Friday, 31 August 2012

Genealogy News - 31st August are offering £5's worth of credits for free - click here. (where you will also find details of a 10% off deal on their subscriptions).

PRONI are running a series of lectures which will be of great interest to many of you - see here. Best ring to secure your place.

Here's news of St.Ives Archive's annual open day.

The SoG have a report on their recent visit to the Ragged School Museum.

There's a piece on the family history of some of our political leaders.

Irish researchers will be regular visitors to Claire Santry's excellent Irish Genealogy News blog. Two recent posts which have caught my eye are:

And a couple of items from Chris Paton's equally-impressive blog:

The latest HistoryToday podcast (Civil Wars) is now available.

Ancestry have something for the techies, here.

TNA have announced plans to revamp their museum.

Nicola Elsom has produced an interesting piece on Hampstead Cemetery. has some news on London wills.

New/recent releases by Archive CD Books can be found here.

Blogger John D Reid points us in the direction of a free online e-magazine, The Celtic Guide. John also reviews the genealogy-focussed search engine, Mocavo.

US readers may be interested in reading about's latest American adventures.

There's a little piece of British history currently being featured on the Ordnance Survey blog: Police Call Boxes!

There are only a few days left of the Pen & Sword Books sale.

I'm a little bit late with this, but the IHGS's latest e-newsletter is now out. It has a useful listing of forthcoming society events.

A couple of items from the Scottish Genealogy Society, which I will pass on in full:

Doors Open 2012 - The Scottish Genealogy Society's library will be taking part in this annual event for the first time. We shall be open on 22 and 23 September when we will be giving three short presentations on the Society at 15 Victoria Terrace at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm on Saturday and 10am, 12pm and 2pm on Sunday. Anyone wishing to attend should call the library (0131 220 3677) or e-mail to book a place. However, members should be aware that if you were planning to use the library for research on the Saturday, you should make sure you bring your membership card, as we expect the library to be very busy that day and entry will have to be strictly controlled.

The Emigrants Index - Transcription of our Emigrants Index has finally been completed and is now available on the public computers here at Victoria Terrace. The areas covered by the Index are: Asia, Africa, Ireland, South America, Australia, Europe, USA and the West Indies. This has been a mammoth task and I think all involved deserve a pat on the back! The next project for our hard working volunteers is the Cross Border Marriages and we are hoping this can be made available as they are transcribed and indexed.

Here's the usual Friday bits and bobs from the Beeb:

For more news don't forget to follow the BI-Gen Twitter feed over the next few days.

FREE access to 1911 Census...
Remember that Ancestry have made the 1911 Census for Eng/Wal/IoM/CHIsles available for free - see here. You will need to register for a free account to avail yourself of this brilliant offer - a simple enough process.
(It's worth pointing out, too, that are offering free access to their US Census Returns 1790-1940 until 3rd September)

You may have missed this on Twitter, so to those men who dare...

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Genealogy News - 28th August

The family history world continues to limp along during what is a very quiet August. There isn't much to report on since my Friday bulletin, but here's what I have to pass on...

First up, there's the latest Lost Cousins newsletter.

The latest TNA Podcast is here. There's a little bit of background info, too, here.

Also from TNA: an update on the digitisation of WWI unit diaries project.

The great Neil Armstrong died a few days ago, of course - and here's a fitting post by blogger Randy Seaver (which focusses on his family history).

There's news of a 1831 Census for Jedburgh here.

The weekly round-up of entertaining history links from the Two Nerdy History Girls can be found here.

Forthcoming events of interest to the genealogist...

More genealogy news, etc., to be found at the BI-Gen Twitter feed, where I shall do my best to keep you entertained.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Genealogy News - 24th August

Ancestry are offering their immigration and emigration records for free during 23rd-26th August - so don't miss out! (some sources say the offer ends on 25th, so get in ASAP!). Remember, too, that Ancestry have also made the 1911 Census for Eng/Wal/IoM/CHIsles available for free - see here). BTW, in both cases you will need to register for a free account - a simple enough process.

It's not all plain sailing for Ancestry, though. Check out this post by John D Reid about the down side of their 'AncestryDNA Test' service. Oh, and Debbie Kennett takes a look at the very same service from a UK perspective, here (you may wish to click through to Part 1 first). is offering 10% off all subscriptions. Follow this link, have a look around, then navigate to the subscriptions page and use the code AUGFMP10 when making your purchase. Should work up to and including 30th August. If, on the other hand, you think you may benefit from FMP's 'worldwide' package (not currently available via you can get your hands on this via - and obtain the same at a 10% discount (until 14th September) ... go here, and the deal is at bottom left of screen.

