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Oct 23 16

Are You Going to Ignore Most of the Available Genealogical Records?

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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I was reading Dick Eastman’s blog this week (Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter) and was especially struck by a post he published called:


Are You Missing Most of the Available Genealogy Information?

Dick Eastman'sblog

I think that it really deserves being republished here for many of my blog readers who are new to genealogy and also for the students of the Family History Researcher Academy. I always think it is a great shame that many don’t take the opportunity of delving into the archives and other physical repositories to find some of those unusual records that may never get published online.

When ever I can I love to spend some time seeking out those unusual genealogical gems, that reveal something more about my ancestors but are part of the 90% that are not online anywhere because it would not make economic sense for the data websites to publish. My recent foray to the Wolverhampton City Archives is a case in point.

Wolverhampton City Archives reading room

Here is Dick Eastman’s post, see what you think:

Are You Missing Most of the Available Genealogy Information?

I received a message a while ago from a newsletter reader that disturbed me a bit. He wrote, “I have been doing genealogy research for 10-15 years but only through the Internet.” He then went on to describe some of the frustrations he has encountered trying to find information. In short, he was disappointed at how little information he has found online.

I read the entire message, but my eyes kept jumping back to the words in his first sentence: “… but only through the Internet.”

Doesn’t he realize that perhaps 90% of the information of interest to genealogists is not yet available on the Internet?

To be sure, many of the biggest and most valuable resources are now available online, including national census records, the Social Security Death Index, military pension applications, draft cards, many passenger lists, land patent databases, and more.

The national databases were the “low hanging fruit” a few years ago as the providers of online information rushed to place large genealogy databases online. These huge collections benefited a lot of genealogists; these databases were the first to become indexed, digitized, and placed online. We all should be thankful that these databases are available today and are in common use.

As the national databases became available to all, the online providers moved on to digitize regional and statewide information. State censuses, birth records, marriage records, death records, naturalization records (which originally were recorded in many local and state courts), county histories, and much, much more are still being placed online.

Of course, this is great news for genealogists who cannot easily travel to the locations where the original records are kept. For many of us, this is even better than having information on microfilm. Most of us don’t have microfilm readers at home, but we do have computers.

Yet, I am guessing that perhaps 90% of the information of interest to genealogists has not yet been digitized. Why would anyone want to look for genealogy information “… only through the Internet?”

State censuses, birth records, marriage records, death records, naturalization records, county histories, and more are all “work in progress” projects. That is, they are not yet complete. In fact, I doubt if all of them will be available online for at least another decade or two! If you only look online, you are missing a lot.

In many cases, church parish records, local tax lists, school records, land records (other than Federal land grants), state census records, and many more records are not yet available online and probably won’t be available for years. If you are limiting yourself to “… only through the Internet,” you are missing 90% of the available information.

If you have the luxury of living near the places where your ancestors lived, I’d suggest you jump in an automobile and drive to the repositories where those records are kept. There is nothing that matches the feeling of holding original records in your hand. Scan them or make photocopies or take pictures of them or do whatever is possible to collect images of the original records.

If you do not enjoy the luxury of short distances, use microfilm. Luckily, that is easy to do although you will have to leave your home. Many (but not all) of these records have been microfilmed, and those films may be viewed at various libraries, archives, or at a local Family History Center near you. There are more than 4,600 of those local centers, so you probably can find one within a short distance of your home. The Family History Centers are free to use although you do have to pay a modest fee for postage when you rent a microfilm by mail. See for details. You can also find your nearest Family History Center by starting at:

If you do not know where to start, I would suggest reading “Begin your genealogy quest” at for some great “getting started” information.

Which option would you prefer: accessing 10% of the available records or 100% of the available records?

Republished from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.

Original is also here:

Oct 16 16

TheGenealogist are launching over 220 million US records

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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TheGenealogist logo

TheGenealogist sent out an announcement this week about launching over 220 million US records.

The details are as follows:

  • 90 million Social Security Death records 1935-2014

  • 1940 Census Images containing 132 million records with searchable transcripts linked to the Enumeration Maps

  • Irish immigration records for 604,596 persons arriving in New York 1846-1851

Many people hit a brick wall where an ancestor seems to disappear from all the records in the U.K. It could be that they have gone abroad for a period or emigrated for good. If your elusive ancestor went to the United States of America, TheGenealogist’s expanded international records can help.

