Thursday, 30 October 2014

PRONI's spiritualist photos - and my ancestor the spirtualist!

PRONI has a great Hallowe'en post on its site for its Document of the Month - a series of spiritualist photos from the 1930s. The images can be viewed at http://www.proni.gov.uk/news_details.htm?newsRef=3251

From the site: "The photographs remind us of the post-WWI period in which many personal tragedies were being played out. Many people had lost family members in WWI without having the opportunity to say goodbye. During the 1920-30s some sought comfort by trying to contact their missing loved ones through their belief in spiritualism"

In fact, my family has a very direct connection to this phenomenon, as my two times great grandfather Edwin Graham was the Secretary of the Ulster Christian Spiritualist Association in Belfast in the 1920s! Edwin was a welder who married three times - first to Florence Halliday (my two times great grandmother), then briefly to Matilda Blair, and finally Sarah Stitt (with whom he is pictured on the right, from 1939). Sarah was said to be a 'gifted medium' from Liverpool.

In 1926 Edwin was involved in an extraordinary story in Belfast City Cemetery. Here's the story from the Irish Times and then the London Times:

Wednesday, July 28th 1926

PHOTOGRAPHING SPIRITS

Remarkable Service in Belfast Cemetery

Our Belfast correspondent states that unusual scenes were witnessed at a Service held yesterday at the City Cemetery under the auspices of the local Christian Spiritualists' Association. The Service took place around the grave of Mrs McDermott, mother of Mr John McDermott, medium of the Association, who died about three weeks ago. Upwards of a hundred spiritualists, some of them carrying cameras, wre present and during the singing photographs were taken. Mr McDermott conducted the Service, which consisted of prayer, singing and an address.

Mr. Edwin Graham, secretary of the Association, explained that the Service was purely evangelical, and that many photographs had been taken with the object of photographing the spirits of departed friends of persons present at the grave. "It is a very hard thing," he added "to obtain spirit photographs". He added that when the photographs were developed, in a day or two, they would know whether they had succeeded in their object. Mr Graham explained that a special Service for Mrs McDermott had been held previously in the Hall. She was a native of Glasgow but had been in Belfast for the past year.

However, the Times also followed up the story in August:
Wednesday 18th August 1926

PHOTOGRAPHS IN A CEMETERY

Belfast Spiritualists Claim

The photographs taken in Belfast City Cemetery during the burial of Mrs McDermaid, wife of Mr John McDermaid, President of the Ulster Christian Spiritualist Association, with the object of recording the spirit forms of relatives which were believed to be hovering over the grave, were produced in Belfast last night.

The photographs, say our Belfast correspondent, are apparently out of focus. They show small white clouds over the people assembled round the grave. Mr McDermaid claims that in the photographs he can see the spirit forms of three departed relatives. Mr Edwin Graham, the Secretary of the Association, is convinced that he can see his brother. The Association invites inspection of the photographs.


The joys of genealogy - Happy Hallowe'en! :)

Chris

My next Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Records online course starts on November 5th, and runs for 5 weeks, priced at £45.99. Spaces are still available - see http://pharostutors.com/coursedescriptions.php#302

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The curse of Loughmourne

This one's for the good folk of County Antrim! I've just been going through my late mum's papers and have found a printed copy of an anonymous poem about Loughmourne, an area situated a couple of miles north of my old home town of Carrickfergus. For a transcription of the poem, and some background to the area that it concerns, visit my other wee blog at http://walkingineternity.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/the-curse-of-loughmourne_29.html

Chris

My next Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Records online course starts on November 5th, and runs for 5 weeks, priced at £45.99. Spaces are still available - see http://pharostutors.com/coursedescriptions.php#302

Oxfordshire History Centre temporary closure

News of another temporary archive closure in England, this time in Oxfordshire:

Temporary Closure of Oxfordshire History Centre
25 November - 13 December

Oxfordshire History Centre will be closed to visitors for 3 weeks for the refurbishment of its Reception area and for the essential replacement of air-conditioning units. We will use this opportunity to carry out our annual stock take, which usually takes place in January and February.

During this time History Centre staff will be on duty at Oxford Central Library on Tuesdays 10:30 am – 4pm and Wednesdays to Saturdays 10am – 4pm

We will continue to answer telephone calls via our usual telephone number and to answer letters and e-mail enquiries.

We apologise for any inconvenience this building work causes.

