Friday, 30 September 2011

New £50 note commemorates Boulton and Watt

The new Bank of England £50 note, featuring entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and steam engine pioneer James Watt, will be introduced on November 2nd.

The BBC has the story at


TNA podcast - reformatory and industrial schools

The latest National Archives podcast, Out of the Way of Mischief, is available from The subject matter is reformatory and industrial schools, and the resources at TNA which can help with research.

More details via the website.


TNA website disruption on Sunday

The National Archives ( has announced that there may be some disruption to its webs services on Sunday 2nd October from 9am-1pm. The disruption may affect those wishing to download documents from the site.


FindmyPast Australia to relaunch website

The latest FindmyPast Australia ( newsletter arrived in my inbox this morning, slightly throwing me with its opening line "Welcome to our September newsletter, and welcome spring!" - thankfully the coffee soon kicked in and I twigged it was from down under!

FindmyPast Australia is a bit like FindmyPast Ireland, in that it works as a partnership between Brightsolid and other companies, in this case Gould Genealogy, Unlock the Past and Queensland FHS, covering Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. In the latest newsletter, it has announced that it will soon be launching a new and improved website.

"The new site will include many new features to make searching for your family history easier and more enjoyable! And what is really exciting is that we will also be doubling the existing number of records currently available meaning there will be a whole lot more information to help you with your research! To keep up to date with news about the new site please 'Like' our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!"

More news in due course! The full newsletter can be viewed at


Thursday, 29 September 2011

Grantham family history open day

A family history open day will be held at Harrowby Lane Methodist Church in Grantham, at the junction of Harrowby Lane and Princess Drive, on Saturday, October 8th. Members of the Grantham Branch of the Lincolnshire Family History Society will be on hand to give tips and more. The event runs from 10am-4pm.


Black History Month events in England

A series of free family history talks by Sharon Tomlin and Ayshah Johnstone will be given across England throughout October as part of Black History Month, with sessions in Woolwich, Sheffield, Bromley, Birmingham, Preston and Bedford.


US geological survey maps go online

The United States Geological Survey has uploaded 90,000 out of 200,000 maps online at The collection will be completed throughout the next year.

The University of Glasgow is blogging that its Maps, Official Publications and Statistics Unit is able to reproduce high-quality large-scale prints of the maps via, and that many of the maps are also available for consultation on Level 7 of the university library. I can't tell if that means they are partnered in some way with the US site however.


Ancestry seeks Android app testers

Ancestry ( is looking for Beta testers for a new Android based mobile app, which will be utilised on either a mobile or tablet platform. Ancestry is asking for those potentially interested to take a short survey and will then select a small pool of respondents that meets its requirements.

The survey link is available at


Meeting the Ku Klux Klan

Occasionally on British GENES I will post an article or two to break up the news. The following is a repost from my Walking in Eternity blog from November 2010. In 1999, I met and filmed the Ku Klux Klan for a Scottish Television documentary series I was working on - here's the encounter, and my feelings about it after.

Saturday 17th July 1999 was no ordinary day for this humble shuggie researcher. At that time I was working for Scottish Television Enterprises on a series called "Celtic America", which took me to the United States for fourteen weeks, where I had the great pleasure to travel across thirty different states and to venture into Canada on three occasions. Our series was discussing the impact of the Welsh, the Scots and the Irish in American history - it had a silly title really considering that much of England was equally 'Celtic' in the ethnic sense, though the word 'Celtic' in fact really refers to a linguistic grouping (as in Germanic, Italic, etc).

Anyway, RTE, S4C and STV were all paying for my trip, along with our small production team, and this was one day where I was to say the least a little bit apprehensive. We were in Pulaski, Tennessee, to discuss one of the more shameful Scottish and Scotch-Irish legacies in the United States - the formation of the Ku Klux Klan in 1865. Created by Tennessee veterans of the Confederate Army, the Klan was a white supremacist group and anti-Republican in sentiment, with its members having been on the losing side of the American Civil War. Much of the symbolism of the Klan was derived from Scotland - the fiery white cross was a way in times past of summoning clans to fight in the Highlands, whilst the Confederate flag which it adopted was derived from a mixture of two British flags - St Andrews Satire and St. Patrick's Saltire (the red diagonal cross symbolising Ireland in the Union Flag today).

We had been aware that in Pulaski there had been trouble in recent years and were unsure of what to expect when we turned up to film. I had made contact with representatives of the organisation a month before the date we had agreed to come and interview them, and had then lost contact with them altogether - not the easiest people to trace! We took the decision to go anyway, though fully prepared for an immediate departure if we were uncomfortable about what we found. In truth we weren't sure what we would find - would there be loads of guys dressed in white cloaks and white hoods, ready for a lynchin' (our lynchin?!). In fact, when we arrived we were surprised to discover that they were all attending a garden fete as part of their National Homecoming event in front of the courthouse, ready for a good lunchin' rather than a lynchin'.

