The Society of Genealogists are reopening 4 August 2020


Society of Genealogists

The Society of Genealogists have announced that they will be reopening their premises in London on 4 August 2020.

Here is what they said on their website this week:

“We are pleased to announce that the Society of Genealogists’ Library is opening to SoG members only on Tuesday 4th August with staggered sessions opening from 11am-4pm and 11.30-4pm

To begin with the number of members in the Library will be limited to a maximum of 20 persons per day and places must be booked in advance prior to visiting. Booking for sessions can be made on our website here

For the time being, it is intended that the Society will open for Library use each Tuesday and one Saturday a month. Back office project volunteers only will be welcome in the Library on Mondays. We hope to work up to opening for more days and to more people as we become more confident of providing a safe and workable experience for staff, volunteers and members and as resources allow.

During the days when the Society’s library is closed to visitors our staff and volunteers will continue the service provisions offered during lockdown. Please see the website for details

Visits must be booked at least a week in advance and will be made available up two weeks before the date of the visit on a rolling weekly basis every Saturday morning. Each booking is for one person only on a first come, first served basis – you will not be able to bring anyone with you, unless they book a visit themselves. Please be considerate of others when you book – we may cancel your booking if you exceed our reasonable limit of one booking per week.

We will not permit anyone to enter the building who has not pre-booked a visit, so please do not travel if you have not been able to book as we will not be able to let you in.

When members come into the Library, they will notice some changes. The Society has introduced safety and social hygiene measures to ensure the safety of our staff, members and friends. The toilets and cloakroom will be open so you can wash your hands and all hygiene guidance will be adhered to. Lockers will be open for you to store your belongings and take as little into the library as possible. There will be a cleaner in the building when we are open to make sure all surfaces stay clean and safe. We would ask every visitor to use the sanitisers and wipes provided around the building and to follow social distancing measures and one-way procedures as indicated by signs around the building.

Computers and Microfiche /Microfilm readers have been spaced around the building rather than just in the lower library. You can reserve a computer or reader at the same time as you reserve your seat

Films and fiche will be available as normal and we would ask that all books, microforms, CDs etc be returned to the returns trolleys and boxes  provided after use so they can be cleaned and or quarantined as appropriate

Our maintenance team is erecting safety screens at reception and enquiry desks. We have marked out the common room safely, but we may have to ask people not to rush in all at once. Unfortunately, we won’t be making the fridge, microwave, vending machine, cups or kettles available so remember to bring a flask or water with you. (But still only in the common room!) The delis and sandwich bars in Goswell Road are open.

Current  law in England requires face coverings to be worn in shops and as the SoG reception area is a shop environment we would ask all visitors to abide by the Government regulations and wear face coverings in the reception and locker room area. The regulations strongly encourage wearing a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Our staff will be wearing masks for your protection and we would appreciate it if everyone who is able would please consider wearing a face covering in face to face situations within the library (such as when seeking staff assistance) and where social distancing may be limited.

We will ask everyone booking a visit to agree to a new Society of Genealogists’ visitor guidelines below, aimed at encouraging all visitors to do their bit to help us ensure everyone’s safety.”

See the full post from else Churchill on the SoG website here:

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New records help find your Australian cousins from TheGenealogist

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Latest News:

TheGenealogist has added to its Australian records a set of new resources which can be used to find ancestors who lived in this country in the past. These name rich resources are sourced from a diverse range of historical books and directories which can be useful for finding out information such as where ancestors lived and what their occupation was.

Australia map for TheGenealogist's Australian Records

Use these records to: 

      • Add details to the lives of your Australian ancestors 
      • Locate ancestors homes and business addresses in street directories
      • Discover lists of Doctors, Chemists, Dentists, Lawyers and Teachers
      • Find Municipality officials, Magistrates, Clergy, Secretaries of Clubs and Societies
      • Search for Australian Military personnel (Army & Navy)
      • See advertisements for traders, hoteliers and ship owners, etc.

This latest release expands TheGenealogist’s International records collection and includes the following useful resources:

South Australian Directories 1882-3, 1904, 1910, 1920 and 1936; Australasian Handbook 1906; The Victorian Municipal Directory and Gazetteer 1886; Horse Cattle and Sheep Brands Directory for South Australia 1879; Our Early Possessions & Pioneers of Settlement South Australia; Return of the Names of Official Chaplains (Self Governing Dominions); Johns’s Notable Australians and Who is Who in Australasia 1908; Walch’s Tasmanian Almanac 1889; Red Cross and Order of St John Australian Branch Enquiry List August 1 1917 Wounded and Missing; New South Wales Army and Navy Lists 1898; and Commonwealth of Australia Navy Lists April 1919, January 1921, July 1922, October 1919 & October 1922.


