Wednesday 26 September 2018

MyHeritage enters the Eurovision Song Contest

So this is a little different...! From MyHeritage (

Hi Chris,

We’re delighted to share some exciting news, hot off the press! MyHeritage, has been announced today by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) as Presenting Partner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! As the event’s main sponsor, MyHeritage has been granted extensive global association and event, media, and digital rights for the upcoming song contest.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a famous international song competition held annually since the 1950’s, primarily among the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union. It is the world’s biggest live music event, a hugely popular television event that has been watched live by close to an average of 200 million people in the past 3 years.

The contest is hosted by the previous year’s winning country — as Israel won the 2018 competition, Eurovision 2019 will be held in Tel Aviv.

This partnership with the Eurovision song contest comes hot on the heels of MyHeritage becoming the most popular family history and DNA service in Europe, following surging interest in DNA testing for the discovery of relatives and ethnic origins.

MyHeritage will be working closely with the EBU to create content throughout the year that will focus on the rich heritage of the Eurovision Song Contest, revealing the connections between winners, participants and fans of the show.

Jon Ola Sand, the EBU’s Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, said:

“We are excited to have MyHeritage on board as Presenting Partner for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. This new partnership is the perfect fit; underpinning our core values of diversity and inclusion, whilst bringing together different countries and nationalities in the spirit of discovery and creativity.”

Aviram Levi, MyHeritage’s Chief Marketing Officer said:

“As one of the world’s greatest gatherings that celebrates cultural diversity and creativity, we share the Eurovision Song Contest’s values. Helping people strengthen their bond to their families by establishing a connection to their family history and cultures of origin makes them realize that, while we are all unique, we are also more similar and connected than we think.”

The Semi-Finals of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will take place on the 14th and 16th of May, 2019 and the Grand Finale will be held on the 18th of May at the EXPO International Convention Center in Tel Aviv, Israel. The shows will be co-produced by the Israeli public broadcaster KAN and the EBU.

Please share this exciting announcement with your audience. Please find an image attached.

For more information, see here:

COMMENT: Come on Ireland...! :)

(With thanks to MyHeritage)


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

Monday 17 September 2018

2nd annual Scottish Genealogy Virtual Conference

From Genealogy Tours of Scotland:

Genealogy Tours of Scotland announces the second annual virtual conference on Scottish Genealogy Research.


The ViC (virtual conference) will launch on Saturday, January 26th, 2019 at 8:30 am Eastern
The line-up of talks and speakers for the day:
  • The Lad o’ Pairts: Patterns of Scottish Migration to Canada, presented by history professor Kevin James
  • “Genealogy in the High Court of Justiciary” presented by archivist Margaret Fox
  • Using Sheriff Court Records for Genealogy Research, presented by genealogist, Emma Maxwell
  • Genealogy Gems in Scottish Poor Law Records, presented by archivist Irene O’Brien
  • An Introduction to LivingDNA, presented by LivingDNA co-founder David Nicholson
  • Family History Resources Available at the NLS, presented by NLS Enquiries Assistant Elaine Brown
  • Online Resources for Scottish Genealogy, presented by genealogy educator Christine Woodcock

Registration fee is just $99.99 (cdn) and allows unlimited access to the talks, handouts and marketplace until midnight (eastern) on January 31st. The live chat will only happen on January 2
*** Virtual "Seats" are limited! For more information or to register:

(With thanks to Christine Woodcock)


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

Sunday 16 September 2018

University of Glasgow benefited from the Slave Trade

The BBC has an interesting article online about how the University of Glasgow ( benefited form the Slave Trade, thanks to donations it received in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The amount received in today's money is estimated to be between £16.7m and £198m in value. As a consequence, the university is planning to launch a "reparative justice programme".

The University's Principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli said: "Although the university never owned enslaved people or traded in the goods they produced, it is now clear we received significant financial support from people whose wealth came from slavery. The university deeply regrets this association with historical slavery which clashes with our proud history of support for the abolition of both the slave trade and slavery itself."

For more on the story visit

For resources on Scotland and the slaver trade at the National Library of Scotland, see


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

TheGenealogist adds 1910 Valuation Office Survey of Brent

From TheGenealogist (

The 1910 Valuation Office Survey of Brent, released online with annotated maps

TheGenealogist is releasing the third part of its unique online record set, The Lloyd George Domesday Survey. This major resource based on records created for the Valuation Office survey can now be used to find where an ancestor lived in 1910 in the area around Brent. This useful combination of maps and residential data from The National Archives is being digitised by TheGenealogist to bring it online for the first time. These records precisely locate an ancestor’s house on a large scale and extraordinarily detailed hand annotated map so pinpointing the exact property.

Family historians are often confused by modern maps when looking for where ancestors lived as the road names may have changed over time or been rerouted or extinguished. Wartime bombing saw areas razed to the ground. In the 1960s and onwards, developers changed areas of the country out of all resemblance from what our ancestors would have been used to. The passing of time means that searching for where an ancestor lived using websites linked to modern maps can be discouraging when they fail to identify where the old properties had once been. The area released today was still the location of farms and countryside at the time of the Lloyd George Domesday survey - but with the ever encroaching urbanisation of Brent the council moved to buy land to create a park for the future suburb of London.
  • TheGenealogist’s Lloyd George Domesday Survey provides links to individual properties on particularly detailed ordnance survey maps used in 1910
  • Linked to digitised pages from the original Field book often giving a detailed description of the property
  • Allows users to find an address discovered in a census or street directory down to a specific house on the map
  • Fully searchable by name, parish and street.
  • Maps will zoom down to show the individual properties as they existed in 1910

Augmenting the street maps on TheGenealogist are images of the pages from the accompanying Field Books. These can give the researcher detailed information about the property, including the valuation assessment number, map reference, owner, occupier, situation, description and extent.

