Our English Ancestors pronounced English very differently

Imaginary_view_of_an_Elizabethan_stage

Imaginary view of an Elizabethan stage

By C. Walter Hodges [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

I came across this interesting video by David Crystal and his son, actor Ben Crystal. In it they look at the differences between English pronunciation as we would speak it today and compare it with how it was spoken 400 years ago.

As family historians we are often told how English spelling was a lot more fluid in past times and that not all our ancestors would have known how to spell their surnames, thus they seem to disappear from the records. We are also warned that the clergy and local registrars may have written our ancestor’s names into the registers etc. spelling these as they had thought that they had heard them, especially when so many of our forebears couldn’t read or write. In my Family History Researcher Course I explain how to consider how a name may have sounded in the local accent.

Now in this video we are told that in Elizabethan and Jacobean times the pronunciation of the language written by Shakespeare was quite different from modern English. Watch this video below to see and hear how it sounded back then and how it makes more sense of some of his pieces.  It is truly fascinating how language evolves!

 


 

Find your elusive ancestors in the online and offline records. Discover where to look and what records sets to use in the English/Welsh family history course from The Family History Researcher Academy.

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Yorkshire Family History Fair – Saturday 2nd July

Yorkshire Family History Fair

Saturday 2nd July 2016Yorkshire Family History Fair

10am to 4.30pm

The Knavesmire Exhibition Centre, The Racecourse, York, YO23 1EX

The second largest Family History Fair in the UK is in its 21st year. With exhibitors from all over the UK and Ireland many family history societies and companies attend each year.

 

You don’t have to have Yorkshire Ancestors to come to this fair – they can be from anywhere at all. Everyone is very welcome and there is lots to see. There is plenty of parking, refreshments are available all day, with exhibitors on two floors and FREE talks held throughout the day.

 

This event is organised by family historians for family historians. Do you really know who you are? Come and find out – you may be surprised.

 

Chose between two great ticket offers on www.yorkshirefamilyhistoryfair.com/

FREE gift when you pre-book tickets Claim your Discover Your Ancestors Issue 4 and Discover Your Ancestors Compendium (worth £17.94) at the show

Or

Buy One Ticket and Get One Free

(offers valid until Wednesday 29th June at midday BST)

See you at The Knavesmire Exhibition Centre, The Racecourse, York, YO23 1EX.

 

Admission: Adults £4.80, Children under 14 FREE

 

For late availability on exhibitor space contact stanley@merridews.freeserve.co.uk

Queue at York Family History Fair

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Norfolk Parish Records now completed by TheGenealogist

This week the team over at TheGenealogist announced the completion of thier project to release fully searchable Norfolk Parish Records online. For anyone with ancestors from this county this is brilliant news.

  • Over 6.23 million new searchable Norfolk Parish Records released in partnership with the Norfolk Record Office
  • This final tranche includes over 5.95 million records for Norfolk
  • Plus more than 276,000 records relating to the boundary areas of Suffolk
  • Adding to the 3.6 million individuals already released earlier

TheGenealogist has successfully completed a project to release over 9.8 million fully searchable records for the registers of baptisms, marriages, marriage banns and burials for Norfolk with images of the original registers.

It is now easier than ever to research Norfolk ancestors in the parish registers of this Eastern English county. With some of the surviving records reaching back as far as the early 1500s, this is a fantastically rich resource for family historians to use for discovering Norfolk ancestors.

Released in partnership with The Norfolk Record Office, the registers of baptisms, marriages, burials and banns of marriage cover the majority of parishes in the Diocese of Norwich. This also includes a number of Suffolk parishes in and near Lowestoft that make up the deanery of Lothingland. Also covered by this release are the parishes in the deanery of Fincham and Feltwell that were part of the Diocese of Ely in south-west Norfolk.

 

 

Examples of famous people to be found in these records include:

Edith Cavell, the First World War Nurse executed by the Germans for treason was born in the South Norfolk village of Swardeston. Her baptism can be found in the register of Swardeston for February 1866 where her father was the vicar and performed the christening ceremony. With a single click family historians can see an image of the actual entry in the parish register.

Edith Cavell baptism on TheGenealogist

 

Edith Cavell’s baptism record in the Norfolk Parish Register on TheGenealogist

 

Likewise, Horatio Nelson – who would grow up to become perhaps Britain’s best known naval hero of all time – was also baptised by his clergyman father. In Nelson’s case it was in the the village of Burnham Thorpe on the North Norfolk coast in 1758.

Nelson's birth record from TheGenealogist.co.ukHoratio Nelson’s baptism 1758 in the Norfolk Parish Registers on TheGenealogist

 

Another British seafaring hero, whose baptism can be found in the Norfolk parish records on TheGenealogist, is Henry George Blogg. He would grow up to become known as the “Greatest of the Lifeboatmen” and be highly decorated. In his case, however, it was not his father that baptised him. His entry in the register reveals a less than auspicious entry of this Norfolk hero into the world – the vicar wrote in the parish register of Cromer that Henry was “base born”. Blogg, however, became a skilled seaman and a lifeboatman. For the many rescues, that he took part in as the coxswain of the Cromer lifeboat, he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution no less than three times and also the RNLI silver medal four times. He was also honoured with the George Cross from the King, the British Empire Medal, and a series of other awards.

Henry Blogg in Cromer Parish Record 1876Norfolk Parish Registers on TheGenealogist: Henry Blogg’s baptism 1876

Five years after his birth, Henry’s mother, Ellen Blogg, married a fisherman called John Davies. It was this stepfather that taught Henry how to fish and the skills that he needed to be a highly competent seafarer. The marriage banns for Henry’s mother and stepfather can be found in the Banns book for the parish, within the new records on TheGenealogist. Their actual marriage can also be found recorded in the parish register for Cromer included in this new release. See the records at: www.thegenealogist.co.uk

Banns of Marriage 1881 Norfolk Parish Records on TheGenealogistBanns of Marriage records from the Norfolk Parish Registers on TheGenealogist

 

 

To search these any countless other useful family history records take a look at TheGenealogist now!

