Thursday, 31 March 2011

Openings & Closures


Yesterday's opening of the new PRONI reminded me that there have been a number of major institutions opening and closing of late, or who plan to do so soon.  The ones that spring to mind are listed below - follow the links for more information:-

RootsIreland have made a couple of announcements.  The first concerns the 1901 Census for Leitrim; the second relates to Irish Ship Passenger Lists.

A new set of records has appeared on Ancestry - namely, the UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919.

FindMyPast have added 14,000 new baptismal records from London Docklands to their database.

And the SoG have added substantially to their own online datasets, here.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

PRONI Re-opens


The big news today is, without doubt, the re-opening of PRONI - the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.  The spanking new premises at 2 Titanic Boulevard, Titanic Quarter, Belfast, BT3 9HQ, threw open its doors at 9.00am this morning - with the event dominating the Irish blogs, including here and here (where you will find all the juicy detail).

Hampshire researchers will be interested to learn that 1.4million new parish records for the county have gone online at FindMyPast.

And TNA's new gaffer, Oliver Morley, has announced the organisation's business plan for 2011-15.


Some TV & Radio highlights can be found here.


The Nosey Genealogist has posted a short interview with Maureen Selley, Chairman of the Devon FHS, here, in which she briefly tells us of their project to encourage youngsters to get into genealogy.  For more on this interesting idea, see the society's website and click on 'Acorn Club'.


1856:  Treaty of Paris signed, ending the Crimean War;
1981:  Attempted assassination of President Reagan in Washington DC by John Hinckley


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Census: Recent History


Came across this the other day: a website listing copies of the Census forms from 1971-2001.  In fact, if you're really into background information on the topic, then the rest of the site may be of interest to you, too.  Wonder how many of us have kept copies of our completed returns for the last few decades?

John Reid has pointed out the existence of the Churches of Ireland Flickr Group.  Great resource this - but then again, so is Flickr, full stop.


Chris Paton has pointed out an update to the Scottish Monumental Inscriptions website - see here.

And how about these offers from


Here's Part 6 of 'Researching Family in Jersey' from The Nosey Genealogist.


1461:  Battle of Towton, the bloodiest battle on British soil, was fought, in which 28,000-38,000 died;
1912:  Captain Scott perished in Antarctica on his way back from the South Pole.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Census Mania!


Before you ask, no, I don't have a special story to tell surrounding the filling in of my census form.  I completed the paper version, copied it, and sent it off this morning.  Many of the bloggers of the genealogical world, however, took advantage of the occasion to publicise their thoughts.  The Wandering Genealogist pondered what future generations would make of his answers; Chris Paton decided to slip in a few bits of further information for a bit of fun; and The Family Recorder (Audrey Collins) couldn't resist looking back at her very hands-on experience of a previous census (with some links to other interesting articles, too).

It all makes me wonder if us genealogists shouldn't have got together and organised some sort of 'alternative census', which could have included some much more interesting questions than the official questionnaire.  Hang on a minute, maybe we could do that in 2021 when the official census is no more (as rumours would have us believe).  Mmm...


There is, of course, the release of the 1911 Scottish Census coming up, too.  Have a look at another of Chris Paton's posts, here, for the latest news on this important topic.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Census Day!


I'll keep it brief, because I know all you UK residents have got some paperwork to do today.  Yes, it's Census Day! And quite possibly (probably, in fact) the very last one we'll ever have - so savour it.

Many of you will be flocking to Ancestry's website today for the freebie census offer.  I see that they've encountered the usual problems associated with this sort of offer - probably due to overload - but that they have kindly extended the offer to the end of Monday 28th.  You can find all you need to know on the blog - including a few other articles of interest (look out for posts on the 'The History of the Census' and 'From Archive to Web: Getting a Census Online').

If you can tear yourself away from the form-filling (oh, and remember to keep a copy for posterity!), there is the latest newsletter release from the National Library of Ireland to have a look at, here.

And I'd better point this out before it's too late: the Pudsey Local & Family History Fair is taking place on Saturday 2nd April (10am-4pm) - see here.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

New Mag


I thought I should point out the existence of a magazine which I haven't previously mentioned, namely History Today.  It may be of interest to many of you, though I suppose you already know of its existence as it's been around since 1951!  Anyway, the website is here, and news of the recently-released April issue is here.

The latest TNA podcast can be found here ('Heralds & Heraldry at TNA').

