Wednesday, 30 November 2011

New London Freemen Records


Ancestry have released a new batch of important trade/occupational records entitled the London Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1925. Well over half a million individuals are listed - full details can be found in Ancestry's announcement, with some additional comment here. 

Whilst we're with Ancestry, the technology-minded among you may wish to check out the breaking news about Version 3 of Ancestry's App for iPad/iPhone/iPod.

There's another helpful blog post about yesterday's British Newspaper Archive launch from the SoG's Else Churchill, here.

A helpful list of forthcoming Irish events has been provided by Claire Santry.

The Christmas issue of WDYTYA? Magazine has been released. And I notice that the very same folks have a special subscription offer on the go - see here.


Tomorrow evening's Find My Past TV show is on the subject of 'The Firing Squad'. See the trailer here, and the series' website is here.

And here are a few more TV/Radio items for you.


The FindMyPast blog has posted an item on the SoG's Business Index, 1892-1987.

And the FMPIreland blog has an article on Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland.

Dead End Hobby: Oddments from the World of Family History - LAST DAY of special pre-publication offer. See here for full details.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

British Newspaper Archive Now Live!


The major news story of the day (week/month?) is the unveiling of the British Newspaper Archive website - a joint venture by the British Library and commercial concern BrightSolid. The story is all over the Internet, but why not go straight to the horse's mouth and the British Library's formal announcement. There's very little available without parting with some cash, but you can at least perform a full search of the records for free. The mammoth 10-year project is on-going, of course, so this is just the start - with currently only around 4million of the 40million page-target online. Some useful comment from The Family Recorder blog on the subject can be found here.

The weekly 'Events Listing' continues to dwindle as the winter deepens...

  • Monday 12th & Tuesday 13th December - British Library's 'Royal Manuscripts Conference';
  • Saturday 3rd December - Norwich Book Fair;
  • Postcard Fairs at Haywards Heath (3rd), Northampton (3rd), Birmingham (4th - see top right of page - a major event), Cirencester (7th) - see here. Please check with organisers that fairs are still going ahead before travelling to venues;
  • And what is left of the SoG's talks for the rest of 2011 can be found here (you'll have to be very quick to book).

If the topic of Welsh wills interests you, then you'll want to check out this lengthy news report from The National Library of Wales.

The FFHS has made an announcement regarding their 'Projects' department.

The specialist genealogical search engine Mocavo have launched a 'UK' version of their facility which, obviously, focuses on searching UK web-based resources - further details here.


There's a History crossword for you to tackle, here.

Dead End Hobby: Oddments from the World of Family History - last few days of special pre-publication offer. See here for full details.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Monday, 28 November 2011

Irish 1926 Census News


The Irish Genealogy News blog has reported on the latest developments in the planned digitisation - by the Irish government - of the 1926 Census. Seems like another delay ... read all about it here.

The same blog also has news of a special genealogy night in Dublin this Wednesday.

Londoners may wish to peruse the latest offerings from Gresham College (free public lectures!).

With opening hours at most of our libraries, archives and record offices severely affected by the planned strike action this Wednesday (30th), reader James McLaren informs us that Jersey Archive will, it seems, be open as normal (but check anyway, just in case). However, the same institution WILL be closed during the week commencing 5th December for stocktaking. It will also be closed from 22nd December to 2nd January for the Festive period.

The National Archives are running an online survey.


Irish researchers may want to follow The Passionate Genealogist's advice about the Irish Archives Resource website.

And mention of The Historical Diving Society has appeared on the SoG blog.


There a little piece about Walt Disney's ancestry, here.


A short interview with a producer/director of the FindMyPast TV show can be found here.

Dead End Hobby: Oddments from the World of Family History - last few days of special pre-publication offer. See here for full details.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Saturday, 26 November 2011

More MyHeritage Takeover Info


More information on the MyHeritage takeover of FamilyLink/Vital World Records can be found here. This really does seem to be a major move in the family history world.

BBC History Magazine's latest Podcast can be found here (impact of the death of Prince Albert, and Edward IV's library).

And The National Archives latest Podcast is also now available ('A Low, Artful, Wicked Man': poverty riots and bread - the response of government to the crises of the 1790s).

Nick Barratt has put out a blog post which will be of interest to those of you with Royal Marine ancestry. Check it out here, where you will also see an appeal for advice/comment on an important aspect of our research world, namely, collaboration between the many local & family history 'umbrella' organisations that we have here in the UK. Get your thinking caps on and contact Nick with your views!

I know many of you are interested in maps and mapping - if you are, then check out this post on the Ordnance Survey blog ... which includes news of an upcoming major conference which may tempt you.

Those of you with Indian connections may wish to cast their eyes over this news item from the British Library website.

Thanks to the British GENES blog for news of the latest Electric Scotland newsletter.

And several sources have mentioned the '20% off' subscription offer which lasts until 1st December. Enter TG2011 at checkout/registration.