Oh, and FMP have also released some new Warwickshire parish records.

This week's WDYTYA? TV show was generally well received - there's a little bit more info on the episode here.

The August edition of the S&N Genealogy Supplies newsletter is worth a browse - see here. It includes all the recent additions to TheGenealogist packages.

The September issue of HistoryToday Magazine is now available.

Talking of new issues, here's the Autumn edition of Irish Roots Magazine.

new police museum is to be built in Belfast - see the BBC report, here.

Here's a neat idea, as spotted by The Armchair Genealogist. Will it spread to our shores, I wonder?

OK, it may be another piece written from a North American perspective, but blogger Dick Eastman offers plenty of advice, here, for ailing family history societies.

Thanks to @GeneticsUpdate on Twitter for flagging an article on the 'Secrets of the World's Oldest Family'.

There's an insightful piece on the Quaker Strongrooms blog about WWI conscientious objectors - always a fascinating subject.

There's a beautifully written article about grandfather-father-son relationships to be found on The Guardian website. It's by journalist/writer Duncan Hamilton - no wonder the guy has won so many awards.

If it's Friday, then it must be time to visit the BBC's HistoryExtra website:
  • Latest Podcast;
  • Forthcoming TV/radio;
  • And the week's 'History Headlines' should be available soon via here;

I'm pleased to say that Twitter has livened up lately as regards genealogy news - keep checking on the BI-Gen Twitter feed for a regular flow of goodies.

In the great British comedic tradition...

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Genealogy News - 21st August

During what is a very quiet time in the family history world, we'll begin with a mini round-up from two of my favourite blogs. First up is Chris Paton's BritishGENES blog:

Next we have Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News blog:

If you're sat there waiting for the release of Ancestry's 'Family Tree Maker 2013', then best read this.

Here's an unusual and somewhat obscure resource: the British Armorial Bindings Database.

OK, so I'm a few days late with this one. A brief look at the family history of Elvis Presley, some 35 years after his death.

Home Guard records for WWII for County Durham have been released by TNA - see here.

The latest gathering of interesting history links is available from the Two Nerdy History Girls.

Check out this little video of the most popular baby names in England & Wales for 2011.

Forthcoming events of interest to the family historian:

Don't forget the BI-Gen Twitter feed for other news items and stories (bit quiet lately!).

When You Gotta Go...

Friday, 17 August 2012

Genealogy News - 17th August

As a researcher you may have sometimes found it difficult to obtain advice and guidance on all things Catholic. Well, Pete Barlow, a member of the Catholic FHS, has contacted me to notify us of the launch of his blog on the very subject entitled 'Catholic Family History'. It's only been up and running since 11th August, so scroll back to his first post, have a flick through the rest of 'em, and do keep the blog in mind when you encounter your next problem with 'the old faith'. BTW, the Catholic FHS Day Conference & AGM is taking place in London on Saturday 20th October - see here.

Ancestry have added a couple of new datasets to their website: UK (Eng/Wal) Death Duty Registers 1796-1811, and Articles of Clerkship 1756-1874 (legal apprenticeships) - see here. In respect of the former, Chris Paton makes some good points here.

Staying with Chris Paton, check out these two recent posts of his:

Over at the Irish Genealogy News blog, Claire Santry has been especially busy these past few days. Follow the link and browse back through stories which include items on a saved churchyard in Kilkenny, Saturday events, more events for late August, Ireland Genealogy Projects Archive update, and more.

The latest podcast from TNA is on the subject of Coroner's Inquests.

The FindMyPast blog takes a look at the family history of TV presenter John Craven.

This short note on the National Library of Scotland blog may get you looking at their photographic collections.

Sticking in Scotland, here's an interesting family history-related piece about the Edinburgh Fringe/Festival.

Those closely interested in the future of our libraries here in England may wish to check out the latest post on the 'Envisioning the Library of the Future' blog.

Kent researchers will want to check out this source for MIs.

With the seemingly heavy reliance on digital records and databases these days, it is as well to take note of what blogger Audrey Collins has to say on the topic.

Family History All Done? What's Your Number? provides a somewhat simplistic yet effective look at the mathematics of ancestral research.

Just in case any of you missed it, here's a link to the BBC iPlayer and Wednesday's WDYTYA? programme (background info here). Oh, and I see that the US version of the show isn't dead yet!

We'll stay with blogger Dick Eastman, who has flagged a great piece about an anti-Semitic politician who's discovered that he's, er, Jewish. Priceless.