It was a very surreal situation. There were stands where people were selling cakes, children were throwing bean bags at a target to win a prize. The man in charge (not sure of the correct terminology - grand pixie, grand wizard?) was a Pastor Thomas Robb. At one point he invited everyone to pray, and in the prayer kept coming out with the phrase "We have a dream", a less than subtle spin on Martin Luther King's historic speech, towards people in white uniformed shirts and others in t-shirts bearing the slogan "Boys in the Hood". When finished he came over to us to talk about the origins of the Klan, but before we started the interview he handed me a copy of a pamphlet published by the organisation which reproduced the text of the Declaration of Arbroath, claiming that all the moral justification for the body's existence lay in there. So they were err... anti-English? Crikey, it was enough to confuse a poor wee paddy like myself!

Things got even more surreal. The highlight of their day was a "White Pride march" as part of their "White Christian Heritage Festival". The members formed a column of two lines with many carrying flags, including the Scottish and British flags, led by the great pixie himself. It is worth explaining that Pulaski absolutely hates its assocation with the organisation, but tolerated the march, as there had been serious rioting in earlier years when the Klan had been opposed. The building where the Klan was first organised was still in existence, but now listed, and had just been bought by a new owner prior to our arrival. He had wanted to remove a commemorative plaque on the wall outside the place, but had been prevented from doing so, having been told it had to remain there as an item of historical interest. In a moment of pure brilliance he had come up with a classic solution - he basically unscrewed the plaque, turned it around so that it faced inwards and then screwed it back onto the wall again! The Klan marched up to the spot, stopped, took a left turn, gave a Nazi salute to the building then turned right and marched off again. At one point, our director suggested we go to the front of the parade and film it whilst walking backwards so that we could get shots of Gandalf and his merry men as they marched towards us, in order to gain what were known as GVs (general views), which commentary could then be laid over. We duly did so - meaning that to this date I am probably the only genealogist in Scotland who can say that he once led a march by the Ku Klux Klan...

I found the whole affair deeply disturbing. Not so much at the white shirted nutters with their badges of hate, but more specifically at what I saw at the garden fete. I took many photos that day, yet one I have in particular fills me with sadness every time I see it - a picture of a young lad, perhaps just six or seven years old, on a step, holding a Confederate flag in his hand, and smiling to camera. Coming from Northern Ireland I could see instantly what the image revealed - ethnic ascription. This child had been programmed by his parents to be a supporter of the Klan, and in time would take on a white shirt and walk in "White Pride" marches himself, and spout all the hate rhetoric and the rest.

What saddened me was that I had seen it all before - in Northern Ireland and in Scotland. The Orange Order was a similarly constituted organisation, led by men of the cloth, insisting on marches, not at Pulaski, but at Drumcree, wearing not white shirts but sashes that their father wore, etc, and today as part of a newly branded "Orange Fest" rather than a "White Christian Heritage Festival". The Orange Order was founded in Ireland by the descendants of Scottish settlers, and had been taken back to Scotland, not by Ulstermen, but by Scots themselves, in the form of returning soldiers of the Scottish fencible regiments which had been active in Ireland during the United Irishmen uprisings in 1798. Historically Scottish presbyterianism has had many wonderful theological attributes, but has also had a serious dark side. If in doubt, look at the Glasgow Herald of the 1920s and 1930s, and the rhetoric being directed towards Scottish Catholics - most notably at the Morningside riots in Edinburgh in 1935, when ten thousand Protestants terrorised a Catholic priory where a small congregation was worshipping.

It is a heritage that many of us will have within our own ancestry. Today things may be different - I am Presbyterian by background for example, but my wife is Catholic. I shout "No Surrender!" at her and she throws holy water over me and watches me burn! But in my tree, despite never believing I had any connection to the order, I have since discovered that two of my great grandfathers were grand masters of Orange lodges in Ulster and that one of them was also apparently a grand master of a Royal Black Institution lodge in Glasgow. Today in Scotland we may look at disgust at what we see in Tennessee with the Ku Klux Klan. And so we should. Next time you are in Glasgow or Belfast at an Orange march, ask yourself what it is that you are really watching before you. It just might be an echo of something equally hideous and it may also be lurking within your tree. But that's life...


British Home Children memorial Peterborough

A memorial to British Home Children has been unveiled in front of the former Queen Alexandra School in Peterborough, commemorating 8914 orphaned or destitute children who were brought to Peterborough to be sent to Canadian families in the late 19th and early 20th century.

125,000 Home Children were sent to Canada prior to the scheme's end in 1939, with others sent to Australia until the 1960s. For some the placement was a success; for others, conditions of abuse were experienced in their new homes. As Prime Minister, Gordon Brown formally apologised in February 2010 on behalf of previous British Governments which implemented the scheme, an act which itself has been controversial in some quarters.