There's a competition for you to have a go at here.

And just a reminder of the offer from Ancestry of free census access for tomorrow - see here.  I thought there may have been some more offers from the genealogical big-boys for 'census weekend', but it wasn't to be.


The usual weekly round-up of 'History Headlines' from the BBC can be found here.


Death of...
David Lloyd George, in 1945, aged 82;
Noel Coward, in 1973, aged 73.

1885:  UK's first official legal cremation, in Woking;
1934:  Driving tests introduced in the UK.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Heritage At Risk


Though it's not directly family history news, we all have an interest in old buildings.  All of us at some point in our research must have sought out an old house or factory which our ancestors lived or worked in - or perhaps lamented such a structure's demolition.  Well, this year, English Heritage are concentrating their 'At Risk' programme on our industrial heritage, and are on the lookout for any likely targets, buildings-wise.  Maybe you can help them out?  See here.  The 'List' will be published in October.

The Europeana website has launched its First World War in Everyday Documents project - see their blog entry, here, where you can follow the link to the dedicated site.  It is, at the minute, concentrating on the German side of the war (to add to the existent British collections) - but I suspect that it will grow to become a priceless online archive in time for the centenary of the beginning of the conflict in three years time.

News of the release of the April issue of the Who Do You Think You Are? magazine can be found here.


The Nosey Genealogist (or rather his guest blogger) has turned out another instalment relating to Jersey research (pt 5), here.


Talking of Jersey, Mont Orgueil Castle features on this weekend's Time Team.  In fact, you can check out forthcoming TV & radio history programmes here.


Birth of ...
Elton John (Reginald Kenneth Dwight), in 1947, in Pinner, Middlesex;

1807:  Britain abolishes the slave trade;
1957:  Treaty of Rome signed, launching the European Communty ('The Common Market').  Naturally, the UK remains aloof, leaving France, Belgium, Luxembourg, West Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands to deal with the paperwork.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

George's New Box


You may have noticed Chancellor George Osborne flashing off his new 'Budget Box' yesterday (video here).  Well, TNA got into the swing of things, too, with a short article on the item, here.  Like many of you, I suspect, I had no idea the famous old dispatch box was quite so ancient!

On the subject of TNA, Audrey Collins provides a short piece, here, on using TNA's online catalogue.  A useful starter piece if you're planning a visit.

And if you use Ancestry's Family Tree Maker package you will want to have a look at this substantial post on the subject.


Thanks to Chris Paton's recent post, here, a good deal more of us are now aware of the Scottish Council on Archives new newsletter, Broadsheet (direct link here).  One for the connoisseur, I think, but definitely worth keeping an eye on if you're a serious Scottish researcher.

And Irish researchers may wish to have a quick look at this recent update concerning the indexing and computerisation of Irish parish records.


Death of...
Queen Elizabeth I, in 1603, aged 69, at Richmond Palace;
Viscount (Field Marshal) Montgomery, in 1976, aged 88.

1958:  Elvis Presley joins the US Army;
1989:  Exxon Valdez oil disaster.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Glasgow's Genealogy Centre


Important news from Glasgow, where the city's Genealogy Centre has completed its move to the Mitchell Library.  This will make genealogical research a lot easier for those in and around Glasgow and the west of Scotland - and may save making so many trips to Edinburgh!  Who better to fill in the detail than Scots expert Chris Paton, here.

The folk at TheGenealogist have added loads of new records to their databases pertaining to Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire - see here.

There's been an update to Ancestry's 1841 Census holdings (there's also a little bit of background information on the 1841 census contained within the blog entry).

And here's a forthcoming event which I haven't yet mentioned: the East Anglia Family History Fair, on Sunday 27th March in Norwich (you have to fish around the website to find it, but I'm sure you can manage).


The historical/genealogical week ahead on TV & radio can be found here.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Thanks to this post on the Irish Genealogy News blog, we now all know about, an exciting new genealogy search engine.  It's only been up and running for a week, and is overwhelmingly biased towards the US at the moment, but I suspect we shall all be giving the website a fair old bash over the coming months and years.  Looks promising.


Issue 102 of Your Family Tree is coming out soon - there's a preview here.

Audrey Collins' blog, The Family Recorder, brings to our attention an interesting exhibition currently showing in Manchester.  Death is a subject particularly 'dear' to the hearts of us family historians, so it'll be well worth a look if you're in the neighbourhood.


