I’ve been having a look at the S&N newsletter, that popped into my email box at the end of the week.
What caught my eye was a fascinating Victorian murder story that took place in the St Helier streets quite local to where I live. I’ve come across it before in the book The Policeman and the Brothel by Theodore Dalrymple, but this is the first time that I’ve seen it written from the family history records point of view!
It was fascinating to see the Illustrated London News report from March 7th 1846; the census records, with the tell tale blanks for the occupations of the young prostitutes, and the criminal records showing the killer was transported for life to Van Diemens land. Also to be seen is the huge monument for the murdered policeman in Green Street cemetery, a picture of which can be searched for in TheGenealogist’s growing Volunteer Headstone Database that now includes many Jersey burials.
The newsletter isn’t just about this story. They begin with a look at what will be coming online from their group throughout 2015:
Parish Records, detailed County and Tithe Maps, millions of new Medals Records, more Grave Memorials from the Volunteer Headstone Project, records of Railway Workers from Pensions to Staff Movements, Jewish records, detailed Street Maps, Passenger Lists, Emigration Records and more War Memorials are all going online at TheGenealogist this year.
And then we hear that this month they’ve released more War Memorials, Parish Records and have now added the 1911 census for all Starter and Gold Subscribers! You can make the most of this with £30 cash back on an Annual Gold Subscription, making it just £48.95 for the first year!
Finally, there is that interesting article I’ve already drawn you attention to above about Ancestors that fell foul of the law. As the S&N team write in the email, these are always fascinating subjects for family history research and I would say none more than a Victorian murder story of a notorious Madam who escaped the hangman’s noose!
This week I was asked to look into a family tree for someone whose family tree had found its roots back to London around the 1900s.
Finding the right person in the birth marriages and death (BMD) indexes had been a little difficult, as the date of birth was a few years out.
Notwithstanding, when the certificate arrived from the General Register Office we were able to see that the father of the child was listed a Police Constable.
As his address was in London we had a choice of two main police forces as his employer, the City of London, or the Metropolitan Police. Taking a guess that it would be the latter, I went in search of what records there may be for Met Policemen and came across the Metropolitan Police Heritage Centre’s website at: http://www.metpolicehistory.co.uk/met-police-heritage-centre.html
From a link on its home page I ended up on the Family History which in turn gave me a link to a Search Sheet with this filled in with the scant information that I had about my Police Constable, I fired it off by email and waited for a reply.
From what I read on their site The Metropolitan Police Heritage Centre research material consists of:-
Central Records of Service from 1911.
54.000 name database from 1829 of which is updated regularly.
Pension cards for pensioners who have died
Police Orders from 1857
Joiners and Leavers Records. (copies from National Archive)
Divisional Ledgers. (consisting of collar Numbers, previous occupation and armed forces service) for certain periods of time for A,B,E,F,G,H,K,L,M,N,R and Y Divisions.
Subject and People files.
Photographs – in the process of being scanned to Hi-Res from a vast collection
It was within a couple of days that I had my reply!
I got the man’s warrant number, his dates of service, that he had joined the Marylebone Division before moving south of the river to the Clapham Division and the various collar numbers that he had held.
Now that surprised me, as I had never really thought about the fact that a copper’s number would change as he moved station, but it does stand to reason.
Other information they could give me was that he retired from ill health, together with the illness and the pension that he got plus a card from an index that recorded his death in Eastbourne in 1969.
The ever helpful people at The Metropolitan Police Heritage Centre advised me that Metropolitan Police officers pension records are held at The National Archives and gave me the index numbers that I will need to investigate this man further.
So if you have a Met Police Officer in your family tree, then it is well worth contacting the heritage centre. It is currently free to request information, but they do encourage donations.
Are you researching your English family tree and have exhausted all the run of the mill records?
Take a course such as Family History Researcher Academy and broaden your research horizons.
Soldiers Who Died in the First World War added to TheGenealogist
As the anniversary of the beginning of World War I took place recently many new databases have made it online to help us search for our brave ancestors. One such release is from TheGenealogist and is the Soldiers Who Died in this war.
