Friday, 30 September 2011

Family Tree Maker 2012


Fans of the Family Tree Maker genealogy package will possibly already be aware that the 2012 version is now on the market.  At the risk of this blog becoming an advert for Ancestry, I shall do no more than refer you to the official announcement here.  No, I don't use it myself, so couldn't comment one way or the other.

The National Archives of Ireland have announced a change to their 'Genealogy Service'.  If you're wondering what on earth the service is, then the dedicated page can be found here.

Archives for London have posted a 'Members' Invitation' to the forthcoming ARA London Region Meeting on Thursday 13th October.

The National Library of Scotland has updated its 'Events' page.  There are plenty of tasty-looking talks, etc., on offer, and if you fancy any, well, you are urged to book your place early.

Your Family History Magazine has a competition for a free book here, and is also offering folk the chance to win a free photo restoration, here

And further to mention in yesterday's blog of the new range of Kindles (see also yesterday's 'Comments'), Dick Eastman has written a related piece on the topic.


The week's 'History Headlines' from the BBC are now available.

And, also from the Beeb, is a witty piece about a famous history book.


And here's your TV & Radio for the coming week.


1967:  Launch of Radio 1 - listen to their opening salvo (and the first song) here. I will say that, yes, I was around at the time, but that, no, I was too young to remember.  Honest!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

GRO Survey


This one's been kicking around for a few days, but you may have missed it - and that is the General Register Office Survey. OK, it might not seem like major news, but judging by the tone of some of the questions it seems as if the authorities may be flirting with the possibility of a partnership with one of the genealogical big boys. Seems like a good opportunity, too, to tell them to introduce a watered down info service for us genealogists (rather than forking out for full certificates all the time).

Some advance warning about the London History Festival at Kensington Central Library and Waterstones Kensington during 14th-24th November - see the dedicated websites, here and here (not sure if it's all happening in Kensington or if the festival is a city-wide occasion). I'll give you another reminder nearer the time, by which time more information may have come to light. Oh, I've just spotted this pdf, too.

Another Podcast from TNA is available here (Out of the Way of Mischief).

I've noticed a couple of GENUKI county pages have been updated of late - Devon and Lincolnshire.

And I was quite taken by the release of an interesting piece of software, namely, Personal Historian 2.  OK, so it'll be all North American and all that entails, but it's an interesting concept and made me wonder if there's anything similar on the UK market.  If anyone can help me out - or has experience of the US package - do get in touch.


In a similar vein, check out this (again, North American) news feature on the release of the new Kindle line-up.  Now I haven't got one yet, and it'll be interesting to see if e-books really do take off like The Armchair Genealogist predicts. Though I think we're a wee bit behind the US on that score (as with most other things!)


There's a little background information to last night's WDYTYA? episode on the BBC to be found here.

And there's also a couple of other items of note on the same website: forthcoming TV/Radio, and the BBC's Turn Back Time programme are looking for participants for their next series.


Two Irish events:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

15 Years of Ancestry


The genealogy giant that is Ancestry is celebrating its 15th birthday next month by offering a series of special offers during 1st-15th October.  In their own words...

You’re invited to a 15-day celebration of your story — and ours. Visit daily October 1st – 15th to search some of our favorite collections for free and enter for a chance to win the prize of the day in the 15 Days of Discovery Sweepstakes.

So it may be worth keeping an eye on the situation when the new month breaks.  Owt for Nowt, as they say!

Ancestry have also added a couple of new record sets to their database, namely, the 'UK Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857', and the 'UK Surgeon Superintendent's Journals of Convict Ships, 1858-1867'.  See here, where you can pick up the links to further information.

The Society of Genealogists has put out a call for folk to consider joining its 'Friends' scheme, in what looks like an attempt to keep up with the genealogical Joneses.  If this is something you'd like to consider, see the SoG's announcement, where you can find a further link which gives you all the information you need by way of a pdf document.  The range of packages is wide to say the least!


A new e-friend of mine, Ros Bott, has turned out a handy guide to conducting genealogical research in her home patch of Warwickshire.

And The Telegraph's website published an article earlier this month concerning an issue which may eventually impact on us family historians, namely, the government sticking their noses into the 'commercialisation' of public data. In what many see as an attempt to cash in on the amount of data its various bodies hold, the government is all geared up to launch its 'Public Data Corporation' which will take hold of information held by the likes of the Land Registry, Ordnance Survey and The Met Office. The words 'thin', 'end' and 'wedge' come to mind. Read all about it here.


Some FindMyPast Ireland desktop wallpapers!


