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Feb 10 18

Over 650,000 criminal records added to TheGenealogist

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist



Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.


I learnt quite a bit about black sheep ancestors this week while researching a convict who had served some time on a prison hulk anchored off Bermuda. My findings helped me to write the article for TheGenealogist at the end of this post.

The prisoner, that the story is about, had been convicted of his offence in England and then, being fit and healthy, was shipped out to the British territory to do back breaking quarrying and building work. He was housed on a convict-hulk and put to work in the construction of the Royal Navy’s dockyard on the island. After completing his sentence he was then allowed back to England. But he got into trouble again and was sentenced to a further period of Transportation for seven years. (To find out where he ended up you will have to read the article – it is probably not where you may expect him to be sent.)

I learnt from my research that many of our convict ancestors, who were sent to Australia, were never permitted to return – while those sent to the hulks at Bermuda were able to come home as long as they served the full sentence. The convicts on the hulks at Bermuda could, however, opt for a reduced sentence if they chose to go to Australia or South Africa. What they could not do is stay in Bermuda after their sentence and the option for South Africa, it seems, was not really available as when they got there they were refused entry and had to go on to Australia!



Here is the Press Release from TheGenealogist and the article link:
TheGenealogist logo
TheGenealogist has added 651,369 quarterly returns of convicts from The National Archives’ HO 8 documents to their Court & Criminal Records collection. With this release researchers can find the details of ancestors that broke the law and were incarcerated in convict hulks and prisons in the 19th century.

Prisoners on the hulks from The Illustrated London News on TheGenealogist

Prisoners on the hulks from The Illustrated London News on TheGenealogist

The new data includes:

  • 651,369 Records covering the years 1824 to 1854
  • Quarterly returns from Convict Hulks, Convict Prisons and Criminal Lunatic Asylums


These fully searchable records are from the The Home Office: Sworn lists of convicts on board the convict hulks and in the convict prisons (HO 8). They give the family history researcher fascinating facts that include the particulars of age, convictions, sentences, health and behaviour of the convict, as well as which court sentenced them and where they were serving their sentence.

Read TheGenealogist’s article “Criminal records of convicts on the Hulks” at:

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Feb 4 18

This week’s brick walls busted!

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist


Break Down Your Family History Brick Walls


This week I managed to knock down a couple of family history brick walls by keeping an open mind while doing the research.

The successful outcome that I want to write about here was with a General Register Office index. I had been at a loss as to why I couldn’t find the relevant entry for a birth. Very often by using more than just the one website, the difference in transcriptions between them can often allow you a breakthrough. Having used a number of the main subscription websites, however, I had still not found a likely candidate for the elusive person that I was researching.

I metaphorically took a step back and defocused from the narrow search that I was doing for the correct spelling of the person. I looked at the surname and thought: How could this be misspelled by a busy official?



For example Whitman could have been recorded as Witman, Wetman or a host of other spellings. Or the surname Perkin may have been entered with the more common name of Perkins – as I found out while researching someone for an up and coming article of mine. In the case I was looking for to trace a client’s family tree back a further generation, I had a surname which should have ended with a last letter of an ‘n’ but had been recorded with an ‘m’ at the end.

In both cases the transcription on the relevant websites could be said to have been correct as it faithfully reproduced what was to be found on the GRO Index page. In both cases the page from the index had been in handwriting, but I have also seen typographical errors in those that have been typed.

The errors that had momentarily thrown me had been made in the registration process, either when the name had been mistakenly taken down by the local registrar at the time, or when it had been copied at the General Register Office into the official quarterly list.

By thinking about how a spelling mistake could be hiding our lost ancestors, sometimes the answer jumps out at us!


Example of a GRO Index. Crown copyright

The lesson is to think laterally and not get hung up on a narrow thought process that says that this is how it should be written!


If you’d like to find out more about how to tease out your elusive English or Welsh ancestors then CLICK this link:


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Jan 28 18

News from the 1890s + Over 5 Million U.S. records released online

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist



Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

The following is a Press Release from TheGenealogist at the end of which you will find a link to an article that I wrote for them on the 1890s decade of newspapers.


The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

TheGenealogist has added over 5 Million passenger records to their US records, featuring people that migrated to the USA between 1834 to 1900. The mass movement of people from one country to another isn’t a new thing. The motivation can be economic, political upheaval or religious persecution.