The BBC's HistoryExtra site gives us:

If you fancy a (pretty tough) history crossword, then take a look at this.

Finally, don't forget that the 1911 Census for England & Wales (+ Isle of Man & Channel Islands) is freely available at Ancestry - see yesterday's post.

More news at the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

Darwin's marital musings...

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Special Post - 1911 Census FREE

This can't wait till Friday, so here it is: free access to the 1911 Census for England & Wales from Ancestry until, it seems, 2nd November! Here's the official blurb...

If you could only search one record collection before becoming an member, which one would it be? Most of you would choose the 1911 Census – which is why we’ve made it completely free for a limited time! 
The 1911 Census is the largest and most recent of the available England & Wales census collections – and the perfect place to start discovering your family’s past. Like all UK censuses it reveals your relatives’ addresses, occupations and addresses, but it also includes extra information like how long couples had been married and how many children they’d had. 
Plus, each household has its own page in the census, written in your ancestors’ original handwriting. We’ve created a special interactive viewer to bring these records to life like never before.  
Most of you will have grandparents or even parents that were alive in 1911, so try searching for them first. Just type in a name, have a guess at where they lived and when they were born, and see what you can discover.

The link to the search page is here, and more info on the special interactive viewer can be found herePlease note that you will have to register for a free account - but I've had just such an account for ages, and it's no problem accessing the original 1911 returns ... I have, in fact, been looking at them all evening! The 'terms & conditions' say that they will, incredibly, be available until 2nd November - so fill yer boots. 

Good luck!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Genealogy News - 14th August

The latest Lost Cousins newsletter is now available (as excellent as ever).

New records from FindMyPast: the RAF Muster Roll 1918.

Talking about WWI, I do hope you're all geared up for the forthcoming centenary of the conflict beginning (obviously) in 2014 - I see the FFHS's website now has a page dedicated to the anniversary.

DeceasedOnline have launched a new blog.

A couple of items from Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News blog:

More important Irish news (GRO developments) here.

There seems to have been a burst of activity on the Scottish Association of FHS website.

The September issue of Family Tree magazine is now on the market.

And here's news of the the latest issue of the WDYTYA? Magazine.

Whilst we're with WDYTYA?, it seems appropriate to remind you of the start of the new TV series this week - and there's also an appeal for help with a new TV series, here.

This post on The Flemish People in Scotland will interest more researchers than you may at first think!

Here's the weekly round-up of history links from the Two Nerdy History Girls.

Here's the latest e-bulletin from TNA. Oh, and here's a survey from TNA, too... And a new Podcast, in fact.

Techies may be interested in news of a new phone app from MyHeritage.

Canadian with Scottish roots? Check out this special offer from Christine Woodcock.

And here's your list of forthcoming events:

Keep checking, too, at the BI-Gen Twitter feed for further bits and bobs.

That's all until Friday - remember, it's now two (big) posts per week here at the BI-Gen Blog. But don't worry, you'll not miss a thing.

Gentlemen - an essential accessory:

Monday, 13 August 2012

Change of Tack

Hello all. For those of you tuning in hoping for a daily dose of genea news, well, there's been a change of plan - a re-think, if you like - here at BI-Gen Towers.

Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. I will still be bringing you all the usual stuff here on the BI-Gen Blog - links to news, stories, articles and the occasional bit of fun - but I have decided to post two giant posts per week instead of the almost daily instalments I have provided in the past. I shouldn't imagine that the change will make the slightest difference to you, the reader; but it will free up a fair bit of time for yours truly. And there's a reason for this.

It is a bit of an experiment, but for the moment I'm planning on posting two lengthy updates per week, probably on Tuesdays and Fridays - and of course I shall keep plugging away on my BI-Gen Twitter feed on pretty much a daily basis.  If there is any benefit for the reader, it'll be that you only have to call in once or twice per week, where you'll find only the one or two posts to wade through to catch up on all the family history news.

But what, I hear you ask, do I need the extra time for? Do I have a new high-powered job in the City? Am I the man behind the rumoured buy out? Am I going into training for the 2016 Olympics? No, no and, er, no. But I am turning a big idea around in my head and wondering how best to go about it - and I'll (hopefully) be in a position soon to tell you all about it.

So stick around.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

'Something for the Weekend': An Appeal

As you no doubt know, the weekend is often a time for a break from the genealogy news here on the BI-Gen Blog. From time to time I post opinion pieces about, well, whatever pops into my head - as well as occasional articles by other folk, too. These little efforts appear under the banner of 'Something for the Weekend', and are designed to give us a break from the usual fare of the blog, make us think a bit, make us smile, maybe - and perhaps offer a bit of controversy.

