Saturday 31 December 2011

Latest Family History Magazines


I've been a bit lax of late when it comes to mentioning new releases of our genealogical magazines - so here are the latest editions of the periodicals in question:

Additionally, of course, there are:
As regards HistoryToday, a great round-up of some of their more notable articles from 2011 is freely available here. Some good reading is available there, so don't miss out!

And there's also a Podcast available in connection with the BBC mag. Oh, and the week's TV & radio can be found here.

If anyone is thinking of buying anything from, then now's a good time to do so as they're offering 25% off until the end of 6th January (UK pounds only). It's completely free to join/register and there are no catches. Click on the homepage and you should see mention of the voucher code. And remember, my Lulu Storefront is here.

A warning for users of TNA's website: there may be some disruption to online services on Tuesday 3rd - see here.

Today is Day 6 of 'Start Your Family Tree Week' - click below for further info...

And the week's activities have been backed up with some extra guidance from several sources, including both the Family Tree magazine blog and Your Family Tree magazine website. Plenty of useful reading there, especially for beginners.

That's all for today and, erm, the year, of course. Thanks for dropping by - and remember to make BI-Gen a regular port of call during your genealogical wanderings in 2012!

Friday 30 December 2011

Scottish News & TNA Releases


Chris Paton's British GENES blog brings us a selection of news announcements from the National Library of Scotland - see his post here. It includes news of the NLS 'Roadshow' in March.

The turn of the year sees the usual release of a new batch of public records by TNA (30-year rule, and all that) - see the announcement concerning the unveiling of the 1981 files here. Look out for the link to a related Podcast concerning the same, too, near the bottom of the item.

There's more information on FMP Ireland's release of 'Thom's Irish Who's Who 1923' (which I mentioned yesterday) to be found here.

Looking forward to 2012, I see that North Yorkshire County Record Office has organised a special 'Next Steps in Family History Day' on 4th February. It's a full-day course, bookable in advance - so get in ASAP to secure your place.


The British Library is carrying an interesting piece about their role in a forthcoming BBC Radio 4 programme entitled In Our Time: The Written World.  Fascinating stuff.  The press announcement is here - and be sure to click on the link after the second paragraph, too.


The Ordnance Survey blog is carrying a 'best of' post which includes some interesting reading. Those of you who are a bit unsure of how to read maps (grid references, etc.) will want to take in the relevant articles.


We began with a Chris Paton blog post, so we will end with one. Here's a bit of humour from the Inverness kirk session minutes.

Day 5 of 'Start Your Family Tree Week'...

Thursday 29 December 2011

Having a Quiet One


To be expected, I suppose, but this week is a bit on the quiet side. Many of the commercial companies and a fair old chunk of the bloggers are out of action until the New Year, leaving the few of us who are left struggling to entertain the readership. There are lots of festive ramblings on the blogs - many of them very entertaining - but I guess you don't need me to add to the nostalgic quagmire!

Can I interest you in a Podcast? The latest offering from TNA stems from the major Census conference at the organisation back in October and can be found here (Preparing the 1911 Census for Digitisation).

FindMyPast Ireland has ended a quiet month for them with the release of one last record set, namely, 'Thom's Irish Who's Who 1923', which is self-explanatory. Read all about it here.

I don't usually mention each and every individual talk held at the SoG (they are all listed here), but the one lined up for 28th January looks particularly interesting and will appeal to, well, almost everyone, I should think. It's entitled Tracing Female Ancestors & Women in the 1800s, and runs for a half-day.

I suppose the genealogy big-boys will be vying for our attention as keenly as ever in 2012. Here's what Ancestry have to say about the near future in their '12 Things You Can Count on in 2012'.

And finally, the guys who run the specialist genealogical search engine, Mocavo, have posted a couple of new items on their blog concerning recent developments for users of their site.

Day 4 of 'Start Your Family Tree Week'...

Wednesday 28 December 2011

10 Great History Quotes

History is... the men and women of the past talking and we overhearing their conversations.

There is no history of mankind, there are only many histories of all kinds of aspects of human life. And one of these is the history of political power. This is elevated into the history of the world.
(Karl Popper, Austro-British philosopher)

Stern accuracy in inquiring, bold imagination in expounding and filling up. These are the two pinions on which history soars - or flutters and wobbles.
(Thomas Carlyle, Scottish Historian)

To walk into history is to be free at once, to be at large among people.
(Elizabeth Bowen, Irish novelist)

The best benefit we derive from history is the enthusiasm which it excites.
(Goethe, German poet & dramatist)

History is but a picture of crimes and misfortunes.
(Voltaire, French writer)

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
(Karl Marx)

History shows that there are no invincible armies.
(Joseph Stalin)

History is the essence of innumerable biographies.
(Thomas Carlyle, Scottish Historian)

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.
(Aldous Huxley, English writer)

Day 3 of 'Start Your Family Tree Week'...

