We All Have Aristocratic Ancestors Says Genealogist and Author!

Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors
Anthony Adolph signing his new book: Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors, at the Who do You Think You Are? LIVE show.

Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors

 

 

At the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE show, on the Pen & Sword stand, I was able to catch up with genealogist and author Anthony Adolph as he signed copies of his new book: Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors.

He graciously allowed me an interview afterwards and, as always, you can just tell the passion that he holds for his subject.

Watch my short video below and hear his argument that we all have aristocratic ancestors!

That being the case then, this book should appeal to every family historian.

To buy your copy now go to:
Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians

Disclosure: This is a compensated affiliate link which may reward me should you purchase.

Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors
Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors
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WDYTYA? LIVE – Memorial Awareness Board Stand

Apart from all the obvious family history stands at the show I came across this one that gets my vote for the most animated. They had a real live stone carver creating a memorial!

Now we all know what it is like to find our ancestor’s grave and not be able to read the inscription but what will the generations to come find from our memorials?

Makes me want to insure that when my time comes I’d like my headstone to be carved in hard wearing stone!

The MAB campaigns for memorials in stone. For further information check out the website: www.RememberForever.org.uk

 

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Ancestry.co.uk’s Russell James on Outgoing Passenger Lists and Divorce Records

So what is new at Ancestry.co.uk this year?

At the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE show at Olympia Ancestry’s Russell James tells me about the addition of Outgoing Passenger Lists to their Incoming lists and the some times salacious Divorce records!

 
468x60: I’m, your Nan

 
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TheGenealogist.co.uk releases new records

I caught up with Mark Bayley from TheGenealogist.co.uk and asked him what is new on their site.

Mark told me about a couple of new records released for the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE show.

  • First the Complete Casualty Lists from WWI as published by the War Office.
  • Secondly, the War Memorial Database.

Using their Smart Match technology you get links to various other sites from the records thus aiding your research.

Finally Mark tells me about their new Naturalisation and Denization records.

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

 

Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for their subscriptions.

 

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Yorkshire Ancestors? findmypast.co.uk Announce Major Collection

If you have been following me this week you will know that I’ve been at the Who Do You Think you Are? LIVE show at Olympia.

It was there that Debra Chatfield of findmypast.co.uk gave me the news that they have just released a huge number of Yorkshire Parish Records onto their site having tied up with the Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium.

 

 

This project will increase access to millions of Yorkshire’s baptism, marriage and burial records dating back to 1538 and for the first time images of the original parish records from six Yorkshire Archives will appear online

Findmypast made the announcement at the Who Do You Think You Are Live Show at London’s Olympia. This significant new project will lead to the publication online for the very first time of millions of historic records from archives across the whole of Yorkshire.

So who are the Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium?

Well it comprises of the East Riding Archives and Local Studies Service, the Borthwick Institute for Archives (University of York), the North Yorkshire County Record Office, Teesside Archives, Sheffield Archives and Local Studies, and Doncaster Archives and Local Studies.

Together these services hold the parish registers for a large proportion of Yorkshire, England’s largest historic county.

Paul Nixon, Content Licensing Manager at findmypast.co.uk, said: “The addition of these historic records from Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium to findmypast.co.uk will be keenly anticipated by family and local historians alike, and will undoubtedly reinforce the website’s position as the place to go for UK parish records.”

Keith Sweetmore, Archives Development Manager at North Yorkshire County Record Office, added: “This is a tremendously exciting new development which will transform the way that parish registers are consulted in the future, and will open up Yorkshire’s Archives to a new and growing worldwide audience.”

The joint announcement by findmypast.co.uk and Yorkshire Digitisation Consortium was one of a number made by the rapidly expanding family history website at the 3 day Who Do You Think You Are? Live Show, where it has a major presence.

The brightsolid company was showcasing the many record collections on their site, including parish records from Manchester Archives, Cheshire Archives and over 40 million parish records from family history societies throughout the UK, in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies.

 

Anyone wishing to be notified when the Yorkshire Collection becomes available can register online at findmypast.co.uk to receive a newsletter.

 


Disclosure: Compensated affiliate links are used throughout this piece.

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Ripping Yarn for Family historians!

Its the start of December, Christmas cards to write, presents to buy, parties to go to and work seems to step up a gear as the aim of selling other people stuff as Christmas gifts that they can give becomes important and what happens?

The common cold comes a knocking. And I don’t just mean a sniffle and a weak cough but a real kick in the back ache, fuzzy head and coughing and sneezing until it physically hurts.

