Saturday, 21 October 2017

Trafalgar Day

It's several years since I marked Trafalgar Day, the celebration of the victory won by the Royal Navy, commanded by Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, over the combined French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.

Nelson, Britain's greatest naval hero, was a son of the county of Norfolk, so I have a special respect. As well as numerous victories he was known for his handicaps.  He was beset by malaria, scurvy, dysentery, heart-stroke, toothache and - unhelpfully for a naval man - seasickness. His lost arm and eye are legendary well beyond Britain.

There is the story of prisoners, a mix of civilian and military, captured from a ship, the Rangitane, sunk by German raiders during WW2. My father was an Engineer on the Rangitane. The civilians were to be released, the soldiers sent for incarceration in POW camps in Germany. A passenger was suspected by the Germans to be a soldier. Desperately he pointed to his obvious glass eye and said that it proved his civilian status, in response to which a German asked if he had ever heard of Nelson.

The image is of Britannia atop Nelson's Column at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Rockstar Genealogists Nominees

A couple of queries have come to me regarding whether people can opt out of having their name on the list of Rockstar Genealogists nominees.
To clarify, I hope.
Only two people have ever approached me about their names not being on the list.
In both cases I explained that not including them would lead to lots of protest about worthy people not being on the list - I get lots of those. They both agreed to their names remaining on the list but the results not being tabulated as indicated in the list of nominees.

Last Call for Rockstar Genealogists Voting

Just a few more hours, that's all the time you've got  -- to show your appreciation by voting for the 2017 Rockstar Genealogists. More than 950 people have voted so far.
Find out what it's all about and how to vote here.

Voting closes at 2 pm EDT on Saturday.

Irish Genealogical Abstracts New at Findmypast

In the continuing quest to plug gaps created during the fire at the Public Record Office of Ireland in Dublin in 1922 Findmypast this week has added abstract collections from three Irish genealogists. All are indexed and linked to the original handwritten transcript.

Thrift Genealogical Abstracts comprises 150,275 transcript records of wills, bill books, parish registers, commission books, and freeman lists, as well as detailed family trees and pedigree charts. Records date from the 16th century to the early 20th century.

The Crossle Genealogical Abstracts contain 657,801 Irish records, including copies of prerogative court wills from 1620 to 1804 and yearly Army returns from 1767 through to 1816.

Betham Genealogical Abstracts and genealogical sketches created by herald Sir William Betham contains 489,774 records includes abstracts of wills, reconstructed family trees and detailed pedigrees that can be searched by name, year, or keyword.

Also this week 4,506 records from the local censuses - 1830, 1834, 1836, 1849, 1850, 1851, and 1852 - from the townland Pobble O'Keefe in Cork.

British and Irish Furniture Makers Online

The prototype database on this website focuses on information drawn from two sources – a digital re-publication of Geoffrey Beard and Christopher Gilbert eds. The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 (1986), and the membership records of The Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers from 1640 to 1720.
Search by the whole record, name, place, occupation and active date (beginning and ending).
Information returned is a few lines, for example:

Sandham, John

Northwood, Sussex; (1678)
Joiners' Company Apprentice
Apprenticeship 1678
Son of Frances Sandham, Yeoman, of Northwood, Sussex. Apprenticed to John King for 8 years, from 15 May 1678.

Future phases of the project will make available information drawn from many different kinds of historical sources. The database is freely accessible to all.

via a tweet from Jane MacNamara.

FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing

There's a FamilySearch worldwide indexing event this weekend. You can be one of tens of thousands of people helping make records findable for us all.

Find out more about at  You may be interested in the Ireland—Civil Registration, Deaths, 1864–1870 project.

There are no Canadian projects linked from above, and just one available here,  That's one more than I've seen recently. The project is to index late registration of birth documents from New Brunswick for the period 1810–1899. It's already 10% complete.

Ancestry adds Kikcaldy,Poor Law Records

The 11th most populous community in Scotland, Kikcaldy, Fife, has a population less than 50,000 souls. No wonder this new collection of the Poor Law Records for 1888-1912of the Abden Home Poor Law Institution, originally named the Kirkcaldy Combination Poorhouse, has only 2,690 entries.

Between the indexing and information on the images of the original records find
name, date of admission, date of discharge, reason discharged, occupation, gender, marital status, religion, age and perhaps date of death.