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Lost Cousins' Xmas Special


Peter Calver, the guy behind Lost Cousins, has released his latest newsletter. See the result here - mainly Census debate, info and opinion, plus a bit on the recent GRO controversy. All very interesting - and of course there's plenty of other stuff in there as regards special offers and opportunities to save a few quid by various ways and means.

Irish researchers may wish to dip their feet in the Eneclann Winter Sale, where most of the goods seem to be on offer at 50% off! The best place to start would appear to be here, and then start browsing... (runs until 8th January).

If you're regularly on the phone to the GRO, then you will want to make a note of their new telephone number. From 5th January 2012 the existing number (0845 6037788) will be replaced by 0300 1231837.  Apparently, 0300 numbers are non-geographic and are specially designated for use by public bodies and not-for-profit organisations - but they are not free and should not be confused with 0800 numbers (or so the GRO say). Note that this number should be used (from 5th Jan) for enquiries about, or ordering, BMD certificates for England/Wales).

Electric Scotland has, I think, issued TWO newsletters/updates since I last mentioned them. Check out this link to access their list of weekly efforts (I should imagine another one will be due at the back end of this week, too).

A couple of news items from Chris Paton's 'British GENES' blog now. Many of you will be delighted to learn of the return of the Lost Edinburgh Facebook page - see this blog entry; and then there's a competition to win a copy of Chris's book (it's a 'rare' one, so have a look!).

And, finally, what about forthcoming events? Well, just a couple of book fairs - so do get along to them if you can...

And of course you'll not forget to have a look at today's instalment of 'Start Your Family Tree Week'...

Monday 26 December 2011

Boxing Day Reading


In the expected absence of any major news stories breaking on the day after Christmas (with one major exception, see bottom of post), I have lined up a few articles for you to peruse, plus a link to a 90-minute video presentation which may have passed you by last week...

Let's start, in fact, with the video. It's a recording of a presentation given by the famous Dick Eastman to the Massachusetts SoG entitled 'The Family History World in 10 Years Time'. The quality of the video is not especially good, but the subject matter is interesting none the less. It's only available online until 14th January - click here, then scroll down a little bit, make a note of the password and follow the link.

Some of the subject matter of the above presentation is also covered in a recent post by Dick on his well-known blog. It concerns the much anticipated FamilySearch project to convert their entire microfilm stock to digital images (which will then be made available worldwide free of charge!) - read Mr Eastman's take on the issue here.

From the digital environment to the old-fashioned world of books (remember them?), and an insight into the art of bookbinding - see this article on the National Library of Ireland blog.

The Genealogy Paradigm Shift: Are bloggers the new "experts"? seems to have sparked a fair bit of debate in the family history world, with spin-off blog posts and articles across the Internet. I certainly do not consider myself an 'expert' by any stretch of the imagination, but rather a disseminator of information. End of.


Don't forget, too, that Boxing Day is the official launch date of 'Start Your Family Tree Week'. Click below for further information...

Saturday 24 December 2011

No Christmas Let-Up for us Bloggers!

I was hoping for a few 'blog-free' days over the Christmas period, but an unexpected rush of news items has put paid to that! Seems like everyone is trying to clear their desks of all sorts of bits and pieces - so here's a selection for you. Nothing major, really, but I'll run them past you none the less...


If document preservation is your thing then you may be interested in the December newsletter of the British Library Preservation Advisory Centre.

Or maybe you're interested in developments in the library sector on the Continent? In that case you'll want to have a look at Europeana Libraries Project's December bulletin (check out the article on the forthcoming 'European Library' website).

Blogger John Reid has fell upon some important news for those of us with an interest in Welsh wills.

And though it's not of direct interest to genealogists, I have noticed a recent burst of activity on the 'Heritage of Wales News' blog. Well, fans of Welsh history may be interested, I guess.

More 'Workshops' of interest to family & local historians have popped up on the National Library of Scotland's website - see here.

Dick Eastman brings us news of the release of The Master Genealogist version 8.

And both students and tutors of family history will want to cast their eyes over the December issue of the Pharos bulletin.


The Anglo-Celtic Connection blog has an article on the effect of breast-feeding habits on infant mortality rates.

Still hungry for more Festive reading? Then have a browse of these special articles plucked from the HistoryToday archives.

And there's more general comment from Nick Barratt, here, which includes reference to a Daily Mail article on our family history skeletons (link is at the very bottom of his post).