Social Security Death Records

The U.S. Social Security Death Index is a database of over 90 million death records. These give information of those who died from 1936 whose death has been reported to the Social Security Administration.

The data includes: Given name and surname; Date of birth; Month and year of death (or full date of death for accounts active in 2000 or later); Social Security number; State or territory where the Social Security number was issued; Last place of residence while the person was alive (ZIP code).

1940 Census

The American census is searchable by first name, surname, age, state, county, street address and place of birth (allowing us to find Brits enumerated in the American census). The records give details of over 132 million individuals with a transcription along with the actual image of the schedule. Where available, the record is also linked to the Enumeration Index Map for the area so that you can see exactly which street your ancestor lived on. TheGenealogist says that their transcripts also have the added benefit of street addresses included, allowing you to search for a street rather than an individual.

The 1940 Census transcripts on TheGenealogist are not the same as those found elsewhere online; apart from the linked maps and street addresses, they have also audited the images discovering many that haven’t been transcribed previously elsewhere. These are also being added to their records.

US census maps on TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist believes that experienced researchers will welcome this release, knowing that having alternative transcripts to those already available gives the family historian a better chance of finding people whose names have been difficult to read or have contained errors in the other databases.

New York Immigration Records

The New York Port Arrival 1846-1851 series gives the family historian access to useful information about immigrants from Ireland to the United States during the era of the Irish Potato Famine, identifying 604,596 persons who arrived in the Port of New York and giving the name of the ships on which they arrived. Approximately 70 percent of the passengers listed were natives of Ireland, with the rest being nationals of 32 countries that included Canada, Brazil, Saint Croix, Russia, Morocco, the United States and various European countries. Information contained in these records include name, age, town of last residence, destination, passenger arrival date, and codes for the passenger’s gender, occupation, literacy, native country, transit status, travel compartment, passenger port of embarkation, and the identification number for the ship manifest.

These new records join TheGenealogist’s growing collection of other U.S.A. data sets such as the WWII PoW records, Early Settlers and Emigrants to America, Passenger Lists, American Wills, Almanacs and Directories.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Compensated affiliate links used in the post above

Oct 9 16

Was your ancestor a Medieval Soldier of the King?

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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The University of Southampton sent out this press release and I decided to take a look for a couple of branches of my family.

Names from my direct paternal line feature as archers, many in the naval service. I have no way of knowing if I am descended from any of these as my research has not got the Thorne family that far back. Still it is interesting to see that there is a possibility there!

The Thorn/Thornes that I have identified as definitely being in my family tree, from much later in history, were from maritime towns in Devon. If I were able to trace the line back further I wonder if any of them were descendants of one of these names in this fascinating list?

While searching, I also found a number of cases of Hays and De La Hays (from my maternal line). These Norman descendants were mostly fighting for the English side against their French “cousins” and they ranged in rank and social class from Knights to Archers.

Wonder which, if any, are my ancestors?



Here is the announcement written by the University of Southampton on newswise


If you’ve ever wondered whether your ancestors served as a medieval soldier in the Hundred Years War, a newly launched website from historians at the universities of Southampton and Reading, UK, may have the answer.

The names of over 3,500 French soldiers linked to the Battle of Agincourt (1415) have been added to They join the quarter of a million names already available for English armies who fought in a number of campaigns, including Agincourt– forming what’s believed to be the largest database of medieval people in the world. This latest stage of the Soldier in Later Medieval England project has been supported by the charity Agincourt 600 and by both universities.

Professor Anne Curry, project Director and Dean of Humanities at the University of Southampton, says: “It is fitting that this new resource has been made available following the major 600th anniversary commemorations of Agincourt in 2015, in which our university played a key role. The Medieval Soldier website has already proved an invaluable resource for genealogists and people interested in social, political and military history. This new data will help us to reach out to new users and shed fresh light on the Hundred Years War.”

Of the thousands of French soldiers added to the new website, 550 were killed on the battlefield. Research by Southampton’s Dr Rémy Ambühl has also shown that over 300 were taken prisoner and held for ransom.

Professor Adrian Bell, fellow project Director and Head of the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School at the University of Reading, comments: “Our newly developed interface interrogates sources found in many different archive repositories in England and France. Without our site, searching for this information would require many visits to the National Archives of both England and France, the British Library and Bibliothèque nationale and all of the Archives Départementales in Normandy.”

