Who Do You Think You Are Magazine Review of Websites

 

Nick ThorneI have to say that when I read this month’s Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine that I was a bit taken aback with the review of the four major sites.

Ancestry.co.uk, Findmypast.co.uk, GenesReunited.co.uk and TheGenealogist.co.uk are tested by a panel for the magazine.

I am a regular user of three of the websites as there are times when data can be found on one that is not on the others. Also, when searching for a person who has been illegibly recorded in the original records, and so posing a headache for the transcribers, one site may better identify your ancestor than on the others.

Sometimes Ancestry’s interface can be a bit overwhelming, as I have found in showing new users how to find their ancestors using this platform. Drilling down with the Card Index helps greatly.

I was very surprised, however, that Findmypast got such a high rating in the magazine review, after all the problems it has had this year with its new interface. I completely understand that there are good reasons for the new platform, which enables them to continue to expand the records available. Yet we have all seen the reports of disgruntled customers who feel the customer service was not what they had expected when they voiced their concerns. So why wasn’t this reflected in the article? FMP actually comes out highly for Navigation and search in the piece.

As a blogger I continue to post news about FMP’s data set releases on my site, along with those of the other providers, only to then receive emails and comments from FMP users expressing their frustration with the site. And I am completely independent of FMP!

Returning to the review article, I was also disappointed to see several wrong statements made about The Genealogist website which I feel I have to mention in the cause of fairness.

Firstly, it has been possible for as long as I can remember to simply use the “?” icon on this website to report an error and yet the reviewer states bluntly that it “wasn’t possible to flag up transcription errors”. On the contrary!

I also can not agree with the reviewers, who indicate that this website “promises more than it delivers” and that it is “possible to form an inflated impression of the content contained based on the marketing”.

An example given by one reviewer is the number of newspapers and magazines on the site. The article erroneously makes out that the data is less than it really is. I have found that TheGenealogist site has a lot more than just the two newspapers that their reviewer was able to find. I make it 15!

One of the contributors reported that, when searching,  you couldn’t group all the census years together and she says that you have to examine them year by year. Again this is just plain wrong as all you need to do is use the Master Search which will allow you to do this!

I have always enjoyed reading Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, but this article perplexes me in its bias. What is going on here?

 

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Early Militia Musters now on TheGenealogist.co.uk

 

Militia records on TheGenealogistWow, I’ve had a busy weekend, some of it spent looking around an old graveyard.

I couldn’t help but notice the number of military men that had been remembered in the words written on their headstones. Some listed the battles they fought in and some just their regiment, or ship in the case of those who served in the Royal Navy.

 

I did get to spend an hour, however, on the computer looking up the names of branches in my family in a new set of records just released by TheGenealogist.

In my Devon lines my family tree often gets stuck, when I try to push it back into the 18th century. But this week, using the new Militia Musters, just released online by TheGenealogist, I have found some promising leads. And shock horror…some of my Devon kin, especially the ones from Plymouth, may actually be from Cornwell as I note the names appearing in Musters in that county, while others are more definitely Devonian.

 

For the first time you can search early militia musters for all of England and Wales. The collection includes over 58,000 rare records of these part-time soldiers for 1781 and 1782. This is the largest number of surviving records available for this era.

This joins the largest collection of Army Lists available online establishing TheGenealogist as a major military research site.

The militia men were offered a bounty to transfer to the regular army and some did decide on a regular military career. If you’re struggling to find out how your ancestor started their military career, the answer could be in the militia records!

In the troubled times of the 1700s, Britain faced a threat from the European powers of France, Spain and Holland at various times. All ‘able-bodied’ men were considered for the militia and put on a ‘militia ballot list’. The chosen men then were required to meet or ‘muster’ at points for training. Four musters were taken over the time covered by the new records on TheGenealogist.

 

The records cover people from all walks of life who made up the officers and men, from M.P.’s to landowners, from carpenters to labourers, if they were physically up to it, they could be selected for the militia!

 

Regiments covered all of England and Wales and are represented in the new records. The records are from The National Archives series WO13 and feature the ‘muster and pay lists’ of all members of the militias. Men received ‘Marching Money’ when the militia was mobilised and were paid expenses for local meetings.

The new militia lists can further help track the movements and lives of our ancestors before census and civil registration times.

In an easy to search format, it’s possible to search for an ancestor to see if they served in any of the militia regiments of England and Wales. Search by name and any relevant keyword, or use the advanced search to narrow it down to ‘Corps’ , ‘Company’ or the actual ‘Rank’ of the soldier.

