Saturday, 30 April 2011

Getting it Out of Our Systems


I shall get the Royal remnants out of the way first.  To be honest, there's only the one item worth mentioning, and that's the major news release by S&N Genealogy.  Always plenty of interesting things in their updates, with the latest issue trying to persuade us to check out our own potential royal connections.  If any other Royal stuff of interest trickles through I shall let you know - I wouldn't bet against it.

The National Library of Ireland has updated its events and exhibitions listings.  Its homepage is here, with the following direct links to its events and exhibitions.  A reminder about the library's revised opening times, too, here.

Irish researchers will also want to have a read of Eneclann's latest news release.

And the latest issue of Discover My Past - Scotland has been published - see here.


More TV & Radio listings can be found here.  I know they're late, but they've only just appeared online today - perhaps they had a day off yesterday!


Friday, 29 April 2011

Guess What?


Yes, the Royal Wedding, that's what.  Can't get moved for it today.  Most of the information sources which I utilise - both genealogical and historical - seem to be jammed with the subject, as you will be able to tell from most of that which follows.

The main culprits are the BBC's many websites.  One of my favourite haunts is the BBC History Magazine's site, HistoryExtra - and I must say they have provided plenty of reading for us this weekend, all of which can be reached from their homepage.  Here you will see the usual weekly 'History Headlines' feature, the May magazine's 'Podcast', and - you've guessed it - a special 'Out & About' Royal Wedding feature, and a 'Royal Weddings Through History' teaser piece.  Lovely.  Mmm.

I'm guessing that you want more?  Well, History Today magazine's website has a 'Royal Weddings Through the Ages' feature (some interesting video footage and some further links included).

Just the one more.  TheGenealogist has announced a couple of recent releases, only one of which has Royal connections.  See here.

As for other news, we have a major announcement to interest West Yorkshire researchers from FindMyPast, here.

Also, the National Archives of Scotland/National Records of Scotland are reinstating access to their maps and plans on 4th May - see here.  Important to note that full access will not yet be available, and that, in future, access is being restricted to digital copies (where available) rather than the originals.

And last, but by no means least, is the 9th and final instalment of 'Researching Family in Jersey' from The Nosey Genealogist's guest blogger, James McLaren.  An excellent series - access to all nine parts can be found here.

I don't doubt there'll be more Royal stuff to report on tomorrow.  I can already see further news releases starting to pile up in my in-box!  But you've had enough for today...


Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Next Big Thing

I am dedicating this day’s blog entry to showing you around BI-Gen, and, in particular, to tell you about the site’s new area – an exciting new development in which, I hope, you will all participate, and perhaps begin something which will become a major new online resource.

I guess I might as well start with the latter, as I’m sure you’re all terribly excited.  In fact, you may already have spotted the new area of the website in the menu bar above:  the SURNAME REGISTER.  OK, so it’s hardly an original idea, but why not, eh?  As BI-Gen is still quite young, it will take a while to get off the ground, but I’m in no hurry, and it’ll give us time to shape the new feature until it fits our needs just right!

Anyway, it is completely free – at least until it begins to take up too much of my time – but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.  For the moment, have a read of the lengthy introduction via the link above, and get in touch with me – either with your research interests, or any queries or suggestions.  I have tried to cover everything, but I don’t doubt that I overlooked something or failed to spot a problem or two.

What I need most of all, though, is your support.  So please get in touch with me ASAP so that we can get this thing off the ground.  I shall not be publishing the Register until it is of a decent size and scope, so come and join the fun!

Other than the launch of the Surname Register, I would urge you all to spend a few minutes exploring the other areas of BI-Gen, too.  It’s all quite straight-forward, really, and I don’t want you to miss anything.  You should start with ‘About BI-Gen’, then just move through the menu step-by-step. 

As you can see, the main thrust of the site is to list commercial firms and services – and if there are any out there who aren’t listed, then please let me know (it’s free, unless you want to pay to get to the top of your category).  There are some areas of BI-Gen which have not seen any action at all yet, such as the ‘For Sale/Wants’ and ‘New Products’ sections – so let’s get these moving if we can (have a look at them and see if you can use the areas in any way – especially if you’re a commercial concern).  If you contact any of the businesses listed, can you let them know that you spotted them on BI-Gen, so that they can see where the custom is coming from?

After you’ve had a good look at the website you may have some suggestions or ideas for BI-Gen; if so, then get in touch with me at and I promise to give you a fair hearing! 

Finally, if you can recommend or help promote BI-Gen to anyone, then go ahead and do so.  I can even supply posters and/or A5 flyers for you to hand out at meetings, fairs, conferences, etc.  I will even write a short article about BI-Gen for your society journal.  Just send me an email.

