I’ve just completed three enjoyable days at the largest family history show that there is.
Met many like minded people, including so many of you lovely readers of this blog and several students of the FamilyHistoryResearcher course that I provide. The course is great for beginners and for people who have started and now want to know what other records and resources to use to find their ancestors. The feedback that I got at the show was that it was not just the beginner who benefited from my course, but those who were also further along the line in their research. Thanks for those who told me so.
It was so heart-warming that so many of you made the time to come to my stall to say hello. To the students of the course who told me how much they enjoyed receiving their weekly lessons, I thank you for the kind words.
Turning to my ad hoc poll to see whether I should keep the name The Nosey Genealogist, or change to something more descriptive and perhaps less informal, the straw poll was overwhelming stacked in favour of sticking with The Nosey Genealogist!
Shortly I’ll start uploading some of the videos that I took at the show, so watch this space.
I have seen elsewhere on the internet today that the comedian Al Murray is not happy with a claim that he is related to David Cameron!
This was just some of the publicity that has surrounded the launch today of 2.5 million records from British India records that provide a fascinating glimpse into life on the Indian subcontinent
Family history website findmypast.co.uk has, in partnership with the British Library,Â added 2.5 million records covering over 200 years of history of the British in India and published them online for the first time today.
These records covering 1698-1947 give real insight into the heart warming and heart breaking stories of British citizens living in India during the tenure of the East India Company and the British Raj.
Debra Chatfield, Brand Manager at findmypast.co.uk said of the release: â€œThe new British in India records at findmypast are a great opportunity to find ancestors that previously were considered missing, as so many of our relatives sought their fortune on the subcontinent. Whether your relatives were clergy, aristocracy, tradespeople, merchants, civil servants or soldiers, the lowest and the landed all have stories to be told with these records.â€
I’ve just been in West London and so I took the opportunity of a bit of leisure time to find the house where my great-great grandfather lived for a time. This was in Bayswater, way back in 1880.
Having fired up my reluctant computer, something to do with the Firefox update I think (which was making it use 99 to 100% of its cpu to do something or other!) I headed over to TheGenealogist.co.uk and searched their old directories data base.
In the Kelly’s Post Office 1880 Court Directory I found an entry for Edward Adolphe Massey Hay as:
Hay Edwd.Massey,50Princes’ sq.BayswtrWÂ
I smiled as I noticed that he had lost one of his middle names in the listing as this is something that happens to me all the time!
Switching then to the old maps website http://www.old-maps.co.uk/maps.html I located the street just north of the intersection of Palace Court and Moscow Road in South Bayswater.
I then wrapped up warm, got out my A-Z and set off with digital camera to find, photograph and generally get an impression of the surroundings that once my great-great grandfather had called home.
The house was now part of a hotel and was one of a road of houses all designed to look the same, with at least 5 stories above the ground floor and a strange protruding 4 story frontage above their front doors.
I love walking down streets that my ancestor’s have pounded in their time. As I do it I try to imagine what it must have been like in their times when the motor car would not have claimed the street outside their front steps, transistor radios would not have been blaring and the aeroplanes flying overhead would not have been heard. Instead the clip clop of hansom cabs, that prevailed until 1908, would have been in their place.
Around the back I discovered a pleasant communal garden of the sort that is common in London and noticed that the design of the rear of the property was much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
If you would like to try to find your ancestor’s in the London Directories then check out the data sets at TheGenealogist.co.uk
Its the start of December, Christmas cards to write, presents to buy, parties to go to and work seems to step up a gear as the aim of selling other people stuff as Christmas gifts that they can give becomes important and what happens?
The common cold comes a knocking. And I don’t just mean a sniffle and a weak cough but a real kick in the back ache, fuzzy head and coughing and sneezing until it physically hurts.
The solution is, of course, to retire to the warm of your bed and feel sorry for yourself for a while. When this wears off, but you are still not well enough to venture out and too tired to do any meaningful work, then a good book can pass the time.
