Tuesday, 31 May 2011

GOONS Activity


The Guild of One-Name Studies is holding a special one-day seminar on Saturday 13th August 2011 entitled The Art of One-Name Studies at Alwalton, Peterborough, and bookings are now being taken - see here.  Anyone can attend, and it only costs a fiver!

The Guild has also announced a special extended offer to new joiners - see here - which runs in conjunction with the forthcoming Yorkshire Family History Fair in June.

Chris Paton has fell upon news of a major new online course on the subject of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors.

On the subject of the Irish, check out the National Library of Ireland's latest newsletter, here.  Nothing startling to report, but note that their exhibitions area will be open on Sundays from 5th June; and that they hold guided tours every Saturday.

The National Library of Scotland has also issued a news release, concerning their Gaelic Language Plan and how you can have your say on the matter - see here for further information.

As for forthcoming fairs/events, we have:
  • Shropshire FHS Open Day & Fair at Shrewsbury on Saturday 4th June - see here;
  • Book Fair at London Hotel Russell on Sunday 5th June - see here.


'Maps You Can Play With' is the title of the latest - and very useful - post on The Family Recorder blog.


A short clip about a 'Genealogy Cruise' can be found here.  Very nice, I must say.


1902:  Treaty of Vereeniging brought the Boer War to an end;
1911:  Titanic launched at Belfast (Centenary!).

Monday, 30 May 2011

News from Northern Ireland


Northern Ireland provides the Bank Holiday news, with it remaining somewhat quiet elsewhere.  PRONI have made a couple of announcements of interest: the first concerns local bus services in and around the record office; and the second the launch of a new exhibition entitled A Century of Change, Conflict and Transformation.

Irish researchers may also be interested in the list of forthcoming events for June at Belfast's Linen Hall Library.

TheGenealogist website has also made two recent announcements as regards new records.  Researchers of American records and Worcestershire parish records may wish to investigate, here.

Chris Paton (with the help of Tweeter Sheena Tait) has notified us of the online availability of a major genealogical reference work, namely, A Complete Guide to Heraldry.  See his post, here.


A little 'food for thought' light reading now, with mention of a forthcoming book on The Guardian's website.  It asks which of our historic sites 'made Britain' - see here.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

East Anglian Bonanza


John Reid's Anglo-Celtic Connections blog has brought to our attention the existence of a handful of very useful websites devoted to the eastern reaches of England, namely, Norfolk and Suffolk.  Check out John's post, here, where you will find all the relevant detail and, of course, the links.

Additionally, GeneaBloggers' weekly release of new family history blogs can be found here.


One of the more unusual genealogical stories of the month concerns the spotting of a Bee Gee in Paisley, Scotland.  A few bloggers have noted the event, nicely summarised by Carolyn McNicholl, here (with some extra links in her piece for good measure).

An interesting Podcast about FindMyPast Ireland has been posted by Dick Eastman, here (it's the link just below the shamrock).  Thanks to Chris Paton for the tip-off.

And if you're the sort who likes to keep abreast of history exhibitions and the like, then you may wish to bookmark the new feature on the HistoryToday website, here.  Obviously, it is difficult to get true national coverage of this sort of thing, but it's not a bad effort, with regional sections to browse through.


1871:  Whit Monday, the UK's first ever official Bank Holiday - following the Bank Holidays Act of 1871;
1953:  Mt Everest conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Irish Estate Records Update


The Irish Genealogy News blog has reported on a couple of items of interest.  The first concerns an upgrade to the Irish Landed Estates database.  As blogger Claire Santry points out, the records are of limited direct interest to most of us, but are still a useful tool for gaining an overall picture of the lives of our forebears.

If you're waiting for Roman Catholic records for Dublin to go online, then have a read of this item from IGN.

DeceasedOnline are adding 175,000 burial/cremation records to their database for the county of Northamptonshire - read all about it here.  Those with interests in nearby Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire may also wish to cast their eyes over the news.

The June issue of Best of British magazine has been released.

A couple of new Podcasts have also been unveiled:-
  • The snappily-entitled Modelling for decision-making: simulating the building environment is the latest offering from TNA, and looks at the future care of their collections (surely they could have come up with a more tempting title than that?);
  • The BBC History Magazine offers us a taster of their June issue, here. Michael Wood (BBC’s Domesday Project), David Reynolds (Operation Barbarossa), Angus Konstam (Captain Kidd) and the new CEO of The National Archives all feature.


75 years ago this week, the RMS Queen Mary set sail on her maiden voyage to America - see old footage of her launch and first trip at the HistoryToday website, here.


Friday, 27 May 2011

Hitler in the 1911 Census


We open with a fascinating find by the folks at FindMyPast, who have uncovered the half-brother of Adolf Hitler in the 1911 UK Census. What an extraordinary discovery!

FindMyPast also feature a lengthy piece (part 5 in the series) on understanding & interpreting old photos.  A splendid series this by Jayne Shrimpton - well done FMP.