TheGenealogist’s digitisation of the Lloyd George Domesday Survey is a huge ongoing project with over 94,500 Field Books, each having hundreds of pages to scan with their associated large scale IR121 annotated OS maps. This latest release from TheGenealogist includes these detailed IR58 Field Books that contains a great deal of information about the properties that had been surveyed.

The release this month, covers Brent and joins Barnet, Edgware, Finchley, Friern Barnet, Hendon and Totteridge, plus the City of London and Paddington Index and maps that have previously been released by the company. More areas will be released soon for other London Boroughs and the county of Buckinghamshire.

Find out more at:

You can also read our article about how the Lloyd George Domesday Survey reveals a rural idyll that disappeared into suburbia here:

(With thanks to Nick Thorne)


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

Stranmillis College evening classes on Irish family history

From the Ulster Historical Foundation (

Our Research Officer, Gillian Hunt, will deliver a 10-week evening class on Irish family history sources at Stranmillis College, Belfast from Tuesday 18th September 2018 (7pm-9pm)

She will be covering topics such as census, civil and church records, estate papers, wills, school registers and land and valuation records.

To book please contact the Lifelong Learning office on 028 9038 4345 or via email

(With thanks to the UHF)


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

Irish Lives Remembered issue 41 now available

The Summer Edition of Irish Lives Remembered is available to view now.

This issue, Fiona Fitzsimons and Stephen Peirce look at the Family History of John Cusack and we have lots more fantastic articles for you to enjoy, such as:

Paul McCotter on the O'Mahony surname;
Dr. Maurice Gleeson on genetic genealogy;
Ned Kelly on the Inauguration Stone of Mac Aonghusa;
Patrick Roycroft attends the Cambridge History of Ireland book launch;
Nathan Mannion on Sporting Royalty - the Casey's of Kerry;
Catherine McAuley lets us know what tales are in her attic;
Reader Ann Shelley tells the story of her Great-Great-Grandmother;
Niall Cullen from Findmypast lets us in on 6 unique FMP resources for finding your Irish Ancestors;
Writer Patricia O'Sullivan on Newmarket (Cork) and the Foundation of the Hong Kong Police Force;
Review of the Journal of the Medal Society of Ireland's 100th issue;
Jayne Shrimpton's Photo-Detective;
Patrick’s Page with Patrick Roycroft; and
Ask Genie, our family history agony aunt.

Access the magazine online at

(With thanks to Eneclann)


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

Ancestry's medal index cards free access until November

From Ancestry (


Mark the centenary by finding your family’s WWI story 

As we honour the centenary of the Great War, our thoughts turn to the last, deciding battles. This week marks 100 years since the start of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line.

A key turning point in the war-ending Hundred Days Offensive, the Hindenburg battles led to the collapse of Germany’s main defensive lines on the Western Front, and the enemy’s realisation that war must end.

Discover your ancestor’s experiences of these key battles in more than 30 million WWI records at Ancestry. Just about everybody who fought received some sort of medal as recognition. That means that our Medal Rolls Index Cards, free until November*, are a great place to start, as they form a virtual roll call of the British Army during the War.

*Medal Index rolls are free to access until 11 November 2018. Registration required. Terms apply.

The collection is accessible at


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

A week to go before Scottish Research Online course starts

There's just a week to go until the next 5 week long Scottish Research Online from Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Limited starts on September 24th, but there are still spaces available. The course was originally designed many years ago by Canadian genealogist Sherry Irvine, but has been constantly updated and taught by yours truly ever since 2011 to keep pace with ongoing online developments.

Each week I send out a lesson by email at the start of the week, and on the following Sunday we have an online discussion session for an hour to discuss its contents, answer questiuons etc. There is also a dedicated forum through the run of the course, where you can ask questions at any time. 

Here's the course description:

Scottish Research Online (102)
Tutor: Chris Paton

Scotland was first to have major records digitized and offer indexes and images online. It has also been a leader in placing resource information on the World Wide Web. This course describes the major sites, the types of information and data that they offer, the forms in which databases are presented and how to analyze results. You will learn to lay the foundations for searching a family, how to select best resources and what to do next either online or in libraries and archives.
Lesson Headings:
  • Scotlands People, Family Search, Ancestry, FreeCen: content, comparison, assessment
  • Essential Maps and Gazetteers
  • Civil Registration and Census Research Online
  • Searching in Church of Scotland Registers Online
  • Scottish Wills and Inventories Online
  • Take It From Here

Note: it is recommended but not required that students in this course sign up for the basic search option, 30 units/seven days, at ScotlandsPeople (cost is seven pounds)

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat s See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: "I particularly liked the fact that the course didn't just focus on the well-known BMD resources available, but on a much wider range of websites, including many which give extremely useful background information on the geography and history of the localities where our ancestors lived."

"a very knowledgeable Instructor"

Relevant Countries: Scotland

This course is offered twice annually.

Course Length: 5 Weeks
Start Date: 24 Sep 2018
Cost: £49.99

To sign up, please visit - and I will hopefully see you there!