And don't forget the following coming up on 26th (which is when you'll next hear from me)...

Friday 23 December 2011

Genealogical Festive Offers and News


FindMyPast are offering 10% of all subscriptions from (as far as I can tell) now until the end of January. Reports vary as to the length of this offer and even when it officially starts, but I'll be carrying a link on my blog entries for a few days to remind you of the same - at least until we get through the 'Start Your Family Tree Week' during 26th Dec - 1st Jan....

Pen & Sword Books are (again) in discount mood, too - check out their latest bulletin, here.

Ancestry have made a couple of 'techie' announcements: the first concerns their new 'Android App', and the second relates to updates to their 'Image Viewer'.

Off to the Society of Genealogists now, and a reminder of their holiday opening hours on their main page; and they have also began pushing their January lectures.

There's bad news concerning the future of Carmarthenshire County Museum, with various blogs and websites reporting on the source of the news story, here.

And BBC History Magazine has posted another Podcast, here (Exeter's underground tunnels and the perils of water in Tudor times).


The BBC also has a raft of special 'Festive Features' on offer. And of course there is the usual batch of 'History Headlines' for the week.


... Oh, and don't forget the next week's worth of TV & radio highlights.


The HistoryToday website has posted its latest prize crossword.

And if you're a follower of Nick's Barratt's new-ish Family History Show website, then you may wish to offer a bit of feedback, here.

My History

Thursday 22 December 2011

GRO Debate Continues


Blogger Audrey Collins has joined the 'GRO certificates' debate with an interesting analysis of her own on The Family Recorder blog. It's a funny old situation and it now needs to be carefully looked at by the folk in charge. It seems hard to believe that a system cannot be devised to modestly cash in on the sizeable demands of us family historians.

I see that Claire Santry has begun a series of guest blogs on the 'Certificate of Irish Heritage' website, with an article entitled 'In Search of the Townland'.

A short reminder of our early days of research is provided by the Genes Reunited website with their Top 20 Family History Tips as compiled by their members. Always useful to be reminded of such simple matters every now and again!


Due to relocation in early 2012, Ceredigion Archives have revised their opening times for January and February - see here. It does, however, seem that they will specially open up for you if travelling from 'another continent', as they put it!

TheGenealogist has issued an update for it's Diamond subscribers - see here (mainly English stuff).

The National Library of Scotland has issued a fresh 'Events' listing covering January-March.

A listing of 'Black and Asian British History Seminars 2012' has popped up on The Historical Association's website.

MyHeritage have released a new version of their popular (and free) software program, Family Tree Builder - see the lengthy feature on the same here.

Check out some unusual discoveries made in The National Archives' holdings.

And I haven't mentioned the ReadIreland Book Database for a while - so check it out here (then click on 'Read Ireland Book News').


Here are a few TV/radio programmes which may interest you over the next week or so.

My History

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Genes Reunited News


I can't speak with any great authority on the matter as I'm not a fully paid-up member, but the Genes Reunited website seems to be experiencing problems at the moment. A recent 'technical update' is the latest offering, so hopefully things will be ironed out soon. Another announcement on the site seems to indicate that the new-fangled British Newspaper Archive is accessible through Genes Reunited - but, again, I've not tried this myself.

The Irish Genealogy News blog has a mid-December update from the Ireland Genealogy Project Archives - see here.

Irish researchers may also wish to know the festive opening hours at PRONI.

WDYTYA? Magazine have a competition for you, here.

And blogger John Reid points us in the direction of some Scottish naming stats/patterns, here.


Dick Eastman has posted an interesting piece about the family histories of the 2012 presidential candidates. Stick with the piece, as it leads onto an even better article about other inheritance traits (eye colour).

And thanks to The Passionate Genealogist for flagging a story on the concept of making a pack of playing cards bearing the images of your ancestors.


Tomorrow (Thursday) sees the final episode of the Find My Past TV show. Catch a preview here (main website here).

Special offer from...
The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online
... by clicking above, then clicking on 'Home' you can get even more than 10% off!

Tuesday 20 December 2011

More Scottish Census News


Further to last month's news about the 1861 Scottish Census, FindMyPast have now released transcriptions of the 1871 Scottish Census - meaning that the website now has 1841-71 covered for the nation. Due to licensing regulations it is not possible for any of the commercial companies to offer the original images of the documents, but FMP are claiming a high degree of accuracy with their efforts. Go to FMP's Main Page, and the story is under 'Family History News'. 

Oh, and whilst you're visiting the site, look out for FMP's take on the forthcoming 'Start Your Family Tree Week' (top right of home page). There's also a competition to enter in relation to the same.

