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Apr 20 14

Family Tree research in The British Newspaper Archive

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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The British Newspaper Archive onlineGREAT-VALUE 1 MONTH SUBSCRIPTION – £9.95 FOR UNLIMITED ACCESS

 

The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) has launched a brand new 1 month subscription. For just £9.95 you can search, view and print fascinating articles published in British and Irish newspapers between 1710 and 1954.

 

As they say in their press release “The new 1 month subscription is brilliant value for money. Not only is it less than half the price of The British Newspaper Archive’s old 30 day package, you can also view more newspaper pages.”

As someone who loves to read the articles in old newspapers and to sometimes hit upon a nugget about an ancestor I am really please to see the The British Newspaper Archive has reduced the price. Well done! This will help me in my Family Tree research while saving me some money.

The new price for a 1 month subscription is £9.95 opposed to the old price of £29.95. With the new package you can view as many newspapers as you like, subject to their standard fair usage policy of 3,000 pages per month. which is much better than the previous  600 newspaper page limit.

You can purchase the new 1 month subscription at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/payments

 

Ian Tester, Brand Director of The British Newspaper Archive, commented:
‘Our historical newspapers are full of amazing stories just waiting to be unearthed. We hope that even more history lovers will be able to explore this treasure trove of information with our new great-value subscription.’

 

You can currently search 7.7 million newspaper pages at The British Newspaper Archive, with thousands more added every week. View a list of the newspapers added in the last 30 days at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/home/LatestAdditions

 



British Newspaper Archive

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Apr 13 14

Findmypast’s customers uproar at new site

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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Findmypast’s customers seem to be telling them that they want to go back to the past website.

 

Findmypast logo

It is difficult to ignore perhaps the biggest story in the British isles family history world this week of a customer backlash being played out on social media and on the review websites such as http://www.reviewcentre.com and http://www.trustpilot.co.uk  about  Findmypast.co.uk’s new website.

It even spilled over on to my Nosey Genealogist YouTube channel where an interview I did with Debra Chatfield at Who Do You Think You Are? Live got comments posted about, what Findmypast’s customers think of the new site.

While it may not be all of their subscribers, venting this anger, it would be fair to say that many of their customers are not impressed with the new site’s functionality and these are demanding a return to the old site.

Comments indicate that customers do not like the ‘new and improved platform’, some find it very slow to use and difficult to search for records. It would seem that these customers of DC Thompson Family History’s Findmypast do not like it, preferring the previous interface.

 

The facility to search for an address was not working properly this week, as I found out myself, though Findmypast promised to fix that.

It would seem, from the head of steam being built up, that many of the subscribers are threatening to walk away from Findmypast to other genealogical providers.

As someone who uses more than one website for my searches my immediate solution was to look up my census address query on the rival website of TheGenealogist, which also offers an address search not to mention carries a very substantial suite of data sets including all the census records, parish records and the recently released and very interesting Tithe Apportionments that I find fascinating in my ancestor research.

I was also interested to see in an email that I received on Friday from the Society of Genealogists that they are running a training session for Members, staff and volunteers of the SoG.

They say that “As the changes are quite significant the Society has arranged some special training in using the new style search functions etc. Paul Nixon, UK Data Strategy with DC Thompson Family History has agreed to come to the Society to make a training presentation and explain how it all works now.”

I don’t really understand why Findmypast has let the situation get to this point.

As a fresher on a Business Studies course, way back in the 1980s, I remember being taught in the first few weeks of my undergraduate course that companies that are Customer led are the only ones that will survive. Those businesses that are product led or led by technology often try to push their customers to accept what they think is best for them, and that this is a recipe for disaster.

Surely a company such as DC Thompson Family History will have people within it that understand this customer focus? Lets hope so.


Apr 13 14

Devon Wills 1164-1992 Free online

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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A will and testament from the 19th century

A Will from the 19th century, online

This week I was pleased to see that Origins.net had released some fully searchable additional Devon Wills from between 1164-1992 for FREE online.
Their updated index now includes over 300,000 Devon probate records from over 60 sources, which is good news for those, like me, with Devon Ancestors.

This index has been created as a combined project by Origins.net and the Devon Wills Project to compile a consolidated index of pre-1858 Devon wills, administrations, inventories, etc. Many Devon probate records were destroyed by enemy action, when the Probate Registry was destroyed in the bombing during the Exeter Blitz in 1942. Thus the aim of this index is to create a finding-aid to enable the researcher to determine what probate materials were originally recorded and most importantly what documents have survived and where they can be located.


Apr 6 14

Tips for Researching Family History

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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At the largest Family history show in the world, Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London, I decided to ask the expert on the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives for his tips on researching your family tree. I was looking for some material to include in a module of my courses on English/Welsh family history in which several experts advice will be collated for students.

As I’m feeling generous I’m going to share this piece with you for free here in this blog post today.

 

For those people who are starting to do family history, then one of the most important things is to take notice of anything that you are told by your relatives. Because, although the information may not be 100 percent true, there is always something that somebody will know that can help give you an idea as to where to go on and find other records.