Check out the BBC's 'History Headlines' for the week.


Ancestry have launched a new blog called 'Sticky Notes'. I'm concerned that it may be a little too US-biased, but we'll see how it shapes up. See the announcement, here, where you will find a link to the blog itself.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Archive Closures


Essex Record Office will be closed for stocktaking from Monday 28th November to Saturday 10th December, inclusive - see their website, here. However, the conference centre and the ESFH research room will remain open. They will reopen on Monday 12th December at 9am.

North Yorkshire County Record Office will be closed for collections work and staff training from Monday 28th November to Saturday 3rd December, inclusive - see their website, here.

And, of course, remember that next Wednesday 30th November most of our libraries, archives and record offices will be affected by the planned industrial action.

Regular users of the FamilySearch website may wish to digest the information contained in two of the organisation's recent blog posts, here and here.

And Pen & Sword Books have some special offers on the go.


Spotted on FamilySearch's Ireland Genealogy Facebook page are the following Irish place-name websites:

As the guy who recommended them suggests, you need to be creative when entering place-names, as there are often many ways of spelling a settlement's name!

Nice spot on Dick Eastman's blog of a UK company whose goods may well appeal to family historians!


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


For all us UK/Irish genealogists who wonder what the North American 'Thanksgiving' celebration is all about, check out this painfully ponderous ten-minute instructional film on the topic. Would never get away with holding those forks in the right hand on this side of the Atlantic. Naughty children!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

More 'How to' FH Articles


A couple more articles covering the tricky topic of 'writing up your family history' have come to light following yesterday's blog post. Obviously, the Internet is filled with such material, but my e-buddy, Christine Woodcock, offers her own angle on the subject with a post on her Canadian blog, here, which involves using the Publisher package (I've got access to this but have never used it); and, coincidentally, another Canadian blogger, Lynn Palermo, has a piece here (with other links branching off the article, too). I have my own views on the topic, which I may someday put into an article - and if anyone else has any thoughts then please leave a comment below or send me an email.

Leeds researchers are sure to be interested in this item about the 'Leeds Tithe Map Project' on The Passionate Genealogist's blog. Gosh, I wish my areas of geographical interest had this sort of coverage.


A couple of new magazine editions have been released recently. The contents of the December issue of Your Family History can be examined; and details of the Winter instalment of Irish Roots are also now online.

More on the story about the possible merger of The National Archives & The National Library of Ireland can be found on the CIGO website.

The Imperial War Museum seems to have placed itself at the front of the queue for Heritage Lottery Fund cash in respect of commemorating the centenary of WWI from 2014. A major exhibition would appear to be in the planning stages - details here.

More of the 1911 Census (Oxfordshire) has been made available to Diamond subscribers of TheGenealogist - see here.

And London amateur historians will be interested in this list of forthcoming talks, etc, being laid on by Archives for London.

Thanks to those of you who have so far ordered your copies of Dead End Hobby: Oddments from the World of Family History - I'm getting them out to you as fast as I can! Remember, there's only one week left to secure your discounted copy. See Saturday's blog post for full details. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Writing Up Your Family History


After a quiet 24 hours or so, I thought I'd lead into today's post with a couple of articles. First of all, Ros Bott has penned a few paragraphs on 'How to Write Up Your Family History' - straight-forward useful advice on an indirect way of learning a lot more about your ancestors' world. A great way, too, to learn a little more about history in general if you take on the research yourself.

The MyHeritage blog has a link to a short piece on the 'Kindness Gene'. No doubt that this sort of thing exists, of course - just amazing that they've identified it!


MyHeritage is also in the news for their takeover of a couple of fairly well-known family history concerns, FamilyLink and WorldVitalRecords. Mainly a one for the American market, this, but the development is, nevertheless, indicative of the ambitions of the Israeli-based company - with the move incorporating the establishment of their very first US base in Utah (thanks to GeneaBloggers).

Mocavo, the specialist genealogical search engine, has added another feature to its site, namely, a FAQ section - see here.

Immigration and Emigration is the theme of the forthcoming half-day course from the SoG (Sat 3rd December).

The Irish Genealogy News blog has a few 'Bits and Bobs', here (Cork/NAI/Workhouses).

And The Family Recorder blog has a book review on the recently-released Family Matters: A History of Genealogy.


The next episode of the Find My Past TV show looms (Thursday 9pm) - and here's a wee trailer. There are also interviews with presenter, Chris Hollins, here and here. Oh, and a competition, here.


The British Library have made an announcement about their sound archive. Interesting resource, this - and to find the item specifically mentioned in the news item, follow the link then click on 'Oral History' and you should see it listed. All part of Disability History Month (you might want to check out this website's 'Events' listing, too).


Blogger Christine Woodcock has posted an enthusiastic article on her new mobile scanner which may interest many of you. A quick search of the Internet indicates that it seems to be available in the UK at around £150 (and no doubt Ireland, too).

