The Family History Show – London Saturday 22nd September

I’m getting my bags packed for a visit to this great family history event in the south of London run by Discover Your Ancestors Magazine. Not long to go now as the countdown is well and truly on!

Here is what the organisers have to say:

 

The Family History Show – London Saturday 22nd September

Headline sponsor:TheGenealogist logo
The UK’s Biggest Family History Show of 2018 is almost upon us. After last year’s hugely successful event we are back and twice the size! With even more free talks, societies and exhibitors. Come along to discover ways to delve deeper into your family tree and add more detail to your research. Dick Eastman will be giving the keynote speech on ‘The Future of Genealogy’ and there is a full programme of free talks to help you on your way back to the past. With free car parking and a free minibus from the train station, you won’t want to miss this!

Saturday 22nd September 2018 10am to 4.30pm

Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher

 

You will find plenty to explore on the day:

  • Double the talks – Two Large Lecture Theatres with Free Talks all day
  • New This Year – Free Ask the Experts Area
  • Announcing The National Archives as a new exhibitor this year
  • Local Archives and Ministry of Defence stands
  • Gain knowledge from the societies and organisations attending
  • Advanced tickets are just 2 for £7.50

 

Announcing our DNA Sponsor – MyHeritage DNA

We’re pleased that MyHeritage will be joining us as our DNA sponsor! They will be available throughout the day and will also be giving a talk in one of our free lecture theatres.

Free Talks throughout the day

There will be free talks throughout the day in our two large lecture theatres.

Keynote – The Future of Genealogy with Dick Eastman

Breaking down brick walls in your family history research with Mark Bayley, Online Expert

Mark describes how to resolve stumbling blocks in your family history research using innovative search strategies and unique record sets to find those missing relatives.

Tips & Tricks for Online Research with Keith Gregson, Professional Researcher & Social Historian

Keith shares top tips & techniques for finding elusive ancestors, illustrated by some fascinating case studies.

Tracing Your Military Ancestors with Chris Baker, Military Expert & Professional Researcher

Chris draws on his experience from researching thousands of soldiers to explore what can be found when looking for a military ancestor.

Photo Dating with Jayne Shrimpton, Photo Expert and Fashion Historian

Using DNA to Trace Your Ancestry with MyHeritage

5 Killer Apps for Mobile Genealogy with Graham Walter

Many of us have a smart phone with us when we are out doing our genealogy research. What are the apps that will best aid us in our pursuit?

Ask the Experts

New this year will be the Free ‘Ask the Experts’ section, with Jayne Shrimpton on hand to date photographs, Chris Baker to answer questions regarding Medals and Military Research and Social and Sporting Historian Keith Gregson to help break down your brick walls.

  • Bring along copies of your photographs and have them dated by our expert
  • Have those military queries answered
  • Learn more about the social history of your family

Two Tickets for £7.50!

Buy One Get One Half Price on Tickets! Buy your tickets in advance for £5 a person or buy two for £7.50 (Price on the door will be £7 each). HURRY, this offer ends Midday 19th September!

https://thefamilyhistoryshow.com/london/tickets/

 

 

 

‘Discover Your Ancestors is both a critically acclaimed annual high quality print magazine and a monthly digital periodical. Launched in 2011 and well received by readers it is aimed at both those starting out in family history research as well as those more experienced family historians. Featuring case studies, social history articles and research advice, it is an informative and educational guide to help break down brick walls.

In 2017 it created the ‘Discover Your Ancestors’ Family History Show  at York and London, these events have grown rapidly in size and a third show for the South West is planned for 2019.’

 

Send to Kindle

Finding my ancestor in the newly released Change of Name Database

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.*

 

TheGenealogist logo

 

This week I was taking a look around the newly released Change of Name Database on TheGenealogist so that I could put together an article for their website when I came across one of my own collateral ancestors in the database. My maternal line includes a number of fascinating Scots that would seem to have had a bit of money and land. This is stark contrast to others in my tree that had very little in the way of property.

I was thrilled, when using this new resource, to discover the official change of name where my 3x great grandmother’s elder brother was being made a baronet and officially registering a change of name from having a double-barrelled surname to a triple-barrelled one of 26 characters long!

You can read the article on Change of Names here.