The Medieval Solider website was first launched in 2009, resulting from a three year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Names of soldiers were sourced from archive collections of muster rolls used to audit pay during military campaigns and from evidence of letters of protection, which soldiers bought from the Chancery to prevent legal actions while they were absent from home.

Now refreshed and given a new search interface by Russian postdoctoral fellow Dr Aleksandr Lobanov, the website brings together three separate databases to make them searchable as a single resource. In addition to the names of the French soldiers recently added, the database now also contains details of geographical origins of soldiers and locations of their service – enabling the local life of the medieval soldier to be illuminated more fully. People can search by surname, rank, or year of service.

For example, Professor Bell was pleased to find 58 ‘Bells’ on the database, including a John Bell from Chatham serving in Calais in 1414 and again with the royal household on the Agincourt campaign.

The site provides biographies of all English captains of 1415 and further insights into the Battle of Agincourt, which was commemorated extensively in the UK and France last year.



Pen & Sword Books you may be interested in:

England’s Medieval Navy   and   Tracing Your Ancestors from 1066 to 1837

englands-medieval-navyTracing Your Ancestors from 1066 to 1837

Oct 2 16

The ScotlandsPeople website relaunched

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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scotlandspeople website

This week saw the relaunch of ScotlandsPeople website under its new operators, CACI. For years it had been run for the Scottish Government by the people behind FindMyPast, but they relinquished their franchise and this week saw the new site appear, albeit a little later than expected.


The top genealogy website for tracing your Scottish ancestors because it contains millions of documents held by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) – now boasts an enhanced search facility and new user interface that is designed from the start to be accessible on a range of devices.

There has been a slight increase in the price of purchasing pay-per-view credits from £7 to £7.50 for 30 credits, but users are no longer charged for accessing statutory index entries to birth, marriage, death, Old Parish Register and Open Census records.

If, like me you had been a previous user then, all credits, saved images and searches from the old version of the website are still be available to users once you log into the new platform.


I have spent a profitable time this weekend searching out some of my Scots forebears in the Old Parish Records, finding a number of my ancestors in 18th century Fife. I was particularly pleased to find a marriage in 1719 in the parish of Wemyss that looks like it could be relevant for my maternal family tree.

Family Tree on a computer

If you have any Scottish ancestry then now is a good time to take a look at the records on this website:

The ScotlandsPeople website  is the official Scottish Government site for searching government records and archives and is used by hundreds of thousands of people each year to apply for copies of official certificates and to research family history, biography, local history and social history.



You may also be interested in this book…



This fully revised second edition of Ian Maxwell’s Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors is a lively and accessible introduction to Scotland’s long, complex and fascinating story. It is aimed primarily at family historians who are eager to explore and understand the world in which their ancestors lived.

He guides readers through the wealth of material available to researchers in Scotland and abroad. He looks at every aspect of Scottish history and at all the relevant resources. As well as covering records held at the National Archives of Scotland, he examines closely the information held at local archives throughout the country. He also describes the extensive Scottish records that are now available on line.

His expert and up-to-date survey is a valuable handbook for anyone who is researching Scottish history because he explains how the archive material can be used and where it can be found. For family historians, it is essential reading as it puts their research into a historical perspective, giving them a better insight into the part their ancestors played in the past.

Read more about this book here:

Compensated affiliate link to Pen & Sword Books used in this recommendation

Sep 25 16

Welsh Ancestors’ Names

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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Welsh Flag
If you have Welsh ancestors then the chances are that you already know that up until the 19th century in a number of the more rural areas the Welsh tended to use the ancient Patronymic naming system.

This is where the offspring from a marriage would mostly take their Father’s forename as their surname. I have added the word ‘mostly’ in the last statement as on occasions there have been cases where it was the mother’s name that had been passed on as a second name. Matronymic surnames, however, are far less common than patronymic last names.

Because of this tradition of using the Patronymic, or Matronymic for one’s child, surnames were not fixed and would change from generation to generation. For example, if Thomas JONES had three sons, Thomas, William and David.
The three sons may have gone by the names of:
Thomas ap Thomas or Thomas Thomas Jones;
William ab Thomas or William Thomas Jones;
David  ab Thomas or David Thomas Jones;

And if Thomas ap Thomas had a son, David, he could be known as David Thomas while if William ab Thomas also had a son called David, he would be known as David William.

