Monday, 30 November 2015

Australian Passenger Lists launched on TheGenealogist

From TheGenealogist (

Australian Passenger Lists launched on TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist has released over 190,000 records for passengers who departed these shores on early migrant ships to New South Wales in the years between 1828 and 1896. These new records expand TheGenealogist’s Immigration, Emigration and Naturalisation and passenger list records.

The transcripts of the latest release uniquely give a family link so you can see spouses and children setting out on their new life. They also reveal details such as which ship they had sailed on, where they were landing, the passenger’s occupation and in the case where the migrant has been assisted to travel out to a job, their employer’s name.

Some records are more detailed than others and can divulge how much the emigrant was to be paid, whether rations were included in their employment. In some cases the immigrants Native Place, or where they had come from is also disclosed. A number of these settlers may have bought their own passages, while others travelled with assistance from one of the public or private programmes that existed at the time. With the discovery of gold in 1851 mass migration to New South Wales of a wider cross section of people took place.

The NSW passenger lists will allow researchers to

* Discover ancestors travelling to New South Wales from Britain and Ireland between 1828 and 1896 in the shipping lists of the era

* These fully indexed records allow family historians to search by name together with country and port of embarkation, as well as country or port of destination

* Find ancestors on “bounty scheme” voyages in which free immigrants to Australia were recruited by agents in Britain, who were paid a monetary reward for finding suitable skilled labour and tradespeople willing to sail out to the new colony

* Locate families travelling together with a single click

* See linked images and records on the New South Wales Government Website

These records can be found within the Immigration, Emigration and Travel collection on TheGenealogist and add significantly to the resources already available for researchers to use when looking for ancestors who left Britain. TheGenealogist’s extensive British & International Immigration and Emigration records, already include Naturalisation and Denization records, convict registers and early New Zealand settlers.

An example follows below…

By selecting Immigration, Emigration and Travel on TheGenealogist’s main search page and then choosing Passenger Lists from the dropdown menu, we are able to look for William Fortune and his young wife who set out for a new life in New South Wales departing from London on the 13th February 1841 on board the ship the Jane Gifford.

The detailed records confirm the departure date, the ship’s name and much much more. For example we are able to discover that William was from Newbridge, that he was a labourer aged 28 and a Roman Catholic. We can see that he was heading for Sydney, Australia and that William had been engaged by one Captain Flint at a wage of £19 a year.

Presumably William’s prospective employer, Captain Flint, was not the template for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Piratical character of the same name, who would appear in print forty years later. As the shipping records also reveals to us that William Fortune could neither read nor write, this fictional person with the same name as his boss may well have passed him by in the years to come.

An extremely powerful feature, of searching the passenger lists on TheGenealogist’s website, is the ability to look for a family travelling together. One click on the family group icon, next to William’s results, returns potential family members. We can see that his 19 year old wife, Susan, was also travelling with him. Her occupation is noted as a House Maid and she too was a Roman Catholic from Newbridge.

Another charming nugget of family history information revealed, by the Potential Family Members search, is that on the voyage William and Susan were delivered of a baby girl. Their child, Jane Fortune, was born at sea with her native place being prosaically listed simply as “Sea” on the passenger list. Jane is recorded as being aged 2 months and has then been pedantically noted in the records as being “under age”.

The passenger lists available on TheGenealogist can reveal a significant amount of information about ancestors that have emigrated to New South Wales in the 19th century. As we can see, from the example above, the unique ability to search for relatives travelling together is a compelling reason to use TheGenealogist to research for immigrants down under.

(With thanks to Nick Thorne)


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

Visit Scotland's archives to transform your research!

I have the best of both worlds. On my father's side, Scottish blood, on my mother's side, Irish blood, with a mix of Irish and Scottish in the mix from Northern Ireland. I therefore get a one in three chance of supporting the winning side in the Six Nations rugby, and two patron saints to play with!

For some time I have been diverting my attentions to the Irish side of my research, mainly because so much has become available online in recent times, but in the last couple of months I have returned to some of my earlier Scottish lines, most notably in the Perthshire parishes of Kinclaven and Little Dunkeld. And the discoveries keep coming!

