Newly Released: English & Welsh Family History Mini-Video-Course

The Family History Researcher Academy has just added a FREE video mini-course for those searching for English or Welsh ancestors to FamilyHistoryResearcher.com

The short video tutorials deal with some of the mistakes that researchers sometimes make when they are looking for their English or Welsh ancestors in census and birth records. The mini-course also sets out some of the places that you could research for your elusive ancestors in and also sets out how to best begin the search of these British records. While the videos encourage viewers to go on to the more detailed written course, the mini-course stands alone in offering some very useful information.

These concise videos and the more in-depth downloadable pdf Family History Researcher Academy English/Welsh family history course were complied by Nick Thorne from his experience of researching ancestors for private clients and working with one of the leading British genealogical research websites for whom he writes case study articles for publication in several of the U.K. family history magazines. He is also the author of this blog “Help Me With My Family Tree” under the pen name of The Nosey Genealogist.

These FREE videos are available now at: www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/free-video-course

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TheGenealogist adds to its expanding collection of Parish Records

 

 

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

TheGenealogist has made available some new records this week for those of us that are researching ancestors in the parish records. The following is their press release that gives you more information on the new release that is joining an already huge number of other counties whose parish records are searchable on this website.

Nuneaton Chilvers Coton Church

TheGenealogist has added over 140,000 individuals to their Parish Records for Worcestershire and Warwickshire to increase the coverage of these midland counties.

Released in association with Malvern Family History Society and the Nuneaton & North Warwickshire Family History Society, this is an ongoing project to make available high quality transcripts to family history researchers.

  • 97,841 individuals have been added to the Worcestershire baptism records

  • 44,250 individuals join the Warwickshire baptism records

These new records can be used to find your ancestors’ baptisms, in fully searchable records that cover parishes from this area of England. With records that reach back to the mid 16th century, this release allows family historians to find the names of ancestors, their parents’ forenames, the father’s occupation (where noted), and the parish that the event took place at.

This is an ongoing project where family history societies transcribe records for their areas to be released on both TheGenealogist and FHS-Online, the website that brings together data from various Family History Societies across the UK while providing a much needed extra source of funds for societies.

These new records are available as part of the Diamond Subscription at TheGenealogist.

TheGenealogist logo

If your society is interested in publishing records online, please contact Mark Bayley on 01722 717002 or see fhs-online.co.uk/about.php

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Find out how your ancestors’ lived

Nick Thorne 'The Nosey Genealogist' researching for FamilyHistoryResearcher.com

Discovering more about your ancestry

 

The most satisfying part of family history for me is when I can take some facts, that I have learnt from examining primary records, and then go and see where they took place.

This is often simplest for a baptism, wedding or funeral where the church remains standing to this day. Finding that my ancestor married and then had their child christened in a particular place may cause me to seek it out and lightly touch the font in a salute to my forebears who had gathered around it to watch the clergyman pour water over my ancestor’s head.

 

Baptismal font St. Saviours, Dartmouth, Devon, UK.
Baptismal font St. Saviours, Dartmouth, Devon, UK.

When I find out what an ancestor did for a living can equally have me making a trip to the place where they worked. This can be successful where, as in the case of a man who worked in the Royal Naval dockyards at Portsmouth, the buildings are still there and can be visited as a tourist attraction.

Boatbuilding

 

But it can also be disappointing when all trace of the former landscape has been obliterated by modern development on the site, as in the case of others of my ancestors’ places of employment – not to mention some of their homes.

What I like to do in this case is to see if I can make a visit to a museum that reflects the life of such an ancestor.

 

A visit to properties owned by The National Trust can reveal how your ancestors lived

 

Another excursion that I find useful is to visit several of The National Trust properties.

Hold on! I can hear people saying.

Surely the stately homes are only of interest to those who have aristocratic ancestors?

Well what about those of us that have identified ancestors that worked as staff for the ‘big house’? Some houses allow you to see ‘below stairs’, as well as the fine rooms up above.

 

For those of us that have found ancestors that had to enter the workhouse then a visit to The National Trust’s fine example at Southwell, that I have written about before in a post about workhouse ancestors.

