Wednesday, 29 February 2012

News from the Fair & Further Afield

As reports from Saturday's WDYTYA? Fair begin to appear online, more news of current and forthcoming developments in the family history world are coming to the fore. A good place to start is the SoG report on proceedings from the keyboard of Else Churchill, who (among other things) assures us of the future of the WDYTYA? Fair and TV show - read her report here.

British GENES blog-master, Chris Paton, a highly active member of the genealogical world, has provided a string of reports on the event - the highlight of which is his 'news summary', here. There is mention in one of the 'comments' to Chris's post of the pending demise of Family History Monthly - which is indeed the case, with the last issue being, I understand, the April edition. Over 200 issues have been produced over the years. Strangely, the magazine's website doesn't give much away.

Away from the fair, another important and interesting get-together recently took place at Kingston University, namely the 'Archives, Digitisation and Heritage Tourism Workshop'. Many issues were discussed and debated - see the FFHS's report on proceedings.

The folk at Mocavo (the genealogy search engine) are currently promoting a special 'half price offer' for potential subscribers to their 'Mocavo Plus annual package'. Certainly worth a look - check it out here.

You may wish to take in the first episode of The Story of Wales on the BBC iPlayer (available until Monday 2nd April). More leads from the programme can be followed here.

Here are some interesting statistics about library use over the last few years.

The British Library has a new exhibition for literature fans entitled Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands (though it doesn't begin until May).

And the MyHeritage blog has a little tribute to Alex Haley of Roots fame, here. For my own 'tribute' (of sorts) see here.

From Twitter:

More from the 1816 census of Rothbury, Northumberland, and it's opinionated clergyman...

Robert Telford, aged 86, and his wife, who is much younger, and a son of 19 [?] who has long been sinking under a consumption ... a rude disagreeable youth. They have two Bibles and are Presbyterian.

George Arkle, aged 70, and his wife, 69, have a Bible and a Prayer book. Their cottage is as clean as could be expected under an open roof which is covered with cobwebs.

George Orde and his wife have two sons and a daughter, besides two who are out in service, the oldest 21. The house is clean, the people civil but Presbyterian. They have three Bibles.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Genea World Moves On...

As the wake from the weekend's super-fair subsides, we must look ahead instead to forthcoming events. So if you're looking for somewhere to go in the next few days (and beyond) consider the following:

One or two bits and pieces from Saturday's WDYTYA? Fair. Firstly there's some interesting speculative comment from Nick Barratt on the future of genealogy; then there's some news and views from an Irish perspective from Claire Santry.

Claire also brings us a bit of news concerning the National Archives of Ireland.

TNA are certainly turning out the Podcasts at quite a rate these days. The latest one to appear is 'The British Red Cross and its Archives'.

FamilySearch has issued an update of 'latest record releases' - including the recent ones for Dorset.

Ruth Blair's genealogical 'recommendations' for the week can be found here.

And, finally, I have been asked to pass on an important message by 'Heir Hunters' firm, Fraser & Fraser. Basically, it concerns an email scam from a source purporting to be from the company which attempts to extract personal info and money from folk. I would therefore urge you all to be aware of the situation, and to have a look at Fraser & Fraser's announcement on the matter.

From Twitter:

A bit of fun from the archives of 'The Quack Doctor' blog...

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Fair - and the News - is Over!

Often, after a major genealogy fair, the news kinda dries up for a while. There's a deafening silence beforehand, too, as the major companies save up their big announcements for the event itself. The result is usually a glut of record releases over a one or two day period, then nothing for a while. This year's WDYTYA? Live Fair, however, didn't bring anything too startling our way (see previous posts), but I shall keep my ear to the ground for you over the coming days.

The genea blogs are, of course, awash with reports on and about the fair. They're easy enough to find, so I won't run through them here. What I think we all need is a break from the same - so here's some OTHER stuff for you...