 

The reason for my article was to compliment TheGenealogist releasing the new resource for family historians wanting to find ancestors who had officially changed their forename or surname in Britain. Their Change of Name Database covers information gathered from a number of sources including Private Acts of Parliament; Royal Licences published in the London and Dublin Gazettes; notices of changes of name published in The Times after 1861 with a few notices from other newspapers; registers of the Lord Lyon [King of Arms] where Scottish changes of name were commonly recorded; records in the office of the Ulster King at Arms and also some private information.

 

You can use this database to:

  • Discover ancestors that recorded a change of name
  • Find what name had been adopted and the name discarded

 

Their second release this month is to coincide with the return of The Family History Show, York to the racecourse on Saturday 23rd June, which I am attending.

TheGenealogist has now added the Colour Tithe Maps for the North Riding and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Complimenting the already released schedule books and greyscale maps, these colour maps add an attractive visual aid to find where your ancestor lived in the mid 1800s.

 

The fully searchable tithe records released online allow researchers to:

  • Find plots of land owned or occupied by ancestors in early Victorian North Riding and East Riding of Yorkshire on colour maps
  • See where your forebears lived, farmed or perhaps occupied a small cottage or a massive estate.

 

 

*Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links. This does not mean that you pay more just that I make a percentage on the sales from my links. The payments help me pay for the cost of running the site. You may like to read this explanation here:

http://paidforadvertising.co.uk/

Send to Kindle

Take a trip to a Family History Show such as the one at York

Queue at York Family History Fair

Next weekend on Saturday 23rd of June 2018 there is one of the largest gathering of family historians in England taking place at The Knavesmire Exhibition Centre, The Racecourse, York, YO23 1RX.

If you are in the area then I urge you to pop along between 10am and 4.30pm and see what you may learn. I’ve been a couple of times now and found that its not just aimed at people with Yorkshire ancestors – so it is worth a visit where ever your ancestors came from.

I am already checking my tickets and planning my trip as I love attending these events for all the useful information that you can pick up from the likes of the family history society stands, genealogical suppliers and from the talks in the lecture area.

 

Click here to pre-book your tickets for The Family History Show, York and buy one get one half price!  But do hurry, as pre-booking closes at the end of Wednesday 20th June!

With even more exhibitors attending this year, the York Family History Fair is probably the largest event of its kind in England with many family history societies and companies attending each year. There is also lots of local history from the York area too.

 

Facilities include:

  • Free Talks from Expert Speakers
  • Exhibitors from all over the UK
  • Free Parking
  • Cafe with refreshments available all day
  • Fully accessible with lifts and ramps throughout

The show is organised by Discover Your Ancestors Magazine and is sponsored by TheGenealogist and S&N Genealogy Supplies.

 

Saturday 23rd June 2018 – 10am to 4.30pm

The Knavesmire Exhibition Centre, The Racecourse, York, YO23 1EX

Admission: Adults £5.00, Children under 14 FREE

https://thefamilyhistoryshow.com/york/tickets/

Send to Kindle

This week’s brick walls busted!

 

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: www.FamilyHistoryResearcher.com/course

 

Send to Kindle

Tip for those new to researching for British Ancestors

When you first start doing Family history research for British ancestors, It may appear to you to be a quite daunting task. There will be probably be frustration and elation often mixed in equal parts as you find a forebear and then lose trace of them again. There are so many avenues for you to go down and so many records to look at in Britain which means that, given time, you can probably get back on track and those ancestors that disappear may reappear later. Not being able to find a person can be the result of many things. The ancestor may just be hidden within the database because somebody has lost the record, or it has been damaged, or simply your ancestor’s details were mis-entered in the first place.

The best bit of advice that I can pass on is some that was given to me a number of years back. It is a recommendation that can be applied to any task, really.

“Tackle the subject of researching for your British ancestry by taking it in small bites at a time.”

Perhaps the first tools to use are:

  • Birth Certificates – these can provide you with parent’s names of an ancestor
  • Marriage Certificates  that give you the father’s names for both parties
  • Census records which, as well as other information, furnish you with the birth places of ancestors and their ages
  • Parish Registers which will, with luck, supply a track for you to follow of baptisms, marriages and burials for your family.

