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Jul 24 16

We All Have Royal Ancestry

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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A guest article this week: We All Have Royal Ancestry – so are you on the Royals’ Christmas card list as a distant releative?

320px-The_British_royal_family_on_the_balcony_of_Buckingham_Palace

We All Have Royal Ancestry
By Christopher Tisch

One of the greatest thrills as we research our genealogy is discovering we are descended from royal bloodlines. The idea that some distant uncle was a king or noble is exciting and can make anyone feel special. The whole allure of royalty, besides the obvious money and power, is belonging to a small group of people having a high place in society. For some, being a distant part of this group means we’re finally one of the “in crowd.”

But before you go wearing a crown to work tomorrow, you should know that science has shown that royalty in your bloodlines really isn’t all that special. It turns out that more people have royal blood than you would think. Statistician Joseph Chang discovered that the bloodlines of prominent royal figures like Emperor Charlemagne have crossed over into literally every present-day European’s ancestry.

This doesn’t mean that Charlemagne had thousands of kids, but instead is an observation that, if you go back far enough, almost all bloodlines within a given megapopulation will come together around a common ancestor. The further back you go, the wider your family tree spreads, to the point that at some point about 1,000 years ago, “all individuals who have any descendants among the present-day individuals are actually ancestors of all present-day individuals,” Chang determined.

Translating that into plain English, what he’s saying is that the population of Europe 1,000 years ago was so much smaller than it is today that, statistically, every person that was alive then and had children will somehow fit into the family tree of any given European alive today. What that means to us is that if you’re European, then you are definitely descended from Charlemagne. Taadaa! We’re all royal.

So, is it just the Europeans who are guaranteed royal lines? Not even close. By expanding his mathematical model from covering only living Europeans to everyone else on the planet today, Chang discovered that every single person on earth today is related to the Egyptian queen Nefertiti.

Yet another study found that all living Europeans can be traced back to the same pair of people going back only 1,000 years. When you look at how long people have been on Earth, 1,000 years isn’t very long at all. This study also found that people living as far away from each other as Britain and Turkey (at their closest points, more than 1,300 miles and 8 countries apart) share enough DNA to prove they are direct relatives around 20% of the time.

“It underlines the commonality of all of our histories,” said UC Davis evolutionary biologist Graham Coop. “You don’t have to go back many generations to find that we’re all related to each other.”

To learn more, go to http://www.dnaspectrum.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Christopher_Tisch/1887490
http://EzineArticles.com/?We-All-Have-Royal-Ancestry&id=9057112

 

 


 

 

Find your elusive ancestors in the online and offline records. Discover where to look and what records sets to use in the English/Welsh family history course from The Family History Researcher Academy.

You can take advantage of a Special Offer Trial of just £1 for a month!

You’ll receive 4 modules plus bonus content by going to: http://www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/trialoffer/

 

OR to pay in US dollars simply Click this link:

http://www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/specialoffer

(Normal monthly subscription: £9.95 per month(or $14.00). Course length: 52 weekly downloadable tutorials to do at your own pace. You are free to cancel at any time.)

One month trial of the Family History Researcher Academy English/Welsh course

Click the Image to take a trial for only £1

Jul 17 16

Mark Herber’s collection of war memorial photos online

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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This announcement came out this week about a new website for family historians. One of the people behind it is Mark Herber, best known in the genealogy field for his very comprehensive book Ancestral Trails that was published, I think, in 1997 when I was still managing a bookshop.

 

War-Memorial.co.uk, is the brand new website dedicated to Photographing, Transcribing and preserving war memorial records for the future, has just launched online providing a unique service that allows the researcher to find their ancestor using the largest collection of combined War Memorial records and images currently available anywhere.

war-memorial-5-sm

This project is based on Mark Herber’s growing collection of war memorial photographs and personally checked transcriptions. It honours those men and women, who died or served our country in military conflict over the years and it already features over 20,000 detailed photographs of more than 1,200 memorials, commemorating over 270,000 people, with their names (and the memorial’s information about them) transcribed and indexed.

With regular additions of photographs, names and information to War-Memorial.co.uk expected as the months go by, War-Memorial.co.uk is the place to find your ancestors immortalised on the country’s war memorials.

