Monday 31 October 2011

Scottish Bits and Bobs


I seem to have fallen over several Scottish items during the course of the past couple of days. Nothing too dramatic or earth-shattering, but worthy of mention all the same...

Blogger John Reid has brought to our attention the availability of Census Street Lists for Scotland (note the 'comment', too).

Next we have a little update to the 'Electric Scotland' website - see the relevant post on the ScottishGENES blog.

And Christine Woodcock brings us three handy recommendations, thus:

The only other item of note from elsewhere in the British Isles take us back to John Reid's Anglo-Celtic Connections blog for news on the addition of more Cornwall PRs to the FamilySearch website.


We stay with John Reid's blog, and an interesting piece on the craft of transcription - see his intro (and link) here.

The History Man gives us a review of the James Clavell Library & Archives in Woolwich.

And it's back over the border and a nice piece by Chris Halliday entitled 'Memorials to Scotland's Last Witches' - rather appropriate for Halloween.

Saturday 29 October 2011

Some Weekend Reading


A few articles have popped up in the last couple of days which I thought I'd bring to your attention.

Firstly, there's a little follow-up piece to Thursday's Find My Past TV show.

Writer and researcher, Ros Bott, has penned two articles of late which make interesting reading. There's a look at Charles Dickens' Genealogy, as well as a speculative piece on an aspect of our ancestors' lives which will, in most cases, remain forever (and frustratingly) hidden - see here.

Finally, The Nosey Genealogist offers a few thoughts on the future of the online genealogy giants.


Only a few minor scraps of news to pass on today...

Users of Hugh Wallis's 'IGI Batch Numbers' site will want to read the latest announcement on the topic at the FamilySearch website. The Hugh Wallis site itself can be found here.

For those interested in this sort of thing, the National Library of Scotland Bill has been published - see the short news item here.

Chris Paton points out that the first of the PRONI lectures has appeared on YouTube - see his post here.

Here's a 'Halloween Offers' sale from BooksIreland.

Check out John Reid's blog post, here, for a link to a useful 'abbreviations listing' for MI transcribers.


And here's a useful-looking website for those of you with connections to the city of Manchester.

Friday 28 October 2011

Archive Closures


Several of England's archive centres are on the verge of temporary closure. London Metropolitan Archives are due to close today (28th) at 4.45pm and will not re-open until 14th November - see here. Then there's the West Yorkshire Archive Service, where all five offices will be closed from 31st October until 4th November - see here.

Ancestry have completed the first part of their 1911 Census transcriptions - see the announcement here. I also just happened to fall upon more useful comment on this news item via blogger John Reid.

S&N Genealogy have released their Late October Newsletter. Again, there is some news about the 1911 Census to be found therein, plus details of recent releases from TheGenealogist, too.

The Irish Genealogy News blog brings us details of an interesting-looking day of talks at the National Museum of Ireland (military stuff).

London's Gresham College has released its latest newsletter, which basically lists its full November lecture programme. They're free and open to all (some are pre-bookable).

Next, a couple of BBC news articles which caught my eye. Firstly, there's the appearance online (free) of the Royal Society's journal archive; then there's a piece on changes to the rules of succession (and marriage) in the British royal family.

Oh, and there's a new BBC History Magazine Podcast available here (Edward III, and a major naval battle of the French Revolutionary Wars).


The Family Recorder blog has a useful advisory piece on 'real' names.

And the week's 'History Headlines' from the BBC can be found here.


And you'll be wanting to know what lies ahead on TV & Radio? Well, see here and here.

Thursday 27 October 2011

Dorset Treat


Big news for serious researchers of Dorset history with the announcement from The National Archives of the availability of the Dorset Manorial Documents Register - see here. A FFHS circular doing the rounds also reveals that the Dorset Record Society has produced a guide to the county's manorial records - check out their website for details.

Nearby Cornwall also has some new online resources available for scrutiny, courtesy of the FamilySearch website - see blogger John Reid's post on the topic.

An event for the weekend which has escaped my notice has been flagged by blogger Chris Paton - see his post here for news of the Swansea Local History Book Fair this coming Saturday.

Followers of the 'Ireland Reaching Out' project (IrelandXO) may wish to have a browse of their latest newsletter.

And there's 40-minute's worth of historical chat available via the HistoryToday magazine's latest Podcast.


Tonight brings us episode 2 of the Find My Past TV show. Remember, it airs on Thursday evenings at 9pm on the Yesterday channel. In this week's episode the relatives of a wireless operator, a passenger and a steward discover how their lives intertwined on board the ill-fated Titanic in 1912 - see the 'taster' here. Apparently the show is repeated daily, so if you miss it, well, it should be easy to catch up with! During each episode, Find My Past experts will also be on hand providing further insights into the episode and tips on researching family history at!/yesterday_TV. (My thanks to Jon Freeman for this info).