If you’re a bit shy about contacting me, then don’t be – even if it’s just to say ‘Hello’.  It’s good to know there’s someone out there reading my ramblings!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Fab Maps


Thanks to John Gasson (of 'The Wandering Genealogist' blog) for bringing a fabulous set of online maps to our attention.  It's the famous early seventeenth century John Speed maps of the UK - see Mr Gasson's post here, where you will find the relevant links.  They really are beautiful pieces of work.


A couple of new resources have popped up on Ancestry, namely, an updated version of the England & Wales GRO Marriage Index for 1916-2005, and a curious collection of Kent records.  For more on the Kent stuff, see here.

For the latest on the ongoing project by the National Library of Wales to digitise its newspaper and periodicals collection, see here.


Part 3 of FindMyPast's series on understanding and interpreting old photos can be found here.


Forthcoming TV & Radio is listed here.


WDYTYA? Magazine's website has a competition to win 3 copies of the DVD of ... well, have a look for yourself!


1908:  Summer Olympics open in London. It should have been held in Rome, but the Italians fell behind in their preparations, then Mount Vesuvius erupted - and the UK stepped in to save the day!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

New Scots Website


The ScottishGENES blog has picked up the news of the launch of the new 'National Records of Scotland' website - as Chris Paton says, though, it is little more than a 'portal' to the existent sites with which you will be familiar.  Worth bookmarking the new URL, none the less, as it is sure to be an essential point of reference in the future.

The May issue of the BBC History Magazine is now on the market.


MyHeritage has posted an interesting blog entry on the subject of rare British surnamesBlimey, and I thought my surname was rare!  Interestingly, they say that there are only two MacQuoids on the British electoral register - well, one of them was the headmaster of my son's former school, and I suppose the other one must be his wife!

Needless to say, another couple of pieces on weddings have popped up.  Ancestry look at our wedding traditions, here; and there is a pictorial look back at wedding-day fashions, here.


1986:  Chernobyl Disaster (25th anniversary).

P.S:  Thanks to all of you who have joined me as official 'Followers' of the blog - I note that there has been a bit of a surge of late!  No obligation to officially 'Follow' the blog, of course - but you can still say 'hello' via, or, of course, post the occasional comment to the blog entries.  Please stay tuned, as I plan to make a major announcement soon regarding a new area of the site - I'll let you know by the end of the month!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Don't Forget Local History Month


I know I've mentioned this before, but May is Local History Month here in the UK.  I can't really help you with specific local events, but I can encourage you all to keep your eyes open for what might be on offer in your own locality - usually via your local library or the local press.  It's a great opportunity to learn a bit about your local community - and maybe a bit about the lives of your ancestors, too, of course.  The Historical Association is supposed to be co-ordinating events nationally, but their online database seems to be a little undercooked - see here.  Many events will require advance booking, so get looking now!

Book fair enthuasiasts may be interested in several forthcoming events organised by the PBFA - namely, those at Devizes (30th April), Alexandra Palace, London (1st May), and Hestercombe, Taunton (1st May).

There has been a burst of activity on the ReadIreland website, with a host of new book reviews - including a fair amount of historical stuff.  Click here, then go to 'ReadIreland Book News'.


MyHeritage has posted a very interesting blog entry about early photography, here. Fascinating.


And as news is a bit thin on the ground today, I thought I'd bring you a couple of cartoons which I came across earlier today...

[By Jonathan Brown of]

[By the Far Side's Gary Larson]

Sunday, 24 April 2011

UK, GB, BI ... etc.


Even though I'm a UK-based researcher, I am still occasionally caught out by questions concerning which bits of the British Isles go where.  What exactly is the 'United Kingdom'? Or the 'British Isles'? You know the sort of thing.  Well, with the passing of St.George's Day (yesterday), I was reminded of the problem by Audrey Collins on her always-interesting 'The Family Recorder' blog - see here.  Audrey's piece merely touches on the issue, of course, but I always find the famous Euler diagram useful:-

For those who wish to confuse themselves further, take a look at the Wikipedia article from which the diagram was taken, here.  There are several subtly different versions of the above illustration on the Internet, but I reckon the one shown is near enough correct ... unless someone thinks differently!?

On another topic entirely, MyHeritage discuss supercentenarians on their blog, here.  A short piece, but with one or two useful links to further information.


The GOONS has issued a reminder about its forthcoming Mining Seminar to be held in Northumberland on Saturday 21st May - so I'm assuming that there are still places available!