(With thanks to Emma Jolly's History Daily on


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Irish church sources conference

The Library Association of Ireland Genealogy and Local Studies Group is holding a seminar entitled Church and other Religious Sources for Irish Genealogy on Thursday 27th October 2011, 10am– 4.30pm, at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Speakers include:

James Ryan, author of Irish Church Records, Sources for Family and Local History
Noelle Dowling, Dublin Diocesan Archivist
Susan Hood, Representative Church Body Library
Robin Roddie, Archivist of the Wesley Historical Society
Karel Kiely, Secretary of the Irish Family History Foundation
Christopher Moriarty, Quaker Library and Archive
Valerie Adams, Presbyterian Historical Society

The price will be 30 Euros - for more information see

(With thanks to @librarydotie on Twitter)


ScotlandsPeople Centre phones down

On the ScotlandsPeople Centre website at

IMPORTANT CUSTOMER NOTICE: We regret to advise that our phone system is currently unavailable.

If you need to contact the Scotland’s People Centre booking helpline then please call 07917 267015 (Please note that the call charge may be higher than normal). Alternatively, for the time-being, you can e-mail booking requests to us at

We apologise for the inconvenience.


GRO digitisation survey

Thanks to Roger Lewry of the Federation of Family History Societies ( for news that the English and Welsh General Register Office, based at Southport, has an online customer satisfaction survey at

Roger notes that comments can be added to the survey, which should take no more than twenty minutes to complete.


Canada Gazette digitisation complete

Canada's equivalent of the London, Belfast and Edinburgh Gazettes - the Canada Gazette - has been undergoing a digitisation project for some time now, and John Reid has announced on his Anglo-Celtic Connections blog that the project is now complete. The coverage is from 1841-1997, and the records are available at the Library and Archives Canada website at The Gazette is the official paper of the state and contains all sorts of official announcements that may be of use genealogically.


Postal museum and archives threatened

The British Postal Museum and Archive is currently under threat thanks to the forthcoming privitisation of Royal Mail, according to an article in today's Guardian - for more see

(With thanks to @AudreyCollins23 on Twitter)


Durham Records Online update

Update from Durham Records Online (

New records:

Tynemouth (Christ Church) burials 1836-1840
2,674 burials at Christ Church in Tynemouth (Northumberland) covering 1836-1840, from the parish register with some annotations from the Bishop’s Transcript.

Stockton marriages: 1838
110 marriages at Stockton St. Thomas for the year 1838. These are fully detailed civil-registration era marriages, including father’s names & occupations and witnesses.

Marriage bonds 1821-1822
659 marriage bonds filed in 1821-1822 in the Diocese of Durham. These are brand new, not previously in our bond index. Read on to find out why the late 1822 bonds are simply amazing!

Marriage bonds 1750-1754 updated with full details
Replaced the index to marriage bonds in the years 1750-1754 with full details, so those 1,304 records are now instantly available, including 2 new bonds that we missed the first time around.

Viewing Old or Lost Orders
Have you ever accidentally deleted a record that was emailed to you from our site ? Or purchased a record from our index and never got the email containing the details a few days later? No problem ! Any time you delete an emailed record, or you don't get a transcription from an index after 3-4 days, log in and click My Previous Orders. This will bring up a list of all your orders, with the most recent orders at the bottom. Find the record, view it, and if the details have been filled in, they will show up there. You can then email the record to yourself with a single click. If a catastrophe has occurred and you have lost all of your records purchased from this site, there is an option at the top of the page to email yourself all of your records in a single email.

Coming Soon:
Washington baptisms & burials 1828-1836
Haughton le Skerne baptisms 1852-1860
Denton baptisms & burials 1765-1812
Auckland St. Andrew marriages 1765-1812
Hamsterley baptisms & burials 1765-1790
Whitburn marriages 1579-1797


European libraries adopt open data licensing

From Europeana (

Meeting at the Royal Library of Denmark, the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL), has voted overwhelmingly to support the open licensing of their data. CENL represents Europe’s 46 national libraries, and are responsible for the massive collection of publications that represent the accumulated knowledge of Europe.

What does that mean in practice?

It means that the datasets describing all the millions of books and texts ever published in Europe – the title, author, date, imprint, place of publication and so on, which exists in the vast library catalogues of Europe – will become increasingly accessible for anybody to re-use for whatever purpose they want.

It will mean that Wikipedia can use the metadata, linking it to all sorts of articles; it will mean that apps developers can embed it in new mobile tools for tourism or teaching. Crucially, for information scientists, it will mean that vast quantities of trustworthy data are available for Linked Open Data developments, creating relationships between elements of information that’s never been possible before. The potential to create new relationships between datasets from Europe’s greatest libraries creates what an expert in Semantic Web technology, Dr Stefan Gradmann, Professor of Library and Information Science at Humboldt University, Berlin, has called a ‘knowledge-generating engine’.