Whilst I'm on the subject of 'articles', I should mention that the BBC's HistoryExtra website has published its weekly History Headlines; and there is a little piece on the family history of the TV star Oprah Winfrey, here.


Chris Paton has brought our attention to the launch of a new microsite from the British Library Newspaper Archive - see his post here.  But never mind that, for if you have Scottish interests you should most certainly go direct to Chris's main blog page, here, and catch up on all the recent news from north of the border.  There have been lots of developments in Scotland of late, and we all know that Chris is the man to turn to! Among the news items featured are: a new museum for Glasgow, news from the National Library of Scotland, the latest bulletin from the Scottish Council of Archives ... and lots of other stuff besides.

That excellent online resource, British History Online, has added a couple of sets of London records to its database - see here and here.

And a reminder to Welsh researchers that Anglesey Archives are about to temporarily close - see here. Today (27th) will be the last day of normal service.


More TV & Radio for the coming week can be found here.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

SoG Centenary Report


It was the Society of Genealogists' anniversary bash earlier this month - and a report of the occasion has appeared on their website here.  Seems like it was a very grand 'do', with some notable speakers and the like.  An award was handed out, too: the Prince Michael Award, which was dished out to Alex Graham of Wall to Wall Television (the company behind TV's Who Do You Think You Are?) - see separate report here.

An interesting piece has come to me via the FFHS's emailing list, thus:

As the 100th Anniversary of Titanic approaches, Titanic Heritage Trust are pleased to announce the creation of a database of descendants of survivors and of all those who were lost on 15th April 1912. If anyone has a connection or knows someone who has a connection with the Titanic please contact us.

Also, as part of the 100th Anniversary events are being planned, we are hoping to get together in one place as many as possible of the descendants of survivors and any descendants of those who were lost when Titanic sank. 

If you have any information which would help us please contact:
Howard Nelson, Titanic Heritage Trust, The TechnoCentre,
Puma Way, Coventry CV1 2TT
Telephone: 024 76236556, Email: enquiries@titanicheritagetrust.org.uk

(the Trust's website can be found at http://www.titanicheritagetrust.org.uk/)

Welsh researchers will want to make a note in their diaries that the Gwent Record Office will be closed to the public from 30th July 2011 until October 2011 in order to move to its new site at Ebbw Vale.  I shall remind you all nearer the time - but you can keep abreast of developments at http://www.gwentarchives.gov.uk/ and http://www.archifaugwent.gov.uk/.


Audrey Collins of TNA has posted an interesting piece on her institution's DocumentsOnline / Digital Microfilm facility - the latter being of special interest, as it's, well, free!  Most of the records available at the moment are military in nature, but it's a research option worth keeping in mind, for sure.

Want a strange story about the aristocracy, multiple marriages and embalmed wives?  Then have a look at this extraordinary story from Wales.  Whoa!


And when you've got over that little horror story, check out the forthcoming TV & Radio.


1868:  Last public execution in Britain - that of famed Fenian Michael Barrett for his part in the Clerkenwell bombing.  See Wikipedia article, here, and the extraordinarily-named 'Execution of the Day' blog, here.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Welsh Telly Programmes


I discovered this one quite by accident.  Whilst browsing the National Library of Wales blog I fell upon reference to 'Perthyn', a Welsh language TV series devoted to tracing the genealogies of ordinary natives.  I was aware that this show was around, but had no idea it was online.  Anyway, here's the link - where you will also see a way into the programmes themselves (there will be eight, eventually).  Oh, and yes, you can activate the English subtitles if you must!

And here's HistoryToday's summary of This Week in History.


The May issue of the FFHS's Ezine is now available. I note with interest that the London Science Museum has a fair bit in the way of genealogical material - and they even offer limited FREE research!

The summer issue of Irish Roots magazine has hit the market - see here.


I thought some of you may be interested in The Army Children Archive - as well as the related Army Children's Graves Register, which is probably best entered via this post.

And I see that the MyHeritage blog has launched a 'Links We Like' category, which should be worth keeping an eye on.  Or at least I will do so for the benefit of you all!  Nothing too exciting in the first two 'editions', but you may want to have a quick look anyway.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Ancestry 1911 Announcement


It's only for paid-up members, I'm afraid, but Ancestry have started placing scanned images of the 1911 Census of the UK online (well, England, Wales, Channel Islands & Isle of Man, anyway).  Click here to read all about it, and to see what their plans are for the future.

A couple of June issues are out today, thus:-

ReadIreland has released more Irish book reviews. Click here, then choose 'Read Ireland Book News'.

A new book entitled A Glossary for the Historian of Jersey is now available - see here. I'm not sure that it's directly order-able online - but have a look here as a starter.