The solution is, of course, to retire to the warm of your bed and feel sorry for yourself for a while. When this wears off, but you are still not well enough to venture out and too tired to do any meaningful work, then a good book can pass the time.

Over the last week I have been reading just such an offering from the pen of  Steve Robinson. Its a Genealogical Crime Mystery and I have to say I am finding it riveting.

“Family history was never supposed to be like this… When American genealogist, Jefferson Tayte, accepted his latest assignment, he had no idea it might kill him. But while murder was never part of the curriculum, he is kidding himself if he thinks he can walk away from this one.

Driven by the all-consuming irony of being a genealogist who doesn’t know who his own parents are, Tayte soon finds that the assignment shares a stark similarity to his own struggle. Someone has gone to great lengths to erase an entire family bloodline from recorded history and he’s not going home until he’s found out why. After all, if he’s not good enough to find this family, how can he ever expect to be good enough to someday find his own?

 

Set in Cornwall, England, past and present, Tayte’s research centres around the tragic life of a young Cornish girl, a writing box, and the discovery of a dark family secret that he believes will lead him to the family he is looking for. Trouble is, someone else is looking for the same answers and they will stop at nothing to find them.

I highly recommend this book, even if you are feeling hail and hearty. It is pacey and filled with references that family historians will recognise.

I’m reading mine on my Kindle Fire HD, but physical editions are available as well.

Disclosure: The above links are affiliate links. I may be compensated by Amazon should you decide to purchase these items from them.

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What Family History Data Sets Are You Missing?

Most users of the main genealogical subscription sites will probably use the census data sets and birth marriage and death records and pretty much nothing else.

This is a real waste of their subscriptions as there is so much else to be plumbed from these treasure troves.

TheGenealogist.co.uk
TheGenealogist.co.uk

I was looking at the amazing full colour pdf images of wills on TheGenealogist.co.uk this week and also at the Register of Landowners, completed in 1873, that is something like the Griffith’s Valuation lists for Ireland, but for Britain instead. In this database you can find the names of owners of, or those that rented more than an acre of land in England, Wales and Scotland.

TheGenealogist.co.uk also has a set of poll books for various counties of England and Wales, and, for those of you that wish to delve back further than the 17th century and who have landed gentry in your line, there is the heraldic Visitations.

The Poll books give names, addresses, occupations and show how people voted in the election. The Poll Books that are available on TheGenealogist pre-date the census records and go back as far as the 1700s, making them a valuable resource for family historians.

Heraldic Visitations began in 1530 and were tours of inspection undertaken by Kings of Arms in order to regulate and register the coats of arms of nobility and gentry, and to record pedigrees. By the fifteenth century many families were adopting coats of arms as symbols of wealth and power but not all had a legitimate claim to them. As surviving visitation records include pedigrees and often the evidence that was used to prove these, including family details, background and ages, their records provide important source material for genealogists.

Visitation Records are currently available for individual counties and the whole of England and Wales, with years ranging from 1530 – 1921.

Another specialist set is the List of Bankrupts with Their Dividends 1786-1806.

 

This is just an example of a few of the data resources that can so easily be missed by the family historian, and we are talking of one example of a subscription website here!

The hundreds of other databases to be explored within the other sites such as Ancestry, findmypast, the Origins.net and so on that so many do not use, is staggering.

 

Take a look today!

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for any of their subscriptions.

 

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London Family Tree? Westminster Parish Records Go Online.

WESTMINSTER PARISH RECORDS PUBLISHED ONLINE BY FINDMYPAST.CO.UK

.       Over a million baptism, marriage and burial records that date back as far as 1538 are now available
.       For the first time you are able to see images of the original parish records from the City of Westminster online

Leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk has published online for the very first time today 27th March 2012 the parish records that are held by the City of Westminster Archives Centre.  What they have dubbed “The Westminster Collection” is to be found on the net at findmypast.co.uk and comprises of fully searchable transcripts together with scanned images of the parish registers of this part of London. What is great for people searching for their ancestors in this area is that some of the records are over 400 years old!

Coming from over 50 of the churches from Westminster and including St Anne, Soho, St Clement Danes, St George Hanover Square, St James Westminster, St Margaret Westminster, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St Mary-le-Strand, St Paul Covent Garden, these 1,365,731 records, that are launched today, extend over the various years between 1538-1945.