In truth, all of the above records should be used together so that you can corroborate the details. A census may give you a place of birth different from the actual place found on the Birth Certificate because your ancestor, for some reason best known to themselves, wanted to claim a different place of birth from the actual town where they were born. Ages in census may have been given wrongly for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is that some did not really know!

It is vital to start your family tree research from the latest provable fact. This could be your parent’s details, your grandparent’s or perhaps your own birth certificate.

Now I realise that people that have been adopted, or for some other reason are not aware of their biological parent’s names or details will struggle with this. There is an article republished in the resources section of my website that can help you if you are in this position. Take a look at: Finding biological parents

Send to Kindle

How to knock down family history ‘brick walls’ using DNA

DNA in family history
DNA image by Nogas1974 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Are you confused by what DNA testing can offer the family history researcher? I know that I have been!

Do you wonder how DNA test results can help you to break down your brick walls in your ancestor research? Or perhaps you are not sure what or who to believe?

 

I read an excellent article this week that I really think is worth drawing attention to. If you don’t already belong to Peter Calver’s LostCousins then you may not have seen this week’s LostCousins Newsletter

 

LostCousins

The article explains why we can’t afford to ignore DNA evidence in doing our research; what test you should consider taking; who should do the test and an independent opinion on which company to test with.

You will also learn what the DNA test can’t tell you; what you will find using DNA and how it could help you break down your brick walls.

I can’t recommend this piece more highly as it well written and easy to understand. This is not the first article that Peter Calver has written on this subject, so if you want some answers to the questions that many of us have about DNA and how it can be used in family history research then why not join his LostCousins membership? Standard membership (which includes the newsletter), is FREE.

If you join the LostCousins website and share your ancestors it can help you to find living relatives and so help you to discover more about your family tree. LostCousins say on their website that it ‘is all about bringing people together, not just people who share an interest in family history, but people with a shared interest in the same families, people who share the same DNA.’

If you want to find more cousins and get Peter Calver’s interesting newsletters read more at: https://www.lostcousins.com/

Send to Kindle

How do I find my ancestors’ story from family history records?

The Nosey Genealogist at Birmingham Archives

Many researchers ask “how do I find my ancestors in the records?” and then they may want to know “how can I use these records to build a picture of my ancestor’s story?”

A point to remember is that ancestors didn’t exist in isolation and a good strategy is to build up their life story by looking at the events and people that had an effect on their lives.

Families can be complicated entities with step fathers/step mothers and sometimes unmarried parties in the equation. You may find people that married then separate and even sometimes get back together. In my own family I have an ancestor who remarried his first wife, after a period of divorce, but I hadn’t appreciated all of the story until recently. The strands came together by reviewing various records that I had gathered at different times.

Over a period we may collect various diverse search results for an ancestor, but we may not see how they fit together to build a bigger picture. It is important, for this reason, that every now and again we go back and review what we have. Sometimes this can suggest places for us to continue our research to find the story of our forebears’ life.

 

While doing some research this week I noticed a fact appeared in three completely different records. It was a town name that I had not paid much attention to having previously assumed that it was of little relevance to my ancestor’s life.

Beaumaris, in Anglesey, was where a First World War Royal Engineer officer in my family tree had been posted as he awaited being demobbed. Kingsbridge camp was on the Welsh island and I had first seen it on his service record. From the pages of this document I had gathered that my R.E. officer was suffering from shell-shock and attending medical boards in Bangor. I overlooked the importance of the town as it seemed to me that it was simply a posting where he had been sent by the Army at the end of the war.

Officer's war record
Page from a First World War officer’s service record

At a completely different research session, I had been looking at the time my ancestor spent living in Singapore and I had come across a Singapore newspaper website to aid me. Using the portal I had been able to find a snippet that gave the details of his marriage at the Presbyterian church in Singapore. In July 1921 he was reported to have wed Monica Mary.

The first thing that had struck me was I had not known that he had married this lady. In the WWI service record he had been married to a Mary Ellen, in Surrey, and family lore told me that he had been divorced from his first wife, then re-married her a few years later and they had then lived together in Singapore.  No mention of this intervening marriage had been drawn to my attention.

The family stories also said that his first wife, Mary had been lost at sea while escaping from the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in the Second World War. None of this explained me finding a marriage in Singapore to a completely different woman!