And here are a couple of events for you this weekend - both in Ireland (no, can't find anything major elsewhere):-
  • Sunday 29th May - Dublin City Book Fair - see here;
  • Sunday 29th May - Genealogy Roadshow at Carton House, Co.Kildare - see here and here (page 2).
Please remember that the planned fairs at The Barbican, London, and Taunton (both 29th) have long been cancelled (actually, the latter has been re-scheduled for 13th November).


A couple of articles by the same writer have popped up in the wake of President Obama's much publicised trip to Ireland:-

Monday, 23 May 2011

Neat New Websites


A couple of new websites have been brought to our attention by the Scottish GENES blog which, firstly, thoroughly recommends the BBC's Ulster-Scots effort which was launched a few days ago.  Read the blog post here, and the direct link is here.  The very same blog also suggests that the Medals Reunited Project is worth a look, too - see here.  Thanks Chris!


A website that is hardly new, and which many of you will be familiar with, is FamilyRelatives.  Well, as blogger John Gasson points out, they are celebrating their fifth anniversary with a special subscription offer, which lasts until the end of May.  Check John's post out, here, where you will find the relevant information.  Good spot, John.


John Reid, of the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog, tells us of an article on DNA which took his fancy - see his post here...


... and he also brings us the result of the little survey he posed us last week, here.

One last thing.  MyHeritage have posted a little video effort, here, which caught my eye. Quite apart from the content, it seems like a really neat idea to put something together like that using photos of the places where your ancestors lived.  Food for thought.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Yet More From DeceasedOnline


Deceased Online continue to expand their record coverage.  Latest additions concern Aberdeenshire - see the announcement made by Chris Paton, here, who seems to have been the first off the mark with the news!

Blogger John Reid has spotted the news that Google are ending their newspaper digitisation project - see here.  John has also pointed out that the FreeBMD site has recently been updated.

And the latest TNA Podcast features a topic which has surely touched upon all our family histories at some point in the past (I know it has on mine!).  'Revolting to humanity': histories of mental health can be found here.


GeneaBloggers' weekly release of new family history blogs can be found here.  There are quite a few of interest - I was particularly taken by Everything I Know About Hyman Victor, which I think is a smashing concept.


The Nosey Genealogist provides a neat little intro to the subject of Wills, here.


Saturday, 21 May 2011

Obama's Irish Roots


If you'd like to learn a little bit more about the Irish ancestry of President Obama, then you can see last night's TV programme on the subject here.  A big thanks to Eneclann for both the research they did for this story, and for notifying us of the link.


Eneclann have also just launched their new website at http://www.eneclann.ie/.  Have a browse if Irish research is your thing - you'll find a bit more on the Obama story there, too.


Meanwhile, back in England, a few minor news stories have surfaced...

First of all, the Origins website has announced the availability of some fresh records, thus:-
  • Somerset Electoral Registers, 1832-1914;
  • Additional Oxfordshire Wills.

Then we have TheGenealogist's latest release - Cornwall, Kent and Yorkshire parish records.

And the always interesting S&N newsletter can be found here.  It's pointless me repeating everything they have to say, so have a quick look for yourself by following the link ... but please bear in mind what I have to say next before clicking on anything on their website with too much haste...

S&N and TheGenealogist are (sort of) one and the same, of course.  I'm not entirely sure what the relationship is, but the latter is (as far as I can tell) the flagship web presence of the S&N group.  TheGenealogist is one of those websites which offer a myriad of online services for an annual fee - but I'm sure you're aware of this.  Anyway, my point is that I have become an affiliate of TheGenealogist, so that I get a cut when any new members join via my link.  So I hereby order you all to now do exactly that, either via the big display add on the left-hand side of this page (near the bottom), or by clicking here...
OK, then, now that you've done that, we can continue... ;-)

One more bit of news. Natives of Bristol may be interested in lending their hand to the launch of the city's new museum.  I picked up the story here, and the museum's website can be found here.


BBC History Magazine's 'History Headlines' for the week can be found here.

Friday, 20 May 2011

More Capital Material


London researchers will have noticed quite a bit of new material coming their way of late.  The trend continues with British History Online's latest news release in the shape of the Survey of London Monograph Series.  Looks tasty.

FindMyPast have announced the addition of 24,000 Montgomeryshire parish records to their database.

Another couple of family & local history fairs have been brought to our attention by Chris Paton - namely, those at Kirkintilloch (Saturday 21st May) and Troon (Saturday 4th June).  See Chris's blog entry here.


Blogger John Reid, a self-confessed DNA nut, features a nice 'success story' on the subject, here.

And some useful advice about how to store your archival bits and pieces is being offered by Mike Kostiuk, here.


More TV & Radio for the coming week can be found here.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Gypsy Week


On the eve of the Romany & Traveller FHS Society Day & Open Day, it seems appropriate that History Today magazine's website should feature a substantial article on 'Britain's Gypsy Travellers', here.


Coincidentally, the June issue of History Today is out today, too - see here.