You can also read TheGenealogist’s article, ‘Learning more about our Australian cousins and their lives down under


The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online



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The National Archives (Kew, England) reopens this week


The National Archives reopens:

The National Archives at Kew
The National Archives at Kew

The National Archives (TNA) will welcome visitors back into its reading rooms from Tuesday 21 July 2020 in the UK. At this time it will be offering a limited service to visitors, who will be required to book their visit and order their documents in advance. This is the start of the new normal for researchers while the country eases out of lockdown from the pandemic.

TNA at Kew will be open from Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 2.50pm. To read more see their post here:

The Natioanl Archives logo


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Battle of Britain RAF Operations Record Books (ORBs) released on TheGenealogist

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NEWS:  Press Release from TheGenealogist

To mark the 80th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain (10 July 1940 – 31 October 1940)  TheGenealogist is releasing over 2 million new RAF records. These records not only cover this important fight for Britain’s survival, but also encompass all of the Second World War period for a number of squadrons. This release brings the total ORBs records to 3.7 million and are part of TheGenealogist’s extensive Military records collection.

The ORBs are fully searchable by name, aircraft, location and many other fields, making it easy for researchers to find their aviation ancestors. These ORBs are the latest release to join TheGenealogist’s large military records collection which is always being expanded.

Image of a Hawker Hurricane I R4118 of No 605 Squadron.  Image: Arpingstone / Public domain
Hawker Hurricane I R4118 of No 605 Squadron.  Image: Arpingstone / Public domain

The fascinating pages from these diary-like documents tell the stories of brave aircrew, including those at the time of the Battle of Britain, 10 July 1940 – 31 October 1940. Recording patrols flown, the daily journal records give insights into the everyday lives of the personnel on bases. Researchers can use the collection to follow an airman’s war time experiences from these fully searchable Air Ministry Operations Record Books which cover various Royal Air Force, dominion and Allied Air Force squadrons that came under British Command. Sourced from The National Archives the AIR 27 records allow the family history researcher an interesting insight into relatives who had served in air force units under wartime conditions. 

The ORBs provide a summary of daily events. Some are ordinary entries, such as the names of new pilots posted to the squadron, entertainment on the base, or even noting the fact that an officer has become engaged. Sadly, these ORBs also record the death of pilots, crashes, or names of airmen that were missing in action. As names of personnel are recorded in these reports, for a family history researcher wanting to follow where an ancestor was posted to and what may have happened to them in the war, ORBs are often very enlightening documents. 

Use these records to: 

      • Read the war movements of personnel in air force units
      • Discover if a pilot, navigator, radio operator or gunner is mentioned in the action
      • Find if an airman is listed for receiving an Honour or an Award
      • Add colour to an aircrewman’s story 
      • Note the names of squadron members wounded, killed, or did not return
      • Easily search these National Archives records and images

Read my article written for TheGenealogist: Ace in a day

These records and many more are available to Diamond subscribers of



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TheGenealogist Launches New Parish Records

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TheGenealogist has added over 85,500 individuals to their Parish Records for Worcestershire to increase the coverage of this English county. 

Released in association with Malvern Family History Society this is an ongoing project where high quality transcripts of Parish Records are made available for family history researchers to find their ancestors.

    • 54,948 individuals have been added to the Worcestershire baptism records
    • 8,703 new individuals join the marriage records for this county
    • 3,558 individuals newly released for Worcestershire banns of marriages records
    • 18,293 individuals added to the burials records for Worcestershire

These new records can be used to find your ancestors’ baptisms in fully searchable records that cover parishes from this part of the English midlands. With records that reach back to the mid 16th century, this release allows family historians to find the names of ancestors, their parents’ forenames, the father’s occupation where noted, and the parish where the event took place.

Worcester Cathedral
Worcester Cathedral

Parishes in this release include Abberton, Abbots Morton, Acton Beauchamp, Alderminster, Alstone, Alvechurch, Areley Kings, Bayton, Belbroughton, Bewdley St Anne’s, Oldberrow, Shipston-on-Stour, Tidmington and Tredington.