OK, so it's not British/Irish news, but Ancestry are offering free access to their Canadian marriages during 22nd-30th April - to add to the existent offer for their England/Wales marriage indexes.  See here for more information.


1916:  Easter Rising begins in Ireland.  More than 250 civilians are killed and 2,000+ injured in the week-long revolt against British rule in Ireland.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

More New Mags


It's that time of month again - you know, when the new issues of the magazines are released.  The latest ones to have popped up are the May editions of Family Tree Magazine and History Today.

The National Library of Ireland has revised its opening hours, with effect from 3rd May - see here.

And, sticking with the Irish, Linen Hall Library has announced its events programme for May - with the Blitz Exhibition (Belfast April 1941) looking like a fine reason to pop in.

TheGenealogist has added 28,000 parish record entries for Staffordshire to its database.

And TNA has added another Podcast to its website, entitled From Crime to Punishment: criminal records of our ancestors from the 18th and 19th centuries. [This is a slightly different way into the Podcast series which I've just discovered - and is much better, the list stretching back several years!].


The BBC History Magazine's 'History Headlines' for the week; and a little story about cricket which I couldn't resist mentioning - though I appreciate it has nothing to do with genealogy!


Birth - and Death - of...

William Shakespeare - birth in 1564; death on same day in 1616.

... Which means that it must be St.George's Day!  Have the day off.

Friday, 22 April 2011

SoG News Fest


The SoG blog has issued a series of interesting posts, thus:-
  • Royal Hospital Chelsea visit report (many of you will have an interest in this institution, I'm sure);
  • A report on the London Metropolitan Archives Family History Forum.  Lots of very interesting points to note for those with London interests;
  • The SoG Centenary stamp set! (first mentioned on this blog on 22nd February).
The May issue of WDYTYA? Magazine is now on the market - see here.  The magazine's website also has a series of downloadable family trees of the Royal couple-to-be, here.

It's a couple of days since I checked out Chris Paton's ScottishGenes blog - and it serves me right that I'd a fair bit to catch up on.  Two posts stand out: Origins and Burke's Peerage discounts and a clever way of retrieving the info held at the old ScotsFind site.  Thanks Chris.

TNA also have some news to share.  First of all, they've just bagged the Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2011 - well, jointly with private firm Tessella - "for developing a system for preserving digital information which has since been adopted by libraries and archives around the world."  Very good - read all about it here.  TNA will also be handed some extra responsibility in the wake of the pending closure of the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council - check out the official news release here


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


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Lots of Offers


Easter and the Royal Wedding seem to have brought a rash of special offers from the genealogical world. First up, a big thank you to Lucy who has pointed out that searches, etc., on the Lost Cousins website are free until 2nd May.  It is not immediately obvious from their site, but their latest newsletter (itself a very good read) will put you in the picture.

Ancestry are also offering free access to their England & Wales Marriage Indexes 1837-2005 during 21st-30th April.  Incidentally, there's a little bit more info on those new Liverpool records I mentioned yesterday, here.

If you're a GOONS member, then you are in for yet more special offers from MyHeritage and TheGenealogist - see the latest newsletter, here.

Do you remember that specialist genealogical search engine, Mocavo, that I mentioned back on 22nd March? Well, it has made an important announcement, here, which I think you should all have a look at.


The Irish Genealogy News blog is carrying an interesting piece about the forthcoming Irish genealogy TV show, The Genealogy Roadshow, here.

MyHeritage have flagged a really interesting 20-minute lecture which has appeared online, here, about humanity's distant past, how we're all related and how diversified we all are.  Some astounding facts are aired, especially about our common ancestors - but I'll not spoil it for you!

And if you want to examine the British Library's latest batch of Podcasts then take a look here.


1964:  After being postponed from the day before, BBC2 TV channel is launched.  A power cut caused the delay - Play School being officially the first programme broadcast at 11am.
1983:  The £1 coin is introduced.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Something for the Weekend


With the approach of the Easter weekend, there'll be lots on offer of a historical nature over the coming days.  Most of our museums and historical venues put on 'family specials', of course; but there are plenty of other things to consider, too.  I expect you're keeping an eye out for local events, but there's a decent listing to be found here.

Additionally, there are three major book fairs of which I know, thus:-

Your Family History magazine is celebrating its first birthday with the release of Issue 14 - see here (well, it's actually out tomorrow, 21st), so you might want to treat yourself to a copy.

Diamond subscribers to TheGenealogist will be interested in the latest records release - a nice varied selection of military stuff.

Researchers with an interest in Liverpool or the Channel Islands will want to scrutinise the latest Ancestry update.

And Irish researchers should take note of the continuing partial closure of facilities at the National Archives of Ireland.