This detailed record set covers over 650,000 individuals who died in the First World War. Details include name, rank, regiment, place of birth, place of residence, place of enlistment, service number and the cause, date and place of death. These records are uniquely linked to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to show you where your ancestor is commemorated.
Soldiers Who Died in the Great War has been added to the huge military collection on TheGenealogist, encompassing many unique record sets from Casualty Lists and War Memorials, to Rolls of Honour and more.
This site is family owned and seems to have a very friendly feel to it. At a time when others are being accused of not listening I have found that the team at TheGenealogist responded rapidly to any glitches I have had with the interface in the past. Indeed one such problem I had a few months back was fixed in minutes!
These knowledgeable interviewees include practising professional genealogists, with years and years of experience to offer.
Yet others are from the very highest levels of the online data provider companies, like Ancestry and TheGenealogist.
Listen to the download and learn some plain tips that will simplify the often confusing business of researching English/Welsh ancestors. I am going to give you access to these eight professionals so that you can use their advice to break down several brick walls that you may have.
3. The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) Member. What would the advice be from a professional genealogist practitioner?
Well as many serious professional genealogists belong to this association, I headed over to the AGRA stand and asked a member for his research tips. Points he brought up included the information on documents being only as good as that given by the informant and what to do about conflicting data. There is more to hear in the full interview that you can download here .
4. Families in British India Society (FIBIS) Expert. In family history we often have to think a bit outside the box. Well have you considered that your missing ancestor had moved abroad? With 3 million Brits having gone out to India then if we have a missing forbear it could certainly pay us to take a look at the records from this part of the British Empire. Its not just soldiers, the list of people who went out to work there is long as we hear from this FIBIS expert.
5. Celia Heritage – Professional Genealogist, Author and Family History Teacher introduces us to an often under used set of resources in her piece: Death Records. She explains how to use these records to flesh out the bones of our ancestors lives.
Celia is an excellent and knowledgeable speaker and you can just hear the passion that she has for her subject as she dispenses some gems of advice in the free downloadable audio presentation. Its not just death certificates that Celia brings to our attention in this part of the recording!
6. Dr Ian Galbraith – The National Wills Index explains about one of the best single major sources for family historians when I asked him to talk about Wills and Administrations for this audio.
Ian explains why wills can be an important resource with an average of 10 names per will and with half of them being different from that of the testator. Many people are surprised by the fact that all sorts of people left wills, but you won’t be when you have heard the full interview.
7. Brad Argent – Content Director for Ancestry advises family historians to drill down for the information in the online databases in his contribution to the recording. Brad suggests we use the card catalogue to seek out data sets and then use the advance search facility of “exact”, “soundex” and “wildcards” when we are on this large data provider’s site. His advice is compelling.
8. Mark Bayley – Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist, a site that gives really fantastic value and a very wide range of data, introduces us to a great name-rich resource recently published by TheGenealogist, in association with The National Archives.
What is this important resource for England and Wales?
It is, of course, the Tithe collection.
I have been using this set recently to great effect with my own rural ancestors and so I have included a module in my Family History Researcher Guides about the tithes.
The beauty of this data is that it includes both sides of society, with landowners and tenants being recorded and giving names and addresses. As a pre-census data set it is hugely valuable to us! Listen to Mark explain about these exciting records in the free recording you can download now by clicking the link below.
Now you may be asking why I am doing this for free?
Its because I want to introduce you to a set of guides that I have put together. A series of pdf modules that takes the information I gleaned at Who Do You Think You Are? Live and incorporated it, along with much more content into a year’s worth of weekly written guides.
There are extra contributions from various other professional experts who have penned some of the reports, as well as those modules written from my own extensive experience.
I am guessing that, if you have read this far, you are interested in English/Welsh family history and that you have hit at least one of the inevitable brick walls. The solution is to understand more ways to find your ancestors.