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

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TheGenealogist releases British Telephone Directories, United States WW2 PoWs and more Worcestershire Baptism Transcripts

TheGenealogist has just launched a new collection of British telephone directories. Complementing the early UK Telephone Directory from 1899-1900 that is already available on TheGenealogist, this new release includes the 1907 Post Office National Directory which adds a resource for finding names and addresses before the 1911 census. This directory was published at a time when the telephone was becoming more important to our ancestors. The Post Office’s first coin-operated call box had been installed at London’s Ludgate Circus just the year before, and Trunk (long distance) telephone charges were reduced to half-price for telephone calls made after 7pm and before 7am.

Edwin Ringer old telephone on thegenealogist.co.uk

 

In addition, and at the same time, TheGenealogist has released the 1938 South Wales District Post Office Telephone Directory. The big contrast between this and the earlier directories are that so many more ordinary people had become telephone subscribers. For this reason the directories were by now split up into regions to cope with the large number of names and addresses.

 

  • Containing names and address details for subscribers the telephone directories are a useful resource for discovering ancestors who had a phone
  • Find private names and small businessmen’s addresses. If your ancestor worked as a fishmonger, butcher, ironmonger or bootmaker, then all these and more feature in the fascinating records.
  • The difference between the turn of the century directories and the 1938 South Wales District Directory is marked by the number of new telephone subscribers, so making it possible to find many more ancestor’s names and addresses.

 

In a snapshot example from the 1907 Post Office National Directory we can see that in Cardiff that subscribers included various business including a furniture remover and funeral director, fruit merchants, fishmonger, a commercial traveller and some private individuals.

1907 P O Telephone Cardiff

1907 Post Office National Directory.

 

By the late 1930s the various regions now contained tightly packed names and addresses with many more private subscribers for the family historian to research.

Post Office Telephone Directory Cardiff 1938

1938 Post Office Directory for Cardiff.

 

TheGenealogist has also just released online the United States WWII Prisoner of War records to compliment those that are already online for British and former Empire Prisoners of War of the Germans in WWI and WWII.

  • These new records reveal the names of U.S. military as well as U.S. and some Allied civilians who were prisoners of war and internees
  • Covering the years 1942 – 1947, Prisoners of both Germany and Japan are included in this collection
  • The record for each prisoner provides:
    • Name
    • Casualty status
    • Rank
    • Service number
    • PoW camp
    • Regiment, branch of service or civilian status
    • Home town or place of enlistment
    • Date reported
    • Race
    • State of residence

 

Example

Searching these PoW records we can find Robert  A. “Bob” Hoover, the former air show pilot and United States Air Force test pilot. Known as the “pilot’s pilot”, Hoover transformed aerobatic flying in his time and many in the world of aviation saw him as one of the greatest pilots ever to have lived. In the Second World War he was a fighter pilot.

Bob_Hoover_Photo_D_Ramey_Logan

Robert A “Bob” Hoover by WPPilot (Own work)

[CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

During World War II, Hoover was posted to Casablanca where he test flew the assembled aircraft to ensure that they were ready for service. Later in the war he was re-assigned to the Spitfire-equipped American 52d Fighter Group in Sicily. In 1944, and on his 59th mission of the conflict, his malfunctioning Mark V Spitfire was shot down by a German plane off the coast of Southern France. Taken prisoner, he then spent 16 months at the German prison camp Stalag Luft 1 in Barth, Germany, which we can see from these new records on TheGenealogist.

Robert Hoover PoW on thegenealogistPrisoner of War records on TheGenealogist.

These records are derived from the National Archives and Records Administration, World War II Prisoners of War, 1941-1946.

 

In another record release TheGenealogist have added over 37,450 individuals to their Baptism Transcripts for Worcestershire in partnership with Malvern Family History Society, expanding their coverage and bringing the total to over 2 million individuals. These records range from the years 1544 to 1891.
 

To search these records take a look now at TheGenealogist now.

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Victoria Wood in Discover Your Ancestors

Victoria Wood

In this month’s Discover Your Ancestors online periodical I have had published an article I wrote on the well-loved comedienne Victoria Wood.

I discover that she was descended from a war hero who had been awarded the Croix de Guerre by the King of Belgium and a look at her family shows us that it was made up of a number of determined characters!

I also discover that Victoria had a lonely childhood without friends. If you read my piece I am sure your heart strings will be tugged at to find that, as a child, only one person turned up to her birthday party – all the other kids having better things to do on the day, like playing on their bikes!

I look at an error in the General Register Office records that misspells her mother’s maiden name on Victoria’s birth record. It is a good example of how even official primary records can contain mistakes and a lesson to us all to think creatively when we can’t find someone in the data.

I explain where to find the records, that I made use of to trace the family, so that you could apply the techniques in your own family history research.

We also discover some fascinating facts about her father. He turns out to have a number of more interesting strings to his bow than you might have expected from an average insurance claims inspector.

June edition of Discover Your Ancestors
Click here to check out Discover Your Ancestors

Also in this month’s Discover Your Ancestors Periodical Dr Simon Wills examines the wreck of the SS London 150 years on,  Jocelyn Robson investigates a woman who faked her own death, and there is much much more to read.

Visit their website to buy your copy today.

You can also read some sample articles before you buy (including this one on Victoria Wood) by clicking on the articles tab while you are there! So take a look now at Discover Your Ancestors.

 

 

 

 

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