Similarly, we have the release of the June issue of Your Family History - see here.

And FindMyPast have improved their death records search facility to bring it in line with the recent changes to their birth and marriage records.  You'll see what I mean by having a read of this.


TV viewers in Ireland can catch a piece on the Offaly ancestry of President Obama tomorrow - see here.

And those in the UK can keep abreast of their own TV & Radio schedule by clicking here.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Some Handy New Websites


Two rather splendid-looking websites have recently been launched, thus:-
  • LincsToThePast has been mentioned by several sources of late, so I thought I'd give it an airing, too. It's a goldmine of information for those of you interested in the county of Lincolnshire, with integrated archive & library catalogues, online exhibitions, and all sorts of other bits and pieces - including digitised documents, apparently;
  • Routes to Your North-East Roots is dedicated to the record holdings, etc., of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.  It looks like a fantastic hub around which to base your research if your ancestors hailed from this part of the world. (Thanks specifically to Chris Paton and his informant for this one).


Not much happening, news-wise; but there is a minor update from Ancestry, here, and for those of you with the right experience/qualifications, a place on TNA's Advisory Panel may tickle your fancy, here.

Oh, and the June issue of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine is now out.


The Wandering Genealogist has kindly pointed out an interesting listen on the BBC iPlayer, namely, BBC Radio 4's Archives on 4: Domesday Reloaded. Direct link to the programme here (it expires on Saturday evening, the 21st). Thanks for that, John, I shall have a listen tonight.


Win an iPad here! (from the Europeana website).


1980:  Mount St.Helens in Washington state in the US erupts;
1991:  First Briton in space: 27-yr-old Helen Sharman, from Sheffield.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A Little Irish Update


On the day when the Queen is making her first ever visit to the Republic of Ireland (and the first by a British monarch for a century!), it seems appropriate to lead with some Irish news.  So here it is: a little update to the IGP Archives, via the Irish Genealogy News blog.

The SAFHS has posted news of a major conference taking place at the University of Stirling in August which will be of interest to serious monumental inscriptionists.  See the news release here, and the direct link is here.  It's entitled Monuments and Monumentality in Later Medieval and Early Modern Europe, and features a whopping 28 speakers.


A nice feature of the HistoryToday magazine website is its regular 'This Week in History' video slot.  See the current clip here, where you can also browse past instalments.


According to a 'celebrity genealogist', singers Madonna and Lady Gaga are related. That explains a lot.  Anyway, it transpires they are ninth cousins once removed, being descended from a farming couple who migrated from France to Quebec in the 1600s. Read all about it here and here.

Oh, and Johnny Depp is related to the Queen!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Events on the Horizon


Gosh, there's been a dearth of family history news over the past few days - or at least it seems to have escaped my attention, anyway!  I shall try to keep things ticking over as best I can, though.

Another 'events' listing is due, I think - so here we go:-
  • Saturday 21st May - Romany & Traveller FHS Society Day and Open Day, Paulerspury, Northants - see here;
  • Saturday 21st May - Dumfries Book Fair - see here;
  • Saturday 21st May - Lincoln Book Fair - see here;
  • Sunday 22nd May - Kent Family History Fair, Maidstone - see here;
  • Sunday 22nd May - Dorchester Book Fair - see here.

Though I seem to remember bringing you this news last month, the GOONS has once again publicised the special arrangement it has with TheGenealogist website.  Discounted memberships of the latter for members of the former can be obtained by first reading the Press release, here.


The only other dregs I can scrape up for you today are a short survey for transcribers and indexers, here; and a little Postcard Poser for you via Ancestry, here.

Oh, dear, we are getting a bit desperate.  I could do with some help from my readers.  Any news anyone?


1929:  First Academy Awards ceremony (the Oscars) held in Hollywood;
1975:  First woman reaches the peak of Mt Everest - Junko Tabei of Japan.  She once said: "I can't understand why men make all this fuss about Everest - it's only a mountain."

Sunday, 15 May 2011

BMD Quotes 3

High birth is an accident, not a virtue.
(Metastasio, Italian writer & poet)

I married beneath me - all women do.
(Nancy Astor, British politician)

Being a husband is a whole-time job. That is why so many husbands fail. They cannot give their entire attention to it.
(Arnold Bennett, British novelist, The Title)

The most happy marriage I can picture or imagine to myself would be the union of a deaf man to a blind woman.
(Coleridge, English poet)

Every woman should marry - and no man.
(Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman)

Aging seems to be the only available way to live a long time.
(Auber, French composer)

To die will be an awfully big adventure.
(J.M.Barrie, British novelist, Peter Pan)

Death-bed repentance is sowing seed at Martinmas.
(Gaelic proverb)

I do not believe that any man fears to be dead, but only the stroke of death.
(Francis Bacon, British philosopher)

Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with short steps.
(Hans Christian Andersen’s funeral plans)

Nonsense, they couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.
(Alleged last words of US General John Sedgwick, in response to a suggestion that he should not show himself over the parapet during the Battle of the Wilderness)

I think I could eat one of Bellamy’s veal pies.
(Last words of William Pitt the Younger)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Web Search


Ancestry has launched a new search service for its users which looks pretty nifty.  Furthermore, it appears to be available to non-registered users of their website, too.  It's called Web Search, and basically involves the searching of non-Ancestry records whenever you look for something on their site.  In other words, you search for something in the normal way, you get your list of results, and among them you will have both Ancestry returns and non-Ancestry returns.  Early days yet, though, as not many 'outsider' websites have been incorporated into the Web Search 'engine', but it seems like a pretty useful facility.  Read all about it here.