EUscreen is launching a new portal today into its handy-looking collection of videos, stills, texts and audio from the Continent - all free. See here

The blog of the National Library of Wales has moved ... to here - where you will find an interesting piece on the great Welsh historian, John Edward Lloyd.


The tenth and final part of Jayne Shrimpton's comprehensive series of articles on understanding and interpreting old family photographs has popped up on the FindMyPast site - see here.


In need of a special offer? Well, CW&S Parkinson Genealogical Storage are offering a 15% discount on all of their products for readers of my blog until 31st December 2011! Just enter the discount code "Bi-Gen" on the ordering page of their website at And they've got a new Certificate Binder up for sale, too - or rather they've brought it back by popular demand. Please click on the 'NEW PRODUCTS' link at the top on this page for full details. 

Wednesday 26 October 2011

10 Great History Quotes

History is the sum total of the things that could have been avoided.
(Konrad Adenauer, German statesman)

The whole interest of history lies in the fortunes of the poor.
(Ralph W.Emerson, US poet & essayist)

Opinions concerning acts are not history; acts themselves alone are history.
(William Blake, English poet)

History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history we make today.
(Henry Ford, US car manufacturer)

History is an endless repetition of the wrong way of living.
(Lawrence Durrell, British novelist)

History never looks like history when you're living through it. It always looks confusing and messy, and it always feels uncomfortable.
(John W.Gardner, US writer)

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.
(Leslie P.Hartley, English novelist)

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
(Peter de Vries, US novelist)

Study the past if you would divine the future.
(Confucius, Chinese philosopher)

Even God cannot change the past.
(Agathon, Athenian poet and playwright)

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Genealogy Events


Here's your usual Tuesday round-up of forthcoming events:

Welsh researchers may be interested to learn of the completion of the Powering the World Project - a venture to catalogue and improve access to the nation's business collections. The official announcement is here, and the dedicated blog can be found here.

This looks like a tasty book: Dublin 1911 - just the sort of thing you may wish to put on your Christmas list!

TNA's latest Podcast, English Burial & Cemetery Records Online and On Film, is now available.

And I know I mentioned this a few days ago, but there is a handy listing of all those recent additions to the Ancestry databases to be found here (Warwickshire, Dorset & West Yorkshire stuff).


Here's the sort of story us genealogists revel in: an amazing coincidence which occurred on a beach in Normandy - see here.

Monday 24 October 2011

Irish Reports


Needless to say, the genealogical world is still buzzing with the fall-out from the weekend's Back to Our Past fair in Dublin. There's an absolute stack of items to report on from this major event, and it's better by far to read about them via two experts who were there and 'did the rounds', namely, Claire Santry (of Irish Genealogy News, Part 1 and Part 2), and, of course, Chris Paton.

And whilst we're with the Irish, I might as well mention the latest Eneclann newsletter - with its county focus on Wicklow.

Next on the list of mentions is another regular read: the Lost Cousins newsletter. And as you should know by now, this is something which I always insist on you taking in. So enjoy!

Another great 'freebie' read is Warfare magazine. Click here for unfettered access to Issue 3.

The folk at BBC History Magazine have produced another Podcast ('Second World War misconceptions' and 'pirates').

The National Archives have issued a news release which will be of interest to those of you with links to the Caribbean - see here.


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

Saturday 22 October 2011

Scottish FH Special


The Dundee Science Festival has included in its extensive programme of events a special Family History Day on Sunday 6th November at the city's Meadowside Counting House (DC Thomsons) - see here. Lots of talks, etc., on offer - and it's free and non-bookable!

Thanks to Alan Stewart for pointing out that records pertaining to Westmorland are now available on the Hearth Tax Online website - see Alan's post here, where you will find the relevant link.

If you have the correct technology at your fingertips, you can help yourself to a free digital copy of the September issue of Your Family Tree Magazine.

A couple of items from The National Archives now. Firstly, we have a piece about the personal stories behind the Partition of the Panjab in 1947. And then there's TNA's latest Podcast (The Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War).

Chris Paton's BritishGENES blog carries important news about next February's Who Do You Think You Are? Live event - see his post, here.


The week's major 'History Headlines', as provided by the BBC, can be found here.


Subject matter for us genealogists doesn't get any bigger than this. It's 'The Human Family Tree' - a series of ten 10-minute videos - as brought to you by (or rather via) the MyHeritage blog.

And back to Chris Paton for our very last item: a fascinating look at the ongoing British Library Newspaper project. Amazing!

Friday 21 October 2011

Irish Prison Registers


The big news of the day has to be the release of the Irish Prison Registers, 1790-1924 on FindMyPast Ireland. And if you want a helping hand, or an example or two of what you may expect to find therein, who better to turn to than Claire Santry.