Over the last week I have been reading just such an offering from the pen ofÂ Steve Robinson. Its a Genealogical Crime Mystery and I have to say I am finding it riveting.
“Family history was never supposed to be like this… When American genealogist, Jefferson Tayte, accepted his latest assignment, he had no idea it might kill him. But while murder was never part of the curriculum, he is kidding himself if he thinks he can walk away from this one.
Driven by the all-consuming irony of being a genealogist who doesn’t know who his own parents are, Tayte soon finds that the assignment shares a stark similarity to his own struggle. Someone has gone to great lengths to erase an entire family bloodline from recorded history and he’s not going home until he’s found out why. After all, if he’s not good enough to find this family, how can he ever expect to be good enough to someday find his own?
Set in Cornwall, England, past and present, Tayte’s research centres around the tragic life of a young Cornish girl, a writing box, and the discovery of a dark family secret that he believes will lead him to the family he is looking for. Trouble is, someone else is looking for the same answers and they will stop at nothing to find them.”
I highly recommend this book, even if you are feeling hail and hearty. It is pacey and filled with references that family historians will recognise.
I’m reading mine on my Kindle Fire HD, but physical editions are available as well.
Disclosure: The above links are affiliate links. I may be compensated by Amazon should you decide to purchase these items from them.
I had to be up, showered and breakfasted for 6 am, in order to make my way to Jersey airport and the 7 am â€œred-eyeâ€ to London Gatwick. The fact that I, not in any way a morning person, was prepared to do this stems from the timetable of workshops that I had seen for the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE show at Olympia.
First on, in the Society of Genealogist’s Regional theatre was â€œResearching Your Family History in Jerseyâ€ given by Sue Payn and James McLaren and I really wanted to be there for the workshop. My bus to the airport, the flight to London and the coach transfer to central London all ran reasonably to schedule and so I was in the building by 10.15. and taking a seat in time for the presentation.
James’ began by clearing up the perennial misunderstanding by people from outside of the island, regarding Jersey’s constitutional position. As a Jersey born and educated person, myself, I have spent most of my life making similar statements to his and so a smile warmed my face as the familiar words rang out.
I am often heard saying that we are not part of England and Wales, nor are we part of Great Britain, nor the United Kingdom and we are not in the EU, but are British Islands.
As James said: â€œWe are a Crown Dependency: we owe allegiance to the British crown, but in most other respects we are self-governing. We have our own legal system, large parts of which are quite different from English law. In this respect we are similar to Guernsey, but please understand that we are not the same! Itâ€™s like the difference between a Mercedes-Benz and an Austin Allegro â€“ the principle is the same, a vehicle that gets you from A to B, but the detailed implementation is rather different.â€
This brought another smile to my lips as the old rivalry, with our sister Bailiwick of Guernsey, was introduced to the good folk in the workshop. Both Bailiwicks trace a Norman heritage and when in 1204 King John lost his French possessions, the Channel Islands kept allegiance to the British Crown.
One of the first things you are going to find, if you are researching your ancestors from Jersey is that the records are invariably going to be in French, as this was the official language of this island until very recently when English has become dominant. James pointed out that Jersey was very largely French or Jerriais-speaking until the middle of the 19th century, and so a lot of legal records long after that were kept in French. The deeds to my house, for example.
I have often heard people in the island refer to these documents being written in â€œproper Frenchâ€ to distinguish the language used from Jerriais, the name given to the Jersey French patois spoken in the island, which even comes with variations in pronunciation across the 45 square miles of the island!
Jersey people have always travelled far from their island; some to settle away in places such as Canada, Australia and of course to the United Kingdom. Some stay and some return. As James said the reason Jersey folk travelled was â€œâ€“ partly because of our rules on inheritance, partly because there was money to be made in trade, partly to serve Queen and country in the armed forces, and more recently because the only way to get higher education was to go to the big island to the north of us. Consequently there are numerous people in the UK who have Jersey ancestry somewhere in their past.â€