Part 4 of The Nosey Genealogist's guide to Jersey research can be found here.

The National Library of Wales has a lengthy blog post here about research into Welsh deeds, estate records, and the like.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Census Giveaways 1


What's that? I hear you say, 'Census Giveaways'?  Well, I actually only know of one so far, but with the big day less that a week away, I am making the assumption that a few more special - and topical - offers will come along via the genealogical big-boys. is first off the mark with this offer.  If previous 'open access' offers are anything to go by it may prove to be difficult to get much out of the occasion due to high amounts of traffic, but I'm sure there'll be other opportunities to indulge ourselves, too, from the other major players.  Watch this space.

Irish researchers may be interested in the latest news from Eneclann, here (a few new publications, their sale, President Obama's Irish roots, and news of their Facebook site).


Thanks to this post on the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog, I am able to pass on news of a maps website which you may not be aware of (MAPCO).  Not a huge amount of British / Irish material on the site yet, but it's free and is worth keeping an eye on.


This post on the FindMyPast blog offers an interesting story about the famous suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison - with a link to this morning's BBC Radio 4 slot about her 1911 act of defiance.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Are You Sure You Know Who You Are?

This story came my way back in the mid-1990s.  It concerns a Mr R Davies of Cheshire - if you're still around, sir, I trust you will not mind me giving the story an airing...

I am now a senior citizen, but throughout my life I have taken it for granted that the family name was Davies.  I worked for 51 years, and even with 27 years of military service I have never had this doubted.  Just about the time of my retirement I began to research my father's family history and wrote to the Shrewsbury Record Office where my request, with a copy of my father's birth certificate, was dealt with by a Mrs Healey.  Imagine my surprise when she told me that the family name was, in reality, Whittingham!  It appears that my grandfather had his eight children baptised with the middle name of Davies (his step-father's name), but when he registered them he had reversed it to Whittingham Davies, as my father's certificate shows.  On my grandmother's 1928 burial record at Wistanstow is the comment to the effect that Davies is not her true name, and the change is not understood.  Since my initial enquiry I have got back to William B.Whittingham, c.1750, in Montgomery, Wales.  A strange but fascinating story after some 90 years.

... And a lesson to us all, perhaps, that we should never take anything for granted.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Public Records (Scotland) Bill


Legislation has been passed this week in Scotland to improve record keeping across the public sector - essentially the result of problems encountered by folk in the past trying to find out about their parentage, etc., after passing through residential homes and the like (aka 'vulnerable people').  All good stuff - and if you'd like it from the horse's mouth, then check out the National Archives of Scotland's post here.

The City of York and District FHS Family History Fair takes place on 26th March - see here.

The latest TNA podcast can be found here ('Family History Resources at TNA').


A couple of short pieces for you to muse over.  The first is from The Wandering Genealogist, who wonders if he is the only family historian who has been finding it difficult to get excited over the recent RootsTech furore.  And a post from the MyHeritage blog ponders the question of the world's longest lineages and biggest family trees.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Ancestry's March Newsletter


Ancestry have turned out their March eNewsletter, which can be found here.  Nothing too challenging for the brain in there, with the same being little more than an advertisement for their wares (which is understandable), but there you have it.

A little Irish fallout from yesterday's national day has appeared on The Family Recorder blog, with some useful recommendations of some lesser known Irish sources.

And though you've got loads of time to get your pen into gear, here's a competition for you to have a go at from those nice people at the FFHS.


Part 3 of The Nosey Genealogist's series of articles on research in Jersey can be found here.

The BBC's History Headlines for the week are always worth a look, too.

And a short but sweet piece on William Wallace may interest Scottish readers (click on the link in the article for extra info).


A nice selection of TV / Radio stuff coming our way can be found here.


1834:  Tolpuddle Martyrs sentenced to transportation to Australia for forming a trade union;

Thursday, 17 March 2011

St Patrick's Day Bonanza


As you would expect, there has been a flurry of Irish news today.  Ancestry seem keen to push out their Irish stuff, for one thing - see a neat listing here (most of the new material has already been mentioned over the past few days).  The Irish Genealogy News blog has two posts from today which are of considerable interest, too (they really are important items, too, but I'll not steal their thunder, so check them out direct).  There are also special offers from both Eneclann and Irish Origins (for the latter you can follow the Facebook link, or just use the code STPATS2011 in the Promotional Code box on the Sign Up page via here or in your Cart before checkout, to take advantage of 20% off all subscriptions).  Finally, there's a major announcement, here, about the forthcoming launch of !  Phew!!