Ancestry has being doing its very best this week to keep the above event 'off the front page' with several developments of its own:

  • See their celebration of the recent addition of 3.9million records pertaining to Warwickshire and Dorset with this 'parish records fest' on their website (I think the West Yorkshire holdings have also been updated);
  • The official announcement of the release of Family Tree Maker 2012;
  • And there's a special 'Ancestry Anne' Live session. It will probably have passed by the time you read this, but there is a 'catch-up' facility (guess it'll be US biased, though).

Users of Bradford Central Library will be suitably confused, no doubt, by recent shenanigans at their research venue. The place has been closed for 'health and safety reasons' of late; and though it has been partially re-opened today, the Archives/Local Studies sections remain out-of-bounds. Meetings, etc., are taking place at Shipley Library, and at least one talk (1st Dec) has been moved, date-wise. Their website doesn't seem to be much help - though it does give a telephone number.

Two new mags are now on the market (November issues):
The HistoryToday Crossword is also freely available here.

Manx researchers will want to have a look at this 'Newspapers Online Survey'.


Those of you who use the specialist genealogical search engine, Mocavo, will have noticed that they've redesigned their website. Announcement here, search home page here. Give it a go - it's pretty useful.


The usual weekly outlook for the UK's TV & Radio can be found here.


GeneaBloggers is running a competition which involves you writing your own obituary!

Thursday 20 October 2011

Last Call for FMP!


I am being bombarded via email with reminders about the launch of the Find My Past TV show tonight on the Yesterday channel (9pm). So I'm passing the message on: don't forget! You can view a little taster at the programme's website, and then there's their Facebook page. If you miss the show, hopefully you'll find a way of catching up with it via one of these links.

There are also some other TV bits and pieces to be found here.


An interesting website concerning women's history (Yorkshire, mainly) has been brought to our attention by the WDYTYA? team - see the story and the link here. Note that the link doesn't work - the correct address being

And that famed genealogical blogger, Dick Eastman, has posted a rather enigmatic little story about a forthcoming website called YouWho. Very odd. Wonder if it'll be of any use to us in the British Isles?


I know I've mentioned this before, but I'll give it one last go. It's the Institute of Local & Family History's one-day Conference in Preston which is entitled The Past, Present and Future of Family History.

The Society of Genealogists is running what looks like a pretty substantial one-day course on 5th November on the subject of My Ancestor Was Scottish.

And I am ashamed to say that I have very sloppily overlooked a forthcoming history fair in my own neck of the woods! So thank you to Chris Paton for flagging the same, namely the Northumberland History Fair at Woodhorn Museum, near Ashington, on Monday 24th October. See Chris's post and a very basic announcement on the museum's website.


I'm not sure who first spotted this, so I don't know who to give the credit to - but you simply must read the story of the discovery of the mass burial site of victims of the Irish Famine. Sad, sad, sad.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

British Library Blogs


The British Library has launched a new blog which looks like it will make interesting reading for us family historians. It's called Untold Lives and features entries from a cross-section of library employees on all aspects of British life from the dim and distant past. Whilst you're at it you may wish to browse the BL's other blogs, too, here.


An investigation of the above will have revealed an entry pertaining to the India Office Records. Another, related, post has appeared on the FamilySearch blog concerning their India Card Index, 1785-1926.

The recent release by GenesReunited of their new 'Parish Records' database continues to leave me puzzled. Still not sure about coverage, etc., and if anyone can enlighten me I'd be grateful. There is now a 'dedicated search page' (to access marriages/burials see bottom left of the page), but coverage does not seem to be especially extensive. There'll no doubt be more records to come, though, in due course.

The always-handy Times Digital Archive is set to be extended up to 2006 - see Helen Tovey's brief tweet, here.

FindMyPast Ireland are due to make a major announcement at the Back to Our Past Fair at Dublin this weekend - and Claire Santry has a stab at what exactly that may be, here.


Those of you who use Family Tree Maker and/or have an online tree at Ancestry may wish to have a look at a piece on Ancestry's TreeSync facility. Not something I'm part of personally, but the article may be of use to many of you.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Forthcoming Events of Note


Look out for the following forthcoming events:

At the Back to Our Past Fair you may wish to keep an eye out for the official launch of The Irish Family and Local History Handbook - see also here.

Essex Record Office has pushed back the launch of its new pay-to-browse subscription service. Essex Ancestors was supposed to go live yesterday (17th), but has now been pencilled in for Monday 24th October. There's a little bit more info here - and I can tell you that it'll be £5 for 1 day, £15 for 1 week, £25 for 1 month, and £75 for 1 year.

Some Irish reading has popped up in the shape of the October edition of Ireland's Genealogical Gazette; and there is also ReadIreland's list of latest book releases/reviews - click here, then click on 'Read Ireland Book News' (please note that there have been several batches added since I last mentioned the website).