Details that can be found in these memorial records include:

  • Name
  • Regiment, unit or ship
  • War or date of death
  • Rank and medals
  • Photograph of the War Memorial from multiple angles and zooms

War-Memorial.co.uk’s collection includes a very large number of records from the Boer War of 1899-1902 and WW1 and WW2, but it also includes memorials from as early as the 17th century up to very recent conflicts such as Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. Soldiers, sailors, aircrew and civilians are all featured – and not just those who died. Many men and women who served but survived also appear in the records.

Using the sophisticated search technology and just basic details you can locate full information on War Memorials on which men and women are commemorated, find more details about them (such as their regiments, ships, ranks and medals), discover the location of the War Memorial and see images of the memorial itself and a close up view of the name of your ancestor!

War-Memorial.co.uk is offering some great value options to suit every pocket starting at £5 for a month’s access, £9.95 quarterly, or take out a great value annual subscription at only £29.95.

With regular additions of photographs, names and information to War-Memorial.co.uk expected as the months go by. War-Memorial.co.uk is the place to find your ancestors immortalised on the country’s war memorials.

Example of finding your ancestor in the records

Here we find the unusual records of a Thomas Ambrose, who was killed in 1916 by a bomb from a German airship flying over Sudbury. The transcribed record details how he died and where he is commemorated, as shown below:

war-memorial-search

Each transcript brings up details of the memorial with overview images of the entire memorial so you can find your ancestor using just their name, locate their memorial and add the images and information to your family history records, or even plan your visit!

war-memorial

Click here to find out more: http://war-memorial.co.uk/

 


 

 

Find your elusive ancestors in the online and offline records. Discover where to look and what records sets to use in the English/Welsh family history course from The Family History Researcher Academy.

You can take advantage of a Special Offer Trial of just £1 for a month!

You’ll receive 4 modules plus bonus content by going to: http://www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/trialoffer/

 

OR to pay in US dollars simply Click this link:

http://www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/specialoffer

(Normal monthly subscription: £9.95 per month(or $14.00). Course length: 52 weekly downloadable tutorials to do at your own pace. You are free to cancel at any time.)

One month trial of the Family History Researcher Academy English/Welsh course

Click the Image to take a trial for only £1

Jul 10 16

All at Sea – WWI naval database launched

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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http://www.royalnavyrecordsww1.rmg.co.uk/

With the sea all around us it is no surprise that so many of our ancestors became sailors.

With the anniversary of the First World War has seen the launch online of a new database offering free access to thousands of service records for the Royal Navy.

Royal Navy First World War – Lives at Sea can be found at: http://www.royalnavyrecordsww1.rmg.co.uk/

With more than three and a half thousand naval officers and ratings who served in the Great War, this fully searchable collection represents a small percentage of the total number of service records to be found at The National Archives in ADM 188 and ADM 196. The work of transcribing and then uploading them to the site is an ongoing project.

Scanned copies of the naval service records are available online by going to dicsovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk

From their website we can see the argument for the importance of this project…

“This project will create the most significant online data resource for the study of the Royal Navy during the First World War. This unique resource also marks and commemorates the Royal Navy’s contribution to the First World War effort through the lives of those officers and ratings who served.

Our hope is that it will allow and promote a wide and diverse variety of research into the composition and operations of the Royal Navy during the War. This could be specifically in relation to individual officers and ratings through their personal and service histories, to wider studies, for instance, where men were recruited from, from which trades and to enable the creation of crew lists for ships and submarines for given dates.

Such lists do not survive for the First World War and so for the first time researchers will be able to place officers and ratings in naval battles of the War and study topics such as mortality rates, invalidity and its causes.

In addition the information derived from the database can be used as a platform for accessing other Royal Navy records including ships’ logs (ADM 53), ships’ photographs (ADM 176) and wider naval First World War operational records in (ADM 1, ADM 116, ADM 137) all at TNA, and First World War logs and journals (JOD), ship plans (SP) and photographs (HP) all at NMM.”

About the database  – what information is being captured

Personal and service details for every officer and rating who served in the First World War including:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Next of Kin
  • Service Number
  • Town/City of birth
  • County of birth
  • Country of birth
  • Occupation
  • Name of every ship/submarine/shore establishment served in (including from and to dates)
  • Rank or rating held on every ship/submarine/shore establishment served in
  • Which battle served in during the First World War, for example, (Heligoland Bight, Coronel, Falkland Islands 1914; Dogger Bank 1915; Jutland 1916; Otranto Straits, 1917).
  • Cause and date of discharge (for example, with regards to death, invalidity demobilisation).
  • Where buried or commemorated.
  • Medals awarded.