First up has to be the latest Lost Cousins Newsletter. Most of the news items therein have been mentioned on this blog over the past couple of weeks, but Peter Calver's take on things genealogical are ALWAYS worth a read, so check it out here.

The folk at TheGenealogist have announced the completion of their 1911 Census Project (for Diamond subscribers) - click here, then go to 'News' (and scroll down a tiny bit).

The March programme of free public lectures & events at Gresham College, London, has been released - go to their website, then click on the relevant tab near the top of the page.

Another TNA Podcast is available on the subject of 'Prison Hulks'.

The latest round-up of history articles from the 'Two Nerdy History Girls' is here.

The BBC's weekly 'History Headlines' are also now available.

Ruth Blair recommends a WWI website - see her blog post here.

The latest Eneclann newsletter is now up for grabs (including a focus on Co.Laois).

A promised mention for Christine Woodcock now and her 'Genealogy Tours of Scotland'. As you can see from her website, the itinerary for her next 'tour' has now been confirmed ... and there are still a few places left if you're interested.

One last item - and it's to do with the WDYTYA? Fair! At the said event the Federation of Family History Societies launched their brand new Our Really Useful Information Leaflet. If you missed out on a hard copy, you can get your hands on an e-copy by visiting their website and clicking on the relevant link. Quite apart from all the, er, useful information contained therein (including a new FFHS competition), look out for the quiz on page 14 - I supplied the same from my Family & Local History Quiz Book. You know where to look if you want a copy of the book for yourself (top right of this page, of course).

From Twitter:

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

A rather gruesome item to end on. I fell across the following blog posts from 2008/09 on the strange subject of post-mortem family photographs...

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Reasons for Getting Married

The following is based on the list from Honore de Balzac's The Physiology of Marriage (1824-29). It is a loose translation, and the passage has appeared in various forms over the years. The text outlines the reasons for which a man may marry - the complete A-Z, if you like...

He may, it is stated, marry from ambition, from beauty, from cunning, from devotion, from ebriety, from folly, from giddiness, from heroism, from idiocy, from jauntiness, from kindness, from love, from malice, from nonchalance, from obstinacy, from pigheadedness, from quarrelsomeness, from raggedness, from spite, from toadyism, from utilitarianism, from virtue, from want, from x (the unknown quality), from youth and from zanyism. 

Which one are you, I wonder?

For those wishing to further investigate this curious work, see here. It should be noted that this online version differs somewhat from the above, but is just as entertaining and thought-provoking.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

I fear my audience may be non-existent today, such is the riotous panic over the WDYTYA? Live! Fair in London. It seems I am the only genealogist in the world not attending.

For anyone still out there, here's the latest...

Merchant Seamen records - remember my mention yesterday? Well, in the last 24hrs a good deal more clarification has come through. First of all, there's the official FMP announcement here; TNA have their own announcement re. the same, here; and the fine detail can be found here. There, sorted.

John D Reid seems to have been (I think) the first off the mark to report this important announcement from FMP re. Hertfordshire records - sounds fantastic!

Yet another library service dispute is set to go to court as campaigners in Doncaster take the local council to task over closures, etc. This follows similar action in Somerset, Surrey, Brent, Gloucestershire and the Isle of Wight. Power to the protesters! (source: Public Libraries News).

If you have some WWI memorabilia that you'd like to share with the world then take a look at this announcement from Europeana on the British Library website.

Here's a landmark announcement by the Guild of One-Name Studies.

Several sources have reported that by registering on the British Newspaper Archive website you can receive 30 free credits.

There's a neat article on Florence Nightingale and her ancestral connections by Ros Bott to be found here.

There's a nice 'History Around the Web' round-up at the HistoryToday website.

Check out the latest BBC History podcast (British Empire / American Revolution).

And forthcoming TV & radio history programmes can be found here.

From Twitter:

10% off all subscriptions until 26th February - use code GRFEB10...

