Sunday 30 December 2012

2012 genealogy review - part 3

And now for the third and final part of my review of some of the bigger stories affecting UK and Irish genealogy this year, as well as a few personal occurrences!


I started off September by flagging up some free Glasgow newspapers available on Google News, along with several US and Canadian titles ( I thought I was being a right smart alick by advising people to back up their files regularly after avoiding a minor crisis (, without realising how inadequate my own efforts would actually soon turn out to be.

The RCBL in Dublin added the first Irish Church Directory to its online holdings ( and the People of Medieval Scotland website was launched ( Archaeologists announced that they had nearly found Richard III ( and Guy Crannum released a new edition of his Tracing Your Caribbean Ancestors ( Deceased Online added Greenwich records to its collections ( and headstones in Dorset started to host QR codes ( Ancestry went a little crazy and started to release loads of items purchased some time back from Archive CD Books ( Junk DNA, the useless bit of DNA that genealogists use for research turned out not to be quite so useless ( and the National Archives released a podcast on the history of the Paralympics (

There was another great National Family History Fair in Newcastle, with yours truly giving a talk this year also for the first time ( Peter Calver of Lost Cousins revealed how much it would cost to resurrect the GRO's bird-brained and half-completed DOVE project ( - as ScotlandsPeople, which did work out how to do it effectively for Scotland's records, celebrated its tenth anniversary (

Andy Murray ascended to Godhood...

FindmyPast made friends with the UK's professional genies with revised T&Cs ( and Ancestry launched a superb collection of Masters and Mates Certificates ( Eight Aberdeen libraries were reported to be facing potential closure ( An Daonchartlann in Dún Laoghaire revised its opening hours ( The National Records of Scotland advertised for a new Registrar General at a salary of £75,000 ( as the Big Yin himself, George Mackenzie, stepped down from the role (

Lancashire and Surrey wills joined ( and free burial records were released online by Magherafelt District Council ( Genealogy in Time announced an update ( and MyHeritage announced its new Records Matches facility ( Academic bods announced Jesus might have had a wife (, and Alex Kingston's WDYTYA episode ended up as a real version of a previous parody made by Alexander Armstrong ( An heir hunter in Leeds was jailed for 16 months (, and TheGenealogist launched its version of Griffith's Valuation, with maps ( Ancestry redesigned its Irish gateway page (, and I announced how to research Irish police service records, both north and south, from 1922 onwards to the present day ( Documents Online became the genealogical equivalent of Kenny from South Park (who used to die in each episode) with yet another announcement of a date for its eventual demise (

The Irish Famine Museum opened in Connecticut ( and some old Asian colonial photos emerged online ( Scientists broke some hearts in Ulster's Unionist community by seemingly disproving a long held myth on the 1912 Covenant - though a few have held onto the 10% uncertainty as being good enough for them (! New Zealand wills were updated on FamilySearch (

Yours truly had a brilliant time as a speaker at the BIFHSGO Conference in Ottawa, where I was also able to get a bit of family history research in (


The Republic of Ireland's privacy bill reared its ugly head again ( and privacy issues were also raised over the US based SSDI ( A First World War diary from Dublin 1916 was placed online (, and the second Irish Family and Local History handbook was launched in Dublin (

FindmyPast UK was the last of the FMP sites to add access to international records, but thankfully kept its own original search system for UK records, unlike its compatriot sites ( TNA summarised the last year's progress in leading the archive sector ( Throughout the month I ran a series of YouTube videos on the blog which I found, concerning a BBC TV series called War Walks which I worked on as a researcher in 1996, one of my all time fave projects (here's the first, with some behind the scenes facts also -

GenesReunited launched a Keepsafe ( and the Manorial Documents Register was updated to add Warwickshire ( Your Family History magazine sought nominations for Volunteer of he Year and Archive of the Year ( RTE released a TV series to promote the 2013 Irish Gathering event (, and the BBC ran an interesting online gallery of the changing nature of the English police ( FindmyPast commenced a second series of its TV series on Yesterday ( and the Churchill Archive went online (

The Adopted Illegally Ireland campaign was reported ( and the Northern Irish Historical Abuse Enquiry was extended ( There was also more bad news on the Certificate of Irish Heritage (, and Origins commenced the release of 19th century Dublin directories (

The National Library of Ireland launched a YouTube channel ( and the Family History Show made its video podcasts accessible via iTunes ( Westminster plans to commemorate the centenary of the First World War were announced (, and the historic Edinburgh Agreement was reached, legal proofing the Scottish referendum in 2014 which may see Scotland secede from the UK ( The agreement itself was placed on display at TNA in Kew ( The Scottish Council on Archives relaunched its website (, and Ancestry sold itself for US$1.6 Billion ( - but not before a few hurdles would raise themselves with shareholders.