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tuesday's Genealogy Events Listing


We're beginning to slip into hibernation mode, events-wise, though there are still a few get-togethers worth taking into consideration...

The Guild of One-Name Studies has issued a Newsflash, which includes brief details of its 2012 Conference (among other things).

From Ireland: details of the Ulster History & Genealogy Summer School (June 2012) + the latest Eneclann newsletter with its county focus on Galway and seasonal focus on Christmas.

The National Archives seem likely to be closed on Wednesday 30th November as a result of industrial action - see here. And it'll not be the only institution closed on the day in question - please remember to check before you travel on 30th, wherever you plan to go.


TNA have also posted a short article on the subject of the Suffragettes (and related records) - see here

The Family Recorder blog gives us a short-but-sweet insight into the mysteries of the genealogical cruise.


John Reid points us in the direction of a neat website on the subject of 'Mapping London'.


WDYTYA? Magazine's website has revealed the result of its 'favourite episode' survey from the recent TV series.

And I'm just a wee bit too late with this one: the BBC's Heir Hunters TV show has gone prime time. But don't worry, as I'm sure you'll be able to pick it up on the BBC iPlayer.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Genealogy Websites to Go?


The futures of two well-known family history websites have been thrown into doubt due to the deaths of their webmasters. The Black Sheep Index and Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness are the resources affected - and as you can see, the latter link is no longer available. For more information, see the latest issue of the Lost Cousins newsletter - where you will find plenty of other news items, too (thanks also to Jim for flagging this sad story).

The Chief Executive of the British Library, Dame Lynne Brindley, is to step down after twelve years in the post.

Nick Barratt/Laura Berry's creation, The Family History Show, has posted another short video - this time an interview with Dan Cruickshank. Nick has also put together another blog post outlining his latest plans.

Plans to merge the National Archives of Ireland into the National Library have raised concerns with the Irish Genealogical Research Society - see this post on the Irish Genealogy News blog.

The IGN blog also has an item on a recent Monaghan records release by RootsIreland, as well as passing some comment on FindMyPastIreland's new 'Family Tree Builder'.

And Scottish researchers will be interested in the latest Electric Scotland newsletter (thanks to Chris Paton).


The BBC's 'History Headlines' for the past week are now available for perusal.

And the Genealogy In Time website has an article about how to improve your genealogy Internet searches.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

New Genealogy Publication!

OK, so here it is. Get your cheque book ready:

Bi-Gen Collection 1: 
Dead End Hobby
Oddments from the World of Family History

Unusual & erroneous PR entries; witty MIs; unusual occupations; medical curiosities; sarcastic record entries; appalling living & working conditions; weird traditions; tall stories; coincidences; longevity; strange deaths; last wills, wishes & words; quotes; and other quirks of history. 

72 pages of genealogical entertainment and enlightenment from BI-Gen blogger, Mick Southwick.
The first in a series of 'collections'!

Ah, but how much does this fantastic new publication cost? Well, I haven't decided for sure yet, but when it's published on 1st December, it'll probably be priced at somewhere between £3.50-£4.00 + around a £1 p&p (overseas maybe £2-£3 more). So for 'early bird' orders, let's say the following:

UK customers: £4 including p&p;
Europe/RoI: £5 including p&p;
Other Overseas: £6 including p&p.

This pre-launch offer only applies to 'hard copies' of the booklet, though an e-copy version will be available from early December. There will also be other ways of obtaining the booklet other than directly from myself, such as via the publishers, (which may appeal more to overseas customers). But if you want your copy NOW, then send a cheque (GBPounds sterling only, please) made payable to 'M.Southwick', to 20 California, Winlaton, Blaydon-on-Tyne, Tyne & Wear, NE21 6LY, UK. Or you can pay by Paypal via my email address . Whichever way you do it, please remember to furnish me with your postal address. You can also use the DONATE button on the right - but you may have to send your address to me in a separate email. (Paypal is useful for overseas payments as it usually converts the currency automatically ... I think. I trust you to do the 'conversion calculation' yourself!).

The pre-launch offer will end on 1st December, so please get in touch before then. If you've any queries, then contact me on the email address above.

Class it as an early Christmas present ... for yourself.

Friday, 18 November 2011

HLF Gears Up For WWI Centenary


The Heritage Lottery Fund, which we historians love so much, has thrown out an important announcement regarding ways in which communities may wish to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Applications for funding are being encouraged in support of events which will take place during 2014-18. See the official website. [thanks to the FFHS News Service for this item]

The GenealogyInTime website maintains a handy-looking list of new online records as an when they pop up. The list covers the entire globe, with a heavy bias towards the English-speaking countries. As far as I can see, there is nothing there which hasn't appeared on this blog (for Britain/Ireland), but those of you with a smattering of overseas interests may wish to keep tabs on it.

