Thursday, 30 June 2011

A Dramatic Exhumation?


This news is a week old, so please excuse me if you've already heard it, but a few days ago the Daily Mail website reported that an application has been made to unearth the remains of William Shakespeare.  Most interesting - especially when one considers that there is a curse to circumvent in the process.  See the full article here

The Irish Genealogy News blog has a batch of stories to catch up on, here.  They concern Ireland's National Heritage Week (20th-28th August), a new family history course, plus a couple of items I've already covered of late.

Those of you with Manx interests may wish to have a look at this news item concerning the forthcoming launch of a new iMuseum.  Looks interesting.  There's also a Family History Surgery on 6th July - and lots of other stuff, too, taking place during a special week of events.

Family History Monthly have published their 'Summer Special' issue today - see here.

And there's a nice story about Charles Dickens' old house going up for sale, here - though I suspect the price tag may be a bit of a stretch for most of us.


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


1837:  The use of the pillory was outlawed in England & Wales;
1894:  London's Tower bridge was officially opened;
1980:  The last day the old British sixpence - no longer legal tender after midnight.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Brits in Spain


British volunteer participation in the Spanish Civil War seems to be the flavour of the month.  It's 75 years this year since it all kicked off, of course, and The National Archives are getting into the spirit of things with a timely record release - see details here.  If it's a topic you're interested in, then further recent mentions appear here and here - the latter being a series of free events on the topic.

Records relating to another civil war of sorts makes the news with the release, by FindMyPast Ireland, of the Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook of 1917.

Belfast's Linen Hall Library is 'breaking new ground' (its own words) with the release of its first batch of historical e-books - all freely-available by clicking here and following the link (where you will find more texts).


Spotted on the Your Family History Facebook page, is the extraordinary online resource that is the Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities at the British History Online site.  Don't be put off by the title - have a look!


Nice piece from US TV about the (very) extended family tree of George W.Bush.  The more I read about this sort of thing the less surprised I am.  We are all a good deal more closely related than we dare to imagine, trust me.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Beware the 30th


If, as now seems likely, public sector workers decide to plough ahead with strike action on Thursday 30th June, it will effect many of our libraries and repositories, large and small.  I have heard all sorts of tales of planned closures, partial closures, and the like, so I would remind you all to be careful what to expect on your research travels on the day in question.  Even if the strike is called off at the last minute, it would be wise to check on opening times, etc., just in case it's too late to revert to 'normal hours'.

TheGenealogist has announced the release of several new books, directories, etc., spread over two announcements at their website, here.  Poll books, and some military stuff are to be found there, too (all relating to England).

If you fancy a new job, the National Library of Wales is looking for a new president - see here.

Events over the next few days include:

And here's your regular look back at 'This Week in History'.


The HistoryToday website covers a couple of related topics: Archives Threatened by Government Cuts looks at the impact of digitisation on how our archives services may be run in the future; and Will Spending Cuts Destroy England's Cultural Heritage? points us in the direction of a recent report by the British Academy.


Thanks to GOONS/Chris Paton for flagging a great site for tracking the availability of old movies.  Best go through Chris's post, here.  And, gosh, there's a lot of stuff up there!  The search returns don't often give direct links into the film clips themselves, but rather simply detail their whereabouts.  Still useful, though, and very interesting.

GeneaBloggers' latest batch of new family history blogs can be found here.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Scots Meet


With his usual efficiency concerning all things Scottish, blogger Chris Paton gives us an excellent overview of Saturday's SAFHS Conference.  There's lots to take in, so gird your loins and dive in here.  Note that the news is not exclusively Scottish - I noted some especially useful general info for researchers of Catholic ancestry in there.

The Irish Genealogy News blog reports on some recent discussions in their national parliament of interest to family historians, here.

A touch more Irish news can be found here - being records concerning Applications from Evicted Tenants (1907) which are now available at FindMyPast Ireland.

John Reid flags the availability of new Cornish parish records on the FamilySearch site, here.  And via one of his other blogs, John provides a short interview with TNA's Audrey Collins on the subject of London's curious Fleet Registers.