The first outcome of the open licence agreement is that the metadata provided by national libraries to, Europe’s digital library, museum and archive, via the CENL service The European Library, will have a Creative Commons Universal Public Domain Dedication, or CC0 licence. This metadata relates to millions of digitised texts and images coming into Europeana from initiatives that include Google’s mass digitisations of books in the national libraries of the Netherlands and Austria.

Bruno Racine, new Chair of CENL and President of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and Dr. Elisabeth Niggemann, former Chair of CENL and Director of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, welcomed the leadership shown by CENL. Dr Niggemann said, ‘Providing data under an open licence is key to putting cultural institutions like our national libraries at the heart of innovations in digital applications. Only that way can society derive full social and economic benefit from the data that we’ve created to record Europe’s published output over the past 500 years. The best analogy is between bottled water and a water main. Rather than bottling it and branding it, we’re putting data on tap, so that everyone has free and open access, and can use it for whatever purpose they need.’

This resonates with the words of the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, who in her speech to the Open Europe Summit this week said, ‘I am convinced that the potential to re-use public data is significantly untapped. Such data is a resource, a new and valuable raw material… To mine it would be an investment which would pay-off with benefits for all of us.’

As well as demonstrating strategic leadership in the heritage and information sectors, the pay-off for the libraries is twofold. Firstly, as their data becomes pervasive online, it will lead users back to its source, encouraging visits both both online and onsite. Secondly, their data will be enriched by contact with complementary data sources, and be available for them to re-use to upgrade their own services to users.

(With thanks to Europeana)


Thanks to Standard Life Family History Club

A huge thank you to Standard Life Family History Club for its hospitality last night in Edinburgh, when I gave a two part Online Irish Resources talk, which I think went down well! I arrived a bit early and so went and had a look at St. Cuthbert's Cemetery for half an hour beforehand, which is located beneath the castle - all very civilised! The club is a little different to other societies in that its membership is drawn from the company as opposed to the general public, but it is a member of SAFHS and has an impressive library and many useful genealogical resources to help its enthusiastic members. It also has a free coffee machine, and you don't see that every day! :)

A great night - thanks again!


City of London events - October

Some news of events in London in October from the City of London newsletter:

Mapping the London Blitz

In the midst of the devastation caused by the Blitz, the LCC created a series of maps to record where rockets fell and which buildings were damaged during the bombing raids. The maps graphically illustrate the destruction of many streets, houses, factories and shops and provide an essential record for understanding the chaos and turmoil faced by Londoners just seventy years ago.

Taking the damage recorded on the maps as a starting point, this exhibition will present a number of other sources from the archives to reveal the experience of life in London during the Blitz.

This exhibition held at London Metropolitan Archives from 1 September to 23 December is FREE. Visitor information is available here.

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB, Tel: 020 7332 3851

Follow the Dragon: The 3rd East Kent Buffs Regiment

The 3rd East Kent Buffs Regiment will reenact the time of the Napoleonic Wars, bringing living history to Hampstead with dramatic re-enactments and historically accurate costumes. Suitable for all the family!

This family activity held at Keats House on Sunday 2 October from 1 to 5 pm is FREE. Visitor information is available here.

Keats House, Keats Grove, Hampstead, London NW3 2RR, Tel: 020 7332 3868

Keats Walk

Follow the story of Keats’s life in this two and a half hour walk around Hampstead with readings from some of his best-loved poems.

Starting at Hampstead tube at 11 am, we will stroll through old Hampstead, visit the Vale of Health, dip into the Heath and finish at Keats House around 1.30 pm.

This guided walk on Tuesday 4 October from 11 am to 1.30 pm is £6 - but you must book in advance on 020 7332 3868. Includes admission to the house.

Keats House, Keats Grove, Hampstead, London NW3 2RR, Tel: 020 7332 3868

White City and the Ghosts of the 1908 Olympics

This walk explores the recent social history of Shepherd’s Bush including the building of the White City Exhibition Centre and the Olympic Stadium which were both opened in 1908. Although none of the original buildings remain, reminders of the various exhibitions and London’s first Olympic games can still be found amongst the streets and parks of the area.

Led by Mike Moran of City Highlights Walking Tours. Meet outside Goldhawk Road Tube Station.

This guided walk on Thursday 6 October and Thursday 13 October from 11 am is £7.50 - but you must book in advance on 020 7332 3851. No on the day bookings available.

Big Draw: Family Myths and Legends

Doodle your family sagas, sketch your childhood memories and draw out your ancestors’ colourful past in this creative workshop. No previous art experience required.

This event held at London Metropolitan Archives on Friday 14 October from 10 am to 4 pm is FREE - but you must book in advance on 020 7332 3851. Visitor information is available here.

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB, Tel: 020 7332 3851

Behind the Scenes Tour

Visit the Conservation Studio and Image and Design Unit to find out about the essential work which preserves our archived history for the future.

This tour held at London Metropolitan Archives on Tuesday 18 October from 2 to 3 pm is FREE - but you must book in advance on 020 7332 3851. Visitor information is available here.