Staying in Scotland, the British GENES blog has a piece about the final stages of the re-location of Edinburgh City Archives.

As you probably know, MyHeritage have recently brought under their umbrella, and this blog post reveals the organisation's early attempts at integrating the said records into their existent data sets.

Ancestry have added some new Kent records to their website. This page is as good a way into them as any (and then click on the relevant link).

The deadline for the FFHS's long-running competition is fast approaching. See the note on the main page of the Federation's website, here.

A couple of events - both postcard fairs - are coming up soon, at Digbeth (Birmingham) and Cheltenham on 28th & 29th December, respectively. See here for further details - and please check with the organisers before travelling, if possible.


Blogger Dick Eastman has flagged a website which will keep map enthusiasts busy for a while. See his post regarding the Worldology site, here.

Monday 19 December 2011

Famous Scots Blog Discontinued


Followers of prolific blogger/writer/lecturer, Chris Paton, will perhaps have already heard the news that he has discontinued his famous Scottish GENES blog. The news is not quite as dramatic as it sounds, however, as Chris has simply transferred his entire blogging effort over to his British GENES blog - and the Scots coverage will not suffer in the slightest. Get it from the horse's mouth here.

Chris's blogs have kicked up a couple of recent items which I have missed, namely, the pending change in the opening hours of the Hawick Heritage Hub, and a new project concerning the East India Company.

I keep banging on about this, but please take care with opening hours of libraries and record offices over the next couple of weeks or so. Also, of course, many repositories have the habit of changing their hours permanently with the dawning of a new year! I see that The National Archives have publicised their holiday hours here - ditto the ScotlandsPeople Centre here.

The ScotlandsPeople Centre have also published details of a Family History Talk on 25th January, and are reminding folk of their free taster sessions (plus one or two other bits of news) on their main page, here.

And returning to TNA, why not have a listen to their latest Podcast (How the Ministry of Pensions Constructed Gender in the 1950s).


And if you feel like cancelling Christmas this year, then you can take a lesson from history.

Discover your ancestors at Genes

Saturday 17 December 2011

New Napoleonic War Records Online


133,000 new military records pertaining to the Napoleonic Wars have appeared on the FindMyPast website. They cover the period 1775-1817 and consist of the 'Army of Reserve 1803', 'Regimental Indexes 1806' and 'Foot Guards Attestation Papers 1775-1817'. Go to FMP's main page, and the story is under 'Family History News'.

S&N Genealogical Supplies have released their Christmas Newsletter, which reveals details of several new data sets (depending upon which package you have with them) - and there's also more 1911 Census Transcripts up and running on their site. If you should get the urge to choose the festive period to subscribe to S&N's TheGenealogist then this is a good time to do so as they've got some cracking discounts available - and if you do so via this link or the one at the foot of this post and then click on 'Home', you will see the discounted rates. Doing it this way means that BI-Gen will get a bit of commission (at no further cost to yourself). Now that'd be a great Xmas pressie for me!

Nick Barratt has a report on the worthy 'Making History' schools project, here, which includes potential follow-up work. What a great idea!

Christmas week seems as good a time as any to pop along to the British Library's exhibition on the subject of A Hankering After Ghosts: Charles Dickens & the Supernatural. And the same institution is running a competition to win a trip to Paris.

And those looking for a job in the archives sector may wish to read this announcement from The National Archives.


The FMP blog has a nice story of extreme good fortune in relation to the Tay Bridge Disaster, here.

And there is the usual weekly collection of 'History Headlines' from the BBC.


See some extraordinary moving images from the end of WWI at the HistoryToday website.

Why not try...
The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online
Click on the link, then click on 'Home' ... and take advantage of those discounted rates!

Friday 16 December 2011

Big News for the Genealogy Big Boys


Proposed changes to the way in which archives, museums and libraries deal with public information are set to rock the genealogy industry. The details of what could prove to be a seismic shift in attitudes, procedures and, basically, the law, surrounding the availability of data sets are outlined in this post on the Open Genealogy Alliance blog. Wow!

GenesReunited are gearing up for 'Start Your Family Tree Week' (26th December - 1st January) with this little lot.

There really is no excuse for London-based local history freaks to miss out on the superb ongoing series of free public lectures on offer at Gresham College. The main website (with its many, many online lectures) can be found here.

DeceasedOnline have made a brief announcement regarding forthcoming record set releases (and a couple of other things) - see here.

A couple more 'techie'-type items now: first up is the MyHeritage mobile phone app - which actually looks like a lot of fun (though I haven't tried it); then there's an announcement from Ancestry about Family Tree Maker for Mac2.

