald Trump permission to use a coat of arms that he has had designed for his new golf resort in Aberdeenshire.

Don't get me started! I guess everything comes to he who waits...

The Deadline website has the story at www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2012/01/17/donald-trump-at-last-awarded-the-scottish-coat-of-arms/, whilst the Mail has a tasteful take on it at www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2087966/Donald-Trump-wins-right-use-family-crest-advertise-golf-course-battling-ancient-Scottish-law.html

Apologies for that, I'm off to look for some real news now...!

UPDATE: Thankfully it looks like the Lyon Office did not sanction the arms designed by Trump's team, but instead denied him permission to use them - as they should have done - before coming up with a replacement. The Daily Record has more on this at www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2012/01/18/donald-trump-comes-up-with-official-coat-of-arms-to-go-with-750m-golf-resort-86908-23705556/. The suggestion that any Tom, Dick or Harry could just bypass Scots Law on this would have been quite a hard pill to swallow!


Sunday 15 January 2012

Berkshire FHS free research sessions

From the Visit Newbury website at www.visitnewbury.org.uk/whats-on/thedms.aspx?dms=13&feature=1001&GroupId=1&venue=2974653&easi=true

If you are interested in tracing your Family Tree, Mortimer Library would like to hear from you. These sessions are run by the Berkshire Family History Society and two members will be assisting your search.

Please bring as much information as you can with you e.g. names/dates/place of birth/address so you will have a starting point. 

A very interesting session, what will you learn about your Family History

Free public parking. Level access throughout.

Date: Tues 24 JAN 2012 14.00-15.30
Venue: Mortimer Library, 27 Victoria Road, Mortimer, Reading, RG7 3SH


New digs for Family History Society of Buchan

The Family History Society of Buchan (www.buchanroots.co.uk) has formally opened its new new e-resource centre in Peterhead. For more on the story, and praise from local MP Eilidh Whiteford, visit http://banffandbuchansnp.blogspot.com/2012/01/mp-praises-family-history-societys.html and www.buchanroots.co.uk/html/fhc_opening_.html. Congrats to all!


Saturday 14 January 2012

Far Eastern POW History Group conference

The Far Eastern Prisoners of War History Group is holding its fourth annual conference from September 8th-9th at Whitemoor Lakes Conference and Activity Centre. The conference is entitled 70 YEARS ON - Far East Captivity Explored, and will include the following speakers: Prof Sears Eldredge, Dr Rosalind Hearder, Jon Cooper, Dr Bernice Archer, Rod Beattie, Dr Geoff Gill, Jeyathurai A. (Jeya).

For more information on the talks and to register, visit www.researchingfepowhistory.org.uk/confs/sep2012/conf12prog.html

(With thanks to Etienne via the Your Family Tree magazine forum at www.yourfamilytreemag.co.uk/yft-forum/)


Bradford Central Library's future decided soon

The future of the building housing Bradford Central Library, most of which was closed following the discovery that it was a serious fire risk, will be decided next week by the local council. The building previously acted as home to the city's family history society, amongst other community groups.

The full story is at www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/9472024.Decision_looms_on_options_for_library/.


Dorset vagrant passes

Ancestry's volunteer based World Archives Project has just started work on a new collection, Dorset Vagrant's Passes 1739-1791. There's more on he project and how to contribute at http://blogs.ancestry.com/worldarchivesproject/?p=1338


Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland

I blogged about this on the old Scottish GENES blog, but a site worth having a look at if you are into heraldry, nobility and the old ascendancy families of Ireland is that of Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland (http://lordbelmontinnorthernireland.blogspot.com).

Although the Lord Belmont in question is a fictional persona, the author does a good job of outlining issues to do with the nobility in Ulster today - I hasten to add, my interest is in the genealogical postings! He does a good job of describing various ancient families, landowning families and more - today's post, for example, looks at the Leslie family of Leslie Hill, near Ballymoney, County Antrim (see http://lordbelmontinnorthernireland.blogspot.com/2012/01/house-of-leslie.html).


Old Mangersta on Lewis

Comann Eachdraidh Uig has a great post on its blog at www.ceuig.com/archives/3990 looking at how Old Mangersta on the Isle of Lewis was carved up in 1849 into fifteen separate crofts. Lots of fascinating genealogical information - well worth a visit if you have ancestors from the region, as it may inspire you to search for similar!

The historical association's website also looks as if it has had a recent facelift - looks great!