MI from St.John the Baptist, Brinklow, nr Coventry:

Who Died August 11th 1779, aged 60.

"This Man  ( His Character to Sum )
From Infancy was Deaf and Dumb.
His Understanding yet was Clear,
His Heart was Upright and Sincere.
He Chiefly got his Livelyhood
By Faggoting and Felling Wood,
Till Death, that Conquerer of All
Gave the Feller Himself a Fall"

(submitted by Vic Terry)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Action at Ancestry & FMP

A flurry of activity at Ancestry has resulted in several of their datasets being updated. Collections relating to the 1861, 1891 & 1911 Censuses, and WWI Service Records have all been added to in the last few days - see their 'updates page'.

Several sources have reported the appearance of new Merchant Seaman records at FindMyPast - though you wouldn't know it by looking at their website homepage or even their 'news' section. The new batch of material seems to relate to 1835-1857 and can be accessed via this page.

FindMyPast Ireland have released the first phase a major resource, namely, the Petty Sessions Order Books, 1850-1910. These records are held by the National Archives of Ireland and have been made fully searchable in this exciting new development - though it is an ongoing project, with more to come during 2012. Read more here.

A couple more 'Ask the Photo Expert' articles have appeared at the FMP blog, here and here.

Ruth Blair's regular round-up of genea-stories can be found here.

Another round-up - this time of general historical articles - can be found at the Two Nerdy History Girls blog (check out the first story, if nothing else!).

A somewhat unusual Irish genealogical roadshow has been flagged by Claire Santry, here.

An interesting resource which you may not know about: the British Library E-Theses Online Service.

There have been some slight changes to the look of the MyHeritage website - see the official announcement.

And why not take part in John D Reid's little survey, here.

Today's bit of fun has nothing to do with genealogy, but I couldn't resist offering you something from the great (and now late) Frank Carson - click below...

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Blogs Catch-Up

I'm always checking on other genealogy blogs for important bits of news to pass on, but have been a bit lax of late - so it's time to catch up.

John D Reid's Anglo-Celtic Connections blog has produced the following over the past few days, all worthy of at least a cursory glance:

Chris Paton's British GENES blog has flagged the following items:
I note, too, that the new-ish blog from The National Archives (which I mentioned several days ago) has a healthy batch of new posts to peruse. Have a look for yourself, here - you may wish to keep tabs on the same.

Thanks to Your Family Tree's blog for a little bit more information on that forthcoming radio show I mentioned on Monday - see here (and click on the link therein).

The February issue of Ireland's Genealogical Gazette (from the Genealogical Society of Ireland) is now freely available.

Going to Olympia for the fair this weekend? Here's what it (sort of) looks like.

From Twitter:

10% off all subscriptions until 26th February - use code GRFEB10...

Died at Sanquhar on 26th February 1855 - Isabella Sommeral, aged 79; and on 1st March at the same place John Hunter, her husband. The aged couple were both born on one day and while the company were met for her funeral, the husband died.

[from the Montrose Standard, 16th March 1855 - thanks to William Cross]

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Big One Looms - and Others, too.

What is marketed as the world's biggest family history fair takes place at Olympia, London, this weekend - it is, of course, the Who Do You Think You Are? Live Fair. It's getting a bit late to order tickets for the event, but you can still pay at the door (£22), subject to venue capacity. Anyway, click here for the official website. Hope you enjoy your visit if you're going! (BTW, I spotted this special post by Claire Santry for Irish visitors to the event).

No event organiser with any sense would fix up their own genea fair in opposition to The Big One, of course, though there are a few things happening elsewhere which may interest you...
  • Postcard Fairs at Shepton Mallet (24th & 25th), and Stockport (28th) & Digbeth (29th) - see here.

This seems a good time to mention, too, the following programmes of forthcoming events:

Not an awful lot happening elsewhere, but TNA have yet another Podcast up and running ('Necessity, the mother of invention: Britain's response to the demands of total war, 1939-1945'). TNA also has a curious piece about P.G.Wodehouse and his UK exile.

