Friday 29 March 2013

Genealogy News - 29th March

Pleased to see that things are picking up a little in the genealogical world. Quite a few things to report on, so let's get cracking...

Some splendid news for Kent researchers from FindMyPast.

East London news (and here) from DeceasedOnline.

London & Irish researchers will want to check out - and see 'Latest Updates' at the left-hand side. These new records are FREE until midnight on 1st April.

Military researchers may wish to have a look at this.

S&N Genealogy's latest Email News is now out.

A competition to win a GenesReunited subscription.

Latest issue of Your Family Tree.

As a local/family historian you may be interested in how we're teaching history in our schools.

Nice little mention re. Northern Ireland wills (and other stuff) from blogger John D Reid.

More Irish news from Claire Santry:

As for Scotland, we have this from Chris Paton:
Yet more Scottish news from the National Library of Scotland, here and here.

Some interesting Norfolk news.

Here's a little Caribbean family history from TNA (and here).

The latest from the BBC's HistoryExtra website:

And don't forget to keep abreast of news over the Easter weekend by checking on the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

Thanks to @2nerdyhistgirls on Twitter...

Poisoned Stockings

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Genealogy News - 26th March

You may have noticed that there has been a rather large genealogical conference taking place over in the States, namely RootsTech. If you're into the digi-techno side of family history then you're bound to find something of interest at the official website. Blogger Dick Eastman sums things up nicely, too, here.

A local & family historian's nightmare: the local library/museum goes up in flames. Let's hope the damage at Southwark is not too severe.

Here's more library-related news - this time from Bradford (thanks to @WYorkshireLives on Twitter).

Latest from FindMyPast Ireland is the Irish Medical Directory 1852.

Further Irish stuff from the keyboard of blogger Claire Santry...
As regards the latter, here's Chris Paton's take on this exciting new development.

For the Scots: a couple of useful recent posts by Christine Woodcock...

Here's a worldwide genealogy round-up from GenealogyInTime.

The April issue of Family Tree magazine is now available.

The Irish Genealogical Research Society, based in London, is moving home - see here and here.

Here's you weekly round-up of history links from the Two Nerdy History Girls.

The National Archives website has posted a couple of new podcasts. See the main podcasts page and have a browse around - there's lots to see (or rather listen to!) on all sorts of historical topics.

Forthcoming events:

And don't forget to keep a check on the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

Friday 22 March 2013

Genealogy News - 22nd March

Still very quiet on the family history front. It's been a struggle to put together a decent report today! Anyway, here we go again...

Ancestry has some big news for Wiltshire researchers - check out their 'updates page'.

I'm a wee bit late with this news, but here goes... Claire Santry brings us some forthcoming Irish events. More interesting Irish news here.

New from Forces War Records: the British Jewry Book of Honour (WWI).

The April issue of HistoryToday magazine is now available.

FindMyPast looks into the family history of Theresa May.

Researchers interested in Wales and Northumberland may wish to check the latest update from FamilySearch.

About time I reminded you all of the latest newsletter from Electric Scotland - accessible via this link.

OK, so it's US-biased, but I see that Mocavo have unveiled their new genealogy 'Learning Centre'.

From James McLaren of the Channel Islands FHS...
This is two months off yet, but given people might need to arrange travel - CIFHS are running their Family History exhibition at St Helier Town Hall, Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th May, 10am-4pm both days. We already have visitors lined up from France (we have a well-established link with the Cercle Genealogique de la Manche), and more news will be added to the website as we have it.

And here we go with the latest from the BBC's HistoryExtra website:

Yet more can be found at the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

I would remind folks of the chance to help charity and get themselves a family history publication or two by supporting my eBooks4Charity venture. Thanks!

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Genealogy News - 19th March

There has been an astonishing lack of useful genealogy news over the past week or so. Irish folk have been busying themselves quite nicely with various events and record releases, but the UK has gone into hibernation. Still, you may find something of interest below ... and there are plenty of forthcoming events over the next few days!

St.Patrick's Day has, of course, come and gone since I last reported. Here's a neat, dedicated post on the subject of Irish research in England.

Here's the latest from the Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives.

@LondonHistorian on Twitter recommends this post for some basic London research guidance.

Thanks to @ARebelHand on Twitter for reminding us of the latest FFHS e-Zine.

Then there's S&N Genealogy's latest Email News.

Another e-newsletter - this time from ScotlandsPeople. Note, especially, the forthcoming events at Dundee and Galashiels (as well as those at Forfar and Cupar at the bottom of the bulletin).

The latest history links round-up from the Two Nerdy History Girls. And the girls also recommend this fine-looking free Kindle download (please note the direct Kindle link for the UK is here).