Just a few days ago I found in the Associate Session kirk session records for Kinclaven that my six times great grandfather Andrew Henderson had been guilty of 'promiscuous dancing' in the parish at a wedding:

At Arntully 8th Decr 1752. After prayer by ye Modr Sederunt John Sprunt John Morice John Kea Elders & John Richie Deacon

The Officer having reported that according to appointment he had cited to this meeting the following persons viz: Andrew Henderson, in ye Miln of Airntully, Lillias Grigor, John Nathan & George Ramsays, James Stewart, Joseph Morice, John, Agnes & Elizabeth Mallochs, Mary Crookshank, John Grigor, John Gellatly & Emilia Bennet all in Arntully. They being called, they all compeared... and they being Interrigate by ye Modr One by One if they had been guilty of the indecent behaviour of promiscuous dancing, They all answered in the affirmation. Then After the Indelacicy & Sinfullness of such a Practise was laid before them ye Modr together wt ye Aggravation of their Sin having got publick Warnings agt the same They were severally Interrogate […] they acknowledged their said conduct to be sinful & thro’ Grace resolved agt the same for the future, & also against the Countenancing in so far as Witness it in others...

They were all Removed. Then ye session proceeded to consider what Censure to Inflict upon them, and after Deliberation upon ye Matter They agreed in regard of some circumstances in ye case of ye Persons who had fallen into ye forsaid Indecent behaviour, to List in an admonition of them wt certifica[tio]n That if they shall afterwards be guilty of such a practise, the Session will inflict a higher Censure upon them. And wt respect to John Ramsay the Session delayed ye Considerat[ion]n of his case till next Meeting & that both he & James Stewart be cited to attend.

They being called in, and after ye Mod[erato]r had intimated to John Ramsay what ye session had agreed upon wt respect to him all ye rest were admonished by ye Mod[erato]r in ye Name of ye Lord Jesus Christ the only King & head of his church, wt certifican That is all or any of them should be found guilty of such a sinfull practise again, ye session would inflict a higher censure upon them. And they were exhorted by ye Modr to watchfulness & Rependance upon the Lord.

(Source: NRS CH3/502/1/93; Kinclaven Associate Session kirk session minutes)

Proud of my ancestor's promiscuous dancing as I am, he pales in comparison with my other ancestors, James Brough and Anne Lamb, who I have also just found were guilty of antenuptial fornication in the same parish!

May 3d (1778) It being reported that James Burgh & Anne Lamb his spouse had been guilty of antenuptial fornication & James having been desired to attend this Meeting was called & compeard; and being interrogate he acknowledged his having been guilty of antenuptial fornication wt Anne Lamb his spouse. The Modr endeavoured to lay the evil of his sin before him wt the aggrevations of it, it was agreed that he be just now rebuked before the session for the same, & appear before the congregation this Day for the first time to make profession of his Repentance, he was accordingly rebuked by the Modr in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ the alone King & Head of his Church, and appointed to appear before the congregation this day.

James Burgh in Airntully appeared this day before the Congregation, & was rebuked for the Sin & Scandal of Antenuptial Fornication

May 10th – James Burgh appeared for the second time before the Congregation, & made profession of his Repentance.

May 17th James Burgh appeared before the Congregation & was absolved from the Scandal of antenuptial fornication.

(Source: NRS CH3/502/1/203; Kinclaven Associate Session kirk session minutes)

Just for good measure, they also upset the Associate Session, because they attended two different churches to confess their alleged sin:

May 31st (1778) Anne Lamb spouse to James Burgh compeared, acknowledged her having been guilty of the Sin & Scandal of antenuptial fornication wt sd James her Husband. After some conference & dealing wt her, the session understanding that both James & Anne had been attending last Lord’s Day in the parish church, had appeared before the session belonging to the Established Church & had made publick profession of their repentance before said Congregan, in obedience to sd session & that they were both absolved them. The session considering that their so doing was contrary to their profession as being members of this congregation and under the inspection of this session, who are in a state of secession from the established Church. They agreed to Delay the forsaid until afterwards.

