TheGenealogist Launches Various London Educational Records

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TheGenealogist has this week released a batch of London school and university records to join its ever growing educational collection.

 

Researchers can use this new data to find ancestors who attended or taught at a variety of Educational establishments within London between 1831 and 1927. Also listed are the names of those who held high office in the institutions, such as the patrons; deans; visitors and professors, in the case of universities and the principles, masters and governors in the case of the schools.

This release covers the names of those who graduated from the University of London between 1836 and 1926 – while for King’s College London, it also provides a list of Fellows from 1847 to 1920, registered students for 1920-1921 and those awarded degrees in 1920 and 1921 as well as the prizes given at King’s.

With a number of school records, joining this London release, researchers can also find old boys who served in World War I. For example it is possible to track down men serving with the colours in the Great War in the case of the Old Wilsonians, as listed in The Wilsonian Magazine. For those Old Alleynians and Old Haberdashers, who perished in the war, their names and often a photograph are recorded in the First World War Roll of Honours for both Dulwich College and the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hampstead School.

The list of records included in this release are

  • University of London Historical Record 1836-1926
  • The Skylark Magazine from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hampstead School 1918
  • The Wilsonian Magazine April 1914-April 1919
  • University College School, London Register 1831-1891
  • Royal College Of Chemistry, Royal School Of Mines And Royal College Of Science Register Of Associates
  • Record of Old Westminsters Vols 1 and 2 earliest times -1927
  • King’s College, London Calendar 1921-1922
  • Dulwich College War Record 1914-1919

These records and more are available at TheGenealogist.co.uk

 

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ExampleLondon Educational records on TheGenealogist

 

CAPTAIN JOHN DUDLEY WHYTE of the 8th Service Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, was born on the 5th July, 1890. He attended Dulwich School between 1902-8 and after this he went up to London University, having obtained an Andrew’s Scholarship at University College, and shortly afterwards he was awarded a Law Society Studentship.

Like many of his generation, his life was cut short in action during the First World War. Who knows what he may have made of his life, but by using a combination of two of the newly released records we are able to discover his achievements in his earlier life.

The Dulwich College Roll of Honour includes a picture of the deceased officer in uniform and a potted history of his academic and military career. We learn that at University College, London in 1910 he was awarded a Scholarship in English History, and also a Scholarship for Research in History. The school’s roll of honour tells us that in 1912 he took his B.A. degree with honours in History.

By then searching for him in the University of London Historical Record 1836-1926, also made available by TheGenealogist in this new release, we find John Dudley Whyte listed among the students in 1912 awarded a Second Class Bachelor of Arts (Internal) degree in History. By continuing to search further within the University of London records we locate his name again in 1913, now as an external student of the University College and London Day Training College. This would point to him training to be a teacher as that was the purpose of the London Day Training College which, by that date, was a school of the University of London. The start of World War I ended that path for him. The Dulwich College Roll of Honour explains that ‘being a member of the London University Miners Training Corps he obtained a commission in September, 1914, as 2nd Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, and trained at Colchester, being promoted temporary Lieutenant in November. When the 8th Battalion was converted to a Pioneer Battalion he transferred and was promoted temporary Captain in January, 1915. In May, 1915, he moved to Salisbury Plain and crossed to France in July. For some months his company was engaged on forestry work behind the lines with the 18th Division, but during the winter they were on the Somme, with headquarters at Albert. He took part in the July advance and was killed in action at Bernafay Wood during the night of 13th—14th July, 1916, and was buried at Danzig Valley Cemetery.’

 

University of London records on TheGenealogist

 

By using these records you can find out a lot more about your ancestors who were educated in London between 1831 and 1927. These records join an ever growing collection of family history resources at TheGenealogist.co.uk

 

 

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An Archive is not a Library

 

Dudley Archives West Midlands
Dudley Archives, West Midlands

Sometimes I am reminded that family historians can make assumptions that others understand what we mean when we refer to records and archives.