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

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Three new projects for the World Archives Project

Latest additions to Ancestry's World Archives Project (

The Australia, Newspaper Vital Notices, 1841-2001 will be familiar as we have keyed similar newspaper projects in the past. There will be some image sets without records to index – we opted for fewer images/image set so the indexing didn’t become overwhelming. Questions can be asked on the message board or sent to

On to the Ukraine with the USHMM – Ukraine, Applications for ID for the Citizens of Stanislav, 1939-1945 records. These records are in Ukranian and can be difficult to read – for this reason this project is advanced. Questions can be asked on the message board or sent to

And finally we land in the UK with the West Midlands, England, Criminal Registers. Criminal records are always fun and these are even moreso as many have images. There are quite a few different record formats so reviewing the sample images will be helpful. Questions can be asked on the message board or sent to

Happy indexing!

(Original source:


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

Ancestry upgrades its DNA ethnicity profiles

Ancestry ( has announced an upgrade to its ethnicity estimates for Europe and Asia today "through a new algorithm that analyzes longer segments of genetic information, marking an important evolution in the way we interpret DNA data".

I'll be honest - I get bored rigid reading about ethnicity estimates from DNA testing companies, because every one of them tells you something different. And so on that front, I'll say no more other than that you can find Ancestry's press release at

Comment: Ancestry already impresses me immensely with its cousin matching facility - absolutely superb. If it wants to further impress me, ADD A CHROMOSOME BROWSER!!!!!

Come on lads, ye know ye want to...! :)


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

Major DNA service developments from MyHeritage

New DNA announcements from MyHeritage (

Announcement 1:

MyHeritage supports 23andMe V5 and Living DNA uploads

If you’ve tested your DNA already, we have good news for you, please read on. If you haven’t taken a DNA test yet, we invite you to check out the MyHeritage DNA kit which is now offered at a very affordable price.

Since 2016, MyHeritage has allowed users who have tested their DNA already to upload their DNA data from Ancestry, 23andMe and Family Tree DNA, providing DNA matches and ethnicity estimates on MyHeritage for free.

However, previously MyHeritage did not support the upload of tests based on the chip called GSA (Global Screening Array), that is used by 23andMe (V5), and by Living DNA. Recent improvements to our DNA algorithms allow us to support DNA data processed on GSA chips, and so we’re happy to update you that MyHeritage now supports 23andMe V5 and Living DNA data uploads, in addition to data uploads from all major DNA testing services, including Ancestry, 23andMe (up to V5) and Family Tree DNA (Family Finder).

Upload your DNA data to MyHeritage now — it’s fast and simple. If you upload now, you will get full access to DNA Matching, Ethnicity Estimates, our industry-leading chromosome browser, and more, for FREE.

If you manage additional DNA kits for some of your relatives, and you have their permission, upload their DNA data too, and MyHeritage will let you associate the data with the respective individuals on your family tree.

As of December 1st 2018, our DNA upload policy will change: DNA Matching will remain free for uploaded DNA data, but unlocking additional DNA features will require an extra payment for DNA files uploaded after this date. All DNA data that was uploaded to MyHeritage in the past, and all DNA data that is uploaded now and prior to December 1, 2018 will continue to enjoy full access to all DNA features for free. These uploads will be grandfathered in and will remain free.

So it’s a great idea to upload DNA files for any kits you have as soon as possible. You’ll get the following benefits:

DNA Matches
DNA Matches are other users on MyHeritage from all around the world who are likely to be your relatives based on shared DNA. MyHeritage has a very strong user base in Europe so you are likely to get more DNA Matches from Europe than on any other DNA service. This is very useful if you have ancestors from Europe.

Ethnicity Estimate
A percent breakdown of your ethnic background from among 42 ethnicity regions. You’ll learn which places your ancestors came from.

Chromosome Browser
Helps you understand how you’re related to your DNA Matches by identifying DNA segments that you share with them. MyHeritage’s Chromosome Browser is considered by many experts to be the best in the industry.

After uploading, your DNA data will be kept private and secure, and our DNA service terms are the friendliest in the industry. You remain the owner of your DNA data — not us — and you can delete your DNA data at any time.

So don't delay, and upload your DNA data to MyHeritage now, while all the DNA features are free (and they will remain free for you). If you have tested with 23andMe (any version including V5) or Living DNA, you're in luck, and you can now upload this data to MyHeritage too. You can also upload DNA data from Ancestry and Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder test. Instructions for exporting your data and uploading it to MyHeritage are provided on our upload page.

P.S. We are currently processing the large backlog of 23andMe V5 kits that have been uploaded to us in the past, and their results will be rolled out to the users gradually within the next few days.

Full blog post: full blog post here:

Announcement 2:

MyHeritage Partners with British Retailer WHSmith to Distribute DNA Kits

Tel Aviv, Israel & London, United Kingdom, September 7, 2018 — MyHeritage, Europe’s leading service for DNA testing and family history, announced today the launch of a retail partnership with WHSmith. This marks the first partnership of its kind for MyHeritage in the UK, and the first time that MyHeritage DNA tests will be available for purchase in retail stores in Europe.

Under the new partnership WHSmith distributes a unique product named MyHeritage Family History Discovery Kit, which bundles MyHeritage’s popular at-home DNA test with 3 months of access to MyHeritage’s suite of premium online genealogy services. This allows consumers to receive detailed ethnicity reports and connect with their relatives around the world through the power of DNA testing, and to utilize MyHeritage’s 9-billion-strong collection of historical records and family tree tools to embark on a journey to uncover their family history.

The distribution of the kits via local retail stores caters to the surging demand for at-home DNA testing throughout Europe, and in the UK in particular. The affordable price of the MyHeritage Family History Discovery Kit available through WHSmith, £89, makes it an ideal gift for the Christmas season ahead.