Pen & Sword have issued another 'money off' deal, this time on DVDs - though there are plenty of other bits and pieces in there, too. Check it out here.

Another BBC History Magazine Podcast has popped up here ('religion in war' and 'female voters in the interwar years).


And of course you'll be wanting your TV & radio guide for the week.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Thursday 15 December 2011

Christmas Offerings


Suggestions from the keyboard of blogger Claire Santry as regards Christmas pressies can be found here (mainly Irish stuff, but not all). And, thanks, Claire, for the endorsement of my own publications (what, you still haven't bought your copies yet?). I would also remind readers of the special December offer from CW & S Parkinson Genealogical Storage - see here.

The very same blog also warns Irish researchers of festive opening hours at the country's major repositories - a reminder to us all to be careful when planning our Christmas/New Year research trips.

The WDYTYA? website brings us a story about the re-opening of the Wiener Library in London. This is truly major news for those of us with links to the Holocaust.

And the same website is running a competition to win a year's subscription to their magazine.

Dick Eastman's blog has a feature which may interest all 'techies' - it's all about the new 'MacFamilyTree' software package and another genealogy app for the iPhone/iPad/iPod. Find out more here.

The January issue of HistoryToday is now available.

And the specialist genealogy search engine, Mocavo, have unveiled a 'fee-paying' version of their Web tool called 'Mocavo Plus'. No idea what sort of advantage it gives the user over the free one, though.


As the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic approaches, the National Library of Ireland's blog gives an interesting perspective on the disaster.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

GRO Shenanigans


The latest Lost Cousins newsletter has plenty to say about the GRO and its fees system. Peter Calver, with his background in economics, suggests that the folk in charge have missed a trick and should be looking to reduce the cost of certified copies of BMD certificates. There is, of course, plenty more on offer in the bulletin, including news of free access to the Lost Cousins website over the festive period. Read all about it here.

The BritishGENES blog has picked up an important piece of news for those of you with Jewish ancestry.

TNA has issued another Podcast - this one's entitled Untold Histories: black Britons during the period of the British slave trade, c.1660-1807.

Two items from the British Library: firstly, a new sculpture by Antony Gormley has been unveiled (in these especially tough times for our branch libraries I trust it didn't cost too much?); and there's a new Victorian Christmas iPad app available for purchase.

And for all you Europhiles, here's the December newsletter from Europeana.


Two useful and interesting online resources have been doing the rounds of late - and The Family Recorder blog does as good a job as any of explaining them to us: firstly, there's a post relating to the 'Locating London's Past' website; and secondly there's an introduction to the 'Edible Archive'.


Having, as I do, an interest in the early days of organised football, I was intrigued by Christine Woodcock's post on the subject of pioneer women's football. Those early press reports make extraordinary reading. Oh, and have you seen my own footie book, here? (couldn't miss a chance like that to mention it, now, could I?).


Thursday night's Find My Past TV show can be previewed here (main website here.).

And one or two other TV programmes can be found here.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Family History Scraps

Nothing earth-shattering to report on today, but a few oddments have surfaced, thus...


The anniversary of an important historical event seems to have slipped by almost unnoticed - for it was 90 years ago last week that the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty took place. The National Archives of Ireland have, however, come up trumps with a splendid online exhibition on the topic.


Forthcoming events of interest to genealogists...

I've noticed that a few of GENUKI's county pages have been updated of late - namely, those covering Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Devon, Norfolk and Nottinghamshire. Please note, though, that most of the county pages do not have an 'updates page', so it is always worth checking your geographical areas of interest from time to time. The GENUKI main page can be found here.

Those of you who utilise Batch Numbers in their FamilySearch investigations will be pleased to see this announcement from the website in question.

The Origins website reports on a couple of additions to its National Wills Index.

A sad tale posted on Family Tree's Twitter page concerns the demise of two more local newspapers - this time in Kent. See the story here.

If you're into statistics - or, more specifically, Scottish stats - then here are a few BMD facts and figures from the GRO for Scotland.


There's a short piece from FMPIreland about Irish Burial Records & Gravestones to be found here.

And why not gain access to more Irish records by subscribing to...

Monday 12 December 2011

Irish Publications


A couple of websites have thrown up a good few Irish books for your consideration. The publications arm of the Ulster Historical Foundation, BooksIreland, have compiled a list of 'Latest Releases' which looks rather tasty. Ditto the selection offered in the latest Eneclann Newsletter (which also has a 'Focus' on County Down).

Blogger Chris Paton has brought to our attention the publication of the annual review of the National Library of Scotland - and his post also mentions the uploading of several thousand new maps onto the NLS's website! Chris has also posted news (and personal comment) about some minor changes at the ScotlandsPeople Centre - see here.