The Irish Genealogy News blog has a few snippets, here.

And I see the 'Yorkshire History Prize 2012' has been launched - a chance for article writers to chase a cash reward!

Monday 17 October 2011

Lancashire Archives to Re-open


Researchers in the NW of England will be pleased to learn of the re-opening of the Lancashire Archives on Monday 24th October. Prior to this, there will be a Preview Day on Friday 21st (10am-2pm). The Archives' website can be found here. The place will be back to normal for users from 9am on 24th (opening hours will be Monday 9–5, Tuesday 9–8.30, Wednesday 9–5, Thursday 9–5, Friday 9–5, 2nd Saturday of every month 10–4).

A tiny bit more information has trickled through about the recent addition to GenesReunited's resources, being this entry on the SoG's blog concerning Boyd's Marriage Index - which actually gives a nice bit of background info on the Index itself.

Thanks to the BritishGENES blog for pointing out the availability of Vol.1, Issue 1, of the Irish DNA Atlas Newsletter - being the voice of a new joint venture by the Genealogical Society of Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Looks like a fantastic idea!

The Irish Genealogy News blog brings us the latest update from the Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives.

And it's not often I mention art exhibitions, but the touring effort that is Family Matters: The Family in British Art may be worth a visit. The exhibition charts the depiction of its subject matter over four hundred years, and can be caught at any one of four venues.  It kicks off at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery (15th Oct-8th Jan), then moves onto the Millennium Galleries, Sheffield (2nd Feb-29th April), Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle (21st May- 2nd Sept), and Tate Britain (1st Oct-21st Dec 2012).


Check out Kirsteen Mulhern's blog entry for the handy-looking Scottish Life Archive.


And there's a wee bit more for the Scots to be found via Christine Woodcock's blog entry concerning famous final resting places.

Saturday 15 October 2011

WWII Escapers & Evaders


FindMyPast have released a batch of military records which they have labelled 'WWII Escapers & Evaders' - all to do with Allied POWs who managed to do a runner during hostilities. Take a look at the announcement here.

The BritishGENES blog has posted an entry about the forthcoming BFI Reel Histories Family Day in London. Looks like a lot of fun - and it could be of considerable interest to family history folk. Read all about it here.

Irish researchers will probably already be aware of this, but a couple of mentions have popped up of late about the ongoing Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) project. If you'd like to catch up on the latest developments, see here and here.

A touch more Irish news, concerning a Care & Conservation of Historic Graveyards seminar, can be found on the Irish Genealogy News blog.

The British Library is flogging off some of its stock at reduced prices.

A couple of new Podcasts are available:

  • BBC History Magazine (Peter Ackroyd talks about his new history of England and Philip Carter explains how a group of architects have made it into the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography);
  • TNA (The 1911 Census: A Vision of England).

Further news from the TNA, with a warning that there will be a certain amount of disruption to online services on Monday 17th October - see here. And there's another snippet concerning education records, on what is the 200th anniversary of the founding of The National Society.


A bit of an articles 'fest' today, with news that the folk at BBC History Magazine have made their September issue free to download - see the announcement and link here (yes, it works - I've tried it).


Couldn't let this one slip by.  Thanks to Chris Paton for pointing out the availability of a very, very handy online resource indeed, namely, JSTOR's early journals. Not sure what I'm on about? Well, check out Chris's post for the full story.

Friday 14 October 2011

GenesReunited Claims a Big One


A press release by GenesReunited this morning states the following:


UK family history site Genes Reunited have added Parish Records to their growing record collection.

Today sees the launch of over 35 million baptism, marriage and burial records for England and Wales dating back to 1538.

Parish records are an important source for family historians allowing them to trace their ancestors back further than 1837.  The Parish Records added to include Boyd's Marriage Index 1538-1840 and Boyd's 1st Miscellaneous Series 1538-1775 supplied by the Society of Genealogists. 

Genes Reunited have worked in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies and local family history experts who have supplied many of the records.  In total there are over 12 million baptism records, over 15 million marriage records and just over 8 million burial records.

The newly added parish 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.

Rhoda Breakell, Head of Genes Reunited comments: "Now that the Parish Records are available online they are easily accessible to everyone.  Even if you do not know where your ancestors were before 1837, you can now search for them in over 35 million records online at Genes Reunited."

A visit to their website does not provide any further details, but no doubt more information will come to the fore during the next day or two.

Elsewhere, accessibility to the England & Wales GRO Index has made the news, nicely summarised by this announcement on the FFHS website. Now, north-easterners like myself will be well aware that Newcastle City Library already has the Index readily available on tap (and has done for many years) - I can only assume that this means it will now be sent the last few year's-worth to 'top up' their holdings. Note that the London Metropolitan Archives will have their Indexes removed on 28th October.

TheGenealogist have released more of the 1911 Census (Kent) to their Diamond subscribers. Oops, and I see lots of Catholic records have also popped up!