The December issue of Family History Monthly is now available - but if you wish to learn more (or even if you don't), then why not read about it in their latest e-newsletter. You might as well, as there are a few other bits of news in there which may be of interest to you.

The recently-opened 'Royal Manuscripts' exhibition at the British Library is running a series of talks/events regarding the display. You can also click here for the library's full programme of events for the next few weeks. Whilst they're the topic of conversation, I might as well mention the email I received from the BL regarding their 'Seasonal Gifts'.

James McLaren of the Channel Islands FHS has contacted me regarding a very specialised history project that's come to fruition in his neck of the woods. The Societe Sercquaise have compiled a document called Men of Sark, which details every one of the 63 men from Sark who served in the First World War, and the one who left before the Occupation and served in the Second World War. For comparison, those 63 men represented about 50% of those eligible for service on the island... a rather sobering thought. The Societe are happy to make this available to whoever is interested (website at - though there is no mention of the document online yet, as far as I can see).

Pen & Sword Books have a few special offers on the go (inc. free p&p for a week) - see here.

The latest Ireland Reaching Out newsletter is now available, in which genealogy features in one of the articles.

The BBC's HistoryExtra website has a new Podcast (WWII veterans, and sugar in Victorian Britain).


The week's TV & Radio can be found here.

And don't forget to come back tomorrow for news of BI-Gen's new publication, and how to get your hands on a reduced-price pre-launch copy!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Scottish Debate


I have just spotted an important post on 'The Scottish Emigration Blog' about a forthcoming debate on the subject of, well, Scottish emigration! What looks like a most enjoyable evening will take place on Tuesday 29th November at Edinburgh University. Best get in there quickly.

Ancestry is soon to have a new look - or rather the 'Image Viewer' will, anyway. The new interface is currently in test mode, and you can give it a try by reading the relevant blog post, here.

The SoG has highlighted an appeal for research guinea pigs which will interest genealogists - and you'll be paid for it (well, there's a 'cash incentive'). Check out the details here - but don't hang about, as the study begins on 22nd.

The SoG has also published it's first e-book, My Ancestor Was a Royal Marine.

Here's another update to the Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives from the ever-reliable Claire Santry.

The British Library has added to its 'e-book Treasures' with a couple of sacred texts - see here.

December's HistoryToday magazine is now available.

And, most importantly of all:
If you read my blog post for Monday, you will be aware that BI-Gen will be releasing its first publications (two of them) very soon. I'm aiming for an official launch date of 1st December, but I can tell you now that the first one is ready to roll out now (have just received a small batch from the printers and they look great). It is called Dead End Hobby: Oddments from the World of Family History, and I have decided to offer readers of the blog the chance to purchase pre-launch copies at a reduced price. Full details of the offer and the booklet will appear on the blog on Saturday.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Mainly Irish Items


It occasionally happens: a little rush of Irish news items. And so it is today, with apologies to those of you with no such research interests. There are one or two other items from elsewhere, too, though, so do read on...

Claire Santry leads the way with a couple of items. Firstly, there's an update on the progress of the Certificate of Irish Heritage; then there's another odd little story about a mooted 'Cork Passport'!

I don't know if I've mentioned this in a previous post, but there's a list of forthcoming Irish lectures to be found on the RootsIreland website - see here.

Just in case you need a reminder, Christmas is on its way - and Belfast's Linen Hall Library is quick off the mark with it's Festive holiday info. This seems like quite a lengthy break - so take care when assuming that the Christmas holidays will allow you to do a 'bit of research' at your local library!

The National Library of Scotland has recently updated its 'Events List'.

And on the international stage, I see that FamilySearch is to change its CEO in the New Year. Just thought you'd like to know.


Back to Ireland, and the website of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations - with an announcement re. a new Irish Language online resource. My browser's 'translator' failed to perform its Irish-English task, so the site remains a complete mystery to me!

Remember the mention in yesterday's post about the 'Family History Show' video (Top Ten Tips)? Well, there's actually a dedicated website to the 'vodcast' efforts of Nick Barratt and Laura Berry - see here. Long-term, this may prove to be a great visual resource - especially for beginners. It's certainly worth a browse - and look out for the related blog, too.


Ireland again. A short piece on the subject of Irish naming patterns.

A reminder to you all to continue to send any items of interest for use on the blog to me at  News items, interesting websites, unusual record entries (or stories) - you know the sort of thing I'm looking for: anything of general interest to the British/Irish genealogist! Remember, I will also mention new commercial products - and there's also a semi-permanent home for such announcements under the 'New Products' tab at the head of the page (currently free).

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tuesday's Genealogy Events Listing


Forthcoming events of interest to the family historian are as follows:

Nick Barratt and Laura Berry have posted a 10-minute 'Top Ten Tips' video presentation on their 'Family History Show' YouTube Channel. That now makes a total of five little videos for you to watch on the site.  

Users of the Family Historian computer package will be interested to learn of the imminent release of version 5. Get it from the horse's mouth, here.


