Why Genealogy? Wise words.......One can speculate about the interest shown in genealogy. From nosiness to hobby to seriousspecialty, the focus on ones ancestors and their particulars has really caught on. For many itis clearly entertaining, considering the many genealogical documentaries, such as Who DoYou Think You Are, aired in many languages across the world. Still others see in the researchof one’s roots a form of self-assurance and may feel a kinship with like-minded people whencommunicating via forums and other media. Especially in these times of greater flexibility andmobility as well as the awareness of the rapid passing of time, many wonder about theirorigins and values.Our values come to us through our families. What our forefathers have created has animmediate impact on our existence. Without our ancestors we would not be where we arenow; as a matter of fact, we would not be here!This brings us to another point! Going back some centuries, say going back 7 generations,each one of us would come up with 65,536 ancestors. Going back 17 generations wouldamount to 67, 108 864 people in our family tree. According to various views of actualpopulation size, this addition already would surpass the population of late medieval times.The fact is, we share ancestors. Somehow, we are all related!Considering another fact, namely that most people from the 1500 to 1850s lived in rural areasand had restricted mobility, it would be interesting to find them in their habitat and ascertainnot only dates and places but also living conditions, characteristics, features and traits whichcould give clues to historical, social, medical and genetic research. By coming to know ourancestors, we come to know ourselves.Why not try your hand at genealogical research? Why not join our Genealogy Group?
Welcome• Welcome• A short video on the Census• Blog update• Welsh Family History Research.. Diary of the Nosey Genealogist• Nonconformist Ancestors in England.. From the Nosey Genealogist• A look at The Genealogist• Over to your brick walls
In case you have not heard......The Sixteenth United States Census, conducted by theCensus Bureau, determined the resident population of theUnited States to be 132,164,569, an increase of 7.3 percentover the 1930 population of 123,202,624 persons. Thecensus date of record was April 1, 1940. A number of newquestions were asked including where people were 5 yearsbefore, highest educational grade achieved, and informationabout wages. This census introduced sampling techniques;one in 20 people were asked additional questions on thecensus form. Other innovations included a field test of thecensus in 1939.
Local interestNearly 700,000 parish records have beenadded at findmypast, including more than400,000 Northamptonshire burials. Thenew records also cover Yorkshire, Dorset andnorth-west Kent.
Life and Death in the 19 Century th Most family historians will have noticed the relatively short life expectancy that was part of the everyday experience of our ancestors. There were many aspects to the twin topics of mortality and life expectancy, but a couple of facts may serve to illustrate the situation in days gone by. According to Professor Michael Anderson, anybody born in England and Wales in the 1770s had a 12 per cent chance that both their parents would have died by the time they reached age 25; broadly speaking, the same situation pertained a century later. Infant mortality in England and Wales peaked in the 1890s at a tremendously high rate of approximately 150 deaths per 1000 births. These statistics demonstrate that, for both the adults and children that family historians study, the world was a dangerous place!
Life and Death in the 19 Centuryth• Taken from an article by Geoff Culshaw• This article was published in Family Tree Magazine, August 2009 issue, pp 32-34 (ABM Publishing)• http://www.geoffsgenealogy.co.uk/other-articles/
Infant mortality• Most children who died during infancy were given names, but during the 19th century just over 1% of births in England & Wales were registered simply as male or female - if you search the birth indexes at findmypast youll see them listed at the end of the Search results. As 6 weeks were allowed for the registration of a birth it seems a reasonable assumption that they were babies who died in their first few hours or days of life.• Rather more than half are recorded as male, which reflects the higher infant mortality amongst boys, and you might expect that for every birth entry there would be a corresponding death entry (and vice versa), but that didnt seem to always be the case in the samples I checked, especially in the first few years of civil registration.• This apparent discrepancy may have been the result of confusion about still- births: until 1927 still-births were not registered - the entries in the birth and death indexes should all relate to live births. Even now there is no publicly available index of still-births, and normally only the father or mother of the child can apply for a copy of the certificate, though if they are both deceased brothers and sisters are also entitled to apply.