It’s important that you afford the information in official documents with a certain level of importance. Although that information recorded is only as good as that given by the informant at the time. So beware that any information on a birth certificate, or a census record, can be wrong from day one because the person supplying it didn’t want the officials to know the real truth.

This can confuse people doing their family tree research. The best way of proceeding is to make sure that you look at every type of document available to you. So look at a civil registration certificate. Look at a parish register. Look at a census; try and get a will and look at anything else that will give you the full details relevant to that particular individual.

Doing your family history research that way you’re able to build up a fuller picture.

As you progress you will find that it becomes more complex and you’ll find that you may hit brick walls. You may find that you have conflicting information on an ancestor and that in some instances it’s going to be necessary for you to actually go along and work different lines of the family, investigate different individuals.

What you have got to do is make sure that you eliminate those people that aren’t part of your family. Its ever so easy to go down a wrong line because you haven’t been clear enough in making sure the family or the individual that you have is the right person. And sometimes that’s beyond the experience and the expertise of the average family historian and that’s where you need to talk to the professionals.

That’s where members of ARGA, The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives can help because they are accredited researchers. They have proven their ability to do this type of family research and while they might not be able to find all the answers, they are better placed than many of us to do so.

The reason why even a professional may draw a blank is that if an ancestor didn’t want to be found in officialdom, then they wont be! Irrespective of how good you are and how through you are, this may sadly be the case. Having said that, however, you stand a better chance with using a professional because they perhaps know a little bit more of the overall number documents that they can use to do just that.

 

If you want to brush up your own skills in English/Welsh family research then give a thought to taking my English family history course by visiting www.FamilyHistoryResearcher.com

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Mar 30 14

Your Family Tree Magazine goes back to 1066 and beyond!

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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Your Family Tree Magazine issue141 Cover

I’ve been taking a look through my copy of Your Family Tree Magazine for this month.

Seems Adam Rees, the editor, and his team wanted to take their readers out of their comfort zone a little, by trying to help us take our family tree as far back as we can.

From page 20 they have a feature on Earliest Roots showing us how to extend our family tree to 1066 and beyond! For those of you who want to learn more about how to explore this fascinating facet of our pass time then I can highly recommend you take a look.

As YFT magazine says, it can be daunting searching for your family among early records, but as you’ll discover there are so many lines you can pursue, that you’ll soon find yourself engrossed in the detailed information they give on your medieval ancestors and beyond.

 

Also in this issue they continue their look at our families who were involved in WWI, showing us how to learn about their day-to-day actions, and discovering the bitter fighting that raged away from the Western Front, from Africa to Arabia, Greece to Gallipoli.

Then in their How-to-section they also reveal the best tips for using FamilySearch; why hiring a professional might be just what your research needs; how your ancestors used their leisure time; and where to find forebears in Dundee.

April 2014 Issue 141 is quite an edition to help find the ancestors in your family tree.



 

I had a quick chat with Adam at Who Do You Think You Are? Live and he told me what we can expect in the next few months from his magazine.

Check out the interview here and spot the moment at the beginning where I couldn’t quite remember what the magazine is called even though I read it each month!

It’s “Your Family Tree Magazine”, I do know that. Really I do…

 

 


Disclosure: Compensated affiliate links used in this post.


Mar 27 14

Family History Research in England & Wales: The 1939 Register is coming!

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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image001

News out today from the British-owned online family history company DC Thomson Family History (the people behind findmypast amongst other websites) and The National Archives that they are entering into a joint project to make the records of 40 million civilians held in the 1939 register available online.

When they have got this data digitised, it is estimated by the company that the collection will comprise of near enough 1.2 million scanned full-colour images of documents. As the records cover the entire civilian population of England & Wales at the outbreak of WWII, this is quite a significant release for those of us researching our English or Welsh family tree.

What was the 1939 register?

It was taken on 29 September 1939 by the British Government and recorded personal details of individuals in order to issue identity cards and ration books. In later years it became the basis of the National Health Service’s records.

Findmypast say that , when complete, the 1939 register will be fully searchable online for the first time, opening up the past to a new generation of family and social historians, just as the 1911 census did on its release in 2009.

So what can we expect to find once this set becomes available to us?

The records contain the address, full name, date of birth, sex, marital status and occupation of individuals, as well as changes of name. Although the Register is literally within living memory for many people, information about living individuals will be kept closed for 100 years from their year of birth, or until proof of death has been authenticated.

From today, anybody interested in being kept informed about the project can register at www.1939register.co.uk.

Annelies Van Den Belt, CEO of DC Thomson Family History said: “This announcement is great news not just for British family historians and those with British relatives, but for anyone with an interest in history itself; providing a fascinating snapshot of the country as it stood on the edge of the most widespread conflict in human history.

“This significant project will bring these records to a global audience for the first time, and combined with the 1.8 billion records already available on our websites will make it easier than ever to begin your family history journey and uncover the powerful stories that lie within and that make us who we are.”