Elsewhere, an interesting post by John Reid on recent progress in genetic genealogy can be found here.

Also, if you want to further immerse yourself under the weight of recent articles, and the like, concerning the forthcoming Census, then check out the SoG's post here.

And I really should have mentioned this a while ago, but the latest edition of The Family & Local History Handbook (No.13) is now available for purchase.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Company Behind the Websites


You may, or may not, have heard of Brightsolid, the Internet company behind the, GenesReunited and FindMyPast websites.  The Scottish GENES blog has helpfully pointed us in the direction of a 15-minute interview with one of the company's top dogs, here, which is quite interesting.

And whilst we're on the subject of the media, here's a selection of TV & Radio shows for the week ahead.


FindMyPast has "vastly improved" user access to its overseas, at-sea, and army births & marriages records, many of you will be pleased to learn.  So if you've encountered frustration in the past with these areas of research, check out this post on their blog for the full story.

With St.Patrick's Day almost upon us, has a related competition on the go, here, where there's a World Deluxe Annual Membership to their site as the prize.


MyHeritage blog has produced a cracker of a post, here.  Among the worldwide stories featured are the proclamation of the world's latest oldest person, the identification of a Canadian soldier's remains from WWI, and the extraordinary story of a very close friend of Queen Victoria's.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

New Book


Chris Paton's Scottish GENES blog is a regular haunt of mine - a well respected expert in his field, is Mr Paton, and an excellent 'passer-on' of genealogical news.  Though I've not seen it myself, Chris has a new book on the market which may interest many of you entitled Tracing Your Family History on the Internet.  Another esteemed blogger, John Reid, gives the publication a review, here.

There's more on the 'Save Our Workhouse' success of yesterday to be found on the English Heritage website, here.

A couple of little updates have been uploaded onto Ancestry's website (British Army WWI Pension Records and Eng/Wales BMD Index).

And thanks to The Family Recorder blog for pointing out David Schneider's sideways look at the Census forms, here (you might have to flick back through his blog entries a bit).


Death of...
Julius Caesar, in 44BC - stabbed to death at the Theatre of Pompey in Rome.

1877:  First ever international cricket Test Match begins - Australia v.England in Melbourne.  Australia were to win by 45 runs.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Famous Workhouse Saved


The campaign to save an historic London workhouse has been successful!  The Strand Union Workhouse (aka the Cleveland Street Workhouse) seemed destined for demolition until the announcement this lunchtime - see the BBC report here.  Its links with Charles Dickens most probably helped save its skin, but most of the praise must surely go to this lot.

On Thursday 10th March I directed you to Part 1 of a research tips feature/series for Jersey/Channel Islands.  Well, here's Part 2, as promised.  Thanks to The Nosey Genealogist and his guest blogger.  Not sure if there are any more to come, but I'll let you know if anything else pops up.

There's another decent batch of Irish news to bring you, too.  They've been busy at the Irish Genealogy News blog over the past few days trying to keep us all up to date - so if you've got Irish roots then pay the site a visit.  Some of the items have been mentioned by myself over the past week or so, but many haven't.

I was going to keep this news for tomorrow, but I can't help myself from blurting it out.  It's the release of the March edition of the FFHS's Ezine, which has plenty of items of interest for us all.  I haven't really digested it all properly yet, but I did find their 'Really Useful Information Leaflet' quite, er, useful - so look out for that.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

BMD Quotes 2

Birth is much, but breeding is more.

To wed unequally is to suffer equally.

Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.
(Jane Austin, British novelist, Pride and Prejudice)

Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is a bicycle repair kit.
(Billy Connolly, British comedian)

I think women are basically quite lazy. Marriage is still a woman’s best investment, because she can con some man into supporting her for the rest of his life.
(Alan Whicker, British TV broadcaster & writer)

An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have: the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.
(Agatha Christie, British writer)

It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.
(Woody Allen, US actor and director)

He’d make a lovely corpse.
(Charles Dickens, British novelist, Martin Chuzzlewit)

Death comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes.
(J.Donne, poet)

Oh well, no matter what happens, there’s always death.
(Napoleon Bonaparte)

Bugger Bognor.
(Alleged last words of George V on his doctor’s informing him that he would soon be well enough to visit Bognor Regis)

All my possessions for a moment of time.
(Last words of Elizabeth I)

Saturday, 12 March 2011

More on the NRS


Further to my post of 7th March, more news has trickled through about the forthcoming merger of the GRO for Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland into the new-fangled 'National Records of Scotland'.  But, again, I think it far better that it comes from the pen of an acknowledged Scottish expert, so have a read of this post on Chris Paton's excellent Scottish GENES blog.