This is an ongoing project where family history societies transcribe records for their areas to be released on both TheGenealogist and FHS-Online, the website that brings together data from various Family History Societies across the UK while providing a much needed extra source of funds for societies.

These new records are available as part of the Diamond Subscription at TheGenealogist. 

If your society is interested in publishing records online, please see

You can read TheGenealogist’s article: ‘Worcestershire parish records trace family events back through the centuries.’ which confirms a teenager transported to Australia on the First Fleet had Worcestershire roots. 




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Tracing Your Scottish Family History On the Internet

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I have just received a copy of Chris Paton’s latest guide for family historians and it is an extremely useful work of reference for any of us that have Scottish ancestors or are researching people from Scotland.

Tracing Your Scottish Family History On The Internet published by Pen & Sword (ISBN 9781526768384) is packed with information about where to find records to help you research ancestors who came from this  beautiful land. Covering many types of records and resources, both national as well as local.

Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet - Book cover

The author has also very comprehensively covered the offerings from national institutions, commercial sites and those family history societies, etc that have online presences. There are chapters on Gateways and institutions, the important website of ScotlandsPeople and what can be found on it, other sources for researching Scots forbears, occupations of ancestors, county by county records and Scotland’s Diaspora. Chris Paton explains how these sources can be used by a family history researcher, as well as looking at many unique collections for this country that may help in your quest to find out more about your Scottish Ancestors.

I particularly liked being able to turn to chapters dealing with those online resources for each Scottish county. In my own case most of my Scots ancestors were from the Lothians as well as Fife and Perthshire and so I could consult those pages to get some important leads on where to go online.

Tracing Your Scottish Family History On the Internet by Chris Paton is a valuable addition to my bookshelf and will no doubt be regularly consulted when trying to find out more about my own Scots ancestors.



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TheGenealogist adds nearly 53,000 new Headstone records

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NEWS: Press Release from TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist logo


This week TheGenealogist has expanded its growing International Headstone Collection with some interesting new additions that allow researchers to see details that have been carved on stone about their ancestors and commemorated in various churches and cemeteries. The headstone records released cover 71 new cemeteries from the English and Welsh counties of Buckinghamshire, Cheshire, Conwy, Denbighshire, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Flintshire, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Merionethshire, Merseyside, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

The International Headstone Collection is an ongoing project where every stone photographed or transcribed earns volunteers credits, which they can spend on subscriptions at or products from If you would like to join, you can find out more about the scheme at:

A simple headstone for the Earl St Maur the Eldest Son of Edward Adolphus 12th Duke of Somerset
A simple headstone for the Earl St Maur, Eldest Son of Edward Adolphus 12th Duke of Somerset
One of a number of headstones and plaques for the Dukes of Somerset and their family in All Saints Church Street_ Maiden Bradley_ Wiltshire
One of a number of headstones and plaques for the Dukes of Somerset and their family in All Saints, Church Street, Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire

These new records are all available as part of the Diamond Subscription at TheGenealogist.

You can read TheGenealogist’s article: Headstone Collection reveals the family history of the owners and staff of one of the most famous house and gardens in England 




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Visit the upcoming Online Family History Show

While, in these unprecedented times, we are not going to be able to meet as usual at York in England during this month for the customary Family History Show at the racecourse, the good news is that we are still going to be able to safely enjoy access to many of the usual features of the show. The Family History Show has announced that it will be coming to you as an online event on the 20th of June featuring a wide range of virtual stalls from family history societies to archives and genealogical suppliers. 


The online event gives benefits other than safety, those from distant shores and those that have disabilities that make it difficult to attend, can now visit with relative ease.   

Family History Show Online screenshot


The Family History Show – Online will, mirroring the format of the very successful live shows, feature an online lecture theatre, the popular ‘Ask the expert’ area – where you can put questions forward to their specialists – as well as a whole host of stalls where you can ask for advice as well as buy genealogical products.


The Family History Show Online home page


Q&A Expert Session

Attendees are invited to submit questions via the website and a selection will be put forward to the panel in a multiuser Zoom session that is streamed on a linked video channel for the show.


To make this online experience as useful to family historians as attending the physical show would have been, you can “visit” a stall in the virtual exhibition hall. With over 85 present there will be a wide variety of societies and companies. 


Built into the website is the ability to talk to some of the stallholders by text, audio or video from the comfort of your own home. With this facility, you can ask them for advice regarding their family history society/business and also purchase from their online stall various downloadable and physical products to help you with your research.