The MyHeritage DNA test is notable for its ease of use. It involves a simple 2-minute cheek swab. In addition to the DNA test, the Family History Discovery Kit comes with 3 months of access to MyHeritage’s Complete plan, which includes all family tree features and historical records on MyHeritage, seamlessly integrated with the DNA test results.

“Interest in DNA testing and family history research in the UK market has skyrocketed lately,” said Akiva Glasenberg, MyHeritage’s Business Development Manager. “We have created a unique bundled product to satisfy this need and are pleased to offer it to UK consumers through selected WHSmith High Street stores. Customers can look forward to discovering their ethnic origins and family history and making use of MyHeritage’s vast DNA database and historical record collections to make new connections with their relatives in the UK and overseas.”

The MyHeritage Family History Discovery Kits are on sale in 200 WHSmith High Street stores, as well as online via

(With thanks to Daniel Horowitz)


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

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Researching Scottish Death Records

Another article from the now departed Discover my Past Scotland magazine, this time from early 2010 (and suitably updated):

Researching Scottish Death Records

Genealogist Chris Paton offers some tips on how to trace evidence of your forebears’ demise…

One of the real ironies about family history research is that records surrounding the deaths of our ancestors can often tell us a great deal about how they once lived and provide useful information on the families that they left behind.

From 1855 to the present day, the death of every person in Scotland has been registered by the state and a copy held at the General Register Office for Scotland. The records have been digitised and are easily accessible at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh (, with online access also available via the pay-per-view ScotlandsPeople website ( The latter site restricts access to the full register records prior to the last fifty years only, for privacy reasons, although an online index is available, with which certified copies of more recent records can be ordered.

All statutory death records list the names of the deceased’s parents, including mother’s maiden name, a place, date and cause of death, usual residence and the informant’s details. From 1855 to 1860, the records noted the burial place of the deceased, but the name of any spouse was unfortunately omitted from 1856-1860. If your ancestor died in 1855, the records are especially helpful, in further listing the names of any children born to the deceased, with their ages, and if they had died before 1855, their own dates of death were also given. From 1967, the deceased’s date of birth has also been recorded. Military death records can be frustrating to use as no parent information is included, but if your ancestor died in the two world wars, the free to access Commonwealth War Graves Commission website at is also worth checking.

In some cases, where a cause of death has yet to be investigated (for example if there are suspicious circumstances), an initial cause may be noted and subsequently re-entered via the Register of Corrected Entries (RCE) once the procurator fiscal has concluded the investigation. This corrected entry will then be referred to in the margin of the original record, and can also be consulted, which may shed considerable further light on the circumstances.

Some illnesses described in early death records can seem incredibly unfamiliar, with tuberculosis for example noted variously as ‘phthisis pulmonala’, ‘consumption’, and ‘decline’, but websites such as can help to explain some of the ailments that you may encounter.

Prior to 1855, burials were recorded in both parish church records and in some cases in municipal registers held by the local town and burgh councils. The church records are often poor, and in many cases simply refer to a money payment made to hire a ‘mort cloth’ to drape over the coffin. About a third of Scottish churches kept any such records, and what survives is located in the main OPR and kirk session registers. Those records that have survived from the Church of Scotland records have been digitised and made available on the ScotlandsPeople website, along with records concerning the dissenting Presbyterian churches.

The pay-per-view Deceased Online website ( also has some burial records, including for the county of Angus, whilst most family history societies will have books and CDs listing monumental inscriptions from churchyards within their area, which can be particularly useful in identifying other family members (identify your local FHS from Often gravestone inscriptions are the only record of an ancestor’s passing, but it is also worth noting that most people were not buried with headstones, it was simply too expensive. It is also worth checking your local county archives website for burial information, with records for Perth from 1794 available at, for example, whilst the Friends of Dundee City Archives have placed a database for the city’s Howff cemetery online at Another handy site worth visiting is Memento Mori at which has indices to many graveyards mainly in the Central Belt, and photographs of individual stones can be ordered up at a reasonable price.

Newspapers often carry obituaries or death notices, and in some cases where there may not be such a notice, there may well be a brief message listed a few days after a burial to thank people for their help at a difficult time, so it is always worth checking up to a couple of weeks beyond an actual date of death. Various titles can be accessed at local county libraries or at the National Library of Scotland, whilst several have also been digitised and made available online. The 19th Century British Library Newspaper Collection, for example, freely available via the National Library of Scotland's licensed digital collections (see, has many editions of the Glasgow Herald, the Caledonian Mercury and the Aberdeen Journal, whilst the Scotsman is available online from 1817-1950 at (and also free via the NLS). Many other titles are available through the British Newspaper Archive ( The Edinburgh Gazette is also worth checking, freely available at, as sometimes notices were issued for possible claimants of a deceased’s estate (creditors etc) to make themselves known to the executors.