The data covers:

  • 3,956,780 Germans emigrating to the United States between 1850 and 1897
  • 836,122 Italians emigrating to the United States between 1855 and 1900
  • 522,638 Russians emigrating to the United States between 1834 and 1897

Most were drawn to the U.S.A by the attractions of land and religious freedom, after being forced to leave Europe by shortages of land and religious or political oppression.

“From the Old to the New World" shows German emigrants boarding a steamer in Hamburg, Germany, to come to America. Image published in Harper’s Weekly, (New York) November 7, 1874 (Public Domain).

“From the Old to the New World” shows German emigrants boarding a steamer in Hamburg, Germany, to come to America. Image published in Harper’s Weekly, (New York) November 7, 1874 (Public Domain).


This release joins the millions of US census, death records, trade directories, wills and poll books already available on TheGenealogist.


TheGenealogist has also added over 500 further editions of the weekly publication The Illustrated London News to their Newspaper and Magazine collection. The latest collection is of newspapers that were published in the 1890s and offer a fascinating insight into your ancestors lives.

ILN 1890s decade

The Illustrated London News is one of a number of newspapers and magazines that are fully searchable by name or keywords by Diamond subscribers of TheGenealogist. Not only can this extensive resource add context to your ancestors’ lives and times, these newspapers can be used to find out more about people who were mentioned in reports from the time. As well as notices for baptisms, marriages and deaths, there are also wills, crimes and court cases, plus the political stories of the time.

Read the article that I put together for TheGenealogist which looks at the news of 1890s and the world in which your ancestors lived:





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Jan 20 18

The National Archives Announces the Opening of Prisoner of War Archives

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

I saw this mentioned on Dick Eastman’s Newsletter this week: (UK) National Archives Announces the Opening of Prisoner of War Archives

The National Archives, London, England have announced that they are opening up their prisoner of war (WW II) archives. These documents were transferred to The National Archives in December 2014. There are approximately 190,000 records of persons captured in German-occupied territory during World War II, primarily Allied service men (including Canadians, South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders, British and Allied civilians and some nurses. There are also cards for American, Norwegian, Chinese, Arab and Cypriot origins.

The new collection (WO 416) also includes several thousand records of deceased allied airmen whose bodies were found near their downed aircrafts. While these airmen were never prisoners of war, these records act as records of death.

The records are cards—some persons have up to 15 cards, but most have only one or two. It is not catalogued by name of individual for privacy reasons as some may still be living. The National Archives has started to catalogue the entire series and they have opened the records for those who were born more than 100 years ago or if they have proof of death.

To read more see:

To browse the collection go to:

For those records that have not yet been digitized you can order the records in advance for when you visit the Kew ( The National Archives) or you can request a quotation for a copy to be sent to you. The price will vary depending on the amount of copying. When you click on the name of the person you are researching , click on details. There you will get a transcription of information they have plus the option to order in advance or request a copy.

Not all service personnel have cards as they were removed from the collection to be used as evidence to support claims by Prisoners of War after World War II. These cards, for the most part, were not returned but may form part of the personnel’s service record which may be held by Veteran’s agency See:

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Jan 12 18

Warwickshire Parish Records with images now released online by TheGenealogist

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist



Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

The following is a Press Release from TheGenealogist at the end of which you will find a link to an article that I wrote for them about a murderous lord of the manor whose burial can be found in these new records.


TheGenealogist logo


TheGenealogist has added over 366,000 individuals to their Parish Records for Warwickshire to increase the coverage of this county in the heart of England.

Released in association with Warwickshire County Record Office this brings high quality transcripts as well as images to family historians researching for ancestors in this area.

With 366,260 individuals included in this Warwickshire release, these new records will help family historians to find their ancestors’ baptisms, marriages and burials, in fully searchable records that cover various parishes from this part of England. With records that reach back to the mid 16th century, this release allows family historians to find the names of ancestors in baptisms, marriages and burials.

These new records are available as part of the Diamond Subscription at TheGenealogist, bringing the total to 934,495 searchable individuals for the county of Warwickshire.



Read the article that I wrote for them that reveals the last resting place of a murderous lord of the manor:


Baddesley Clinton church. Photo: © 2015 Nick Thorne of

Baddesley Clinton church. Photo: © 2015 Nick Thorne

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Jan 7 18

A House Through Time

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist



62 Falkner Street. Image by Rodhullandemu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This week on BBC television, here in Britain, there has been the first episode in a fascinating series following the history of the occupiers of one particular house in Liverpool.