1745:  God Save the King, the National Anthem, is sung for the first time - at the Drury Lane Theatre, London;
1865:  Elizabeth Garrett Anderson becomes the UK's first practising female doctor;
1923:  Radio Times first published.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Tuesday Events Round-up


As usual, here's a list of forthcoming events which may be of interest to the family historian.  If you know of any that I've omitted then please let me know at ...

I should also like to give plenty of prior warning about two rather more distant events, both of which require advance booking, thus:
Another Lost Cousins newsletter is available for perusal.  There are several items in there that I haven't covered on my blog, and I'm going to force you to go there to pick them up as I think Peter Calver deserves to have his effort read by as many folk as possible.  So there.  Check it out here.

A couple of Irish items now.  First up is a spot by The Nosey Genealogist about the new forum at FindMyPast Ireland.  Hadn't noticed this before today.  The original post is here - then follow the link, then click on 'Forums' in the horizontal menu bar.  There's also a little intro here.

And the Irish Genealogy News blog has the latest on the forthcoming 'Certificate of Irish Heritage'.


It's such a lengthy post that I have to class it as an article, I think - and that's Chris Paton's colourful report on his adventures at the weekend's Tayroots Genealogy Fair.


And Chris also points out a new website, namely, 'The Breaking of Britain: Cross-Border Society and Scottish Independence, 1216-1314'.  See his post here, where the relevant link can be found.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Three-legged Man Mystery

In the absence of much in the way of news today, here are a few historical oddments to keep you entertained...

John Thomas Goddard of Weston, Bugsworth, was walking home with his father's wage - a sovereign - from the Lime Kiln where his father worked. He was set upon by two ruffians, who beat him so badly, his leg had to be amputated. Coincidentally, a day or so earlier, his brother had been killed on the Peak Forest Tramway. The amputated leg was buried in the coffin alongside the deceased brother.
[found among the records of St.Thomas Becket's Church, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire. Thanks to Jim Dunn]

The parishioners of Denchworth (formerly in Berkshire but now in Oxfordshire) must have wondered what Providence had in store for them when their new vicar was installed in the year 1446. He was called Parson Devyll.

C.Parker glazed this church in 1784 and glad of the job.
[message found scratched on the window of the south aisle of West Hendred Church]

1800 May: hail 6 inches in circumference.  July: temperature over 90 degrees F.
[Bulwick, Northants, PR]

And turn away if your name is Jay...
William Jay, buried the 24th day of March, being the last of his name in this parish and an end of a very worthless, malicious, ill-natured family, having for ages been remarkable for oppressing and (as much as in them lay) defrauding the Ministers of this parish of their just dues which character this person kept up to the last day of his life. Witness my hand, Rd Temple, Vicar, Pettistree.
[Pettistree, Suffolk, PR, 1744]

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Irish Warnings


Claire Santry of the Irish Genealogy News blog has posted a short report of a news story to come out the very highest levels of Ireland's corridors of power. A worrying summary/warning of the state of the country's National Archives and National Library, no less. Now that it's 'out there' maybe something will be done about it.

Claire also carries a warning on her blog about scams being operated for the obtaining of GRO certificates in Northern Ireland - so beware!

S&N Genealogy Supplies have issued the 'Late September' issue of their e-newsletter, including good news for their Diamond subscribers regarding the 1911 Census (especially concerning Wales!).  There's also a 15% discount to be had on their CDs.

Isle of Man residents (and visitors!) are gearing themselves up for the island's Heritage Open Days season which runs from 30th September to 8th October. Read all about what's on offer here.

And BBC History Magazine have put out another Podcast (East India Company + Horatio Nelson).


Addicts of the Mormons' FamilySearch website may care to take in the advice offered here - a kindly warning about making sure you don't miss anything by taking a look at their so-called 'browse-only image collections'.

FMPIreland's Facebook page has thrown up a link to an article which claims that genealogy is good for your brain (I kid you not).  Note: at the bottom of the said article, you'll also find a link to an in-depth piece about why we family historians do what we do.

Another article worth casting your eyes over is the BBC piece about how a wee curl of hair has unlocked the ancestry of Australia's Aborigines (thanks to Family Tree Magazine's Twitter page).

Friday, 23 September 2011

'Scotland: Mapping the Nation'


A new and quite fancy-looking book is soon to be released entitled Scotland: Mapping the Nation by publishers Birlinn. It will feature more than 220 maps, mostly from the collections of the National Library of Scotland, who carry this news release on the matter.