In England, tomorrow (13th December) is the scheduled date for the reopening of the Lincolnshire Archive Search Room. At the time of writing, the relevant website seems to indicate that this is still the plan - though the car park will still be out of bounds. Best give them a ring before travelling.

If you're an active member of a 'Community Archive/Heritage Group', you may be interested in the '2011 Community Archive Award'. Closing date for nominations is 31st December.

And for those of you who like to follow genealogist Nick Barratt's adventures, see his latest blog post here.


London researchers may be interested in the 'London Historians' website - and the related blog.


GenealogyInTime has a lengthy article of hints and tips regarding Online Genealogy Searches.

Save 10% on a subscription, and earn BI-Gen a bit of commission (at no additional cost to yourself) by clicking below...
The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Saturday 10 December 2011

Inbreeding: Facts & Figures


Thanks to legendary blogger Dick Eastman for pointing us in the direction of a fascinating article about inbreeding - see his post and the relevant link, here. The main article provides some absolutely riveting facts and figures - and check out the astonishingly 'closed' royal family tree of King Charles II of Spain! (direct link to article here).

And here are the BBC's 'History Headlines' for the week (a bumper edition!).


Irish Quakers are not an everyday topic of conversation among us genealogists, which is why this post on the Irish Genealogy News blog caught my attention - a new book on the subject, plus a handy link to further information.

Another update has been posted on the Electric Scotland website.

The National Library of Scotland has opened the doors of its new exhibition dedicated to, er, the English Bard.

Brent Archives have published a 'programme of events' of sorts - see their website, here.

The BBC's 'HistoryExtra' website has a new Podcast available (topics: WWI and Robert Boyle).


Nothing to do with genealogy, but check out the opening scenes of the very first episode of Coronation Street!

Why not check out one of the top genealogy 'Big Boys'...

Friday 9 December 2011

More 1911 Progress at Ancestry


Ancestry have announced the availability of more 'searchable records' pertaining to their 1911 Census holdings for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Read all about the latest developments here.

The National Archives have issued a couple of news items in the last day or so. The first refers to the pending release of records of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (follow the link in the piece for much more info); the second concerns movement at the highest level of the archive industry, namely, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History's latest get-together with the sector's leaders.

Denbighshire Archive Service will be closed next week (Mon 12th to Fri 16th) for its annual stocktake - see here (where their Christmas hours are also on display).

A couple of special offers:

  • Your Family History magazine have what looks like a great 'Starter Pack' up for grabs - and their latest issue is also now available;
  • Pen & Sword Books have a '3 for 2' offer on all local & family history publications - see their newsletter, here, and click on the relevant banner.

The Christmas issue of BBC History Magazine is also now available.


TV and radio for the coming week can be found here.


And a neat follow-up article to last night's Find My Past TV show on the subject of the Suffragettes is provided by writer and researcher Ros Bott - see here.

Save 10% on Gold or Diamond Subscription to 'The Genealogist'...

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Thursday 8 December 2011

The Family History Show, ep.2


The second episode of Nick Barratt & Laura Berry's online TV effort, The Family History Show, is now available for your delectation - see here for a little introduction before diving into the show itself. This time it's a 27-minute production, so is akin to what you might find on the old-fashioned TV - and it's very well put together, too. Furthermore, they've amalgamated several of their previous filmed segments into a similar-length Episode 1.

And as for the 'old-fashioned TV', here's a taster for tonight's Find My Past TV show - with the programme's website here.

As for other forthcoming TV/radio, try here.


Scottish researchers will most definitely wish to peruse the latest bulletin from the Scottish Association of FHSs. There's the usual comprehensive summary of goings-on at the nation's many FHSs, plus a story among the other items concerning plans for closer collaboration between the SAFHS and the FFHS. Interesting to note, too, that FHS memberships are on the decline, despite the hobby enjoying something of a boom in popularity. Blame the Internet, I'd say.

'Electric Scotland', with its usual eclectic mix of bits and bobs, has issued another update - see here.

It is perhaps worth reminding you all again of the February extravaganza that is the 'Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2012 Fair at Olympia, London, during 24th-26th February. See the official website, here, where you will note that Richard Madeley has now made himself available to be gawped at.

And I see that the recently released Family Tree Maker 2012 software package has already been issued with an update - see the official announcement.


More to do with family than family history - but I did enjoy this scientific explanation as to how Santa Claus manages to pack so many deliveries into a night's work. So now you know.