Many of you will be familiar with the Black Sheep Index - if not, then why not have a look?  Derek Wilcox has been in touch to inform me that the website has been updated on 25th June - the major change being the creation of separate Scots, Irish and Overseas indexes.  The Irish Index holds over 12,000 reports from all over Ireland dating back to the 17th century (there are also numerous Irish reports in the Minor reports index as well).  Why not give it a whirl?

And finally, there's been another batch of government files released by TNA - see here.


Saturday, 25 June 2011

WDYTYA? Line-up Unveiled


Fans of the TV series Who Do You Think You Are? will be interested in the announcement of the line-up for the forthcoming series.


TNA's website has been quite active of late, with announcements concerning their annual report, their one-day closure this coming Thursday 30th June, and the release of their latest Podcast (The Last Thing We Need is a Sequel: Post-War Cinema at TNA).

DeceasedOnline have added a massive batch of new Edinburgh burial & cremation records to their database - see here.

The Scottish GENES blog points us in the direction of a scare regarding the 2011 Census data having been hacked into (!) - see the official response here.  Let's hope there is, indeed, nothing in the story - because, my goodness, really would be an embarrassment for the authorities!

Summaries of the recent inaugural TNA User Advisory Group meeting are starting to appear online.  The SoG's take on the occasion can be found here.

I know I mentioned this a few days ago, but FindMyPast's Militia records release has received a good deal of publicity this week - so here's a bit more info on the dataset.

The latest Podcast from the guys at BBC History Magazine is now available.

Friday, 24 June 2011

FFHS Awards Deadline


The Federation of Family History Societies' Awards deadline looms.  The Elizabeth Simpson Award is given to the best society journal, and there's a Best Website prize, too.  So if you really enjoy your quarterly journal or, indeed, your society's website, then why not encourage them to enter the appropriate competition.  You'll have to be very quick, though, as the closing date is 30th June.  See here for full details.

Important news from the North-West of England, with a reminder that Lancashire Archives are to close from 4th July until mid-October.  See the FFHS announcement, here, where you can click through for more information from the horse's mouth.


Thanks to John Reid for flagging, well, not a website exactly, but an online pdf document which gives useful information about the availability of digitised newspapers on the Internet - see here.


The BBC's 'History Headlines' makes especially good reading this week.  And those with an interest in the wonderful city of Bath may want to have a look at this.

There's also an interesting (short) piece about TV's kids' programme Horrible Histories, here.  The developing debate in the comments section is worth a look, too.  I must admit that I have been a fan of the programme for some time, and was blissfully unaware that it had an adult audience!


Your regular TV & Radio listings for the coming week can be found here and here.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Of Ireland and Yorkshire


The 'Irish Genealogy News' blog has featured a number of interesting items of late - so many, in fact, that rather than list the posts separately, it will be quicker for you to go straight to the main site, here, and scour the news for yourself.  The topics covered aren't exclusively Irish, and cover the following subjects:
  • Genes Reunited upgrade (22nd June entry);
  • Westmoreland Lock Hospital records release (22nd June);
  • Interesting follow-up piece on the recent Google-British Library deal (21st June);
  • RTE Genealogy Roadshow update (20th June);
  • Dublin graduates record release (20th June).

Elsewhere, Ancestry have made what looks like a major addition to their database as far as Yorkshire researchers are concerned.  Though fine detail seems to be a bit lacking, check out their recent announcement - if you've West Yorkshire interests it may be worth running a new search or two!

Ancestry have also posted a curious little item about their 'Motion Picture Studio Directories'.


Spotted on the MyHeritage blog is an interesting piece about the 'Changing Face of Australia'.

And John Reid has a piece about Twitter usage among genealogists, here.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Militia Records Release


FindMyPast have added some important new Military records to their databank in the shape of the Militia Attestation Papers 1806-1915, which contain details of around half a million individuals.

Although the announcement has come a little bit too late for us to make a contribution/suggestion, the SoG site has announced, here, that it is sending a representative (Else Churchill) to today's inaugural meeting of the The National Archives' User Advisory Group.  Worth reading the post, though, as it gives an indication as to how the body will operate.