However, after slogging on for several months largely on my own, I'm beginning to run out of ideas. So how about a bit of input from you, the readers? If you’d like to write a piece for the ‘Something for the Weekend’ feature, run it past me - I'd really like to hear from you. There is no need to be an expert, a published author, or qualified in any way. You just need to have something interesting to say – or maybe you’d like to promote a product, a research technique or even show off your expertise! No fee will be paid for your post, but you can give something a little ‘plug’ if you wish (a book, a website, or whatever).

If you're interested, get in touch with me at . Remember, it can be serious, funny, controversial, thought-provoking - almost anything, really, as long as it has something to do with family history, genealogy or history in general. Ideally, it should be around 400-600 words, but this is only a rough guide.

In case you're still looking for a flavour of what I'm on about, here are the subjects covered so far:

So come on, don't be shy...

Mick Southwick.

Friday, 10 August 2012

New 'Mag' + News From Far & Wide

A new Internet resource entitled the Irish Heritage Magazine has appeared on the scene - thanks to the Irish Genealogy News blog for the tip-off.

This may have crossed my path before, but there's another chance to listen to BBC Radio 4's The Library Returns - find a short intro and the relevant link here.

FindMyPast has made available another record set: Prison Ship Records, 1811-1843.

There's been a flurry of activity at the National Archives of Scotland website, with news concerning the new William Wallace exhibition and a major new acquisition. Follow the links from their homepage for more information.

Those within striking distance of London may wish to consider signing up to this SoG course.

I hope you will take care to read and learn the lessons from this short article by Michael J. Leclerc entitled Mark Twain's Warning to Genealogists.

Another article dwells on the thorny issue of sibling rivalry.

And from the BBC's HistoryExtra website:

More, of course, to be found at the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

Oh, and if you fancy writing a little article for me, then look out for tomorrow's post!

Offspring? I think not...

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Free Irish Mag & Other News

Issue 3 of the most excellent (and free) Irish Lives Remembered is available here. Previous issues here.

WDYTYA? Magazine's website is running a competition.

The latest e-bulletin from Essex Record Office is available here (lots of talks, etc.). BTW, Essex Record Office also has a blog.

A couple of items of note from Ireland and blogger Claire Santry:

For those of you interested in such things, TNA have released a news item concerning the 'Draft Archives Service Accreditation Standard'.

Ancestry have updated their 'England & Wales FreeBMD Indexes', though the exact details of the upgrade itself are not given - see their 'updates page'.

I'm sure we can all recognise a little of ourselves in Audrey Collins' list entitled 'You Know You're a Genealogist When...'

Do you have relatives from the Highland Clearance who settled in Canada? Then check out this post from blogger Christine Woodcock.

More news at the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

In celebration of the 2012 Olympics, GenesReunited are currently offering 20.12% off their Platinum subscription (offer runs until midnight on Sunday 12th August). Click below and jump to the 'subscribe' section.

ancestor, ancestry, family tree, family history, r

From the Europeana blog...

(click on the ads to see full-size)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

This Week's, erm, Events...

Here are your forthcoming events - not many, as you can see. May be something to do with a certain sporting get-together being hosted by the UK...

There's been a bit of a rush of new material made available for Diamond subscribers to TheGenealogist - mainly London PRs and directories.

Blogger Audrey Collins points out some useful stops on the Internet for London research.

It may be more than a year away, but those of you with an interest in Irish Presbyterianism may wish to have a look at this conference.

If you fancy browsing lots and lots of old stories from former Olympic Games, then take a look at the British Newspaper Archive's blog and scroll through the last few posts. Interesting stuff!

Again, this isn't very genealogical, but there's a nice piece entitled A Happy Accident: Fleming and Penicillin on the Europeana blog.

Caribbean researchers will want to check out this piece of news from TNA.

Regular readers will know that I'm an avid fan of, the self-publishing company - and I see they have a 20% off deal available on all orders until 10th August. Website here (where you should see the offer displayed) and my own 'shopfront' can be found here.

And the BI-Gen Twitter feed can be found here.

There will be no post tomorrow (Wednesday 8th) due to family commitments. See you on Thursday!

From Taibach Churchyard, South Wales:

Hurrah! my boys, at the parson's fall,
For if he'd lived he'd a-buried us all!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Slow-Moving Monday

As everyone keeps telling us, August is traditionally the slowest month for family history news. And it sure feels like it today. Anyway, here are a few items for you...

Always worth a quick look for Irish researchers is the Eneclann newsletter - latest edition here.

