Frank Gardner’s family history shows a direct line to the Conqueror

William the Conqueror

Last Thursday night, on BBC TV, saw what many people on my facebook page are saying was the best programme in the 12th UK series of Who Do You Think You Are so far. The subject was Frank Gardner, the BBC’s Security Correspondent who made the news himself in June 2004 when he was shot six times and seriously wounded by al-Qaeda sympathisers in Saudi Arabia.

It was his maternal family tree, that was the subject of the one hour show. It would seem to have delighted those viewers that have commented on social media because, while it did pick out certain key ancestors to look at in more detail, the episode went on to trace Frank’s line as far back as the research would take them. This happened to be to William the Conqueror himself and so it more than validated the family story, that Frank had heard as a child from his mother, that they were descended from the Normans.

You certainly couldn’t have wanted to find a better ancestor than the Norman King, if you were trying to prove that your family came over with the Normans! Without any shadow of a doubt William, Duke of Normandy, is one Norman that no one can dispute arrived in England at that time.

 

The satisfaction of being able to trace one generation back to another and then back to another, and so on for 31 generations, is something that very few of us can have the gratification of being able to do. Yet I was asked by a contact this weekend if I had noticed that it was often a pretty zig-zag line that was taken. The lineage, they had spotted from the pedigree shown on the screen, would meander back though the mother of an ancestor and then her mother. The next generation back was again via the female line and then, perhaps, the male branch for a couple of generations before going up the female line again.

“How could the Herald at the College of Arms have told Frank that he was directly descended from William the Conqueror?”

“Because he is!” I replied, nonplussed. “A direct line does not mean everyone has to have the same surname and be descended from the male. Women are just as important as ancestors to us all.”

I believe that this is a mistake that many may make in their family tree research. Unintentionally concentrating on charging back up one line following the father, the grandfather to trace the surname back. This can even happen if our quest started with a woman.

It takes two to create an offspring and the child, we know now, receives half their DNA from each parent. So take time to investigate some of your female lines and see where they take you. You too may be as lucky as Frank Gardner in your discoveries.

 

TheGenealogist website’s researchers have also turned up an interesting fact about the journalist’s dad.

Read their featured article here about Frank Gardner’s James Bond like father.

 

Read the featured article on Frank Gardner at TheGenealogist.co.uk

 

 

 

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A visit around a top supplier of Family history products

Family History Products (U.K.)

On a recent visit to Wiltshire I dropped into the offices of S&N British Data Archive, manufacturer and suppliers of many family history products from archival binders and equipment to data CDs and much much more.

If you are looking for archival products or data CDs and downloads then check out their comprehensive website now:
http://genealogysupplies.com/

 

genealogysupplies.com

 

 

 

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Happy Christmastide from Nick The Nosey Genealogist

The Nosey Pirate

I’ve been off line for some days now as the family home, that I was visiting for Christmas, has been suffering from a basic lack of broadband. BT were persuaded to check the line, but the signal remained elusive to all my devices until now. This, I hope, explains my lack of posts on the blog and on Facebook for more than a week.

Fancy that, days without any proper connection to the outside (virtual) world with only the snatched five minutes here and there, when out at a public hotspot. How did we all survive prior to the web connected world we are so wedded to today?

So what did we all do, over the festive period, without being able to check the web, read emails or post on Facebook?

Our extended family reverted to a more traditional Christmas of socialising with each other, eating food around a huge dining table and playing games. One day we all donned costumes, on a Gilbert & Sullivan theme and so I am happy to reveal my true self on this page as Nick the Pirate from Penzance! This was a planned competition that forced everyone to join in an make a spectacle of ourselves –  the reward being a Christmas cocktail brought back from the Merchant Navy in the Second World War by my dad and now a tradition in the Thorne family. It seems that if the troop carrier ship, on which he served, was at sea for Christmas then the Shaw Savill Line provided the officers with a bottle of Gin, a bottle of Martini Rosso and a bottle of Martini Bianco. What did they do? They mixed them together of course!

We had quite a few tipsy Pirates in our house that day, with one Lord High Admiral trying to keep order.

The First Lord of the  Admiralty

 

Many people that I speak to seem to relish the prospect of finding a felon, such as a pirate in their family tree. Much as I have tried to root one out in my tree and despite that many of my ancestors were from the West Country and sailed the seas as mariners, I have yet to find one.

There is a handy list of  Buccaneers and Pirates on the Black Sheep Ancestor website.