Probate records can also provide information on the place and date of death. The ScotlandsPeople site has made available digital copies of all Scottish wills and testaments confirmed from 1513-1901, for just £5 per document, no matter its length. If the deceased left a will, he or she was said to have died ‘testate’, and the record of confirmation will be known as a ‘testament testamentar’. This will include the deceased’s date of death, a copy of the will, an inventory of his possessions, and further details such as where confirmation happened and who was appointed as executor or executrix. If the deceased was ‘intestate’, an inventory of possessions may have been recorded and the confirmation document issued known as a ‘testament dative’. The documents can help to build up a profile of the deceased’s wealth and can help to identify other family members. From 1877 to 1959 a series of ‘Calendars of Confirmations and Inventories’ was also produced, providing a summary of testaments confirmed in that period, and these can be accessed at many institutions, such as the National Archives of Scotland and the Mitchell Library, and even via your local LDS Family History Library. If your ancestor had property in England or Wales, it is also worth checking the PCC Wills collection at

Married women could not leave a will until 1882, and land could not be bequeathed through such a document until 1868. Wills before this period deal only with the deceased’s ‘movable’ estate (clothing, money, bedding etc), which was usually split into three parts – the dead’s part, the bairn’s part and the widow’s part. As the eldest son usually inherited the land or property instead, he may not in fact be recorded in a will at all, but may appear in documents from a separate process altogether, whereby he would have to be confirmed by the courts as the legal heir before he could take possession. This was done through the ‘Services of Heirs’ process, with the judgement ‘retoured’ or returned to the Scottish Chancery, giving them the name of ‘retours’. Indexes and abridgements to these, covering the periods 1530-1699 and 1700-1859, are now freely available online - see

It is worth noting that whilst a death record prior to 1855 may be difficult to locate, evidence for death can still be pursued, for example when listings in directories suddenly cease, or when land changes hands, as recorded in sasines registers and charters. Finally, remember that not a single death record will have been written by your ancestor, so always try to corroborate any information concerning a death from as many sources as possible, particularly wit regard to statutory death certificates, where the information given to the registrar was only as good as the informant providing it.

For more on Scottish death records, consult my Unlock the Past books, Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition) and Discover Scottish  Civil Registration Records - details on how to purchase from various worldwide outlets can be found at


My next Scottish Research Online course starts on 24 September 2018 - details at For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

Monday 10 September 2018

The Family History Show in London

From The Genealogist (

The Family History Show - London Saturday 22nd September

Headline sponsor: TheGenealogist

The UK's Biggest Family History Show of 2018 is almost upon us. After last year’s hugely successful event we are back and twice the size! With even more free talks, societies and exhibitors. Come along to discover ways to delve deeper into your family tree and add more detail to your research. Dick Eastman will be giving the keynote speech on 'The Future of Genealogy' and there is a full programme of free talks to help you on your way back to the past. With free car parking and a free minibus from the train station, you won't want to miss this!

Saturday 22nd September 2018 10am to 4.30pm

Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher

You will find plenty to explore on the day:
* Double the talks - Two Large Lecture Theatres with Free Talks all day
* New This Year - Free Ask the Experts Area
* Announcing The National Archives as a new exhibitor this year
* Local Archives and Ministry of Defence stands
* Gain knowledge from the societies and organisations attending
* Advanced tickets are just 2 for £7.50

Announcing our DNA Sponsor - MyHeritage DNA
We're pleased that MyHeritage will be joining us as our DNA sponsor! They will be available throughout the day and will also be giving a talk in one of our free lecture theatres.

Free Talks throughout the day
There will be free talks throughout the day in our two large lecture theatres.

* Keynote - The Future of Genealogy with Dick Eastman

* Breaking down brick walls in your family history research with Mark Bayley, Online Expert
Mark describes how to resolve stumbling blocks in your family history research using innovative search strategies and unique record sets to find those missing relatives.

* Tips & Tricks for Online Research with Keith Gregson, Professional Researcher & Social Historian
Keith shares top tips & techniques for finding elusive ancestors, illustrated by some fascinating case studies.

* Tracing Your Military Ancestors with Chris Baker, Military Expert & Professional Researcher
Chris draws on his experience from researching thousands of soldiers to explore what can be found when looking for a military ancestor.

* Photo Dating with Jayne Shrimpton, Photo Expert and Fashion Historian

* Using DNA to Trace Your Ancestry with MyHeritage

* 5 Killer Apps for Mobile Genealogy with Graham Walter
Many of us have a smart phone with us when we are out doing our genealogy research. What are the apps that will best aid us in our pursuit?

Ask the Experts
New this year will be the Free 'Ask the Experts' section, with Jayne Shrimpton on hand to date photographs, Chris Baker to answer questions regarding Medals and Military Research and Social and Sporting Historian Keith Gregson to help break down your brick walls.

* Bring along copies of your photographs and have them dated by our expert
* Have those military queries answered
* Learn more about the social history of your family

Two Tickets for £7.50!

Buy One Get One Half Price on Tickets! Buy your tickets in advance for £5 a person or buy two for £7.50 (Price on the door will be £7 each). HURRY, this offer ends Midday 19th September!

(With thanks to Nick Thorne)


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

Sunday 9 September 2018

AGRA announces conference for 2019

From the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (

Genealogical Conference for 2019 announced by AGRA

The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) has announced plans for a family history conference at Pembroke College, Oxford on 27 and 28 September next year. It follows a very successful conference held at St John’s College, Cambridge two years ago.

This year’s theme is ‘Bloomin’ Ancestors!: Giving Your Family History Personality’. Delegates will have the opportunity to listen to some of the best family history speakers around on fleshing out your family tree. They can also enjoy a memorable dinner in the College’s age-old dining hall.

All too often our ancestors are just names on the pedigree sheet. How much fun would it be to find out more about their lives, feelings and thoughts. Conference speakers will suggest ways that delegates can do and share their experiences of doing so. And there will be plenty of time for you to share your experiences as well.

The conference organisers are also looking for experts to speak at the event. More details can be found at

Full conference details will be released in December. In the meantime, potential attendees can register their interest by joining the AGRA mailing list. A separate AGRA Conference website – - will be going live shortly.