So if you would like to dramatically increase your knowledge then I think you will enjoy being a member of my Family History Researcher Guides. This is a 52 weekly series of guides written in an easily accessible form and you can take a two week trial for just £1 by going here:
DNA Testing is now accessible to everyone as TheGenealogist offers DNA tests from under Â£50 and slashes prices by up to Â£150 on other tests!
Due to the increase in popularity of DNA testing and advances in technology, TheGenealogist is now able to offer DNA testing for genealogical research at significantly reduced prices. Itâ€™s never been more affordable to add your DNA to the worldâ€™s largest genealogical DNA database and start finding matches. You can see the prices and compare the various tests at www.thegenealogist.co.uk/dna
As family historians, DNA testing can really assist our family history research and help us break down those brick walls. Many researchers find the maternal line difficult to trace using traditional methods such as census and parish records. However, an mtDNA test could prove invaluable to your research and help you discover missing ancestors or add a new line to your research. The test can be taken by both males and females and helps you trace that maternal line.
Itâ€™s straightforward and can all be done online with the minimum of effort. A kit is sent out to you and you simply post it back to get added to the DNA database and discover your results!
Mark Bayley from TheGenealogist comments: â€With prices from under Â£50, DNA testing is now finally affordable to the vast majority of family historians. DNA matches are provided against the largest database in the world.â€
The Range of DNA Tests on offer
TheGenealogist offers 3 types of testing- the â€˜Mitochondrialâ€™ mtDNA (maternal line) testing, theâ€™ Y-Chromosomeâ€™ Y-DNA test (for paternal lines) and the Family Finder test, which tests both male and female lines and also tells you your ethnic percentages. With prices starting from under Â£50, itâ€™s become more affordable than ever.
Itâ€™s amazing to discover how far DNA testing can help us trace our ancestry. A skeleton of a twenty three year old hunter who died 9,000 years ago was discovered in a cave in Cheddar, Somerset and Mitochondrial DNA testing was able to identify a local school teacher as a direct descendant. The same principles are being applied to the discovery of at least twenty eight early human skeletons found recently in the mountains of Northern Spain, the â€˜Sima de los Huesosâ€™ tribe, who are undergoing Mitochondrial DNA tests. This DNA is passed down through the maternal line and is easier to recover from ancient bones.
I’m very lucky to get all sorts of information sent to me, regarding family history, and this week I have interesting news about a new Apprentice and Masters database.
TheGenealogist has just released over one million Apprentice and master records for us to search online. This makes over two million searchable records when the apprentices from the census are included. What is more, these can both be searched together by using the keyword â€œapprenticeâ€ in TheGenealogistâ€™s Master Search.
The site helps you find detailed records relating to the occupation of your ancestor. This is the first time you can find apprentices from a whole range of records between 1710 and 1911.
TheGenealogist’s is the largest searchable collection of apprentice records available online, allowing you to view how your ancestors developed their skills and also if they became a master in their profession.
These detailed records in IR1 cover the years from 1710 to 1811 giving name, addresses and trades of the masters, the names of the apprentices, along with the sum the master received and the term of the apprenticeship. Until 1752, it was also common to see the names of the apprenticesâ€™ parents on the record (often including their occupations).
So if you want to take a look for your ancestors then the new records are available to their Diamond subscribers in the Master Search and under the â€˜Occupation Recordsâ€™ section.
What is great is that you can search for both Apprentices and Masters.
TheGenealogist allows you to view the full transcript of an apprenticeship record to see more details of your ancestors apprenticeship – including when they started their training, the â€˜Masterâ€™ who trained them and how long their apprenticeship was scheduled to be.
The Apprenticeship records provide an insight into a method of training that stood the test of time and are today, once again a popular method of training. Many apprentices did their training, worked their way up and then took on apprentices themselves. The Apprenticeship records allow you to trace this with just a few mouse clicks.
Then there is the handy keyword option. This also allows you to narrow down your search if you have an idea of the profession, or the area your ancestor worked in saving you even more time.
The new records are taken from the â€˜IR1 Board of Stamps: Apprenticeship Booksâ€™ from The National Archives. As well as the new collection of records, apprentices can also be discovered in the transcribed â€˜profession fieldâ€™ of census records on TheGenealogist from 1841 to 1911.