The specialist genealogy search engine, Mocavo, are very active at the moment. You may have seen their latest widget appearing on websites and blogs across the Internet which enables folks to handily search sites for genealogical information (there's an example on The Family Recorder blog). If you want to learn more about the feature see here and here. The Mocavo website itself also has a new design - announcement here, website here.

One last bit of news. The various record offices of Devon are now open after their annual stocktake; and there are also some opening hours changes in this part of the world - see their website for full details.

From Twitter:

10% off all subscriptions until 26th February - use code GRFEB10...

Let's have another look at the 1816 census for Rothbury, Northumberland, and it's 'touchy' clergyman...

Joseph Hodgson and his family live in a state of filthiness which corresponds well with the foulness of their lives. His wife states that they have three bastard children in the house ... one by her husband, another her son's and the third her daughter's ... but the daughter is not home. They have one Bible.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Ancestry and Ireland, Mainly

We'll begin with and another 'freebie' offer from the genea giants - this time concerning US WWII Internment records. The best place to go for further information is probably here - and the period of free access runs until 23rd February. [My thanks to Christine Woodcock for pointing this one out].

You may care to take a look at the Ancestry updates page, too, as I see that a good few new entries have popped up on the same - the most recent being updated datasets pertaining to Irish Catholic records.

Irish news from elsewhere includes:

Diamond subscribers to TheGenealogist will be interested to hear of the addition of new burial records covering the counties of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire - click here, then click on 'News' near the top of the page (and scroll down a tiny bit).

Time to remind Scottish researchers of the latest updates from Electric Scotland.

GENUKI, that essential port of call for genealogists, is, of course, regularly updated and is always worth a visit now and again to see if anything new has popped up. Now, not all counties have an 'updates page' which I can keep tabs on - but some do, and I see that the pages for Lincolnshire, Devon, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire have been tampered with lately. Why not check out your areas of interest, though, just in case? Home page here.

An interesting bit of tittle-tattle re. Charles Dickens has surfaced here.

And there's an extraordinary piece on fashion predictions for the 20th century (from 1893).

From Twitter:

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Ancestry quotes:

My ancestors wandered lost in the wilderness for forty years because, even in biblical times, men would not stop to ask for directions.
[Elayne Boosler, US comedian]

When our relatives are at home we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them.
[George Bernard Shaw]

We've uncovered some embarrassing ancestors in the not-too-distant past. Some horse thieves, and some people killed on Saturday nights. One of my relatives, unfortunately, was even in the newspaper business.
[Jimmy Carter]

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Libraries on the Slide

The future of our libraries continues to make the headlines. Despite a couple of court cases going in their favour (Surrey and Somerset), libraries are still suffering at the hands of local councils. A recent post on the 'Public Libraries News' blog, here, says it all. Readers may also wish to follow the link to the Speak Up For Libraries website. Today's 'fun feature' at the very bottom of today's blog post carries a rather more cynical look at the situation...

The Genealogy In Time website looks at ways to search the Internet for genealogical information. There is also a summary of recent record additions to the Internet.

FamilySearch have issued an update, too, concerning new additions to their own website - see here.

Notice of a few events next. PRONI have published details of their Spring Programme of events - lots of stuff to ponder, including some events at Linen Hall Library, too. Don't forget that PRONI's past lectures can be accessed via their YouTube Channel.

There's also the 'Digital Past 2012' event at Powys on 22nd-23rd February - best go through this link.

Over to the BBC now, and their 'History Headlines' for the week. Then there's their TV/radio guide for the next few days. And they also have a Podcast (with accompanying image gallery). Oh, and there's quite a nice piece on the history of fashion.

10% off all subscriptions until 26th February - use code GRFEB10...

Not exactly a 'fun' feature, more a cynical, dystopian vision of the future. Library lovers beware...