Deceased Online is soon to announce the release of a new raft of records pertaining to the SW of England. Registered users of the site will learn all about it soon by way of a direct bulletin, but essentially the 54,000 new entries cover 11 cemeteries in Wiltshire, Dorset and Devon.  The Wilts details can be found here, and the burial grounds at Blandford Forum (Dorset), and Cullompton and Salcombe (both Devon) are also included.  Click here to check their general coverage across the whole of the UK.


The SoG blog has pointed us towards a little-known online resource, namely, the 'Lloyd’s List Marine News 1740-1837 index and images'.  Have a look at the item, here - but note that the first link in the text is dead.  It should, in fact, be http://www.1812privateers.org/Bibliography/index.html .

And here's the latest batch of new genealogy blogs as flagged by GeneaBloggers.  One new site caught my eye: the curiously-named 'No Descendants' blog.  I'd never really thought about genealogists who have no one in their family to pass their research onto, and what, therefore, drives them on.  The 'thrill of the chase', I suppose!  Your comments, please...

Friday, 13 May 2011

Domesday Reloaded

First of all, you may have noticed that yesterday’s post (12th May) disappeared for several hours earlier today.  Some sort of technical problem with the Blogger system and totally beyond my control, I'm afraid.  But sorry anyway.  I’ve had awful problems getting this post (13th) up and running, I know that much.


Back in 1986, the BBC launched an ambitious project to capture a snapshot of the nation on the 900th anniversary of the Domesday Book.  However, due to an unfortunate technological decision (viz. choosing the wrong, and soon to be obsolete, mode of storage), the data never saw public light of day.  The Beeb and TNA have now joined forces to recover the said material and make it properly available to all and sundry – and you can even update the information in the database.  See TNA’s announcement on the project here, a similar introductory piece here, and the new website itself here.

TNA’s latest Podcast can be found here (Inheritance in Scotland – testaments & retours).


An article of sorts is formed by the thoughts of blogger Chris Paton on the future of ‘Scottish archives portals’.  Not sure what I mean?  Well, if you think you might be interested, jump straight to the piece here.

Your weekly dose of ‘History Headlines’ from the BBC can be found here. 


And yet more TV & Radio stuff here.


No use ignoring him any longer.  Osama Bin Laden, that is.  Ever wondered about his family tree?  Well, there’s a hint of it here, and another sniff of it here.  If you want to try to unravel the mess, then you could always try Wikipedia. Good luck to you.

My apologies, once again, for the 'Blogger confusion'.  I think it has now sorted itself out!

Best wishes.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

More Royal Background Info


GeneaBloggers features a guest blog from a Scottish heritage expert who has kindly given us a bit more reading on the recent Royal Wedding.  It's an interesting historical piece which tells us something that I suspect very few of us know, namely, the origin of William's newly-acquired title, the Earl of Strathearn. Read all about it here.

A short but sweet article about the influence of the public house in the lives of our ancestors by The Wandering Genealogist, here, got me thinking.  I mean, even if our own families aren't directly involved in the running of a village pub, or whatever, the institutions still played a hugely important role in our forebears' lives.  It occurs to me that wherever your distant family may have hailed from, this is an aspect of social history that should be actively sought out.  To know the old village pub of your ancestral homeland (if it survives, which they often do) is akin to sharing a little of your ancestors' lives - second only to the parish church, maybe.


My recent appeal for information feeds for Welsh news brought a response from 'Christine' of the 'Genealogy Tours of Scotland' blog, who has kindly flagged the 'People's Collection Wales' website.  I should point out that Christine's own blog (see first link) also has a few important pieces of news, too (generally, Scotland/Ireland/Wales) - several of which escaped the attention of this blog.  So thanks, Christine!


Forthcoming TV & Radio can be found here.


Birth of...

Florence Nightingale, in Florence, Italy, in 1820.

1926:  The General Strike ends;
1937:  Coronation of George VI.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

God's Family Tree

This is a weird one.  Whether you're religious or not, you can't help but be impressed by Robert Rouse's 'Mapping God's Bloodline' graphic at the Soul Liberty website.  You can zoom in and out, and it's quite a lot of fun.  Thanks to MyHeritage for flagging this one.


