Monday, 31 October 2011

Plan to keep Suffolk libraries open

Suffolk County Council has announced plans for a new Industrial and Provident Society to keep open its 44 public libraries. The organisation, if approved by the council at a meeting next week, would hold charitable status, and would be independent of the council.


(With thanks to Valmay Young @valmayuk on Twitter)

Chris

Find My Past - The Battle of Britain

The following is the trailer for episode 3 of the new Find My Past series on Yesterday. This week - The Battle of Britain:




About the episode

As Germany launched a massive aerial offensive over Britain during World War II, the RAF became embroiled in a sustained daily battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining control of the British skies. This is the story of the famous “Few” who were all that stood between Britain and certain defeat. It was a combined effort from every branch of the RAF and it hinged on a tight network of command centres acrossBritain that intercepted German messages to build a picture of planned enemy bombing raids. This information was then used to determine intercept points where British fighters could engage the German bombers and attempt to bring them down before they reached their targets with their deadly payloads.

Contributors:

Jamie Naden is 20. He was at music college for 2 years in Guildford and plays the piano, drums and guitar for various bands. He currently works part-time as a volunteer for Oxfam but is hoping to go and work in the music technology department of Apple. He doesn’t know much about his family history but knows that some of his relatives were involved in the Second World War.

Timothy Parsons lives and works in Kingston-upon-Thames. He is very interested in his family history and has found out that he is related to Tony Blair through the Parsons side of his family but doesn’t seem to know about any Second World War connections.

Alex Sears is 22, a keen cricketer and training to be a PE teacher. He is vaguely knows that his grandparents were in the war but as he never met them he’s never asked about what they did. Doesn’t know anything about any family beyond that and is keen to learn about his family.

The episode airs on Yesterday on Thursday 3rd November at 9pm and is repeated daily throughout the following week.

Yesterday can be found at Sky channel 537, Virgin TV channel 203 and Freeview channel 12 and there is more info about the series at http://uktv.co.uk/yesterday/homepage/sid/8995 and their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/YesterdayTVChannel?sk=app_271762479512251

Looking forward to it! :)

(With thanks to Lee Washington)

Chris

Happy Hallowe'en!

Hallowe'en is coming and the goose is getting fat
Would ye please put a penny in the auld man's hat
If ye havena got a penny, a ha'penny will do
If ye havena got a ha'penny, then God bless you
And yer auld man too!

Wee rhyme there from my childhood in Northern Ireland! It's Oidhche Shamhna today (Hallowe'en!), so a couple of resources to have some fun with!

One of my fave websites in Scotland is the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft (www.shc.ed.ac.uk/Research/witches) which has details of nearly 4000 people tried from 1563-1736 for witchcraft, with evidence for many gathered by the local kirk sessions. There was a lot of hysteria at the time, with accusation and counter-accusations ruining people's lives - the following being just one example from the parish of Kirkpatrick-Irongray in 1691:

David Murihead of Drumpark and his wife being called before the Session and examined anent the strife betwixt them and Janet Sinklar submitted themselves to the will of the Session. Janet Sinklar also submitted to the will of the Session for saying that she doubted Drumpark’s wife of murder and witchcraft and is appointed to receive public rebuke before the congregation.

(Source: NRS CH2/1343/1 Kirkpatrick-Irongray)


Lots of juicy online resources for looking into witches stories, and their trials:

www.camulos.com/witchcraft.htm - witch trials in Colchester
www.pendlewitches.co.uk - the Pendle witches
www.hulford.co.uk/towns.html - Essex witch trials
www.llgc.org.uk/index.php?id=witchcraftcourtofgrearsessi - witchcraft in 17th century Flintshire
www.thefifepost.com/?page_id=25 - witches in Fife

Finally just to really scare you, here's my son in his Hallowe'en costume...


Sleep well tonight...!

Chris

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Online Pharos family history courses in November

The following online Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd family history courses will run in November:

Australian Roots and Branches - Jeremy Palmer
5 weeks

All About Parish Registers - Liz carter
3 weeks

Apprenticeship Records - Stuart Raymond/Alec Tritton
4 weeks


For more details and prices please visit www.pharostutors.com

Chris

November family history events

The forthcoming family history events are listed on GENEVA for November - please visit the site at http://geneva.weald.org.uk/ for links to further details on each.

November 1, Woking, SRY, Surrey History Centre made easy
November 2, SoG, LND, My Ancestor was a Gamekeeper
November 5, SoG, LND, My Ancestor was Scottish
November 5, Woking, SRY West Surrey FHS Family History Fair and Open Day
November 5, Northallerton, YKS Family History Beginners' Day
November 5, Toronto, ON, CA English Family History Workshop
November 5, Epsom, SRY Family history using the internet at Epsom Library
November 9, SoG, LND Visit: Parliamentary Archives at the House of Lords
November 12, SoG, LND My Ancestor Came from Northamptonshire
November 12, Batley, WYK Family & Local History Fair
November 12, Canterbury, KEN The Parish and The Manor
November 12, Pudsey, Leeds, WYS Family Tree Maker User Group - 12 places
November 12, London, LND Open Surgery, AGM and Open Lecture Meeting
November 12, Preston, LAN, Conference: The past, present and future of family history
November 13, Taunton, SOM Somerset Family & Local History Day
November 14, SoG, LND, Genealogy for Librarians & Archivists
November 16, SoG, LND, Getting the Most from the Society of Genealogists
November 18, Staines, MDX Family history using the internet at Staines Library
November 19, Swindon, WIL, Guild of One-Name Studies Railway Workers Seminar
November 20, Padworth (Reading), BRK, Cancelled: Berkshire Family & Local History Day
November 23, SoG, LND, Digital Access to Newspapers
November 25, Kew, SRY, Catalogue Day
November 26, SoG, LND, My Ancestor was a Bastard
November 26, London, LND, Pub History Socety conference and workshop on researching pubs
November 30, SoG, LND, Visit: The National Archives

Chris

English family history workshop in Toronto

Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is organising an English family history event = 10 places left as of October 26th!

ENGLISH FAMILY HISTORY WORKSHOP
Saturday, November 5, 2011
North York Central Library Auditorium
5120 Yonge Street, Toronto
(North York Centre subway station)
(For a Google map, click here)


Sign up while you still can! :)

Chris

North West Kent FHS November meetings

North West Kent FHS will be holding the following meetings in November:

5 Nov 2011 at the Dartford Branch, Dartford Technology College, Heath Lane, Dartford, Kent. Gordon Bentley The History of Pub Signs. Open 9.45am with the meeting proper starting at 10.30am.

10 Nov 2011 at the Sevenoaks Branch, Sevenoaks Community Centre, Otford Road (at junction with Crampton Rd.), Sevenoaks, at 7.15pm Richard Filmer Kentish Trades, Crafts & Industries.

19 Nov 2011 at the Bromley Branch, Main hall, Bromley Methodist Church, College Road, Bromley BR1 3NS. Audrey Collins Using the National Archives for Family History research. The hall opens at 9.45am, the meeting proper is due to start at 10.30am.

For more information visit http://northwestkentfamilyhistorysociety.blogspot.com/2011/10/branches-of-north-west-kent-family.html - the site also information on Canadian censuses

Chris

Cornish records added to FamilySearch

Thanks to John Reid's Anglo-Celtic Connections blog at http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2011/10/more-cornwall-parish-registers.html for news that a further 33 Cornish parishes now have their records online at www.familysearch.org.

Don't forget the Online Parish Clerks project site for Cornwall also at www.cornwall-opc.org!

Chris

Black Watch suspends research service

The Scottish Military Research Group is carrying news that the Black Watch Museum is suspending its research service for the present time, whilst a major redevelopment project is carried out.