John Reid's 'Anglo-Celtic Connections' blog has brought to our attention a webinar on the topic of Genetic Genealogy - see here.  I realise the news is a bit late (it's being held at 3pm GMT tomorrow, 23rd), but hopefully some of you may catch it - and it may be available to view afterwards, too, I guess.  John also notifies us of the availability of some random records from the North-East of England, too - see here.

And yesterday saw the release of the latest issue of Your Family Tree Magazine - and the same folks are also pushing their interesting-looking new e-book, here, entitled Skeletons in the Cupboard.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Irish News Rush


Ireland dominates the news today.  First up is a chance to collect some bargains in the National Library of Ireland's shop sale - it's closing down on 15th July and 'everything must go', as they say.

The latest newsletter from Eneclann can be found here.

The Genealogical Society of Ireland's regular online effort, Ireland's Genealogical Gazette (June issue) is available via this link.

And thanks to the Irish Roots Facebook page for letting us know of this series of free Dublin lectures.

Elsewhere, the July issue of BBC History Magazine is now available.

And here are this weekend's forthcoming events (if you are aware of any more then let me know):


On a topical note, there's a look back at the life of 1930s British tennis star, Fred Perry, here.


A nice glimpse at some of the exhibits on display at the new Bristol Museum, MShed, can be found here.

And, call me cruel, but this tickled my funny bone.

Monday, 20 June 2011

More Books to go Online


Big news of the day has to be the announcement by the British Library and Google of plans to digitise 250,000 out-of-copyright books from the period 1700-1870.  They'll all be placed online, on open access.  Read the British Library announcement here.

The Family Recorder blog offers advice and assistance on accessing the Digital Microfilm section of The National Archives' DocumentsOnline facility.  The posting also details some of the recent additions to the available records.

The latest - and always interesting - Lost Cousins e-Newsletter from Peter Calver is now available.  I shall not steal any of Peter's thunder, and would urge you to have a look for yourselves - it's certainly one of the best e-Newsletters around, and worth registering yourself for free on his website to make sure you don't miss a copy.

A couple of pieces of Irish news to close.  Firstly, there's the release of an updated and revised edition of Tracing Your Cork Ancestors by Flyleaf Press - see here.  And Eneclann are offering a little advice on Irish education records, here.


Britain's first trolley buses were introduced in 1911, in Leeds (centenary!)

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Dads Getting Older


An interesting article has appeared on the MyHeritage blog outlining recent trends in fatherhood.  It indicates quite clearly that first-time fathers are getting older, with the global average rising from 29 to 31 in the last decade.  For the full story, click here.


The Guild of One-Name Studies is preparing for a special 'Open Day' in Lincoln on 7th July.  Non-members welcome.  See here for the official news release.

The National Library of Scotland has made a couple of announcements.  Firstly, there's some newly-digitised historic films of the old country to enjoy, here; then there's the new self-service scanning and copying facilities - see here.

TNA have put out a new Podcast entitled Suing and Being Sued - finding people in legal disputes.

And if you've a spare eighty quid, you may be tempted into buying a special edition of Society of Genealogists - A Century of Family History.  More info here.


1815:  Wellington defeats the French at Waterloo.  As the day turns against him Napoleon is heard to say, "Oh well, no matter what happens, there is always death."


Friday, 17 June 2011

All Set for York


The build-up to the Yorkshire Family History Fair continues (25th June).  Those of you who live in the south (or the far north for that matter) may not have been to this event, ever, but trust me, it's a very big occasion and much anticipated by thousands.  S&N Genealogy Supplies, under the guise of TheGenealogist, are sponsoring the fair, of course, and they have released a 'Yorkshire Special' e-newsletter, here.

Family Tree Magazine's July issue has been published today - see here.

DeceasedOnline have released more burial records, this time pertaining to Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.  Check out the news release, here.

Ancestry have updated their 'UK & Ireland Obituary Collection' - though I'm not sure how much new stuff is on there.  You can search the same without even logging in.


The BBC has listed a selection of forthcoming TV & Radio programmes of interest, here.


And the same organisation presents its 'History Headlines' for the week, here.


Birth of...
Founder of Methodism, John Wesley, born in 1703 in Lincolnshire - the 15th of 18 children (or 19 - they lost count).

