Can’t find the baptism?

I was reviewing a problem ancestor in my family tree this week and thought my notepad jottings may help others.

I am looking for a female ancestor who was born before the introduction of civil registration in 1837. According to every census, that she was enumerated within, her birth date was 1806, give or take a year. The place of birth remained consistent as Bigbury in Devon. The problem is that she does not appear in the Bigbury parish register for baptisms for 1806, nor for the years either side. There is someone with her Christian name in the registers, however by following this woman through to her marriage and death I have ruled her out.

 

This being the case I have to consider reasons why I can’t find my ancestor and so I noted down on a pad the scenarios that I needed to explore.

1. Was my ancestor disguising her age in the census to appear closer in years to her husband?   – If so I need to expand my search for her using a larger range of years.

2. Was her maiden surname different from what I had discovered from a transcript of her marriage? Perhaps the name I was searching for was from a previous marriage?  – To find this out I needed to see an image of the parish register and read whether it said Spinster or Widow at the time of her wedding.

3. Was she mistaken about being born in Bigbury? Perhaps she grew up there and assumed that it was where she had been born? – I needed to search the Bigbury parish register to see if any other family members with her surname were baptised, married or buried there.

4. Has the Bishop’s transcripts survived in the Diocesan Archive? – Sometimes entries may appear in the BTs that are missing from the actual parish register.

5. Was she from a non-conformist family and been baptised by a minister of another denomination other than the Established Church? – A search of the non-conformist registers may turn up my elusive ancestor, though not all of them were surrendered and so the collection at The National Archives is not complete. Some may be in the Devon Heritage Centre (County Record Office) while others are lost.

6. Could I find any siblings in the Bigbury area? – Searching first for baptisms, then marriages and burials. In this case I found her as a witness to a marriage of a woman with the same surname. Perhaps her sister, or a cousin. But it does establish a link to Bigbury.

7. Did she appear in anyone else’s published family tree? – Though they are notoriously inaccurate family trees that are published online may give you clues to go and research for yourself and confirm the accuracy of the information in the tree.

8. Does anyone seem to share the DNA with me from that area or from an ancestor with that surname? – Look for a distant cousin that has entered the information about their ancestors to a linked family tree on a family history DNA website.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a start to breaking down a brick wall.

 

How far have I got? Not as far as I’d like, as so many other things have got in the way of my research this week!

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The National Archives Announces the Opening of Prisoner of War Archives

I saw this mentioned on Dick Eastman’s Newsletter this week: (UK) National Archives Announces the Opening of Prisoner of War Archives

The National Archives, London, England have announced that they are opening up their prisoner of war (WW II) archives. These documents were transferred to The National Archives in December 2014. There are approximately 190,000 records of persons captured in German-occupied territory during World War II, primarily Allied service men (including Canadians, South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders, British and Allied civilians and some nurses. There are also cards for American, Norwegian, Chinese, Arab and Cypriot origins.

The new collection (WO 416) also includes several thousand records of deceased allied airmen whose bodies were found near their downed aircrafts. While these airmen were never prisoners of war, these records act as records of death.

The records are cards—some persons have up to 15 cards, but most have only one or two. It is not catalogued by name of individual for privacy reasons as some may still be living. The National Archives has started to catalogue the entire series and they have opened the records for those who were born more than 100 years ago or if they have proof of death.

To read more see:
http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/opening-prisoner-war-collection/

To browse the collection go to:
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14541141

For those records that have not yet been digitized you can order the records in advance for when you visit the Kew ( The National Archives) or you can request a quotation for a copy to be sent to you. The price will vary depending on the amount of copying. When you click on the name of the person you are researching , click on details. There you will get a transcription of information they have plus the option to order in advance or request a copy.

Not all service personnel have cards as they were removed from the collection to be used as evidence to support claims by Prisoners of War after World War II. These cards, for the most part, were not returned but may form part of the personnel’s service record which may be held by Veteran’s agency See: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records

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TheGenealogist have added over 1.9 million individuals to their Sussex Parish Record Collection

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

The latest release from TheGenealogist team this week:

TheGenealogist has added over 1.9 million individuals to its parish record collection covering the county of Sussex. Published In association with The Parish Record Transcription Society, this second release of records for the English county more than doubles the number of parish records available for the area.

Sussex scene from TheGenealogist Image Archive
Sussex scene from TheGenealogist Image Archive

TheGenealogist now has over 3 million individuals in the Sussex Parish Record Collection.

The new batch covers individual records of:

  • 1,278,413 Baptisms
  •   308,746 Marriages
  •   327,091 Burials

 

The Parish Record Transcription Society (PRTSoc) have worked with TheGenealogist and S&N to make their records available online. With a combined 3 million plus individuals from baptism, marriage and burial records now fully searchable it is easier than ever to discover ancestors from Sussex by turning to TheGenealogist’s parish records collection.

These records are published as a result of a major project undertaken by PRTSoc staff and dedicated volunteers to transcribe the parish registers of West Sussex with the aim of preserving them for generations to come. By working with TheGenealogist these are now also searchable by online researchers on TheGenealogist.

This release joins TheGenealogist’s Sussex collection including parish records to form a major resource for the county.

Read their article here:
https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2017/new-release-of-sussex-parish-records-reveals-709/

This release adds to the ever expanding collection of parish records on TheGenealogist.

 

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Half a million Criminal Records added to TheGenealogist’s Court & Criminal collection

 

 

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

IPrison Hulk RecordsI have spent some fascinating hours this last week searching in a set of new British family history records before they got released. As part of my business relationship with TheGenealogist I write family history articles for them and so I was commissioned to put one together on the new criminal records that were joining those already on their site. This will be of interest to those of you searching for black sheep ancestors in your English family tree. To see what I found when let loose in the records follow the link to the article at the end of this post!

 

Here is the Press Release from the team at TheGenealogist (Disclosure: contains my affiliate links.)…

 

TheGenealogist has enlarged its Court & Criminal Records collection so that even more black sheep ancestors can now be searched for and found on its site. With a new release of records you can unearth all sorts of ancestors who came up against the law – whether they were a victim, acquitted, convicted of a minor offence or found guilty of a major crime such as murder.

These fully searchable records cover HO77 – The Home Office: Criminal Registers, England and Wales and ADM 6 – The Registers of Convicts in Prison Hulks Cumberland, Dolphin and Ganymede with indexes from The National Archives.

  • Uniquely this release allows you the ability to search for victims of the crime (Over 132,000)
  • Hunt for people using their name or alias, or look for an offence
  • See images of the pages from the books and registers that reveal even more fascinating information about the individual

As these records cover a vast range of transgressions we are able to find men and women who stole small items such as shirts, potatoes, boots etc. We can also discover people who had married bigamously, forged money, uttered a counterfeit half-crown, burgled, murdered or were accused of many more other crimes. One example of a number of unusual offences found in TheGenealogist’s new release, is that of Christian Crane, tried in February 1811 – ‘Being a person of evil fame and a reputed thief’ was adjudged to be ‘a rogue and vagabond’.

These records, joining those already available within TheGenealogist’s Court & Criminal collection, will reveal the sentence of the court handed out to our ancestors. Judgements can be seen to vary massively from a fine, a short imprisonment in Newgate, a public whipping, a longer spell inside, or the ultimate sanction of death.

Newgate Prison

Other ancestors were sentenced to be ‘transported beyond the seas’ and TheGenealogist already has many registers of convicts sent to Australia between 1787 and 1867. Joining them in this new release are the ADM 6 records for convicts who were waiting to begin their voyage to the penal colonies in Australia and were locked up on a number of Prison Hulks.

You can search for your lawless ancestor at www.thegenealogist.co.uk

Or see the article I wrote for them after I was able to do some research in the new records:
https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles

 

 

 

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Genealogy-art.com for your own beautiful family tree

Genealogy Art stand at the WDYTYA? LIVE 2017
Genealogy Art stand at the WDYTYA? LIVE 2017

It was a pleasure, while gathering new ideas from the stands at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show at the NEC, to come across Wladimir Carlos Ledochowski and his Genealogy Art stand. I like to find new ways to display my research into my ancestors and this exhibitor certainly demonstrated how he can take a person’s research and turn it into really beautiful family tree.

Wladimir was promoting his work to the visiting family historians at the show and I got him to explain a bit more about the number of products that he offers that can help you display your family tree in such an attractive way. Watch the video here or contact him via his website at www.genealogy-art.com.

 

 

 

If you are still completing your research into your English or Welsh ancestors then before creating your family tree do make sure that you have got the most details gathered that you can.

Nick, The Nosey Genealogist, who carried out this interview, has an extremely well received family history course that can quickly give you the tools to track down your ancestors. Check out the links in the sidebar to the right of this page to pay in US, Canadian, Australian or New Zealand Dollars or buy in sterling with this link: www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/trialoffer

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Living DNA – I find out more from David Nicholson M.D. of Living DNA

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

At the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show recently I got to talk to the MD of Living DNA, David Nicholson.

 

This video is a great way of finding out more about the DNA test for ancestry offered by this new entry into the market. This company offers a three in one test that is causing a great deal of interest for its ability to give a sub-regional breakdown of results and so show the regions within a country that our ancestors came from.

 

Their product provides us with an opportunity to really get to learn about where our ancestors came from using the latest advance in genomic research. A Living DNA Test is perfect for advancing your knowledge on your own personal DNA, while offering the most detailed DNA test to look at your ancestry through history. A Living DNA Test takes you on a journey back through your family history which has never been possible before.

 

 

Click here to  Check out Living DNA


Disclosure: Compensated affiliate links used above.

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Middlesex Colour Tithe Maps and fascinating Quarter Session Records released by TheGenealogist

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

TheGenealogist is adding to its Court & Criminal records by publishing online a new collection of Quarter Session rolls and books from Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Surrey and Middlesex covering dates from as far back as the 16th century and up to, in some cases, the Victorian period.

 

Also released at this time are the Middlesex Colour Tithe Maps to join the grayscale maps of the National Tithe records already available on TheGenealogist. This latest issue covers parishes in the County of Middlesex and will allow researchers to view the plots where their ancestors may have owned or occupied land at the time of the survey which took place at the start of Victoria’s reign.

New Brentford Colour Tithe Map on TheGenealogistThe Quarter Session records were produced by local courts traditionally held at four set times each year. Being made up of two or more justices of the peace and presided over by a chairman, they sat with a jury at Epiphany (in January), Easter (March/April), Midsummer (June/July) and then at Michaelmas (September/October).

 

  • Find the names of people before the courts that include those indicted, witnesses, as well as the names of the Justices of the Peace and the Clerks
  • Some of the earliest records in this release reach as far back as 1549 for Middlesex and 1591 in Worcester
  • Indictments can range across a wide number of offences. These include Larceny, Housebreaking, Assault and Riot, Running Unlicensed Alehouses, Receiving Rogues and Not Going to Church on Sunday

 

We may be amazed at some of the cases that came before the magistrates. One example we found was in 1613, before the Worcestershire Justices, where Margaret Lewys stole ‘an old towell’ at Feckenham. Other proceedings include one involving Daniel Steane who was fined 20s at a private session at Wolston, Warwickshire in 1631. His indictment was for ‘selling less than a full quart of his best ale for a penny’ –  showing us that consumers, back then, were equally as concerned with short measures of alcohol as they are today.

 

Searching these new records, for your ancestors, may also find them appearing in the many Orders handed down by the JPs. These can include the names of people at the bottom rung of society who were in need of financial help from their communities. An example of such, from the Easter 1625 session in Warwickshire, is the case of Anne Harte of Hampton in Arden. Her husband having been ‘pressed for a soldier out of this county and have left her destitute of maintenance and one child’, the Justices of the Quarter Sessions made an order to the effect that Hampton in Arden pay her 4d weekly and find her work; plus, if she were to get sick, the parish officials were to pay her more ‘until this court take order to the contrary’.

 

Orders for the upkeep of illegitimate children can also be found in these records. In Michaelmas 1632, Katherine Singleton was to have ‘10s out of the treasury towards the keeping of a bastard child’ that had been left with her by a man who had promised to pay her to look after the child and had not returned.

 

From riotous Luddites to the gentry sitting on the bench, all echelons of society can be found in these fully searchable Quarter Session records for Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Surrey and Middlesex. To search these and the many other records, including the National Tithe Records on TheGenealogist, go to: www.thegenealogist.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: Compensated affiliate links are used in this piece

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3 tips for finding lost ancestors

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

Family History Researcher Academy My research this week has hit a number of the inevitable brick walls that most family history researchers find litter the path to seeking out our elusive ancestors in the records.

I know just how frustrating it can be when we are trying to add people to our family tree and the wretched people just don’t seem to be anywhere to be found.

If you find yourself in that situation then my advice to you is, 1 – Don’t panic! 2 – Take a deep breath and 3 – Take a step back.

I was asked to write a piece for TheGenealogist on the actor Sir Ian McKellen to be live on their website before the Who Do You Think You Are? programme went out.

The very first thing I did was to see if I could find his birth in the General Register Office (GRO) birth records. To my frustration he was not there!

What did I do? I calmly considered what was the likelihood of him not being recorded, against there having been a mistake made in the records (I didn’t panic, or curse the online portal that I was using). I took a deep breath (point 2) and ran the same search at a second site to see if the record would be returned there. Unfortunately, there was no sign of him there either. It was time to take a step back (tip 3).

Often, when we can not find an ancestor, it can be for the reason that some sort off error has crept into the data; or the record was incorrectly written down at the time it was created. A little lateral thinking and Ian McKellen was eventually found to have been mistakenly recorded in the GRO Index for the April-June quarter of 1939 under the surname McKellar.

This neatly illustrates what can happen in the official birth, marriages and death records, as well as in other sources. The birth would have been reported to a local registrar shortly after Ian McKellen was born on the 25 May, 1939. Perhaps the writing was not clear at that stage? With census records, or baptisms, we have to also consider that the official, such as a census enumerator or the vicar in the church, misheard the name.

Even if the surname had been given correctly to the local registrar and faithfully noted in their records, they would have copied their information and sent it on to the GRO – did they make a mistake at that stage? Or was it when the GRO collated it into the index that most of us will use to order a certificate from?

Another stage that mistakes can happen, although not in this particular case, is when these indexes go online. The website will have created a transcription of the data in order that their search engine can find the entries when we type a name into their search box.

This week I came across an example of a transcription error, one that can be easily forgiven when I opened up the image of the census to see a florid capital J that looked exactly like an S. I was searching for someone with the first and middle names of Frederick and John. For some reason, however, they had been enumerated by only their initials F.J. and then their surname. The top of the J had a short twist to the right and nothing to the left so making it look for all the world like an S.

My advice for family history researchers, who are having difficulty finding their ancestors in the records, is to stop; breathe; and think. Consider the possibility that your ancestor really is there in the records, just not quite correctly recorded as you, or probably they, would have liked.

 

 

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Compensated affiliate links have been used on this page

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5 favourite map resources for family history

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

By William Westley (Source) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Plan of Birmingham By William Westley (Source) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I love looking at maps, when it comes to thinking about my ancestors and working out where they lived.

I know that I am not alone in this, but that other people just don’t seem to get it.

What is it that we, who find maps interesting, see in them?

For me it is seeing the layout of places compared to how they have developed today, for one.

I also love the ability to sometimes be able to work out why an ancestor lived where they did – perhaps it is the nearness of an industry, or some other place of work, that becomes blindingly obvious when you find that their street was a five minute walk from the factory or the dockyard where your rope-maker ancestor was employed.

I find it exciting to see how, in 1731, people who lived in Birmingham would have had a five minute walk from the centre of their town to see countryside. That there were fields on the other side of the road to St Philips’ Church (now the Cathedral) and there was no Victoria Square, Town hall or the Council House at the top of New Street and that Colmore Row was then called New Hill Lane!

detail from By William Westley (Source) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Birmingham 1731

 

Maps can be very useful for the researcher, looking into their family tree and so I have put together my personal list of the top five resources that I would recommend.

 

In reverse order…

Number 5: The Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers.   The maps in this book can help you identify contiguous parishes to your ancestors’ parish. Useful when you have a brick wall finding christenings, marriages and burials of your kin in their original parish, consider looking at the surrounding area and researching in the neighbouring parish records to see if you can find them.

The Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish RegistersThe Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers

 

Number 4: The Interactive Bomb Map of London online at bombsight.org.

The Bomb Sight Project has scanned original 1940s bomb census maps, geo-referenced the maps and digitally captured the geographical locations of all the falling bombs recorded and made it available online. You can use their interactive map to explore and search for different bomb locations all over London. I have used it to find where an ancestor’s shop was on the street. As a post war building now stands on the site I wondered if it had been destroyed in the blitz. Using this application I was able to discover that it had indeed been destroyed by a German bomb.

You can click on individual bombs on the map and find out information relating to the neighbouring area by reviewing contextual images and also read memories from the Blitz.

www.bombsight.org consulted 19th July 2015 v 1.0www.bombsight.org

 

Number 3: FamilySearch’s maps at   http://maps.familysearch.org

When I am trying to find out which other Church of England parishes exist in an area, as an online alternative to the Phillimores (mentioned above), I often use the maps.familysearch.org resource. It can be useful if you want to discover which county a parish is in, which diocese it is part of, or which civil registration region it was in. You can also use the drop down menu to find its rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, C of E province (Canterbury or York) or division.

maps.familysearch.orgmaps.familysearch.org

 

Number 2: National Library of Scotland NLS Maps

This website gives you access to over 160,000 maps from all the countries of the United Kingdom and not just Scotland! With maps dating from between 1560 and 1964 this is one of my ‘go to’ websites when I want to see a map of a place that my ancestors lived. I often turn to a map over laid on a modern map or satellite view or chose to view an old map side by side with a modern version.

http://www.nls.uk/http://maps.nls.uk/

 

Number 1: National Tithe Maps online via TheGenealogist.co.uk

My top map resource is that of the collection of surviving tithe maps that have been digitised by TheGenealogist for the ability to often find ancestors actual plots of land and houses from the time of the tithe survey (1837 to the mid 1850s and sometimes later when an altered apportionment map was drawn up). While the accompanying Tithe Apportionment books detail the land that they either owned or occupied, these records can be so revealing as to where our forbears lived and whether they had some land to grow produce or keep animals. All levels of society are included and surprisingly some streets in major cities were included. The collection covers approximately 75% of England & Wales – as a minority of land was not subject to tithes by this time.

Tithe map of Ealing MiddlesexTheGenealogist.co.uk

 


Disclosure – I do have a business relationship with TheGenealogist as I write articles on using their records and resources that can be found in family history magazines such as Discover Your Ancestors, Your Family History and Family Tree for which I receive remuneration. Not withstanding this fact I stand by my selection of the tithe maps as my personal number one map resource for the ability to use them to discover the plot where an ancestor lived and what they may have grown there.

In addition some, but not all, of the links in this post are compensated affiliate links.

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TreeView 2 is released by S&N Genealogy Supplies

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

 

Just in time for Christmas comes the release of TreeView 2.

Check out the press release from the team at S&N:

Leading family history publisher S&N Genealogy Supplies have just released TreeView 2, the next version of their popular family history software package specially designed for U.K. family historians.

treeview-2-tree1

TreeView stores your family tree on your PC or Mac with the option to easily sync your tree with TreeView.co.uk and its free iOS and Android app, allowing you to keep your family history at your fingertips. Privacy options for your online tree allow you to retain complete control over your research.

TreeView has many powerful features including:
● Sync your tree between the software and all of your mobile devices.
● Display your tree in a variety of different ways including pedigree, family, ancestors, descendants, hourglass, fan and even a full tree view.
● Create beautiful charts and detailed reports in seconds.
● Attach facts, notes, images, addresses, sources and citations to your ancestors.
● View your entire tree on screen, or zoom in to a single ancestor.
● Quickly discover how people in your tree are related using the relationship calculator.
● Identify anomalies in your data with the problem finder.
● Map out your ancestors lives with map view.
● Import or export your family tree using the GEDCOM standard.

treeview-2-tree

Powerful New Features in Version 2
● Linked charting
● Click to focus
● Extra charting features
● 5 new customisable reports types
● Enhanced individual report
● Drag and drop mapping
● Improved search

The new linked charting feature is a great time saver – when you reopen a chart you will be given the option to update it to include any new changes that you have made, such as date or place changes to events.

Whilst using the Tree Views you can click to focus on any person to shift the emphasis on the tree displayed. The person chosen will then become the main focal point of the page.

As well as customising the types of charts, text size, background colours and images, extra charting features have been added so you can now customise the font and colour of the text, along with the colour of the boxes, borders and connections.

Adding to the original report facilities (Individual, Family & Narrative reports), TreeView now comes with a range of new customisable report types, including Address List, Birthday/Anniversary List, Missing Information Report, Descendant Report, printer-friendly Pedigree Chart and a handy blank Pedigree Chart to fill in when out and about researching. All of these reports can be exported in PDF or RTF formats.

The individual report (Which outputs all the details about a person) now supports multiple individuals, so you can select one person and add ancestors, descendants, both or even select your own list of people to include.

The new drag and drop mapping feature allows you to pinpoint an exact place on a map where an event occurred. Co-ordinates for the places you tag are saved and can be exported in GEDCOM files.

The improved search enables you to look for common attributes among your ancestors. You can now search your entire database using keywords, for example “Baker” would find the word in a name, fact, note, etc.

TreeView 2 is a powerful and easy to use family tree program. You can sync to the cloud and your mobile devices. TreeView’s privacy options allow you to keep full control of your data when storing your tree in the cloud.

smith-family-treeview-s

TreeView 2 Premium Edition (£39.95) – Includes:
○ Full TreeView 2 program
○ Quick Start Guide
○ 4 Month Diamond Subscription to TheGenealogist.co.uk (Worth £59.95!)
○ Cassell’s Gazetteer of Great Britain & Ireland 1893 (Worth £16.95!)
○ Imperial Dictionary of Universal Biography (Worth £16.95!)
○ English, Welsh & Scottish Landowners 1873 (Worth £36.90!)
○ Irish Landowners 1876 (Worth £12.95!)

Upgrade to TreeView 2 today for only £14.95

Go to TreeView.co.uk to find out more.

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