Mary Gledhill, Commercial Director, at The National Archives, added: “The National Archives is delighted to be working with DC Thomson Family History to open up this unique record collection to the world, allowing history enthusiasts to discover more about the people at the outbreak of the Second World War. In the absence of a 1931 and 1941 census, this collection is all the more valuable to family historians trying to trace their ancestors.”

The 1939 register project is the latest contract to be awarded to DC Thomson Family History by The National Archives. Record sets previously digitised by the company in association with The National Archives include Crime, Prisons and Punishment; outbound passenger lists; British Army Service records; Merchant Navy Seamen’s records; Maritime Birth, Marriage and Death indexes and the 1911 census.

Great news for those of us researching our recent ancestors from England & Wales. One of the most anticipated family history projects since the 1911 census.


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Mar 23 14

National Wills expert gives us some great family history tips

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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At Olympia I caught up with Dr Ian Galbraith from the National Wills project and asked him to give us a few tips about what people should do if they are searching for will records.

“Well the big problem with wills is you can not always tell where the will might have been proved.” he said.

“If you know your ancestors came from a certain place you’ve gotta fix on where their birth records might be, marriage records maybe where they died. With a will although in most cases you probably have an idea where it is. Wills did get proved all over the place, maybe very far from  where you think.

“So when you’re trying to find a will you might go for the obvious places and find there’s nothing there. That doesn’t mean to say that there isn’t a will that’s been proved somewhere else. So it means that if you want to unlock the value of information which is in wills.

“I mean wills are one of the best single sources for the family historian.

“To find it you really need to have access to an index which covers the whole country not just individual counties and that’s what we’ve been trying to do and we’ve got coverage of virtually every county in England.

“Its not complete yet for every county but its the single biggest set of indexes for English probate records.

“That’s complimented also by an increasing collection of digitized images of wills. For example for Oxfordshire, Cheshire, York and a lot of abstracts of wills. Now abstracts make it a lot easier sometimes to find out what’s in a will because somebody else has done the hard work of reading it and transcribing it. They may not put all the text in there but there’s an awful lot of legalese and what they left to the church for candles and so on, masses to be said. But the salient stuff…what they left and to whom they left things that’s in the wills and they are enormously rich things.

“They give you a huge access to the families and the friends of the people who died because they will name them as beneficiaries; so a typical will will contain an average of ten names of other people besides the testator and probably at least half of these people will have different surnames
from the testator.

“So once you get into a will you can suddenly find you’ve got an awful lot more information than you started with. Other leads to follow up. It comes back to the issue of finding them in the first place.”

“Great!” I said, feeling that we had got an enormous amount of useful information from the interview. “And so your website is part of the origins.net?”

“Yes.” he replied. “Yes, Origins.net has been around now for oh, the best part of fifteen years but, erm, we started to concentrate on probate records about five years ago. We already had a reasonable collection but we realized that this is something that we really wanted to look at seriously, because it was one of the big problem areas.

“Births marriages and deaths, parish registers; yeah, there are lots of sites you can go and get really good collections of these. Census records, yeah. Now these are the primary places you’re going to look. You’re going to look at census, you’re going to look at Births, Marriages and Deaths. But where do you go next?

“And one of the major places, perhaps the most important single place to go next is wills; if you can find them.  And bear in mind also even if your ancestor didn’t leave a will there’s a pretty high chance they’ll be mentioned in the will left by somebody else.

“So so don’t worry, oh my ancestors didn’t leave wills. Not true! All kinds of people left wills. They can be very poor and very rich. It is not just the rich who left wills. Some wills you wonder why. This guy’s got nothing but he’d still make a will and leave it to his relations or to his friends mentioned by name.

“So it really is well worth looking into wills.”

“Great; thank you very much. That is very useful.” I said. “Thank you.”

 

 

One of the modules in my popular course in English/Welsh Family History looks at will records. Want to unravel the tangled roots and branches of your family tree?

Become a more knowledgeable researcher with this course.

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Mar 16 14

Professional Genealogist, Anthony Adolph’s Tips for Family History Researchers

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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I caught up with Anthony Adolph, the professional genealogist and author on the Genes Reunited stand.

I asked him if he would give us a few tips for family historians.

  

Anthony has written the lesson on Aristocratic ancestors for my Family History Researcher course (click the banner ad to the right if you want to join) and his book Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors  is available from Pen & Sword online.

Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors

Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors by Anthony Adolph.

 


Mar 13 14

Don’t neglect those Death Records in you Family Tree research

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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Here is the very knowledgeable Celia Heritage from Heritage Family History giving me an interview at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014.

I asked her about the often over looked Death Records as I knew she had written a very readable book on the subject: Tracing Your Ancestors Through Death Records.

Tracing Your Ancestors Through Death Records


Mar 9 14

Ancestry tips and tricks for family history research

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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Many of us have used the Ancestry.co.uk site but how many of us know how to drill down deeper and find our ancestors in one of the 30,000 databases this website has?

At this year’s Who Do You Think You Are? Live I got some great tips from Ancestry’s Brad Argent about using the Card Catalogue and Advance Search for a more powerful hunt within the records.

 
Millions of Records, Millions of Answers. Ancestry.co.uk – Click here!
 
 


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