(With thanks to Simon Fowler)


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

Friday 7 September 2018

Early Scottish census records added to FindmyPast

The latest records added to FindmyPast (

Scotland, Edinburgh Temperance Pledges 1886-1908
Did your Scottish ancestor sign a temperance pledge between 1886 and 1908? These temperance pledges were introduced by the United Presbyterian Church and originally called the Band of Hope Register. The index records names, birth years, addresses and includes the names and ages of numerous children who signed the pledge.

Scotland, Berwickshire, Ladykirk Heads of Household 1811
Discover your Scottish ancestors from Ladykirk in Berkshire. This early census recorded the names of the heads of the household in Ladykirk in 1811 as well as information pertaining to their family and other members of their household.

Scotland, Edinburgh St Cuthbert's Census 1790
Explore your Scottish ancestry with the 1790 census of the parish of St Cuthbert's in Edinburgh. The index has been transcribed by the Scottish Genealogy Society. The original list came from the Kirk Session Records for Ladykirk.

Scotland, Perthshire, Inhabitants of the Burgh of Perth 1766
Discover your Scottish ancestry with this list of inhabitants of the Burgh of Perth in 1766. The inhabitants list was taken by the magistrates on 19 March 1766 and the following days.

Scotland, Shetland, Tingwall List of Inhabitants 1785
Discover our Scottish ancestors live in the Shetland Islands? Search this list of inhabitants of the parish of Tingwall.

British & Irish Newspapers
This week we have added 148,176 new pages to The Archive. We have added pages to the Irish Independent, as well as to the Liverpool Echo. We have also added a long run of new pages to the Sligo Champion, spanning the years 1942 to 2006. The Sligo Champion was founded in 1836 by four times mayor of Sligo Edward Howard Verdon, and it is still in publication today

Further details and links are available at


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

Wednesday 5 September 2018

FamilySearch Classes and Webinars for September 2018

From FamilySearch (

Salt Lake City, Utah (5 September 2018), The FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has announced its free family history classes and webinars for September 2018. Research classes will focus on Denmark, Germany, England, France, Portugal, and the United States. Many classes are offered in Spanish this month in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month which begins on September 15. Participants can attend in person or online. See the calendar below for the complete list of classes. No registration is required. (Find and share this announcement online from the FamilySearch Newsroom).

Select webinars are offered weekly along the following track schedule throughout the month:

Mondays—FamilySearch Catalog at 10:00 a.m. MDT
Tuesdays— and Family Tree Classes at 10:00 a.m. MDT
Wednesdays—Indexing Classes at 10:00 a.m. MDT
Thursdays—Research Classes at 1:00 p.m. MDT

Hispanic Week Seminar begins on September 18 and goes through September 21. Special speakers will be featured, and all classes will be recorded for future access. Las días martes a jueves las clases están habladas en español. Friday classes will be taught in English. Asista en línea (attend online).

If you are unable to attend a class in person or online, most sessions are recorded and can be viewed later online at your convenience at Family History Library classes and webinars. Online classes are noted on the schedule as webinars. Webinar attendees need to click the link next to the class title at the scheduled date and time to attend the class online. Those attending in person simply go to the room noted. Invite your family and friends.

All class times are in mountain daylight time (MDT).

Tuesday, 4 September, 10:00 A.M.
Overview of FamilySearch Memories (Beginner)
Thursday, 6 September, 1:00 P.M.
German Civil Registration (Beginner)
Tuesday, 11 September, 10:00 A.M.
Submitting Names for Temple Ordinances (Beginner)
Thursday, 13 September, 10:00 A.M.
Portuguese Language Indexing (1.5 hours) (Beginner)
Thursday, 13 September, 1:00 P.M.
United States Research: Mid Atlantic (Beginner)
Tuesday, 18 September, 10:00 A.M.
Metodología de la investigación genealógica (Beginner)
Tuesday, 18 September, 11:30 A.M.
Encontrando personas en Geneanet (Beginner)
Tuesday, 18 September, 1:30 P.M.
Introducción a la genealogía genética (Beginner)
Tuesday, 18 September, 3:00 P.M.
Mantenga su propio árbol en un programa como Ancestral Quest (Beginner)
Wednesday, 19 September, 10:00 A.M.
Recuérdame (Beginner)
Wednesday, 19 September, 11:30 A.M.
Genealogía y las redes sociales (Beginner)
Wednesday, 19 September, 1:30 P.M.
Establecimiento y jurisdicciones en la Nueva España (Intermediate)
Wednesday, 19 September, 3:00 P.M.
Registros notariales (Intermediate)
Thursday, 20 September, 10:00 A.M.
El ADN y la genealogía (Beginner)
Thursday, 20 September, 11:30 A.M.
¡Mama Mía! Búsuedas básicas en Italia (Beginner)
Thursday, 20 September, 1:00 P.M.
England and Wales Civil Registration (Beginner)
Thursday, 20 September, 1:30 P.M.
Los archivos españoles, un viaje a través del tiempo (Beginner)
Thursday, 20 September, 3:00 P.M.
Corrientes migratorias hacia Chile (Beginner)
Friday, 21 September, 10:00 A.M.
Finding Echeverria In Spain and France (Beginner)
Friday, 21 September, 11:30 A.M.
Finding Your Hispanic Ancestors on FamilySearch (Intermediate)
Friday, 21 September, 1:30 P.M.
Migration Patterns in New Spain (Intermediate)
Friday, 21 September, 3:00 P.M.
Online Resources for Northern Nueva España (Beginner)
Tuesday, 25 September, 10:00 A.M.
Starting Family Tree: Correcting Relationships (Beginner)
Thursday, 27 September, 1:00 P.M.
Danish Emigration (Beginner)

Original announcement at


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

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Scottish Burial Traditions

This is another article written a few years ago for the now dearly departed Discover my Past Scotland magazine, this time from July 2011 - enjoy!