(With thanks to the SMRG)

Chris

Return of the British Empire Medal

The British Empire medal will again be awarded following David Cameron's decision to reverse its abolition by John Major in 1993. The BBC takes a look back at both it and its past recipients at www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15507026

Chris

Writing for genealogy magazines

The following post was first published on my Walking in Eternity blog

I’ve often had people get in touch and say “I’d love to write for a genealogy magazine” or “I wish I could write an article”. I’ve had a few articles of varying lengths published in magazines over the last few years, and twelve years experience of television documentary script writing before that, so here’s a few tips which might help. (Just to add, these aren’t rules - there are no rules!)



i) Be confident

Everyone who has ever written articles always started off with a first effort. Many people worry that writing something down is an impossible task requiring great linguistic skill and dexterity, and best left to the likes of Shakespeare and Robbie Burns. Personally I find them both a bit old fashioned and boring, so here’s how I see the content of an article. It’s a conversation between you and the reader and its main purpose is to communicate and to impart knowledge. If you can talk the hind leg off a donkey when it comes to your friends and family, try doing the same with a keyboard instead. Do try to get the spelling and basic grammar right though!


ii) Who to write for

If you want to be in print, you can try writing for your local family history society publication, a local newspaper or a mainstream magazine for the shop shelf. Genealogy is a growth area – any subject that can involve a family history connection can be the basis of a great article, whether read by 1 person or 20,000. You can also self-publish, the easiest way to do so being through a blog (through sites such as Wordpress or Blogger). So ignore any snobbery about being published online or offline. The lines are blurring and each provides a valid forum with its own dedicated target audience. Writing is about delivering a target message or article to the reader, using whichever medium works best for the task at hand.


iii) What to write

Most mainstream magazines have a pool of so-called ‘experts’, a regular core of writers who can be relied on to regularly produce articles on various aspects of the family history profession, but there are slots in all magazines for others to contribute, and these are the best places to get started.

The easiest way to get an article published in one of these titles is to submit an idea for something for which you are the absolute person for the job. You may have a real interest in a particular regiment, or old fashioned occupation, or place in the country. If so, convince the editor that you need to write about it.

Alternatively, go for a case study. This is basically a story about something that has usually happened in your personal family history, for which you will be the best expert by far. Magazines are always desperate for case studies! They are also easy to write – how often have you wanted to tell someone about something you’ve found in your tree?! But bear in mind that you are writing it for your reader, not for you. Give the reader something to take away from your story – what way did you research it, what resources can you recommend, how did you overcome a particular problem?


iv) How to write

Before you start writing, pitch the idea to an editor first. You will normally find contact details for the editor inside the cover of a magazine on the first or second page, or on the magazine's website. In a simple paragraph, try to make the editor see why he or she should commission your piece. How will your piece help the reader? If the editor agrees, you will then be asked to give it a go. If it is for a commercially produced magazine, don’t forget to ask how much you are to be paid!

Some editors may then send you a formal commission document, a brief with a shopping list of things to include etc, possibly even ideas on how to structure it. Others will let you do it entirely as you see fit. If you don’t get formal guidance but feel you need it, ask! It is in the editor’s interest for your piece to work as much as it is in yours.

You will be asked to write to a particular length, and as long as you are usually within about twenty words or so on either side of that word count you should be fine. Don’t worry about over-writing it to start with – in fact, it can often be easier to write too much and to then edit it back than to be three hundred words short and to worry about how to fill the gap!

But some things to watch out for – don’t waffle, don’t repeat yourself, and keep pushing the narrative forward in a coherent way. Don’t waste a third of the piece writing an introduction, just get into the subject matter. In many cases I will actually leave the intro until the end, once I know what I want to write into.

Don’t patronise your reader. An opening line such as “As everyone of course knows…” will likely annoy your reader if he or she doesn’t actually know what the hell you’re on about. Don’t assume that you are writing a Janet or John kiddies book either (“Once upon a time there was an archive…”!). Talk to your reader as you would expect to be spoken to. And don’t use language that will make someone think that you are a self-important idiot - you will only end up looking like the fool.

Don’t be too precious about your final product once it is submitted. If lucky, you may be asked to proof read it before publication - if you get the chance, take it! The editors will use your article almost word for word, but they may need to abridge it, they may need to redefine something if they think it is unclear, or they may even postpone its publication. If changes need to be made, they may ask you to do them, they equally may not and may make the amendments themselves!


v) Images

Where possible, try to supply images which you own, or for which there is no copyright claim – ancient black and white images which you don't own the rights to are usually OK if over a hundred years old. If you don’t know the original source of an image, tell the editor. It is then up to he or she to decide whether to use it or not. In most cases, magazines have their own photo editors and access to image libraries etc, but it is always better to try to supply the images you want to see if you can.


vi) Publication

Normally with publication you will get a free copy of the magazine you've written for, but it may not come immediately. For commercially produced magazines, payment can also be delayed after publication (to suit the relevant accounting department's payment run), though make sure you have your invoice in! With the fee from your first article, buy a bottle of Champagne. Drink said Champagne, realise you have no money left, and feel inspired to try again!

The more you write, the more confident you will become at it, but listen to criticism. When I used to work in TV I hated people telling me what they loved about a programme, I always wanted to know what they didn’t, so that I could learn for the next effort. We all make mistakes, the trick is to learn from them, take it on the chin, and produce an even better article next time!

Most importantly, make sure there IS a next time!

Happy writing!

Chris

Additional comments and useful tips from readers after the original post:

Helen V Smith:
Excellent advice! My advice is just to start. Your local FHS magazine is always looking for articles, fillers, reviews of websites. Doing a case study on how you solved a problem or asking for help in how to solve a problem you are having and showing what research steps you have previously done to solve the problem.

Writing is terrific fun and there are lots of people around who will help if you ask.

Simon Fowler:
Much sound advice here. For what they are worth my comments based on over a decade writing for and editing magazines are:

1. have in mind some individual whom you are writing for, ie a family member or a friend. Ask yourself what do they need to know, why they need to know it and how are you going to explain it to them.

2 to enhance readability write short paragraphs and short sentences. Anglo-Saxon words are better than Latinate (ie 'ask' not 'request'). Avoid jargon at all times.

3 subjects to avoid: how I traced my family tree back to Adam and Eve, my favourite ancestor (unless they are really, really, really interesting); very technical subjects that only you and two other people in the history of the universe are fascinated by; very broad overviews of very wide subjects (such as a history of roads in 1800 words)

Another thing is to submit your invoices when requested. On Ancestors it was a total pain when writers did not do this, as well as being extremely unprofessional. Curiously it was the 'seasoned professionals' who were worse at this than those who were just starting out. Personally I think the money is better in my pocket than in that of a publishing company!

Kathleen Brandt:
Thanks for this post and the tips. I write articles for genealogy and association magazines, and, I love sharing and expanding the a3genealogy blog. Magazines are always looking for fresh ideas, new writers, and interesting angles. The key, like any skill, is to practice expressing your ideas on paper.

Carol Kerry-Green:
I remember being really worried when I wrote my first article, but now I just go for it. Get your research right, know what you want to write and put it down on paper. I always try and encourage everyone to write if they can, I certainly find it very rewarding.

Helen Legatt:
Read your articles out loud - you'll be surprised how you will pick up errors that your brain 'ignores' when reading. :) My dogs are great listeners!

Genealogists for Families initiative

Judy Webster has been in touch from Australia to ask me to give the Genealogists for Families initiative a quick plug. The scheme works by allowing genealogists the chance to make small loans of $25, via a non-profit organisation called Kiva, to low income families or businesses across the world. When the loan is paid back the genealogist can reclaim the money or re-invest it again. Genius!