Welsh Family History Research• I’ve been lost in the north of Wales this week doing a bit of family history. Well not physically…I’ve been seeing how much I could do remotely, with only the resources that are at my disposal online.• I started with the 1911 census collections on TheGenealogist.co.uk, ancestry.co.uk and findmypast.co.uk. As I have written before in this blog, I often use more than one subscription site to look up ancestors because the search engines on theses sites rely on their own transcriptions, created by volunteer transcribers and very often a mistake in the transcription can mean that your search misses the entry for your ancestor. By using more than one look-up site I can often find the missing census entry from one by looking on another. This strategy paid dividends this week with the Welsh research as Welsh names of parishes very often seem to have variations in spelling and I assume that some of the transcribers were not local and so were mystified by what they were reading from the images.
Welsh Family History Research• I used the old trick of putting the parish name into Google, which I had open in another browser window while my subscription sites occupied their own windows. Often I was able to find a handy article that revealed the different ways of spelling a parish, along with the name of the old county that it was part of. To deal with the mis-transcriptions I had to use my common sense to match the spelling offered with the most likely parish that I could find in the county in question.• One of the brick walls that I ran up against, with this welsh family, was that they had a very common set of names for their children, in the particular counties that I was searching within. So as not to waste time I had to tackle the problem by approaching from a different angle and using a different data set.
Welsh Family History Research• On TheGenealogist.co.uk site I was also able to search their nonconformist records, also available at www.bmdregister.co.uk and was thus able to download an image that pertained to a baptism in the parish of Myfod, Montgomeryshire. Further research revealed that it was also known as Miefod and soon I found the correct entry in the census collection for the character that I was following.• I was also able to make use of the Hugh Wallis site that allows a researcher to search within the batch numbers on the familysearch.org website. With the aid of his useful tool, that is once more functioning after a period of not following the revamp of the LDS’ familysearch site, I was able to look for those with a particular first and surname baptised in a particular Methodist Chapel.
Welsh Family History Research• One last brick wall, that I discovered while doing this research in Wales, is that the further back in time that I went I came up against the custom of parent’s giving their offspring Patronymic surnames. This is where a child took the father’s first name as a surname. I found out that this practice, while no longer being held to in the towns and among the wealthier, still continued up until the early 19th century in some of the rural areas of Wales.• By the end of my time on this quest I had put a reasonable amount of branches on to this particular Welsh Family Tree but the conclusion that I reached is that it really would benefit from a visit to the County Record Offices in question in order to see the physical records for the various churches and chapels in the area. Not everything is online but it is a jolly good place to start!
NonConformist ancestors in England• Like me you may have gone back up the branches of your English Family Tree to find that some of your ancestors became nonconformists, that is they didn’t worship in the Established Church of England or have their children baptised within it and when it came to being buried they chose to have a ceremony conducted in a different Christian tradition.• This week I have been using the resources of TheGenealogist.co.uk’s BMD Registers to look at images taken from RG4 at the National Archives. These are registers (authenticated by the Non- Parochial Registers Commissioners) of births, baptisms, deaths, burials and marriages. They cover the period from 1567 to 1858. To find out more about them have a look on TNA’s website, but suffice to say that I have been able to use them effectively to fill in gaps when my forebears didn’t appear in the C of E parish registers.
NonConformist ancestors in England• One way of being alerted to possible non-conformity in a line is where you can only find your ancestor’s marriage in the Parish church. From 1754, and the introduction of Lord Hadwicke’s Marriage Act, most of the people of England & Wales were required to marry in the Church of England. For this reason you may discover that your ancestor’s wedding is in the parish church’s registers, but theirs and their children’s baptisms and burials are not. If this is the case then you should make a search of the non-conformist’s records for the area.• A difficulty can often arise when the chapel in question did not have its own register. This could occur when the chapel was served by an itinerant minister, responsible for a circuit of chapels in the area. In this case you would need to try and find out the name of the minister and the other chapels in his care.