Friday, 17 February 2012

Ancestry Freebies, etc.

Genealogy giants Ancestry are throwing open much of their North American records for a limited period. Have a look at this little lot for Canada (until 20th Feb); then there's free access to the 1930 US Census (again, until 20th Feb).

Folk may also be interested in learning of Ancestry's broadcasts from the WDYTYA? Live Fair next weekend - check out the announcement here.

Find My Past Ireland have released some death records which may be of interest to those researching in Carlow, Laois, Wicklow and Kilkenny (the Leighlin Administrations, 1700-1857).

Irish researchers should also check out the latest updates to the Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives (thanks to Claire Santry).

Though it's not of much interest to genealogists, TNA has a news announcement and Podcast relating to the most recent MI5 file release.

Wirral Archives Service is making changes to its opening hours. From the beginning of March there will be no Saturday opening - the last one being 25th February.

An interesting story out of Wales now, and an item on the Your Family Tree Magazine blog concerning Denbighshire criminal records.

The MyHeritage blog has featured a couple of interesting posts this week. First up is an intriguing announcement about affordable DNA tests from the company; and the second, a 'RootsTech Review', containing an interview with MyHeritage's top man, Gilad Japhet (including plans for the future).

The Family Recorder blog ponders what we mean by 'London' (boundaries, etc.).

And, finally, the HistoryToday Magazine website has a useful 'History Around the Web' round-up.

Anfield Cemetery, Liverpool
February 21st 1864

Henry Bridge, aged 51, years from Workhouse. This man died in a sitting position and the body was never straightened out, the coffin having consequently to be made at least 2' 6" deep.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

1891 Scottish Census

Find My Past have added a fresh transcription of the 1891 Scottish Census to their 'holdings'. I need say no more, really, other than to point you to the official announcement.

The National Archives have published their latest news bulletin. Therein you will find details of their 'Friends' scheme, plus various other bits and bobs. TNA have also released another Podcast on the subject of 'The Last Slave Market'; and there may just be time for you to participate in the last of their three experimental 'Live Chats' (sorry for bringing you this last item a little late - though earlier publicity by TNA would have helped).

I see the British Library has pretty much completed the movement of its 'low use' stock from the capital to Boston Spa, near Wetherby. Read all about it here. Quite an operation!

I quite like this short piece by Nick Barratt on Meryl Streep's north of England connections.

The Your Family Tree Magazine blog has a nice item on the great romance between Victoria and Albert.

Ruth Blair presents her weekly recommendations from across the genea-web (did I just make that word up?) - look out for the first two items concerning and FamilySearch, which you may find useful.

Fancy a competition to win a GenesReunited subscription? Check this out.

Here are a few TV programmes to look out for.

I've just this minute come across another weekend event: a Postcard Fair at Kinross Church Centre (High Street), on Saturday 18th February (10.30am-4pm). Contact Gareth Burgess on 01368 860365.

And the genealogy search engine, Mocavo, have announced a pending upgrade.

Oh, and the same company (Mocavo, that is) also have a bit of info on what may prove to be the next 'must have' piece of equipment for the genealogist, the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. Have a read of the piece, here, then (if you're a UK customer) click below for a UK supplier.

My History

From Twitter:

Some quotes about the family...

There is no cure for laziness - but a large family helps.
[Herbert Prochnov, US author/speaker]

A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.
[Ogden Nash, US poet/author]

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.
[George Burns, US actor/comedian]

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A Singular Interment

As the family history world begins, already, to slip into the 'calm before the storm' mode (the 'storm' being this little event), us bloggers have our work cut out filling our daily news bulletins. Just for a change, therefore, I thought I'd bring you an unusual tale from nineteenth century Hertfordshire... (back to the 'news' tomorrow)