It seems a great idea, and I've just signed up and made my first loan - I'm sure they'd welcome yours as well!

(With thanks to Judy Webster)

Chris

Friday, 28 October 2011

Beginners' family history course at LMA

Absolute Beginners: Introduction to Family and Local History

Want to get started on your history?

Not sure how? Overwhelmed by the possibilities? Then this course, aimed at total beginners, is for you. Just bring along one family story or local memory. Taught by Dr Hilda Kean FRHistS.

This event held at London Metropolitan Archives on Tuesday 22 November from 10 am to 3.30 pm is £10 / £7.50 concessions - but you must book in advance on 020 7332 3851.

(With thanks to the LMA)

Chris

Exploring Local History - PRONI & OUI lecture

For those who could not make it to PRONI (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland) for the first edition of the Exploring Local History Lecture Series by PRONI and the Open University Ireland (OUI), YouTube comes to the rescue! The following is the lecture delivered by Dr Janice Holmes with contributions from Professor Raymond Gillespie, Dr William McAfee, Roddy Hegarty and Dr Ann McVeigh (PRONI). Introduction by Stephen Scarth.

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5


Part 6


Chris

Family Tree Maker 2012 - video

Ancestry has uploaded a video showing some of the new features on Family Tree Maker 2012:



To purchase FTM 2012 visit www.ancestryshop.co.uk/products/software

Chris

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Bible in English - Edinburgh exhibition

From the National Library of Scotland (www.nls.uk)

Treasures Exhibition
The Bible in English: John Wyclif to King James VI
Daily, Tuesday 2 November 2011 - Sunday 8 January 2012
Free

The history of Bible translations into English was anything but smooth, and the National Library of Scotland collections include significant milestones on this rocky road.

Beginning with a manuscript of a part of the New Testament translated by John Wyclif, the display focuses on 16th century Bibles in English.

The highlight of The Bible in English treasures display is a first edition copy of the King James VI version of 1611, marking the 400th anniversary of the most famous English Bible translation.

More information about our Treasures display is available on the NLS website.

Chris

Electric Scotland update

Latest books added to Electric Scotland (www.electricscotland.com)

Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland
R. B. Cunninghame Graham, Fighter for Justice
Through the Long Day
An Historical Account of the Ancient Culdees of Iona
Nether Lochaber
Borrowstounness and District
The Social and Industrial history of Scotland, from the Union to the present time
Annals of Auchterarder and Memorials of Strathearn
The Leith Flag

Chris

The Genealogist - latest records released

The following have been added to The Genealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk)

Lancashire, Surrey & Middlesex 1911 Census now available to all our Diamond subscribers!

We have added over 6.6 million records to our Diamond Premium subscription. The 1911 counties allow you to use the new GRO marriage link and have high resolution images. They can also be searched using the Family Forename Search, House and Street search and the Keyword Master search.


Directories:

History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk 1855
Dorset, Harrod and Co's Postal Directory of Dorsetshire 1865
Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1877-1878
Derbyshire, Sutton and District Pile's Directory 1899
Alton and Alresford Directory 1908


International directories:

America, New York Directory 1786
America, Directory of Newark 1835-6
America, Vermont Directory 1867


Parish Records:

The Registers of Colton Parish Church in Furness Fells


Biographies:

Who's Who in Music 1935


School records:

The Admission Register of the Manchester School - Vol. I 1730-1775
The Admission Register of the Manchester School - Vol. II 1776-1807
The Admission Register of the Manchester School - Vol. III 1807-1837

(With thanks to The Genealogist)

Chris

New JISC funded mapping project

With thanks to Jean McKenzie for the following, sourced from the Vision of Britain blog:

The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) have awarded the University of Portsmouth, and the GB Historical GIS project team, a new grant of £139,900 as part of their JISC Content Programme for 2011-13. The new project is called Old Maps Online: Finding and referencing historical mapping as a platform for research and teaching, and runs for fifteen months starting in November.

This is not another grant to extend the web site A Vision of Britain through Time. Instead, we will be creating a quite separate open access web site enabling users to search for online maps across many different digital libraries, based not on the titles of maps or who drew them, but on the places the user is interested in.

Our application was supported by the British Library, the Bodleian Library, the National Libraries of Scotland and of Wales in the UK; and by the David Rumsey Collection, the Harvard Geospatial Library and the New York Public Library in the US. Because the project is based on existing software, we will be launching the first version of the portal at historic map-focused one-day meetings in New York on February 25th 2012 and London on February 29th; more about those meetings later.

That first version will probably be limited to the Rumsey Collection, the National Library of Scotland and ourselves, but during the rest of the project we will add access to our other partner libraries, and hopefully recruit additional partners. Our funding is about improving access to existing digital content, so we cannot help map libraries scan their collections, but we may be able to assist with geo-referencing, and advise on software for making map images viewable on the web. Note that the latter software does not need to have any geo-spatial capabilities, as those will be provided by the portal.

For the full story visit the Vision of Britain blog post at http://visionofbritainblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/new-old-maps-online-project-funded-by-joint-information-systems-committee/

Chris

Family history fair in Manchester

With thanks The Genealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk) for the following:

North West Group of Family History Societies - Family History Fair
Saturday 29th October

The Bowlers Exhibition Centre, Manchester, M17 1SN

10:00am - 4:00pm

Meet the experts and join in this unique event, featuring: Family History Societies, Record Offices, Professional Researchers, Maps, Books, Postcards, Help Desks, Publications and more!

There will be a free genealogy talk at 12 midday in the main lecture area, 'Breaking down brick walls in your research using Unique Tools and Data online', with Mark Bayley.

Admission is £3.00 on the door, under 16's are free if accompanied by an adult.

Chris

The Irish Family and Local History Handbook - video & review

Last Sunday I was in Dublin for the highly successful Back to Our Past event. Whilst here I managed to catch up with Bob Blatchford, who along with wife Liz, was literally being swept off his feet in selling the new Irish Family and Local History Handbook (www.genealogical.ie). I grabbed a few words with Bob on my trusty camcorder - so here's the man himself, and thena few words form me on my thoughts on the book...!



I have literally been reading this book non-stop since I returned from Ireland, as it is packed with all sorts of articles of great interest to me. I've contributed to the book myself, but rather than blab about what I've done for it, here's a quick run down on some of the articles that I've read that have really stood out for me.

By far the article that has impressed me most has been Joseph O' Neill's Famine, Fear and Fraternity, discussing the migration of the Irish to Liverpool and Manchester during the famine. Two words to sum it up - bloody hell. It's a really powerful account of the hardship, discrimination and more that they faced in their new home. I've come across the situation in Scotland, but never really read an English account, and this one is absolutely top notch.

Claire Barlow's article on John W. Dulanty, effectively Ireland's first ambassador to the UK, is another unputdownable account, whilst William Roulston's articles on general Irish research and on Ulster Presbyterianism are close to definitive, as is Ann McVeigh's guide to the goings on at PRONI. Another enjoyable account by Stephen Wade looks at Dublin Castle and the mystery of the stolen crown jewels! FindmyPast Ireland's Ross Weldon provides a good backdrop to the online landed estates collection, accompanied by a case study, whilst Jayne Shrimpton's article on photography in Ireland is a useful guide also. There are also many useful explanatory articles on other collections, including from Karel Kiely (RootsIreland), Audrey Collins (National Archives) and various others.

I'm actually enjoying this more than the UK edition, but only because so much more of it is relevant to my background. Definitely a worthy accompaniment to the UK run, and looking forward to the next one!