First up, I'd just like to add another 'forthcoming event' to yesterday's list.  And I'm ashamed to say that this one is from my part of the world, so I don't know how I managed to overlook it.  Anyway, here it is:-
  • Saturday 14th May - Yesterday Belongs to You 10 at Shildon, Co.Durham - see here.

Two major announcements by FindMyPast, thus:-

The Family Recorder blog has announced the release, today, of 100s of millions of new American Civil War records on FamilySearch - see here.  Apparently, there were a fair few British & Irish citizens caught up in the conflict, so this news is not quite as irrelevant as it may at first seem!


Death of...

Singer Bob Marley, in 1981 in Miami, aged 36.

1985:  Bradford Stadium fire disaster.  56 deaths.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Forthcoming Events


As we encounter a slight lull in family history news, it seems as good a time as any to remind you all of forthcoming events on the calendar.  So here are the ones of which I am aware:-

  • Saturday 14th May - Local & Family History Fair, Edzell, Angus - see here & here;
  • Saturday 14th May - Darlington Book Fair - see here;
  • Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th May - 'Bygone Borderlands' , Berwick-upon-Tweed, (Local & Family History Weekend) - see here;
  • Sunday 15th May - Family & Local History Day, Padworth, Berks - see here;
  • Sunday 15th May - Cirencester Book Fair - see here;
  • Saturday 21st May - GOONS Mining Seminar, Woodhorn, Northumberland - see here (I mentioned this some time ago, and if you haven't booked by now then it is too late!).

TNA have released another of their podcasts, here.  This one is, shall we say, somewhat specialist, being entitled The Second World War and Roche's expansion to the West: a Swiss pharmaceutical company in the UK. But I shouldn't knock it, as I haven't listened to it yet!


A couple of short ones for you to look at.  The first, from The Family Recorder blog, offers an alternative look at possible 'commoner' royal connections, here; and the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog ponders the influence of accents on the lives of our ancestors, here.


An astonishingly busy day in 1940 in WWII...
Churchill becomes Prime Minister, the first bombs land on British soil, the Home Guard is formed, Germany invades the Low Countries, and the UK invades Iceland. Phew!

And before you go...

Yesterday (9th May) was Liberation Day in the Channel Islands.  One reader was somewhat tickled by the fact that I chose the day to publish my 'Happy Families' blog entry.  I shall let James McLaren take up the story...

It seems apt to mention this on Liberation Day (66 years ago the Union Jack went back up over St Helier).

During the Occupation the vicar of St Mark's church in St Helier went by the name of Reverend Francis Killer. His son (Frank) went off to join the RAF, got into the medical branch, and became a surgeon - whereupon he changed his surname to Keiller.

(Frank wrote a book called
Prison Without Bars detailing his experiences during the German Occupation).

Monday, 9 May 2011

Happy Families

Remember the game ‘Happy Families’? Well, here’s a selection of historically true names culled from the archidiaconal probate documents of Berkshire by Frank Denzey:-

Mr Acres the Husbandman
Mr Brown the Baker
Mr Chambers the Potter
Mr Coggeswelle the Miller
Mrs Faithful the Widow
Mr Farmer the Yeoman
Mr Field the Husbandman
Mr Fisher the Fisherman
Mr Gripp the Joiner
Mr Haycroft the Husbandman
Mr Hide the Tanner
Mrs Hope the Widow
Mr Horner the Trumpeter
Mr Howse the Mason
Mr Knife the Surgeon
Mr Loader the Carrier
Mr Mason the Bricklayer
Mr Meales the Baker
Mr Merryman the Tapster
Mrs Pretty the Widow
Mr Styles the Tailor
Mr Tassell the Milliner
Miss Waite the Spinster
Miss Webb the Spinster
Mr Wells the Siever
Mr Wheater the Husbandman
Mr Wheeler the Wheelwright
Mr Whetstone the Wheeler
Mr Yieldall the Keeper

And versions of this one pop up from time to time.  It’s far too good to be true, which means that it probably isn’t!

Sir William Boyden married La Contessa Francesca Zapretti, both from long established noble families. When their first child, Hugh, was born they hyphenated their surnames – so their young son became Hugh Zapretti-Boyden. In later life Hugh became a parrot breeder......             

If anyone else has anything unusual to pass on, then send it to me at micksouthwick@blueyonder.co.uk .

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Welsh Feeds


I don't know if anyone can help me out on this one, but information feeds about what's going on, genealogically, in Wales are few and far between.  If anyone has anything to share with the rest of us then please get in touch.  I did, however, pick up on a helpful little source last week, namely, Swansea Libraries' Twitter feed.  Now I've not yet signed up to Twitter, but I've discovered that you can still follow what's going on by simply keeping tabs on individual Twitter 'pages' - so I have found that at http://twitter.com/#!/libraryline quite useful.  One thing, for instance, that popped up a few days ago was the Crime and Punishment searchable database from the National Library of Wales, which includes gaol files of the Court of Great Sessions in Wales from 1730 until its abolition in 1830.  And it's free.