Forthcoming events:

Before I sign off, can I remind you all to take a little look around the rest of my website via the tabs near the top of the page? In case you hadn't noticed, the categories have been revamped of late - the listings being severely 'thinned out' to make them easier to use. So if you're in need of a genealogy service then please consider the folk listed in my little Directory - I'm sure you'll find them willing to please. And let them know you tracked them down via BI-Gen...

Also, of course, keep tabs on all sorts of other stuff via the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

Remember to check these guys out...
(regular users - don't forget to check for new additions by clicking on 'Show All Titles' on the homepage)

Friday 15 March 2013

Genealogy News - 15th March

Not an awful lot of news around this week. But, as usual, I shall share with you what I have managed to pin down...

Though it's a long way away from us, the famous RootsTech get-together is taking place in the States soon. You may wish to participate (well, sort of) by taking in a webinar or two - see Dick Eastman's post on the subject.

The latest Lost Cousins newsletter is out.

Yet more news from DeceasedOnline re. East London records. More on the cemetery in question here.

A couple of new (updated) items have appeared on the Ancestry updates page (UK incoming passenger lists and Dorset stuff).

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has launched its new website - ably explained by blogger Claire Santry.

I see that a week-long genealogy course is available from the SoG.

More news on the topic of slave-owning ancestors from TNA (inc. a talk). TNA also have a survey for you to complete.

Good news for researchers in Bromsgrove and area.

Check out the special offers at

Tasmanian connections? See here.

Usual Friday stuff from the BBC:

Fancy a history crossword?

Don't forget to check out the latest bits and bobs on the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

One last point. If you're travelling to an archive next week, beware of the disruption to services (inc. the archives themselves) on Wednesday 20th March. All to do with possible industrial action affecting public services.

Get 50 free credits at 
Click on link and then on 'Redeem Coupon', 
enter STPATRICK, then log in or register.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Genealogy News - 12th March

Welsh Newspapers Online from the National Library of Wales is now up and running.

Bedfordshire researchers should take a look at this.

Latest Eneclann newsletter.

Oxfordshire and Chester researchers should peruse the latest offerings from

Here's an excellent resource for Black Country research (thanks to @BMSGH on Twitter).

A few new Podcasts have appeared on the dedicated TNA website - see here and have a browse.

If you use the Family Historian software package then you'll want to take in their latest bulletin.

A little bit of news from PRONI.

The latest newsletter from Ireland Reaching Out is here.

Something for Northumbrians can be found here.

History links round-up from the Two Nerdy History Girls.

I think it's about time we had another global genealogy update from GenealogyInTime.

I have seen several references of late reminding us of what's to be had at the excellent - so do check it out, especially if you're looking for US stuff.

Blogger John D Reid provides us with details of two new books which may interest genealogists, here and here.

Blogger Claire Santry flags a great Irish resource here; and also points out an offer on the RootsIreland website.

Forthcoming events:

More news, etc., can be found at the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

Friday 8 March 2013

Genealogy News - 8th March

One of the biggest news stories of the past few days is the latest record release from FindMyPast, which will be of great interest to those of you researching in Westminster.

Vying for the week's genealogy headlines is the press release by FamilySearch concerning their new 'Family Tree' facility, which appears to be another (free) option for putting your research results online. Check out the announcement here - but you'll have to register to begin using the new feature.

Today is, of course, International Women's Day and on Sunday it's Mother's Day! So why not check out this article on tracing female ancestors. You may also find this post on the TNA blog of some interest.

Whilst on the subject of TNA, if you're a regular user of their website then you'd better read this.

There's been a little burst of Irish activity. Check out Claire Santry's blog for all the latest, including news re. Irish marriage certs 1913-21 and various St.Patrick's Day-related stuff here and here.

Also, the March issue of the completely free and most excellent 'Irish Lives Remembered' is now out.

It's worth looking at Ancestry's update page if you're into Irish or Lancashire research.

A few Scottish genealogy talks can be found here.

Do you have Welsh WWI connections? Check this out.

Latest CWGC newsletter.

The latest e-bulletin from Essex Record Office is now available.

Here's the latest Parish Chest newsletter.

Been quite a few genetics bits and bobs in the news lately - I really liked this one about the 'father of all men' (thanks to @DebbieKennett on Twitter).

Latest from the BBC's HistoryExtra website:

Lots more available via the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Genealogy News - 5th March

There's been another Lost Cousins Newsletter since we last met - see here.

Please note that from April Herefordshire Record Office's opening hours are to be much reduced.

An interesting development in the recording of women's history.

The March e-newsletter from the National Library of Ireland can be found here (look out for the WWI Family History Day on 21st March). The NLI blog also has a neat post featuring some great shots of old Dublin town.

The National Archives' March e-bulletin is also now available.

Some important Scottish stuff can be found here ... oh, and here.

Here's your latest history links round-up from the Two Nerdy History Girls.

Ever thought about using the Land Registry as a research option? And from the same blog: a book review.