For some officers and ratings there may be more than one service record, sometimes with overlapping, duplicate and conflicting data. In such instances recourse will be made to published works, such as the Navy List, to verify information.

Read more at http://www.royalnavyrecordsww1.rmg.co.uk/#SXxpj6tKOQg8HUum.99

 


 

 

Find your elusive ancestors in the online and offline records. Discover where to look and what records sets to use in the English/Welsh family history course from The Family History Researcher Academy.

You can take advantage of a Special Offer Trial of just £1 for a month!

You’ll receive 4 modules plus bonus content by going to: http://www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/trialoffer/

 

OR to pay in US dollars simply Click this link:

http://www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/specialoffer

(Normal monthly subscription: £9.95 per month(or $14.00). Course length: 52 weekly downloadable tutorials to do at your own pace. You are free to cancel at any time.)

One month trial of the Family History Researcher Academy English/Welsh course

Click the Image to take a trial for only £1

Jul 3 16

English/Welsh family tree research

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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Genealogy Fast Track Secrets 40px

 

English or Welsh Family Tree Research.

Drawing up your English/Welsh family tree may be a simple matter for you.

Some readers of this blog, however, may be new to family history research. If you are in this situation and you don’t know where it is that you should look for your ancestors, then I have a tutorial guide that can help.

The problem could be that you just don’t know in which of the many genealogical records to head for when you are looking for your past family. Perhaps you have even made a start and tried the easy and obvious records and now wonder where else to look?

If your forebears came from England or Wales then, with a bit of knowledge of the various different record sets and resources that are out there, you should be able to easily put your family tree together and add your ancestors to its branches.

Just like all of us, at sometime, you may come up against an annoying brick wall in your research.

When you can’t find an elusive English or Welsh ancestor, don’t despair as quite often it will be possible to get around this logjam by simply making use of a different research tactic to tease out that oh so difficult to find ancestor – the one that you had thought had disappeared for good. Other times you may just need to use one of the many further record sets to break down your brick wall and so get your family tree research back on track.

The best way to discover your ancestors is usually to learn a bit more about all the many records, data research sites and various archives that are available to you. Think about taking a genealogy course. I have an extremely well received family history course that can quickly give you the tools to put you back on track – more about that in the guide.

Click Here

or you can copy and paste the URL below on this page to Download my guide:

Genealogy Fast Track Secrets.

Register your details and you can start right away!

http://noseygenealogist.com/fasttrackgenealogysecretsoptin.html

 

 

Jun 26 16

Our English Ancestors pronounced English very differently

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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Imaginary_view_of_an_Elizabethan_stage

Imaginary view of an Elizabethan stage

By C. Walter Hodges [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

I came across this interesting video by David Crystal and his son, actor Ben Crystal. In it they look at the differences between English pronunciation as we would speak it today and compare it with how it was spoken 400 years ago.

As family historians we are often told how English spelling was a lot more fluid in past times and that not all our ancestors would have known how to spell their surnames, thus they seem to disappear from the records. We are also warned that the clergy and local registrars may have written our ancestor’s names into the registers etc. spelling these as they had thought that they had heard them, especially when so many of our forebears couldn’t read or write. In my Family History Researcher Course I explain how to consider how a name may have sounded in the local accent.

Now in this video we are told that in Elizabethan and Jacobean times the pronunciation of the language written by Shakespeare was quite different from modern English. Watch this video below to see and hear how it sounded back then and how it makes more sense of some of his pieces.  It is truly fascinating how language evolves!

 


 

Find your elusive ancestors in the online and offline records. Discover where to look and what records sets to use in the English/Welsh family history course from The Family History Researcher Academy.

You can take advantage of a Special Offer Trial of just £1 for a month!

You’ll receive 4 modules plus bonus content by going to: http://www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/trialoffer/

 

OR to pay in US dollars simply Click this link:

http://www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/specialoffer

(Normal monthly subscription: £9.95 per month(or $14.00). Course length: 52 weekly downloadable tutorials to do at your own pace. You are free to cancel at any time.)

One month trial of the Family History Researcher Academy English/Welsh course

Click the Image to take a trial for only £1

Jun 24 16

Yorkshire Family History Fair – Saturday 2nd July

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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Yorkshire Family History Fair

Saturday 2nd July 2016Yorkshire Family History Fair

10am to 4.30pm

The Knavesmire Exhibition Centre, The Racecourse, York, YO23 1EX

The second largest Family History Fair in the UK is in its 21st year. With exhibitors from all over the UK and Ireland many family history societies and companies attend each year.