Chris

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

More Dorset and Warwickshire records projects underway

The following new datasets indexing projects are currently now underway through Ancestry's World Archives Project (http://community.ancestry.co.uk/wap/dashboard.aspx):

Dorset Militia Lists 1757-1799
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records – Flax Bounty Lists
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records – Freeholders Lists and Churchwarden Account Books
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records – Game Keepers
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records – Jurors Lists
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records – Printing Press Owners
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records – Tax Return Lists


Already underway are the following additional sets:

Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records – Boat Owners and Voter Lists
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records – Freemasons Lists
Warwickshire, England, Occupational and Quarter Session Records – Hair Powder Certificates

(With thanks to Anne Fechter at Ancestry.com - blog post at http://blogs.ancestry.com/worldarchivesproject/?p=1276)

Chris

Swansea local history book fair

There will be a Local History Book Fair on Saturday 29th October 2011 at Swansea Museum between 10am and 4 pm. The event is being run by the Royal Institution of South Wales.

For more information visit http://heritageofwalesnews.blogspot.com/2011/10/local-history-book-fair-swansea-museum.html

Chris

Doncaster Family History Fair

Doncaster and District Family History Society's Family History Fair is to be held on October 29th from 10am-4pm, at Doncaster College for the Deaf, Leger Way, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN2 6AY. Admission is £1.00, including a free raffle ticket (under 15 years old get in free with an adult).

As well as many vendors in attendance, talks will be given by the following:

10.45am Family History in coal mining - Anisha Christison of the National Coal Mining Museum
11.45am 17th Century Dances - performed by Heartsease Country Dancers
1.00pm Further sources in Family History (Beyond Births, Marriages and Deaths) - Ian Marson
2.15pm Living in Hope, a personal family history journey - Sue Allan

Further details at www.doncasterfhs.co.uk/content/doncaster-and-district-family-history-societys-family-history-fair

(With thanks to Ian Marson via Linked In)

Chris

Dorset Manorial Documents Register online

Thanks to Beryl Evans at the Federation of Family History Societies (www.ffhs.org.uk) for the following:

The Dorset section of the Manorial Documents Register www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/mdr/ is now online.

As well as the register there is also an online education pack. This is pitched at key stage 3 students and contains assorted resources for teachers – we are particularly pleased to have included links to Maths and IT as well as Humanities. The pack can be downloaded as a series of Pdf files from: www.dorsetforyou.com/dorsethistorycentre/manorial

Additionally the Dorset Record Society has produced a guide to manorial documents for local and family historians. It is focused on C.17th –C.19th records in English and includes a history of the development of the court baron and court leet as well as explanations of document types with examples and transcriptions. A real bargain at £6 available from:
http://research.dorsetcountymuseum.org/drs.html (with thanks to Mark Forrest of Dorset County Council)

Chris

Ancestry launches its first 1911 census indexes

From Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk)

We've completed the first part of our 1911 Census transcriptions. That means that, right now, the records for Wales, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands are fully searchable, whether you're among the three million people that live in those areas, or one of the countless descendants of former residents all over the UK.

The landing page for the census collection is at www.ancestry.co.uk/census_gettingstarted?o_iid=45790&o_lid=45790&o_sch=Web+Property

(With thanks to AncestryUK on Twitter)

Chris

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Coming soon: Irish Family History Resources Online

My next major book project is about the murder of an ancestor of mine, which will be published next year, but whilst working on that I have also managed to put together another guide for Australian based publishing company Unlock the Past, provisionally entitled Irish Family History Resources Online. The book will describe how much research can be done online if you have Irish connections and will conclusively show that the glass is definitely half-full with Irish research, rather than half-empty! :)

I'll announce when it is published soon, and details on how to purchase a copy - in the meantime, Unlock the Past has a whole range of titles for sale at www.unlockthepast.com.au/unlock-past-publications, predominantly for the Australian and New Zealand markets, though including many titles of equal interest on this side of the world. Amongst those offerings you will also find another title which I produced for them earlier this year, entitled Discover Scottish Church Records, which I am delighted to say has been doing really well down under!

More news soon...! :)

Chris

Find My Past: Titanic - trailer

Trailer for the forthcoming episode about the Titanic on Find My Past - this Thursday, 9pm on Yesterday.



(With thanks to FindmyPast.co.uk)

Chris

Monday, 24 October 2011

English burial and cemetery records podcast

Sharon Hintze of the London Family History Centre has recorded a podcast for The National Archives, entitled English burial and cemetery records online and on film.

The podcast is available to download or to listen to at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/english-burial-records.htm and is just under 47 minutes in length.

Chris

Online exhibition for Panjab partition

The National Archives has launched a new online exhibition looking at the events leading to the 1947 partition of the Panjab in British India.

Entitled Panjab 1947: A Heart Divided, the exhibition is available at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/panjab1947/default.htm, with a news release also available at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/630.htm

Chris

Devon FHS help desk event

A Help Desk event is being organised by Devon Family History Society, to take place at the Devon Record Office in Sowton Industrial Estate, Exeter, on November 3rd, from 10am to 3pm.

Society volunteers will be available to advise people about researching their ancestors and their origins. Each visitor is guaranteed 45 minutes of assistance, and booking is essential. To book, call (01392) 384253.

(With thanks to the Exmouth Journal)

Chris

UK's oldest family business

The UK's oldest family business is R.J. Balson and Son, a Dorset based family butchers firm set up originally in 1525. So concludes the Institute for Family Business, which has looked for the 10 oldest firms in the UK. The firm has existed for 476 years and is still in the care of the Balson family.

For more in the story, and the others in the top ten list, visit www.campdenfb.com/article/uk-s-oldest-family-businesses-history-longevity

(With thanks to the Business Archives Scotland blog)

Chris

Forthcoming Scottish FHS events

Borders FHS will be holding talk on October 30th by Gregory Lauder-Frost, who will be discussing two families, Renton of Billie and Lamberton and the Jaffrey/Jeffrey family in Foulden and Mordington. For more details visit http://blog.bordersfhs.org.uk/2011/10/looking-at-local-families.html

Lanarkshire FHS will be holding two events soon - Eric Graham's talk "Clyde Built - Blockade Runners of the American Civil War" on Thursday November 10th, at the GLO Centre in Motherwell, and the Gathering Their Memories day long programme on Saturday 19th November, at The David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre. For more details, see http://scottishmilitary.blogspot.com/2011/10/lanarkshire-fhs-events-in-november.html

Meanwhile, my next Scottish talk will be on November 9th, entitled "The Ruhleben Story", and concerning British WW1 civilian POWs interned in Germany. It will be held at Central Scotland FHS, Stirling, with more details at http://csfhs.org.uk.

Chris

TNA - Community Project Officer needed

The National Archives is recruiting for a community project officer to help promote its CO 1069 collection (photographs and images) and to forge links with new communities, specifically in the African and Caribbean communities of Britain.


(With thanks to @UKNatArchives and @GuyCrannum)

Chris

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Back To Our Past - report

I'm just back from three days in Ireland, two with family in Kilkenny and today at the Back To Our Past event at the Dublin RDS. This is the second year of the event, but my first attendance - and it's a cracker!

With my wife and boys in tow, we touched base first of all with Bob and Liz Blatchford, who have been doing a roaring trade with the newly released Irish Local and Family History Handbook (www.genealogical.ie). Having contributed four articles to it I received a contributor's copy and so had a great read of this on the way back at Dublin Airport and on the plane and there are some top notch articles in there from William Roulston, Karel Kiely, Ann McVeigh, Jayne Shrimpton and many others. This is the first time that there has been a dedicated Irish edition, and Bob and Liz couldn't sell them fast enough. I did a short video interview with Bob about the book which I will upload tomorrow to allow you a better look.