TNA's website has just made an announcement about the release of a new catalogue pertaining to 20,000 soldiers' records held at the Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin from 1783-1822 - see here.


Many of you may like to be made aware of the existence of's 'Webinar Service'.  Now I must confess that I haven't myself indulged, but it does look quite promising.  As far as I can tell, the seminars are free to everyone and you don't have to be a member of Ancestry to view them - though you do have to register.  You can actually participate in the seminars, or just catch up on them afterwards via their archive.  I guess there'll be a certain amount of US bias, but they you go.

I also spotted an interesting interview with professional genealogist Anthony Adolph on The Nosey Genealogist's blog, in which he articulates his enthusiasm for genealogy and genetics.  Read the intro (and then click on the video link) here.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Euro Developments


It may not have hit the headlines elsewhere, or be of relevance to most of us, but if you yearn for access to overseas archives then check out this recent post on the MyHeritage blog.  Not sure how APEnet will turn out, but there will be many of you out there who will want to keep tabs on the situation.  The Europeana website will no doubt also be featuring this development on a regular basis.

I've just got wind of this, too: an exhibition at the British Library about the history of the Census.  It runs until 29th May.

On the subject of the capital, the SoG have this talk coming up about Records of the City of London.  OK, so it's just another talk among dozens given across the country, but I thought the subject matter may be of interest to a lot of you.

The latest TNA Podcast can be found here ('Sources for Ag.Labs').


Ancestry's blog has thrown up an interesting piece on London's Foundling Hospital - complete with useful and very interesting links to other bits and pieces.  It's enough to make you cry.

The BBC provides its weekly round-up of History Headlines, here.  And there's a witty little effort here, too (but I should warn you that it's a bit rude).


More TV & Radio here.


Death of...
Sir Alexander Fleming, Scottish scientist, in London, in 1955, aged 73.

1702:  Britain's first national daily newspaper first published: The Daily Courant;
1985:  Gorbachev becomes leader of the Soviet Union.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Channel Islands Research Tips


If you have research interests in the Channel Islands or, perhaps more importantly, are just starting out on your investigations in this part of the world, then take a look at the first part of a series of helpful little articles at The Nosey Genealogist (yes, I know the title just says 'Jersey', but the information seems to pertain to the Islands generally).  I'll let you know of any further postings on the topic.

OK, so International Women's Day has passed us by, but I've just spotted this interesting piece on history's pioneering women.


Ancestry has unveiled a new 'Living Relative Search' facility on its website, being a "fast and convenient way of finding living relatives living in the UK".  Some aspects of it are free, others require the purchasing of credits - and it doesn't seem to be included in any of the subscription packages.  There are summaries to be found here and here, and the search page itself is here.


Forthcoming TV & Radio programmes of interest can be found here.


1801:  First British Census is taken.  Learn more about it here.
1876:  Alexander Graham Bell makes the first successful telephone call by uttering the immortal words: "Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you."

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Acts of God

I'm off for a lie down today.  And rather than miss a day's posting and leave you all with nothing to do, I thought I'd provide a bit of reading.

I came across the following article on The Northern Echo website a few days ago.  It tells the tragic story of a single family, the Slacks, of Shildon, Co.Durham.  Doesn't it just put all our woes into perspective?  Shame that the article cuts off at the end, but if you examine the original newspaper article at the top of the piece I think you get the picture.

The Slack Family of Shildon

Of course the family then had the little matter of the Great War to get through, too.

If anyone has anything they consider worth posting - interesting or unusual stories, major national family or local history news, etc (you know the sort of material this blog carries), then do get in touch with me at .  Remember, I'm especially keen to receive odd and unusual record entries to put on the blog on quiet news days.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Yes, Again!


... Irish news, that is.  I shall keep it brief for fear of boring those of you out there with no Irish ancestry - so here goes:-
  • A new raft of material pertaining to Ireland has appeared on Ancestry, namely, well, never mind, it's all listed here;
  • A new Northern Irish emigration resource is reported on the Scottish GENES blog, here;
  • And it has been reported on a number of blogs and websites (including here) that the new Irish government seems keen on pushing through its semi-pledge regarding the early release of the 1926 Irish Census.