A reminder that the British Library have lots of talks, etc., coming up in the next few months - see here for October's programme (Nov., Dec., etc., available, too).

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

The November issue of HistoryToday Magazine is also available.

Pen & Sword Books have released details of their Autumn sale.

Linen Hall Library in Belfast has plenty to offer in its October Events Programme (should have brought you this news a few days ago - sorry).

There's a competition running on the WDYTYA? website to win tickets for Dublin's 'Back to Our Past' fair next week - see here.

Oh, and Eastbourne Reference Library have been in touch this morning to tell me that one of the email addresses I gave out yesterday is incorrect (their fault, not mine!). I have now amended the post, to leave the correct one only!


The usual weekly helping of 'History Headlines' from the BBC can be found here.


TV & Radio for the coming week has been posted here.


Though I think I've mentioned it before, check out this site for some free family history webinars (well, some are free, some are not!).

Thursday 13 October 2011

Family History on TV


I mentioned this a while back, but now it is almost upon us - that is, the next major genealogical TV event here in the UK! It's called Find My Past, and it begins on the Yesterday TV channel at 9pm on Thursday 20th October. You can read the sponsor's intro about it here, where you will find a link to a series summary to prepare you for the events ahead.

As one TV show prepares to launch, another has concluded with the screening yesterday evening of the last in the current series of Who Do You Think You Are? More information on the final instalment can be found here, and you can vote on your favourite episode here.

And whilst we're at it, here are a few forthcoming TV & Radio programmes for you.


Your Family Tree Magazine's website has enjoyed a burst of activity. First of all, there are details of their most recent issue (which came out a couple of days ago); then there are instructions on how to get hold of the digital version for iPhone/iPad; plus, there's a free downloads page, a Xmas Gift offer and a tie-in offer with a well-known storage company. Wow!

Chris Paton has brought our attention to an important ePetition about the future of libraries, which you should all now sign immediately.

Those of you who utilise batch numbers when fiddling about with the FamilySearch website may wish to read this announcement from the website in question.

And Eastbourne Reference Library have asked me to publicise the following appeal:

The Belgian Refugee Project
After a spate of recent enquiries about Belgian Refugees in Eastbourne between 1914–1919, Reference Library staff have had their interest piqued. We’re now hoping to put together a folder of information about these people and their experiences. So if your parents or grandparents were among those who took some of the refugees in and they passed their story on to you, or if you happen to have any information, please let a member of staff in the Reference Library know. (see the contact details below)

As it happens, the latest newsletter from the same library contains a number of useful items for locals - if you would like to view a copy then you can contact them via the following email address:


A rather entertaining little item has appeared on the National Library of Ireland blog about the media's reporting of gruesome murders over the years.

And the MyHeritage blog offers Five Tips to Preserve & Store Documents.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Websites of Interest


Whilst having another (proper) look at the Lost Cousins newsletter which I mentioned yesterday, I had a chance to scour the quite excellent Gresham College website. I recommend that you all have a look at the same, if for no other reason than to have a browse of its superb collection of online lectures. Not only that, but you can also trot along to the talks, too, of course - which are free to all.  Especially useful for London residents - but the website features make the material handily available to us all. Marvellous.

Another excellent online resource has been flagged by blogger John Reid, namely, the Home Children Database for Canada, 1869-1930. Many of you will know about the many, many thousands of children who were despatched to Canada during the period in question with the intention of giving them a 'better life' - and this recently updated website provides a useful way into the records. Read John's blog entry, here, where you will find the link in question.

Followers of the Europeana project will be interested to learn of the website's new look - see the official announcement.


The National Archives have published their October newsletter. Contained therein is a reminder about their special one-day Titanic 2012 Conference on 14th April next year (discounted booking rates available until the end of October).

OK, I know I only mentioned it yesterday, but with the 'Back to Our Past' 'do' in Dublin looming, I thought you might like to know that the Irish Genealogy News blog can get you a discount on the entrance fee - see here. Well done, Claire!


There's a piece about the history of the English version of the Bible to be found on the HistoryToday website. Not connected with family history, I hear you say - but, no, this was a BIG part of our ancestors' lives, and the availability of successive English translations (culminating with the King James edition in 1611) was really quite a big deal (ask religious reformer William Tyndale, who died for the cause).


I have been asked by Steve Kent to give the following appeal a public airing. I can't personally endorse the idea (as I haven't tried it), but it does sound like a rather neat idea...

View Family Tree Pedigrees and Wall Charts on your TV set

For the past few months I've been developing a computer program that enables me to produce interactive DVD discs from GEDCOM files.