Scottish Burial Traditions

Chris Paton describes the final journey to the afterlife in older times…

As much as with baptisms and marriages, Scottish funerals were surrounded heavily by tradition in the past. Today we tend to think of death as a private affair, and the subsequent funeral or cremation the occasion where close friends and family can say goodbye. In the past however, the death of a person in a parish was a much more public occasion, providing nothing short of a holiday for many. The deceased may in fact have already witnessed the mourners coming in for the occasion, his friends and families having been alerted in advance, and undoubtedly causing he or she additional suffering from the resultant disturbance.

Between death and burial, a key fear was for the soul; windows would be opened to allow it to escape (and quickly closed to stop it coming back!), mirrors were covered and clocks stopped, in order that the person’s soul would not be confused or distracted as it departed. To prevent food and whisky being ‘corrupted’, a piece of iron was driven in, such as a small nail. The women would then clean and ‘kistan’ the body (place it in a coffin), after which it would then be watched prior to the funeral in a ‘lyje-wake’ or ‘waukan’. This was sometimes a merry occasion and at other times sombre, where friends and relatives could convey their regards, and touch the body as a mark of respect. Furthermore, in the Highlands, ‘earth was laid upon the corpse’, a tradition whereby small amounts of earth and salt were placed on a wooden plate on the deceased’s chest, symbolising the corruptibility of the body and the incorruptibility of the soul.

In his “Traditions of Perth” in 1832, author George Penny notes that when a person died in the burghs, the bellman would announce it around the town, reciting “Men and brethren, I let you to wit, that our brother, A. B., departed this life on Thursday last, and is to be interred on Sunday evening… when the company of all his brethren is expected”, long before newspaper intimations and funeral letters took on the same function. Following the death a merchant’s family would stop all trade until after the funeral, whilst on the day itself groups of ‘mourners’ would walk around the streets in a mob, an action which George Penny recalls in Perth as being merely ‘for the love of show’.

The normal funeral tradition followed across most of the country, in both the burghs and the rural parishes, was to gather the mourners on the Sunday morning for prayers, although the burial itself would not happen until the afternoon or even the evening. In Dundonald, Ayrshire, the Old Statistical Account notes how every person attending was given a pipe and tobacco to help while away the hours until the burial began. The provision of hospitality to the guest was all part of providing the deceased with a ‘decent burial’, with whisky, oat bread and cheese laid on. Many a person’s greatest fear was death in poverty, with a burial in a pauper’s grave, and so great efforts were made to save in advance for the time of death, in order not to land a burden on the family. On many occasions an alternative way to pay for the occasion was to auction off the deceased’s procession afterwards at a ‘roup’.

At times however, this hospitality could be taken to extremes, costing a small fortune and driving the minister to despair. In Gargunnock the minister noted in the 1790s that after a meal and a drink 'not a few return to the dirge, and sometimes forget what they have been doing, and where they are'. The dirge was the great feast after the burial, also known as a ‘dredgy’, though in places such as Campsie, the mourners were regularly plied with drams and shortbread before the burial through a custom known as a ‘service’. Penny recalls an amusing incident at the funeral of an elderly lady in Perth who had left a considerable fortune to two sons. After much drinking he notes the consequence. 'Some one hinted that it was time to proceed, as they had a considerable way to ride. Orders were accordingly given to get out the horses; the company mounted and set out, and proceeded a couple of miles towards the place of interment, before it was discovered that they had left the lady behind'!

With the burial time approaching, the coffin would be lifted and carried to the burial plot, with the procession led by a person ringing the mort-bell, in an attempt to drive evil spirits away. The body or coffin itself was covered in a dark mortcloth, hired from the kirk for the payment of a fee known as ‘mort-money’, and many would show their respects by carrying it part of the way. In 1896 the minister of West Kilbride, the Reverend James Lamb, noted in his book 'Annals of an Ayrshire Parish' just how profitable the hiring out of a mortcloth could be for the kirk in the 1770s: '…three qualities were at one time kept, which were hired out at different dates at diverse rates. Thus, in 1771, the rates are five shillings for the best, and three shillings for the second; but these rates are afterwards raised to eight shillings for the best, and four shillings for the second, and three shillings for the third, in the case of an adult; and one shilling and eightpence and one shilling and tenpence for a child. In the case of a person of special wealth or importance, however, the Kirk Session knew how to apply the screw; in such instances we sometimes find ten shillings charged.' In the burghs, the guilds and incorporations often maintained their own mortcloth, which they would let out instead of the kirk. The poor were not charged, however, and children under the age of ten were usually buried without the use of one. For the wealthier a hearse would be employed, rather than the coffin carried, with the undertaker usually the local joiner operating in a dual role.

At the kirk the women would go no further, returning home instead to prepare the dredgy, whilst the men attended to the burial. There were many traditions surrounding the graveyard itself. In Newburgh in Fife it was believed that if a person who had committed suicide was taken through the gate of the kirkyard, a child subsequently being presented through the gate for baptism would be cursed to end his or her days by the same fate. In Monquhitter, Aberdeenshire, there was a belief that the soul of the departed was not in fact quite so departed, it remaining behind to keep watch at the gate until its replacement arrived from the next funeral. This led to the frequent problem, as described in the First Statistical Account, whereby two funerals happening on the same day would often end in violence. If the two funeral parties met at the gate 'the dead were thrown down till the living decided by blows which ghost should be condemned to porter it'.