Reel London: Southern Comforts - South London in archive film

South of the river there lies a variety of hidden houses and hills that look over the London skyline and delight the viewer with tales from the lives of Londoners.

From Battersea and Bermondsey, from Putney to Southwark, via the parks of South London and the sporting activities of Crystal Palace.

This event held at London Metropolitan Archives on Friday 21 October from 1 to 4 pm is FREE - drop in. Visitor information is available here.

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB, Tel: 020 7332 3851

(With thanks to the City of London's Libraries, Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery's Heritage Services Division)


Naval and convict medical records on Ancestry

Ancestry ( has added two new medical sea based collections to its site.

From the site:

UK Surgeon Superintendents' Journals of Convict Ships, 1858-1867

This database contains indexed images of medical journals kept by surgeons aboard convict ships sailing from England to Australia.

Each journal in this database records details from one voyage of a convict ship as it traveled between England and Australia. Many of the pages contain dated log entries. Information found in the entries varies by journal but can include details such as name, age, crime convicted of, length of sentence, point of embarkation, native country, education, death date, cause of death, sick lists, lists of ship’s stores, and day-to-day happenings aboard ship. You may also find lists of convicts, punishments, and prisoners who exhibited good conduct during the voyage. Crew members may also be included.

These records were created after the Royal Navy turned the transport of convicts over to merchant shipping, and along with names, the journals can provide a revealing glimpse of life aboard these ships, from escape attempts to daily rations and routine.

UK Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857

This database contains indexed images of medical journals from 19th-century British ships, which include names of patients and other passengers and crew aboard.

The journals in this database were kept by ships’ medical officers, who were required to keep a record of patients, treatments, and outcomes during a voyage. This collection includes 671 volumes, each from a single ship and covering a particular time period. The majority are convict ships bound for Australia or Van Diemen’s Land.

The journals list names, ages, “quality” (the patient’s rank or status aboard), diseases, duration dates, and notes on symptoms and treatment. They often include daily sick lists extracted from the journal pages as well. Researchers should not forget their female ancestors. Some convict ships sailing to Australia were designated for female convicts; other women emigrated voluntarily.

These records are valuable for family history research on several fronts. First, they list names of sick (and others who may have come to the surgeon’s attention) among passengers, convicts, and crew. These may include passengers who did not recover and so never made it to their destination. They also offer fascinating details on contemporary treatments and medical practices, as well as stories of life aboard ship, from the perils (and prevalence) of grog-related accidents to a simple chronicle of the daily routine on a 19th-century sailing vessel.


The Manor and the Man - manorial records workshop

Bit stuck on those manorial records? Celia Heritage's forthcoming workshop in Chatham might help:

8th October 2011

Venue: Christ Church University, Medway Campus, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4UF

Cost: £45

Manorial records are often dismissed as "difficult" or "only of use for very early research". They are in fact one of the few sources that potentially span the centuries from the 1300s right through until the 20th century while, although early records are in Latin, from the 18th century the majority are in English. Manorial records are one of the few sources that can give us a run of conclusive evidence that will prove a family tree over several generations, sometimes before the advent of parish registers. With a little knowledge manorial records are not difficult and this workshop aims to break down these misconceptions and open up a much wider world of research to you.

This is an intensive workshop limited to 12 students. In the morning we will look at the manorial system and its records and also at who lived on the manor. You may be surprised to find how many of your poorer ancestor may feature. The afternoon will consist of a palaeography workshop with two tutors led by Dr David Wright and adjusted to the individual's skill level. We will practise reading old handwriting and take a look at some very basic Latin which will be need for pre-17th century documents.

Booking at:

(With thanks to Celia)


150 years of sound recordings lecture

The National Library of Wales is hosting a free talk by Richard Ranft on September 30th from 13.15-14.15, entitled Connecting 150 Years of Sound Recordings.

From the NLW's site:

The Head of Sound and Vision at the British Library describes the origins and scope of the collections that comprise over 3.5 million sounds and a growing video service, their preservation and how digital technologies are improving ways that the Library's researchers can use and connect with this rich resource.

For more see;LANG=en


The Luddite Link

A new website has been launched to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Luddism movement in West Yorkshire. The Luddite Link site is available at, with lots of news, events and articles.

(With thanks to @wyorksarchives)


Yorkshire mill exhibition celebrates 400 years history

A new exhibition entitled A Story of a Yorkshire Mill: 400 Years of Cloth Making is celebrating the history of Brooke’s Mill, a former wool textile manufacturer in Armitage Bridge, Huddersfield. The firm John Brooke and Sons, which traces its history back to 1542, is believed to be one of the oldest surviving family businesses in England.