I then did the rounds and met many people I already knew and many more I did not. Julie Phibbs was having a great show with Irish Roots magazine (www.irishrootsmedia.com), as was Tony Beardshaw from Yorkshire based genealogy supplies company MyFamily (www.my-family.co.uk), so after catching up with them I started to see what news I could glean.

I spoke for some time with Brian Donovan of Eneclann (www.eneclann.ie) and FindmyPast Ireland (www.findmypast.ie), which has just launched the prison registers for the Republic from 1790-1920. Unfortunately the northern records are not included as they are held by PRONI, and not the National Archives of Ireland, but it is hoped that they might be included at some stage - although from what I can gather the remit of PRONI has something of a stumbling block with regards to any kind of commercial involvement, so it may be a while. The southern prison registers, however, were clearly doing the business for the team today, as the area was PACKED! Brian mentioned that petty session records will be going online next year as another major development from the company, and there were a couple of other developments with FMP that we discussed off the record, but suffice to say, there are some interesting things happening in the near future.

One FindmyPast development is of course the big newspaper project with the British Library. Amy Sell from the UK branch of the company had been in Dublin on Friday and Saturday to demonstrate the collection, though I knew she would not be there today. The site itself was not actually demoed from what I can gather, rather Amy gave a Powerpoint demonstration, but it sounds like there are some real gems being unearthed. My understanding now is that there will be newspaper records from this launched leading up to Christmas but that any Irish material may not make it onto the site until well into next year. No idea about Scotland or Wales, but I can only add that the site at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk is still only discussing the launch of English titles at present, so it may be that additional material elsewhere in the UK might come in subsequent phases.

On the Irish newspaper front, however, there is some other brilliant news - Irish Newspaper Archives (www.irishnewspaperarchives.com) is about to expand. This site carries digitised copies of both old and new titles, so here is the update:

By December 2012
Donegal News 12/01/1980-14/12/2001
Fermanagh Herald 9/2/2011- current
Strabane Chronicle 10/2/2011-current

To be added 2012-2013
Limerick Leader
Sligo Champion
Skibbereen Eagle
Butte Independent (Montana)
An Gaodha (Boston)
18th century Trade Directories
- Slater's Directory
- Irish Parliamentary Records
Parish Records
18th Century Ordnance Survey Maps
18th Century Photographic Archive (Lawrence Collection)

But here's the real goody - the Belfast Newsletter is to be digitised imminently. This is exciting for two key reasons - 1) loads of my family come from Belfast; and 2) it is the complete collection, not just the material available already on the British Library's 19th century Newspaper Collection (currently carrying 1828-1900). The paper was first established in 1737, and is the longest running continuously published English language newspaper in the world. An incomplete index to the title for the years 1737-1800, is available at www.ucs.louisiana.edu/bnl/ although there are gaps in the coverage (particularly from 1737-1750).
But to see the whole thing online - including the 20th Century copies - is going to make one hell of a difference! :)

I caught up with Ann McVeigh from PRONI (www.proni.gov.uk) and had a discussion about developments. The online Northern Irish wills project, currently up to 1943, is being extended, and will potentially keep going from what I understand up to the present day, subject to funding etc. It is already sorted well into the 1950s, though Ann was unsure if the new additions have gone online yet. There is another major project Ann referred to which she said she could not mention yet, which is moving slowly - however, although she could not tell me, in an article she has written for the new Irish and Local History Handbook, she does reveal that there is a project underway to digitise the Re-Valuation Books held at PRONI under VAL/12B. In other words, the sequel to Griffith's Valuation.

Richard Griffith's valuations from 1847 to 1864 were the primary valuations, but a series of revisions were made to those records annually up to the 1930s in big decade long volumes. The potential for this is going to be quite frankly, phenomenal for those with Northern ancestry, allowing people to trace the changing ownership of a property for the duration, and adding further weight to my theory that God may well be Northern Irish... The other possibility that Ann may have been referring to is the 1939 National Register which is also being looked at, as I understand it - we'll just have to watch this space and see what pops up next!

New sites I came across include Irish Gathering (www.irishgathering.ie) - not to be confused with The Gathering announced by the Irish Government a few days ago, but instead a social networking site which offers you your family coats of arms and a chance to explore clan affiliations etc. Hmmm... I'm personally not a great one for sites that say "Buy your clan coat of arms - buy one get one free!". But there may be more to it. Another new site is Irish Lives Remembered, one I was more impressed with at www.irishlivesremembered.com. A very straightforward proposition, simply providing a place where you can create online memorials to Irish ancestors, but it looks great, and well worth exploring.

Two final discussions to mention - I finally had a chance to meet John Grenham, a man who may well put a hole in my theory concerning God's Northern Irishness, because he might well be a candidate for being the Big Yin himself (and that was definitely not a northern accent he was using!). John's Tracing Your Irish Ancestors is the modern bible of Irish genealogy - and he is now working on a fourth edition which he reckons will be out March/April next year, with significant additions concerning online resources and other materials. He is also running an online genealogy course in partnership with the Irish Times, which is aimed at those starting off - see www.irishtimestraining.com - which seems to be doing well.

Staying with education, I also talked to the University of Limerick about their MA in the History of Family, and their Certificate in History of Family and Genealogical Methods. I'm sorely tempted on the MA front, though having spent a substantial amount already on a postgrad diploma at Strathclyde in Genealogical Studies over two years, the MA is a serious amount of money for the year long programme - 7595 Euros if studied in a year online, or 4611 Euros if part time over 2 years (the Scottish MSc is about £800 by comparison). The course itself, has a really good take on it, looking at context within which families lived as well as genealogical practice, including all sorts of sociological and other aspects - but that is a lot of money. Further details on that at www2.ul.ie/web/WWW/Services/Research/Graduate_School/Prospective_Students/Graduate_Programmes/Taught_Programmes/Arts,_Humanities_&_Social_Sciences/History_of_the_Family. The certificate programme by comparison, is a much more affordable 684 Euros - see www.ul.ie/dllo/certhistfamilygenealog.html.

And finally - the Titanic! BIG exhibition kicking off next year in Belfast - though I've misplaced the leaflet I picked up, so will bring you more on that in due course! :)

Overall, the show at the RDS was one of many features at an over 50s expo essentially, and so the family history section was relatively small compared to something like Who Do You Think You Are Live in London - but the key thing is it had exactly the same buzz. And whereas WDYTYA Live is usually beginning to die by 4pm on the Sunday, by 4pm today the show was getting busier and busier. I have no doubt it will be phenomenally successful - and I'll definitely need to return again next year!

(With thanks to Bob Blatchford, and all those I managed to speak to in Dublin at the event)





Chris

Scottish trade directories added to Family Relatives

Family Relatives has added a series of Scottish trade directories to its online holdings at www.familyrelatives.com. The following are the additions:

Pigot's Directory Scotland 1825-1826 (all counties)
Pigot's Directory Scotland 1837 (all counties)
Scotland - The County Directory:
* 1902 (1901-04)
* 1912 (Decennial Issue)
Trade Directories 1889

A full list is available at www.familyrelatives.com/post_search.php?sr=Scotland

(With thanks to Family Relatives)

Chris

Bromley family history event

From the London Borough of Bromley (sourced at www.bromley.gov.uk/press/article/368/find_out_more_about_your_family_history):

Find out more about your family history
Published on 18 October 2011

Uncover more about your family history at a drop in session next week at Bromley Central Library.

Experts in family ancestry from the North West Kent Family History Society will be on hand on Saturday 29 October to answer questions about tracing your past. Free access to computers and online resources will be available from 10am to 12pm and from 1pm to 4pm. There's no need to book, just turn up and the advice is free.