A competition to win the complete WDYTYA? DVD Box Set.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Archive Cataloguing Grants


Access to 12 archive collections is set to be transformed by a series of grants announced today. The National Cataloguing Grants Programme 2011 has awarded £420,000 to archives across the UK to help make these vitally important collections fully accessible for the first time...   And so begins the latest announcement by The National Archives concerning this noteworthy national scheme. See the story in full, with relevant links which reveal the beneficiaries of the project, by clicking here.

The Christmas issue of Family Tree magazine is now on sale.

The latest newsletter from Parish Chest is available for perusal, including its lengthy list of new product releases from organisations up and down the land.

And issue No.4 of the totally free Warfare magazine is up for grabs. The announcement also makes reference to their new website, too, which you may wish to check out.


The MyHeritage blog is running a story about the UK Schools Genealogy Project - and there's a website dedicated to the scheme, too (the link for which can be found in the story).

Blogger Christine Woodcock points us to a little-known source of Scottish emigrant information via an interesting little tale - see her post here.


Back to the MyHeritage blog and a helpful post about keyboard shortcuts which you may find useful.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Tuesday 6 December 2011

News from the FFHS


Those of you interested in the mechanics of the GRO - and maybe even having a say in how the institution operates - may well be interested in attending one of the forthcoming 'User Group' sessions. One will be held in London and the other in Southport. Check out the FFHS announcement on the subject.

Looks like I'm a tiny bit late with this one, but I have just spotted the November issue of the FFHS's E-Zine. Included within is the first mention I have seen this year of the annual 'Start Your Family Tree Week'.

Reader Niall McChesney points us in the direction of an interesting 10-minute programme on BBC Radio 4 last Sunday, namely, A Point of View. In it, the historian Prof Lisa Jardine (daughter of Jacob Bronowski) gives a talk where she begins by admitting a measure of academic stuffiness about family history, but goes on to say that she has been converted after hearing some oral history made by older members of her family. You can listen to the programme here. By a strange quirk of fate, within minutes of reading Niall's email I noticed the announcement re. Lisa Jardine's new role at The National Archives. One wonders if she was 'converted' prior to or following her prestigious appointment...

The HistoryToday website is carrying a story about an attack on the National Library of Wales by its own government for accepting a slightly dodgy bequest. There is a link in the piece to the original Guardian article of last week.

FamilySearch has added 18 million records from 12 countries to its holdings - see here. Nothing new from the British Isles in there, though.

There is now very little in the way of 'forthcoming events' to report in my regular Tuesday listings. All we have this coming weekend are:


If you have ancestors in the North of England, then the website pointed out, here, by blogger Audrey Collins may interest you. All to do with the so-called 'Cause Papers of 1300-1858'.


What may be classed as an independent review of the new Family Tree Maker 2012 has been posted by Ros Bott.


I seem to have tripped over another discount coupon for the Lulu website at - apparently WINTERSAVEUK305 will get you 30% off any order (up to £100 of savings - and ends 11.59pm on 7th December). My own Lulu Storefront is here - though the code can be used anywhere on the site.

Monday 5 December 2011

'Family & Local History Quiz Book' Launch


As hinted at in previous posts, I have today published my new 60-page booklet entitled the Family & Local History Quiz Book.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it is the first publication of its type ever published - which is why I decided to put it together in the first place! Full details of the same, and how to purchase a copy, may be found here (and scroll down a bit - and there's a chance of a 'sneak peek' at the first few pages). Both 'hard copy' and e-copy versions available, with prices starting at £1.90!

I'm desperate for some publicity for both this and my recently-released Dead End Hobby, so if you're reading this and can offer a bit of help in this department then please spread the word - or get in touch with me at

Incidentally, if you use the website at (where you will find my books listed here) the following special offer coupon may be of use to you: BUY2GETONEUK305. I received the offer in an email, but see no reason why it can't be used by anyone (hopefully).

[Here's the instructions for the coupon: "Enter coupon code BUY2GETONEUK305 at checkout and receive a free book when you buy two. You need to have 3 books in your shopping cart for this coupon to work. The maximum savings for this offer is £25. Sorry, but this offer is only valid in Pounds and cannot be applied to previous orders. You can only use this code once per account, and unfortunately you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expires on 7 December 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don't miss out!"]

Moving on, here are a few other bits and pieces which have dropped into my In-Box over the weekend...

West Midlands researchers should take note of the following announcement (sent via the FFHS news service):
Due to the building of the new Birmingham Reference Library to be opened in 2013, there are restrictions on access to some of the services, the Archives section on the 6th floor included. From Monday 12th December 2011, the opening hours for the Archives and Heritage open access service on floor 6 will be:
Wednesday 10am – 6pm
Thursday 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday Closed
This is due to staffing levels and the need to begin preparing our collections for the Library of Birmingham. 
It is also essential to book in advance to use the archives searchroom. For further information please visit the website here or contact the Archives service at

The GenealogyInTime website has issued its monthly round-up of news from around the globe - see here for the December instalment (previous months are lower down the page).