On the subject of publishing, the October issue of HistoryToday Magazine is now available - see here. From what I can make out, a good deal of the issue is available to read online - including the crossword!  There's also a link to a history quiz.

Two new publications have also been released by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. By reading my source for the news, here, you may then find the link to the relevant website.

Linen Hall Library, Belfast, played host to a visit by Ireland's President, Mary McAleese, on Monday - see the short report here.

A reminder that Lincolnshire Archives Search Room will be closed from Saturday 1st October to Monday 12th December 2011 inclusive (with the public car park already being unavailable). They will reopen at 10am on Tuesday 13th December. Formal announcement here.

The iMuseum in Douglas, Isle of Man, is laying on a 'Manx Election Special' for visitors to the attraction, featuring cuttings from their extensive newspaper collection. Much of the iMuseum's content will be made available online during 2012.

OK, so it's exclusively overseas news, but it is a fairly substantial item. Click here for news of 16million new records which have been uploaded onto the FamilySearch website.


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


And the Beeb's look-ahead to the week's TV & Radio can be scrutinised here.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Hell Breaks Loose


It's all kicking off in the genealogical world this morning following the news, yesterday, of the latest records release by Ancestry.  The original announcement - a huge piece of news pertaining to Irish records - can be seen here (you can also see them neatly listed here).  The National Library of Ireland, though, is not happy, as it insists that proper permission was not sought by Ancestry first.  The Irish Times has a reasonably full report on the matter here.  Trouble at t' mill, as they say.

Elsewhere, those other big-players, FindMyPast, have released their 'Manchester Collection', which pretty much speaks for itself.

A couple of items of slightly older news now in the shape of two reports on the FFHS website.  Both should be taken in by users of our London repositories especially:

I like to occasionally refer you to the list of forthcoming events maintained by the Scottish Association of FHSs - so here it is.

Staying in Scotland, East Lothian are flaunting their Polish connections with a special exhibition - see here.

Irish company Eneclann have released their latest newsletter, which includes a focus on Co.Clare.

And GenesReunited are currently offering a 10% discount on their Platinum subscription (valid until 3rd October).  Not that I've tried it myself, but the special code you need is, apparently, GENESRSEPT.


'Some WWI Photographs' is worth a look.


A bit of fun spotted by Chris Paton: The History of English (in 10 parts, in ten minutes!) - see his post here.  Nice one!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Opening Hours Changes


Two more of our (London) repositories have announced changes to their opening hours.  From 8th October, Sutton Local Studies & Archives Centre's new WEEKEND hours will be: every Saturday 9.30am-5pm, and every Sunday 1-4.30pm.  Website here.

And London Metropolitan Archives' hours will be changing from 14th November.  Check out full details here.

[Just a thought: if record offices and the like want to increase footfall, would FULL weekend opening not be worth a try?  They could then close on two or more of their quieter weekdays]

News of a forthcoming family history course in Aberdeen via the ScottishGenes blog - check it out here.

A few spots of news from Ireland now, beginning with the online appearance of the Derry Corporation Minute Books at PRONI (thanks to Chris Paton - see his post here).

The Irish Genealogy News blog points us towards news on the award of the very first Certificate of Irish Heritage - see here.  A curious concept, but quite a neat idea.  How long before the Scots and Welsh follow suit, I wonder?  Can't see an English version taking off, though (funny that, isn't it? And I'm English, before you ask!).

And anyone who followed the link on Monday's post to the Ulster Historical Foundation's book sale may have noticed that the discount code quoted on the site itself didn't work.  Well, now it does, I am assured.


A major 10-page article on the apparent demise of the study of history by Tristram Hunt MP has appeared online.  Read the introduction at the HistoryToday website, where you will find a link to the PDF document download (direct link here).  Interesting stuff.  Maybe as an MP he can help do something about the situation?


A debate of sorts seems to opening up about the nature and use of social networking and genealogy.  It's all been triggered by the opening up of the Google+ facility (it had previously been by invite only).  Short pieces on the same can be found here and here.  With Chris Paton (in the latter link) expressing his doubts about the new-fangled facility, The Wandering Genealogist takes things a step further by pooh-poohing not only Google+ but Twitter and Facebook, too - a point which he illustrates by taking a look at the latest craze to sweep the online family history world, namely, the 'Meme' - see his post here.  It certainly seems to be getting mighty complicated out there!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Another Big Weekend


Another full weekend of events looms.  Take your pick from this little lot:

Talking of events, the National Library of Scotland's 'Events List' has just been updated.

There's also a 'British Library's Newspaper Moves Strategy Workshop' coming up on Thursday 13th October.  I picked the news up at the Archives for London website - I assume it is being held at Colindale/British Library.