 

You don’t have to have Yorkshire Ancestors to come to this fair – they can be from anywhere at all. Everyone is very welcome and there is lots to see. There is plenty of parking, refreshments are available all day, with exhibitors on two floors and FREE talks held throughout the day.

 

This event is organised by family historians for family historians. Do you really know who you are? Come and find out – you may be surprised.

 

Chose between two great ticket offers on www.yorkshirefamilyhistoryfair.com/

FREE gift when you pre-book tickets Claim your Discover Your Ancestors Issue 4 and Discover Your Ancestors Compendium (worth £17.94) at the show

Or

Buy One Ticket and Get One Free

(offers valid until Wednesday 29th June at midday BST)

See you at The Knavesmire Exhibition Centre, The Racecourse, York, YO23 1EX.

 

Admission: Adults £4.80, Children under 14 FREE

 

For late availability on exhibitor space contact stanley@merridews.freeserve.co.uk

Queue at York Family History Fair

Jun 19 16

Norfolk Parish Records now completed by TheGenealogist

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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This week the team over at TheGenealogist announced the completion of thier project to release fully searchable Norfolk Parish Records online. For anyone with ancestors from this county this is brilliant news.

  • Over 6.23 million new searchable Norfolk Parish Records released in partnership with the Norfolk Record Office
  • This final tranche includes over 5.95 million records for Norfolk
  • Plus more than 276,000 records relating to the boundary areas of Suffolk
  • Adding to the 3.6 million individuals already released earlier

TheGenealogist has successfully completed a project to release over 9.8 million fully searchable records for the registers of baptisms, marriages, marriage banns and burials for Norfolk with images of the original registers.

It is now easier than ever to research Norfolk ancestors in the parish registers of this Eastern English county. With some of the surviving records reaching back as far as the early 1500s, this is a fantastically rich resource for family historians to use for discovering Norfolk ancestors.

Released in partnership with The Norfolk Record Office, the registers of baptisms, marriages, burials and banns of marriage cover the majority of parishes in the Diocese of Norwich. This also includes a number of Suffolk parishes in and near Lowestoft that make up the deanery of Lothingland. Also covered by this release are the parishes in the deanery of Fincham and Feltwell that were part of the Diocese of Ely in south-west Norfolk.

 

 

Examples of famous people to be found in these records include:

Edith Cavell, the First World War Nurse executed by the Germans for treason was born in the South Norfolk village of Swardeston. Her baptism can be found in the register of Swardeston for February 1866 where her father was the vicar and performed the christening ceremony. With a single click family historians can see an image of the actual entry in the parish register.

Edith Cavell baptism on TheGenealogist

 

Edith Cavell’s baptism record in the Norfolk Parish Register on TheGenealogist

 

Likewise, Horatio Nelson – who would grow up to become perhaps Britain’s best known naval hero of all time – was also baptised by his clergyman father. In Nelson’s case it was in the the village of Burnham Thorpe on the North Norfolk coast in 1758.

Nelson's birth record from TheGenealogist.co.ukHoratio Nelson’s baptism 1758 in the Norfolk Parish Registers on TheGenealogist

 

Another British seafaring hero, whose baptism can be found in the Norfolk parish records on TheGenealogist, is Henry George Blogg. He would grow up to become known as the “Greatest of the Lifeboatmen” and be highly decorated. In his case, however, it was not his father that baptised him. His entry in the register reveals a less than auspicious entry of this Norfolk hero into the world – the vicar wrote in the parish register of Cromer that Henry was “base born”. Blogg, however, became a skilled seaman and a lifeboatman. For the many rescues, that he took part in as the coxswain of the Cromer lifeboat, he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution no less than three times and also the RNLI silver medal four times. He was also honoured with the George Cross from the King, the British Empire Medal, and a series of other awards.

Henry Blogg in Cromer Parish Record 1876Norfolk Parish Registers on TheGenealogist: Henry Blogg’s baptism 1876

Five years after his birth, Henry’s mother, Ellen Blogg, married a fisherman called John Davies. It was this stepfather that taught Henry how to fish and the skills that he needed to be a highly competent seafarer. The marriage banns for Henry’s mother and stepfather can be found in the Banns book for the parish, within the new records on TheGenealogist. Their actual marriage can also be found recorded in the parish register for Cromer included in this new release. See the records at: www.thegenealogist.co.uk

Banns of Marriage 1881 Norfolk Parish Records on TheGenealogistBanns of Marriage records from the Norfolk Parish Registers on TheGenealogist

 

 

To search these any countless other useful family history records take a look at TheGenealogist now!