Prior to the 19th century a great desire held by many was to be buried in the parish of their ancestors, rather than in the village or town where they later came to reside. In Borthwick, Midlothian, the practise was so common that the minister writing the First Statistical Account of the parish recalled how 'there are not two farmers in these bounds who bury in this place', whilst in Kirpatrick-Irongray, Kirkcudbrightshire, it was noted that 'there are more funerals here from other parishes than from the parish itself'. This is something that is always worth bearing in mind if you can’t find your ancestor where he or she is supposed to be!

For more on Scottish burial records, and on traditions surrounding death, my books Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition) and Down and Out in Scotland,: Researching Ancestral Crisis may help - further details can be found at


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

Monday 3 September 2018

Warwickshire parish records added to TheGenealogist

From TheGenealogist (

Parish Records for Warwickshire with images

TheGenealogist has added over 1.5 million individuals to their Warwickshire Parish Record Collection and so increases the coverage of this Midland county for family researchers to find their ancestors baptisms, marriages and burials.

These records are released in association with Warwickshire County Record Office and have the benefit of high quality images to complement the transcripts, making them a valuable resource for those with ancestors from this area.

These new fully searchable records can be used to find ancestors from the parishes of: Alveston, Arley, Baddesley Ensor, Barcheston, Bulkington, Burton Dassett, Butlers Marston, Castle Bromwich, Charlecote, Cherrington, Chilvers Coton, Church Lawford, Claverdon, Clifton-Upon-Dunsmore, Coleshill, Corley, Coughton, Coventry St Michael, Coventry St John the Baptist, Coventry St Mark, Curdworth, Ettington, Exhall with Wixford (Alcester), Farnborough, Fenny Compton, Foleshill St Laurence, Great Alne, Great Packington, Grendon, Hampton Lucy, Harborough Magna, Hartshill, Haselor, Henley-in-Arden, Honington, Ladbroke, Lea Marston, Leamington Spa All Saints, Leamington Spa St John the Baptist, Mancetter, Milverton, Over Whitacre, Pillerton Hersey, Ratley, Sherbourne, Shipston-on-Stour, Shotteswell, Solihull St Alphege, Sutton Coldfield Holy Trinity, Warwick St Mary, Warwick St Nicholas, Wasperton, Wellesbourne, and Whitchurch.

These new parish records are available as part of the Diamond Subscription at TheGenealogist.

(With thanks to Nick Thorne)


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

Ellis Island passenger records on FamilySearch

The following is from FamilySearch (

A trio of new collections representing the complete archive of Ellis Island passenger records is now available on the free genealogy website, FamilySearch. Search these to discover your immigrant ancestors during 3 distinct time periods:

New York Passenger Lists (Castle Garden) 1820–1891

These passenger lists document over 13 million immigrants and international travelers who arrived in New York City beginning in 1820, when the federal government first required ship captains to submit lists of passengers to customs officials. Among these records are customs passenger lists for those who arrived at Castle Garden, the State of New York’s official immigrant reception facility, during its years of operation (1855–1890). You can search the name index for your ancestors or browse the record images.

New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island) 1892–1924

This is a searchable index of 25 million names of immigrants and international passengers who arrived at Ellis Island from 1892 to 1924. Once you find a name of interest, you can click through to view individual record images at FamilySearch. If you’re interested in seeing a photo of the actual ship your ancestor travelled on, or learning more about Ellis Island as a historic port of entry into the US, check out the free Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island website.

New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists 1925–1957

Search nearly 29 million indexed names (and over 5 million record images) for these lists of post-Ellis Island-era international arrivals in New York Harbor and at New York airports.

Original post at


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

Sunday 2 September 2018

Welsh and English memorial inscriptions added to FindmyPast

The latest additions on FindmyPast (

Montgomeryshire Memorial Inscriptions
Discover your ancestor's memorial inscriptions from Montgomeryshire, Wales. Learn where your ancestor was buried as well as your ancestor's birth and death years. Your ancestor's memorial inscription may include such details as spouse's name and date of death. The collection contains over 26,000 records and spans the years from 1577 to 2016.

Dorset Memorial Inscriptions
Discover whether your ancestor died in Dorset by searching more than 110,000 inscriptions taken from gravestones, tombs, monuments and even stained glass windows found in more than 250 parishes across the county.

Kent, Folkestone Cheriton Road Cemetery Memorial Inscriptions
This collection was created from transcripts made in the 1980s of the memorial inscriptions in the Cheriton Road Cemetery in Folkestone, Kent. In some instances, the individual may only be commemorated on a memorial and not, in fact, buried there. During the transcription process, some graves were recorded twice with slight differences.

Yorkshire Baptisms
Over 5,000 new records covering baptisms performed between 1744 and 1917 at the Northowram Independent chapel in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, have been added to our collection of Yorkshire Baptisms.

Yorkshire Burials
Over 9,000 new records covering baptisms performed between 1797 and 1992 at the Northowram Independent chapel in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, have been added to our collection of Yorkshire Burials.

British & Irish Newspapers Update
This week we have added 118,752 new pages to The Archive. We have added more pages to our run of the Liverpool Echo, as well as more twenty-first century pages to the Evening Herald (Dublin), with available titles now spanning the years 1892 to 2008.

Further details at


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