Mark Bayley at TheGenealogist comments: “These unique records really enhance our online military collection. Not all our ancestors served in the regular army and the part-time local militias were an essential part of the national defence, as was seen in the ‘Battle of Jersey’ at the time, when the local militia fought admirably against the French and Dutch”.

 

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

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

 

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TheGenealogist Releases Over One Million Apprentice and Master Records.

 

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 “apprentice” in TheGenealogist’s Master Search.

TheG apprenticeship John Sheppard

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 apprentices’ 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 ‘Occupation Records’ section.

 

All in one search for family history

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 ‘Master’ 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 ‘IR1 Board of Stamps: Apprenticeship Books’ from The National Archives. As well as the new collection of records, apprentices can also be discovered in the transcribed ‘profession field’ 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.

 

Head over to TheGenealogist.co.uk now and search for your apprentice or master ancestors.

 

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

 

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

 

 

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Millions of School Records to go online

 

I got back from doing some family research in London today to find in my inbox an interesting press release from findmypast .co.uk.

It tells us that The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) – ARA – has signed a deal, on behalf of a large number of archives and schools, with digital publishing experts brightsolid to publish online for the first time millions of school records from England and Wales.

 

It seems that this will be the first project to be undertaken under the framework of the new National Digitisation Consortium, which comprises up to 120 English and Welsh archives and schools working together to offer records for digitisation.

It is the first time such a large number of bodies will work together to digitise material – in this case their pre-1914 school registers. Once the registers have been scanned and transcribed by brightsolid, they will be made available to search online at leading family history website findmypast.co.uk, which is owned by brightsolid.

 

The registers span the period 1870-1914 and cover every region of England and Wales. They contain details of particular interest to the family historian, including name of the school and the pupil, their date of birth, year of admission to the school and the name of a parent or guardian. Teachers are also listed and Industrial School registers are included in the collection.

Chris van der Kuyl, Chief Executive of brightsolid said: “We are proud to have agreed terms with the ARA to publish online this fascinating set of school records from over 120 separate archives across England and Wales.

“Projects of this magnitude reinforce not only our ambition, but our credentials as the leading digital publishing experts, especially within the genealogy market. We look forward to working closely with the ARA and the National Digitisation Consortium on this exciting endeavour.”

 

John Chambers, ARA Chief Executive, said: “As the leading membership body for those who work in UK and Irish archives, the ARA has an important role to play in helping the sector find new ways of working. The National Digitisation Consortium allows a number of archives and schools, of all sizes, to offer records for digitisation within a single, shared legal agreement. As well as enabling these fascinating school records to be available to the public, this project will set an important precedent for the way the sector can work together to achieve a better return.”

I for one am looking forward to seeing them!


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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Non-Conformist Family History and Bunhill Fields

 

Bunhill Fields

I’ve just been on a visit to the City of London and while on my way to a meeting I realised I was passing the famous nonconformist burial ground of Bunhill Fields!

It was back in 1665 that the City of London Corporation hit on the idea of making use of some of the fen in this area as a common burial ground for the interment of bodies of the City’s inhabitants who had died of the plague and could not be accommodated in the churchyards.

The burial ground then went on to attract those people who were mainly Protestant but who dissented from the Established Church. The reason for this was the predominance of such citizens in the City of London over others who did not conform to the Church of England’s ways, such as the Catholics or Jews. Not withstanding this, Bunhills burial ground was open for interment to anyone who could afford to pay the fees.
Bunhill Fields Burial ground
The end of this burial ground was to come after the 1852 Burial Act was passed. This piece of  legislation enabled places such as Bunhill Fields to be closed, once they had become full. For Bunhills, its Order for closure was made in December 1853. The records show that the final burial  was for Elizabeth Howell Oliver and this took place on January 5 1854. By that date approximately 120,000 interments had taken place.

Nearby can be found the Quaker Burial ground, known as Quaker Gardens. These are on the other side of Bunhill Row to the main nonconformist grounds and contains the burial plot of George Fox, who founded the Quakers.

In many other parts of the country nonconformists would simply have made use of the Parish church yard until public cemeteries became the norm for internment. True that there are a few nonconformist burial grounds in other parts of the country but many were miles away from where the deceased lived and so it was more practical to be buried in the church yard along with their Church of England neighbours.