(Source: NRS CH3/502/1/203; Kinclaven Associate Session kirk session minutes)

These cases were both sourced in just a day's work at the National Records of Scotland ( from the kirk session records for the local nonconformist church, but I have also been going through additional estate papers for the Grandtully estate where the Broughs, Lambs, Hendersons, Rogers, and other lines lived. Of note in the series of papers known as hornings and arrestments was a court case where my seven times great grandfather James Brough (father to the above James), was cited to appear as a witness to a sheriff court case in Perth in 1744. He was asked to speak on behalf of Sir George of Grandtully, as part of a case to determine whether the appropriation of part of the common lands of the nearby Muir of Thorn by John McKenzie of Delvine, which was given in tack to a William Dow, was illegal (Source: NRS GD 121/1/Box 28/161, arrestments and hornings 1742-99; extract process Sir George Stewart of Grandtully & his tenents agt William Dow). Other records in this collection provide additional information on other relatives - for example, George Rodgie of Wester Burnbane was called to speak to the same case in 1750 (six years later - they took their time!), with the record noting he was aged 37, placing his birth in 1713.This was some 19 years before the parish baptism registers on ScotlandsPeople commence for Little Dunkeld (1732).

So why do I mention these examples? Because they contain useful genealogical and family history information that is not available online. If until now you have confined your research to the online sources for Scottish research such as ScotlandsPeople, then there is a world of material out there that can transform your research and your understanding about the lives of your ancestors.

It is for this reason that for the last few years I have been writing many guides for Unlock the Past ( to try to flag up how to access such collections, and to take folk to worlds beyond the usual online suspects. The records of property inheritance, of land transfers, of estate papers, churches, and the records to be found when our ancestors found themselves in times of crisis, all of these can be found in archives across the country, and are just waiting to be plundered by the hungry genealogist. To locate such collections you can visit the catalogues for the National Records of Scotland, the National Register of Archives for Scotland, and the Scottish Archive Network at For details on archives themselves, visit the Scottish Council on Archives website at

But it is not just enough to know where the records are, it also helps to understand the context in which they were recorded. How did feudalism work, which underpinned so many records from land sales to inheritance, what was the actual law behind civil registration, and why did the various church factions split from the Church of Scotland in the aftermath of the Reformation, and why are so many marriage records missing from the church and civil registers on ScotlandsPeople right up to 1940? Get to grips with all of that, and you will crack open a whole avenue of new possibilities for your Scottish research!

My Scottish based titles are, so far:

Discover Scottish Church Records (NB: a new 2nd expanded edition will be available shortly!)
Discover Scottish Land Records
Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records
Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis
British and Irish Newspapers

Whether you are inspired by Saint Andrew, or in need of a prezzie for yourself or a loved one for Christmas, hopefully these may help!

For further details on how to purchase them in the UK, Canada and Australia, please visit


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

Happy Saint Andrew's Day!

It's Saint Andrew's Day! We're very proud of our main man here, but he's also something of a worldwide phenomenon - here he is in a metro station in St. Petersburg, Russia, as snapped a few months ago on an Unlock the Past cruise visit to the city:

Here in Largs we've been celebrating our patron saint - here's a wee video to enjoy from a bash I was at on Friday night!

Check out Google's tribute also at, and for things more genealogical, do check out my guest post on Ancestry's blog at to read my overview of the site's new Calendars of Confirmations and Inventories 1876-1936 collection.

Have a great day!


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

Thursday, 26 November 2015

‘The Scots in Ulster’ by the Rev Dr David Stewart

I've been asked to give the following title a quick plug:

‘The Scots in Ulster’ by the Rev Dr David Stewart (re-printed by the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland, 2015). Price £5.00

The latest publication ‘The Scots in Ulster’ is a re-print of 6 pamphlets published by the Rev Dr David Stewart between 1952 and 1957. The Rev Stewart was a distinguished historian of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland – he authored ‘The History and Principles of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (1907) and a very important work, ‘The Seceders in Ireland (1950) as well as being the editor of ‘The Fasti of the Irish Presbyterian Church’, 1613-1840, published in a number of parts.