Another raft of new genealogy blogs has appeared in the GeneaBloggers weekly update.  Mainly US stuff, though.


The May 2011 issue of Ireland's Genealogical Gazette has been published online.  Lead article looks at the Queen's Kildare roots, and there's an interesting piece on tapping into old folks' family memories.


Part four of FindMyPast's look at understanding and interpreting old photographs has just been posted, here.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

King James Bible


Religion may not play the dominant role in society that it once did (well, not here in mainland UK, anyway), but there is no disputing its influence in the lives of our forebears.  Perhaps the single most important landmark event in the developing relationship between the Church and the People of the English-speaking world was the publication, 400 years ago this year, of the King James Bible.  It was, without doubt, the most important English translation of the Bible ever issued, and its influence was incredibly far-reaching.  To mark the anniversary, the National Library of Wales is leading the way with a special exhibition on the subject - see their blog entry, here, and their dedicated website page, here.  The exhibition is pretty much essential viewing, I'd say, for those within striking distance of the Library, such was the importance of this text in the lives of our ancestors.

The Anglo-Celtic Connections blog has posted a couple of interesting items.  First up is a piece on British Regimental Histories; then there's a small item about Christian names in the US.

The bookselling arm of the Ulster Historical Foundation, BooksIreland, is offering free shipping during 6th-13th May.


This looks like an interesting site: the Historic Hospital Admission Records Project (HHARP).  All to do with 19th century children's hospital records. (Picked up from Your Family History magazine's Facebook page).


TNA has posted a piece about Looted Art in Europe, and the signing of a new international deal on the subject.  A searchable online catalogue is now available, too.

And there's a light-hearted look at what it's like to be at the front of the phonebook, by the bloggers at MyHeritage.


1928:  Voting age for women in the UK reduced from 30 to 21 (same as men);
1945:  WWII - Germany surrenders.

Friday, 6 May 2011

A Bit More of the Irish


The Internet is still awash with the news of the launch of FindMyPast.ie - and why not?  Everyone who's interested is thrilled, it seems.  Even those who have no direct genealogical interest in the country may still be interested in this graphic of the 'Impact of the Irish' - as well as this article on the Irish ancestry of the US President.  Whilst we're at it, there is also this general piece on 'How to Trace Your Roots in Ireland'.

The BBC's weekly collection of 'History Headlines' can be found here.  Look out for the item on the death of the oldest surviving combatant of WWI.


Parish Chest have issued their latest news update, here.  The usual banter, including, of course, a raft of new products from their 'partners'.

A week's historical holidaying in York is currently on offer from The Historical Association - see here.

There's a Family & Local History Fair at Padworth, Berkshire, on Sunday 15th May.  Have a look at the organiser's website, here, where you will also be able to apply for a 'half price entry' voucher.


More TV & Radio for the coming week.


1954:  Roger Bannister runs the first sub 4-minute mile;
1994:  Channel Tunnel officially opens.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

More Major Developments


Quite a week it's proving to be for major genealogical news.  This morning saw the launch of FindMyPast Ireland - a real piece of choice news for Irish researchers.  Obviously, those who are interested will want to have a good browse of the site itself, but you may also wish to pass your eyes over comments made on several blogs, e.g. ScottishGENES, WDYTYA? Magazine, Irish Genealogy News and Irish Family History.  Marvellous stuff.

FindMyPast have also simplified their search facility for GRO births & marriages - a nice touch, with the death records to follow, too, in due course.  The indexes in question are those for England & Wales and the various overseas/army events for British citizens.

The May 2011 issue of Best of British Magazine has been released - see here.

WDYTYA? Magazine's website has flagged an interesting new exhibition at London's Foundling Museum.  See their short report here, where there is a link to the museum's website.


English Heritage have launched a more comprehensive and user-friendly 'Historical Archive Catalogue' - see their news release, here (the direct link to the catalogue can be found here).  Well worth a look for old photos, images and documentation of your localities of interest.


TV & Radio for the next few days.


Death of...
1821:  Napoleon Bonaparte, on St.Helena, aged 51 (190th anniversary);
1981:  Bobby Sands, leader of the Maze Hunger Strike, aged 27 (30th anniversary).

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Big Ideas


Today has seen the unveiling of two or three really quite ambitious schemes in the genealogical world, so let's not waste any more time - here they are in order of 'big-ness'...

Of major significance is the launch of the World Memory Project by, jointly, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry.  The goal of this important venture is to "create a free online resource about victims and survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution during World War II" - and they're looking for help from volunteers to put it together.  Rather than have me natter on about it, take a look at Ancestry's summary here, where you will also find further links of interest.  The project's main site is here.