A curious offering has been brought to our attention by the Family Tree blog, namely, a website charting the history of English Nuns in exile during 1600-1800.


A wee preview of this Thursday's Find My Past TV show can be found here.


Just a reminder that there is a special offer from CW & S Parkinson Genealogical Storage for readers of this blog - see the 'New Products' tab above for full details.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Yet More War Stuff


Well, what seems to have been an extraordinarily active Remembrance period has finally passed us by. Record sales of poppies, they tell us, and so much mention of the occasion in the media that many were beginning to air their annoyance at the saturation coverage. I'm almost frightened to say it for fear of criticism, but it has been a bit OTT, hasn't it?

Anyway, if nothing else, the Remembrance frenzy at least seems to send our genealogical service providers into overdrive. In addition to what I've already mentioned over the past few days, take a look at the following...

The Family Tree blog has flagged an online WWI project by the Imperial War Museum entitled Faces of the First World War. See the relevant post here.

The British Library are helping Europeana, publicity-wise, with their WWI project - a scheme that will come to a head, appropriately, in 2014. See the press release, here.

Many of you will have spotted three more Navy Lists popping up on the Ancestry website. Ancestry also has more information on their recent 'Nurses' records' release, here.

GenesReunited has also announced additions to its military records, though it is a little unclear exactly what those new records are. About all I can do is reproduce a section from an email circular they sent me:

The new release includes The National Roll of the Great War 1914 -1918 which has brief biographies of soldiers who survived the Great War and also information on those who supported the War, such as nurses and civilians, who rarely feature in other WW1 Records.
The complete list of the new military records added to is below.
1861 Worldwide Army Index
Paddington Rifles 1860-1912
Royal Fusiliers Collection 1863-1905
Surrey Recruitment Registers 1908-1933
Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
Distinguished Conduct Medals
National Roll of the Great War
Royal Marine Medal Roll
The 1861 Worldwide Army Index includes soldiers who served across the World in Queen Victoria’s empire states.   The index is also useful for members to identify men missing from the 1861 census.
The newly added military records are available online at and can be viewed on a pay per view basis or Platinum members can choose to add on one or more of the record sets to their package at a low cost.

So make of that what you will.

Elsewhere, there seems to have a been a little burst of genealogical books onto the market. Chris Paton has a short summary of some of them, here (you can also see form his blog that he has one or two books of his own on the go which may interest you). You may also wish to keep an eye out for the following on the bookstands (announcement via FFHS) ...

... a new publication 'Discover Your Ancestors' in association with will be on sale at WHSmith from November 20th, 2011.

"Content rich and bursting with information about researching your family history, Discover Your Ancestors brings never-before-seen content, ideas and inspiration to people interested in this fascinating topic".

The publication is also available in the USA, Canada and Australia.

Discovery Your Ancestors, 188 pages, perfect bound, £4.99.

You can also order a copy directly from the publishers. Please send a cheque for £5.99 (includes P&P) payable to Discovery Media Group Holdings and send to Discovery Media Group, Discovery House, 63 Dundale Road, Tring, Herts, HP23 5BX, UK. (Please add £3 if you are ordering from abroad.)

And then there's this book - an overseas effort, but sounds really interesting.

Personally, I've not seen any of the books above, so can't vouch for them. But I CAN vouch for two books (well, booklets) that will be coming onto the market soon ... because I've compiled them! I'll be making an announcement about them soon, so keep checking the blog.

Moving swiftly on, I see that Ancestry have updated several of their London record sets (note the UK Prison Hulk records in there, too).

The Irish Genealogy News blog brings us yet more Irish events for November.

A reminder that the London Metropolitan Archives have re-opened today - but with revised hours. See here for full details.

And Meirionnydd Archives should be re-opening this week, too.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Remembrance 2


Quite possibly the best little item I've seen concerning this week's Remembrance activity is this effort from the BBC. It concerns a renovation project on a cottage from which Wilfred Owen wrote his last letter home. Thanks to John Reid for flagging this moving tribute.

The HistoryToday website has an interesting collection of WWI stories from the past year. The first one is rather astonishing.

As for other articles, check out this piece about Britain's oldest family business. Again, an amazing story! (thanks to The Family Recorder blog for the tip-off - don't forget to click on the link in Audrey's post).


S&N Genealogy Supplies have issued another of their e-Newsletters. The expected military overtones, of course, but supplemented by some other items of note, too (1911 Census, and an article about Ian Fleming).

A little bit of news about the forthcoming British Library Newspaper Archive website can be found on the SoG blog.


The Irish Genealogy News blog has brought to our attention a really neat-looking new website called Our Irish Heritage. Check out Claire Santry's blog post here, and follow the link.


More info from Thursday's Find My Past TV show can be found here.