 

 

For those of you researching Parish Records and Non-Conformist Records my advice is to go and look at what TheGenealogist has to offer:

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

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

 

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Two Million Hertfordshire Parish Records Hit the Web

 

Yippee, more and more parish records have gone online!findmypast parish records

Its great to read that findmypast.co.uk has boosted their data holdings of parish records the UK’s largest parish records collection with two million new Hertfordshire parish baptisms, marriages and burials dating from 1538-1990.

Once you have exhausted tracing your ancestors in the census collections and the civil records back as far as 1837 then you have to begin using the parish records for your ancestor’s area.

As readers of this blog know I am a great fan of these particular documents and so I am really pleased to hear when a new collection get digitised.

 

Findmypast.co.uk has made these Hertfordshire records available online for the first time, making it easier than ever to trace your ancestors further back through the centuries. Debra Chatfield, marketing manager at findmypast.co.uk, commented on the new release:

“This collection of records is a wonderful treasure trove for anybody interested in looking into their family’s past in Hertfordshire. Publishing the records online for the first time will make it so much easier for people to find out if they have ancestors from Hertfordshire, as you can now search them alongside millions of other parish records from across the whole country”.

 

Full details of the records contained in this release are as follows:

 

 

This collection also includes the parishes of Chipping and East Barnet and Totteridge which, since 1965, formed part of the London Borough of Barnet.

 

These records can be searched here (http://www.findmypast.co.uk/search/parish-records/baptisms?tab=1) and are brought to you as a result of a new partnership between findmypast.co.uk and Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies. The records can be viewed with PayAsYouGo credits, a Britain Full or a World subscription.

 

The records are also available on all findmypast sites as part of a World subscription.


Disclosure: Links above are compensated affiliate links. I may be rewarded by Findmypast if you buy their subscriptions from following these links.

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More Parish Records Find Their Way Online!

 

parish church recordsParish 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 “This is a tremendous step for those trying to uncover their UK ancestors, and a great resource for family historians with British roots worldwide”.

 

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.

 

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Tracing Family Who Moved Abroad

Wedding Singapore 1951This week I have been tracing family who have left the shores of Britain to live and work, before returning here later.

For this I have found the incoming and outgoing passenger shipping records on ancestry.co.uk and the Britain Outbound Passenger lists on findmypast.co.uk useful for this.

I was able to pick up on my father emigrating to Singapore in August 1950 to work in what was then a British Colony.

Recently I have discovered that the National Library of Singapore has put its newspapers on line to search for free. Regular readers of my blog will be aware of how much I enjoy making use of the various newspaper resources in Britain such as the British Newspaper Archive.

The beauty of the Singapore collection is that it is free to search and you do not even have to register to do this. Naturally I was curious to see if my dad got himself into the papers while he was there and it is with some satisfaction that I found an article and photo of him on page 4 of The Straits Times on the occasion of his marriage to my mother at St Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in Singapore in the November of 1951.

So sometimes, when searching for your British Family you have to think about looking outside of Britain for them.

What else did I find on the Singapore Newspaper site? Well nothing more on Dad and Mum, but quite a bit on my mother’s step-father who was an architect in Singapore and my Uncle Bill who was Deputy Health Officer of the Singapore City Council.

In my Family History Researcher Academy course, on English and Welsh Family tree research, I have a tutorial devoted to using the newspapers as well as lessons on how to use some of the other lesser known data sets.

The launch of the course at a special trial price was very successfully filled, but I have been asked if there is room for a few more members. I am considering these requests and could decide to open it up again shortly. To be kept informed go to: www.FamilyHistoryResearcher.com/trial

Disclosure: Some of the links above are compensated affiliate links that may reward me if you buy their subscriptions.

 

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TheGenealogist.co.uk Added Over One Million Parish Records

I love it when new records are added to the Internet as it means there is a good reason to go back and search again for those ancestors of ours that have previously remained illusive.

Well TheGenealogist have just gone and added over one million parish records for Essex, Worcestershire, Lancashire and Devon from the 1500s to the early 1800s, covering baptisms, marriages and burials. These records add to the already extensive range of parish records available on their website.

These four counties are part of  some ongoing projects on TheGenealogist so keep an eye out for further releases in the near future!

Mark Bayley, Head of Development at TheGenealogist comments:
“We are committed to continually adding new records to the website. The last 12 months have seen us add over 285 million records. The demand for parish records and other early pre-1837 information is great and we are aiming to meet this demand with more such releases over the next year.”

 

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

 

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

 

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