A couple of Irish items from Claire Santry: update from IGP Archives and the Genealogy Hedge School discussion online.

Chris Paton brings us news regarding the Isle of Man and Cheshire.

And here's some interesting thoughts for us all. Two great posts from blogger Christine Woodcock on the subjects of what you can do for your local genealogy society and the idea of an ancestor autograph book.

Genealogists and maps go together pretty neatly, I've always thought. And for those of us who need it, here's a helpful post on the subject of how to use grid references.

Forgot to mention this last time round: latest BBC Podcast.

And here's the latest TNA Podcast.

Forthcoming events:

And though it's been a little quiet of late (lack of news), don't forget to keeps tabs on the BI-Gen Twitter feed.

From the Bizarre History blog...

Saturday 2 March 2013

Something for the Weekend 17

A 'food for thought' guest post by James McLaren of the Channel Island FHS...

Family History in the Age of Big Data

It was seeing this slideshow on the BBC website that prompted me to write this… but I guess that it’s only the seed crystal for something that has been waiting to crystallise for some time.

We live in an age where data is everywhere, and it’s being generated and collected all the time. Even something as simple as buying a ticket for a ride on the bus into town generates data for the bus company – how many get people on at a given stop, is the bus running to time, is the driver swiping the occasional few pounds out of the farebox. It is reckoned that we are exposed to more information in one day than our 15th century ancestors were exposed to in a lifetime.

We are conditioned not to notice this happening, and of those who do, most believe that it’s simply a fact of life – the big companies and government can do this to us, we are powerless in the face of what is now being called Big Data.

Rick Smolan – not a technologist, but a veteran photo-journalist – got interested in this, and set out to investigate. What he found was that there is far more to the big data picture than people think, and that – with a little thought and imagination – ordinary people can use data to make a lot of lives better. But to do that we have to become aware of the data around us, and one of the best ways of doing that is (to quote Peter Gabriel) to talk in pictures not in words.

Smolan made a further interesting point in an interview last December. He quotes a guy called Jonathan Harris, who asserts that there is a relatively small group of people who are living in cities like San Francisco and New York, are mainly between the ages of 22 and 35, who are having an outsized effect on the rest of the human species. These are the Mark Zuckerbergs, Sergey Brins and Jack Dorseys – the people who understand what data is worth and what can be done with it.

Family historians are a conservative bunch. I’m a member of my local Family History Society and I do a little transcription on the side for the Jersey Archive. Both businesses are founded on data, and in one limited way we are far ahead of the game, because what is a family tree if it’s not data presented as a picture?

But that apart we do incredibly little with our data. I’m in my mid-forties, so set next to Zuckerberg I’m a dinosaur – but even I can manage to generate charts from Excel spreadsheets, or sort, colour and filter data, or (on a good day) create overlays on Google Earth. All of these would help visualise the data better, and it might well highlight things that we have never noticed in the past.

Family historians often bemoan the fact that we can’t get younger members involved. Maybe the answer isn’t to expect people to do family history as we know it. Maybe there are people out there who could make a hobby – perhaps even a business - out of analysing the genealogy records, visualising them in new ways, looking at small out-of-the-way questions that someone somewhere would like to know about. Maybe this is the next generation of record-maker... Are Family History Societies ready to see what Big Data has to offer?

James McLaren
Channel Island Family History Society (but writing in a personal capacity)

If anyone else would like to pen a short article on any aspect of genealogy (and maybe even give their company, product or publication a little plug) then email me at .

Friday 1 March 2013

Genealogy News - 1st March

I am sure many of you out there will be interested to learn that a new (digital) genealogy magazine is in the pipeline. I first picked up the news on Chris Paton's 'British GENES' blog - see here.

The WDYTYA? website (among others) reports on the unveiling of a new online resource concerning Britain's links with the slave industry and the folk involved in the trade.

There is some important Welsh news here and here.

Here's a little bit more information about FindMyPast's pending Yorkshire parish records release.

Yorkshire researchers will also want to read this post from Chris Paton.

FindMyPast Ireland have published an article on the subject of the 'Criminal Irish in Britain'.

Here's the March lecture programme for Gresham College, London. Remember, these talks are free and open to all.

Latest issue of Your Family Tree magazine.

This book may interest new-starters in the genealogy game.

Similarly, Northern Irish newbies may wish to follow the link suggested by Claire Santry.

Claire also brings us news of the forthcoming Ulster History & Genealogy Summer School, as well as a list of forthcoming Irish events.

News from the National Library of Scotland (note the item about their 'Gazetteers of Scotland'). The NLS also provide some leads for the Fire Service in Scotland.

Here's the latest effort from the folk at Ireland Reaching Out.

And here's the latest from the BBC's HistoryExtra website:

And don't forget to keep in touch with the genealogy world via the BI-Gen Twitter feed.