I have found mariners in the Shipping Crew Lists, such as that available from TheGenealogist, but no Pirates. I’ll keep looking as revisiting brick walls several times often results in a break through.

Nick

The Nosey Genealogist

 

 

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

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Who do you think you are? Family history programme delights many fans.

Mary Berry

This week’s Who Do You Think You Are? on the BBC was a bit more traditional in tracing Mary Berry’s family back through various record sets. From what I can see, on the forums and on facebook, this has please many people who don’t like the recent trend of just one ancestor being looked at in a programme in more depth.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this week’s, with Mary Berry being a great choice to investigate with some interesting  ancestors that made use of a large number of resources from the family history researcher’s tool box.

In defence for those other programmes, with the single subject, I would just like to say that one of the points that I was taught (and which I myself now teach in my own family history course) is that family history involves looking at the social context of our ancestors, as well as collecting names, dates and details.

We need to understand the world in which our ancestors lived and what was happening to make them be the people that they were. Perhaps these editions were simply trying to show this and in the confines of an hour long programme this naturally excluded all the other generations that  would appear on the celebrity’s family tree.

That said, it would seem that the popular vote is for the later type of WDYTYA? Viewers from the genealogy pages on facebook  would prefer to see a family tree being traced back and a little bit of detail being fleshed out on the poor unfortunate person who had fallen on difficult times or who had shown great grit.

As long as when we come to research our own family tree that we don’t make the mistake of simply collecting names, dates, perhaps an occupation and place or two and then move on to the next generation without thinking a little about the social context of our ancestors, then my vote is also with the Mary Berry type of programme, but only narrowly in favour!

 

As I wrote this post today I was casting my mind back over the show and counting off the data sets and resources used for which I have modules in my Family History Researcher course.

There was her ancestor who was the baker with the contract for supplying bread to the Workhouse and the Outdoor relief paupers (not really made clear in the programme as to what each were, probably because of time constraints). My module on the Poor Law explains the difference between indoor and outdoor relief.

There was also Christopher Berry Junior’s wife and 6 children who ended up in the workhouse with some of the children dying while inmates, but the segregation that would have taken place between children and parent was not mentioned. See my module on the Workhouse.

Mary Berry was shown the Trades Directory and especially the one that her ancestor had published. In my course I have a module on Trade Directories written by Mary Bayley of TheGenelogist that uses that website’s great resources to explain their usefulness to the family historian.

Mary Berry had an ancestor of the same name as her who was identified in the GRO vital records as having had a number of illegitimate children. The Parish Registers also confirmed this fact. I delve into these three areas in separate modules on the Birth Marriage and Death certificates (lesson 2), the Parish Records (5 and 8) and Illegitimate children (21).

Then there was old newspapers (lesson number 42), Bankruptcy (lesson 29), apprentices (lesson 15), death records (lesson 25) and probably more!

If anyone is new to our fascinating subject, or is a seasoned family history researcher who would like to be refreshed on English/Welsh researching then I have a £1 trial for two weeks on offer at the moment.

Click the image below to find out more.

Join Family History Researcher

 

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Second World War Merchant Navy Officers in the Family Tree

 

Merchant Seaman's Records
Merchant Seaman’s Records

This holiday period I was catching up with my copies of Your Family Tree Magazine (January 2014 Issue 137). On page 44 I began reading an article all about how one of their readers found the troop ship that took her father to war by doing a bit of detective work with the few pieces of the puzzle that she had.

The reader, Jackie Dinnis who blogs about her family history at www.jackiedinnis.wordpress.com, had a few photographs and his medals to go on and, crucially, a letter written by her father from the unnamed troopship.

In the note, to his mother, he tells of being entertained by an orchestra conducted by a popular British dance band-leader called Geraldo. By doing some research online Jackie found that Geraldo and his Orchestra had been going to the Middle East and North Africa in 1943 to entertain the troops. It required several other bits of information to name the troopship. Facts, that tied the dates of departure up with the detail that this band were on board, eventually named the troopship as the Dominion Monarch.

Now this is where her father’s story overlaps with my father’s story.

As I have written elsewhere in this blog about obtaining my dad’s merchant navy records he was a young purser’s clerk on board the former liner and wartime troopship the Dominion Monarch.

As I read this at Christmas, while staying with him, I asked if he remembered the concert by Geraldo. Sadly he didn’t, though I can confirm that he was on board for that voyage from a look at his MN papers, but he had other story’s to tell of life on board the ship and its convoy passages across the oceans.

Then we fast-forward to Christmas day and one of those games that get played at the dinner table when the family are gathered together. My sister’s mother-in-law picked a card that asked “What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your life?” In turn we all gave our answers and then it was my father’s turn.