John Reid seems to have been the first to point out that DeceasedOnline are in the process of adding records for Eltham Crematorium, Greenwich, to their database.

And Chris Paton has posted details of his forthcoming online course 'Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs'.


FindMyPast have posted article No.9 in the 'understanding and interpreting old family photos' series from expert Jayne Shrimpton - see here.

Monday, 19 September 2011

'Tracing Your Roots' Returns


In case you missed it, the BBC Radio 4 programme Tracing Your Roots has returned to the airwaves.  Series 6 began last Tuesday, and can be caught on the BBC iPlayer, here.  As you can see, there are plenty of old episodes to catch up on, too - so that should keep you busy for a while.  Thanks to The Wandering Genealogist for reminding us about this one.


The National Archives have released a couple of news stories, both of which I think have already crossed our path this year.  Never mind, here they are:

There is much to report on from Ireland, too, beginning with a news snippet from the BritishGENES blog regarding a 'Family, Community and Migration History Course' in Ballymena.  Relevant information (and links) to be found here.

And the Ulster Historical Foundation have a book sale running, here.


Another story out of Ireland makes interesting general reading for us all with news of the demise of one of the country's longest surviving hereditary titles.  700+ years and 29 generations of titled privilege came to an end with the death of Desmond FitzGerald in Limerick last week - see the article here.


University of London student records, 1836-1931, can be found here.  Students from other institutions can be found in these records, too, as they often took exams there as external students.

One more from Ireland: the Irish Genealogy News blog has flagged a couple of really useful web resources pertaining to Irish population studies - read all about them here.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Save Our SRO


Over the past few days, various sources have reported the threat hanging over the future of Suffolk Record Office.  The original point of reference seems to be this BBC article which appeared in August, but no further developments or rumours have yet come to the fore.  There doesn't seem to be anything on the record office's website, nor on the 'Friends' page.  This one may rumble on for some time, but do get your say in if this repository means something to you (or even if it doesn't!)

The Irish Genealogy News blog has been busy - a total of five new stories were posted yesterday (Friday).  Rather than me repeating everything, why don't you have a look for yourself, here.

Another prominent item to come out of Ireland is the release of some 12,000 records from the parish registers of St.Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, at FindMyPast Ireland - read all about it here.  They're mostly burials, spanning 1677-1800.

Two new podcasts are available:

And Chris Paton has picked up a piece of news about the so-called 'Scotland's Archives Matter' report from the Scottish Council on Archives - see his post here, where the relevant link can be found.


Mr Paton has also flagged a brilliant Web resource for those interested in the city of Aberdeen - again, see his post here.


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


A few more forthcoming TV/Radio programmes are to be found here (see yesterday's post for a bigger listing).


And register your vote at a family history poll from MyHeritage.

Friday, 16 September 2011

FindMyPast Activity


FindMyPast have announced a couple of updates of late.  The first concerns a mini-release of some 1,600+ burials records for Gwent; and the second can be found on the FindMyPast Ireland site, namely, another batch of Huguenot records (French Church of Portarlington, 1694-1816).

Irish researchers will also be interested in the latest update to the Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives - see the report on the Irish Genealogy News blog.

The latest issue of Your Family Tree Magazine (No.108) is now available - see here.

Publishers of many a local and family history tome, Pen & Sword, currently have a sale running - check out their newsletter, here.

Visitors to The National Archives who are especially tech-savvy may be interested in this item of news concerning, well, it's all a bit, er, technical, so just have a look for yourself.

And users of the FamilySearch website (i.e. all of us) may wish to consider 'giving a little back' by having a look at their appeal for help.


An interesting little insight into the lives of our ancestors has popped up on The National Library of Ireland's blog.  All to do with the much misunderstood disease of scrofula, or The King's Evil.  Nice little article, with plenty of illustrations - have a look here.

Some modern-day social history now, and an article on the HistoryToday Magazine website chronicling shifting social attitudes to homosexuality during the 1950s and '60s.  The piece looks at the influence of movies especially, and specifically the 50th anniversary of the release of the landmark film, Victim. 


TV & Radio for the coming week.


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

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Your Story ... and Alan's


On what is a bumper day for items, we shall begin with a batch of articles to get your teeth into.  Coincidentally, I have fallen across several online guides to studying and writing up your family history this morning, so I thought I'd pass them on.  I've not fully investigated them all, but they do look rather good.