A few days ago, the remains of a farmer were interred at Stevenage, Hertfordshire, who died many years ago and bequeathed his estate worth £400 a year to his two brothers and, if they should die, to his nephew, to be enjoyed by them for 30 years, at the expiration of which time he expected to return to life, when the estate was to return to him. He provided for his re-appearance by ordering his coffin to be fixed on a beam in his barn, locked and the key inclosed, that he might let himself out. He was allowed four days grace beyond the time limited, and, not presenting himself, was then honoured with a Christian burial. 
[taken from the York Courant of 23rd April 1835, and submitted by David C.Poole]

Do you have any such 'oddments' which you'd like to share with BI-Gen readers? If so, send them to me at .

And if you'd like lots more of the above, check out the publication Dead End Hobby by clicking here - available for as little as £2.00 (e-copy). A ten-page preview is available for perusal here (and click on 'Preview').

 10% off all subscriptions until 26th February - use code GRFEB10...
Discover your ancestors at Genes

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Genes Reunited Offer

One of the genealogical world's major players, Genes Reunited, is offering 10% off ALL of its subscriptions between 13th and 26th February. Usually, they only offer discounts on their Platinum subscriptions, so this is quite rare. To take advantage, click on the image below, have a look around - then if you want to subscribe remember to use the code GRFEB10 when making your purchase. It is worth pointing out that if you do go for the Platinum subscription you can get relatively cheap access to the British Newspaper Archive, too, through your Genes Reunited membership. They also have excellent Census and GRO Index coverage too + tons more.

The National Archives have launched a new blog which will carry input from employees across their many different sectors. Read the little intro here, the follow the link to the blog itself.

TNA also have a wee Valentine's special, here.

More romantic stuff here. There, that's it for Valentine's.

Users of the Family Historian software package will want to have a peek at the latest dedicated bulletin. As you can imagine, much of the chat is given over to the pending release of Version 5.

Dick Eastman's blog has an interesting story about the Mormon Church's curious practise of 'baptism for the dead' - see here.

Not very 'genealogical' this one, but map fanatics may be interested in this development from Ordnance Survey.

The latest Lost Cousins newsletter can be found here.

And what about the regular Tuesday events listing, I hear you say? Well, here we go...

From Twitter:

  • Nothing. Too much romantic nonsense.

Oh, go on then - some love quotes. But only ones to make you smile...

Love is temporary insanity curable by marriage.
[Ambrose Bierce, US writer]

Whatever you may look like, marry a man your own age. As your beauty fades, so will his eyesight.
[Phyllis Diller, US actress/comedian]

An archeologist is the best husband any woman can have; the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.
[Agatha Christie]

Love at first sight is possible; but it pays to take a second look.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Speak Up For Libraries

Here's a worthy call for action for us local and family historians if ever there was one. The 'Speak Up For Libraries' campaign, a "coalition of organisations and campaigners working to protect libraries and library staff", is working towards a rally and lobby on 13th March. Do tag along if you can!

Episode 4 of The Family History Show is now available. This instalment features the usual batch of tips, case histories and, of course, a visit to a major repository - this time we have Else Churchill telling us about the Society of Genealogists. I haven't even viewed it myself yet, but will do so after I've posted this blog entry - and here's the link!

The news of the death of singer Whitney Houston came as quite a shock. MyHeritage are quick off the mark with a look at her family tree, here.

I see that Cornwall FHS has a new home. Thanks to Chris Paton's post on the story, here.

Dick Eastman's blog has an interesting lead into a story about the dangers of inbreeding in Iceland.

The British Library has a piece on Anglo-Asian heritage - a touring exhibition, website, and educational activities.

Users of the specialist genealogy search engine, Mocavo, may wish to read about their new 'Genealogy Discovery Stream' feature.

And if you've a few moments to spare after leaving this blog entry, you may care to cast your eyes over the weekly links summary from the Two Nerdy History Girls blog.

From Twitter:

Time for more clergyman comment from the 1816 census of Rothbury, Northumberland...