What is different about the DVDs I produce is that they can be played on a standard DVD player/ standard TV set. i.e. No computer is required. The main advantage is that copies of the DVD can be passed on to family members that do not have a computer, but do have a standard DVD player and TV set. Photographs, videos, slideshows and scans of documents can also be included on the DVD.
Navigation through the pedigrees/wall charts is by means of the up, down, left, right arrow keys on the DVD player's remote control keypad. I've successfully produced sample DVDs containing pedigrees/wall charts containing well over 2000 people.

I'm looking for a few volunteers to take part in a free trial of the service that I hope to offer to genealogists. There is absolutely no cost to anyone that takes part in the trial and they will each receive a free copy of their DVD. In return, I will ask trialists to provide feedback on their experience and any suggestions they may have for improvements. The system uses a GEDCOM file that most genealogy applications are able to export.

Initially, trialists will need to tell me:
1.  The name of the genealogy application that they use (Family Tree Maker, Rootsmagic, PAF etc);
2.  The approximate number of individuals in their family tree database;
3.  The number of photographs, videos, slideshows and document scans (if any) that are linked to their family tree database.

Those people accepted for the trial will then need to provide me with a copy of a GEDCOM file produced by their application.

Please note that it is not the software that I am offering for trial. It is the DVD produced by my software that is on offer.
All information supplied to me will be treated in the strictest confidence and will not be made available to anyone else. Anyone interested in taking part in the trial should email:

Thanks, Steve Kent.


Tuesday 11 October 2011

'The Genealogist' Developments


There have been some interesting and important developments at TheGenealogist/S&N recently. Obviously, most of the stuff concerns subscriber services, but it's worth knowing about all the same. I can do no better than refer you to their October newsletter, where you can read all about it. Look out for their new 'Marriage Finder Tool', some new 'Biographies/Who's Who' records, some Catholic releases - and a few other bits and bobs, too.

The latest Lost Cousins newsletter is also available. This offering is a bumper edition, with absolutely loads of interesting reading. I'm not even going to begin to describe what's in there, so you'll have to have a look for yourself, here!

I occasionally receive programmes of forthcoming events at our record offices and libraries (more, please!), and the latest update which has fallen into my lap is that from Essex Record Office.  Now, ERO will be launching their 'Essex Ancestors' pay-to-browse subscription service on 17th (more on that next week), but in the meantime you might want to check out what's left of their 2011 programme of talks, etc., by having a look here. Their website can be found here.

Talking of events, here's what we have for the next few days...

Also, a reminder that a rather large event is also taking place in Dublin during 21st-23rd October, namely, the Back to Our Past extravaganza. FindMyPast Ireland are gearing up for the same with this announcement.

One more thing. A spot by blogger Chris Paton, being a set of new Facebook services on offer from FamilySearch. Take in Chris's post here, where you will find the links in question.

Monday 10 October 2011

Free Stuff Update


Just a reminder, in case you should need it, that Ancestry are now well into their 15-day run of free access to a selection of their records. Today is extra special, because the records up for grabs are the England & Wales Birth Records - but check out everything on offer here. Remember that all the offers run up until the end of 15th October.

In a similar vein, folk will be aware that much of the England/Wales BMD Indexes are freely available on the excellent FreeBMD site.  Well, blogger John Reid has reported on a recent update to the said resource, here.

Those who indulge in the Discover My Past magazines (Scotland and England) may wish to read Chris Paton's blog entry re. the same here. Great shame to see the disappearance of the Anglo version.

Over to Ireland now, and the latest issue of the Eneclann newsletter (inc. a county focus on Tipperary). Then there's a couple more bits of news from Claire Santry of the Irish Genealogy News blog - namely, the online appearance of a whopping 534,000 Waterford births/baptisms; and the opening of a new exhibition at Linen Hall Library (check out the Library's 'What's On Guide', too, which includes some info about the exhibition).

And Welsh researchers may be interested in this entry from the National Library of Wales blog about their tie-in with the Europeana Libraries Project.


A worrying story has been posted on the BritishGENES blog (original source Celia Heritage) about institutionalised vandalism at a cemetery in Greenwich, London.

And those of you interested in the educational side of genealogy will want to take in this lengthy post on the subject by The Professional Descendant (aka Kirsty F.Wilkinson).

Saturday 8 October 2011

Genealogy Open Days


No, not the genealogy equivalent of the Heritage Open Days (hey, that would be a good idea!), but just news of two notable 'Open Day' sessions to come later this month ...

First of all there's a special day of free tours, etc., to be enjoyed at the Society of Genealogists' HQ in London on Monday 24th October - with no need to book. Sounds like a splendid opportunity for us non-members to have a nose around!

Then there's the Wakefield branch of the West Yorkshire Archive Service and their Open Day on Saturday 15th October. Please note that you have to book in advance for some of the activities on offer, and there will also be a chance to examine their redevelopment plans (you can also complete an online questionnaire re. the same). Further details on all these Yorkshire goings-on can be found here.