If you're still struggling for something to do, then take a look at the forthcoming TV & Radio schedule.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

OGA Clarification


The Open Genealogy Alliance has featured prominently in previous posts on this blog on 23rd February and 7th April (see here, and scroll down a bit).  Its aim to restrict the seemingly rampant activities of commercial concerns in our hobby are admirable, but are, of course, controversial - after all, how can some of the larger datasets be brought online without the help of Ancestry, FindMyPast and the like?  Anyway, the SoG post mentioned in my blog entry of 7th April has been supplemented by a lengthy 'comment' from one of the OGA's co-ordinators, so is well worth revisiting, here.

Deceased Online will be announcing the release of more records in the next day or two - this time concerning cemeteries in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  The former concerns cemeteries in Cheshunt, Hoddesdon, Hemel Hempstead, Tring and Berkhamsted; the latter that at Sawston. Though the official announcement hasn't been made, the records ARE actually already online.

Issue 103 of Your Family Tree will be released in the next few days - there's a preview here, where you will also see details of a new book of their's entitled Photo Editing for Family Historians.

On the subject of publications and publishing, TNA have joined forces with Bloomsbury Publishing - presumably with a view to expanding their operations in the field.  See their press release here.

Blogger Audrey Collins has compared the existing datasets on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website to the seemingly identical sets of records which have recently appeared on Ancestry - and finds some interesting differences.  Read what she has to say here.

And a reminder to those of you who frequent The Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum that the same will be closing on Thursday 21st April - full details here.


Death of...

Benjamin Disraeli, in 1881, near High Wycombe in Bucks, aged 76;
Charles Darwin, in 1882, near Orpington in Kent, aged 73.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Grave Words 2

Once I wasn’t,
Then I was,
Now I ain’t again.                                                    

[Minnesota, USA]

In health I went away from home,
But did with life no more return;
My horse he stumbled and fell down,
And threw me lifeless on the ground;
Short was my life, my pain the less,
God took me home as he thought best.

[Chilton Church, Oxfordshire]
- and his ghost is said to haunt the nearby Downs to this day.

And what of this double tragedy - two sons lost to drowning within the same year:

Henry Leonard Belt, youngest son of George Belt, Newcastle, d.7-4-1859 aged 19 years. The deceased who was on a visit to his uncle Jacob of this village went to bathe at a spot known as the Doctor Stanners a little above Ryton Fisheries, and though able to swim was unfortunately drowned....

Anthony Belt, 2nd son of George Belt, Newcastle, d.26-10-1859 aged 29. The deceased with upwards of 400 others perished on the wreck of the SS ship "Royal Charter" in Dulas Bay, Anglesey, during the dreadful hurricane of that day, his body was interred Penrhos Lligwy, Anglesey.

[Both from Holy Cross, Ryton, Co.Durham]

Weep not for me, my wife and children dear,
I am not dead, but sleeping here;
My race is ran, my grave you see,
Prepare yourselves to follow me.

[St.Nicholas, Cramlington, Northumberland]

- Er, not just yet, if you don't mind!

Nineteen years I was a maid,
Seven years I was a wife,
Seventeen days I was a mother,
And then it pleased the Almighty
To call me from this world, to another!
[Noted in the Border Advertiser of 3rd Feb.1854, location unknown]

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
Also Edith Ruby.

[Southwick Churchyard, Sussex]

And finally a few famous folk:

[German-Dutch mathematician, Ludolph van Ceulen, who famously calculated the value of pi to 35 decimal places prior to his death in 1610.  He was so proud of his achievement that he insisted on the number being engraved on his headstone]

A tomb now suffices for him, for whom the world was not enough.
[Alexander the Great]

That's All, folks!
[Mel Blanc]

A reminder to you all that I'm always on the lookout for unusual stories, facts and figures from the world of family history.  If you have anything to offer, then don't be shy - email them to me at .

Sunday, 17 April 2011

New FH Show Coming Soon


Of some interest, no doubt, to family historians will be the forthcoming ITV series Long Lost Family, due to commence on Thursday 21st April at 9pm (ITV1).  It's basically a 'reunion' show for family members separated for lengthy periods of time - so it may offer some pointers (and some hope) for those of us in a similar predicament.  You can find out more here and here, and if you go to the ITV website, here, you can fiddle about with the 'TV Guide' until you find the show's description.  They're planning a second series, so those of you who fancy getting your mug on the telly can get in touch with the company concerned via the first mentioned link.


SoG members may be interested in this curious little tour.  Frankly, I should imagine that many family historians, with their semi-morbid fascination with death, would be interested in a tour of the London Catacombs.  The authorities could be missing a trick here.