As a general rule an ‘ap’ or ‘ab’ was added between the child’s name and the father’s name. In the example, David ab Thomas is David “son of” Thomas. For a woman’s name, the word ferch or verch (often abbreviated to vch), meaning “daughter of”, was used.

As with any rule, you may not be surprised to learn that there were many exceptions to it. Your Welsh ancestors could well have dropped the ‘ab’ or ‘ap’ altogether. In the case of a David, son of Owen Thomas, his name may well have used the simple name of David Owen. Other exceptions are where your ancestors decided to drop the ‘a’  from ‘ap’ or ‘ab’ and just attach the remaining ‘p’ or ‘b’ to the father’s name. For example, ‘David ab Owen’ could have been known as ‘David Bowen’.

Welsh People 1850s
In dealing with patronymic names, the researcher needs to bear in mind that the absence of ‘ap’ or ‘ab’ does not mean the family adopted a permanent surname. In south Wales particularly, patronymic surnames appeared without the ‘ap’ or ‘ab’.

By the later years of the Middle Ages the patronymic system was gradually being replaced by fixed surnames. Although the use of patronymic names would continue to be used by some right up until the early 19th century in some rural areas.


When your Welsh ancestors started to fix their surnames then all their descendants used the same surname. In our example, all of David Thomas’s descendants now took the surname THOMAS and all David WILLIAM’s descendants had the surname WILLIAM OR WILLIAMS.

This explains why, when we are researching in Wales, that we may be surprised to find that the number of Welsh surnames is comparatively small. The majority of Welsh surnames have been drawn from a limited number of forenames that were most popular among parents at the time that Welsh surnames became fixed.

Report3  1 Month £1

Sep 24 16

The most recent ancestor occupational records online

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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New Occupational Records now on TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist releases new occupational Religious records

New religious occupational records on TheGenealogist

If your ancestor held a prominent position in a religious organisation then you may find them in amongst a number of recent releases at The new records include:

  • The Year Book of The Church of England in the Dominion of Canada 1926 & 1935 These year books contain the details of the members of clergy in Canada.

  • New Zealand Methodist Union Index 1913Listing details of Methodist Ministers and their placements in New Zealand up to 1912.

  • Catholic Directory 1867 & 1877Directories of Catholic Clergy with addresses for England, Scotland and Wales.

  • Biographical Dictionary of English Catholics 1534 to 1885This work by Joseph Gillow gives biographies of prominent Catholics which often include details of their family, education and achievements.

  • Shropshire Roman Catholic Registers 1763-1837

  • The Roman Catholics in the County of York 1604

  • Various Catholic Record Society volumesThese include a variety of interesting records including various Catholic Church registers, memoirs and letters of prominent Catholics and Recusant Rolls.

  • Jewish Year Books 1896-99, 1901-8, 1910-11, 1918-21, 1925, and 1928-39These year books list the details of prominent people within each synagogue, obituaries, Jewish officers in the Army, Navy and Auxiliary Forces, Ministers, MPs, Peers, and even Jewish ‘Celebrities’ of the time.

  • Jewish Synagogue Seatholders in London for 1920, 1922, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1937

  • The Clergyman’s Almanack 1821 & 1822These Almanacks list archbishops, bishops, dignitaries, MPs and Peers.

  • Register of Missionaries 1796-1923A register of the missionaries and deputations of the London Society of Missionaries. This book includes many details about each missionary, as well as listing their wives (including their maiden name).

  • Durham Diocesan Calendar 1931

These records compliment an already wide range of religious occupational records such as Cox’s Clergy Lists and Crockford’s Clerical Directories, Jewish Seatholders, Catholic Registers, and Directories already on TheGenealogist.

Diamond subscribers can access these records by going to the Search tab on the home page – scrolling down to Occupational Records and then selecting the type of records that they are interested in.

Head over to TheGenealogist to search these records

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Compensated affiliate links used in the post above

Sep 17 16

Nuneaton & North Warwickshire FHS Parish Records released on TheGenealogist

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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This Press Announcement came from the team at TheGenealogist:


TheGenealogist logo


TheGenealogist adds to its growing collection of Parish Records with the release of those for Nuneaton & North Warwickshire.