And Nick Barratt offers his thoughts on some of the issues in the news over the past week.

Saturday 3 December 2011

New GOONS Membership Options


If membership of the Guild of One-Name Studies is something which may interest you, then check out their new flexible subscription rates across six different currencies. Confused? There's no need to be: there's a nice table for you to examine, here.

Claire Santry brings us news of the CIGO's 2011 Award for Excellence in Genealogy - read all about it here. And whilst we're in Ireland, check out the recent additions to the IGP Archives. Thanks Claire.

You may be able to find something with which to entertain yourself in the BBC's 'Out and About' feature for December.

Pen and Sword's latest discounted books/offers are lined up here.


There's an article of sorts on the subject of Welsh Wills on the FamilySearch blog.


Another of those brief interviews concerning the Find My Past TV show can be found here. Interesting, but it's a pity the Q&A sessions weren't a bit longer.


By following the link from the TNA's announcement, here, you can access the organisation's rather sweet 'Image Library'. Have a browse of all the categories, why don't you?

And finally, if you haven't tripped over it already, please have a look at my brand new 'Local & Family History Centre' website. All you need to know about it is easily accessible on the site itself. If you want to get involved then, well, get in touch! It's completely free...

Friday 2 December 2011

Family History Articles Aplenty


Sometimes it just happens: a rush of new articles about our wonderful hobby. This morning I found quite a bunch of them, so I thought I'd dedicate today's post to the same ... plus a few Podcasts, too. There now, that's your day filled!

You can barely escape the early encroachment of the Festive Season in the modern age, and family history bloggers are already getting into the swing of things with various Christmassy offerings. The Ancestry blog gets us underway with a piece on 'Victorian Christmas Traditions'; and The Passionate Genealogist looks at the month of December as a whole, and examines how our ancestors approached the holiday season.

The MyHeritage blog features a lengthy post on the topic of Ellis Island.

There's some advice about how to use the various different versions of Google to conduct online genealogical searches at the GenealogyInTime website - see here.

And, of course, to keep up with the week's big history stories, then you can always stop off at BBC HistoryExtra's 'History Headlines'. Stories include the recent death of Stalin's only daughter, and the sale of Hitler's bed linen. In fact the main page of the HistoryExtra website is awash with interesting bits and pieces this week.

And here are a handful of those pesky little Podcasts to keep you away from the housework/shopping/other household duties for a little while longer:


Best mention the forthcoming TV/Radio schedule before I go... see here.

Get your copy of Dead End Hobby: Oddments from the World of Family History here.

Thursday 1 December 2011

'Dead End Hobby' Book Launch


Excuse me for indulging myself once more, but today is the official launch day of my new family history publication, Dead End Hobby. All very exciting, and you can secure your copy in a variety of ways - with the e-copy available for as little as £2. The best way to bore you with the full facts of this world-shattering event is to refer you to the relevant page on my personal website, here (where you will find a link to a 'sneak peek' of the book). In fact, this link is part of a completely new website in itself, so feel free to have a browse - if you're having trouble sleeping it's sure to send you off to the land of nod. And if you do click on the link above, you will also catch a glimpse of my next publication...

And there's even more to come - but I'll leave that until Saturday.

Meanwhile, from the rest of the genealogical world...

Check out FindMyPast's new record releases:
  • 1861 Scottish Census;
  • The Manchester Police Index, 1812-1941 and the Prestwich Asylum Admissions, 1851-1901 - for both, see here.

The Family Tree magazine blog has a report on the pending digitisation of many of the India Office Records by Brightsolid.

Linen Hall Library, Belfast, has issued a list of forthcoming events for December.

S&N Genealogy Supplies have released their December newsletter. As you would expect, there's a Christmassy feel to it - and look out for a link to their 2012 Family History Guide. There's also news of the addition of new areas to their 1911 Census collection, among loads of other stuff (directories, etc). Note: if you're seriously thinking about taking out a subscription to one of S&N's 'TheGenealogist' packages, then please do so via the link at the bottom of this post ... as I'll get some commission from it! (it will make no difference to the amount you pay, and it'll mean I can feed my kids this Christmas).

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have also released another newsletter - see here.

And TNA are trying to persuade us to part with our Christmas cash, here (free p&p on UK orders). Or you could, of course, spend your cash on my publications (see above) ... or possibly by clicking below.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online