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Passenger Lists News


On a day that seems desperately short of genealogical developments (is everybody on holiday?), the biggest piece of new information I can find is on the Scottish GENES blog, which brings news from the GenesReunited site of the availability of various Passenger Lists.  Though as the announcement comes to a close, we find out that the said records were available online elsewhere all the time.

The July issue of Your Family History is available today; and the magazine is also running a competition to win a copy of Tracing Your Family History on the Internet by Chris Paton - see here.

There's an opportunity to have your say about The National Archives website in their online survey.

And there's been a flurry of announcements on the Open Genealogy Alliance's blog, here.


Birth of...
Arthur Stanley Jefferson, aka Stan Laurel, in 1890 at Ulverston, Lancashire (now Cumbria).

1972:  Watergate Scandal begins when burglars are caught breaking into the Democratic Party's HQ in Washington in the US.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Scottish Burials & Other Events


It may be time to take another look at the Events Listing on the website of the National Library of Scotland.  There are quite a few talks, etc., coming up over the next few months, and they all have to be booked in advance.

Staying in Scotland, DeceasedOnline are set to make a big announcement regarding Scottish burial records at the forthcoming SAFHS Conference - see here.  Not sure if this relates to one of their recent record releases, or is something new altogether.

A couple of July issues have been released in the last day or two.  The latest editions of HistoryToday and WDYTYA? Magazine are now available.  The latter are also running a competition, here.


TV & Radio for the next few days can be found here.


HistoryToday's 'This Week in History' can be viewed here.

And, for something a bit out-of-the-ordinary, how about '10 Strange Ways Tudors Died' from the BBC!


1215:  King John's Royal Seal is applied to the Magna Carta;
1381:  Leader of the Peasants' Revolt, Wat Tyler, beheaded in London;
1520:  Martin Luther is excommunicated by Pope Leo X.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Exam Season


It's the school exam season, of course, and The National Archives are having a look back at the education system and the records it has generated over the past century.  To learn more, click here.

TNA have also announced the release of the final part of their Tudor and Stuart 'State Papers Online' project - see the news release, here.  The date span of the project is 1509-1714 - but, strangely, they don't provide the appropriate link to the website in question, which can be found here.

Regular users of FindMyPast's website will be pleased to learn of the improvements made to their search facility - and will be interested in further adjustments in the pipeline.  Read the full story here.

Irish Australians may be interested in this post on the MyHeritage website.

And finally for today, this weekend's coming fairs:
I'm sure many fairs across the UK and Ireland are slipping under my radar, so please let me know if I've missed any forthcoming events.


1982:  Ceasefire in the Falklands War signals the Argentine surrender.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Poem from the Grave

The Last Will & Testament of Joseph Ewbank, Parish Clerk of St. Cuthberts, Barton, Yorkshire:

First, I bequeath – let me sure make it,
My soul to God, I hope He’ll take it,
My body to the Earth I give,
Whenever I shall cease to live
In hopes when the last trump shall sound,
It will again rise from the ground.
My courtly grins and pleasant smiles,
With all my stratagems and wiles,
I do bequeath them all right fairly
To my good friend, poor Robin Marley.
My quaint remarks and ready wit
I leave them all to Stewart Kit;
I’d almost said my falsehoods too,
But hold! I think he has enow.
My art in smuggling I do give
To Hansome, whom I wish to live;
‘Tis true he acts against the law
But few there are without a flaw,
For well I know what ills would come
If ‘Twas not for this Gin and Rum.
To Mr.Stelling likewise I note,
I do bequeath my Sealskin coat,
Which he has oft admired much,
And truly few have got one such.
My patience, too an ample store,
He’s need on’t, were it ten times more.
My calumny and empty clack,
To old Dame Hall and Vinny Slack;
They’ve plenty, that you need not doubt,
Indeed, few women are without.
My Broom my Pickaxe, and my Spade
With which I many graves have made,
I’ll leave to him, whoe’er he be,
The Parish Clerk that follows me.
To Willey Gye, whose vast pretension
To Psalmody’s past comprehension,
My Hymns and prick’d tunes very rare,
I hope they suit him to a hair.
And there’s poor Stabler to whose gripe,
I do bequeath my old pitch pipe,
Hoping ‘twill add unto his store,
For I shall never give him more.
Friend Dargue, too, whom I much respect,
I amongst the rest must not neglect
To leave him something, what a pox!
I’ll leave him my old Tobacco box.
My praying, singing, and such fun,
I’ll leave to Josey Robinson;
And all my religion too, I’ll give thee,
So fare thee well, and God be with thee.
My Parish Records, and Boundary Laws
Where Manor’s Lords can find no flaws,
To Mr.Allen I freely give
And when my latest breath is spent,
Poor Nan may sit at her old rent.
To Mr.Kendall (who, as a friend)
With me did many an evening spend,
My receipt for making spirit thinner,
Which may procure him oft a dinner;
To grandson Jame’s my lines and hooks,
And all my old worm-eaten books,
Which I have got, the Lord knows where!
And now there’s few alive that care,
To Parker Bill, that looks so big,
My woollen jacket and grey wig,
My old slouch hat, and when he’s drest
He’ll look like Hudibras at best.
To Stewart John, upon my sword,
On hunter Jack he then may ride,
And wear a spur on either side.
My honesty (I’d a great store,
No mortal ever yet had more)
I leave Jack Baylis, and then I think,
He’ll laugh and tip them all a wink.
My sins I give unto old N--k,
He’s tempted me to many a trick.
And last of all to Nan, my wife
(She’s been my plague through all my life),
And lest at last she should look gruff
I’ll leave her all my house-hold stuff.
And when I’m dead pray bury me,
Where I have buried many,
But none need shed a tear for me
- I never mourned for any.

The will is signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of these witnesses:
George Teasdale, Josey Emmerson
and Susy Barker.

(My thanks to Edythe Nattrass for the above)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Metropolitan Police Talk


The National Archives has posted its latest Podcast, here, on the subject of The Metropolitan Police: an introduction to records of the service, 1829-1958.

The Irish Genealogy News blog has produced a list of forthcoming events for what's left of June.

And the GOONS are continuing to push their extended membership offer, here.  This time they're focusing on potential US members - but note that their offer will apply across the Internet during 24th-26th June.


Two interesting pieces looking back to very different aspects of British life in days of old have popped up online.  Firstly, there's a short piece on the history of that great London landmark, Selfridge's, here.  And Chris Paton provides a window onto the world of his Ag Lab ancestors of the 1790s, here.  Fascinating.


In future, I have decided that Sunday will be my day off.  I shall still post Monday-Saturday, but family pressures have dictated that it's best if I leave Sundays free.  You'll not miss any news, though, as I'll just squeeze more into the remaining six days!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

England's National Heritage List


Though it's not strictly family history news, I suspect a lot of you out there will be more than a little interested in English Heritage's new 'National Heritage List for England' online facility.  HistoryToday's website has a neat little intro to it, here, where you will find all you need to know as well as the relevant link.  It is an utterly and wonderfully addictive site.

Another promising site is WorldCat, which enables you to search 10,000 libraries worldwide for a book of your choice.  I've not really investigated the same properly, but I thought I would pass the link on to you.

It's a long time since I've used the popular genealogical website Cyndi's List, but I believe it has recently been overhauled - so it may be worth a look if you've got a moment free this weekend.

And there's a heck of a long list of museums on Twitter for you to follow, here.


DeceasedOnline's latest news release can be found here.  It's all to do with the burial records of Romford Cemetery, Essex, which are now available for scrutiny on their ever-expanding website.

The June newsletter from Ancestry can be accessed here.

Diamond subscribers at TheGenealogist now have access to Poll Books for 1653-1856 covering Kent, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northants, Suffolk and Sussex.  See here.

And Wicklow researchers will want to check out the availability of over 95,000 new marriage records, here.


A two-minute video of 'This Week in History' can be viewed here.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Postal Heritage


Those of you with an ancestral interest in the British Postal Service will want to check out the new website of the British Postal Museum & Archive.  Lots to see and do (and records to search through) for any interested parties.  Looks absolutely splendid.