"This is a great opportunity to get help if you're stuck with your family history research and don't know where to look next. Our friendly experts will be on hand to show you the next steps and the online resources will open up new access to your ancestry" said Simon Finch, Local Studies and Archives Manager at Bromley Central Library.

Saturday 29 October is also the start of the trial service of 'Find My Past', the popular family history database. The trial service will be accessible free, alongside our 'Ancestry' subscription in all Bromley Libraries, until Saturday 26 November.

For more information on the drop in sessions or 'Find My Past' contact Simon Finch, Local Studies & Archives Manager on 020 8461 7171 or email simon.finch@bromley.gov.uk

Chris

Bradford Family History Society meetings

From Beryl Evans of the Federation of Family History Societies (www.ffhs.org.uk), a note concerning meetings to be held by Bradford Family History Society:

Thank you to Susan Daynes,Keighley & Dist FHS for drawing our attention to the following information.

As you may all know by now, Bradford Central Library is closed for 'health and safety reasons'. Ground floor and First Floor are due to re-open on Friday (21 October) but we have no idea when the other floors housing Archives, Local Studies and the meeting rooms will re-open.

Meetings for the rest of this year will take place at Shipley Library. The meeting which should have been on Thursday 1 December will now be on Thursday 8 December. Otherwise times and speakers are unchanged.

We do not yet know what will be happening in 2012. Please see our website for arrangements. If you are not on the internet, please try make arrangements with a friend to keep you informed.

(With thanks to Beryl Evans and Jackie Depelle)


Chris

Dundee Science Festival family history event

Family histories revealed at Dundee Science Festival

People wishing to bring their family history to life are being offered a unique opportunity as part of Dundee Science Festival (Sunday 6 November 2011).

Dundee-based brightsolid, one of the country’s leading online publishers and owners of findmypast.co.uk and genesreunited.co.uk, is holding an event aimed at helping people trace their family history. Experts from the different family history websites will give talks throughout the day, helping people start their research and, ultimately, build a family tree.

Throughout the afternoon, brightsolid’s team of experts, from findmypast.co.uk, genesreunited.co.uk and ScotlandsPeople, will give an insight into where to start a search, the power of community to support a search, how to access the Scottish records, and the process of building an online family tree. One-to-one support will also be available for those wishing to explore the online world of genealogy. The event is free, non-bookable and will be held at DC Thomson, Meadowside Counting House, Dundee. Talks will take place hourly from 12-4pm.

Now in its third year, the fortnight-long Dundee Science Festival (Saturday 29 October – Sunday 13 November 2011) is set to explore the fun, excitement and relevance of science to all, with over 60 events, twice as many as last year, more partners and a diverse range of over 25 venues.

Dundee Science Festival, coordinated by Dundee Science Centre, is supported by the Scottish Government, Dundee City Council, Research Councils UK (RCUK) and The Gannochy Trust.

Other supporting partners are EventScotland, Skills Development Scotland, University of Dundee and University of Abertay Dundee, Dundee College, Dundee Waterfront, Medical Research Council, James Hutton Institute, as well as Dundee Science Centre.

For further information, please email dundeesciencefestival@dundeesciencecentre.org.uk, visit www.dundeesciencefestival.org or telephone Alexandra Forrest, festivals and Events Officer, Dundee Science Centre on 01382 868609.

(With thanks to Carolynne Bull-Edwards)

Chris

Friday, 21 October 2011

Irish Prison Registers 1790-1920 online

Major news from FindmyPast Ireland (www.findmypast.ie)

FIND THE JAILBIRDS NESTING IN YOUR FAMILY TREE ON FINDMYPAST.IE

· Launch of exclusive access to the Irish Prison Registers 1790-1920
· Over 3.5 million entries across 130,000 pages
· Drunkenness the most common offence – accounting for 25% of cases

Today, findmypast.ie launched online for the first time the Irish Prison Registers 1790-1920, one of the greatest untapped resources for those tracing their Irish roots.

The original Prison Registers, held at the National Archives of Ireland, cover all types of custodial institutions, from bridewells, to county prisons, to sanatoriums for alcoholics. They contain over 3.5 million entries, spread over 130,000 pages, with most records giving comprehensive details of the prisoner, including: name, address, place of birth, occupation, religion, education, age, physical description, name and address of next of kin, crime committed, sentence, dates of committal and release/decease.

The registers offer a real insight into 18th-19th century Ireland. They present evidence of a society of rebellion and social confrontation, where rioting and assault of police officers were everyday occurrences, and of rampant poverty and destitution, with the theft of everything from handkerchiefs to turnips.

The reasons for incarceration cover all types of crime but unsurprisingly perhaps the most common offence was drunkenness, which accounted for over 30% of all crimes reported and over 25% of incarcerations. The top five offences recorded in the registers are:

1. Drunkenness - 25%
2. Theft - 16%
3. Assault - 12%
4. Vagrancy - 8%
5. Rioting - 4%

The nature of these crimes was significantly different from those recorded in the UK. The rate of conviction for drunkenness and tax evasion was three times greater, and the rate of both destruction of property and prostitution were double what they were in the UK for the same time period.1

The records are full of individuals who were arrested for very minor offences, for example a record from the Cork City Gaol Court Book lists an arrest for Giles O’Sullivan (26), with no education and no previous convictions, on the 30th of March 1848 for being “a dangerous and suspicious character”. Other examples of the heavy hand of the law can be seen in the case of John Cunningham from Finglas (21) who was arrested for “Washing a car on a thoroughfare” and young Christopher Doyle (14) arrested “for being an idle, disorderly rogue and vagabond”.

The Irish population averaged 4.08 million over this time period2 and with over 3.5 million names listed in the prison records, it is clear to see how almost every family in Ireland was affected somehow.

Brian Donovan, Director of findmypast.ie, comments: “These records provide an invaluable resource for anyone tracing their Irish ancestors, as during the period covered almost every household in Ireland had a convict in their family. These records provide such a wealth of information that they are sure to shock and surprise almost anyone looking for the missing links in their Irish family tree.”


NB: This release contains records for the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland only.

(With thanks to Ross Weldon)

Chris

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Who Do You Think You Are Live 2012

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2012 has issued an online media pack for those who may potentially wish to hire a table or spot at the event.


The themed areas of interest next year will be a series of workshops, the WDYTYA? Theatre, a photography gallery, ask the experts, a DNA area, a military pavilion, and Eric Knowles will be acting as an heirloom detective.

(With thanks to WDYTYA Live)

Chris

Warwickshire and Dorset records on Ancestry

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has released a new collection of 3.9 million parish records for Warwickshire and Dorset:

Warwickshire, England, Baptisms, 1813-1906
Warwickshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1910
Warwickshire, England, Burials, 1813-1910
Warwickshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1502-1812
Warwickshire, England, Miscellaneous Parish Records
Dorset, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
Dorset, England, Bastardy Records, 1821-1853
Dorset, England, Parish Poor Law Records, 1511-1997

The following collections have also been updated:

UPDATED Dorset, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906
UPDATED Dorset, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-2001
UPDATED Dorset, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921
UPDATED Dorset, England, Confirmations, 1850-1921
UPDATED West Yorkshire, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
UPDATED West Yorkshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1922
UPDATED West Yorkshire, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985

As part of the release Ancestry has announced several tie in events over the next week, including a chance to interact with historian and TV presenter Tony Robinson, and a competition to win a cream tea at the National Trust! Ancestry will post a series of 5 questions on its blog next Monday 24th, and to win the prize you first need to answer these correctly, and then have your name entered into a prize draw. I'm delighted to say that yours truly has been kindly asked to help judge the competition, so keep an eye out on Ancestry's blog next Monday!

For full details of the next week's activities concerning the release, please visit http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/10/20/3-9-million-new-parish-records-now-online/ - and good luck to all who enter the competition!