More on BIFHSGO Conference Presentations Online

A follow up to Wednesday's post about BIFHSGO conference resources online for Society members. You now have access to the slides and audio of presentations by Celia Heritage, James F. S. Thomson and Gillian Leitch as well as the Friday evening presentation by Glenn Wright.
Approval of the other speakers is pending before their presentations will be posted.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Reminder: Lesley Anderson and Glenn Wright OPL presentationss on Saturday

Mentioned previously this opportunity is worth a second mention. A free 2 hour, two part event this Saturday 21 October, 2017 at 9:30am at Ben Franklin Place, Nepean Centrepointe.
In the first part Lesley and Glenn will look at provincial birth, marriage, and death registrations which are fundamental resource for genealogy in Ontario.
Then Lesley will be presenting on DNA, and perhaps will be able to enlighten on the changes in your AncestryDNA webpage this week.
You may also be interested in this recording of a call in show with Lesley as the guest expert on CFRA.

Vote now for Rockstar Genealogists

Everyone appreciates recognition. Take a look at the list of nominees in this year's Rockstar Genealogists poll and see if there's one or more you'd like to show support for. There are probably many, and you can choose as many as you want. You have the power to push them up the rankings.

And what about those not on the list? They're not there because they didn't get properly nominated - I only needed to receive two nominations. Why not show your appreciation anyway by contacting them directly and telling them. Guaranteed they'll appreciate it. For Rockstars it shouldn't be difficult to find contact information online.

Quinte Branch OGS October Meeting

"The Skies Above Vimy Ridge and the Battle of Arras 1917" is the topic for the next Quinte Branch presentation, on Saturday 21 October.
The presenter is Major William March, presently with the Primary Reserve as the RCAF Historian. He served over 35 years in the CF/RCAF, is an RMC graduate, flew with several Maritime Air Squadrons, and had one tour in Afghanistan. Bill holds a Masters Degree from the University of Victoria.
The Quinte Branch welcomes everyone to their meetings and invites you to bring a friend. 
The meeting is at the Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton 1-3 pm.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Rockstar Genealogists Voting Progress

As of 8 am (EDT) on Wednesday 18 October 739 people had voted for their favourite Rockstar Genealogists. Three quarters of those voting were women.
There were 411 voters from the USA, 117 from England and Wales, 97 from Australia and New Zealand, and 75 from Canada.
Slightly over 50% considered themselves genetic genealogists, a majority everywhere except England and Wales.
Vote for your favourite Rockstar Genealogists by following this link.

Conference 2017 Resources for BIFHSGO Members

BIFHSGO members, even those who did not register for the conference, now have access to conference materials.

The audio and slides for Glenn Wright's Whiteside Lecture Another Bloody Englishman! Britannia in Red Serge, 1873-1920 are available. Handouts for the presentations below are also online, and audio and slide should be coming soon.

Beyond All Reasonable DoubtCelia Heritage
Buried Treasures: What's in the English Parish Chest?Paul Milner
Working with SourcesGillian Leitch
Researching in English and Welsh ArchivesCelia Heritage
Occupational, Guild and Freedman RecordsPaul Milner
Genealogy and the Age of ShakespeareJames F.S. Thomson
British Military: Finding Your Pre-WWI SoldierPaul Milner
Using Death Records in Family HistoryCelia Heritage
Tips and Tools for Navigating the English Probate SystemPaul Milner
Historical NewspapersJames F.S. Thomson
I've Lost My Ancestor Before 1837: How Can I Find Him?Celia Heritage

Kingston Branch OGS October Meeting

The Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will meet on Saturday, October 21st at 10 a.m. at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis St., Kingston.  Ron Mann will speak on "Some Hints and Guidelines for Beginning and Veteran Genealogists."
Visitors always welcome.  Further details at

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Clarity on Rootweb

Quite understandably the notice posted on the Rootsweb site last week,

"We will be discontinuing the Rootsweb Surname List and Genealogy Forum features on Tuesday Oct 24, 2017."

caused a lot of angst.

That notice has been removed, One of my readers contacted Rootsweb and received the following clarification.

We appreciate your concern that some information is being removed from the site. We will do all that we can to answer your questions. The Message Boards are not being removed. The " Genealogy Forum " references a web page maintained by the " Golden Gate Genealogy Forum ". It is accessible from the link below. They are moving their page.

Deaths and Great War Deaths

From time to time it's worth looking at figures like this
referenced in a post "UK drops in European child mortality rankings" by the UK Office of National Statistics. Obvious for births are the post war baby booms and baby boom echo of the early 1960s. Peaks in deaths at the end of WW1 during the influenza pandemic and associated with WW2 bombing are evident.
The deaths are those registered in England and Wales and don't attempt to account for those who died overseas. A rough calculation using British Forces deaths in WW1 from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, allowing roughly for those who died in Britain and subtracting those from Scotland and Ireland, indicates another 25% can be added for the overseas deaths of those from England and Wales.