The apprentice training route has for many people set them on their way in their working life or as a way of developing others. From James Hargreaves (inventor of the spinning jenny) to Thomas Yeoman (first President of The Society of Civil Engineers), to Sir Michael Caine who started as an apprentice plumber) to Beatle George Harrison who was an apprentice electrician, they have all experienced the apprenticeship programme.
This traditional way of training young people is now regaining popularity as the benefits our ancestors recognised are re-introduced as a way of giving people a start in a career.
I have a bit of salt in my blood, especially on my paternal side. This week I’ve been using the Crew List Index Project (CLIP) website to find out a bit more about some of them.
CLIP was set up to improve access to the records of British merchant seafarers of the late 19th century and has gathered the largest database of entries from crew lists.
While I was not successful in tracking down a crew list for the particular ship I was looking at this week I did manage to use their finding aids to flesh out a bit more information on a couple of vessels that my family have sailed.
Selecting the Vessels by Name I was able to find the Official number for theÂ S.S. Dolphin and then I couldÂ find her in a list that gave me her date and place where she was built and the address of her owners.
You need to tie a ship down to its official number as there may be several vessels of the same name, as is the case with the Dolphin. Also a ship may change its name in its lifetime but the official number is unique to it and never changes.
I found a reference to the Dolphin in a document in The National Archives which I will take a look at the next time I visit Kew and the TNA.
Using Google Books I was able to call up a Lloyd’s Register of Shipping but this time I could find no entry for this particular Dolphin. I have to say that I am only just starting out on this research and it is turning out to be fascinating. I will put what I learn about the process into a forthcoming lesson within my Family History Researcher course, which can be accessed by clicking the image below.
I’ve just had an email from Ancestry and have immediately checked out their new records of Civil and Mechanical Engineers to see if I could find any of my engineer ancestors. If you have any that followed this career path then I’d recommend you too have a look now!
Just before I jump back to the data, that I have open in another window, here is their press release…
TodayAncestry.co.uk, has launched online for the first time the Civil and Mechanical Engineer Records, 1820-1930, detailing almost 100,000 of Britainâ€™s brightest inventors and innovators from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The digitised records were collated from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), and reveal fascinating details about the institutionsâ€™ members, including pioneers of automobiles, bicycles and even hydropower.
Many were behind some of the notable inventions of the age, including one of the foremost designers of the internal combustion engine (Ricardo) and even an early sniper rifle (Whitworth). Others created some weird and wonderful designs, including a cucumber straightener (Stephenson), an elaborate mousetrap, and early forms of amusement rides (both Maxim).
The collection comprises membership records and photographs of engineers who were members of both institutions between 1820 and 1930, and provides a unique insight into their careers and accomplishments.
Before the 1700s, engineers in Europe had been almost all military men. Although civil engineering work had been carried out before then, it had not been recognised as an identifiable profession. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)was formed in 1818 with a mission to â€˜foster and promote the art of civil engineeringâ€™.
Founded in 1847, IMechE was formed for the growing number of mechanical engineers who were employed in the flourishing railway and manufacturing industries. The institutionâ€™s first president, rail pioneer George Stephenson is known for designing the â€˜Geordie lampâ€™ used by miners. A record of Stephensonâ€™s membership appears in the collection, along with a photograph.
Other famous engineers who appear in the collection include:
Isambard Kingdom Brunel â€“ Brunel was known for building dockyards, the Great Western Railway, a series of steamships including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship and numerous important bridges and tunnels. His designs revolutionised public transport and modern engineering. Brunelâ€™s membership form for the Civil Engineers isincluded in the collection, dated 27 January 1829.
Sir John Rennie â€“ In 1815 Rennie assisted his father, who was another famous engineer, in the erection of Southwark Bridge, and later undertook the construction of London Bridge in 1824, which was opened in 1831, the same year he was knighted. His membership was passed by the council of the Mechanical Engineers in 1844 after â€˜many years in the professionâ€™.