On a recent visit to Birmingham I was able to take a tour around The National Trust’s Back to Back houses. These guided tours take you around the carefully restored, atmospheric 19th-century courtyard of working people’s houses.

These homes had windows only on one side as they were built, as the name implies, back to back with each other. To the rear was a courtyard that also housed the laundry and the outside toilets for up to 60 people to use!

 

What is fascinating, for family historians, is that the first house is dressed to reflect the 1840s. With tallow candles for light, no running water – requiring the teenage daughter to walk ten minutes to the nearest well pump carrying heavy wooden buckets. In this the house of a jeweller and his family we can get an idea of what life was like at the time of the 1841 census for working people that had moved to the cities to find a living.

See what ancestors living in the Back to Back  court housing

Another of the houses reflected the 1870s and although they now used oil lamps and had a communal tap in the courtyard,  and the outside privy now flushed rather than being an earth closet relying on the night soil men to carry away the human waste, times were still hard.

Upstairs the four sons slept ‘top and tail’ in a bed. A rough curtain slung across a rope divided the room so that another bed could be rented out to a lodger.

As if this lack of privacy was not enough, in the 1871 census it seems to identify that the house had a second lodger. The suggestion is that the male and female lodgers may well have been ‘hot bedding’ where one person has the use of the bed for the day, while the other for the night!

 

Theses types of windows into our past can really make us think about how our ancestors lived. It also brings home how rich we are now in the Western world that we are fascinated by the hardships of everyday life that our forebears simply took as normal. By using the records that are available to us and then relating them to conditions, that we can learn from studying the social history, enables us to build a better family story.

 

You can learn where to find the records that reveal your ancestors’ lives by taking the English/Welsh family history course. Read more here:

www.FamilyHistoryResearcher.com/course

 

 

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Search for ancestors that served in the British Military

 

 

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

TheGenealogist has released some useful records this week for those of us that are researching our military ancestors. The following is their press release that gives you more information and a link to a fascinating article about the British Army:

Military Records on TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist is pleased to announce it has added two new record sets that will be useful for researching the First World War and Victorian soldiers.

  • Part one of this release is The Worldwide Army Index for 1851, 1861 and 1871 which adds another name rich resource to the already vast Military record collections at TheGenealogist with over 600,000 records
  • Also released at the same time is another 3,368 pages from The Illustrated War News covering 6 September 1916 to 10 April 1918 and adding to those previously made available for this First World War paper from 1914 to 1916

The Worldwide Army Index for 1851, 1861 and 1871

If you have not found your ancestor in the various British census returns, and you know that they may have been serving at the time in the British Army, then this new release from TheGenealogist may help you to find these elusive subjects.

Many thousands of men of the British Army were serving overseas in far flung parts of the British Empire over the 1800s. This index of names is compiled from the musters contained in the WO 10-11-12 Series of War Office Paylists, held at the National Archives, Kew. The 1851, 1861 and 1871 Worldwide Army Index lists all officers* and other ranks serving in the first quarter of 1851 and second quarter of 1861 and 1871, together with their regimental HQ location. The index is, therefore, effectively a military surrogate for the relevant census.

Over 70,000 records have extra notes that can indicate whether a soldier was a recruit awaiting transfer to a regiment, detached from his regiment or attached to another, possibly discharged, on leave, had deserted or retired. Men identified as using aliases are also included. Many notes include a place of birth and former occupation.

Also included within the records are recruits, boy soldiers, bandsmen and civilians working in the armed forces as clerks, pension recruiters, teachers and suchlike. Colonial regiments which invariably had numbers of British subjects are also featured.

The Illustrated War News was a weekly magazine during the First World War, published by The Illustrated London News and Sketch Ltd. of London. The IWN publication contained illustrated reports related entirely to the war and comprised articles, photographs, diagrams and maps. From 1916 it was issued as a 40-page publication in portrait format, having been landscape prior to this. It claimed to have the largest number of artist-correspondents reporting on the progress of the war until it ceased publication in 1918.

To search these and many other records go to: https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/search/advanced/military/muster-book-pay-list/

or read our article at: https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2017/worldwide-army-index-1851-1861–1871-661/  

*While the 1851 and 1871 include officers, the 1861 index excludes officers as they were not mustered in all the Paylists.