Friday, 11 November 2011



In addition to the free WWI material currently available at Ancestry (see yesterday's post), a few other military bits and pieces are popping up on the Internet - which is to be expected at this time of year. TNA has a special post on the topic here, which provides a few research pointers. And Lost Cousins have produced a special issue of their newsletter which has a distinctly military air to it - see here (plenty of other news in there, too, of course!). If anything else surfaces in the next day or two I'll let you know.

Before we leave Ancestry behind completely, overseas readers may be interested in their competition to 'Follow Your Roots to Europe'.

Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I think not, so here goes. Chris Paton has spotted a really interesting series of talks and events concerning Ballymena.

The British Library launches a new exhibition today, which runs until March next year - it's entitled Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination. Not of much relevance to genealogists, but worth a look if you're passing the place.

The next item concerns the West Yorkshire Archives Service and, more specifically, plans for their 'Leeds branch'. The text which follows comes via the FFHS and their 'informant', Jackie Depelle:

This is to provide you with some preliminary information on our plans for the service. I would be grateful if you would share it with others in your organisation who may be interested.
The Archive Service has been working with Leeds City Council to provide improved accommodation for and access to the irreplaceable archive collections relating to Leeds District. We have explored several options for potential sites and partnerships and have costed remedial work to the Art Deco Sheepscar building. The Sheepscar building has a number of problems related to its age and construction and the National Archives has declared it no longer fit for purpose. Having explored a range of other options, none of which proved to be workable or affordable, we have now received approval from the Executive Board of Leeds CC to move out of the Sheepscar building and convert space for storage and public access at the Joint Services HQ complex at Gildersome. This option provides the best storage and access we can achieve at a reasonable cost in the immediate future. It also means that the collections currently held at Sheepscar will be located at the same site as those Leeds collections currently housed in our modern outstore at Joint Services HQ. For the first time, nearly two-thirds of Leeds archives will be accommodated on the same site.
This project will provide:
  • Much improved storage conditions for collections, ensuring their preservation
  • Much improved security for collections, staff and customers
  • Fully-accessible, modern, customer accommodation
  • Free customer parking
We are planning for the new facilities to be ready in the third quarter of 2012. There will need to be a short time when the service cannot provide a public service, while the collections are in transit. We will make information available as soon as the timetable is finalised and keep that time to a minimum.
I am pleased to be able to assure you that, in spite of the problems the building gives us, no collections have been damaged. The staff and Conservation Team continue their vigilance and interventions and will ensure that archives remain safe until we can effect the move.
Katy Goodrum
Head of Archives


Back to 'Remembrance' with a nice article on 'A History of Poppy Day' from Ros Bott.

And check out the BBC HistoryExtra website for their usual Friday offerings, with its heavy military bias this time around ('History Headlines', various blogs, and their latest Podcast - oh, and the December issue of their magazine is now out).


TV & Radio for the week ahead can be found here - as you can imagine, lots of military stuff to come. In addition to all those programmes listed, please see Chris Paton's post about the US WDYTYA? TV show (begins 16th).


There are a couple of votes/surveys on the go at the HistoryToday website which may interest you (most important history book/historian of the past 60 years).

Thursday, 10 November 2011

New Cheshire Stuff & Military Freebies


FindMyPast have launched their 'Cheshire Collection' - an amalgam of all their material pertaining to the English County, presumably - which comprises some 10 million records. Read all about it here.

The day's other major news concerns Ancestry and their special WWI offer - that is, free access to three of their main datasets relating to the conflict. Offer ends on 13th, so move quickly.

What will certainly become major news in due course is the eventual placing online of the England & Wales GRO Index (way back to 1837) by the GRO guys themselves. What will presumably be a FREE facility will make it a doddle to order historic certificates, and, of course, pretty much render all such similar features on commercial sites redundant. This worthy project is ongoing (it's about half done), as blogger Chris Paton and his informant tell us here.

Blogger Claire Santry has got wind of RootsIreland's pending release of records relating to County Monaghan - see here.

The second PRONI/OUI lecture is now online at YouTube (on the subject of 'Poverty').

Kirsteen Mulhern has brought to our attention a worthy project taking place north of the border concerning the everyday lives of the folk of Dumfries & Galloway over the years.

And sticking with the Scots, here's a special 'genealogical research offer' from McNicholl Genealogical Services.

If anyone else has any special festive offers, then let me know!


A flavour of what's to come TV-wise can be found here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Irish Closures, Changes & Disruptions


Users of The National Archives of Ireland should take note of the following:

Also in Ireland, the Linen Hall lecture scheduled for 30th November (PRONI and Conflict on the Internet) has been moved forward to Tuesday 29th November (1pm, I think), due to the threat of strike action.

Ancestry have released more than 880,000 records pertaining to the WWI Silver War Badge.

Hope it's not too late to mention Essex Record Office's Local History Conference entitled 'Our History' on Saturday 19th November (10am-4pm) - see page 13 of their events guide.