Chris

New editor sought for Your Family Tree

Your Family Tree magazine is recruiting for a new editor, following the promotion of current editor Tom Dennis into another capacity at the publishing firm Future.

Congratulations to Tom on his new appointment - and if you think you have what it takes, visit the job specifications at http://jobsearch.futurenet.com/jobsearch/jobdetails.asp?JobID=1467

Good luck!


Chris

Dorchester school receives photo album

A large handmade photo album, originally designed to house a family history but never completed, has been donated to Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester.


Chris

Famine graveyard found in Kilkenny

The results of a graveyard excavation, at a site containing nine hundred and seventy victims who died in Kilkenny workhouse during the Irish Famine of the 1840s, have been revealed. The full story is at www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sciencetoday/2011/1020/1224306123786.html

(With thanks to FindmyPast Ireland via Twitter)

Chris

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Northumberland History Fair

Northumberland History Fair takes place on Monday, October 24th, from 11am to 4pm, at Woodhorn Museum near Ashington. Amongst the many groups present will be Northumberland and Durham Family History Society.

For more information read the Morpeth Herald story at www.morpethherald.co.uk/lifestyle/journey_to_past_1_3867985

Chris

Pharos - The Poor, the Parish and the Workhouse course

There are still spaces available on Gill Blanchard's course The Poor, The Parish and The Workhouse: Records in the 18th and 19th Centuries, which commences October 26th though Pharos Tutors. The course costs £45.99 (unassessed) or £61 (assessed).

The following is a description:

Poor, illegitimate, sick, temporarily out of work, old, deserving or undeserving, those who could not or would not support themselves obtained help, in England and Wales, either from the parish, before 1834, or the poor law union, after 1834. Careful records were kept and they are helpful to family historians not only for what they reveal about those receiving assistance but about the local people who paid the rates and made the system work. The course explains how poor relief evolved, functioned and recorded its activities. You will learn how to use these records, how they can solve genealogical problems and what fascinating insights they offer into the lives of your ancestors. Online information and data are integral to the course. The course is for anyone searching poor law records for the first time or wanting to build on existing knowledge.

Amongst the topics covered:

* Records of the Poor: background, terminology, how the Internet can help
* Parish Poor Law Records (1) types, use, indexes, access
* Parish Poor Law Records (2) other related parish records - bastardy, accounts, etc.
* Workhouse Records: content, use, access, life in the workhouse
* Other Related Records of the Poor including orphanages and charities
Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week.

For more details, and to book a place, visit www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=203

Chris

Glamorgan Archives workshops

Glamorgan Archives is hosting some family history based workshops this month and next - some are sold out, but you can view the blurb at www.glamro.gov.uk/adobe/Website%20Page%20and%20Poster.pdf

(With thanks to the Federation of Family History Socety's Ezine Daily on paper.li)

Chris

First Viking boat burial on mainland Britain

A Viking boat burial has been found in the remote Ardnamurchan district of Scotland, the first such fully intact burial found in Britain.


Chris

Find My Past - spoiler free review

I've just had the privilege to watch the very first episode of the new Find My Past TV series, which will be broadcast on the Yesterday channel on Thursday at 9pm. The following is a spoiler free review, but for a quick summary, two words - thumbs up!


The first episode follows 46 year old David, 31 year old Lara and 30 year old Lulu as they trace their connections to Operation Dynamo and the events of the Dunkirk evacuation. Their stories are connected - two particularly so - and they have no knowledge of those connections, but work their way through their own individual tales before a final meeting ties their stories together.

The first thing about the programme to note is that this is not just a series sponsored by FindmyPast.co.uk, but actually a series quite heavily branded as an extension of that platform. Due to the historic nature of the way that the series has been funded - Britain's first major product placement series essentially - there are of course the requisite numbers of sequences involving the website, though ironically for an event that took place in the Second World War, those sequences are by necessity short. Nick Barratt is the series genie who pops up to get the 'tree business' out of the way fairly quickly. I would have to say, in this episode, it works to an extent with one of the characters, although perhaps a bit tokenistic with the others, but thankfully it is all out of the way quite quickly. I say thankfully, because this series' strength isn't going to be about what the FindmyPast website can necessarily do for you - though you will definitely want to use it! - but about something far, far more fundamental which it nails brilliantly.

Many will want to compare the series with Who Do You Think You Are, but this is a very different creature entirely. There's no John Hurt wanting to be Irish, no Jeremy Clarkson looking for the missing millions, and certainly no Carol Vorderman walking into a shop and bumping into someone who just happens to have the answers! The main character is in some ways not the three individuals at all in fact - it is the story itself which rolls along chronologically, but which the three characters' journeys appropriately reveal at the right points. So why have them in at all? The reason is simple - this series is about connection. If you want to tell a tale of Dunkirk with just the facts and some nice footage, hire Simon Schama. But if you believe that the truth of a major story is always going to be more powerfully told from other people's smaller stories explored from the bottom up - essentially the revolution in history teaching that the wave of interest in family history has slowly been unleashing over the last few years - watch Find My Past.

The programme itself is quite punchy and does go at a rate. Being on a commercial channel it is in four parts, each topped and tailed with reprises and previews, but you're soon back into the swing of things after the ads. Chris Hollins is a competent presenter who works well, not meeting the three people featured until the end and competently narrating the relevant history throughout.

My overall feeling is that Who Do You Think You Are often asks the question, but rarely answers it - it tells you often about a celebrity you may have never heard of, and along the way occasionally reveals some interesting historical developments - but Find My Past will enthuse you to try to make that connection, particularly with the selection of topics that in most cases will have a broad appeal.

Looking forward to the second episode now on the Titanic - my great great grandfather helped to build it! :)




Where to find Yesterday: Sky channel 537, Virgin TV channel 203 and Freeview channel 12.

Chris

Scottish genealogy workshop at SoG

The Society of Genealogists will be holding a Scottish genealogy workshop on November 5th 2011, with talks from Alan Stewart, William Cross and Else Churchill.

For more information, and booking details, please visit www.societyofgenealogists.com/my-ancestor-was-scottish-a-full-day-course-on-5-nov/

(With thanks to Else Churchill via Twitter)

Chris

Irish prison registers to be released

FindmyPast Ireland (www.findmypast.ie) will be releasing a major collection this weekend, and Claire Santry has suggested that it will be the Irish prison registers on her Irish Genealogy News blog at http://irish-genealogy-news.blogspot.com/2011/10/prison-releases-this-week.html.

I suspected this was to be the release, but there has been no official confirmation as yet. Like Claire, I know little about the source, other than the fact that in February Eneclann's Brian Donovan announced in America at the RootsTech conference that the collection was being digitised (see http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/2011/02/forthcoming-irish-developments.html). The records will apparently contain the names of 4-6 million people from across the 19th century, including victims and their families, though Claire provides a more formal date range of 1790-1924.

If you have Irish ancestors, now might be a good time to pray that some of them were bad boys - if so, you may find out more about them imminently!

(With thanks to Claire, Audrey Collins for the RootsTech news, and the BI-Gen blog)

Chris

Sneak peak at British Library Newspaper project

A look at the British Library Newspaper Project behind the scenes, from AlJazeera Television - with thanks to Brightsolid via Twitter:



Can't wait for the release, which will be soon via www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

Chris

Unlock the Past cruise - shore seminars

Hi folks,

As part of the Unlock the Past Scottish and Irish genealogy cruise around New Zealand and eastern Australia, our talks team will be also be doing several shore based talks at various port stops, and also before and after the cruise.