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TheGenealogist Expands their Parish Record collection with the addition of 2.2 million individuals for Somerset & Dorset

 

 

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

The following is a Press Release from TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist logo

 

TheGenealogist has released Baptism records for Somerset covering the years 1538 – 1996, along with Burial and Crematorium records for Somerset & Dorset covering 1563 – 2003. In association with Somerset & Dorset FHS, these new records cover hundreds of parishes for the counties.

Somerset and Dorset Family History Society worked with TheGenealogist to publish their records online, making over 2.2 million individuals from baptism and burial records fully searchable. Ann-Marie Wilkinson, the Chair of Somerset and Dorset FHS said:

“The Somerset & Dorset Family History Society are very pleased to be working with TheGenealogist to bring these records into the online community. Also we will be able to provide access for members to TheGenealogist from our Research Centre.”

Mark Bayley, Head of Online Development at TheGenealogist, welcomed Somerset and Dorset FHS to the growing number of family history societies on both TheGenealogist and FHS-Online, saying:

We’re delighted that Somerset and Dorset FHS chose to publish their records through TheGenealogist and FHS-Online. This release adds to the ever expanding collection of parish records on both websites. These partnerships help societies boost their funds whilst bringing their records to a much wider audience, through online publication.”

This release joins TheGenealogist’s Somerset and Dorset collection including Bishop’s Transcripts and parish records for many areas and years to form a major resource for the county.

If your society is interested in publishing records online, please contact Mark Bayley on 01722 717002 or see fhs-online.co.uk/about.php

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

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I learn something from every visit to The National Archives

 

The National Archives

I’m just back from a flying visit to The National Archives at Kew.

Every time I visit TNA I get something out of it and today was no exception! I discovered the delights of records that are not available anywhere else to search.

I went along to research several different lines of enquiries, one of which was for an ancestor of mine who had given his profession on his son’s baptism as ‘tide waiter’. This is a type of customs officer who waits for the ships that come in on the tide and then checks them for contraband or goods that are subject to duty. He was in one of the census as a Customs Officer and has appeared as this in some family notes I received from a distant cousin.

My initial research using the Discovery search engine on www.nationalarchives.gov.uk had me confused. A few minutes with the help desk staff on the first floor reading room, however, pointed me towards the microfilms of the CUST 39/3 that are the records for the establishment at the different ports – basically the Staff Lists with details of staff employed by the Board of Customs.

I was able to spool forward to Plymouth, where my man was based and where in the 1851 census he was recorded as a Customs house officer. So if he had been a tidewater then his name would have been entered into the list of the Plymouth establishment. Alas, he was nowhere to be found which backs up my developing theory that he was an ‘Extra Gent’ (not on the establishment) customs officer and that he, or someone else, may have exaggerated a bit on his son’s baptismal record!

 

Ordering up the Customs Books at TNA
Ordering up the Customs Books at TNA

 

I then ordered up some Customs minutes books (CUST 28/199) and looked at any mention of Plymouth and names of Customs officers there. What I came away with was a much better understanding of the records and how,  if you are lucky enough to find your ancestor mentioned you can build a fair bit of colour to your family story. This would especially be true if your Customs Officer got himself into trouble. One of the original 1850s ledgers that I was able to thumb through was the Outport Records: Charges against Officers (CUST 66/217).

 

Customs officers' charge book
Charge Book

 

I didn’t find my ancestor mentioned in the book, but for those researchers who are able to find a forebear then it will be of great interest to them. The thick leather bound books with heavy bluish paper provide a fascinating insight into the discipline proceedings. The various cases are often recorded on the page verbatim. You can thus read the question asked by the Surveyor of the man before him and the answers given by the accused Tide Waiter. At the end you will find the verdict of whether the Customs Officer was to loose his job or not. All of which is written in the neat handwriting of a clerk from 167 years ago.

None of these records are digitized and so it is another example of why a visit to TNA can allow you to get to see records that just aren’t available elsewhere. So while I do a lot of my research online I always enjoy getting out to The National Archives, or a County Record Office, every now and again to delve into those records that are in their safekeeping but not digitized.

 

 

 

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