Japanese March in Singapore © IWM (HU 2787)
Japanese troops marching through Fullerton Square, Singapore. © IWM (HU 2787)

Skip forward to another period of research and I was using the Outbound Passenger Lists in order to write an article for publication. While I had the online search page open, on a whim, I typed in the first wife’s name and found Mary’s passage out to Singapore with their young daughter in February 1926.

Then turning to the second wife, whom I wrongly assumed my subject had met in Singapore, I did a search for Monica to see if I could find her going out to Singapore in the first place. I discovered her leaving London in May 1921 bound for the Straits Settlements.

Another entry had Monica and her husband visiting the U.K. in 1925, the year before his first wife and child emigrated to the colony. While I was pondering all of this I noted the entry given on the passenger list for their last address in the United Kingdom. It was a street in Beaumaris, Anglesey!

Then the penny dropped. Monica was probably from Beaumaris in Wales. The R.E. camp where my ancestor had recuperated was also in Beaumaris.

By Dr. Blofeld (OpenStreetMap) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Anglesey By Dr. Blofeld (OpenStreetMap) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I next turned to some research that I had done at The National Archives. While looking into something completely different I had taken the opportunity to order up the 1919 divorce papers for the first marriage to Mary. These revealed that he had still been a serving Royal Engineer at the time of the petition by his wife and that his address was given as… Kingsbridge Camp, Beaumaris.

So now, by drawing together various records obtained at different times, I had him posted to Beaumaris in the Service Records; Beaumaris in his divorce papers; Beaumaris as the address in the BT27 Passenger Lists where he and his second wife were visiting from Singapore in 1925.

A simple search of the 1911 census records for Monica (with her surname) in Beaumaris and I quickly found her family and could then research them back. With the review of my previous research and by now paying attention to the town that had popped up in several records, I am in a position to speculate some details to add to my ancestor’s family story.

 

I assume that while suffering from shell-shock and recovering from his war experiences in Anglesey he met Monica and fell in love. He first wife Mary filed for divorce, though not for adultery, but for the reason that he refused to return home to her in Surrey.

Demobbed my ancestor decided to try his luck in another part of the world and went out to Singapore. Within a year Monica followed and they married within months. In 1925 Monica and her husband visited her family in Beaumaris, but by the next year my ancestor’s first wife and child were on their way out to Singapore.

What happened to Monica? That is the next direction for this research to go. An article published in Singapore seems to point to her dying in 1925 but this, naturally, needs corroboration. Was she sick when they made their last visit to Wales? Perhaps a Singapore death records will reveal what she died of.

Family history research has a habit of opening up more questions just as you resolve some of the others. In answer to the question “how do I find my ancestors in the records?” and “how can I use these records to build a picture of my ancestor’s story?” my response is review what you already know. Check facts that you may have overlooked or discounted because you thought them irrelevant and see where they take you. Keep your eyes open as well as your mind.


 

Searching for clues to your ancestors’ lives?

Discover tips for breaking down your brick walls; learn techniques and tricks that good genealogists use to work their way around stumbling blocks and find records and resources to use in your research.

Here is your chance to take a one month trial of this online English/Welsh family history course! You’ll get 52 weekly modules delivered on your computer, so that you can follow them at your own speed and at the time that you want. And you are not locked in as you can cancel at any time!

Those that have already completed the course said:

“You communicate in an understandable way! Thank you for the modules that I have had so far”. P. Martin.

“I am finding the course very useful, even though I have been doing family history for many years.” Kind Regards, H. Stephens.

“I would like to thank you for the resources, which I have received weekly, they are very interesting and informative, also a big thank you for the brilliant customer service.” P. Beilby.

Check out the current offers here: English/Welsh family history course

Send to Kindle

Hilarious mistakes in a family tree!

Family Tree on a computer

I was looking for some clues this week about which branch of a family to pursue, while researching someone’s family tree for them.

I did a quick trawl of the online offerings, to see if I could get some pointers as to which direction my research should go and which of two cousins to concentrate on.

We all get taught that we should NEVER take someone else’s research and add it into our own tree without verifying the information in the records.

I may, however, look to see what others may have found before me as a clue to which people I need to research in the primary records. But I always scan to see what sources they have added to their tree, to back up their research. If there are few records cited – or worse still, none at all – then my in built BS meter tends to go off in my brain.