A truly huge get-together is in the early stages of preparation in Ireland, with the announcement of 'The Gathering' - a year long event for 2013 aimed at putting the nation on the road to financial recovery. See the official announcement here. I should think family history will play a rather large part in proceedings!

The new Family Tree Magazine news service brings us a piece on the activities of The War Graves Photographic Project and their latest newsletter.

Cheltenham Probate Abstracts 1660-1740 have popped up on the Origins website.

TheGenealogist has made some 14,000 baptismal records available for the county of Worcestershire (though the parishes in question remain a mystery).

And if you've some spare time this weekend you can always turn to the following podcasts which have popped up in the last couple of days:

  • TNA - Textile Designs 1842-1964: exploring the Board of Trade Representations and Registers and The Hong Kong Colonial Cemetery - for both, click here;
  • BBC History Magazine - The Life and Times of Queen Matilda, and The Lost Prehistoric City of Pavlopetri - see here.

Friday 7 October 2011

FTM's New Website


Just in case you hadn't spotted it, I thought I'd point out that the UK's oldest genealogical monthly, Family Tree Magazine, now has a new website.  Their old site has been clunking along for some time now, and the new effort is a huge improvement and well worth a look.  Seems a bit daft me running through all the features when you can just have a browse yourself - but it has a blog, a 'news section', and all sorts of other handy bits and pieces.  Look out, too, for their new Family History Made Easy publication, their competition, and details about their recently-released November issue.

The November issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine is also available - see here.

And then there's the November edition of Your Family History, too! Check it out here.

DeceasedOnline have made an announcement re. new releases. If you've ancestral links to Corby, Northants, or Angus then you'll want to click here.

FindMyPast have released 730,000 new records pertaining to the county of Berkshire.  Mainly burials, but a fair few marriages, too. No specifics as regards parish coverage, though.

Publishers Pen & Sword are marking the 10th anniversary (today, 7th October) of the start of the war in Afghanistan (yeah, 10 years) with a book sale on related titles.

And the BBC's HistoryExtra website has an 'Out and About' listing for October ...


... And of course there's the very same website's 'History Headlines' for the week.

Audrey Collins of The Family Recorder blog injects a little realism into our modern-day research techniques with a handy reminder about just what can be found when you come off-line and actually look at some original documentation. Steady, Audrey, you'll have us all visiting record offices again if you're not careful.


And here's the Beeb's weekly guide to forthcoming TV & Radio. Oh, and check out Radio 4's forthcoming programme on Irish migration, here (8th & 10th October, and no doubt available on iPlayer afterwards).

Thursday 6 October 2011

More Events of Interest


I think it wise to give a final mention to a couple of conferences which are coming up in a few weeks time - they're the sort that you have to book in advance for, so you'd better get a move on if you're interested...

Whilst I'm on the subject of events, I've just remembered another antiquarian and second-hand book fair coming up this weekend on Sunday 9th October at Tynemouth Station (10am-4pm, admission free).  All sorts of stuff on offer, including a flea-market next door!

The Irish Genealogy News blog has been really busy of late - and there are several more stories to refer you to, including another update from Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives, a mention of a new book on Pauper Limerick, and a little item about a new look for one of Ireland's state-funded databases/websites.

From Scotland, Chris Paton brings us news of another digitisation project - this time involving the Moray poor relief records.

GenesReunited have sent out a circular publicising their new Military Record Collection. Not sure that there's anything new in there as such, but rather that they have brought together their existing collections of military stuff which can be searched en masse here (though they say more will be added soon).  The records that currently form part of the 'collection' are: 
  • Armed forces births, marriages and deaths;
  • Naval Casualties 1914-1919;
  • WW2 Prisoners of War;
  • Waterloo Medal Roll 1815; 
  • Other army lists roll calls 1656-1888;
  • Royal Naval Officers 1914-1920;
  • Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919;
  • New Zealand WW1 Soldiers;
  • Anglo Boer Wars 1899-1902.


More on last night's WDYTYA? episode, starring Len Goodman, can be found here.

And some forthcoming TV and Radio can be examined here.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Online Reading


A wee flurry of e-newsletters and the like have popped up in the last day or so, so here they are:

  • Issue 3 of the completely free Warfare magazine - click here for a little intro, then click on the image (BTW, it's Issue No.3, not 2 as per the headline!);
  • Users of the Family Historian software package will want to have a read of the latest Bulletin;
  • The October issue of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's newsletter.

When you've finished with that lot, you can have a listen to TNA's latest Podcast on the subject of Searching for British Records in the New FamilySearch Website.

As for 'proper' news, the biggest item of the day is probably FindMyPast's release of freshly-transcribed versions of the 1841 and 1851 Censuses for Scotland.  You may wish to read the blurb here, before diving in.