Chris Paton reports on a few updates to the Scottish Monumental Inscriptions catalogue.

John Reid flags a very useful resource for UK trade union, employers' and trade association records, here.

And for those of you who are interested in such things, The National Archives have taken another step forward in their 'archives accreditation' scheme


Back to blogger Chris Paton for a nice spot made on the ScotlandsPeople website, namely, a BBC beginner's guide to Scottish family history research - see his post here.


Get ready for tomorrow's episode 4 of Find My Past (Yesterday channel, 9pm) with a little trailer.


Ancestry have a slightly off-beat military piece about the role of animals in WWI.

And The Professional Descendant has a short but enlightening piece about the Question of Religion in our ancestors' lives.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tuesday's Genealogy Events Listing


Here's your weekly instalment of forthcoming events of interest:

I must apologise for missing the news of the re-opening of Gwent Archives a couple of weeks ago. I knew it was coming, but had a temporary malfunction in my memory bank. Anyway, check out the new set-up here.

A couple of items from the British Library now, beginning with the availability of more than 50,000 university theses. Don't know about you, but I often find some really useful historical stuff in this sort of material, so you may want to check it out. And those of you who regularly use the BL's Document Supply Service may not be aware of this helpful link.


There's a helpful piece for those of you who are heavy users of the FamilySearch website, here.

The HistoryToday website has a short article about the German perspective on WWI and 'Remembrance'.

And The Telegraph website has a curious little item about the island of Lundy.


'A History of Parliament' website is new to the Web. Not as boring as it sounds, as it contains articles covering many aspects of social history - even if they do seem to be a bit on the short side. Could be a one to add to your 'favourites'.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Thought-Provoking Articles


Well, nothing too taxing for your brain for a Monday, but I came across the following three pieces over the weekend which all set me thinking.

Firstly there's a shockingly sad (and just plain unlucky) article about an unsuspecting couple from South Africa who, when preparing for their wedding and the birth of their first child, discovered that they were rather closely related - see here. Raises the often carefully avoided subject of incest in our family trees, whether deliberate or accidental.

Another piece, flagged by Claire Santry, concerns a worthy photographic project from Ireland - but one with a rather more serious backdrop concerning the Catholic Church's extravagant exploits at an otherwise difficult period in the country's history. Catch the piece via Claire's blog post, here.

On a lighter note, there's an interesting look at why we study our family history at the MyHeritage site.


A little bit of catch-up from John Reid's excellent Anglo-Celtic Connections blog now, where we are notified of the addition of more records to the FamilySearch site for both Norfolk and the Isle of Man. There's also a reminder about forthcoming Pharos courses.

A couple more items from Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News blog next. More forthcoming talks and events have been pulled together, here; and Claire notifies us of the availability of some useful historical maps for Northern Ireland, here. Many of you will be familiar with these famous Alan Godfrey maps, of course, but now seems a good time to educate those of you who are not to have a look when you have a moment - with the official website to be found here.

The latest Parish Chest newsletter is now available, with its usual round-up of new releases from the world of genealogy.

Here's a handy listing of forthcoming events/workshops/courses on the Community Archives & Heritage Group's website.

And finally, here's a little bit of old (but still very relevant) advice from the IPS about how to avoid being ripped off when on the look-out for copies of B, M & D certificates. The advice applies to all certificates, of course, including historic ones from way back. [Thanks to the FFHS's Roger Lewry for this pointer].

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Latest Newsletter from Lost Cousins


Lost Cousins' latest newsletter is now available - see here. As interesting as ever - lots of hints and tips, plus some great ways of saving some cash. Don't ever skip over Peter Calver's fortnightly efforts, as there's nearly always something in there for everybody.

Origins have some news for those of us with an interest in Gloucester Wills and/or Lichfield & Coventry Wills & Admons - see their newsletter, where you'll also find a special Guy Fawkes offer (ends midnight on 6th).

A couple of items from TNA now. Firstly, their latest Podcast (Exploding the Mysteries of the Bomb Census); then there's some newly-available WWI Nursing Records (actually, 1902-1922).

Fancy another Podcast? Well, the BBC's HistoryExtra website has on offer an effort concerning the Dambusters raid.

Those of you with Scottish Catholic interests will want to check out this post by blogger Chris Paton (with obvious thanks to Kirsty Wilkinson, too!).


The Nosey Genealogist has a helpful piece on what's available for the military-minded family historian at TheGenealogist website.


A bit of background information on the recent Find My Past TV show can be found here.

Friday, 4 November 2011

WDYTYA? Fair Prep Up and Running


As we suspected earlier this week, the tickets have gone on sale for February's Who Do You Think You Are? Live fair. The first of what will probably be many special offers can be found here (there may be more around, too!), and the official website can be found here.

The December issue of Family Tree Magazine is now available. You'll also find instructions there about how to purchase a digital copy of the magazine.