Elsewhere, an interesting little piece on Manorial Records has been posted on The Family Recorder blog, here.  I am largely ignorant of this archive source, and was certainly not aware that several English counties, as well as the whole of Wales, can be found on TNA's Manorial Documents Register.

And if you're the lucky owner of an iPad or iPhone and you have your family tree on Ancestry, then you will be pleased to know that a new (free) 'App' is available for download - see here.  Apps for other phones will be forthcoming in due course.


1979:  Philips demonstrates the Compact Disc publicly for the first time.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Scots Merger


Scottish researchers will probably already be aware of the forthcoming merger of the National Archives of Scotland and the General Register Office for Scotland.  The new body will be known as the National Records of Scotland, its official birthday being 1st April 2011.  Rather than have me blabbering on about it, take a look at Alan Stewart's tidy summary here.

Lingering news from the RootsTech Conference in the US can be found at the blog of someone who was actually there, namely, Audrey Collins, here.  If you're interested in the link to the videos of the talks, I hope you have more luck than I did trying to open them - but that could be my ancient PC playing up.  Audrey also flagged up this curious little fella.  I've had a very quick look at it (you need a Facebook account to play it), and wasn't sure what to make of it.  If anyone decides to give it a whirl and provide me with some feedback, then that'd be great.  Could it be the next big thing in family history? (well, apart from BI-Gen, of course!)

Your Family History magazine's monthly 'Web Watch Extra' feature can be found here.  I think most of the important stuff has already been mentioned on this blog, but have a quick look all the same.

As for Irish news, well, there is a little bit more on the launch of the 'Irish Archives Resource' here - which I originally mentioned a couple of days ago.

And also, a special mention for Irish Roots Magazine, with whom I have been exchanging some friendly chat of late.  They have promised to keep me appraised of their issue releases, so here are the contents of the latest edition.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

HOD Build-up Begins


OK, so it's not family history news, but us genealogists all love the Heritage Open Days, don't we?  Well, this year the event is to be held over 8th-11th September - and if you're closely involved with the goings-on then you may wish to pop along to one of the forthcoming workshops at Morpeth, St.Helens or London - see here.  Booking deadline is 11th March.

International Women's Day is almost upon us (8th March) - and it's celebrating its centenary this year.  A couple of places to start if you're interested in learning more are here and here.

And WDYTYA? Magazine has a new Facebook page.


An interview with Neil Fraser from BBC's Heir Hunters can be found here.

And an interesting illustrative piece from The Wandering Genealogist can be found here.  A lesson for us all, I think.


Death of...
George Formby, aged 56, in Liverpool, in 1961. 100,000 line the streets at his funeral.

1902:  British soldiers were granted the right to wear spectacles on or off duty;
1987:  Zeebrugge Ferry Disaster claims the lives of 193 people.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Irish (again) & Some Weekend Listening


There does seem to be a lot of Irish news around at the minute.  Here's the latest batch of goodies:-
  • Some major Belfast City cemetery records have appeared online.  Several blogs have featured the news in the last day or so - the relevant Scottish GENES post is as good a place as any to start;
  • The same blog also carried this story a short while ago pertaining to the Irish Archives Resource, a major new online presence for Irish researchers to get stuck into;
  • A reminder that the Dublin Family History Day is looming on Saturday 12th March - though I'm not sure if there are still places available (booking essential);
  • And here's a freebie up for grabs at BooksIreland.

Check back in tomorrow for some non-Irish stuff!  In the meantime, though, why not have a listen to the following:-
  • BBC History Magazine Podcast (the 'download' button seems to be playing up a bit - well, it is for me, anyway!);
  • TNA Podcast x 2! - two very different subjects: High Court records and ... UFOs!


Death of...
Stalin, in 1953.

1946:  Churchill delivers his famous 'Iron Curtain' speech in the US.

Friday, 4 March 2011

More about the OGA


On 23rd February I reported on the launch of an important new organisation called the Open Genealogy Alliance.  Well, the group is now up and running and I just wanted to remind you all of what an important development this is for the future of our hobby.

What the OGA is all about, essentially, is maintaining open access to major genealogical datasets that are becoming increasingly commercialised.  This will be a tricky process.  Commercial big-boys such as Ancestry, FindMyPast, and the like are pouring an awful lot of cash into our once impoverished pastime, yet the very same organisations are making it quite expensive for us to get at the most sought after data collections.  Most of our major bodies - government institutions included - are being seduced by the major players, and the smaller commercial concerns are finding it difficult to compete.