The new exhibition will be opened on October 4th 2011. The full story is available in the Yorkshire Post at


Ballymena FHS meeting

The Ballymena branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society ( will be launching its 2011-2012 programme at the Braid Arts Centre on Thursday, September 29, at 7.15pm. The evening will provide an opportunity for new members to register, and to hear some short talks by committee members to help get the research effort for new members under way.

For more information call the chairman, Brian O’Hara, on Ballymena 25656854.

(With thanks to the Ballymena Times)


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Guildhall of London events

To celebrate 6090 years of existence, the Guildhall in London is offering a series of free lecture events:

30 SEP 2011 (2-3pm)
The Clerks of Guildhall 1380-1430

6 OCT 2011 (2-3pm)
National Poetry Day - 600 years of London Poetry

21 OCT 2011 (2-3.30pm)
The City Celebrates: Staging the Triumphes of Truth in 1613

17 NOV 2011 (2-3pm)
The Medieval Guildhall of London

8 DEC 2011 (2-3pm)
The Archaeology of the Guildhall

All events will be held at Guildhall Art Gallery, for visitor information go to the website:


Berneray project launch event

There will be an informal evening launch on the Isle of Berneray of the A' tilleadh ar n-eachdraidh dhachaigh (Bringing Our History Home)project, to be held in The Nurse’s Cottage, Backhill, Berneray on Friday 14th October 2011 from 7:30pm-9:30pm.

For more information visit


Irish Genealogy sources chart gone

The Irish Government's Irish Genealogy website at used to have a chart telling you exactly which parishes were covered on the site. The chart was accessible on the news page, but has since been replaced with two news posts on an update with a picture of a happy smiley minister - I'd much prefer to see the chart back, as it was very useful!

A screengrab of the former chart, showing coverage in Dublin for the Church of Ireland records, is shown below - but if anyone knows if this can still be accessed on the site, I would be grateful to hear from you!


Research position Carmichael Watson project

The University of Edinburgh is looking for a research assistant to help catalogue the Carmichael Watson project. Here's the blurb:

Following a recent funding award from the Leverhulme Trust, phase four of the Carmichael Watson Project aims to research the material culture and collecting practices of the Hebridean folklorist and collector Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912) and to catalogue and contextualise the objects, field monuments and sites collected or described by him. We require an experienced post-doctoral researcher with proven ethnographic, object-based, linguistic and research skills to play a key role in the Carmichael Watson Project team. You will identify, investigate, classify and contextualise objects collected by Alexander Carmichael, disseminate project findings and assist with overall project delivery and resource development.

You will have a PhD in one of the following fields relating to Scottish Gaelic/Irish: folklore, ethnology, literature, history or museum studies and be fluent in Gaelic, or fluent in Irish with some knowledge of Scottish Gaelic and willingness to augment that knowledge. Highly developed organisational and problem-solving skills are a requirement as are ICT skills and excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

The post is fixed-term for eighteen months and is available from 3 October 2011.

Further details, inclusing salary, and to apply, visit


New PRONI bus routes

Missed this one! From PRONI (, news on a new Metro bus service to the archive:

Translink Metro has launched new bus services for the Titanic Quarter. Supported by funding from Titanic Quarter, enhanced Metro 26, 26b and 26c services commenced on September 1. These services will depart from Wellington Place in Belfast City Centre and a minimum of three services per hour will be provided with two of these extending into the Science Park situated on Queen’s Road. The service will operate from early morning until 6pm, Monday – Friday. The new Metro 26 timetable also includes a number of connecting through services to and from the University quarter in South Belfast. After 6pm, Mon – Fri, and on Saturdays passengers can use service 600 which will operate to Belfast Metropolitan College.


Monday, 26 September 2011

Society of Genealogists needs friends!

The Society of Genealogists ( in London has just celebrated its centenary, but without financial help may not survive to see its bicentenary. Now that there are many online commercial vendors in existence the society has fierce competition, and at present can barely cover its costs through membership subscriptions alone. Amongst its many ambitions the society wishes to digitise its own collection of records but cannot afford to do so. As such, it has now launched its new 'Friend' initiative to try to create a more steady stream of additional income beyond donations, legacies and grants.

To be a friend you pay an annual subscription at one of several tiers. A basic friend pays anything up to £100 a year. A 'bronze' friend pays £100 p.a, a 'silver' friend £500 p.a., a 'gold' friend £1000 p.a. and a 'platinum' friend pays a one off sum of £5000, and becomes a pal for life! There are various other benefits other than seeing the society survive - such as friends only days, lectures, a free publication, and if platinum, a plaque with your name on it in the society library.

If interested in signing up, Else Churchill has posted more on the scheme at, whilst the application itself is available at


National Archives website disruption

The National Archives website at may be disrupted tomorrow morning, Tuesday 27th, due to maintenance issues.

(With thanks to TNA)


Silver haul on Atlantic shipwreck

Two hundred tonnes of silver has been found on an Atlantic shipwreck, with a value estimated to be about £150million. It is the largest ever haul of precious metal found at sea.