A useful website for following developments in London can be found at 'Archives for London'.  Recent news articles on the site will be of great interest to those who use repositories in Hammersmith & Fulham, and Camden.


Origins are offering a 20% discount on all Burke's Peerage and Gentry subscriptions - see here.

Residents of (or visitors to) Jersey, may be interested to learn of a new exhibition showing at Jersey Museum.  See this comment on my blog post of 7th June from James McLaren.

If you're considering calling into the magnificent occasion that is the Yorkshire Family History Fair on 25th June, then some free tickets can be won here.


HistoryExtra's weekly 'History Headlines' can be found here.


The usual dual listings of the week's forthcoming TV & Radio shows can be found here and here.


And finally, a special mention for Christine Woodstock of GenealogyToursOfScotland, who has written to me asking for a bit of publicity regarding her organised trips to, well, er, Scotland.  If you're based in or around Ontario (I'm not sure from how far afield Christine collects her clients) and you think you may be interested, then check out her website, or the 'New Products' section of BI-Gen (see title bar). 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Appeal for Material

As my computer is causing me some problems today, I thought I'd post a simple appeal for information and/or material for both the blog and a forthcoming publication of mine.  Oo! how exciting, I hear you say.  Anyway, first of all there's the blog...

BI-Gen Blog:

You know the sort of thing I'm after.  News, essentially, of any important developments in the world of family history in the UK or Ireland.  We all like to know of useful new websites, too, of course - as well as any good (or unusual) online articles which you find on your travels.  Almost all the information I tell you about on the blog has been gathered by myself, usually through 'feeds', mailing lists and general 'trawling' of the major genealogical sites - so do try to help out if you can.  But remember, nothing too parochial: we don't want to bore 99.99% of the readership!

Additionally, there are the many commercial concerns out there who are always after publicity for their important new goods, releases, etc.  Though I don't intend to let my blog become weighed down with this sort of thing, I am certainly not averse to featuring major news in this respect - so long as it's of decent general interest.  Anyway, if you've got a 'commercial' announcement to make, get in touch and I'll see what I can do - and you may want to have a look at the 'New Products' tab above.

New Publication

I plan to publish a 'Collection' of genealogical jottings and oddments at some point in the future, and I'm on the lookout for any material of interest.  I fancy it will come out in the late summer, and will probably be the first of a series of such publications - all to be made available in various formats (hard copy, e-book, etc).  I've already collected a lot of material, but am very, very keen to encourage help from my readers.  So please, please, send me anything which you think may be of use to me - and I'm looking for anything, no matter how brief or long, which is funny, sad, poignant or just plain unusual.  An MI, a PR entry, a strange coincidence - and as long as it's something to do with family history.  Non-UK/Irish stuff accepted, too.  If in doubt, then get in touch at .

I also have a seed of an idea for a book on the subject of 'Extraordinary Ancestors', which will be a collection of longer articles about folks' strange, unusual, talented, (un)lucky, eccentric forebears.  Get in touch if you think you may have something for me.

In case you're wondering, there'll be no payment on offer for material submitted and published, though if you're submitting something substantial I will certainly throw a free copy or two of the finished book/booklet your way upon publication.  It's not that I'm mean, but rather that I earn virtually nothing from running BI-Gen and I just can't afford it.  When I'm a millionaire in a couple of years time, things may be different!

So, do drop me a line if you've anything which meets any of the above criteria - whether it be for the blog or one of the forthcoming publications.  I need your help!

All best wishes,

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

TV Show on the Way


This coming winter, the freeview UKTV channel, Yesterday, are to show a ten-part 60-minute genealogy series entitled Find My Past.  Yes, as you've probably guessed, the folk at FindMyPast will have a big part to play in proceedings.  Chris Paton ran with the story yesterday with his usual thoroughness - so have a look at his post, here.  The SoG have also reported on the matter, here.


The FFHS have circulated the following concerning Edinburgh City Archives, which I reproduce in full...

Would you please circulate to any readers who may be wishing to visit the searchroom of Edinburgh City Archives that we will be closed from Thursday 28th July 2011 until Tuesday 11th October 2011. This is to allow us to move the majorityof our archival holdings from our existing out-store accommodation to a new substantially improved, customised facility. This will be of great benefit to our users, and to the service itself.