Oxfordshire History Centre collects, preserves and makes available archives, photographs and printed material related to Oxfordshire and its history.

Source: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/public-site/oxfordshire-history-centre

(With thanks to Wendy Archer)

Chris

My next Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Records online course starts on November 5th, and runs for 5 weeks, priced at £45.99. Spaces are still available - see http://pharostutors.com/coursedescriptions.php#302

British Newspaper Archive now hosts 9 million pages

The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) now has over nine million pages available on its site.

Some 282 British and Irish newspaper titles have now been made available since the site's launch in November 2011, though it's not possible to tell how complete the years ranges are yet for the titles available, with gaps still to be found within many. It's worth knowing that the site only states what the intended range will be once all the content for each title has been uploaded. Nevertheless, this is a major milestone, and DC Thomson is now almost a quarter of the way through the project, which aims to have forty million pages of British Library newspaper content online once complete.

(With thanks to Amy Sell)

COMMENT: For more on how to look for British and Irish newspapers for genealogical research, both online and offline through local archives and libraries in the UK, Ireland and Australia, my book British and Irish Newspapers, published by Unlock the Past in Adelaide, Australia, is available from the following suppliers.

Australia - Gould Genealogy, AU$18.50 Inc GST, plus p&p
http://www.gould.com.au/British-and-Irish-Newspapers-p/utp0285.htm

UK - My History, £7, plus p&p
http://tinyurl.com/kajj7a5

E-book - GenEBooks, AU $7.95
http://www.gen-ebooks.com/british-and-irish-newspapers.html

Here's what it contains:

Contents:
Introduction
Acknowledgements
Part 1. The genealogical value of newspapers
Part 2. Finding British and Irish newspapers
- NEWSPLAN
- The British Library
- The British Newspaper Archive
- E-resources / Licensed digitised collections
Part 3. British Gazettes
- The websites
- London Gazette on Ancestry
Part 4. Online collections
- Times Digital Archive
- The Guardian and The Observer
- UK Press Online
- The Scotsman
- Welsh Newspapers Online
- Manx newspapers and publications
- Irish Newspaper Archive
- The Irish Times
- Ancestry (England, Scotland and Ireland)
- Newspaper Archives
- TheGenealogist
- FindmyP
ast
- Google newspapers
- Historic Newspapers
Part 5. Additional British sources
Part 6. Additional Irish sources
Index

Chris

My next Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Records online course starts on November 5th, and runs for 5 weeks, priced at £45.99. Spaces are still available - see http://pharostutors.com/coursedescriptions.php#302

Scottish Genealogy Network update

The Scottish Genealogy Network (www.scottishgenealogynetwork.blogspot.co.uk) continues to grow, with some 38 members in our ranks, comprised mainly of professional genealogists all working together to learn from each other, to encourage better practice across the range of areas that we work within, and occasionally to help each other with challenges and problems within our daily work.

I've been fairly flat out over the last two months, but I've attended two SGN meetings in that time, which I've yet to write about, so here is a quick summary!

On Saturday September 27th we had the pleasure to attend a session at the Cumberland Street Day Centre in Dumfries, run by the University of Glasgow's A History of Working Class Marriage in Scotland 1855-1976 project. It was an hour long briefing on the aims of the project, which can be found at www.wokingclassmarriage.gla.ac.uk.

As part of their study, the team has been looking at about a thousand families in 19th century censuses from each of five key areas - rural Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Govan, the Western Isles and Kilmarnock - and have established that a traditional family existed in about half of the households studied, though there are lots of regional variations, and various other patterns for family life with the remainder (e.g. step-families, single parent families, and more). They've been interviewing people about marriage customs and traditions, obtaining evidence from magazines, even love letters, to learn about Scottish traditions of courtship and other regional customs surrounding marriage - for example, there was discussion of letters describing how couples would meet at formal dances on a Saturday night. The team also mentioned how they had recently interviewed ladies in Kilmarnock who had all worked within the Johnny Walker factory and eventually married a spouse from there, it being part of the accepted culture and expectation of life in the Ayrshire based factory at that time.

It's a great project and they are still looking for contributions from across Scotland, not just within the five areas of particular study. For further information, visit the project's website, and also the SGN's own blog report on the day at www.scottishgenealogynetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/a-history-of-working-class-marriage_28.html.