The find was found on board the ruins of the SS Gairsoppa, a UK cargo ship sunk by a German U-boat in 1941.

For more on the story visit


Hull family history event

Hull Family and Local History Fair will be held on Saturday October 1st from 10.00am - 4.00pm, at the Costello Sports Stadium, Anlaby Park Road North, Kingston Upon Hull.

For more information visit

(With thanks to the Federation of Family History Societies


Channel Islands Community Archive plea

Gillian Mawson has asked me to help with an appeal to raise votes to secure funding for the creation of a Channel Islands Community Archive via Natwest's new CommunityForce scheme which offers grants of up to £6000. Several charities and schemes have applied, and a vote to help decide the recepients opens today. Successful recipients will receive their award on December 31st.

Here are the details of the application:

Community Archive for Channel Island Evacuation

It brings together WW2 evacuees from Guernsey who came to England in June 1940 and who remained here after 1945. They share often traumatic wartime memories, create friendships, learn new skills, increase confidence and share/preserve their stories

What does your charity/project do?

The evacuees meet to share memories with each other, resolve childhood traumas; from 27th Aug they are sharing them with children, students, families and older people through small events. They are learning new skills:using digital technology, speaking/writing for the public, recording their stories. Several are disabled and only leave home for our meetings, all leave the house more frequently than before, they feel they are part of their community and contributing to its recorded heritage.

How does your charity/project support the local community?

It brings together the generations to demonstrate how war affects ordinary people's lives. It involves an increasing number of elderly people in Derbyshire, Lancashire and Cheshire, who now have a stake in their community and how its history is recorded. Their confidence has increased, many previously only left their homes to attend medical appointments. Their self worth is increasing, they are learning new skills and they have so much more to offer their communities. Our funds expire Dec 2011.

What do you plan to use the CommunityForce award for?

£6,000 would enable us to continue & expand our group for at least 3 years. The evacuees have limited incomes, and funding would cover the cost of hiring accessible meeting venues for the elderly and mobility impaired, refreshments and travel (including taxis); stationery, postage, computer consumables for our events activities, and the costs involved in document copying when we visit local wartime archives to find documents relating to their evacuation. They would love to create a short film!

To vote for the project please visit

Good luck Gillian!


Hawick family history workshop

The Heritage Hub in Hawick is running a family history workshop on Tuesday October 25th 2011 from 7pm-9pm. Places are limited and must be booked, charge £5, which includes handouts and a family history chart.

For more information, visit, call 01450 360699 or e-mail .

(With thanks to the Heritage Hub via Twitter @SBC_Archives)


Certificate of Irish Heritage site live

Thanks to Claire Santry on Twitter (@Irish_Genealogy) for announcing that the Certificate of Irish Heritage site has now gone live at Applications can apparently be made from September 30th.


Family Tree Maker 2012 UK release October

I've just had a Family Tree Maker 2012 email announcing that I can upgrade for £19.99 when it launches in October in the UK. The following is the blurb on both the new features and some upgrade goodies:

New features:

NEW TreeSync™ - Synchronise Desktop and Online trees! Easily update your online tree from your desktop, laptop and even your iPhone or iPad – and then simply click to sync so your tree is always up-to-date, no matter where you access it next. Share your tree with other family members and choose who can view and update it.

NEW Blended (Combined) Families View - see stepfamilies, adoptees and other blended families at a glance.

IMPROVED Smart Stories™ - gives you new tools for adding and editing your family's details. Include facts about the individual and his or her spouse and children.

NEW Customised Fact Sentences - Now when you create an Ahnentafel, descendant report, or Smart Story you can change the wording of the fact or event sentences and also choose what data is included.

IMPROVED Notes Report that lets you display person, research, relationship, or fact notes you've entered for individuals in your tree.

NEW & IMPROVED Charts - Now you can display generation labels (such as parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents), add your own images and text and create a descendant chart that shows the relationship between two people whom you select.

NEW Index of Individuals Report that lists every individual in your tree and their birth, marriage, and death dates.

SIMPLIFIED Interface for Upgraders - A newly simplified interface integrating the best of previous versions.

Upgrade goodies:

1 Month 'Essentials' Mermbership to™ worth £10.95 (if you're a current™ user, you can redeem your free month at the start of your next subscription period.)

Family Tree Maker® Quick Start Guide (Digital Version)

NEW Companion Guide to Family Tree Maker® (Digital Version)

Interactive Training Tutorials packed full of practical hints & tips for researching your family history.


Europeana Remix launches

From Europeana (

Europeana trials new software in Remix launch

Europeana, the digital library, museum and archive, has opened a new interactive video space, Europeana Remix, which enriches a short film on a First World War friendship using the latest HTML5 and Popcorn.js technology.