Cambridgeshire's CAMDEX indexes for BMDs went online ( and Forces War Records added a documents library ( Some of the nonsense surrounding the modern Scottish clan industry was highlighted by Electric Scotland ( and maps for Aberdonian cemeteries were added to Deceased Online ( In the US, copyrighted material was allegedly stolen from the highly respected Cyndi's List site, prompting an international rallying of support from the worldwide genealogical community (

The Scottish Genealogy Network launched a blog and Twitter account ( Records for the Isle of Harris were added to Hebrides People (, whilst ScotlandsPeople's wills were extended to 1925 (

The Teesdale Mercury newspaper archive was made freely available online (, and Ancestry added more military material ( Who Do You Think You Are Live 2013's talks timetable was announced ( and records for Bolton joined Deceased Online ( A major collection of First World War pension cards was saved for the nation by the Western Front Association ( The Matheson Dome at the ScotlandsPeople Centre was closed ( and the FFHS launched a writing competition ( The 1922 Irish military census was placed online ( and TNA made more colonial material available for consultation in its reading rooms (

Durham Records Online made changes to its search facility and prices ( and The Wellcome Library made changes to its blog ( The Internet Archive continued to add Scottish trade directory material like the plague was in town ( RootsMagic 6 was released ( and a York Church History app was released ( Birmingham Archives closed its search room doors for a year (, and it was announced that Lord Viscount Morpeth's Testimonial Roll would go on tour in Ireland in Feb 2013 ( MyHeritage acquired (

Somewhere in North Ayrshire, some wee shug by the name of Paton suffered a catastrophic hard drive failure ( Despite the optimistic tone of the post, I later found that a real casualty of the crash was that months worth of emails had not been backed up... Now trying even harder to keep things backed up! A Kindle edition of my Tracing Your Family History on the Internet was released (


A historic crannog settlement was excavated in Fermanagh ( and yours truly travelled to Belfast to take part in the new PRONI User Forum ( Belfast City Council also updated its burials site (

A Caribbean Family History site was revealed ( and TheGenealogist added more death and army records ( A new Australian online magazine, Forgotten Times, was launched (

Plans for a UK based genealogy cruise in 2015 were announced by Unlock the Past ( and I accepted an invite to be an international speaker on the company's 2014 cruise in Australia ( The FFHS joined the FHISO ( and the RAF Museum announced plans to digitise WW1 material ( Cheshire parish register transcripts were added to Family Search ( Geoff Swinfield described his recent Nightmare on GRO Street (, and FindmyPast UK released Kilmainham pension records, and other military collections ( .

A World War 2 bomb sight site went online ( and Nick Barratt revealed plans to return to the National Archives ( Gloucesterhsire FHS revealed a new website ( and Peter Higginbotham's Workhouses site added a virtual museum ( Ancestry's sale was temporarily held up ( and TheGenealogist added more Illustrated London News editions from the 1870s (

The efforts of Bomber Command and Arctic Convoy crews in WW2 were finally recognised by the state (

A Register of BMDs on Hovercraft was announced by Peter Calver on Lost Cousins, amidst other unique GRO holdings ( Northern Ireland's GRO wished everyone a Merry Christmas by raising the cost of certificates to £15 whilst they were out shopping for turkey (, and yours truly celebrated five years of genealogy news blogging (!

And so there we have it! All of that is just a drop in the amount covered this year, with some 1619 made to date since January 1st. Check the full archive by searching for keywords, using the tab headings to the right of the page, or by a browse though each month!

Happy New Year all - and here's to 2013! :)


Having a Christmas present crisis?! Check out my range of genealogy books at - perfect for the family historian's Christmas stocking...! Also now out - new Kindle edition of Tracing Your Family History on the Internet, from

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