Diamond subscribers to TheGenealogist now have access to additional bits of the 1911 Census (Lancashire, Surrey & Middlesex).

Chris Paton has noted that the Imperial War Museum is looking for family history volunteers to test a new genealogy course - see his post here.

Chris also points out the availability of the 'Archives & Records Association Ireland' newsletter.

Several bloggers are reporting on the pending announcement re. the British Newspaper Archive. It seems that all will be revealed later this month with an official launch! More than a million pages of newspaper text will be made available, thanks to the institution's partnership with BrightSolid. It'll be pay-per-view/subscription online access, of course - though if you can get to the British Library's Reading Rooms, then it'll be free.

Pen & Sword Books are among the first to be gearing up for Christmas with a special sale. There's also a special offer in there about Your Family History magazine subscription rates.

And here's the monthly 'Out and About' offering from the BBC's HistoryExtra website.


The very same website also have their 'History Headlines' for the week, too, of course.


And there's also the forthcoming TV/Radio schedule, history-wise, here - with a few more bits here.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Worcestershire's Grand Plan


There are grand plans afoot in Worcestershire. All of the county's major heritage services, it seems (city & university libraries included), are soon to be housed in one major new building called 'The Hive' in the county town of Worcester. I guess this is the way all of us will be going eventually, and it certainly makes sense. The situation is splendidly explained here, and there's even a blog covering developments here.

Find My Past have announced their latest record release: Military Nurses, 1856-1940.

The National Archives have arranged a series of talks next week which celebrate the diversity of their collections. Not sure what I'm on about? See here.

The Irish Genealogy News blog has issued an update on the Ireland Genealogy Project Archives. And whilst we're with Claire's blog I should also like to mention goings-on at Glasnevin Cemetery, near Dublin - see a little news piece here, plus a rather splendidly enthusiastic podcast about gravedigging, etc.!

I know I touched upon this briefly a few days ago, but if you're looking for a catch-up facility for the series of current PRONI lectures, then I can tell you that they've launched their own YouTube channel (this link should take you to the first part of the first lecture).

There's a nice little story, here, about Queen Victoria's bloomers (as well as a few other choice items of Victoriana).

And there's news of the release of the December issue of the WDYTYA? Magazine.


Just in case you're not aware of them, here are a couple of websites of interest to Welsh historians: Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales and the related blog - and I've deliberately led you into the latter on a post about an interesting forthcoming book entitled Inside Welsh Homes.

If you've been taking notice of my blog over the past few weeks then you'll be aware of the splendid free online magazine that is Warfare. Well, the mag now has a dedicated website - see the announcement/newsletter here. Frankly, this looks like a brilliant stopping off post for military buffs - as well as access to the magazine, there's a rolling news blog, too.

And the genealogical search engine, Mocavo, has had another revamp - see here.


And if you still need more information to get you in the mood, here's a summary about what to expect on tonight's Find My Past TV show.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

WDYTYA? Live! 2012


Thanks to The Wandering Genealogist for pointing out that tickets for next February's Who Do You Think Your Are? Live! fair are about to go on sale. See his post here, and follow the links.

Ancestry are running Remembrance fundraising campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic. The UK/Irish appeal can be accessed via the relevant Facebook page. And by the way, it's Ancestry who are stumping up the donations, not us - so get to it!

Some interesting developments are coming out of Suffolk regarding the future of their libraries/archives service (as well as their archaeology and museums services) - see Chris Paton's two posts on the subject here and here. A sign of things to come for similar services across the whole of the British Isles, perhaps?

Chris also brings us news (via his sources) re. Oldham cemetery records and West Glamorgan electoral registers having popped up on the FamilySearch website - see here.

The November issue of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's eNewsletter can be accessed here.

There's a webinar coming up on the subject of Family Tree Maker 2012 on 9th November (though I should imagine you'll be able to 'catch up' on it afterwards).

And there's a curious little story about the famous Scottish explorer and missionary, David Livingstone, at the National Library of Scotland website.


The FamilySearch blog has posted a piece guiding us towards a couple of websites for 'Name Nerds' - see here. I must confess that my major surnames of interest weren't even listed (!), but the sites may be of use to some of you.


Coincidentally, a couple of items have appeared covering roughly the same aspect of family history research, namely, the hobby's contribution to the issue of family health. FindMyPast Ireland has a piece here, and John Reid raises the matter here.


A little more background information on last week's Find My Past TV show can be found here.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tuesday's Genealogy Events Listing


The following events are lined up for the next few days (and a little bit beyond in some cases!):

A few other bits of news...

Those of you with Scottish adoption issues will be interested in this announcement.

I may be a bit slow off the mark with this news but, in case you missed it, the FamilyRelatives website has recently added a large batch of Scottish trade directories to its holdings (+ a few for England) - see here.

And the latest TNA Podcast can be found here (20th Century Treasury Records).


A trailer for this Thursday's Find My Past TV show can be found here (and there's more info here, too).