Beware of Shared Family Trees!

Hugh Wallis onlineI was taking my research, of a branch of my tree that I have never really looked into before, a stage further.

It was the family of the Master Mariner that I had identified in Findmypast’s records of merchant navy records online that I looked at last week. I had traced back my 2 x great grandparents to their marriage in Portsmouth in 1859 and found that her family were living in that maritime city at the time of the 1851 census. Having failed to identify them in any of the other census from the UK, I then took a look at the LDS familyserch.org website to see if I could find marriages and baptisms for the parents. Now the results here were equally sparse. I did, however, find a marriage in St Thomas’ church Portsmouth for what I believe to be my great-great-great grandparents. From the census of 1851 I had got the Christian names of the family unit and my 3x great grandparents appeared to be called John Malser and Rosanna Craydon and John was born in 1811.

I thought I was on track until I tried to research back these families in Portsmouth. At present I have no leads from the online websites for the Craydon branch. What I did find was a possible baptism, from some Hampshire Genealogical Society transcriptions on the findmypast website for St Thomas’ Portsmouth. This gives the baptism date as being 1809 and so I can not be sure that I have found the correct man, but he is certainly a possibility.

We are all aware, in the family history community, how dates of birth in the census records can often be recorded incorrectly. This is where the subject wishes to massage their age slightly for some reason, simply doesn’t know their age, or in the case of the 1841 census the age is rounded down to the nearest five years for anyone over 15. Likewise we know that errors creep into transcriptions when they are copied and so that information contained within them may not be correct. So what I am left with is a tentative branch to my tree that awaits further investigation by looking at original, or at least microfilm copies of, parish records when I am able.

Before leaving this new line I decided to enter my newly discovered ancestors into a search engine. I quickly found a family tree that showed a link from the Malser’s to my parental family line, the Thorn’s. Here, however, it claimed my 2 x great grandmother was the daughter of a differently named set of parents from those that appear in the one census return that I have found. If I had done my research the other way around and had decided to put into my tree the information that was published on another’s tree without checking to a primary source, then I could have unintentionally introduced errors into my tree. As it is all I have is some leads that also need to be checked against the primary source, when time allows, but at least I have one census that has sent me in the right direction.

The names on that other tree could be different for all manners of reasons. They could be nick names, a case of remarriage or just plain wrong. Always check your ancestors back to a primary source before you can be confident that you have found your family.

 

 

Take your family history further by considering a subscription to these websites:

 

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 Findmypast.co.uk or The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for 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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WDYTYA? LIVE is nearly here!

Who Do You Think You Are? Live is now just a few days away, and I am looking forward to seeing what the organisers promises to be “the biggest family history event the country has ever seen”.

The show takes place this weekend (24-26 February) in Olympia, London, and as ever will bring together exhibitors and organisations from the world of genealogy.

One of the biggest attractions that they promise at this year’s show will be the Irish section. So any of you out there with roots from the Emerald Isle should pop along to Olympia and discover some creative techniques to uncover new connections in that country that has always been just a little bit difficult to do research in before.

I’m also very much looking forward to the popular Celebrity Theatre which will see talks from the likes of actors Larry Lamb and Emilia Fox, and presenter Richard Madeley.

For those of us that are interested in our ancestor’s occupations the new section called Our Walking Past reveals ancestors’ trades to visitors. In the press release that I saw it promises that whether our forebears worked down a mine or owned it, built ships or sailed on them, we’re sure to find invaluable information from the experts on hand.

On Saturday there is the chance to book oneself a seat for the new Keynote Workshop which is due to start at 1pm. This informative talk will focus on recent issues in the world of genealogy, specifically the advancement of social media and how it can help you with your research.

Also to look out for are the Military Pavilion and the Society of Genealogists’ Workshop Programme of  experts advice and demonstrations and you can find a complete schedule at www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com. Make sure you book yourself a place on the one you want as they tend to fill up quickly. The website and show Facebook page also have all the latest news, as well as great competitions and offers.

Who Do you Think You Are? LIVE 2011
Who Do you Think You Are? LIVE 2011

 

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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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Brick Walls in Family Tree Research

I was reading a newsletter, from someone I respect, in a completely different field of interest from family history this weekend. In it he was talking about obstacles in the paths of people that are trying to achieve something, whether it was in sports, business or any other pursuit.