Debra Chatfield, the family historian at findmypast.co.uk, said today: “The Westminster Collection is one of the largest regional parish record collections we have ever published online and contains some truly wonderful gems. Family historians, wherever they are in the world, can now search this historical goldmine and uncover the fascinating stories of their London ancestors.”

Today’s launch is only the beginning of this exciting project, whose aim is to digitally preserve the City of Westminster Archives Centre’s collection. It is the first tranche of  Westminster records containing the city’s baptisms, marriages and burials. The remaining records are scheduled to go live on the site over the coming months, along with other records such as cemetery registers, wills, rate books, settlement examinations, workhouse admission and discharge books, bastardy, orphan and apprentice records, charity documents, and militia and watch records.

Adrian Autton, Archives Manager at Westminster Archives commented: “The launch of the Westminster Collection is of huge significance making Westminster records fully accessible to a global audience. This resource will be of immense value to anyone whose ancestors lived in Westminster and to anyone wishing to study the rich heritage of this truly great city.”

If you are interested in this part of London then the records can be searched free of charge by visiting the Life Events (BMDs) section at findmypast.co.uk. From there you should select parish baptisms, or marriages, or burials. Transcripts and images can then be viewed with either PayAsYouGo credits, vouchers or a full subscription to findmypast.co.uk.

The new Westminster Collection at findmypast.co.uk joins a growing resource of official parish records from local archives, including Cheshire Archives & Local Studies, Manchester City Council and Plymouth and West Devon Records Office, with many more in the pipeline and due to go live in the coming months. In addition over 40 million parish records from family history societies can be found at findmypast.co.uk in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies.



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Researching Scottish and Irish Ancestors

 

I’ve notice in my post bag a few of my correspondents asking for help with Scottish and Irish Ancestor research. For some it would seem that all the advice is very English centric and so today I thought I’d write a short piece for those beginning to look in Scotland and Ireland.

Scotland, in comparison to England, can be a simpler place to look for vital records because of the long established Scotlandspeople website that allows us to browse for records for free and then download the image on a pay as you go basis. You can, therefore, get access to not only the Scottish census records, but also Scottish wills, birth certificates and death certificates.

The Statutory Index, on this site, has entries from the indexes to the civil registers of births, deaths and marriages for all of Scotland, as far back as 1855 up until 2009.

The Old Parish Register Index, on the other hand, contains the entries of births & baptisms, banns & marriages and deaths/burials from the church  registers of some 900 parishes of the Church of Scotland from between 1553  and up to 1854.

The Census Indexes are name indexes to the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901and 1911 censuses for all of Scotland. You will be able to find that each index entry will list the surname, forename, sex, age, registration district and county of the people of this part of the U.K. while the 1881 census index entries additionally contain the address.

The wills and testaments index, that can also be accessed here, contain over 611,000 index entries to Scottish wills and testaments dating from 1513 to 1901. Each index entry lists the surname, forename, title, occupation and place of residence (at least where they have been given) of the deceased person, with the additional information of the court in which the testament was recorded, along with the date.

The Coats of Arms Index, is another database on the Scotlandspeople website and this contains entries from the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland from 1672 to 1907. Each index entry lists the full name, date on which the arms were granted, and the volume and page number in the register.

A point to remember, when researching in Scottish old parish records, is that the Established Church north of the border is the Church of Scotland. As a Presbyterian denomination they do not have Bishops and hence, unlike in England, there are no Bishop’s transcripts to act as a back up should you not find the record you are looking for in the parish register.

Kirk Session Records are the equilavent of the Parish Vestry records south of the border and these are all digitised and made available in Scotland at county record offices with the plan to have them online in the future at Scotlandspeople.

Scottish marriages can be of interest to English families whose ancestors ran away to partake in an irregular border marriage when Lord Hardwicks Marriage Act of 1753 compelled English marriages to be in Church of England churches unless it was a Quaker or Jewish marriage. In Scotland a couple could declare themselves to be married and to find a pdf on the extent of irregular marriages and where the current location of the records are, visit www.gro-scotland.gov.uk.

 

For Irish ancestors www.rootsireland.ie is a good place to start your research, while www.irishgenealogy.ie has coverage of other counties.

It is often said that Irish Family Tree research is very difficult and time-consuming and one of the main reasons is that there are a lack of records. One major missing plank is the lack of any complete Census records before 1901.