 

I was talking to a man at a bar recently and with a drink in hand he asked me to educate him a bit about this genealogy pastime of mine.

It was when I had got to the bit where I was explaining about records and how they are kept in archives and other repositories and he said to me:

“So when you go to one of these libraries, how do you know if they have the records that you are looking for?”

That was when I realised that, in his mind, he saw an archive as just a sort of library, with loads of dusty records sitting on the shelves just waiting for us to go in browse a little and then find our ancestors within the files.

Notwithstanding that some archives share a building with a library (I am thinking of Portsmouth and Birmingham to name just two) I had to explain that they were really very different beasts. It is complicated by some major libraries having collections of records that are relevant to our ancestor research – the likes of universities, the British Library and so on –  but generally a library and an archive are not the same thing.

 

The Nosey Genealogist at Birmingham Archives
The Nosey Genealogist at Birmingham Archives, floor 4 of the Library of Birmingham

This conversation reminded me of something I had read in Chapter 9 of Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestors by John Wintrip. His explanation is that:

‘Archives resemble retail catalogue showrooms, in which customers use a catalogue to identify the items they require, which are then fetched from storage areas by members of staff.’

I so loved the analogy of browsing a sort of genealogical Argos where we select a record collection in which to research our ancestors. Inevitably I used it in my conversation and immediately saw a realisation cross the face of my friend at the bar.

 

TNA selecting a record in the reading room
Reserving a seat at a table in the reading room at TNA

I gave him an example of a recent visit I made to The National Archives. I used the Discovery catalogue to look for a particular person, whom I was researching, and found that TNA held his 1919 divorce papers. I was able to select it from the online catalogue, book myself a seat at a table in the reading room and then wait for the archive staff to bring the file of documents to be collected from the locker.

Collect your document from the locker assigned to your seat in the reading room
Collect your document from the locker assigned to your seat in the reading room

By now examining the bundle of papers I was able to understand that my subject had been divorced by his wife as he would not return home to her after fighting at the Somme in the First World War. Who knows the exact human details of the case, but the court ordered him to return to her or his marriage would be legally ended. The result was that he refused and so they were divorced; but happily they remarried at a much later date.

By also ordering up his service papers I discovered that, as he waited to be demobbed, he was being treated for depression as a result of his experiences in the war.

So my drinking acquaintance now understood that it was not simply a case of browsing down the shelves of a library, where all the books are arranged alphabetically by subject to find what we required, but that records were catalogued by reference in an archive and that we order up what we want from the strong rooms in which they are held.

Inside the strong room at the Jersey Archive
Behind the scenes in the strong room of the Jersey Archive

The subject of how archives reference those records in their catalogue is another matter altogether.  If you want to learn more then you could do a lot worse than reading the chapter on Archives in Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestors by John Wintrip.

Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestor

 

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LDS London microfilm moving to the SoG

This week I, like many other members, got an email from the Society of Genealogists.

It comes on the back of the LDS news that The London FamilySearch Centre, that has been ‘temporarily’ at The National Archives in Kew for several years, is reaching the end of its contract with TNA and the size of presence at Kew and the type of offerings from the London FamilySearch Centre will change in June 2017.

With this news the SoG Library in Clerkenwell becomes even more of an important place for family historians to pay a visit to than ever.

I have always been a fan of the SoG and so this is good news that the films are still going to be available when The London FamilySearch Centre stops providing access themselves.

 

Society of Genealogists

Here is the email from Else Churchill…

The London FamilySearch Centre microfilm collection, which is currently temporarily located at The National Archives, is transferring to the Society of Genealogists in Clerkenwell. The move reflects a partnership between the Society of Genealogists and FamilySearch to ensure that the microfilm collection continues to be available to family historians. The London FamilySearch Centre will continue to provide its research support services at the National Archives.

 

The collection of about 57,000 microfilms complement the SoG’s remarkable library of genealogical sources and both bring together, in one place, an unparalleled resource for family history researchers in the UK. Having been carefully curated over many years, the FamilySearch Films include many thousands of copies of original church and local records from the United Kingdom and Ireland; probate records for England and Wales before and after 1858 and selected items for Caribbean research.

