Three Mistakes People Make Researching in the English/Welsh Birth Records

 

I’ve been a bit busy today putting together some short videos for my students and haven’t thought about a blog post.

Then it struck me that perhaps I should share one of the videos from the series here as well… so this is a raw video that I have just done on ‘3 mistakes people make when they begin researching in the BMD records collections of England and Wales‘.

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

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 https://goo.gl/7Jzbzh for details. You can also find your nearest Family History Center by starting at: https://familysearch.org/locations/.

If you do not know where to start, I would suggest reading “Begin your genealogy quest” at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Begin_your_genealogy_quest 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: https://blog.eogn.com/2016/10/21/are-you-missing-most-of-the-available-genealogy-information/

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TheGenealogist are launching over 220 million US records

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 http://paidforadvertising.co.uk/

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Was your ancestor a Medieval Soldier of the King?

battle-of-agincourt

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 www.medievalsoldier.org. 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

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The ScotlandsPeople website relaunched

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: www.ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk

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…

 

tracing-your-scottish-ancestors

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:
http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-Scottish-Ancestors-Paperback/p/6132

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

http://paidforadvertising.co.uk/

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