A House Through Time is a 2018 four-part BBC documentary about the history of a house at 62 Falkner Street, Edge Hill, Liverpool, England, presented by David Olusoga 

Using some of the tools that are familiar to family historians Olusoga is able to discover the story of the first three occupants of the house built on green fields in around 1840.

Watching him use some of my favourite resources – historic newspapers, street and trade directories from the time and the staple records of  the census collections – proved to be a case study in doing family history research. It was also good to see contributions from the TV genealogist Laura Berry, whom I once interviewed for my YouTube Channel and who, apart form working on Who Do You Think You Are? series, is also a house historian.


The characters that this episode uncovered were fascinating subjects. From the young customs clerk, living beyond his means with the help of a wealthy father, to the striving servant who managed to climb into middle-class and leave his wife a substantial sum on hisdeath. Perhaps the most interesting, however, was the Cotton Dealer whose life at the house gave way to a spell in debtors prison, before he then acquired a wife and two step-daughters – only to abandon them to the workhouse as he set forth for a new life in the United States.

This former occupier of the house, David Olusoga was able to deduce from the records, was an unsympathetic character. Having lived as a Cotton Dealer in Liverpool and making a living from cotton, picked by slaves, he then became a Coton Dealer again, in America, before joining as a mercenary fighting for the Union Army against the Confederates. Olusoga was seen to be very surprised by this turn of events as he had assumed that a cotton dealer would have had more sympathy with the Southern States and their ownership of slaves.

This TV series promises to be compulsive viewing and I am already looking forward to the next episode. I can’t wait to see how it will use more of the records, that we also work with when looking for our own family stories, to deduce the life tales of the next set of owners of the house in Liverpool.


The most recent episode is available for a short time to viewers in the U.K. here:



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Dec 23 17

TheGenealogist have added over 1.9 million individuals to their Sussex Parish Record Collection

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.


The latest release from TheGenealogist team this week:

TheGenealogist has added over 1.9 million individuals to its parish record collection covering the county of Sussex. Published In association with The Parish Record Transcription Society, this second release of records for the English county more than doubles the number of parish records available for the area.

Sussex scene from TheGenealogist Image Archive

Sussex scene from TheGenealogist Image Archive

TheGenealogist now has over 3 million individuals in the Sussex Parish Record Collection.

The new batch covers individual records of:

  • 1,278,413 Baptisms
  •   308,746 Marriages
  •   327,091 Burials


The Parish Record Transcription Society (PRTSoc) have worked with TheGenealogist and S&N to make their records available online. With a combined 3 million plus individuals from baptism, marriage and burial records now fully searchable it is easier than ever to discover ancestors from Sussex by turning to TheGenealogist’s parish records collection.

These records are published as a result of a major project undertaken by PRTSoc staff and dedicated volunteers to transcribe the parish registers of West Sussex with the aim of preserving them for generations to come. By working with TheGenealogist these are now also searchable by online researchers on TheGenealogist.

This release joins TheGenealogist’s Sussex collection including parish records to form a major resource for the county.

Read their article here:

This release adds to the ever expanding collection of parish records on TheGenealogist.


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Dec 17 17

New Video Tutorial for English & Welsh family history course

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

I’ve added some new videos into my online course. You may be interested to read about it here:


The Family History Researcher Academy has added another bonus video tutorial into its online English & Welsh family history course.

Now included is a video module that joins with several other short videos to compliment the printed pdf lessons of the course.

The theme of the latest addition to the study material is tracing back to the English or Welsh ancestor from a forebear that emigrated before Victorian times. With so many people sailing away from England and Wales to start new lives in places like North America, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world, the tutorial identifies some of the records that you could use to find them in the mother country, pre-1837.


Not just for researchers with ancestors who left the country as the new content is also of great use to people whose ancestors stayed. It reviews some of the resources to use when you are researching back further than the 1847 census, or the introduction of civil registration in England and Wales and that is the majority of us!


Meanwhile, the weekly downloadable pdf modules continue to be delivered in an online release within a private membership area. These lessons are focused on revealing the resources and records to use when researching your ancestors from England and Wales so that you can break down brick walls more easily.


Online English & Welsh family history course

Family History Researcher Academy Online English & Welsh family history course


This family history course, having been written from a practical point of view, includes contributions from professional genealogists, online data experts and by its compiler Nick Thorne. Nick has experience of researching ancestors for private clients and of working on various projects for one of the leading British genealogical research websites, including compiling case studies that are published in a number of the U.K. family history magazines.