For this reason any records that have data within them which had been taken from the Irish Census are obviously of vital importance in Irish ancestral research.  One such source of this data is the Old Age Pension Claim Forms held in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (P.R.O.N.I). These give researchers absolutely essential information from the 1841 & 1851 censuses for Northern Ireland & Co. Donegal. Similar records are held by the National Archives in Dublin. These here are referred to as Census Search Forms and they contain the same essential information as the Northern Irish ones but cover the whole of Ireland, including some additional records for Northern Ireland

Researchers from www.ireland-genealogy.com have spent two decades transcribing these hand-written pension claim/census search forms. In some cases they are difficult to read and are in no particular order while the records held by P.R.O.N.I. are not indexed.

Their database allows a researcher online to search these records easily and so will save you both time and money. All you need to do is enter the surname you are researching and from the list provided decide which records you think relate to your family and then just click the order button.

As they point out on their site, these  records were hand written, and so in many cases the handwriting is very difficult to decipher; this coupled with the fact that much if it was written in pencil resulting in some words or letters having faded before the transfer to microfilm, has made the job of transcribing particularly difficult. Ireland-Genealogy.com  have not corrected spelling mistakes nor have their transcribers tried to amend anything that may not make sense. They have simply transcribed all of the information contained on each form. When they were in any doubt about whether or not they were reading a particularly untidy or faded record correctly they have put a question mark. A question mark has also been used when it was impossible to read.

Findmypast.ie

Recently we have had the very welcome addition of Findmypast.ie to the family history fold. This site collects together birth, marriage and death records and so features details of over 400,000 births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials from Ireland covering the whole island of Ireland and include over 150,000 newspaper obituaries and four indexes to wills, dating back as far as the 13th century. Many of these records are particularly interesting as they include more than just names, they also feature addresses and occupations. Vital records often make the best starting point for researching your Irish family history.

At findmypast.ie they have almost 150,000 names in census substitutes to help you fill in those missing gaps from the destruction of the census. You’ll find fragments dating from 1749 to 1901, as well as 19th century electoral registers. Anyone researching their 19th century Dublin ancestors will find a wealth of information in the 1851 Dublin City Census, which includes names and address of approximately 59,000 heads of households. We can also access the 1749 Census of Elphin, which lists all households, names of household heads, their addresses, occupations, numbers of children, adults and servants, by age and religious denomination – a remarkable document for such an early date. The Dublin City Census 1901: Rotunda Ward details 13,556 people residing in 1,334 properties across a 67-street space of the Rotunda Ward area of the city.

There are many other data sets including Land and Estate, Court and Legal, Military and Rebellion, Travel and Migration along with Directories dating back to 1814.

Take a look at this great website now by clicking the image below. (This is a compensated affiliate link.)



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A Family Tree Brick Wall

I have spent some time this weekend with one of my Family tree’s brick wall. An ancestor who is important for me to get further back in my paternal line.

John Thorn turns up in the Devon city of Plymouth and marries Sarah Branton, a local girl, in the year 1794 and whisks her off to Dartmouth. Very soon after their son, also called John, is born and baptised in Dartmouth’s St Saviour Parish. From this I made the assumption that perhaps the elder John was from Dartmouth. In the Parish records for Plymouth, Charles the Martyr, he gives away only that he was a mariner, but not of which parish he was from.

So I start to use the online resources available to me to try and find John Thorn in the parish records for the churches in Dartmouth; but with a common Devon name I can’t absolutely identify the baptisms or deaths that look likely candidates for this forebear of mine.

I then used the Hugh Wallis site to look inside batches of parish records from the IGI on the familyseach site. This really useful tool is back up and working, having been disabled when the LDS revamped their website in 2011. Now I was able to specify which batch to look at for the Parish of St Saviour Dartmouth and so I discovered some of the christenings of the other children born to John and Sarah and even that one of these children went on to have a child in 1816 which takes the mother’s surname with all that that implies!

The other use that I put the Hugh Wallis gateway to the IGI to was to see if I could find the marriages of the Thorn girls in the parish by selecting a batch number, as provided by Hugh Wallis’ site and then entering their surname into the Spouse box. Regretfully I have not found any, which seems to indicate they may well have moved on from the town to live elsewhere. While my 3 x great grandfather stayed and was buried in the town, I am still looking for what happened to his parents and siblings.

Not withstanding this result for me this time, the use of Hugh Wallis’ site, in the way I described, may well help others to break down a brick wall or two. So if you haven’t tried it before, I do commend it to you.

Hugh Wallis online

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