£10.95 off a 12 Month membership to The British Newspaper Archive

Its a hot Sunday here and after being out most of the day I have just come indoors to prevent the sun burn taking hoBritish Newspaper Archiveld.

So I’ve turned on my computer and thought about doing a bit of family history research. Idly I browsed over to The British Newspaper Archive and entered one of my ancestors as a search term together with the date and lo and behold since I last visited more papers have been digitised and more results are therefore returned.

I do love this resource!

I’ve also found that they have a deal on at the moment – I believe it is for the whole of August 2013 – so for those of you who haven’t signed up with them yet you may want to try them out.

Here are the details:

For a limited time get £10.95 off a 12 Month membership to The British Newspaper Archive. Enter promotional code BnA82013 at the point of checkout to claim this exclusive offer.

Customers who subscribe to a 12 month package will get unlimited credits / page views, access to digitised newspapers dating back to 1710 and also gain access to My Research a personal area to keep track of searched articles, add notes and bookmark viewed items.

Now here comes the disclosure: The links are compensated affiliate links which means that I may get compensated by The British Newspaper Archive.

Happy researching,
Nick

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Family History Can Be Frustrating Looking For A Breakthrough

I’ve hit many brick walls with the research into my Great Uncle and then today a little breakthrough gives me the confidence to go on.

I am sure that there are many of you that have had the same experience. You open up a genealogy search site and enter your ancestor’s name and some details into the search fields. You hit the Search button and hope that the next page will reveal your kin. Back come the results and depressingly none of them seem to be your man or woman.

Well this has been what I have been experiencing recently, after the initial decision to explore more about Harold Perring Matthews, who married my Great Aunt Winnie. He joined the RAF and gained rapid promotion and honours in WWII. To find out more I will probably have to send off for his service record, but at present I just want to establish the main vital records for him.

 

I had already found Harold’s birth registered in the GRO indexes for 1901 and he appeared in the 1901 census as being 1 month old on census night. I’d also found his marriage in the indexes in the 4th quarter of 1936, but could I find his death or anything else? No I could not!

I use a variety of genealogical subscription sites when doing my research and two of the main ones were not giving me any details of his death. I was wondering whether to just put him on the back burner and turn to someone else, when I fired up findmypast and noticed that there was one record for an Overseas Death reported to the GRO.

Eureka! Great Uncle Harold died in 1969 in Palma, Mallorca aged 68, and his death was reported by the consular authorities to the GRO in England. So it is that he appears in their Deaths Abroad Indices and not in the normal GRO index.

Think laterally and try more than one search site!

Find My Past has Overseas Death Records 1818-2005 amongst many other data sets.


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

 

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The Family History Researcher and Harold P Matthews

Last week I wrote about how a family story had sent me off looking for my great-uncle Harold who served in the RAF during the Second World War and rising from Warrant Officer to Wing Commander in the Technical Branch.

One of my kind readers suggested a lead after they had done a Google search for H.P.Matthews that threw up a person of this name working for the Australian Department of Supply in a document referring to the Blue Streak Missile project. I had also come across something similar in Google Books and so was likewise wondering if there was a connection to Australia.

I set to work doing a trawl of Google search results and found a copy of an article in a 1959 copy of Flight Magazine with a picture of the Australian Government London Representative of the Department of Supply Mr H P Matthews.

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1959/1959%20-%202503.html

Regretfully I came to the conclusion that it didn’t look to me to be the same man. You see I have a picture of my Great-Uncle in my baby photo album! He and my great-aunt Winnie came to visit me in the late 1950’s (I was born in the summer of 1958) and there is one of them with me as a baby.

A further search of Google books have thrown up some snippet views of books that have Wg. Cdr H P Matthews appointed as the managing director of Zwicky Ltd in 1958. This company was a filters, pumps, airport ground equipment, pressure control valves, and hydraulic equipment manufacturer of Slough and Harold Matthews was also the MD of SkyHi Ltd. a hydraulic jack manufacturers also of Slough and possibly related to the first company.