Spotted on Your Family History Magazine's Facebook page are mention of, firstly, GENUKI's guide to 'Getting Started in Genealogy & Family History'; and, secondly,'s '10 Steps to Writing Your Family History'.

And when I was reading Ros Bott's interesting piece on Shakespeare's Genealogy, I came across her completely free e-book, An Introduction to Genealogy.  Yes, it really is free - though you can also buy volume 2 if you wish.

In case you're wondering about the 'Alan' in the title above, well, it's Alan Carr, star of last night's episode of WDYTYA?  For more background information on the show, click here.


The Irish Genealogical Research Society is holding its 75th Anniversary Symposium in London on 1st October, where its theme will be Some Irish Comings and Goings - Aspects of Irish Migration.  If you're interested, you really need to act now and book your place.  So do it!

PRONI have announced some changes to their car parking arrangements, here.

Origins have announced the release of their Surrey 1695 Association Oath Rolls, containing nearly 12,000 names in total.

FamilySearch have announced some tweaks to their website - see here.

A few amendments/additions have been made to the Nottinghamshire page at GENUKI.

And the October issue of BBC History Magazine is now available.


A major new British genealogy blog has been launched in the shape of Chris Paton's BritishGENES.  But fans of Chris's ScottishGENES blog needn't worry, as this site will continue to operate.

In line with the links at the top of this post, readers may be interested in having a browse of the 'Save Every Step' website.  I haven't had the opportunity of properly looking at the site yet, but it seems like a genuine effort - has anyone out there used the same?


Finally, we're off to John Reid's blog now, and a recommendation for the new GenealogyInTime Toolbar.  Oh, and John also has a great post concerning some rogue genealogy TV ads - they're great, and do have a browse of the other videos which pop up in the YouTube display when the ads have finished, for there's more in there, too!  If you're easily offended, though, perhaps you should stay away!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Irish Debate


The website of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO) has posted a report on the recent get-together / debate on the future of Irish genealogy records, especially the issue of  access to the same.  It makes interesting reading, and raises concerns which are affecting us all across the whole of the British Isles - check it out here.

Whilst we're with Ireland, you may wish to make a note of the forthcoming 'Clare Roots Society's Genealogy & Family History Conference' on 1st October - see here.  Better get your skates on if you want to book a place.

October promises to be a bit special for Newtown as the National Library of Wales has organised a series of historical events in the town.  Check out this link, where you can click through for further information.

London researchers may wish to have a look at the fine detail of 'Archives for London's' forthcoming Conference.  Taking place on Saturday 29th October, it will be on the subject of 'Learning in London'.

Off to the outermost reaches of the British Isles now, namely, St.Kilda and Mingulay and the appearance, online, of their school log books.

I see that Cleveland FHS's Autumn Family History Day, which was lined up for Saturday 8th October, has been cancelled.  No real reason given - just the announcement here.

And there's a survey at GenesReunited for you.  Though it doesn't say so at the start, the prize is £50's worth of M&S/Amazon vouchers.  Only takes five minutes.


Just in case you missed the link in the CIGO report above, there is a rather fun interactive map on the Ordnance Survey Ireland website (click on the bit that says 'Looking for an address?').  You can do all sorts of overlay tricks and the like.  Splendid.


A short piece has popped up on how to archive your Facebook activity, thus saving you the annoyance of losing all the bits and pieces you've accumulated on their website.  Handy, if you're into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Shape of Things to Come


Yesterday I received a circular from David Holman, Chairman of the FFHS, imploring us all to act to help prevent pending cuts at Cornwall Record Office and the Cornish Studies Library The proposed changes can be seen here, and the gist of what David is saying is that this is the ‘thin end of the wedge’ for us countrywide.  And of course he’s right.  A pdf document was attached to the circular – a text which does not seem to be available online, so I will happily send it to anyone who is interested (contact me at  Otherwise, you should contact the repositories direct with your comments via the first link, above.  We should all be very wary of what is going on up and down the country in this respect, and be ready to act when we have to.  And, of course, to actually use the repositories as much as we can!

My usual Tuesday ‘Events Listing’ seems to get bigger every week.  And now I plan on including such items as ‘postcard fairs’, too, so brace yourselves…

On the subject of ‘events’, now seems a good time to remind you all of the forthcoming ‘Exploring Local History’ Lecture Series at PRONI.

Oh, and here’s another one: TNA’s one day conference, ‘Titanic 2012’, is now open for early bird discount bookings.  The event takes place on 14th April next year.

Ancestry are offering us the chance to brush up on our genealogical knowledge (and push a few of their products, too, no doubt!), by way of their week-long (I think) Ancestry Academy Not tried it myself, but you can investigate here.