The Court of Common Pleas and its Records forms the subject matter of the latest podcast from TNA.

Another underused research resource is the archival material held by our museums - get a hint of what may be available via this post on TNA's blog.

One or two interesting bits and bobs can be found in the latest e-bulletin from The British Library.

Another instalment from the SoG's blog on sporting ancestors - this time focussing on rowers.

The usual weekly round-up of historical links and stories from the Two Nerdy History Girls can be found here.

There's a little bit of family background to Marilyn Monroe's life, here. Incredibly, it's just gone 50 years since her death.

Though it has a distinct US-bias, here's a useful overview of genealogy podcasts and webinars by blogger John D Reid.

And the BI-Gen Twitter feed attempts to keep you further entertained.

In celebration of the 2012 Olympics, GenesReunited are currently offering 20.12% off their Platinum subscription (offer runs until midnight on Sunday 12th August). Click below and jump to the 'subscribe' section.

ancestor, ancestry, family tree, family history, r

Careful, chaps...

Friday, 3 August 2012

FMP, Ireland, TNA & More

There's been quite a bit of the old shenanigans concerning use of the new website by professional genealogists for client research (if you see what I mean). Blogger Chris Paton has been doing his best to follow proceedings - see here. Needless to say, there may be further developments to come!

Claire Santry reports on the latest episode in the Irish GRO debate.

The TNA book sale ends at midnight tonight (Friday).

And TNA's blog has an instructive piece on house histories and the Valuation Office Survey of 1910-15.

The latest post on the blog has the organisation claiming that they've now indexed the whole of the 1940 US Census.

Here's a special event in Dublin on 23rd August that is sure to interest genealogists.

Here's a one I've not heard of before: nominations are now open for the UK National Register for the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme.

And the usual Friday stuff from the BBC's HistoryExtra website:

Keep tabs on the news over the weekend via the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

In celebration of the 2012 Olympics, GenesReunited are currently offering 20.12% off their Platinum subscription (offer runs until midnight on Sunday 12th August). Click below and jump to the 'subscribe' section.

ancestor, ancestry, family tree, family history, r

Epitaph from unknown location:

Here lies John Hill,
A man of skill,
Whose age was five times ten;
He never did good,
And never would,
If he'd lived as long again.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

FMP & Ireland, Mainly

FindMyPast, who have had an exceptional past few weeks in terms of record releases - to say nothing of the small matter of the launch of US-based - have given old and new users of their site a nice boost with this piece of news about old credits.

Potential problems in Northern Ireland. From the horse's mouth:

Due to the potential of industrial action by NIPSA members from 1st August 2012, PRONI visitors are advised that there may be disruption to service during late evening opening.  If you are planning to visit PRONI on a Thursday evening, please contact PRONI prior to your visit for information on the availability of services.
Website at

Interesting news for Sussex researchers.

A warning about the dangers of giving one person (namely, an elected mayor) too much power from Doncaster.

New records for Ballymena have popped up on the Emerald Ancestors website.

Yet more Irish news from the Irish Genealogy News blog:

Though there is an interesting piece on the Daily Mail website about illness 'fashions', it does make you wonder why good money is being spent on the research project in question!

More news, etc., available via the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

Epitaph from unknown location:

Here lies, alas! poor Roger Norton,
Whose sudden death was oddly brought on;
Trying one day his corns to mow off,
The razor slipped and cut his toe off!
The toe, or rather what it grew to,
An inflammation quickly flew to;
The part then took to mortifying,
Which was the cause of Roger's dying.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

SoG, Libraries News & Lots More

In my continued efforts to catch up with the genea news after my week out of the loop, I ran my eye over the Society of Genealogists' blog this morning. A few items sprung out, thus:

Likewise, the excellent Public Libraries News blog has been hyper-active in my absence. Three posts I should like to bring to your attention are:

My apologies for omitting a major event from yesterday's events listing. Welsh persons may well be very interested indeed in the National Eisteddfod of Wales taking place over 4-11th August.

Oh, and blogger Chris Paton has pointed out an Irish seminar and a Scottish conference which may interest many of you.

I have been asked to give a little publicity to an extensive series of lectures during August at the National Library of Ireland, which can be found on the NLI's events page. Great stuff!

Episode 9 of The Family History Show is now available - check it out here.

More info from Randy Seaver on just which UK databases can be found on the US-orientated

It seems that some, limited access is available at the 'temporarily closed' Scottish Catholic Archives - see the message near the top of their homepage.

The latest e-newsletter from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is available here.

HistoryToday magazine are currently offering 10% off subscriptions.

And don't forget the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

Naughty ancestors...