People can still contact us for information and advice on 0131 529 4616 or email us at

Vikki Kerr, Edinburgh City Archives, Level 1, City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ, 0131 529 4391,

Irish Genealogy News have posted another update concerning recent additions to the IGP Archives.

One of the mainstays of the commercial sector here in the UK, magazine-wise, is, of course, Family History Monthly.  I would stress that I have not been 'put up' to this by the magazine itself, but they have made themselves rather conspicuous of late by substantially reducing their cover price to an impressive £2.99 per issue (£3.60 if ordering online).  Similarly, their subscription rates and associated offers are pretty good, too.  Their website can be found here - and their July 2011 issue has just been published.


Part 6 of FMP's series on understanding and interpreting old photographs (by Jayne Shrimpton) can be found here.


OK, so it's primarily aimed at the US market, but MyHeritage are currently running a competition, here.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Look Back to the '60s


The National Archives has set up a resource for those studying 1960s Britain.  See their news release, here, where you will find all the details and relevant links.  After having a quick look, I must admit it looks rather neat.


Lost Cousins' latest newsletter is now available, providing, as it does, a summary of recent family history news.  Most of the items have been covered on BI-Gen, but there are a couple of snippets which are new to me:  'Searching for Family History Using Google' and 'FamilySearch Re-instates Batch Numbers' are certainly worth a read.  There are also a few other bits and pieces worth running your eye over, so do have a look.

The British Library has been involved in the development and release of a new 'App' for the iPad called the '19th Century Historical Collection'.  It all sounds pretty spectacular - see here for full details.

I only mention an overseas news item if it's major, and I think MyHeritage's recent purchase of the substantial Polish genealogy website just about qualifies.  If you're interested, click here.

A few fairs are coming our way this weekend, thus:


Some useless information for the statos among you can be found here, from FindMyPast.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Crime and the Family History Scene


The National Library of Scotland has been hit with a pretty damaging criminal act, resulting in the loss of half a million pounds.  Chris Paton's post, here, provides a neat way into the story, including further links and some comment.

It is perhaps wise to mention at this juncture (i.e. before it's too late) the staging of 'Scotland's Family Tree' 2011 AGM in Perth on 30th July.  I have it on good authority from several folk that this is a very worthwhile gathering - the above-named Chris Paton, for one, waxes lyrical about it, here!  The direct link can be found here.  Best get your ticket ASAP.

GeneaBloggers' weekly update of new family history blogs can be found here - though there is nothing of any great interest for general UK/Irish researchers.


To tie in, again, with this post's title, there's an interesting article on the Daily Mail website concerning 'baby farming'.  Don't be put off by the somewhat irrelevant full-length, posed photo of the article's author (!), as the piece touches upon a fascinating aspect of our ancestors' past.


Something else which I spotted on GeneaBloggers was this rather curious post, concerning 'The Face of Genealogy'.  It seems that the offending image has now been removed from the website in question - but it is a rather strange little story.


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Some Action from TheGenealogist


That popular family history concern, TheGenealogist, has released news of a couple more additions to their databases.  They concern, firstly, a varied selection of military and regimental records, plus some notable additions to their wills books collection.  Click here to learn more.

Those of you with Jewish ancestry - especially in and around London - may be interested in the latest announcement from Europeana.  See their blog entry here for news of a forthcoming online exhibition entitled Yiddish Theatre in London.


There's not much in the way of news floating around today, so I shall let you get back to your Sunday snooze.  First of all, though, you may want to have a look at HistoryToday magazine's 'This Week in History' video clip, here.

Also, there's a neat little tip on offer from Mike Kostiuk, here, about conducting searches at the FreeBMD website.  Very clever.


1967:  Six-Day War breaks out in the Middle East;
1968:  Robert Kennedy shot - dies the following day;
1975:  UK citizens vote to remain in the Common Market.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

#AskArchivists Day


The National Archives, along with many other similar national and local institutions, will be taking part in a special online event called #AskArchivists Day on Twitter, on Thursday 9th June.  Read all about it, here, and keep an eye on your own local archive for regional participation.  You don't have to have a Twitter account to follow proceedings - though of course you will need one to actually contribute.