Nick James runs a membership site that caters for people that want to run an internet marketing business and in this week’s tip he recalled advice that a life coach had given him to physically write down your stumbling block in a paragraph or two and then to draw a little picture next to it. The picture could be a fence, a brick wall or whatever you chose to depict the problem that you face.

The idea behind this is that by so doing the brick wall no longer exists as a theoretical problem. It now takes on a concrete form that you can now deal with. I have a special note book into which I enter my problem ancestors and this acts in very much the same way for me.

In my family tree I have various lines that seem blocked and so I decided to tackle one of them this week end by seeking the help of an expert and talking through the problem with them. Now I did this by making use of the excellent facility of a telephone consultation provided by the Society of Genealogists’ Family History Advice Line on 020 7490 8911. It is available on Saturdays: 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm and also on Thursdays: 6pm-7.45pm. I came away with ideas for further investigation that just might help me unlock the problem that I have of an ancestor whose occupation in the marriage register was a mariner. He turned up in a maritime city and married a local girl (of this parish) but did not provide posterity with any clue as to his parish or where he had sailed in from!

Society of Genealogists

At the end of this month Who Do You Think You Are? Live returns to Olympia from the 24th to 26th February and one of the popular benefits of attending this event is the the Society of Genealogists Family History Show will be part of the weekend. Apart from the talks given there is a fantastic chance to book some time with an expert who can help you look at ways to tackle your obstinate brick wall. A chance to speak one-to-one with a local, regional or specialist expert may be what is needed to allow you to get through your brick wall.

For more useful tips to research your Family Tree then download my Kindle book by using the button in the box below.

 

Disclosure: The links in this post are Compensated Affiliate links. If you decide to buy the product I may receive a commission.

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How to Search for Your English & Welsh Family History

Many of us have a desire to know more about the generations that preceded us and about our roots. We may have become fascinated about where our family originated from; what it was that they did for a living and in what conditions they lived. If your forebears came from England & Wales, then you will want to know what records you can access and where to look for them.

I am Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist, and I have just published an amazon Kindle book called: How to Search for Your English & Welsh Family History. In it I lead the reader through some of the research work that you will probably need to undertake to pursue these goals. Assuming that you have a yearning to find out more about your British roots, this is a concise introduction to English & Welsh family history which can help you in your quest.

I include a look at online and offline records,starting with the census collections and the civil registration data. Different types of Parish Records are dealt with in one chapter including the Dade and Barrington registers. If your ancestor is missing from the church records, then I explain where to find the Bishop’s transcripts and what these copies are.

Baptismal, marriage and burial records are not the only records that were locked away in the Parish Chest and so I look at some of the other documents that may have survived.

Researching records of a marriage and what a Clandestine marriage was are included in this short book as is an explanation of why your ancestor may have had a double baptism. Nonconformist, those of a Christian denomination other than the Church of England, and parish graves are investigated, as is researching records of a marriage, illegitimacy and stumbling blocks in the parish records.

If you don’t have a Kindle then you can download Kindle for PC from amazon and read Kindle books directly on your PC!

If you want a concise book on English an Welsh Family history then click the button to Buy from Amazon in the box below.

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Revealed the Health of Ancestors in the 1911 census

Findmypast.co.uk has recently published the ‘infirmity’ column of the 1911 census on its site. This means that if your forebears had filled this column in on their census return, you’ll now be in a position to see fresh information about your family’s illnesses and conditions back in 1911.

It has been under the data protection regulations of the UK, that this potentially sensitive information was not allowed to be revealed until 100 years had past.

Now, however, it’s possible to find out the state of your family’s health back then. Within the census collection is the example of Elizabeth Eleanor Thorp from Yorkshire who is recorded as having ‘one eye removed in 1907 for disease (gout)‘.

Other examples that the team at findmypast have found in the infirmity column show that our ancestors weren’t afraid to reveal their quirks and eccentricities: ‘A taste for drink combined with gout’, ‘stron and hearty would like to be married’ and ‘sound as a bell thank god’.

More records that can be found, recently revealed by this subscription and pay-as-you-go site, are recorded details of children born to women prisoners who were aged three or under at the time of the census.