“To have survived,” was his answer. And when asked what he meant, he elaborated a little: “being at sea in the war.”

Then, this week, I was able to watch with him the programme on PQ17 the disastrous Arctic convoy. It was not a route that he sailed, though he was empathising with the crews that were so sorely deserted by the Admiralty’s decision to withdraw Naval protection and issue the Scatter signal.

And finally, this week, I was checking in at Facebook to find that some of my younger first-cousins-once-removed, had been looking at their grandfather’s Merchant Navy ID card and receiving a history lesson from their parents over the New Year. The awe with which they were learning about young men (both my Uncle and Father served in the Shaw Savill Line) who had gone to sea at a time when a torpedo from a U-boat may have prematurely ended their lives, was fitting.

So this Christmas and New Year has, unintentionally, taken on a Merchant Navy theme for me. Family history is great!

 

 

Your Family Tree Magazine is one of my favourite magazines:



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Middle Names in Family Tree Research

 

Thorne family from Dartmouth, Devon. I’ve been helping an old friend starting out in researching their family history in this week and he had noted that some of his family all had the same middle name.

The question, that he had, was would it be likely that it was a family surname from one of the female lines and being passed down to honour that family connection.

From what research I have done, by reading around, it would seem that  it was quite common for children to be baptised with a second name taken from a family surname that was, perhaps, the mother’s or grandmother’s maiden surname.

Mark Herber, in Ancestral Trials, The History Press; New Ed edition (1 Jun 2005) makes this point when introducing genealogical research in chapter 1 of this comprehensive book. But hold on a minute, before you jump to the conclusion that the name you have found must be attributable to another branch of your family.

In the picture, that I have included here, from a Thorne family bible  just one of that generation were given names that honoured their forebears surnames and that was Ellen Florence Malzer Thorne, the Malzer name being her mother’s maiden name.

The generation before (Henry Thomas Thorne’s siblings)  were given a variety of conventional second names until the family broke with the C of E and became members of the Flavel Memorial (Presbyterian/Independent/Congregational) church.

At this stage several of Henry’s brothers and sisters were baptised with the middle name of Lemon. I am yet to understand who they were being named after so if any of my readers can put me on the right path then post a comment below or on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/NoseGenealogist

Certainly the parents of these children, John Brandon Thorn and Elizabeth Gardiner Thorn, were usefully named after their mothers and so made the search for them in the parish records all the easier.

So the conclusion is that an unusual middle name may point you to the maiden name of your ancestor or, regretfully, it may not!

 

Another point, that I have noticed, is that people may adopt a middle name and later generations begin passing it on as they assume it to be an ancestral name. Perhaps it was someone that they admired greatly, or perhaps it was indeed a family name.

For someone I was researching this week I discovered that they were not given a middle name in the church register when they were baptised and yet they begin to use this middle name and so do the generations that followed. Perhaps it was someone that they admired greatly, but it was certainly not noted in the parish register at the time of their baptism!

My research this week has been greatly helped by the fact that more parish records have made it online. My friend’s family were from the Birmingham area of Northfields. Now very much a suburb of Birmingham but in the years I was researching between 1769 and 1820 part of the county of Worcestershire.

Ancestry.co.uk have many records available for this area including the images of parish records from a partnership with the Library of Birmingham.



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Would you like some free credits at Find My Past?

Start Your Family Tree Week is back from  26 Dec 2012 – 1 Jan 2013 with special offers on accessing some search sites!

Hope you had a lovely Christmas day yesterday. At this time of year, when we are visiting or calling family, that we can often make a break through in our family tree research by simply talking to our relatives.

But now some of the family tree research websites are also making it easier for some of us to participate with special Christmas holiday offers. For example Find My Past has 50 free credits available to use for a short time.

Due to the past success of the Start Your Family Tree Week it is back for its third year.  From today, the 26th December to the 1st January, Genes Reunited and findmypast.co.uk will be helping members start their family trees with special offers, free getting started guides, discounts and competitions for the chance to win fantastic prizes!

Genes Reunited has some great prizes on offer during the week, competitions will be posted on the message boards and Facebook page.  To see the Genes Reunited getting started guides, visit www.genesreunited.co.uk/static.page/syftw

Findmypast.co.uk will be offering 50 free credits to get involved with the fun and to start searching records, coupled with quiz questions, guides and templates that make getting started as simple as can be! Experts are by no means left out in the cold either, with more advanced questions alongside beginners’ tasks and a “brick wall challenge day” will be held on Facebook and Twitter on the 31st December! The entire week’s calendar of activities can be found at http://www.findmypast.co.uk/content/start-your-family-tree-week/index

 

And here is another little present for you!The British Newspaper Archive online

For a limited time there is an offer of an exclusive 10% off the 12 Month Package to the British Newspaper Archive!