Irish researchers may wish to check out the latest update from Ireland Genealogy Projects, as featured on the Irish Genealogy News blog.


Part 8 of 'Researching Family in Jersey' has appeared on The Nosey Genealogist's blog.  This time its 'Military Records'.  Thanks to James McLaren for this helpful post - which includes information on a couple of pre-1841 censuses.

And The Family Recorder blog has a helpful piece on those with ancestors lost amidst the London Docks.


1969:  Voting age in the UK is lowered from 21 to 18.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Irish Newsletter


The April edition of Ireland's Genealogical Gazette (the monthly newsletter of the Genealogical Society of Ireland) is available online here.  The society seems to be booming, and its latest bulletin has a decidedly optimistic tone - reflecting, perhaps, the many exciting developments in the Irish genealogical world of late.  And, as one of the articles reminds us, with so many important State Visits planned for 2011 levels of interest in the ancestry business are set to remain high.

On the subject of the Irish, check out recent developments pertaining to the availability of a further 32,000 baptism records for County Monaghan, here.

The folk at TheGenealogist have released a couple of updates in the last few days.  The first relates to the availability of yet more Worcestershire baptism records, and the second to a substantial addition to their PCC Wills collection.  See here.

Ancestry have placed another free resource on their website, namely, Crisp's Marriage Licence Index for London 1713-1892.  As is usually the case, to search the index as a non-member you need to set up a free account, which is easy enough to do).

A bit selfish of me, but I couldn't resist mentioning this little itemRowlands Gill is right on my doorstep up here in the North-East of England, and the historical mystery is quite well-known in these parts.


Another batch of History Headlines from the BBC.


Birth of...
Charlie Chaplin, in 1889 in London.

1746:  Battle of Culloden.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Audiovisual Archives


The British Film Institute and the British Library have this week signed a 'Memorandum of Understanding' to improve general access to audiovisual and broadcast material held by various organisations across the UK.  One of the great untapped resources of the digital age, the spoken word and the moving picture could provide many of us family historians with our best insight yet into the world of our ancestors.  Bring it on!  Read the BL's press release here.

Ancestry's latest Updated newsletter can be found here. Nothing to write home about, but have a quick look anyway.

FindMyPast have added almost 100,000 new Wiltshire parish records (baptisms) to their database - see here.


Get the latest TV & Radio info for the coming week, here.


Back to FindMyPast, and Part 2 of their series on understanding and interpreting family photographs.

And ever wondered what the heck is going on with the Irish Civil Registration system and how to access it?  Well, Chris Paton's got it all in hand, here, with a blog entry that passes as a medium-sized article!


Another item to appear on Chris's blog is his summary of what might be described as the ultimate family history survey!


1912:  Titanic sinks - 1,500+ dead;
1989:  Hillborough Disaster - 96 dead.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Jewish Ancestry?


The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain is holding its 9th Annual Northern Conference in Manchester on Sunday 8th May.  To learn more, visit the website and click on the link on the right-hand side of the page, which will take you to the conference's dedicated newsletter and booking form.  I couldn't help but notice, too, that the homepage has a link to the 1851 Anglo-Jewry Database which is open to everyone.  No luck for my surname, but there might be for yours!

The Ulster Historical Foundation (aka AncestryIreland) has a couple of items of interest on their website.  Click on the link above, then you'll see further links to its Autumn School in October, and its Ulster-Scots Luxury Tour in September.  I only mention them now as they're likely to fill up rather quickly.  Also, the Foundation's sister site, BooksIreland, is running a free p&p week during 14th-21st April.


This comes to me third-hand via Chris Paton's ScottishGENES blog: a splendid website dedicated to British Military Nurses from 1875. Hidden in its pages are to be found an index or two, so look carefully.


TNA's website is looking back at the Festival of Britain, which opened almost 60 years ago on 3rd May 1951.  There are some interesting links to move through, including a special Podcast to lend your ear to.

The Family Recorder blog has an interesting and unusual piece on the historical treatment of ailments and diseases, here.

And a couple of posts on the MyHeritage blog contain some content of note.  Firstly, there's an interview with Mark Pearsall of The National Archives; and there's a moving piece concerning a reunion in the USA in their regular 'Families Around the World' feature.


1931:  The Highway Code is first issued;
1983:  First cordless telephone goes on sale in the UK.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

FFHS's New President


The Federation of Family History Societies has announced its new president: Dr Nick Barratt.  Nick will be familiar to many of you due to his occasional media appearances, and he succeeds Lady Teviot in the hot seat.  Full story here.