Until 31 January 2012, they are offering us the chance to view the 1911 census at hugely reduced prices. View a 1911 census original image for 10 credits (previously 30) and a transcript for 5 credits (previously 10).

Any 1911 census images and transcriptions you viewed on findmypast.co.uk from 1 December 2010 will be free to view again. This is because, following feedback from users they have made it possible to save the records that you have already viewed from 1 December 2010. You’ll need to re-view any 1911 census records that you have looked at before this date, however. Take advantage of their reduced prices until 31 January 2012 – why wait?

 

 



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TheGenealogist.co.uk has added new features to TreeView

I recently got this Press Release from TheGenealogist.co.uk. It seems they have made their TreeView even better..

TreeView Gets Radical New Features:

The highly respected TreeView, a favorite of reviewers has launched unique new features and “views”.

TreeView is free to all. You can access it at TheGenealogist.co.uk and TreeView.co.uk

Five Brand New Views

CustomTree

 

For the first time ever online, TreeView has made it possible to draw your own custom family tree. The custom family tree option lets you pick between pedigree, hourglass or full tree view, you can pick the number of generations you want and then the fun begins. Drag and drop anyone you wish around the tree, remove people from the tree by simply clicking the X on them. If you make a mistake, no problem, just click “undo”. You can also upload a picture to include as a background to your tree. This quickly and easily gives you a fully custom layout of your family tree. When you’re happy with the result, you can save your design for later or print it out.

 

(You can select a person within custom tree and easily move them around the chart)

Relationship Tree

 

Using the Relationship Tree you can select any two members from your tree and generate a chart to show the relationship links between those two ancestors. The chart will appear on screen and from here you can choose to a print a copy.

 

Ancestor Chart

The ancestor chart shows you the direct line ancestors of a selected individual, with the option to display as many generations as you wish.

Descendant Chart

 

Alternatively, the descendant chart shows you the direct descendants of an individual.

Hourglass Tree

 

An alternative design for your tree is an Hourglass Tree. This chart is a combination of ancestor and descendant charts, including both direct ancestors and descendants of a person for as many generations as you wish.

Brand New Features

Printing Trees – You can now print any tree. When clicking on the Print icon you will be asked to select one of the following print options;

All in One: This option emails you a PDF of the entire tree on one page, enabling you to send the PDF to your local printer, so you can have your family tree printed on one large sheet of paper.

Or

Several Pages: This option will divide your tree over several A4 sheets of paper allowing you to print from a standard printer at home. The A4 sheets are discreetly numbered and come with a guide, making it easier for you to piece them together once they have printed.

 

 

Tree Backgrounds

Now all trees come with the option to customise your background, from a variety of different colours, patterns or even use one of your own images.

Backup/RestoreRoutinely save your tree and restore from previous backups or imported GEDCOM files. So now you can tweak your tree without the worry of making a mistake.

Relationship CalculatorYou can calculate the relationship between any two ancestors in your tree. Type the name of the two individuals into the calculator and the relationship between them will be shown in the results box.

If you are looking at your Full Tree or Pedigree view, click any individual and their relationship to the default person will be displayed in the dialog box.

 

Friends New Features

 

The ability to invite friends and family to view your tree is now free to everyone.

 

Friends OptionsIn addition to the access level you can now set a Role for your friends.

 

Select either ‘Guest’ or ‘Proposer’. A ‘Guest’ can view a limited or an extended view of your family tree. A ‘Proposer’ makes proposals for changes or additions to your tree without changing the data. This provides a safe way for your friends and family to help you fill in the blanks to your tree.

 

Hope you find this useful for recording your family history.

Have a very Happy Christmas,

Nick.

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The British Newspaper Archive and Google Books Smash a Family Tree Brick Wall

As many of us find out, when we start to research our family history, our forebears can be a mixture of characters who can come from different walks of life and backgrounds.

In my case I have agricultural labourers, small businessmen, carpenters and brass-founders. There are mariners, soldiers and an intriguing line that “lived on their own means” and are descended from Scottish nobility, albeit in some cases, from the “wrong side of the blanket”.