  • Released in partnership with the Nuneaton & North Warwickshire Family History Society there are over 454,000 new fully searchable records of individuals
  • Allowing the researcher to discover more than 300,000 people recorded within the baptisms from this area in the heart of England
  • Family historians can also discover the details of over 90,000 individuals from marriages and nearly 60,0000 people listed in the burials of Nuneaton & North Warwickshire


Nuneaton & North Warwickshire FHS worked with TheGenealogist to publish their records online for the first time, making 454,525 individuals from baptism, marriage and burial records fully searchable.


“The officers of Nuneaton & North Warwickshire Family History Society are delighted to be working with The Genealogist to bring their collection of baptism, marriage and burial transcriptions for north Warwickshire online…” John Parton (Chairman)

With some of the surviving records reaching back into the 1700s this is an excellent resource for family historians to use for discovering Nuneaton & North Warwickshire ancestors.

The records are also available on TheGenealogist’s Society website where societies get 100% of the income.

This new initiative will provide for those researchers preferring online access, while allowing us to continue offering the data on CD.  NNWFHS members have opportunity to take out an enhanced subscription which includes access to the data.” John Parton (Chairman)

This is an ongoing project with the society working on transcribing many more records.


“We’re delighted to welcome NNWFHS to both TheGenealogist and FHS-Online. This release adds to the growing collection of parish records on both websites. These partnerships help societies boost their funds whilst bringing their records to a much wider audience, through online publication.” Mark Bayley (Head of Online Development)


If your society is interested in publishing records online, please contact Mark Bayley on 01722 717002 or see


All in one search for family history


Examples from Nuneaton & North Warwickshire Parish records

In these records can be found the famous novelist, poet, journalist and translator George Eliot, under her real name of Mary Anne Evans. She was born in Nuneaton and baptised at Chilvers Coton All Saints church in 1819 – she used the pen name of George Eliot in order to be taken more seriously as a writer.


For the settings of the stories, Mary drew on her Warwickshire childhood. Chilvers Coton became Shepperton. Shepperton Church is described in great detail in The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton, and is recognisably that of Chilvers Coton.

Nuneaton Chilvers Coton Church

Also to be found in these records are members of her family that she used as inspiration for some of her characters. For example the record for her sister Christiana Evans, baptised in 1814, contains a relevant note by the society that reveals: Sister of George Eliot. Christiana, ‘Chrissie’ as she was known to her family, was the original of: “Celia” in ‘Middlemarch’ & “Lucy Deane” in ‘The Mill on the Floss’.


If we search for Mary Anne’s brother, Isaac Pearson Evans who was born in 1816, there is a note which tells us that he was the brother of George Eliot and that he was the basis of Tom Tulliver in “The Mill on the Floss”.


Another person to be found in these records is a Henry Harper, born 1830, whose mother Anne has the note: Anne Harper – daughter of Rev. Bernard Gilpin and Mrs Ebdell (“Mr Gilfil” and “Caterina”) and was the son of “Mr Farquhar – the secondary squire of the parish” in “Scenes of Clerical Life” by George Eliot.


Additionally there is Isabell Adolphine Gwyther born in 1834 and Edward James Wilson Gwyther born in 1837, who share a mention that reveals: The Rev J Gwyther was Curate of Coton. He and his wife were the originals of “Amos & Milly Barton” in ‘Scenes of Clerical Life’ by George Eliot, “Milly Barton” was the mother of six young children.


Using these records you would also be able to find the death in 1836 of Christiana Evans, the writer’s mother.

Check out the parish records on TheGenealogist

Sep 10 16

Building Great Wharton | The National Archives blog

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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I found this very interesting after having spent a week with my parents who could remember stories that their own parents told about the time.


Exploring how TNA designed and built a resource uncovering experiences of British life on the Home Front during the First World War…

Source: Building Great Wharton | The National Archives blog

Sep 4 16

Don’t just use the major records – ancestors may be found in smaller collections as well

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
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Visit to Wolverhampton City Archives

Visit to Wolverhampton City Archives


I’ve been looking into a collateral line ancestor this week and that took me up to Wolverhampton City Archives.

In initial research, that I had carried out previously, I had found my great-grand uncle had left the army and moved to Wolverhampton to take up the position of Chief Constable in the Borough Police.

Making a return trip to the archive, in order to do some research for another tutorial that will eventually go in my English/Welsh family history course, I decided to take a further look into Major R D D Hay.