You will need to use this link to the British Newspaper Archive.
And then use the voucher code: fHmTenYtR (to be entered at the point of checkout, stage 1)

You then get:
o A 12 Month package
o Validity: 26 Dec 2012 – 31 Jan 2013
o Available in the UK Only

What do customers get with a 12 Month Package to the British Newspaper Archive?

o Unlimited credits / page views
o Access to all digitised newspaper pages dating back 300+ years
o Access to ‘My Research’ – a personal area to keep track of searches, add notes and bookmark viewed items into folders

 

So happy holidays and good luck with your research!



British Newspaper Archive


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Genes Reunited Launches Unique KEEPSAFE


ancestor, ancestry, family tree, family history, r

This week the family history website Genes Reunited: www.GenesReunited.co.uk have added some interesting new and innovative features to their website.

One that has particularly interested me is what they term a Keepsafe. It’s purpose is for digitally storing all of your family records, photos and memories and Relation Profiles, where you can view and edit details about each individual in your tree. This latest addition comes after genesreunited.co.uk recently refreshed its appearance with a new, and easy to navigate redesign.

The Keepsafe, they tell us, is a unique and organised way for us to collate our family history and is a place for their members to safely store and share documents, from photos and certificates to maps and letters. Being made available to all levels of membership at www.GenesReunited.co.uk, who’ll be given the option to open their images to the public, keep them private or to share them with other members, their family and their friends. They’ll even be able to share their Keepsafe on facebook. At launch today there are over 2.7 million private images already uploaded to Keepsafe.

 

Relation Profiles are automatically created for each relation Genes Reunited members add to their family trees. It includes a clear timeline, notes section and immediate family tree. There’s also a section that prompts their members on what they can do next to take their research on to the next stage. Users are able to edit the details and then these changes will be reflected in their tree on the site. It is possible to also view any photos or records that are attached to the person too. Genesreunited allows members to print out the profile, so they can share their discoveries with their families.

The Genes Reunited site automatically creates ‘Hot Matches’ where members who have the same relations in their family tree are matched with each other. It is said that many of their members have collected rich data on their relatives and having the option to share this with other members can be very beneficial to their research. At launch there will be over 260 million profiles already created, that’s equivalent to over 4 records for every man, woman and child in the UK .

Rhoda Breakell, Head of Genes Reunited, comments: “Imagine being able to find out more information about your ancestors than you could have ever hoped for. Stories, timelines and more besides….Relation Profiles are a place where our members can store all of this information and then share it with each other. Who knows what anecdotes someone else might have written about your ancestors?”

 

Interesting!

 

The Keepsafe and Relation Profile pages are available online at www.GenesReunited.co.uk for all members.


Discover your ancestors at Genes Reunited.co.uk

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

 

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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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What is the future for finding the past online?

I’ve been reading a business tip today. It was all about what big company may wish to gobble up the likes of Ancestry.com in the future.

It began from the premise that family history was big business, with the more of us turning to online resources such as the subscription sites run by Ancestry who have grown their revenue every quarter since they went public on the New York Stock Exchange.

I have always thought of Ancestry as being one of the big players in the genealogical market. But this article, by The Mottley Fool, talks about the possible threat of a larger company than them entering the market. The likes of Facebook, Google, or Microsoft being their assumed predators.

All three of these organisations could take advantage of the massive amounts of information that they have acquired, plus the technological skills of the programmers that they employ to build a more streamlined search website than what is already on offer in the market.

As The Motley Fool points out Facebook has its Timeline feature, which is an indication that they have noticed the potential of our hobby. There is Google, a big player in organising information, to consider as well. Meanwhile, Microsoft have something called Project Greenwich which allows its users to collect together their photos, links, scanned objects, and potentially more information to create chronological timelines about specific events, people, places, or things. It would not take much for them to turn this into an interactive timeline of our family history.

It is suggested that by providing such a timeline that this would encourage people to remain as members of sites like Ancestry for longer and thus defend them against the problem of membership churn. The article  concludes that perhaps these firms will go down the partnership route, or that Microsoft licenses its technology to the likes of Ancestry.

But who knows what will be on offer to us in the future in researching the past online?

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