Genealogy can be frustrating.

Sometimes genealogy can be very frustrating! You can use all the correct procedures to find your ancestors in the data bases and yet they still stubbornly remain hidden from you. A vital document has been destroyed or lost sometime long ago and this vital link in the chain is broken and you are left floundering around wondering where to turn next.

This weekend, 24th to 26th February, I had hoped to be able to visit the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show at Olympia and to report back to my readers on the latest in techniques for carrying forward our research, advice from some of the experts that I would have interviewed on video, new databases to search and news from the subscription sites. Regretfully I have been foiled by a bank of fog in the English Channel that has cancelled flights from my home in Jersey to London since Thursday!

A huge disappointment for me that my travel plans were scuppered, but this got me thinking about just how easy we modern travellers normally have it. So what if I have been hanging around for three fruitless days waiting for my half-an-hour flight to the capital, that never materialised? In the past our ancestors travel was often long, sometimes dangerous and undertaken with some trepidation. I am hugely impressed by some of my seafaring ancestors that braved storms, disease and long periods separated from home and family. What this does is bring into context the pitifully small inconvenience to me that I have lost the chance to do something that I had been so looking forward to. Yes I am fed up, but I believe that I am so lucky to be living today, with all the conveniences I have, even when sometimes they just don’t or can’t operate.

Having said that, however, this still doesn’t detract from the deep fascination that I have with my forebears and their past.

So what has been happening at the WDYTYA? LIVE show?

Ancestry.co.uk

I noticed that Ancestry.co.uk has been streaming live from their theatre in the show this year. Unfortunately the download speed has given me some problems, so that I couldn’t watch the reports properly.

 

Findmypast.co.uk

Findmypast.co.uk announced that we are now able to search 359,000 records of Merchant Navy Seamen for the period 1835-1857 on their site. These 19th century Merchant Navy records become available online for the first time with this brightsolid company’s work in association with The National Archives.

The background to the records is that from 1835, the central government started to monitor a potential reserve of sailors for the Royal Navy, which resulted in the creation of thousands of records that identify individual seamen. The information that these records hold about any of your potential ancestors will obviously vary. Normally, however, they include the name, age, place of birth, a physical description, the name of ship and dates of voyages that the mariner served on. This release adds to the 20th century Merchant Navy Seamen records, which were already published on findmypast.co.uk in September 2011. This means you can now search two centuries of records for your Merchant Navy Seamen ancestors, making it possible for you to trace their service over time.

 

 TheGenealogist.co.uk

Nigel Bayley of The Genealogist.co.ukNigel Bayley Managing Director of The Genealogist.co.uk talking to me at WDYTYA?LIVE last year.

TheGenealogist.co.uk have now released full transcripts for the final eight counties in the 1911 census.

The release of these counties brings the total number of records to over 36 million on their site and completes the 1911 census project. These census records, only available to Diamond subscribers, have been integrated into their existing search tools, so that you are now able to access the transcripts using their very useful House and Street search tool, their Keyword Master search and also their Family Forename search. This can help enormously to track down ancestors in this set.

Take your family history further by considering a subscription to these websites:

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

 



Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by Findmypast.co.uk or The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for their subscriptions.

 

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WDYTYA? LIVE is nearly here!

Who Do You Think You Are? Live is now just a few days away, and I am looking forward to seeing what the organisers promises to be “the biggest family history event the country has ever seen”.

The show takes place this weekend (24-26 February) in Olympia, London, and as ever will bring together exhibitors and organisations from the world of genealogy.

One of the biggest attractions that they promise at this year’s show will be the Irish section. So any of you out there with roots from the Emerald Isle should pop along to Olympia and discover some creative techniques to uncover new connections in that country that has always been just a little bit difficult to do research in before.

I’m also very much looking forward to the popular Celebrity Theatre which will see talks from the likes of actors Larry Lamb and Emilia Fox, and presenter Richard Madeley.

For those of us that are interested in our ancestor’s occupations the new section called Our Walking Past reveals ancestors’ trades to visitors. In the press release that I saw it promises that whether our forebears worked down a mine or owned it, built ships or sailed on them, we’re sure to find invaluable information from the experts on hand.

On Saturday there is the chance to book oneself a seat for the new Keynote Workshop which is due to start at 1pm. This informative talk will focus on recent issues in the world of genealogy, specifically the advancement of social media and how it can help you with your research.

Also to look out for are the Military Pavilion and the Society of Genealogists’ Workshop Programme of  experts advice and demonstrations and you can find a complete schedule at www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com. Make sure you book yourself a place on the one you want as they tend to fill up quickly. The website and show Facebook page also have all the latest news, as well as great competitions and offers.

Who Do you Think You Are? LIVE 2011
Who Do you Think You Are? LIVE 2011

 

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A Family Tree Brick Wall

I have spent some time this weekend with one of my Family tree’s brick wall. An ancestor who is important for me to get further back in my paternal line.

John Thorn turns up in the Devon city of Plymouth and marries Sarah Branton, a local girl, in the year 1794 and whisks her off to Dartmouth. Very soon after their son, also called John, is born and baptised in Dartmouth’s St Saviour Parish. From this I made the assumption that perhaps the elder John was from Dartmouth. In the Parish records for Plymouth, Charles the Martyr, he gives away only that he was a mariner, but not of which parish he was from.

So I start to use the online resources available to me to try and find John Thorn in the parish records for the churches in Dartmouth; but with a common Devon name I can’t absolutely identify the baptisms or deaths that look likely candidates for this forebear of mine.

I then used the Hugh Wallis site to look inside batches of parish records from the IGI on the familyseach site. This really useful tool is back up and working, having been disabled when the LDS revamped their website in 2011. Now I was able to specify which batch to look at for the Parish of St Saviour Dartmouth and so I discovered some of the christenings of the other children born to John and Sarah and even that one of these children went on to have a child in 1816 which takes the mother’s surname with all that that implies!

The other use that I put the Hugh Wallis gateway to the IGI to was to see if I could find the marriages of the Thorn girls in the parish by selecting a batch number, as provided by Hugh Wallis’ site and then entering their surname into the Spouse box. Regretfully I have not found any, which seems to indicate they may well have moved on from the town to live elsewhere. While my 3 x great grandfather stayed and was buried in the town, I am still looking for what happened to his parents and siblings.

Not withstanding this result for me this time, the use of Hugh Wallis’ site, in the way I described, may well help others to break down a brick wall or two. So if you haven’t tried it before, I do commend it to you.

Hugh Wallis online

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Brick Walls in Family Tree Research

I was reading a newsletter, from someone I respect, in a completely different field of interest from family history this weekend. In it he was talking about obstacles in the paths of people that are trying to achieve something, whether it was in sports, business or any other pursuit.

Nick James runs a membership site that caters for people that want to run an internet marketing business and in this week’s tip he recalled advice that a life coach had given him to physically write down your stumbling block in a paragraph or two and then to draw a little picture next to it. The picture could be a fence, a brick wall or whatever you chose to depict the problem that you face.

The idea behind this is that by so doing the brick wall no longer exists as a theoretical problem. It now takes on a concrete form that you can now deal with. I have a special note book into which I enter my problem ancestors and this acts in very much the same way for me.

In my family tree I have various lines that seem blocked and so I decided to tackle one of them this week end by seeking the help of an expert and talking through the problem with them. Now I did this by making use of the excellent facility of a telephone consultation provided by the Society of Genealogists’ Family History Advice Line on 020 7490 8911. It is available on Saturdays: 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm and also on Thursdays: 6pm-7.45pm. I came away with ideas for further investigation that just might help me unlock the problem that I have of an ancestor whose occupation in the marriage register was a mariner. He turned up in a maritime city and married a local girl (of this parish) but did not provide posterity with any clue as to his parish or where he had sailed in from!

Society of Genealogists

At the end of this month Who Do You Think You Are? Live returns to Olympia from the 24th to 26th February and one of the popular benefits of attending this event is the the Society of Genealogists Family History Show will be part of the weekend. Apart from the talks given there is a fantastic chance to book some time with an expert who can help you look at ways to tackle your obstinate brick wall. A chance to speak one-to-one with a local, regional or specialist expert may be what is needed to allow you to get through your brick wall.

For more useful tips to research your Family Tree then download my Kindle book by using the button in the box below.

 

Disclosure: The links in this post are Compensated Affiliate links. If you decide to buy the product I may receive a commission.

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