 

I did a search on the website www.forces-war-records.co.uk and here I could see that H.P.Matthews was awarded the MBE, OBE and BEM, 1939-1945 War Medal, 1939-1945 Star and was Mentioned in Despatches, but not a lot else.

I am still at the beginning of cracking this family story and it is a major regret that I didn’t know Uncle Harold better. It would seem he was some sort of an aviation engineer, but I still don’t know what he did in the war that got him such promotion and honours!

http://www.apimages.com/oneup.aspx?rids=b122ed18743d49238762fd28fd2f913b

 

Disclosure: The above advert is a compensated affiliate link which may mean I get rewarded should you join their website.

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Military Records in Family Tree Research

With Remembrance Sunday just passed yesterday, I guess many of you may have turned your minds, like I did, to where can we find our ancestors who fought in the wars and conflicts that have taken place.

It seems, rather sadly, that it is easier to find records for British service personnel that died in action than the survivors. There is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, local war memorials and rolls of honour, local newspaper archives amongst other places to find “The Glorious Dead”.

If, like me, you had a father who served in the Merchant Navy in the Second World War, then you can find the details of merchant seamen’s medal cards at the National Archives documents online.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/seamens-medals.asp

The official journals of the the British Government, the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes are great places to start looking for promotions, awards of gallantry medals and honours and the details of the commissioning and promotions of officers in the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

Service Records are more difficult to find. A large number of WWI records have been lost to bombing in the Second World War, but as officer’s records were not stored in the same place, you have a better chance of uncovering these. To find a soldier requires the researcher to know the regiment and service number of their ancestor. A tip I read in the Your Family Tree Magazine last month  (Issue 96 November 2010) was that as most service men were awarded at least one medal then the name indexes to the medal rolls are a good place to start researching.


Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate.

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More Devon Parish Registers On-line!

As many of you know I am particularly interested in the county of Devon, as so many of my paternal line comes from that county of England.

One of the biggest problems for me is that the number of Parish Registers on-line does not seem to be as great as for many other English counties. So here is some good news that I recently found on a trawl of the news sites..

Over 360,000 Devon baptism records have been published on the FindMyPast web site in the past month.

You are able to now search for your Devon ancestors in 363,015 new parish baptism records on findmypast.co.uk and these baptism records cover the period between 1813 and 1839.

It would seem that the Devon Family History Society has supplied findmypast.co.uk with these records, for which we should all be grateful. I know that I am!

Here is a link to the site, but first a warning to all those of you that don’t like the idea of  promotion for compensation. This is an affiliate link for which I will be compensated if you decide to join!

findmypast.co.uk




Disclosure: I am a Compensated Affiliate of findmypast.co.uk.

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My Family Tree is Powered by Others Descended From Common Ancestors

One of the great things about this Family Tree thing is being contacted by others who are descended from common ancestors.

Once I published my first website www.nicholasthorne.info I started to get hits from all over and some of them were ‘cousins’ many times removed who were independently researching our forebears.

From my Devon ancestors I exchanged photographs of Captain Henry Thomas Thorne and got to read a typescript of a newspaper article.

From my Scottish ones I have had emails that disputed some of the lines and others that were supportive of the research. But the most fun were the ones that, with a proviso that the further back we went that some error may have crept in, seem to show that we were descended from various European royals and back to Adam and Eve!

Recently I have had pedigrees and photographs of Castles in the Hay Clan all of which is thrilling for somone who lives modestly in a cottage by the sea!

To anyone who is just thinking about setting out on this journey I would echo what Mark Herber in his book ‘Ancestral Trails’ says, don’t be put off by the fact that you think your family may be modest, you just never know what you are going to find.

Mark Herber’s book is available from all good bookshops: http://www.jerseybookshop.co.uk/promotions.htm

Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate.

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