William Davison is a joiner, his mother lives with him, a brother and a sister. He has 2 apprentices. Of these, 1 is a churchman and has a Prayer book. The other and all the family are Presbyterian. There are 4 Bibles in the house which is dirty and the inhabitants ill favoured and ill mannered, except for the joiner.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Genea Newsletters Catch-up

We'll begin with a little bit of reading in the shape of three newsletters, thus:

Deceased Online has finally got those Chester records up and running, it seems. Quite a major release by the sounds of it - with more to come pretty soon.

A couple of items have popped up on the SoG blog:
Chris Paton has penned a lengthy piece entitled 'Land Inheritance in Scotland', which will interest many of you.

John D Reid has provided a nice summary of the Essex Ancestors set-up, here.

And what an interesting 'food for thought' piece this is: 'Family History - before it's too late' from MyHeritage.

Death Quotes:

Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it. 
[W.Somerset Maugham, English writer]

Death will be a great relief. No more interviews.
[Katharine Hepburn]

Die, v.: To stop sinning suddenly. 
[Elbert Hubbard, American writer]

Friday, 10 February 2012

The UK's Public Libraries

I am ashamed to say that I was, until this morning, unaware of the existence of the 'Public Libraries News' blog. Subtitled 'What's Happening to Your Library?', it provides regular updates on the state of play at grassroots level across the UK - especially England, where threats to services seem to be especially serious. The blog is updated almost daily, and is well worth keeping tabs on.

Yesterday I kind of left the Welsh out of things, but today several items have surfaced from this corner of the British Isles. Many sources have reported the news of the launch of a special project to digitise primary Welsh sources relating to WWI. This truly major initiative aims to reveal the 'hidden history' of how the conflict affected all aspects of Welsh life. Best place to go for the low-down is here.

Two other stories from Wales can be found on the 'Heritage of Wales' news blog - namely, a little more on a story I think I mentioned a few days ago regarding Wales' oldest building; then there's a great item about the Ceredigion Metal Mine (including a brilliant 8-minute animation).

Following on from yesterday's news from the English Midlands, a helpful article has popped up on the Ancestry website entitled 'Bastardy Orders and Certificates in Warwickshire Quarter Session Records'.

Several new London records have appeared on the 'British History Online' website - London Sheriffs' Court Roll of 1320; St.Mary Colechurch Vestry Minutes 1613-72; and City of London Tithe Assessments 1638-72.

Looking a little further afield, I tripped over FamilySearch's latest 'mass release' of records, here (inc. material for Derbyshire).

The BBC' HistoryExtra website has the following to entertain you:

And there's more TV stuff here.

The latest issue of Your Family Tree is now available; as is the March issue of HistoryToday Magazine. The latter have also placed their latest history crossword online.

The WDYTYA? Magazine website is carrying a Holocaust survivors item.

From Twitter:

Now available in the UK
The NEW Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner from MyHistory
(click below)
My History

  Three sons lost to scarlet fever within five days...  

At 49 Castlegte, Jedburgh, on the 4th inst. Walter Hilson aged 6 years; on the 6th inst. James aged 3 years; and on the 8th inst. John William aged 9 years - all of scarlet fever - children of James R. Hilson and Helen K. Guthrie".
 [The Hawick Express, 11 March 1881]

This first appeared on Susan Donaldson's Family History blog in Oct 2011

Thursday, 9 February 2012

News From Everywhere

... Except Wales. But pretty much everywhere else seems to be covered, news-wise, today!

We'll begin with the Irish Genealogical Research Society. Ever thought of joining but decided against it? Well, now there might be a very good reason to give it a try, with the release of a new monthly e-bulletin of Irish news. Ordinarily available only to IGRS members, the society has made the decision to release it's launch edition to the general public to generate some interest. To secure your copy, send an email (before 29th Feb) to with "IGRS bulletin 1" (without the quote marks) in the subject line, and they'll send you a copy. I did, and I must say the six-page effort is a rather neat affair. So get your copy, and consider joining up as a fully-fledged member.