NonConformist ancestors in England• Most of the surviving Congregationalist registers up to 1837, and some for the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Unitarians were surrendered to the government in 1840 or 1857. These are now held at The National Archives in mircofilm series RG 4, 5, & 8, and it was the first of those that I had been looking at onTheGenealogist.co.uk site.• I have written a short book, How to Search for Your English & Welsh Family History, that is available as a Kindle download from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, in which I delve further into the subject of nonconformist, in chapter 10.
The GenealogistThe Genealogist.co.uk is a UK based site, which offersaccess to a wide range of source materials that areideal for users who wish to research their familyhistory using only records from British and Irisharchives., TheGenealogist.co.uk is highly regarded byindustry experts, being voted the best Census andBirths, Marriages and Death record site for 2008 byFamily History Monthly. We were very impressed bythe vast range of resources available, and the usertestimonials that can be found across the Internetpaint a great picture of outstanding customer serviceand a high level of customer satisfaction.
What they say.....• www.TheGenealogist.co.uk• Vast online research site.• Complete birth, marriage and death records index from 1837• Census indexes and transcripts 1841 to 1901• Widest coverage: 1215 to 2005• Quality data, checked by experts• The widest range of records• Unique search tools• Parish records• Directories• Landowner records
The GenealogistTheGenealogist.co.uk, as well as offering accessto a range of traditional resources, such as Birth,Marriage and Death Records, Censusinformation and the Electoral Roll, also providesaccess to a range of more unusual resourceswhich users will no doubt find useful. One suchresource is the Knights of England resource,which allows users to trace their ancestors whohave been knighted through records dating backto 1127. This is an extremely specialist collectionwhich does not exist in many online locations
The GenealogistThere is also a large collection of Parish andNon-conformist collections, as well as one ofthe most extensive collections of BritishOverseas records, including the militaryhonour roll and war death listings from allmajor conflicts up until 2005. Users can alsoaccess surname distribution maps whichdigitally display a breakdown of where yourfamily name features most in the UK.
The GenealogistAs well as an extremely extensive collection ofresources, it has a real community feel, givingusers access to a range of additional featureswhich make the site loads of fun to be a part of.Users can read articles written by industryexperts on a range of genealogical topics, andcheck out the news listed on the site each dayregarding celebrity genealogical history andfamily trees. Theres also The GenealogistMagazine which is published online everymonth, and offers users the opportunity toshare in the success stories of other users.
The Genealogist announces its marriage finder tool• The Genealogist has announced a great-looking new tool that enables you to search the 1911 Census for marriages then match results to its GRO records.• Using its SmartSearch technology, the new Marriage Finder Tool links results from the 1911 Census to the more detailed records available through transcripts and marriage details found in The Genealogoist’s GRO records. The 1911 Census didn’t records a spouse’s name, but using the Marriage Finder Tool you can now find out much more detail about a marriage.
StarterThe Starter subscription gives you credit-freeaccess to BMDs (GRO Indexes England andWales 1837-2005), Overseas BMDs, Census(1841-1901), Roll of Honour records,Reference Books and TreeView PremiumFeatures from£14.95, perfect for beginnerswith everything you need to start yourFamily Tree
Gold Premium / Personal Plus• Gold Premium and Personal Plus subscriptions give you access to Census (1841-1901), BMD’s, Non-Conformist Records, Wills, Poll Books, Directories, School Registers, Military, Landowner records and more.• The credit based Personal Plus subscription is £55.95 annually.• Gold Premium is £78.95 annually
Diamond PremiumThe Diamond subscription provides access to allof the records available in the Gold plus newcensus releases, overseas records for India,Australia, New Zealand, America and SouthAfrica, more extensive collections of recordsfor Scotland and Ireland. Early telephonedirectories, pedigree/heraldry and electoralregisters are available, and also occupationalrecords, including law lists, medical, clergy,teachers, actors. £149.45 annually