 

The films will be available to view at the National Archives until 31 May and should be available for consultation at the Society of Genealogists Library from 26 June 2017.

 

Information about visiting and using the Society of Genealogists Library can be found on the SoG website http://www.sog.org.uk/the-library

 

June Perrin, CEO of the Society says “ The Society of Genealogists is delighted to offer a home to such a remarkable collection  and looks forward to welcoming family historians to our library in Clerkenwell”

 

Else Churchill

Genealogist

Society of Genealogists

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

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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

 

 

 

 

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Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestors

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Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestor

I’ve been reading Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestors by John Wintrip this week and I am impressed!

It is a book aimed at the more advanced family history researcher, those people whose research has taken them back to the early nineteenth century in England and Wales and are now discovering that it is a bit more difficult to go back further.

The author examines online services, repositories, archives and the catalogues that exist for these. He also encourages his readers to look at factors that can influence the outcome of their research, to be aware of their ancestors’ wider family and to use a variety of resources and search tools when tackling the problem of tracing back before the Victorian period and its civil registration and census records.

As someone who is passionate about family history I found John Wintrip’s book to be a very stimulating read.

In the years that I have been building up my own knowledge of family history, in some cases I have learnt which record to use and perhaps that the record was set out in a particular way, but without ever being told why it was so. As I read more and more of the pages of this book I found myself increasing my own understanding of the whys and wherefores and the number of ‘light-bulb’ moments occurred when it revealed some of the fascinating details of why records are the way they are made.

 

The author makes a great case for researchers to expand their ‘External Knowledge’, where this helps to understand a record or what records we may use to chase after our ancestors.

For example, I have known for many years that ancestors’ names can be written down how they sounded to the clergyman, especially when our ancestor couldn’t read or write. I was aware that we should bear in mind the local accent, but I hadn’t attached much thought to the fact that the clergyman may have been from a different part of the country altogether and so unused to the local way of pronunciation. Reading this book has made me realise why I have been telling people to think about how a name sounded!

While on the subject of Vicars; I knew that Church of England incumbents may well have had more than one ‘living’, having a curate in place to look after the parish where they did not live. But I had just not considered the fact that the ‘livings’ may have been many miles apart, even in different parts of the country!

Then there was the Militia. Before I read this book, I did know a little about the part-time local force, but that information has now been considerably fleshed out after reading a case study involving a pensioner sergeant. I had forgotten, for example, that in peacetime the sergeants were appointed to permanent posts and sometimes received pensions for long service that may have created a record. That they may have been posted away from their original town, or village, to a full time position at the militia headquarters and thus their wife may hail from that town and their children would be born there.

Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestor

I was reminded that an illegitimate child could be referred to as a ‘bastard’ in the church registers, or as a ‘natural born’ son or daughter when they were acknowledged by the father. In my family, if we go back into the 17th century, we have a ‘natural born son’ who is gifted a parcel of land from his father’s holding and thus could be seen to have been acknowledged.

Other revelations from reading this book, that some may find interesting, include how the change of the meaning of the title ‘Gentleman’ took place between the early 18th century and today. Family historians should also know that Mrs came from the word Mistress and was not always a prefix for a married woman, but had once identified the status of a person. This could be very useful to help identify which of two similarly named women in an area was the member of your family.

John Wintrip also reminds his readers of the different meanings that were once attached to the occupation of Clerk, Pensioner, Commoner and Invalid – very different from the modern meanings.

 

I have been greatly stimulated in reading this book as it has reminded me of facts that I had learnt and long since forgotten; taught me new ones; and made me think about the sources and the specific records that I may use when tracing my pre-Victorian ancestors. With a wider knowledge of the historical context, a researcher can often make progress in finding their ancestors. John Wintrip focuses on how to do the research and also gives his readers some of the practical steps that can help them to break down their brick walls.

Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestors by John Wintrip is published by Pen & Sword Books

 

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