Unfortunately, too many people don’t seem to approach ancestor research with a healthy dose of scepticism for what they have found online and so the web based family trees can be a great example of people’s fantasy being passed off as truth.

Online family history research

I was once bombarded by messages from someone who thought that doing genealogy was simple. They willy nilly grabbed people with the same names as their ancestors and completed their tree in no time at all. When I raised with them the subject of proof they became very annoyed with me. To them “it stands to reason” that X was the father of Y and that there was no need to waste our time proving it.

Sorry, that is so wrong!

I do think that it is acceptable to take a look and see if we can get some clues for our own research from what others have done, but sometimes I am speechless at what I find published in an online tree.

This week I found that someone had made public their family tree with a line going back to the eighteenth century. Supposedly, if you believed their tree, one of their female ancestors had been born in 1779, got married 8 years before she was born, had a son when she was 3 years old and then died in two different places!

Perhaps this was a work in progress and they were entering possible candidates into the tree before checking the records to verify if they had the right person. In this case it must, surely, have been obvious they were barking up the wrong tree. I just wonder how they were not embarrassed to have this nonsense publicly available for all to see?

Lesson from all this, for those new to family history research, don’t make your tree public if it contains daft speculation!

 

Take a look at Genealogical Proof on the Amazon store, some books are very reasonably priced: http://amzn.to/2lVoZYO

 

My own English/Welsh family history course includes a module examining genealogical proof.

Family History Researcher Academy

 

Compensated Affiliate Link to Amazon.co.uk used above.

Send to Kindle

Victoria Wood in Discover Your Ancestors

Victoria Wood

In this month’s Discover Your Ancestors online periodical I have had published an article I wrote on the well-loved comedienne Victoria Wood.

I discover that she was descended from a war hero who had been awarded the Croix de Guerre by the King of Belgium and a look at her family shows us that it was made up of a number of determined characters!

I also discover that Victoria had a lonely childhood without friends. If you read my piece I am sure your heart strings will be tugged at to find that, as a child, only one person turned up to her birthday party – all the other kids having better things to do on the day, like playing on their bikes!

I look at an error in the General Register Office records that misspells her mother’s maiden name on Victoria’s birth record. It is a good example of how even official primary records can contain mistakes and a lesson to us all to think creatively when we can’t find someone in the data.

I explain where to find the records, that I made use of to trace the family, so that you could apply the techniques in your own family history research.

We also discover some fascinating facts about her father. He turns out to have a number of more interesting strings to his bow than you might have expected from an average insurance claims inspector.

June edition of Discover Your Ancestors
Click here to check out Discover Your Ancestors

Also in this month’s Discover Your Ancestors Periodical Dr Simon Wills examines the wreck of the SS London 150 years on,  Jocelyn Robson investigates a woman who faked her own death, and there is much much more to read.

Visit their website to buy your copy today.

You can also read some sample articles before you buy (including this one on Victoria Wood) by clicking on the articles tab while you are there! So take a look now at Discover Your Ancestors.

 

 

 

 

Compensated affiliate links used above:
 http://paidforadvertising.co.uk/

 

Send to Kindle

Behind the scenes at an archive

 

Jersey Archive
Jersey Archive

I woke up on Saturday morning and heard on my local radio that there was a behind the scenes tour of the Jersey Archive that day.

Well that was me sorted with something to do, especially as it was grey and drizzly outside!

I’ve not had the chance to see the strongroom and workings of this archive before, although I have once been on a tour round the Devon Heritage Centre (Devon County Record Office) in Exeter some years ago and thoroughly enjoyed learning more about what goes on there.

 

Jersey Archive was established as part of Jersey Heritage in 1993. The Archive is the Island’s national repository holding archival material from public institutions as well as private businesses and individuals. It is part of the Jersey Heritage Trust, who run the Jersey Museum and various other heritage sites for the island.
Jersey Archive Catalogue
Jersey Archive online catalogue

My tour began at 11:30 in the light and airy front reception area with Linda Romeril, Head of Archives and Collections, leading us around.

Jersey Archive was rather late to be established in comparison to The National Archives in England (which as The Public Record Office was set up in 1838) or the various County Record Offices in England & Wales that started in the 1900s. This has, been turned to its advantage by it being able to catalogue its collections from the very start using a computer database.