A quite extraordinary genealogical story has appeared on the MailOnline website – see here.


And though it’s not very ‘genealogical’, blogger John Reid points to a nice post about ‘Life’s Instructions’ – see his little intro here, where you will find the link in question.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Back From the Fair


Had quite a time of it on Saturday, what with my visit to The National Family History Fair in Newcastle and the excitement of the Heritage Open Days Weekend.  I foolishly tried to squeeze everything into one day, but still had a very enjoyable time - including taking in a couple of talks at the fair (one on 'collaborative genealogy' by MyHeritage and a splendid 50-minute notes-free talk on 'genealogy and the media' by Nick Barratt.  I exchanged pleasantries with organiser Bob Blatchford and a few others, including a very brief 'hello-goodbye' encounter with ScottishGENES maestro, Chris Paton.  If you're reading this, Chris, I'm sorry I bothered you at such a busy time and I hope to have a longer chat with you at some point in the future!  If the truth be known, I didn't pick up any big news items to pass onto you all, except for a couple of websites - more of which later.

One major news item to pop up over the weekend was the appearance of more records on the DeceasedOnline website - this time concerning some 67,000 entries for cemeteries in Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

The next bit of news is every bit as important, actually, being the release of the latest issue of the Lost Cousins newsletter.  Lots of news and views as ever, of course, but there are also two notable special offers up for grabs in connection with the FindMyPast and DeceasedOnline websites - so do have a look.

Thanks to Chris Paton for pointing out that the 'Genealogy in Time' blog has publicised the availability of new cemetery records for Co.Kerry (direct link here).

A couple of new podcasts have popped up, too:


As promised, some websites which I picked up over the weekend....

First of all, you are probably already familiar with the UKBMD site, but do you know that there are two related sites dedicated to 'Genealogical Directories/Lists' (UKGDL) and 'Military Family History' (UKMFH)?  Well, you do now. 

I also picked up a leaflet for the 'Family & Community Historical Research Society' website - something which I have mentioned before.  However, there is a facility at which enables you to download two free articles from back copies of the society's journal.  What you do is click on the link above, then go to 'Top Articles' (top right of screen), then take your pick.  And it works, as I've just tried it myself.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Saturday Reading


As I'll be spending most of today (Saturday) in Newcastle city centre, attending the National Family History Fair and taking in a few landmarks as part of the Heritage Open Days weekend, I have prepared this post a little early and scheduled it in for the early hours of Saturday morning.  I have had a look round for some reading for you, and the first thing I came across was an article on the issue of backing up your data - a thought-provoking piece which doesn't really provide any definitive 'best' answer ... though that's maybe because there isn't one.

The Ordnance Survey blog has a post which may be of interest to those of you who love maps (as many family historians do) and have been thinking about getting something in this line for your mobile phone.  Read the 'Mapping Applications for Your Phone' post here.

Then there is, of course, the BBC's 'History Headlines' weekly instalment.


There's more reading for all you Welsh researchers who may not be aware of this useful-looking blog.

And read Christine Woodcock's blog post, here, for news of a handy online resource for Stray Scottish Marriages.


Just the one item: a link to the latest Pen & Sword newsletter, which contains their '4 for 3' special offer and a family history books deal.


A curious (and slightly perplexing) offering from the HistoryToday website, in the shape of 'Five Meditations on England'.  If nothing else it raises the question of English identity - both how they see themselves and how others see them.

Friday, 9 September 2011

New Mags


Two of our established genealogical magazines have just published their latest issues.  Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine was released a few days ago and can be scrutinised here; and Family Tree Magazine's latest offering is being advertised here.  FTM is also running a survey with some nice prizes.

TheGenealogist's latest record releases can be viewed here, the most recent being a varied range of poll books, PRs, military records, school registers and some criminal records (England/Wales) for their Diamond subscribers.

The Irish Genealogy News blog has issued a mini-update of forthcoming Ireland-related events.

Yorkshire folk may care to indulge in the Huddersfield History Seminars/Lectures being held at the town's university.  Seems like they're open to all, and there's no need to book.

Blogger Chris Paton has a report on the new National Library of Scotland Bill, here.

And here's a little bit more news on the major overseas event that is Rootstech.


Those of you who watched last night's Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC TV may wish to follow it up with a bit of extra reading here and here (both contain 'spoilers' if you've not yet seen the show!).  You will note that there is a link to the programme on BBC iPlayer to be found via that second link.