The Scottish Association of FHS has published its April 2011 Bulletin online, here.  There's the usual round-up from the nation's FH societies, plus news of the SAFHS's Conference in Edinburgh on Saturday 25th June.

Always a likely haunt for the keen family historian is the antiquarian and second-hand book fair.  Check out the forthcoming events at the PBFA's website, here.  This weekend there will be fairs at Dunblane, Stoneleigh (Warks), and Glasgow.

The WDYTYA? Magazine website has enjoyed a flurry of activity.  Notable stories are the launch of a Holocaust Identification Project, updates to the Deceased Online website (covering Hertfordshire and Aberdeen City), and ...


... forthcoming TV & Radio shows of interest.


Birth of...
Richard Trevithick, English engineer, in 1771 in Cornwall.

1829:  The Catholic Emancipation Act passed by the British Government.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

'Urgent' FMP / British Library News


Off the top of my head I can't remember if I've mentioned this previously, but FindMyPast and the British Library are holding a day of talks at the British Library's Conference Centre on Saturday 16th April - so move fast!  See here, where you will find the relevant 'booking' link.  There must be places left, or they wouldn't still be advertising it.

FMP has also added more than 1 million new parish records for Cambridgeshire to its database - see here.

TNA has launched a beta (or 'test') version of its new search facility, and is keen to garner feedback from users - so why not give it a go!  See the press release here, where you will find the relevant link to the so called 'Discovery' service.

And those of you with research interests in Wicklow, Ireland, will want to have a look at this post from the Irish Genealogy News blog.


Whilst fiddling about with the British Library website, I fell upon an excellent collection of Podcasts, here.  Yet more for us all to listen to!


A big day for space exploration...
1961:  Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space;
1981:  First space shuttle, Columbia, launched for the first time.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Irish Roadshow


RootsIreland have fell upon the news that RTE Television are to conduct a Genealogy Roadshow throughout Ireland during late May and June.  Click here for the full story.

TheGenealogist website has unveiled a few new bits and bobs of late.  Information on Pre-1841 Census info for London, Australian Convict Records, and some 1851 Scottish Census stuff can be found here.


Your Family History's Facebook page has flagged this interesting website: Victorian Crime & Punishment.

You may wish to have a browse of the website of The Historical Association.  These guys are co-ordinating next month's Local History Month, of course, though the website's diary seems a little empty (best visit your local library for this sort of info, anyway).  Also on the HA's website can be found a scattering of Podcasts (some require you to subscribe, though), and news of the forthcoming HA Annual Conference during 13th-14th May in Manchester.


Liam Byrne's Roscommon History Facebook page mentions a curious little story about an image of Christ. (Thanks for the mention of BI-Gen, too, Liam!).


1814:  Napoleon abdicated as Emperor, and was exiled to the island of Elba - Louis XVIII becoming king of France;
1855:  Pillar boxes were introduced - a total of six were erected in London ... and were painted green.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Irish Census Day


It's Irish Census Day today.  I haven't noticed quite as much historical hullabaloo as that which surrounded the UK equivalent a couple of weeks ago, but Irish Genealogy News has kindly marked the occasion with a few short articles.

Yet another instalment of 'Researching Family in Jersey' (part 7) has appeared on the Nosey Genealogist's blog, here.


Some big news for Norfolk researchers from the FamilySearch website.  I noticed this on John Reid's Anglo-Celtic Connections blog, so I shall let him explain, here.


First mentioned on this blog on 5th April, the brand new 'Connected Histories' website is starting to make a bit more of a splash now.  The site itself can be found here; comment by the SoG appears here; and a video about how to use the site has popped up here.

Those of you eagerly awaiting the launch proper of FindMyPast Ireland will want to have a read of Chris Paton's post on the topic, here.  Seems like they're getting there... eventually!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Military Stuff from FMP


Not a big day, news-wise - well, no major issues to raise - but there are plenty of little bits and pieces to report on.  First up is FindMyPast and a new batch of military goodies, namely, the 'Royal Navy Officers Medal Roll 1914-20', and 'New Zealand WWI Soldiers'.  See blog post, here.

Other news items are limited to the latest TNA Podcast (Escape and Evasion in Occupied Europe); and the following forthcoming fairs/open days:-


This lengthy post on The Family Recorder blog may be handy for those with interests in and around Glasgow.


Wasn't aware of this one - TNA's Image Library.


An offer has popped up on the SoG blog for those who subscribe to Family History Monthly.

And a fun poll has appeared on the MyHeritage blog.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Not Another One!


Oh, but yes! It's the Irish Census on Sunday 10th April, so you're gonna hear a fair bit about it over the next few days.  The latest newsletter from Eneclann will get you in the mood.