It has a purpose built premises designed to preserve the 600 years of records in a temperature controlled strongroom that is in a block which, while attached by a linking corridor, does not form part of the main building. This minimizes any fire risk that the reading room and staff offices may present to the stored historical documents.

Jersey Archive Family History records

As was of no surprise to me, the number one reason for people to visit the archive was to do family history research, followed by house history, researching the German Occupation of the island in WWII and then academic research etc.

Reading room Jersey Archive
Reading room Jersey Archive

As well as collecting and preserving records the Archive is committed to making archives available to all members of the local and worldwide community. To this end researchers are able to access the online catalogue and pay-to-view and download certain documents via their website.

Records that are stored at Jersey Archive are catalogued by the staff and made available via the Jersey Heritage Open Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). The OPAC allows you to search through the archives by entering a name, place or subject that is relevant to your research.

 

The tour took us into the strong room, another of which is being planned to take care of the ever increasing records that the Jersey Archive can expect in the future. These will include the facility to take care of the many new digital records being created by the island’s government, something that other depositories around the country are no doubt considering how to handle.

Behind the sealed door of the strong room, on the first of several levels that we entered, the temperature controlled atmosphere was kept at a standard 13-23 degrees Celsius, with the humidity controlled at 60%. In case of fire the Jersey Archive has a system where the air inside the strongroom would quickly be replaced by Inergen inert gas. This is obviously preferable to ruining all the preserved documents by drenching them in water from a conventional sprinkler system!

It was fascinating to see the documents and books neatly contained in cardboard boxes, referenced and placed on shelves which allow the circulation of air. Indeed the boxes have four air-holes cut out and the coloured end of the shelves themselves have hundreds of small holes punched into them like some sort of colander.

 

Inside the strong room at the Jersey Archive
Linda Romeril, Head of Archives and Collections showing us files in the strongroom

The anonymous reference on each box contributes to the security of the documents placed in the archive’s care as some of the holdings will be of commercial value, while other records are closed to the public’s view for a certain number of years.

Those of us taking the tour were taken to another floor to be shown racks of larger items safely stored. Here lived such documents as the rolled up maps of the old railway routes on the island. Useful in that they contain the names of the owners of land along the route at the time of planning and had been used by the courts even in a land case in recent times. Linda Romeril explained how the maps were so long, when unrolled, that the court had had to pay a visit to the strongroom itself to view them. It would not have been practical to have had the document taken to the court room. This example also goes to show the legal use that our old documents can be put and is another reason that they must be preserved for the future.

One of the highlights of the trip was to see a couple of examples of Royal Charters in the possession of the Jersey Archive.

The first one was a highly colourful charter of James I from the early 1600s setting up various educational establishments in Jersey.

James I Royal Charter
Royal Charter of James I from the early 1600s
A Royal Charter with attached seal
Royal Seal of Charles II

The second, while not so beautiful, had the advantage of still having the Royal Seal of Charles II attached and in fantastic condition!

Not all the old documents arrive at the archive having been kept well. In part of the building there is a room where the mould and spores are carefully removed from damaged documents before they go into storage. This is not just records from hundreds of years ago as even a relatively recent (from the 1990s) set of court papers from a notorious double murder is having to spend a year on the shelves, with a dehumidifier running, and being subject to cleaning as it had previously been badly stored elsewhere.

Archive document cleaning
Archive document cleaning room

Some books and documents will arrive at the archive having been infested by insects. The solution here is up to two months inside the chest freezer to kill the pests before the books can be defrosted and conserved.

Freezer in the cleaning room of the archive
Archive document cleaning room with chest freezer

Much of what I saw, at the Jersey Archive, was similar to that which I had seen in Devon. It is, however, really gratifying to see that in this small Channel Island we have such a professional approach being applied to the preservation of public records that stretch back for 600 years of our history.

 

 

=============================

Books on Channel Island Ancestors

Tracing Your Channel Island Ancestors Pen & Sword books have the following editions of Marie-Louise Backhurst’s very comprehensive book on Tracing Your Channel Island Ancestors for sale. If you have ancestors from any of the Channel Isles then, in my opinion, you couldn’t do better than taking a look at this volume!

Check out the different editions with these links:

Paperback £12.99

Kindle edition £4.99

ePub edition £4.99

 

Send to Kindle