Last Saturday October 25th we then had a packed meeting in the basement of the Southern Cross Cafe on Edinburgh's Cockburn Street, the theme for the afternoon being to talk through various subjects and areas concerned specifically with working professionally as a genealogist in Scotland. This covered everything from how we use social media to how we charge for our services, with yours truly giving a small talk on how to earn money from writing for magazines (how to pitch ideas, understanding a brief, how to write for certain markets, for genealogy and non-genealogy magazines, etc).

The purpose of the afternoon was not to set any specific way for members to work as genealogists, but to explore the various ways that we do work as individuals, in the hope of inspiring better practice from each other. I certainly came away with a few ideas, as did my colleagues. After the event finished we had our traditional pub visit nearby to put the world to rights!

For more on the Scottish Genealogy Network, visit our dedicated blog at www.scottishgenealogynetwork.blogspot.co.uk. (The next monthly visit is provisionally planned as a visit to Paisley on December 5th, tbc).


Chris

My next Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Records online course starts on November 5th, and runs for 5 weeks, priced at £45.99. Spaces are still available - see http://pharostutors.com/coursedescriptions.php#302

London workhouse records and women's military records indexes on Ancestry

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has added one new major London dataset, comprised of city workhouse admission and discharge records, and two third party indexes for collections held at the National Archives at Kew, England:

London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1738-1930
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=60391
Source: Board of Guardians records held by the London Metropolitan Archives, London, England.

Web: UK, Women's Army Auxiliary Corps Index, 1917-1920
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=9293
Source: Women's Army Auxiliary Corps service records 1917-1920. The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England. Series WO 398.

Web: UK, Women's Royal Naval Service Index, 1917-1919
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=70690
Source: Women's Royal Naval Service (1917 - 1919). The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England. Series ADM 318 and 336.

Chris

My next Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Records online course starts on November 5th, and runs for 5 weeks, priced at £45.99. Spaces are still available - see http://pharostutors.com/coursedescriptions.php#302

Library hours cuts in Northern Ireland

The current budget crisis in Northern Ireland, if not resolved soon, is likely to see an impact on services for family historians in the very near future, with some cost-saving changes in public sector institutions already implemented. A proposed budget cut is currently being proposed of some £872 million, with some 13% of departmental budgets being proposed for the Departments of Culture, Arts and Leisure, and the Department of Employment and Learning - the two departments responsible for libraries and archives. If the budget is not agreed by this Friday, Stormont will lose a £100 million emergency loan from the Westminster government.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (www.proni.gov.uk) has yet to announce how or if it may be affected, but the Libraries NI website has announced a new timetable of revised opening hours for the Province's libraries, effective from November 3rd 2014, designed to save £1.4 million in running costs (its required budget cut being 4.4% of its previous budget).

The full announcement is available at www.librariesni.org.uk/News/Pages/Temporary-changes-to-library-opening-hours.aspx, with the revised temporary opening hours for each library now listed at www.librariesni.org.uk/News/Documents/24_Oct_2014/LNI_Opening_Hours_from_03Nov2014.pdf - in many cases the opening hours have been cut, or will be operated on a different pattern.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Discovering Anzacs website formally launched in Canberra

The Canberra Times has an article on the National Archives of Australia's Discovering Anzacs website, which was formally launched earlier today down under. The site will crowd-source photographs, anecdotes and personal histories to flesh out Australia's collective narrative of the First World War.

For the full story, visit www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/national-archives-crowdsources-data-to-flesh-out-the-nations-world-war-i-story-20141028-11cv6w.html#ixzz3HSdIH7Gt - to access the site itself, visit www.discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Same sex marriage news update from Scotland

The first same sex marriage ceremonies in Scotland will commence on December 31st 2014. To prepare the way, the National Records of Scotland has announced that same sex couples will be able to give notice of intention to marry from December 16th, with an updated marriage notice to be made available from that date.

There's also an update in the announcement for those wishing to convert civil partnerships to marriages, and for married people seeking a Gender Recognition Certificate without the need for a divorce.

For the full details visit http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/news/2014/same-sex-marriage-in-scotland-news.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

TNA podcast - Writer of the month: Philippa Gregory

The latest podcast from the National Archives in Kew, England (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk), is entitled Writer of the month: Philippa Gregory, and discusses how the author has written a new Tudor period based novel using contemporary records.

The podcast is available from http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/writer-month-philippa-gregory/ or freely available from iTunes.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks