Your Family Tree Magazine Features Channel Islands

 

Your Family Tree Magazine

 

Hooray! This month’s Your Family Tree Magazine ( May 2013 Issue 129) has a feature on uncovering your Channel Island kin and it is very good.

Naturally, as a local – I am a Jersey-born resident of this most southerly point in the British Isles – I was immediately attracted to this article. I flicked through to page 34, as soon as I opened my copy.

You may have noticed that I say above “I am Jersey-born” and not that “I am a Jerseyman”. This is because, when you live here, you become aware of certain linguistic conventions that we islanders abide by.

To be regarded as a proper Jerseyman I would need to have not only been born here, but to have come from a line of Jerseymen and women that have roots here stretching back several generations. It is also best that those roots can be traced to nearby Normandy and that your name has a French origin to it. My roots and name just do not qualify!

I am the son of incomers, my father is English, and my Norman blood is courtesy of an ancestor called de la Haye who emigrated to Scotland from Normandy, around the 12th century, established the Clan Hay and has filtered down to me here.

I can, however, and do claim to be a local.

 

Within this blog I have several pages written by guest contributor James McLaren of the Channel Islands Family History Society that will complement the YFT magazine’s feature. Take a look at Jersey Family History for tips on researching in Jersey.

For the record, here in Jersey is how we refer to what goes on within our island. Locals may wince if you refer to “researching  your family history on Jersey”. We are, after all, a separate legislative jurisdiction.

We do owe allegiance to the English Crown – the successor to the Dukedom of Normandy and are British. We do not owe allegiance to England, nor are we part of the United Kingdom. We are a Crown Peculiar. So to avoid annoying Channel Islanders, do not insinuate that we are loyal to England, and then you will find that we are a friendly and welcoming bunch.

When I was a schoolboy, here in Jersey, I learnt  a splendid repost to someone from the Mainland asking: “So how long have the islands belonged to England?”

The answer always was: “I think you will find that we conquered you in 1066.”

The logic behind this is that the Channel Islands are the last remaining part of the Duchy of Normandy that remains loyal to our Duke, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. That as Normans we conquered the English with Duke William. Simple!

 

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1911 Census on ancestry.co.uk – Improved!

1911 ancestry onlineAncestry has made two major improvements to their 1911 Census making it even better in the search for your family’s past.

First of all they’ve released brand new record images, which include the ‘Infirmity’ column that was previously hidden. You can now see if any of your relatives were deaf or blind, or coped with a mental illness while searching on their site.

Plus, they’ve linked the records to their UK Maps, 1896-1904, supplied by Cassini Historical Maps so once you’ve found your family in the Census, you can jump straight to a map revealing the area they lived in.

Search the 1911 Census
 

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Great-Uncle Clifford’s Unfortunate Death Covered in the Papers

British Neswpaper Collection

I have been aware for some time that my grandfather’s younger brother died when he was only a young man. He is buried in the family’s plot in Paignton cemetery and from the memorial words on his grave it would seem it was tragic.

I recall that a family story had it that a motorbike was involved, and naturally some of the family had assumed that he was riding said motorcycle at his death.

My father, however, knew differently and explained that his Uncle Clifford had been killed when a motorbike had hit him as he stood in the road.

This week I have been looking on the British Newspaper Collection again, from within the findmypast site and was able to find a report in the Exeter & Plymouth Gazette of 31st July 1923 that reported on the accident. It also provided me with a little bit more information that I was previously ignorant of; that his occupation was a dental mechanic.

Another paper (Western Morning News of the 3rd August) gave me the names of those mourners that attended the funeral in St Andrew’s Paignton including those who are listed as uncles, aunts and cousins so giving more useful information for the family historian.

I really do recommend you taking a look at newspapers either on the dedicated British Newspaper Archives site, whose search engine seems to me identify a broader set of results than the sister site.

Or within the findmypast website if you have a subscription.

I am putting together a family history course of my own and will be certainly covering the usefulness of researching your ancestors in the newspapers of the time.

 

If you would like more tips on researching your English or Welsh Family History then why not sign up for my tips and a special FREE report using the box below…

 

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585,000 new Parish records on findmypast.co.uk and Anzac day free access at findmypast.com.au

585,000 new Parish records added to findmypast

 

I have heard from the nice people at family history website findmypast that they have added new Kent baptisms, banns, marriages & burials to their parish records collection in partnership with Kent Family History Society, making it even easier to find your local ancestors. The latest release includes records from Maidstone, Sittingbourne, Ashford & Rochester in addition to 131 smaller parishes.  They cover an extensive period of history from 1538 to 2006, allowing family historians to discover and add even more generations to their family tree.

 

Paul Nixon, Content Licensing Manager at findmypast commented “These new records are a fantastic resource for anyone eager to uncover their Kentish heritage. In combination with our recent addition of East Kent and Canterbury material, findmypast is definitely the go-to place when it comes to family history in the south east.”

 

The new records have joined over 40 million parish records from UK family history societies available on findmypast in an exclusive partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies that started in 2007.

 

Jean Skilling of Kent Family History Society added “The Kent Family History Society (www.kfhs.org.uk) is delighted to be working in partnership with findmypast.  We hope our indices will be of help to everyone tracing their Kentish ancestry.”

 

The records are available to search online now as part of findmypast’s vast collection of parish records, and can be viewed with PayAsYouGo credits, a Britain Full subscription or a World subscription.

 

While we are looking at the brightsolid group, for anybody with antipodean links then you may be interested in this information that I have been reading.

 

Free access to findmypast.com.au’s entire Military collection of 3.6 million records in memory of Anzac day!

 

Findmypast.com.au gives FREE access to Military records for Anzac Day!

To commemorate, Anzac Day, findmypast.com.au are giving away free access to 3.6 million Military records between 22-26 April 2013. Find your military ancestors completely free!

Also read heroic stories, photos, diary entries, poems, words of appreciation and articles by military experts in honour of Anzac Day.
 


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So My Ancestor Raced a Sailing Cutter Yacht

British Newspaper ArchiveI have been having a nose around the British Newspaper Archive Collection again this week on its stand alone website as well as its home within the findmypast site.

I was looking for information on a great-great-uncle who died young (30) after a fall from a cliff. While I didn’t come up with a family notice of his death I found an article in the Isle of Wight Observer for May 19th, 1866 under the notices for the Royal Victoria Yacht Club that I found interesting.

After detailing that the Commodore’s splendid yacht had arrived at the station on Tuesday and then listing the twelve yachts on station, having got the important notices out of the way they then add a line or two about the man I was researching.

“It is with great regret that we hear that W.W.F.Hay esq., fell overboard from his cutter yacht the Surge, at Alderney, and lost his life. His remains will be interned tomorrow (Saturday). On receipt of the melancholy intelligence, the flag at the club was hoisted half-mast high.”

Well, their information was not quite correct, as reported elsewhere. William Wemyss Frewen Hay died when he went ashore at Alderney to have dinner with the officers at the garrison there and lost his footing while returning to the breakwater and where his yacht was anchored.

This, however, got me looking for information on the clipper yacht called the Surge and the first article I turned up made me think that she was not such a good racing boat at all. She retired from a race around the Solent having no chance of gaining the lead in August 1865.

Further articles, however, have her mentioned in a good light.. “Some dozen clippers have already been entered including the celebrated Surge (W.W.F.Hay Esq), the Water Lilly, yawl, (Commodore Lord A Paget, MP.) etc” which does not sound like she was an also ran.

I wonder what the yacht looked like and how many crew she required to sail her?

There are also other questions I have about Willaim, who at the time of his death in the May, according to another article, was due to be married in July of that same year. I would like to find out who his bride to be was, but so far no mention of the lady has appeared in my trawl of the newspapers.

As more titles are added all the time this situation may indeed change. I keep coming back to this resource as it is so useful to family historians.


Disclosure: The above are compensated affiliate links.

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Love to Learn

love to learn onlineI’ve been road testing a family history course aimed at beginners this week from Love to Learn. It focuses on informal learning for people beginning to research their family trees and is extremely accessible for active seniors and adult learners with a computer.

The courses are designed for those who enjoy discovering new interests and acquiring knowledge – people who, as the name implies, love to learn.

I liked the video introductions and the multiple choice review at the end of each module.

Love to Learn is the UK’s first dedicated website that offers a wide range of online courses for adults who want to keep learning, in an informal way, in their own time, at their own pace.

How can it help you?

Two of its most popular courses help to trace your ancestors and build up a visual record of their old photographs. These are:

Scanning and Editing your Old photos and

Family History.

This beginners’ online course helps you start exploring a fascinating field that, as most of you have probably already found, soon becomes a passion. It enables you to research your family history using internet resources including census, military and parish records.

Most people can trace their family back several generations, and some of us can even go back hundreds of years. However far you go, if you are just starting out, or know someone in this category, then this may be the perfect way to start discovering family’s stories.

The course is run in partnership with the experts from Imperial War Museums and Ancestry.co.uk and is led by history author and former teacher, John Child, its video tutor, and draws on his John’s own experiences of researching his ancestors. Mel Donnelly of Imperial War Museums has researched family and military history for 20 years. She helps you find out about people who fought in the British Army.

As you learn you’ll create your personal album for your family’s enjoyment and fascination. The course costs £38.00 and provides eight to ten hours on online learning. For more information, please go to http://www.lovetolearn.co.uk/family-history

 Disclosure: I was supplied with a complimentary copy of this course to review by the publishers, but with no conditions attached.

 

 

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