TNA have announced, here, that the 1911 Census is being made available to the UK's schools this summer.  With the help of FindMyPast, the returns are being offered to our kids until the end of July in the hope that they can be used for research projects, and the like.  Can't help feeling that there may be a little something in this for FindMyPast, but you can't grumble, can you?  Any effort to get the younger generation interested in their ancestry/local history should be applauded - so 'well done' to TNA and FindMyPast.

TNA are also launching a new User Advisory Group, which presents those with a keenness for putting their oar in with a great opportunity to, well, er, put their oar in!  But seriously, this low key announcement will hopefully attract the right sort of individuals who can effectively represent our views and expectations at the higher levels of our hobby.  If you would like to get involved, then click on the link above and follow the instructions.

I have received an email from the Federation of Family History Societies reminding me of their ongoing competition, which poses the question: Who is the Most Interesting Person in Your Family Tree? - see here.  There is a corresponding compo for those under 21 years of age.


GeneaBloggers have begun a series of blogs/articles on organising a Genealogy Conference (this link will take you to part 1).  OK, so it may have a bit of a US bias, but I'm sure that those who are into this sort of thing will be able to learn something from the series.


1926:  The General Strike begins;
1979:  Margaret Thatcher becomes British Prime Minister.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Out and Around and About


The rather clumsy title for today's post would suggest there a few things in the pipeline for us family historians in the coming days and weeks.  Well, there is always something going on somewhere, but a few things have caught my eye.  I always find GENEVA a useful source for what's coming up on the calendar - and as you can see from their listing for early May, there are a couple of big conferences coming up in London and Manchester, respectively (I've already mentioned these in previous posts) - but you'll have to get your skates on to get yourself a ticket for these!  Folk in Yorkshire may, however, care to pop along to the Family History Weekend at the Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, during 7th-8th May, which looks like being a pleasantly leisurely affair.

The BBC History Magazine's regular 'Out and About' online feature has also just been updated, and may tempt you out-of-doors.  And there is a Podcast concerning the latest issue of the magazine itself, here.

And here is a tempting list of May events from Irish Genealogy News.

On the other hand, those with Scottish blood can make a virtual trip to ancestral burial grounds via the Scottish Monumental Inscriptions website, which has been updated.  Two recent mentions for the resource on Anglo-Celtic Connections and ScottishGENES should be read first, though, as introductory pieces - then you can click through to the site proper via either post.


Those of you with links to the British steel industry (especially in and around Teesside) may be interested in this mention of a brilliant new resource.

And I'm sure you will all be tickled by the Awkward Family Photos website as mentioned in this post on MyHeritage! (direct link here).


1951:  Festival of Britain opens;
1968:  UK's first heart transplant.


Monday, 2 May 2011

Major Scottish Conference


News of a major conference in Aberdeen in July has appeared on the ScottishGENES blog, here.  Blogger Chris Paton rightly acknowledges the source of the information in his post, and gives all the info you need to check the event out.  The programme is extremely varied, with some very specialist areas of coverage - the event being the work of the 'Eighteenth Century Scottish Studies Society'.

The Irish Genealogy News blog has given us another update on recent additions to the Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives, here.

Your Family History magazine has issued a 'Web Watch Extra' bulletin.  Though it would appear that most of the information has already been mentioned on this blog, there are some overseas bits and pieces which may interest many of you.

Two book fairs are coming up soon: Market Harborough on Saturday 7th May, and London on Sunday 8th May.


The Anglo-Celtic Connections blog has pointed out a brilliant website for those with any sort of interest in London, namely, Londonremembers.com .  Hours of fun!


And finally, The Nosey Genealogist has a nibble at that most difficult of topics: Tracing Ancestors With a Common Surname.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Media Highlights


I've stumbled upon several media feeds - both video and audio - of late, which I thought I'd pass onto you.  I anyone ever comes across anything of a similar ilk, then please let us all know.  It is always a refreshing change to look at a bit of footage or lean back and listen to a radio show, or whatever - and genealogical items of this sort are fairly hard to come by.

MyHeritage often come up with this sort of thing, and they've recently aired a couple of interesting items.  First up is a Royal Weddings special, here.  And there's a little snippet of biologist Richard Dawkins talking about 'Genetic Genealogy', here.  Pity it wasn't a bit longer - but for once at least he's not being controversial!

Having recently began following GeneaBloggers, and all it has to offer, I see that their weekly Friday radio programme focussed on British Genealogy this time - see here.  Many of the previous episodes can be found here, although generally the material tends to have an American leaning.  One of GeneaBloggers' best features is its weekly round-up of new genealogical blogs - here's the latest listing.  I know a lot of you found BI-Gen after reading of the website in last week's update, so thank you GeneaBloggers for the publicity!


Ancestry members will want to take note of the change to the website's Helpline service, with effect from today, 1st May.


1707:  Acts of Union of England and Scotland;
1840:  Penny Black stamp first issued (official use from 6th May);
1851:  Great Exhibition opens.