If you are new to family history then you may be a little unsure of using the facilities of an archive. Perhaps you worry about what sort of reception you may get. From my experience, of visiting these establishments over the years, I always get wonderful help and service from the staff on the desks up and down the country.

Ah but you are somewhat experienced at doing research, you may say.

I really don’t think that that is really a factor to consider. When I am looking to find someone, in the many small collections that the local archive or county record office has, I am in the same position as a newbie may be. I approach them and ask for their advice as to where they think I should look in their collections.


So it was this week when in the reading room at Wolverhampton. I gave them the name of the person I hoped to trace and the dates I was interested in. The staff looked on their computerised catalogue and were able to offer me the Watch Committee reports that covered both the start and the finish of Robert Hay’s tenure.

From my point of view this was fascinating as I could read the names and some details about the 106 candidates for the Chief Constable’s job. I could also see the selection process and even read who it was, on the Borough Council, who voted for my ancestor to be given the job. As it was Robert David Dewar Hay had a landslide victory over other short-listed candidate.


For other researchers, with Wolverhampton ancestors from around this time, the records may reveal your ancestor if they had any dealing with the Police, Fire brigade, or even the Weights and Measures in the borough – as all of these activities fell under the jurisdiction of the Police and the Watch Committee.

If you have a policeman ancestor he may well be mentioned if he did well or needed reprimanding. Alternatively if he was to fall ill and so required to resign, or if he died and the committee felt an obligation to his widow, again he may be mentioned by name.

I saw names of those suppliers of goods and products, such as uniforms for the police officers and firemen contained in the records. As you would expect names of local criminals appeared in the lists of warrants executed on felons, which gave a description of what they had done to deserve a visit from the boys in blue and even the report on the lady owner of a brothel that the police were trying to close down.


I do commend these types of interesting small record collections to you. As I say in my English/Welsh family history course: don’t just collect names and dates from the vital records and the census sets – try to flesh out your family tree research with some colour to add to your family history story.

Wolverhampton City Archives reading room

The reading room at Wolverhampton City Archives





If you would like to learn more about English and Welsh ancestor research then take a look at my family history course. Or to pay in US dollars check this page out for more information:

English/Welsh family history course on tablet computer

Aug 28 16

Submariner ancestors

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
HM Submarine at
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I’ve been visiting the Submarine Museum at Gosport and it is a fascinating experience especially if you have an ancestor that may have served in these boats.

Three submarines – HMS Alliance, Holland I and X24 – form the core of this Museum’s unique collection. There are also many other items to view including many photographs, various documents, ship plans and artefacts to supplement these vessels and also tell the broader story of the service.
The Submarine Museum is also part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) whose wider collections include items relating to the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Marines, Surface Fleet and naval firepower among many other things. For more information please see their main NMRN collections page.

I found it helpful, when going onboard the HMS Alliance submarine that the two guides on the boat were ex-submariners themselves – you get a very personal viewpoint of what it was like to serve with 64 other men on patrol during the cold war period and I take me hat of to them.

On board HMS Alliance



Living quarters on board HMS Alliance


The ‘Submarine Service Movement Record Index Cards’ can be used to give the researcher some background information, which can include the movements of submarine personnel during World War II. These records had previously been kept by the submarine drafting office at HMS Centurion in Gosport, but with the opening of the Submarine museum they were transferred there.

A word of warning for those researching their submariner ancestors, the card records are not a complete record of everybody who served in submarines, but they are the best place to start covering the period 1918-1969 for naval ratings and 1935-1969 for the officers.

These records can be searched using simply by name. If a card is located on file at the museum archive then you may be able to find out such information as where your submariner relative served during his time in the submarine service. You must be aware, however, that they are not indexed nor are they digitised.

Other holdings at the museum include photographs, ship plans and artefacts. You will, however, need to provide at least two weeks’ notice for an archive visit, having first submitted a research request form. See the information on their website:

Reading Simon Fowler’s book “Tracinging your Naval Ancestors’, tells us that information on ancestors who may have served in this branch can be found in similar places to other Royal Navy records, as sometimes they don’t have a special category. However, it is worth looking at the surviving log books of submarines from 1914 to 1987 which can be found in ADM 173– “Admiralty and Ministry of Defence, Navy Department: Submarine Logs” at The National Archives in Kew. This is the only open access set of records you will find there, as most other relevant records they hold are classified at present.

Tracing Your Naval Ancestors ePub