Full details of the programme can be found at www.unlockthepast.com.au/events/history-and-genealogy-cruise-november-2011-scottish-irish-theme/cruise-shore-seminars, but the following are my scheduled commitments on the tour, and details of other speakers and talks:

Auckland
Saturday 19 November at Whare Wānanga, Central City Library 10am-4pm

10.15am - Chris Paton - Irish resources online
1pm - Chris Paton - Discover Scottish church records
3.45pm - Chris Paton - Discover Scottish land records
Additional talks from Rosemary Kopittke (11.15: FindmyPast) and Shauna Hicks (1.45: Google your family tree: tips and tricks), and Seonaid Lewis offers a tour of Central Auckland Research Centre at midday


Auckland
Monday 21 November at Whare Wānanga, Central City Library 9am-1pm

I won't be speaking at this, but talks from Dr Perry McIntyre (10.30: Beginning Irish Research) and Dr Richard Reid (12:00 Emigrant Journey to 19th Century Australia/New Zealand), and Seonaid Lewis offers a tour of Central Auckland Research Centre at 9am


Tauranga
Wednesday 23 November - at Arataki Community Centre, Zambuk Way, Arataki (near Bayfair Shopping Centre)

Provisional programme:
9.30am - Chris Paton - Irish resources online
10.15am - Chris Paton - Discover Scottish church records
Additional talks from Rosemary Kopittke (11.15: Findmypast), Shauna Hicks (11.45: Google your family tree: tips and tricks), Dr Perry McIntyre (1.15: Irish Parish Registers) and Dr Richard Reid (2.00: Key Irish documents)


Napier (Hawkes Bay)
Thursday 24 November - at Stoneycroft, Omahu Rd, Hastings

3.30pm - Chris Paton - Discover Scottish church records
Also a talk from Jan Gow (4.15: Hitting the Ground Running: Preparing for a research trip)


Wellington
Friday 25 November - at Conference Room, Archives NZ, 10 Mulgrave St. Wellington

1.00pm - Chris Paton - Discover Scottish church records
1.45pm - Chris Paton - Irish resources online
Also a talk from Rosemary Kopittke (3.00: Findmypast)


Akaroa (near Christchurch)
Sunday 27 November - at Little River Rugby Club Rooms, Little River Domain, Little River

Provisional programme
1.30pm - Chris Paton - Discover Scottish church records
3.15pm - Chris Paton - Irish resources online
Also a talk from Helen Smith (2.15: Help! I’m Stuck - Breaking Down Brick Walls)


Port Chalmers (Dunedin)
Monday 28 November - Dunningham Suite, 4th Floor, Dunedin Public Library, Moray Place,

Dunedin
1.30pm - Chris Paton - Discover Scottish church records
2.15pm - Chris Paton - Irish resources online
Also a talk from Rosemary Kopittke (Findmypast)


Burnie
Friday 2 December - time, venue and cost to be advised

Provisional programme
Chris Paton - Irish resources online
Chris Paton - Discover Scottish church records
Also a talk from Rosemary Kopittke (3.15: Findmypast)


Melbourne
Saturday 3 December - venue to be advised (probably in Melbourne CBD)

Indicative program only - subject to change
Sorry folks - day off for me as I will be meeting up with family
But talks from Dr Perry McIntyre (10.00: Beginning Irish Research), Dr Richard Reid (10.45: Key Irish documents), Rosemary Kopittke (11.30: Findmypast), Jan Gow (1.15: ScotlandsPeople), Dr Perry McIntyre (2.00: Get to know Ireland: what is a province, county, townland, parish, poor law union etc.), Dr Richard Reid (2.30: Emigrant Journey to 19th Century Australia/New Zealand)


Sydney
Monday 5 December at State Records NSW seminar room 10am-4pm

Provisional program
10.00am - Chris Paton - Discover Scottish church records
10.45am - Chris Paton - Irish resources online
1.45pm - Chris Paton - Scottish censuses 1841-1939
Also talks from Rosemary Kopittke (2.30: Findmypast) and additional talks TBC, 11.30: Irish convict or military topic, and 1.15: 1942-War comes to Australia: Darwin bombed, Sydney attacked

The full programme along with booking information is available at the link above - hopefully see you at some point down under!

Chris

Royal Marines Museum exhibition

An article on the Royal Marines Museum was carried in yesterday's Portsmouth News, outlining how it can help you research your marines connections, to tie in with a major new exhibition now underway at the facility.


Chris

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fact, Fiction and Fairy Stories in the Borders

On November 19th, Fred Kennington will be giving a talk entitled Fact, Fiction and Fairy Stories in the Borders at the Anglo-Scottish Family History Society.

For more details see www.anglo-scots.mlfhs.org.uk/#Meetings

(With thanks to Borders Family History Society's blog)

Chris

Walworth Family History Day

From www.londontown.com/LondonEvents/Walworth-Family-History-Day/1c5dd

Walworth Family History Day

Southwark Resource Centre, 10 Bradenham Close, Camberwell, London SE17 2QB
Tel: 020 7525 5000
DATES:22nd October 2011
OPENING TIMES 12noon-5pm
PRICES: Free

Celebrate the launch of the recently opened Southwark Resource Centre with the Walworth Family History Day. A packed day full of entertaining family events awaits visitors as Walworth's history is put on display in a series of fun talks, fun events and workshops. Meet authors Eileen MacKenney and Mark Baxter as they discuss the area and their books. You can also take a glimpse at local history with the Walworth Archives. Try out the Victorian Photo Booth and sample the tastes of old Walworth with chesnuts, candy floss, ice cream, sasparilla and cakes. There's plenty going on throughout the day to keep your family entertained: a Punch and Judy show, 'Swing X-Treme', a Lindy Hop demo and workshop, live performances from The Top Cats as well as traditional family fair stalls such as Splat the Rat and Test Your Strength.

Chris

Maxwell Ancestry update

Maxwell Ancestry (www.maxwellancestry.com) have made the following publications available for sale:

1851 Kirkcowan
1851 Mochrum
Tinwald Marriages 1832-54
Lauder Burials 1827-1838

(With thanks to Emma Maxwell)

Chris

Cheltenham Probate Abstracts on Origins

Cheltenham Probate Abstracts: 1660-1740 now available on www.origins.net

Probate records are a highly valuable primary source for the study of social history, local history and family history. Wills and inventories comprise the main probate records, and are supplemented by administrations, accounts and other documents created when disputes arose.

Inventories and valuations were part of the process of proving wills, but relatively few have survived. There is a reasonably high survival rate for inventories in the period 1660 to 1740 amounting to about 50% in Gloucestershire, but outside this period there are very few.

Wills and inventories give a colourful snapshot of the lives of our ancestors, providing an insight into household arrangements, household and occupational goods, lifestyle, wealth and status, providing evidence of kinship, family sizes, occupations and landholdings.

There is a wealth of rich information included in these abstracts, including wills from; yeomen, cordwainers (cobblers), blacksmiths, feltmakers, listing detailed inventories.

The latest collection made available on Origins.net catalogues over 2014 individual names covering the years 1660-1740 inclusive and records can be searched by first name/last name and also by 'free text' search. Full details can be found here: http://www.origins.net/help/aboutNWI-BGA.aspx

Origins.net offers subscription access to a wealth of unique and hard to find datasets, dating back to the 1200s from Britain and Ireland.

Collections include: Marriage records (1838-1856), London Apprentice records (1442-1850), Poor Law (1742-1868), Passenger Lists (1890-91 and 1858-70), Griffith's Valuation (the alternative census for Ireland; 1847-1868), Court records (1574-1714), Militia records (1872-1915), Electoral Registers (Somerset; 1832-1914 and Ireland; 1832-38), Irish Directories PLUS the National Wills Index – the principle online resource for pre-1858 English probate material!

(With thank to Jane Hewitt)


Chris