And there's the usual weekly schedule of forthcoming TV & Radio stuff to be found here.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

News from London


A few items concerning major London institutions to begin with.  First of all, there's the 'fixture list' for the rest of 2011 concerning events at the British Library.  I'll give you the link to the September listing, but you can easily move to future months from the page I've given you.

Then there's the latest newsletter from The National Archives.

And whilst we're in London, there's a little something on Black and Asian history in the UK with this series of lectures.  Though it says you don't need to book, it's probably best to double-check with the contact email if you're travelling from a distance.

Moving up the country a little bit, we have major news concerning Derbyshire Record Office and Derbyshire Local Studies Library.  Big changes coming up in the next few days, so please have a look if your interests lie in this part of the world.

FindMyPast have made an announcement concerning the availability of new Crew Lists for 1881 & 1891 - a chance, perhaps, to find that ancestor who was strangely missing from the census!

Origins also have some news for us, this time concerning their Hertfordshire Wills Index, 1415-1857.

Issue 19 of Your Family History magazine is now available.  YFH also have a competition running - see here.

Belfast's Linen Hall Library is playing host to a series of PRONI lunchtime lectures over the coming months.  They're free, but booking is essential - see here.  And Northern Irish researchers will be pleased to learn about the improved bus service to PRONI's premises.


A nice treat for Irish researchers can be found here - a huge list of freely-available online e-books!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Interesting Reading


I seem to have fallen upon a glut of interesting little articles on the Internet over the past couple of days, so I thought I'd pass them onto you.  Oh, and do let me know if you yourself ever find anything useful or entertaining - contact me at

OK, so the first one is essentially a 'commercial' piece, but it still has a fair bit of value.  It's from Ancestry and is entitled 'Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors' - though it's mainly for the US market.

Christine Woodcock has blogged a useful link to help those engaged in researching Masonic ancestors - follow her lead by clicking here.  While I'm on the subject of Christine's blog, I should also mention her post on the subject of keeping a journal/diary - a useful prompt for us lazy genealogists (myself included).

If your looking for a bit of womanly advice, there's a curious piece to be found on the MailOnline website.

And finally, I have the 'Updates Genie' blog to thank for a helpful listing of how to go about applying for civil BMD certificates across Europe.  Follow the link on the original post, here (just in case there's a problem, the direct link is here).


Please don't forget to cash in on the Heritage Open Days weekend across England - with operations commencing tomorrow, 8th September.  Similar schemes are, of course, operating in Scotland and Wales.

ReadIreland have issued another batch of book news.  Click here, then click on 'ReadIreland Book News'.

And talking of books, I see a major new work has recently been published by OUP entitled Surnames, DNA, and Family History.  I've not seen a copy, but if David Hey is involved it's usually pretty good. (Note: you may get it a bit cheaper on Amazon)


A nice spot by Chris Paton: the Scottish 1841-1911 Census Street Indexes are now online.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Big Weekend


This coming weekend sees a sizeable batch of events of interest to the family historian...

In addition to the above, I think it wise to give you another reminder about the Cleveland FHS's Autumn Family History Day at Scotch Corner on Saturday 8th October.  As places for this 'do' have to be booked in advance, there seems little point in mentioning it again - so act now if you're interested (if it's not already too late!).

Whilst we're on the subject of 'what's on', you may be interested in this listing of upcoming Scottish events.

[ Please send details of any forthcoming events into me at and I'll be happy to mention them.  I tend not to mention individual talks (too many), but anything longer will get a mention ]

S&N Genealogy have issued their September Newsletter.  Most of the news contained therein I have already brought you, but you should still have a quick look in case you're tempted by any of their sales pitch!

Ancestry have updated a couple of their record sets (UK immigration) - see here.

BBC History Magazine have another Podcast on offer (abolition of the slave trade, history of migraines and Erddig).


A website which I always find useful for detailed historical facts regarding almost any corner of the country is British History Online, and would recommend that you always bear the site in mind when conducting online research.  They've just issued a little update about some site changes, which gives me a flimsy excuse to pass on my general recommendation.

John Reid also offers a recommendation in the shape of The Wellcome Library and its blog.  See his post here, where you will find the link in question.  The library's post of 1st September is especially interesting.

HistoryToday also passes on details of a useful-looking website for those interested in warfare - see here.


And HistoryToday also provide a look back at 'This Week in History'.

Monday, 5 September 2011



Just in case you haven't yet seen it, you may care to visit the government's e-petition website and join the campaign for reduced fees for 'research copies' of birth, marriage and death certificates in England & Wales - see here.  Do it now before you forget - even if you're Irish, Scottish, or anything else, for that matter!