Anyway, I would urge you all to take a close look at recent developments here and here, to keep an eye on the situation - and to offer your support, or otherwise, when required.  The OGA website is a little underdeveloped at present, but stick with it.

I'll quickly run through a few other bits and pieces:-

The SoG has placed this useful list online - being the Handouts for the presentations and workshops at the WDYTYA? Live! fair.  Some are pretty good, others don't make a lot of sense - but, hey-ho, there you go.

The FFHS now has a Facebook page.

Oh, and...


... a list of forthcoming TV & Radio shows for us all.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

New Records & a Census Campaign


A few new records have popped up online - well, one lot, anyway, with the promise of some important stuff to come ... eventually.  Ancestry have updated their UK Incoming Passenger Lists for 1878-1960, for one thing; and take a look at this from FindMyPast/The British Library - UK Electoral Registers going online early next year? Great! To say nothing of the other bits and pieces. Another report on the news appears here.

With Fine Gael's victory in the Irish General Election, Irish researchers will be hoping that they are able push through their half-promise of releasing the 1926 Irish Census ahead of schedule.  Don't forget to add your name to the online petition, here.

If you want to offer some feedback on the WDYTYA? Live! fair then click here.  The next event of note is the Merseyside & Cheshire Family History Fair on Sunday 6th March - organisers website here.

And more interesting historical reading is provided by BBC History Magazine's website here.


A few family and local history programmes to look out for are listed here.


Birth of...
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor, in Edinburgh, in 1847.
Death of...
Robert Hooke, English polymath, in London, aged 67, in 1703.

1985:  The year-long Miners' Strike is called off.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Breeding Ground


As is so often the case, an event like WDYTYA? Live! tends to bring new developments and partnerships in the genealogical world.  As the major players in the industry mix and mingle ('networking', I think they call it), ideas are exchanged and, occasionally, new advances made in the field.  One such move seems to be's partnership with Cassini Maps, which may be worth keeping an eye on.

Another perspective on the weekend's fair can be found on the SoG's blog.  Take note of the closing words regarding the event's takeover by the BBC.  The SoG have now released their new book, The Society of Genealogists, 1911-2011: A Century of Family History.

Just spotted this one, too: last call for Chris Paton's Scottish Research Online course.


Elsewhere, you can take a celebratory look at St.David's Day (which was yesterday); or, perhaps, examine another angle on the movie of the moment, The King's Speech, here.


An unusual posting on the MyHeritage blog can be found here.  How many of us have home movies from the 1920s, I wonder?  If you have, I want to know about it - and get them online!


1797:  The first £1 note is issued;
1882:  Roderick McLean tries to assassinate Queen Victoria at Windsor with a pistol.  He is declared insane and banged up in Broadmoor Asylum until his death 39 years later;
1969:  Concorde makes its maiden flight.


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Fair Fallout... & the Irish


So much for the expected lull I was anticipating after WDYTYA? Live!  There has been a surge of genealogical news in the last 24 hours - so much so, in fact, that it'll probably take me the rest of the week to catch up!  Anyway, here goes...

Chris Paton of Scottish GENES has gone blog-crazy.  By clicking on the link you will see just how busy he has been uploading interviews, photos and the like - marvellous stuff!  I would urge you to go at least as far down his lengthy list of blog entries as that entitled 'WDYTYA - some news!', which outlines a few exciting bits and pieces to come.  Mainly Scottish stuff, but not all.

Some awards were dished out at the fair, too.  There was Your Family History's 'Archive of the Year Award'.  And then there was Family Tree Magazine's 'Websites of the Decade Awards'.

Moving swiftly away from the fair, there has also been a glut of Irish genealogical news lately.  Donegal researchers will want to know about these newly-available civil death records.  Then there is the launch of a new project/website relating to Irish graveyards, here.

When you've finished with the above, you can move onto the latest glut of news from the National Archives of Ireland, then have a browse of the latest book releases relating to Ireland at ReadIreland (and click on 'ReadIreland Book News').

And just in case those of you on mainland Britain are beginning to feel left out, check out the latest edition of Out and About on the BBC History Magazine's website (exhibitions, events, lectures, etc.).  Oh, and the March edition of the magazine itself is also now available - see here.