Irish researchers may also be interested in this special lecture session at the National Museum of Ireland on the subject of 'The Irish in the American Civil War'.

A couple of other conferences/meetings of interest:-

FindMyPast have also improved the search facility for their Overseas, At Sea and Army death records - see here.


The BBC has delivered its weekly instalment of 'History Headlines', here.  And there's a witty little tale, here.


TV & Radio of a historical nature for the coming week can be found here.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

OGA Causing a Stir


Regular readers of this blog will be no strangers to the OGA - the Open Genealogy Alliance - who are campaigning for free (or at least cheaper) access to major online genealogical datasets.  For the full story, see their website.  Anyway, it seems that they are beginning to make an impact in the genealogical world, for the SoG blog has passed comment on the goings-on, here.  The SoG's blog is not one to feature much in the way of comment of this sort, so this story could get a good deal bigger in the coming months.

Spotted on Alan Stewart's blog is mention of an important addition to the British History Online website, here - big news indeed if you've got London ancestors pre-1700.  In case you just feel like skipping over this one, we're talking about (among other things) the Hearth Tax records for London, Westminster and Middlesex - wow!


An interesting collection of facts on the 1911 Scottish Census can be found here.

The Europeana website has branched out with a sister site called Europeana Libraries - a two-year project to get 5million items from 19 continental repositories online.  Lovely.


Blogger John Reid has also flagged this interesting BBC article about shortage of burial space in Wales.  Well, folk will keep dying.


Sorry, a bit late with this one.  TV & Radio stuff here.  If you've missed anything on the BBC, there's always the iPlayer, of course.


Birth of...
William Wordsworth, in Cockermouth, Cumberland, in 1770.

Death of...
Dick Turpin, highwayman - hung in York in 1739.

1827:  Inventor John Walker of Stockton-on-Tees sells the first friction matches.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

More on the 1911 Scottish Census


Folk are still talking about the release of the 1911 Census north of the border.  Apart from what I have already mentioned, you can find find several items of interest on the BBC's WDYTYA? Magazine website - including a chance to win a 'Scottish reference guide package worth £70'.

Audrey Collins has also written a lengthy post on the subject, here, which covers not only the Scottish returns but those from England and Wales, too.

Devon researchers may wish to participate in the following survey:-
It's all to do with collecting views and opinions prior to the big get-together on 15th April regarding the future of the county's record offices - so it's important to take part!

Coincidentally, there are some important developments nearby concerning the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office set-up, here.


The aforementioned Audrey Collins has provided a useful list of mapping websites, here.


FindMyPast have posted the first of a series of articles on understanding and interpreting old family photographs, here.  I think I must be one of the few genealogists who don't have any pre-WWI family images - but the write-ups are sure to be very interesting all the same!


The excellent Parish Chest have posted their latest update, here.  Towards the very end of the newsletter there is mention of a new mystery website, thus:

I was surprised recently to see that someone else has launched a web site called British Genealogy. Well, they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Do they mean BI-Gen, I wonder?  Can't be sure, because the website title doesn't quite match up.


1830:  Mormon Movement founded in the USA by Joseph Smith;
1896:  Modern Olympic Games revived in Athens;
1909:  American Robert Peary claims to have become the first man to reach the North Pole.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

1911 Scottish Census Released


Great news for Scottish researchers with the release of the 1911 Census for the nation this morning.  As ever, Chris Paton's blog is bang up to date with the latest - his site can be found here, where there are several entries on the subject.  Chris's lengthy blog of today's date includes many other links of interest - do have a look before you plunge into the data itself.

The latest news release from TNA is not of any great interest to family historians, but here it is anyway.  There is a related podcast here.


Another of TNA's news releases, here, points us to another new resource - namely the 'Connected Histories' website.  One to add to your bookmarks list, I reckon.

FindMyPast Ireland may not have properly launched yet, but they've set up a Facebook page, here.


MyHeritage's blog asks the question of how a baby's gender affects family planning in an interesting little article, here.  The statistics are hardly surprising, I suppose, but it's fascinating to see how couples make decisions about whether or not to try for a 3rd or 4th child.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Scarlet Fever

One of the most virulent diseases to hit Scotland (and many parts of the rest of the British Isles) in the nineteenth century was scarlet fever. It struck down many young children, and in its path it scarcely left a single household unaffected. At the height of the epidemics of 1877 and 1878 it was not uncommon for the same family to lose several children together. Two chronicled incidents are perhaps typical of the utter distress wrought:-

While on holiday to Loch Leven in July of 1878, William Edward Dowden and his wife, Alice Stark, of Lambeth, London, lost three children in as many days from the ravages of scarlet fever. They were Catherine Anne, aged 5; Christopher John, aged 4; and Robert Joseph, aged 2....