Christopher Hinton â€“ Hinton was a British nuclear engineer and supervisor of the construction of Calder Hall, the world’s first large-scale commercial nuclear power station. Born in 1901, Hintonâ€™s application to join the Mechanical Engineers is in the records, dated 1921. Â
Sir F Henry Royce is another famous engineer listed in the records; he is known globally as the co-founder of the quintessentially British Rolls-Royce manufacturing company where his engineering legacy lives on today. Frederick W.Â Lanchester, another of the so-called â€˜big threeâ€™ English car engineers, celebrated for his innovative work on gas and petrol engines as well as his laterÂ researchÂ into aeronautics and flight theory, is also featured.
Aside from cars, prolific railway engineer ThomasÂ Brassey appears in the records. Upon his death in 1870,Â BrasseyÂ was responsible for one in every 20 miles of railway in the world. Irishman Thomas Andrews is also listed as the chief naval architect of the ill-fated Titanic and he lost his life on its maiden voyage in 1912.
ICE received a royal charter in 1828 and by the end of the 19th century had become both an educational and qualifying body when it introduced examinations for civil engineers.
IMechE started graduate examinations in 1913 and elected its first female member, Verena Holmes, in 1924. She got her first job building wooden propellers at the Integral Propeller Company in Hendon and went on to patent many of her own inventions including medical headlamps, poppet valves and apparatus for treating patients with tuberculosis. ICEâ€™s first female member, Dorothy Donaldson Buchanan, is also included in the records, becoming a member in 1927.
Miriam Silverman, UK Content Manager, from Ancestry.co.uk comments: â€œIncluded within this collection are some of the brightest brains Britain has ever produced, who were responsible for some of the countryâ€™s most iconic landmarks and feats of innovative design. Today, as it was then, engineering is a vital part of the countryâ€™s economy and it is fascinating to be able to learn more about the men and women who established this legacy.
â€œNot only do these records provide a unique insight into engineering during the 19th and 20th centuries but they will provide a valuable resource for anybody trying to trace an ancestor within the collection.â€
The new database comprises three collections; the Mechanical Engineer Records, 1870-1930, the Civil Engineer Records, 1820-1930 and the Civil Engineer Photographs, 1829-1923, each of which is available to view from today online at Ancestry.co.uk.
Parish Registers are one of my great favourites among all the records available to family historians. They record something about ancestors of ours that may not have managed to get themselves recorded elsewhere in their lives, or at least in records that have survived through to today.
Every time I hear about more data, making it onto the Internet, I am thankful. My reason is that it may allow someone, somewhere, to make the right connection to their past family members that they may not have done without these databases.
I’ve been a bit busy theses last couple of weeks and missed this announcement when it first came out 9 days ago, but the Family history website findmypast.co.uk has added over 450,000 new parish baptisms, marriages and burials covering the period 1538-2009 from areas as diverse as Northumberland, Durham, Ryedale, Sheffield, Wiltshire and Suffolk to make it easier than ever to trace your ancestors further back through history and further expanding what has now become the most comprehensive collection of England and Wales parish records online. Paul Nixon, Content Licensing Manager for findmypast.co.uk commented on the new release â€œThis is a tremendous step for those trying to uncover their UK ancestors, and a great resource for family historians with British roots worldwideâ€.
Full details of what this exciting record release contains are as follows:
141,525 Suffolk Baptisms 1753-1911
244,309 Wiltshire Baptisms 1538-1867
27,420 Northumberland & Durham Burials 1587-2009
22,687 Sheffield Baptisms 1837-1968
8,181 Sheffield Marriages 1824-1991
7,113 Ryedale Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1754-1999
These records are brought to you by Suffolk family history society, Wiltshire family history society, Northumberland and Durham family history society, Sheffield family history society and Ryedale family history society as a result of the ongoing partnership of findmypast.co.uk and the Federation of Family History Societies. They are available to search online now and can be viewed with PayAsYouGo credits, a Britain Full or a World subscription.
The records are available on all findmypast sites as part of a World subscription.
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.