In the virtual lecture theatre, there will also be the chance to watch talks premiered on the show’s Youtube channel from the same expert lecturers who would have been at the physical event and are on the ‘Ask the Expert’ panel. These presentations will cover a wide variety of family history topics.


Tickets to attend the online Family History Show are available for just £5.50 each. All ticket holders will also receive a digital Goody Bag worth over £10 on the day.


To find out more about The Family History Show – Online, and buy your ticket visit


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New Historical Medical Professionals added to the occupational records on TheGenealogist

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Just released records covering ancestor Doctors, Midwives, Opticians and medics in British India


At this time when we are all so very conscious of the work of our medical professionals in the face of the pandemic, TheGenealogist has released a set of new records for our medical ancestors who treated others in the course of their occupations in the time before the creation of the National Health Service. 

Press-Release-TG-image-st-mary-abbots-hospital-kensington-W8-ward-3St Mary Abbot’s Hospital, Kensington W8, ward 3

It would have been a very different world from today in which these men and women worked. Before 1948 and the founding of the NHS, medical professionals were in private practice. The poorer members of society depended on charity and being assessed for what financial contribution they could make to their treatment. 

TheGenealogist has added to its occupational records with a fascinating release that has a medical theme. From the time from before the NHS came into being, these name rich records covering Doctors, Midwives and Opticians can be searched by name and keywords. All of these practitioners would have been working at the time when the wealthy could afford the best treatment, while the poor went to hospital with the added shame that this held as these institutions were where the poor were predominantly treated.

Use these records to: 

    • Add details to the lives of your medical ancestors 
    • Discover Doctors etc. who served in India in The Madras Medical Register 1934
    • Find Medical Ancestors in The Medical Who’s Who 1912
    • Seek out midwives in The Midwives Roll 1905
    • See optometrists names in the Institute of Ophthalmic Opticians, Official Directory, 1927

This latest release expands TheGenealogist’s extensive Occupational records collection that includes actors, apprentices, clergy, crew lists, directors, flight, freemen, law, railway, sports, teachers and biographies as well as other medical registers. 

You can read the article, ‘Medical ancestors from before the NHS began’ here.


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A House Through Time returned this week to TV



This week it was so good to see the return to BBC TV of the popular house history programme A House Through Time for its third series.

I remember walking that street (Guinea Street) a few years back while I was attending a training session for the company I once worked for at the nearby Hotel Mercure Bristol Holland House.  From watching the first programme in the series it looks like it will be compulsive viewing for me over the next few weeks as David Olusoga takes us through the various eras and the occupants that made it their home.

On a slight tangent… If you are interested in house history then one of the speakers at the forthcoming online Family History Show on June 20th is Gill Blanchard the House Historian and Genealogist whose talk is on Tracing Your House History. Well worth getting a ticket for if you are interested in the subject here.

A House Through Time Series 3

Here, however, is the announcement about the BBC TV programme that aired the first episode this week and can still be seen in catch up in the UK on the iPlayer…

Twenty Twenty’s award-winning history format A House Through Time is returning to BBC Two for a third series in 2020, this time in Bristol.

Using painstaking detective work – genealogical records, contemporary documents, and the help of expert witnesses – David Olusoga will trace the lives of the occupants of a single house, getting to know individual characters and following their stories wherever they lead.

The search for a new house in Bristol has already begun, and with the city’s rich maritime history, connections to the slave trade and industrial and technological heritage, the team expect to find no shortage of drama for series 3.

Commissioning Editor, Simon Young, says: “This series has swiftly become a treasured part of the schedule on BBC Two. It’s a vitally important returning series for us, perfectly reflecting our ambition for history programmes that connect the bigger sweeps of our nation’s story to individual lives lived all over the country. Having visited houses in Liverpool and Newcastle in the first two series, I’m thrilled that David will delve into Bristol’s rich history next.”

Director of Programmes and Executive Producer, Maxine Watson, says: “The series is hugely popular with viewers and shows just how much we want to know what happened to people just like us in the past. It’s truly a series about and for the people and we are absolutely delighted to be coming back with a new series next year.”

A House Through Time is a 4×60’ part series by Twenty Twenty (part of Warner Bros. International TV Production) for BBC Two. The series has been commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller BBC Two and Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Simon Young.

It was created by Twenty Twenty Managing Director Emma Willis, the Executive Producer is Maxine Watson and the Series Producer is Mary Crisp.

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