The Scots in Ulster Part 1 is about the coming of the Scots to Ulster and the background to the grants of denization and naturalisation given to these Scots settlers to enable them to have the same rights and privileges in Ulster as Englishmen. The original grants found principally in the Irish Chancery Patent Rolls of James 1 and Charles 1 and in the Ulster Inquisitions were lost when the Public Record Office of Ireland in Dublin was destroyed in 1922. Fortunately, the Ulster Inquisitions and the Patent Rolls were published in the 19th century.

Parts 2-3 are largely lists of names of those who received such grants, arranged by county – Cos Antrim , Armagh, Cavan and Donegal in Part 1 and Cos Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone in Part 2.

Part 4 is an account of how Presbyterians fared in the years between 1636 and 1642.

Part 5 is a reprint of a pamphlet in the King’s Collection in the British Library describing the quelling of the 1641 Rising in the North of Ireland while the final Part, also from manuscripts in the British Library, gives an account of the impact of the Rising on Londonderry city and of the taking of Mountjoy in 1642 by Colonel Clotworthy.

The book can be purchased on-line from the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland website -

(With thanks to Valerie Adams at the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland)


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Society of Genealogists events in London

Forthcoming talks and courses in January 2016 from the Society of Genealogists in London (

Wednesday, 13 January 14:00 - Discovering Discovery: Using The National Archives Website and Catalogue
Discovery is The National Archives online catalogue and holds more than 32 million descriptions of records held by The National Archives and more than 2,500 archives across the country. Millions of records are available for download, find out what can be found in the catalogue and how to get the best from the website.
A one-hour lecture with Guy Grannum, Discovery Product Manager at The National Archives. Free of charge, but must be pre-booked.

Thursday, 14 January 18:00-20:00 - Stage 1 Evening Skills Course (10 weeks)
The Society's successful family history skills course begins again with the first ten-week series of classes for those who are new to family history or who have had a little experience and want to build upon their initial progress. Our team of professional genealogists will introduce the records and illustrate how they should best be used for the study of family history. Publications, electronic finding aids and the internet will, of course, be included along with all the basic sources needed to start research. Topics will include how to get started, how to best search the census, newspapers, probate, parish registers, Non-Anglican family History and more.
With Else Churchill, John Hanson, Simon Fowler and Ian Waller.
Thursday evenings (last class 17 March) Cost 175.00/140.00, Please see further information about Stage 2 and Stage 3 courses, on our website.

Saturday, 16 January 14:00-17:00 - Researching Irish Family Life in the Famine Years
80% of today’s English people have Irish ancestry and this seminar looks at Irish lives in the rural west of Ireland in the famine years between about 1800 and 1850.
In the first talk, we will look at how people lived; their houses, possessions, food, work, education, entertainment, etc. It touches on politics, social attitudes and the reasons for mass poverty and emigration.
The second talk discusses how to use such facts as these to build your own family history in places, like Ireland, where few real records survive. It looks at subjects such as additional places to search and how to follow leads, how to put the story together and to what extent you can judge events of 200 years ago by modern standards. It opens up a whole area of family history beyond the collecting of birth, marriage, death and census data. If you have just a few facts, this seminar will start you on a family quest that will be engrossing, interesting and, with luck, extremely rewarding.
A half-day course with Stephen Lally, Cost 20.00/16.00

Wednesday, 20 January 14:00 - Copyright for Family History
Copyright applies to photographs, diaries, paintings, film clips and many other works. This talk will aim to cover some of the issues you might face with copyright works in your family history, including how long copyright lasts, when you might or might not need permission to use the works, and what you can do if you cannot find the right holder and would like to copy the work. This talk will be especially useful for those considering publication of their family history.
A one-hour talk with staff from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the official government body responsible for intellectual property rights including patents, designs, trademarks and copyright.
Cost 8.00/6.40

Saturday, 23 January 10:30-13:00 - Research Before Parish Registers
Pre 1600 research is an entirely different "ballgame" with many records existing that can be useful. Many such records continued beyond 1600 but are under-used. Some family historians think they have to stop researching when parish registers end. How wrong you are! Come see what is available.
A half-day course with Ian Waller, FSG Cost 20.00/16.00

Wednesday, 27 January 14:00 - Catching up with FamilySearch
The website is the largest family history website in the world, with billions of names across thousands of collections - and more are added monthly. Learn what new major databases have been added, how to find this information, and how to best use the website.
A one-hour lecture with Sharon Hintze. Free, but must be pre-booked.