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Compensated affiliate links used in the post above http://paidforadvertising.co.uk/

Jun 12 16

TheGenealogist releases British Telephone Directories, United States WW2 PoWs and more Worcestershire Baptism Transcripts

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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TheGenealogist has just launched a new collection of British telephone directories. Complementing the early UK Telephone Directory from 1899-1900 that is already available on TheGenealogist, this new release includes the 1907 Post Office National Directory which adds a resource for finding names and addresses before the 1911 census. This directory was published at a time when the telephone was becoming more important to our ancestors. The Post Office’s first coin-operated call box had been installed at London’s Ludgate Circus just the year before, and Trunk (long distance) telephone charges were reduced to half-price for telephone calls made after 7pm and before 7am.

Edwin Ringer old telephone on thegenealogist.co.uk

 

In addition, and at the same time, TheGenealogist has released the 1938 South Wales District Post Office Telephone Directory. The big contrast between this and the earlier directories are that so many more ordinary people had become telephone subscribers. For this reason the directories were by now split up into regions to cope with the large number of names and addresses.

 

  • Containing names and address details for subscribers the telephone directories are a useful resource for discovering ancestors who had a phone
  • Find private names and small businessmen’s addresses. If your ancestor worked as a fishmonger, butcher, ironmonger or bootmaker, then all these and more feature in the fascinating records.
  • The difference between the turn of the century directories and the 1938 South Wales District Directory is marked by the number of new telephone subscribers, so making it possible to find many more ancestor’s names and addresses.

 

In a snapshot example from the 1907 Post Office National Directory we can see that in Cardiff that subscribers included various business including a furniture remover and funeral director, fruit merchants, fishmonger, a commercial traveller and some private individuals.

1907 P O Telephone Cardiff

1907 Post Office National Directory.

 

By the late 1930s the various regions now contained tightly packed names and addresses with many more private subscribers for the family historian to research.

Post Office Telephone Directory Cardiff 1938

1938 Post Office Directory for Cardiff.

 

TheGenealogist has also just released online the United States WWII Prisoner of War records to compliment those that are already online for British and former Empire Prisoners of War of the Germans in WWI and WWII.

  • These new records reveal the names of U.S. military as well as U.S. and some Allied civilians who were prisoners of war and internees
  • Covering the years 1942 – 1947, Prisoners of both Germany and Japan are included in this collection
  • The record for each prisoner provides:
    • Name
    • Casualty status
    • Rank
    • Service number
    • PoW camp
    • Regiment, branch of service or civilian status
    • Home town or place of enlistment
    • Date reported
    • Race
    • State of residence

 

Example

Searching these PoW records we can find Robert  A. “Bob” Hoover, the former air show pilot and United States Air Force test pilot. Known as the “pilot’s pilot”, Hoover transformed aerobatic flying in his time and many in the world of aviation saw him as one of the greatest pilots ever to have lived. In the Second World War he was a fighter pilot.

Bob_Hoover_Photo_D_Ramey_Logan

Robert A “Bob” Hoover by WPPilot (Own work)

[CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

During World War II, Hoover was posted to Casablanca where he test flew the assembled aircraft to ensure that they were ready for service. Later in the war he was re-assigned to the Spitfire-equipped American 52d Fighter Group in Sicily. In 1944, and on his 59th mission of the conflict, his malfunctioning Mark V Spitfire was shot down by a German plane off the coast of Southern France. Taken prisoner, he then spent 16 months at the German prison camp Stalag Luft 1 in Barth, Germany, which we can see from these new records on TheGenealogist.

Robert Hoover PoW on thegenealogistPrisoner of War records on TheGenealogist.

These records are derived from the National Archives and Records Administration, World War II Prisoners of War, 1941-1946.

 

In another record release TheGenealogist have added over 37,450 individuals to their Baptism Transcripts for Worcestershire in partnership with Malvern Family History Society, expanding their coverage and bringing the total to over 2 million individuals. These records range from the years 1544 to 1891.
 