What others are saying about the English/Welsh family history course:

“Thank you for your detailed study of English/Welsh research. I have done a lot of English research, yet much of what you have sent is stuff that people don’t know, so thank you very much for your diligence in putting this together.” S. Johnston


And this the most recent testimonial:

“Great series. Will be reading them again as I work on my English ancestors.” J. Gill



The Family History Researcher Academy is available now as a monthly, or as a one off payment.


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Dec 9 17

TheGenealogist has just released over 2.7 million BT27 records for the 1930s

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.


The latest release from TheGenealogist team this week:

Queen Mary 1936 from TheGenealogist Image Archive

Queen Mary 1936 from TheGenealogist’s Image Archive

TheGenealogist has just released over 2.7 million BT27 records for the 1930s. These Outbound Passenger Lists are part of an expanding immigration and emigration record set on TheGenealogist that feature the historical records of passengers who sailed out of United Kingdom ports in the years between 1930 and 1939. With the release of this decade of records, the already strong Immigration, Emigration, Naturalisation and passenger list resources on TheGenealogist have been expanded again.  

The fully searchable BT27 records from The National Archives released today will allow researchers to:

  • Discover potential family members travelling together using TheGenealogist’s SmartSearch. This unique system is able to recognise family members together on the same voyage. In this situation it will display a family icon which allows you to view the entire family with one click.
  • Find people travelling to America, Canada, India, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere in the Passenger lists of people departing by sea from the United Kingdom.
  • View images of the original passenger list documents that had been kept by the Board of Trade’s Commercial and Statistical Department and its successors.
  • Discover the ages, last address and where the passenger intended to make their permanent residence.
  • These fully indexed records allow family historians to search by name, year, country of departure, country of arrival, port of embarkation and port of destination.

Those with ancestors who sailed from Britain in the 1930’s will welcome this fascinating new release from TheGenealogist, which adds to their current Emigration records, now totalling over 19 million and dating back to 1896.


See their article:

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Dec 3 17

Check the source of information on your ancestors

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

Ancestors Devon Wedding


It is so easy to go to another person’s online family tree and just copy the details without questioning if they are correct, because they share some of the same ancestors with you.

We all know that we shouldn’t do this and yet many people still do!


I spotted a public family tree on one of the big genealogy sites that had been put together by a ‘cousin’, though I was not aware of them before coming across their tree. My excitement was tempered, however, when I noted that they had attached the wrong person as a spouse of one of the ancestors that I had already included in my own tree.

I had, perhaps, benefited from better family intelligence than they had as to who the married couple had been. This was as a result of the ancestors in question having been included in family stories that I had heard as a child.


Seeing a glaring mistake in a published tree shows us that, as we get further away from what we know as a fact (or have a certain amount of confidence about), then we really have to investigate the sources that have been attached to people in another person’s family tree.

Sometimes, however, even this isn’t enough to ensure that we get the correct details in our tree. If the source that we are relying upon is wrong then we can end up adding incorrect material that, on the face of it, looks to be valuable because it includes a cited source.

Nick Thorne 'The Nosey Genealogist' researching for

This week I found myself checking some information and looking for a marriage from before 1837 when civil registration began in England & Wales. The only source I could find online was in a Pallot’s Marriage Index on Ancestry. The parish register has yet to been scanned and made available on any of the main genealogy sites, plus there wasn’t even a transcript for this parish to be found.

The first revelation that I discovered from looking at the Pallot’s Index was that when the subject married a known ancestor of mine, she had been a widow. Thus what others had claimed was her maiden name turned out to be her first husband’s surname. This then undoes their next claim that she was born in Ireland on a certain date with the surname that had been assumed to be hers at birth. The other researcher had, unfortunately, made 2+2=5.

I then went searching for her first marriage. The most likely one in Pallot’s is, however, called into question by other transcribed records that put the marriage a full ten years earlier. It would seem that 1828 looked very much like 1818 on the Pallot’s card.

So beware of believing what others claim and always check out their sources. If they haven’t even got a source, then be doubly sceptical of the lead and do your own searches to see if you can find the proof of their claim.

My research this week has also revealed that even cited sources can be called into question. I will have to go back to basics and either, on my next visit to Portsmouth pop along to the Record Office to see the microfilm copies of the register, or take a trip to a LDS Family History Centre to call up the image that I need.

Portsmouth Library and History Centre

Portsmouth Library and History Centre




Learn more about English or Welsh ancestors by taking a Family History Researcher Academy course:






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