TNA's new Chief Executive and Keeper, Oliver Morley, will also be on hand in person to answer questions on the same day - in the public restaurant of TNA, between 2pm and 3.30pm - see here.

The latest TNA Podcast, Behind the Scenes: two centuries of census-taking, is now available - click here to access the same.

The Society of Genealogists has received a kindly mention by The Nosey Genealogist, here, where there is some news of further records being made available for members.  And the SoG's own blog is trying to persuade us to indulge in a membership package for Fathers' Day, here.

Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service have announced that the online index of wills proved in the Diocese of Lichfield has been extended and now covers the period 1650 to 1730. To view the index see .

S&N Genealogy have released their June Newsletter, where you will find news of their latest products, a few special offers, and, interestingly, their talks line-up for the forthcoming Yorkshire Family History Fair.

And Eneclann have a 50% off sale which runs until Sunday 12th June.  Go to their website, here, and click on the relevant link on the right-hand side.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Parish Chest Update


Those friendly folk at Parish Chest have issued another of their regular updates.  The usual banter followed by a lengthy listing of new product releases can be found here.

Earlier this week I presented you with a short list of forthcoming events and fairs.  Well, I forgot about one, namely, the Family & Local History Fair being held at Troon on Saturday 4th June (9am-4pm) - venue: Walker Halls (see here).  I did mention this a couple of weeks back but wanted to remind you all nearer the time.  Sorry I've left it a bit late.

Those of you within striking distance of The National Library of Scotland may wish to check out their 'Events' page.  There are a few bits and pieces coming up which are of interest to genealogists; and whilst you're on their website have a little sniff around - links to 'Exhibitions' and 'Audio Recordings' are especially interesting.


Your regular fix of 'History Headlines' from the BBC can be found here.


And forthcoming TV & Radio programmes can be found here and here.


1937:  The Duke of Windsor marries Mrs Wallis Simpson.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

New Carlisle Archive Centre


Researchers in the very NW corner of England will be delighted to learn that the new Carlisle Archive Centre opened yesterday, 1st June.  Formerly the Carlisle branch of the Cumbria Record Office, they have opened their doors with provisional opening hours - keen, as they are, to carefully feel their way and garner user feedback.  There doesn't seem to have been much of a fanfare surrounding the event - all I could find were an old announcement, here, and the opening hours, here.

FindMyPast have added more than 42,000 new London Probate Index records to their collection - see here.

MyHeritage have released version 5.1 of their popular (and free) software package, Family Tree Builder - read all about it here.

And the June issue of the e-mag, Discover My Past: Scotland is now available.


Blogger and DNA fanatic, John Reid, has found an online article for us which gives an interesting slant on the nature v. nuture debate.  Find the relevant link by going to John's post, here.


Check out this interesting video concerning the introduction of driving tests in 1935 (anniversary was actually yesterday, 1st June).


1953:  Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Good News for Dorset


Ancestry has added a huge chunk of parish register and wills material to its collections relating to Dorset.  It basically amounts to PR stuff 1813-2001 and wills & probate 1565-1858 - see the announcement here.

A new, completely free, online magazine has appeared on the scene called Warfare, produced by Wharncliffe Publishing.  Check it out here.  I tried the links and everything worked out fine - a pretty neat effort, actually.

The folk at HistoryToday magazine have a special offer on for new subscribers - see here.

ReadIreland has published another batch of Irish book reviews.  From the website click on 'Read Ireland Book News'.

Here's another list of historical things to see and do in June.

And following the passing, yesterday, of the centenary of the launch of the Titanic, here's a look back at the old ship's birth.


Irish Roots magazine's Facebook page has flagged an interesting new site called BillionGraves.  There's a neat intro to the same here, and the site itself can be found here.  OK, so it's only for iPhones at the moment and it's US-based, but it may be the start of something big worldwide.


There's an interesting little piece on the history of dirt, here.  Yes, dirt.


Birth of...
Brigham Young, US Mormon Leader, in 1801.

1946:  Introduction of TV licences in the UK (£2).