Thursday, 28 January 14:00 - Visit: St-Mary-le-Bow Church
We will learn about the history of this famous church and the great architecture of Sir Christopher Wren, in particular relating to the famous steeple. Inside the church we will look at the post-war rebuilding by Lawrence King, the beautiful stained glass windows by John Hayward and the other modern furnishings.
The church has many international connections, including significant ones with the USA, Norway, Germany and Australia. It also possesses an 11th century crypt, part of it now an elegant chapel, the rest of it used as a restaurant, set among many of the original Norman arches.
With Tony Tucker Cost 10.00/8.00 (appx 1 hour)

Saturday, 30 January 10:30-13:00 - East London, Kent & Essex in the 18th Century
The emphasis of this course will be on the movement of people, money and goods backwards and forwards between East London and the counties - the pattern being very different between Kent and Essex. Come and learn more about these areas, and subsequently more about your ancestors during this important time.
A half-day course with Derek Morris Cost 20.00/16.00

Saturday, 30 January 14:00-17:00 - Good Research Techniques
This course will take an in-depth look at the best ways to research in order to avoid making mistakes as well as how to get the most out of the records you use. We will also look at the likely causes of brick walls you may meet during the course of your research and the best way to tackle them. Sources covered include BMDs, census and parish records.
A half-day course with Celia Heritage Cost 20.00/16.00

Further details at

(With thanks to Lori Weinstein)


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

Free 24 hour access access to UK Press Online

UK Press Online is offering 24 hours free access to its site at

To gain the code for the offer, please visit the site's Facebook page at


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

Monday, 23 November 2015

Erskine Hospital archive to be catalogued

Recently found historic items and documents at the Erskine Hospital (, which for a century has treated military patients, are to be catalogued thanks to funding from the Wellcome Trust ( The cataloguing will be carried out by Glasgow University Archive Service, which has acquired the collection. The story is online at Note also the following line in the BBC story:

Erskine are currently working on a patient database of every soldier admitted and discharged at the hospital during its history, which will become a research resource for families tracing their ancestry.

The items retrieved include original prosthetic limbs and tools.


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Scots Italian exhibition at the NRS

The National Records of Scotland is hosting an exhibition on the history of the Scots-Italian community. Entitled Family Portrait: The Scots Italians 1890 – 1940, the exhibition has been created in partnership with the Italian Consulate General of Italy in Scotland, and focusses on the life experience of Italians living in Scotland prior to the Second World War.

For further information, visit the NRS own story at


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

Saturday, 21 November 2015

UK Press Online discount code

The UK Press Online website (, which offers  digitised access to many well known historic UK based tabloid newspapers, as well as titles such as Church Times and others, is offering a discount by which you can gain access 15 days on its collection for the price of 5 days.

To receive this, you need to visit the company's Facebook page at to receive the relevant code, and take it from there!


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

1939 National Identity Register - TNA refs removal on preview screen

I have previously commented on the removal of the TNA reference numbers on FindmyPast ( for preview views of the 1939 National Identity Register for England and Wales search returns, stating that I had been contacted by a source in the know that this was allegedly to prevent data mining from the site (see

Confirmation on why the numbers have been removed has now been finally made available on the National Archives blog, via a response to questions by Martin James and Nigel Osborne. Here is the reason as given by administrator Nell Brown on Friday November 20th at 9.53am, confirming this to be the case (see

Hi Martin and Nigel, Findmypast have removed The National Archives catalogue reference from search results in response to concerted efforts by some online groups to share and even build apps and spreadsheets encouraging the manipulation of the embedded file references which allows people to access large amounts of information without paying. The remedial action was taken by Findmypast to prevent this systematic breach of their terms and conditions and fair usage policy and to protect their income. You can still search using The National Archives’ catalogue reference in the advanced search and the reference is returned when accessing the full transcript and image. Best, Nell.

I'm still not aware that FindmyPast has itself made any effort to explain to customers why it has done this, though more than willing to be corrected on that.


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at