One of these ancestors, who has always interested me, is a 2 x great-grandfather who appears on the various census as not having an occupation other than owning houses and funds. I had traced Charles Crossland Hay back from Cheltenham in England, where he died in 1858, to his birth in Dunbar in Scotland in 1797 the son of a merchant, who was also called Charles Hay, and his wife Mary Ann Stag. Charles Hay senior then moves his home to Edinburgh and then I pick up the son, Charles Crossland Hay, living at Auchindinny House, near Lasswade, before he marries his bride from Fife in 1832.

Over their life together they have seven children. Two of which are born in Scotland with four born in England and the seventh, my great grandfather, born in France. This last child is registered as a British subject and is christened in Lasswade, back in Scotland, and so his details were to be found on the ScotlandsPeople website.

With the recent launch online of The British Newspaper Archive at http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/
I have, at last, gained more information that has allowed me to find out more about the business of my 2x great-grandfather, through a report on the tragic death of one of his other sons: William.

William Wemyss Frewen Hay died at the age of 30 from a fall over the cliffs in Alderney on a visit to the garrison there. In the newspaper article it stated that he was the son of the late Charles Crossland Hay of the firm Hay, Merricks & Co of Roslin.
Hay Merricks Gunpowder on a website
Now I could start using the search engines to find out about the company, but first of all I did a search of the newspapers for the business. I was rewarded by finding advertisements for their “Sporting Gunpowder” in papers from all over the country.

I went on to find samples of the gunpowder for sale at Christie’s and books mentioning the products digitised and on Google books.

Looking at a map I could also see that Roslin is but a stones throw away from Auchendinny and from the Lasswade parish church, so explaining the family’s link to the area.

On Google Books, I came across a Report from the Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1837-8 dealing with the effect of fictitious votes in Scotland after the Reform Act brought in by the Whigs. There is a list of voters and how they voted included in the document, something that would be unthinkable today. The four business partners of Hay, Merricks & Company of Roslin Powder Mills, which include Charles Crossland Hay, are all recorded as being voters for the Whig party in the years between 1832 to1850 at Roslin.

So now I have ascertained that my ancestor voted for the Whig party and was involved in the manufacture of gunpowder and all this has flowed from a newspaper report into the horrific, slow, painful death of his second son William in 1867 on Alderney, and who was actually born in 1836, two years before the report on fictitious votes was published.

What this shows me, is how events that occur at different points in a timeline and which get reported, can so easily unlock brick walls that occur at other times in the timeline.

 


Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate links used above.

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Family Tree Brick Wall Solved By British Newspaper Archive

British Newspaper ArchiveI have happily been spending some time looking around the newly launched British Newspaper Archive in the hope of finding ancestors from my family tree mentioned in articles or advertisements.

I can report that I have had some brilliant luck with some and no luck at all with others. I also have noticed that you have to deploy a lateral thought process to the search for a name mentioned in an article as an ancestor may have been named in full, or with initials or been misspelt by the journalist writing the piece.

Many results are clear and you can decide to save them by bookmarking them on the site. Some selections are, however, not so clear. The tip I would give you is to try and read the snippets, next to the results, with an open mind. On quite a few occasions my brain could make sense of the Gobbledygook that the optical character recognition OCR reports back for that article and recognised family names or places that otherwise would be disregarded as meaningless characters.

For example: 

At Cuttlehill Farm, Cross?ates. wit I I 12th ir.st., Helen Carmichael, wire of Jo»B| I jL C. Foord...

becomes: At Cuttlehill Farm, Crossgates. On the 12th instance, Helen Carmichael, wife of John I L C Foord

And now on to my discovery. I have, for some time, known of a 2x great-uncle that had been killed from a fall over the cliffs in Alderney and buried back on the English mainland near Weymouth. I had first come across this fact in a privately published book on the monumental inscriptions of a church in Cheltenham. In Christ Church Cheltenham there is a monument on the wall to his parents and at some time a local historian had written not only about the people commemorated by these plaques but also about their family.

As I am resident in Jersey I was intrigued to find that there was a family connection to the more northerly Channel Island and yet I had found nothing to explain how one of my ancestors had met his demise there. A few minutes on The British Newspaper Archive has solved this for me and I am now investigating this further.

To take a look at this great new resource for family historians go to:

http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

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