Essex researchers may already be aware of this news, but I've just come across the Essex Record Office's 'Programme of Events' for 2011.  There's absolutely loads going on - coming up this month there is a conference on fashion (24th), a 'Discovery Maps' session (15th) and another of their regular 'Searchroom Tours' (21st).  All need to be booked in advance.

Several more records have popped up at TheGenealogist in the last few days, featuring lots of Worcestershire PR transcripts, a small selection of English trade directories and news of the release of the complete 1911 census for Hertfordshire.  Click here for further details.

And thanks to Chris Paton for spotting a new development at FindMyPast Ireland (new 'forum' section) - see his post here.


Irish Roots' Facebook Page has flagged an interesting feature on the Belfast Telegraph's website.  As you can see, it offers folk the chance to obtain copies of images held in Linen Hall Library's collection.


The remains of infamous outlaw, Ned Kelly, have been identified - minus his head, that is.  Read all about it here.


1972:  The 'Munich Massacre' begins at the Summer Olympic Games in West Germany.  11 Israeli athletes (+ 6 others) would lose their lives in the two-day hostage-taking episode carried out by the Palestinian terrorist group 'Black September'.


Saturday, 3 September 2011

Irish Flurry


A rush of news out of Ireland, courtesy of the Irish Genealogy News blog, with posts on the following topics:

Parish Chest have published another newsletter, which contains plenty of the usual friendly chat as well as the many latest releases from societies up and down the country.

Those with Northumberland interests may wish to investigate this little mystery.  John Reid has pointed out the apparent release of a fresh batch of records pertaining to England's most northerly county, but, as his post and the related comments make clear, there is some dispute as to who can actually access them.  Anyway, you may wish to have a look (and a try) for yourself.

I know it seems a long way off - both in terms of distance and time - but I've started noticing mentions of next February's Rootstech Conference in the US ... here, for example.  Well, it is quite a big event, so we can't really ignore it!


FindMyPast are doing their very best to milk as much as they can out of the recently-released Merchant Navy Seamen records (see my post of yesterday) - including a curious little piece about some celebrity links (note: TNA's take on the record-release can be seen here).

Postcard collectors out there may, or may not, be aware of this information, but The Wandering Genealogist offers a spot of advice on the topic, here.

And John Reid's blog offers something a little off-beat, here.  How does your face measure up, I wonder?

Friday, 2 September 2011

Merchant Navy Records


Today's big news comes from FindMyPast, who have released 1 million UK Merchant Navy Seaman records covering 1918-41.  All very appropriate, as its Merchant Navy Day tomorrow (3rd).

The National Library of Ireland's latest newsletter can be found here.  One or two bits of interest to the genealogist in there.

The HistoryToday Magazine website has a couple of items worth casting your eyes over.  Firstly, there's their Podcasts page; then there's an 'Events Listing' page for September.

In a similar vein, the BBC's HistoryExtra website has a handy 'Out and About' section for the coming weeks.


More from the BBC can be found in this week's selection of 'History Headlines' - which you should certainly take in, with plenty of stories to tickle the genealogist's fancy.  There's a piece about the Black Death bacterium, plus an interesting article about genetics and our ancient past.


And there's the usual TV & Radio schedule for the week ahead.  In a fabulous-looking listing, we have the start of the long-awaited Reel History of Britain (to which family historians donated much material), Nelson's Navy: Back From the Dead and World War II's Luckiest Man Revealed.  Get that diary out.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Postcard Fair


I'm a bit late with this one, but if you're a postcard collector you probably know about it already.  Anyway, the fact is that today is the opening day of the Picture Postcard Show 2011.  It's a mighty three-day affair, so there's still time for you to trot along if you're somewhere near London - full details can be found here.  I spotted this story on The Wandering Genealogist's blog - thanks John!

More news from London - this time The National Archives - but it actually concerns the availability of a new resource concerning Nottinghamshire and its 'Manorial Documents Register'.

Not too far away from Nottingham lies the fine city of Sheffield - and researchers there will be delighted to learn that Sheffield City Archives will be re-opening on Monday 5th September.  As far as I'm aware, everything remains on course as per this news update.

A couple of items from Scotland.  Firstly, there's news of a 'Scottish Working People's History Display' at the National Library of Scotland (click on the link, then follow the further link).  And also, thanks to Chris Paton for pointing out the release of the September issue of Discover My Past: Scotland - see his post here.


1939:  Germany invades Poland, triggering WWII;
1969:  Bloodless coup in Libya sees Colonel Gaddafi take power.