Chris Paton has also posted an item about Pharos courses on Scottish and Irish research which may be of interest to many of you.

I should imagine that this is more for the North American market, but I don't suppose there's anything to stop UK-based researchers joining in with's Live TweetChat tomorrow.


A fabulous online resource has been flagged by the HistoryToday website, namely, The Victorian Dictionary of London. Best read the intro here, then jump into the site itself (direct link here).

FindMyPast Ireland mention a website which will be of interest of those with Irish ancestral links with the US (railroad workers in Virginia, specifically).  See the story here, where you can click through to the site itself.


1936:  Jarrow March sets off from Tyneside;
1952:  Tea rationing ends in the UK - unlimited cuppas at last!

Tuesday 4 October 2011

TNA's New Role


Just when I thought the news had passed us by with barely a whimper (and a brief mention on this blog yesterday), The National Archives have 'gone big' with the announcement that they are to take over responsibility for archives across England. They've even set up a new website dedicated to the matter, here.

TNA have also put out an appeal for volunteers to help with the digitisation of World War I war diaries - a truly major project involving one of the institution's most popular resources.

Carmarthen Museum is showing an exhibition set up by the county's archives service entitled Treasures at the Archives: Centuries of Records.  Runs until Christmas - but the only decent online mention I could find was here.

Parish Chest have issued their latest newsletter.  The usual friendly chat, followed by new releases from a host of vendors. Look out for a chance to get a free back copy of Family History Monthly.

And the next few days see the following events coming to towns up and down the land:

And a reminder that the Cleveland FHS get-together at Scotch Corner on 8th October has been cancelled.


Fans of the Europeana website will be interested to see the site's planned new layout.


The Family Recorder blog has issued the first in a series of articles on the many available BMD search sites. Definitely worth a look.

Monday 3 October 2011

Welsh Archives Activity


Today sees the opening of the new Anglesey Archives after a closure period of more than four months. If you plan on visiting, you may want to check out their website to make sure there are no teething problems.

At the other end of the scale, Gwynedd Archives Offices are set for temporary closure.  Caernarfon Record Office will be closed during 10th-18th October; and Meirionnydd Archives in Dolgellau will be closed for three weeks from 24th October to 14th November.  See here for full details (there are also some other slight lunchtime changes, too, at the latter venue).

The Museums, Libraries & Archives Council (commonly known as the MLA) has all but disappeared from our lives. The responsibilities formerly assumed by this body have now passed to the Arts Council and The National Archives.  What will probably be their last announcement was made here.

The Irish Genealogy News blog brings us the announcement of more Catholic records for Dublin and Co.Cork going online - see the relevant post here.

And over to Scottish Catholic history next, and a post by blogger Chris Paton about a notable conference on the topic coming up in Edinburgh on 22nd October.

The Society of Genealogists has knocked a few quid off their special 'centenary book' - see the announcement here, and the bookshop link here.

Seekers of history podcasts may wish to point their browser at the recently revived HistoryToday feature.

And the weekend saw the passing of TNA's Celebrating the Census conference, of course - and who better to turn to for a sideways glance at the event than Chris Paton? See his lengthy, interesting and witty report here!


An unusual one this time, flagged by blogger Christine Woodcock, concerning a database of Scottish Witches!


1959:  Postcodes first used in the UK (in Norwich).

Saturday 1 October 2011

Ancestry Freebies


OK, I know we're kicking off with Ancestry again, but I just wanted to remind you about their 15 days of freebies.  A good place to begin is their blog post, here, which gives you an idea of what's coming over the next couple of weeks - a varied bunch, to say the least!

The Irish Genealogy News blog has given us a list of Irish events for October, and singles out a Religious Sources Seminar on Thursday 27th October for special mention.

Whilst we're in Ireland, here's the National Library of Ireland's October e-newsletter.

Another Podcast has popped up at the BBC's HistoryExtra website - see here (Douglas Haig’s post-war career and Bernard Cornwell chats about his work as a historical novelist).

And I am sorry to say that the GRO Online Survey which I mentioned a couple of days ago has already been withdrawn - so, sorry about that.  Maybe they've been overwhelmed by enthusiastic genealogists!


MyHeritage have issued another post in their 'Links We Like' series. An interesting one this, with items on archival storage, some Google+ clarification, and a couple of ways of staying in virtual touch forever!

The new website dedicated to the Luddites is getting a fair bit of coverage across the Internet. Check out HistoryToday's little intro here, where you will find the relevant link, etc.

And the Scottish Emigration Blog has helpfully flagged a really neat resource for finding Scottish place-names.


Though it has a distinctive Irish slant, a helpful post has appeared on TheWildGeese blog about research in India which will be of help to all British and Irish researchers.


Not at all genealogy-related, but as many of you are bookworms, I thought it worth mentioning a recent poll taken by the National Library of Scotland about changing attitudes to controversial books.