To search these records take a look now at TheGenealogist now.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Compensated affiliate links used in the post above http://paidforadvertising.co.uk/

Jun 5 16

Victoria Wood in Discover Your Ancestors

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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Victoria Wood

In this month’s Discover Your Ancestors online periodical I have had published an article I wrote on the well-loved comedienne Victoria Wood.

I discover that she was descended from a war hero who had been awarded the Croix de Guerre by the King of Belgium and a look at her family shows us that it was made up of a number of determined characters!

I also discover that Victoria had a lonely childhood without friends. If you read my piece I am sure your heart strings will be tugged at to find that, as a child, only one person turned up to her birthday party – all the other kids having better things to do on the day, like playing on their bikes!

I look at an error in the General Register Office records that misspells her mother’s maiden name on Victoria’s birth record. It is a good example of how even official primary records can contain mistakes and a lesson to us all to think creatively when we can’t find someone in the data.

I explain where to find the records, that I made use of to trace the family, so that you could apply the techniques in your own family history research.

We also discover some fascinating facts about her father. He turns out to have a number of more interesting strings to his bow than you might have expected from an average insurance claims inspector.

Also in this month’s Discover Your Ancestors Periodical Dr Simon Wills examines the wreck of the SS London 150 years on,  Jocelyn Robson investigates a woman who faked her own death, and there is much much more to read.

Visit their website to buy your copy today.

You can also read some sample articles before you buy (including this one on Victoria Wood) by clicking on the articles tab while you are there! So take a look now at Discover Your Ancestors.

 

 

 

 

Compensated affiliate links used above:
 http://paidforadvertising.co.uk/

 

May 29 16

Useful Wills Translation site

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

Wills are great for family historians finding out what land, or other more personal possessions, your ancestors had and so building your family tree. The genealogical information that they can often supply is often a huge bonus. It is worth remembering that any names and details of relationships that are found in a will are those supplied by the ancestor themselves and so can be expected to be a highly accurate source for you.

A will furnishes the researcher with an approximate date of death for an ancestor, which can be helpful if you were uncertain of this from your other research. For example, if you had not been able to trace a death record or a burial because you have found several candidates with the same name as your ancestor, then at least a will may give you the evidence of the year of death of your ancestor and so can point you to the correct entry in the parish register.

Another point to remember is that a will may provide you with a whole list of nephews, nieces, grandchildren, cousins and so on. Especially if the departed was intent on spreading their bequests more broadly around than just their nearest kin.

Admiral Nelson's will

Admiral Lord Nelson’s will on TheGenealogist

In my own ancestor’s cases, for the wills that I have traced so far, I have found that many of my own forebears were a little unimaginative and kept it short and sweet, leaving all to spouse and children! Yet, in other wills that I have researched that do not belong to my family, I have seen legacies in abundance.

These bequests can be used to confirm family relationships that have previously been deduced from records of birth or baptism. One of the great virtues of wills are that they spell out the relationship to the testator of everyone mentioned. For example bequests to a married daughter, or her children, should make it possible to identify the record of daughter’s marriage and the baptisms of the ancestor’s grandchildren.

From a will you can often find out about debts owed to and debts owed by your ancestor. You may discover something about their business dealings or whether they owned land, houses, or other property.

You may find out about the personal property that they held dear as it gets mentioned in separate bequests. I have seen a Welsh will in which the deceased left a watch to a relative and specified that they were not to sell it!

One other highly valuable thing about a will is that it may also provide information on the occupation and social status of an ancestor, indicate the closeness or otherwise of the relationship to a spouse and children, and may allow you to identify, in the present day, a house or land owned by the family in the past.

If you want to learn more about these fascinating documents then The Family History Researcher Academy course on English/Welsh family history has a module on this and many more resources that you can use.

This week my attention was drawn to a site on the web that allows people to upload a transcribed will to. This then allows other family history researchers to search for a will and read the transcription rather than struggle with the handwritten original. I wish them well with this project as I am sure it will be of great use to those who can find an ancestor’s will amongst those that have been transcribed.

This is what the site says about itself:

This site contains a number of transcripts which it is to be hoped will grow. Anyone who has transcribed a pre-1900 will is invited to contribute to this site which is searchable by Testator, Executor or Administrator, or Witness. It is hoped that ultimately there will be a large number of transcripts which may assist family historians in their research and also those who are interested in local history and the families who lived in a particular locality. The site is completely free and material on it is not to be used for commercial purposes. Please do not copy anything without the permission of the transcriber.

http://wills.digital-ink.co.uk/

http://wills.digital-ink.co.uk/