John Ferguson, of Drumskeoch, and his wife, Annie Bond, lost their whole family of five young children in the space of a few days in November of 1877. The children were Margaret Boag, died 1 November, aged 6 years 9 months; James, died 15 November, aged 8 years and 1 month; Annie, died 17 November, aged 2 years and 8 months; Elizabeth, died 18 November, aged 4 years and 6 months; and Charles Bond, also died 18 November, aged 7 months.

In the latter case, a memorial stone at New Monkland Churchyard, Glenmavis, near Airdrie, records the same details. One can barely comprehend losing five children in the space of eighteen days. 

Scarlet fever is now easily treatable.  In the 1920s a vaccine was developed, but since the 1940s penicillin has been used.  Symptoms include a sore throat, fever, a body rash and a distinctive strawberry-red tongue.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

News from Ireland & Abroad


A little rush of news from Ireland in the last day or two has kept bloggers there busy.  Irish Genealogy News is worth a visit, with several posts of interest.  Click on the link to find out about 'Updates to Ireland Genealogy Projects', 'Dates for Your Diary' and a link to a newspaper report about the possible early release of the 1926 Irish Census.

I see that FamilySearch has added more than 20 million free records for overseas countries, including Hungary, Brazil, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, USA, Venezuela, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Philippines, Spain and Zimbabwe.  The total includes 9 million from Hungary and 5 million from Mexico. are having a 'Free Access Week' for US records from the Civil War era, 1860-70, including Census records. Offer spans 7th-14th April.

Those of you following Europeana's efforts to get German memories of WWI online will want to check out this blog entry.  OK, so it's nothing to do with British/Irish genealogy, but it gives an interesting new angle on events that shaped our ancestors lives.

And, coming back to the UK, have a listen to the latest Podcast from the folk at BBC History Magazine.  Subjects covered are Britain's war machine, the history of hairstyles, and 'slavery after abolition'.  There's also a competition to win an iPad woven into the talk.


Can't let this item slip by, either.  I hope Audrey Collins isn't making this one up!  If so, then I've got egg on my face!!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Record Office Changes


I try to keep the news items featured on this blog of a 'major' nature, and not have too much in the way of 'local' material - unless, of course, such items are a little out-of-the-ordinary in themselves.  However, I have noticed an awful lot of our county record offices and archives are changing their opening hours of late - generally, it seems, around the beginning of April.  All to do with 'the cuts', I suppose, but also a little to do with the changing habits of archive users (more online activity, email queries, etc.).  Anyway, my point is that you should check out the opening hours of your local office before your next visit - chances are there have been some changes!

The big change in Scotland, of course, is the merger of the National Archives of Scotland and the General Register Office for Scotland into the new 'National Records of Scotland' (from 1st April).  Both of the old websites remain unchanged and operational, and no proper news has yet been forthcoming regarding how the merger will affect us researchers.  If there are any dramatic announcements, I'll let you know.

PRONI's recent re-opening continues to make the news.  Chris Paton has reported heavily on the topic, and has even uploaded a neat little video report on the institution's new search room, here.  Chris's blog also has a lot of minor Scottish news which has come to light over the past couple of days - check it out here.  One special item worth mentioning is the release of the latest issue of Discover My Past - Scotland.


DIPPAM (Documenting Ireland: Parliament, People & Migration) is a new, free online resource which brings together three existing record sets and ... well, if you've got Irish interests check it out for yourself - the homepage tells you all you need to know.  Looks like an outstanding resource.


1977:  Red Rum wins the Grand National for a third time;
1982:  Argentina invades the Falklands;
2005:  Pope John Paul II dies.

Friday, 1 April 2011

More on PRONI


A great post on the Scottish GENES blog by Chris Paton about the PRONI opening on 30th March can be found here.  A must for all interested parties.  Well done, Mr Paton!

S&N Genealogy Supplies have brought out another update, here.  Obviously, most of the reading concerns their own services and goods, but I would urge you to have a quick look all the same.

And the latest issue of BBC History Magazine is out now - see here.  Oh, and the same guys have just published their Out and About guide to April, too.


Well, we might as well stay with the BBC History website for their weekly History Headlines, and a look at classic hoaxes on this, April Fools' Day!  No one seems to know when the April Fool thing began (see here and here) - but a 'Top 100 hoaxes' can be found here.

If you have ancestors involved in the cotton industry, then you'll want to have a read of this piece by Audrey Collins.

And here's more TV & radio to look out for in the week ahead.