The English Midlands are next up. Firstly, TheGenealogist has added a further 21,000 names to its Worcestershire PR Transcripts (presumably for the Malvern area?) - see here. Ancestry have added tons more stuff for the county of Warwickshire - there's a tidy summary of the details from John D.Reid, here, and the records themselves can be accessed via Ancestry's updates page (where you will also see some updated material for West Yorkshire).

Kent features in another of John D.Reid's blog posts, here. As John says, these new FamilySearch record sets are not 'casually' available, but rather are accessed via a login. The best starting point for the said records on the FamilySearch site itself is probably here (and scroll down a bit).

Off to the Scottish Hebrides next, and it's over to Chris Paton's blog for this handy piece of news.

Users of the above-mentioned FamilySearch site may also wish to digest this piece of news concerning the 'Classic FamilySearch Site'.

To archives 'HQ' now, and The National Archives have a news item concerning the launch of a project to aid the interpretation of medieval records. Sounds like just the sort of thing I and 99% of family historians need!

Issue 5 of the utterly free Warfare Magazine is now available - see the latest newsletter/announcement.

I hope you will excuse me a little bit of in-house news, now. If you are planning to go to the WDYTYA? Live Fair in London later this month, do keep an eye out for the FFHS's new Really Useful Information Leaflet which will be launched during the event - for in it you will find a sample family history quiz from my Family & Local History Quiz Book. Fame at last! If you can't wait, then you can always order your own copy of the full Quiz Book (e-version or hard copy) - see image in the right-hand column.

One further item of news from BI-Gen. Many of you will have noticed a hard copy BI-Gen Newsletter February 2012 hanging from the noticeboard of your local library or record office (I also sent copies to the country's FHSs, too). Several folk have since contacted me and asked if they could have the same sent to them direct (on a monthly basis) - and I can't see why not. Anyway, I have refrained from 'pushing' this newsletter here on the blog as it is, effectively, little more than an end of month summary of news and other stuff which has appeared on the blog in the previous weeks. However, if this is something you'd like to get your hands on, email me at and I'll send you the first issue (Feb) free and fill you in on how to subscribe for the next year (there will be a very small fee - but the first one is free).

From Twitter:

Now available in the UK
The NEW Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner from MyHistory
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My History

Today's 'unusual item' comes from the Tyne & Wear Archives blog. A timely piece, as it's LGBT History Month... (click below)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


As is usually the case with prominent anniversaries and events, I often come across blog posts and articles a day or two late but still consider them worthy of a mention. I shall not insult your powers of observation by pointing out the many, many RootsTech reports and summaries littering the Blogosphere (you can rake over a few of the sources mentioned in my previous posts if you must), but the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth (yesterday) is worth revisiting briefly. This post on the FindMyPast blog is worth a look, with some choice pickings from the archives; Ancestry are basing a competition around the man; and, finally, Audrey Collins provides a neat link between Dickens' work and a lesson from history, here.

Another anniversary which has recently passed us by was the Queen's accession to the throne sixty years ago (6th February). MyHeritage provide a nice look back at her ancestry here.

As for 'proper' genealogical news, TNA's website is worth a visit, with three recent items of note:

Irish researchers will be required to click through to Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News blog for the latest news round-up (Louth County Museum, new book, London's Irish immigrants, updated websites ... and some deserved praise for Claire's blog!).

The latest Pharos bulletin is now available, with plenty of genealogy courses up for grabs.

And you may care to browse 'Ruth's Recommendations' for the week, which always provide a bit of interesting extra reading (including more RootsTech talk).

From Twitter:

Now available in the UK
The NEW Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner from MyHistory
(click below)

I shall leave today's 'funny' in the hands of the excellently entertaining 'Two Nerdy History Girls'...