An early Christmas gift

 

.First christmas card

Its starting to feel a bit like Christmas, as I wrap the presents for some of my family today. Once I had finished doing this I thought that I’d better get in the festive mood on the blog as well and so I did a trawl of Wikipedia to find a picture of what is thought to be the first Christmas card produced.

The image above is of that very first in the line of seasonal greetings cards that we all now send. Commissioned by Sir Henry Cole, in 1843, he sold them for a shilling each. Sir Henry is best known as the man who had helped introduce the Uniform Penny Post, in 1840, to Britain and his Christmas card, illustrated by John Callcott Horsley, would have encouraged people to make use of the postal service.

The picture in the middle is meant to depict three generations of a family who are toasting the person to whom the card has been sent, while the other panels show scenes of charitable giving of food and clothing to the poor.

 

As it is the time of year to give gifts I decided that I should drop the price of my best selling English/Welsh family history course at least from now until New Year’s day – as my Christmas present to you.

The English/Welsh Family History course has had tremendous feedback

If  you are struggling to find your English or Welsh ancestors and break down your brick walls, then you would do well to take a look. With this course you will quickly learn where to research on and offline, what resources to use and gain some useful tips and techniques.

To read more click one of the links here and make a seasonal saving:

 

 

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A very Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year

 

 

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I Once Lived Near Richard III’s Grave

Like many, I have been fascinated by the reports in the media lately regarding the finding of Richard III’s remains in the former Greyfriars Church in Leicester.

I was a student in Leicester in the early 1980’s. So it was that I walked past the rather nondescript area where King Richard III was buried on a daily basis on my way to and from lectures and never for one instance thinking of the historical importance of the church that had stood there before.

On my most recent visit to the city, back in January, I was aware of the excitement that was building around the find at Greyfriars car park and picked up some leaflets at the tourist office on the subject. Then this week the world’s media covered the announcement that it was “beyond reasonable doubt” the skeleton of the monarch.

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From my point of view, as a family historian, one of the really interesting things was the use of DNA from a descendent of the dead king’s sister to reach this conclusion.

The team from Leicester University had turned to the historian and author John Ashdown-Hill. Back in 2004 he had been able to tracked down the late Joy Ibsen, a direct descendant of Richard’s sister Anne of York and from her to the Canadian born Michael Ibsen, a cabinet maker in London.

 

Again, of interest to us family historians, is what John Ashdown-Hill said on the BBC’s Radio 4 “Today” programme

“An enormous family tree grew on my computer. You have to trace every possible line of descent because you don’t know which one will die out in 1745 and which one will carry on to the present day – you have to trace them all.”

On the Who Do You Think You Are Magazine’s website it is reported that the team did not rely on just the one line from Anne of York down to Joy Ibsen, as is the impression gained from some of the media reports this week.

Not only did the genealogists find documentary evidence for each ‘link’ of the chain between Anne of York and the late Joy Ibsen, but they were able to make contact with a second maternal line descendant – who wishes remain anonymous – whose DNA was used to confirm a match between genetic material extracted from the skeleton and a swab provided by Joy’s son, Michael.

 

“Right from the start of the project, we did not want to rely entirely on the DNA between Michael and the skeleton. We always wanted to triangulate that wherever possible,” explains Professor Schürer. “We set about trying to secure a second maternal line, and after several weeks of research we actually did discover this person. The documentary evidence again is there to support this.”

Source: http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/news/genealogists-help-confirm-identity-leicesters-royal-remains

In a couple of weeks the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE show will be at Olympia and already they have moved the talk by Dr Turi King called “Discovering Richard III” from a smaller area to now be held in the Celebrity Theatre / SOG studio 1 on Saturday, 1.00pm – 1.45pm.

It is billed as telling the story of the research project undertaken at the University of Leicester to discover the burial place of Richard III and the related work to scientifically identify the skeletal remains.

Personally I can’t wait for this year’s WDYTYA? LIVE as I missed last year due to fog disrupting my travel plans!

 

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