Europeana Remix plays the video in HTML5, and uses the Popcorn.js framework to let users call up resources that are related to the story, from Europeana, Flickr, Wikipedia, Oxford University, Google maps and other web services. Users can leave comments at any point and share their stories or URLs. “Europeana Remix gives users a new experience of inter-relating cultural content without leaving the video space,” says Harry Verwayen, Europeana’s Business Development Director. “It will be exciting to see how this new technology affects the way that people get involved with stories on the web.”

Europeana is experimenting with HTML5 to create new interactive cultural experiences, and because HTML5 is fast, seamless and unobtrusive. HTML5 is set to become a standard way to play video online. Popcorn.js, a new Javascript framework, is used because it utilises the great new features of HTML5 and combines web resources seamlessly to the movie player to give the user greater choice and interactivity.

Using leading new technologies to engage users with cultural heritage is central to Europeana’s mission and puts the Commission-Funded project ahead of the curve. "Europeana Remix ‘ use of HTML5 web video and the Popcorn.js framework is both a technical and aesthetic leap for web video,” says Brian Chirls, the code-developer behind the project, and a leader in interactive video.

Indeed, Remix is so advanced that it plays only on the latest version of web browsers -
Firefox 4.0+ Chrome4.0+ Safari 4.0+, IE 9+, Opera 10.5+

In order to allow others to make free use of this ground-breaking development as the basis for new applications, the Remix source code has been made available on GitHub, the collaborative code repository for programmers. The film itself and all user contributions are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

Brett Gaylor, of Mozilla Foundation, the Open Source web innovation driver, says, "It's exciting to see Mozilla's Popcorn technology used in such a creative way. The developers of the Europeana Remix project have pushed video to the cutting edge - it is a fantastic use of archives, web services and user generated content."


More on FindmyPast's Manchester records

Here's the official press release on the Manchester records that FindmyPast ( placed online a few days ago.


Manchester prison and workhouse records included
Charges include: indecent relations with a pig, and driving a contagious cow along a highway
Victorian law and order likely to have punished today’s rioters more severely
First execution listed at New Bailey and Strangeways prisons

Fascinating Victorian prison and workhouse records for Manchester have gone online for the first time ever at leading UK family history website ‘The Manchester Collection’ is a rich series of records provided by Manchester City Council's Libraries, Information and Archives, highlighting criminals whose crimes number murder, stealing, and even bestiality. Scanned images of the original copperplate handwritten registers can now be viewed and searched online by the public.

The Manchester Collection consists of eight record sets with nearly 1,300,000 records that cover Manchester and some parts of Lancashire, due to boundary changes over the centuries. The full series on the site comprises prison registers spanning 1847-1881, industrial school admission and discharge registers, c1866-1912, school admission registers c1870-1916, apprentice records ranging from 1700-1849, baptism and birth registers covering 1734-1920, cemetery and death records for 1750-1968, marriage registers covering 1734-1808 and finally, workhouse registers, which include admission registers, creed registers and discharge registers. Today’s rioters and criminals get away lightly compared to many of the characters in the industrial schools and prison records.

The Prison Registers

The prison register records are some of the most fascinating within the collection giving details of the crimes committed and full particulars of the prisoners, including a description of what they looked like. This index contains 247,765 records for the period 1847-1881. The records cover Belle Vue Prison, New Bailey Prison and Strangeways.

A number of crimes can be found within the records, including murder, stealing as little as a lump of coal, being drunk and riotous and casually knowing (a Victorian euphemism for rape). The oldest felon discovered in the records was 91 years old and the youngest just seven. Repeat offenders were common and it is possible to trace their criminal careers. One woman was recorded 20 times over 14 years - she was blind in her left eye and had a pockmarked face, making her easily identifiable in the records.

Casually knowing a pig

In the prison records one Mr John Alty, aged 21 was charged on 6th March 1866 that he ‘having on the 30th January 1866 feloniously wickedly + against the order of nature did casually know a certain pig + then feloniously did perpetrate an unnatural crime at Manchester’. He was sentenced to 15 months’ hard labour. The record, as many do, includes details of his height, complexion, hair, weight and eyes and describes his occupation as a labourer. Also provided are his last known address, religion, education, marital status, distinguishing marks, nationality, previous committals and release date.

First execution at HMP New Bailey

James Burrows on May 31st 1866 was accused and charged that he ‘wilfully + malice aforethought killed + murdered one’ John Brennan at Hopwood on the 21st May 1866. He was sentenced to death and executed on August 25th 1866, aged 18. This case was widely covered in the newspapers at the time as James Burrows was the first person to be executed at the New Bailey Prison.

Moooove your ‘contagious’ cow!

In June 1870, Joshua Lomas, aged 36, was charged with driving a cow along the highway with a highly contagious lung disease. He was sentenced to one month in prison or the fine of £2. Joshua appears in the records again in 1877 charged with being drunk; he was sentenced to one day’s hard labour. Many of these criminals can be found more than once in the records.

Industrial Schools Indexes

Industrial schools were set up in the middle of the 19th century to provide lodging for destitute children. They were intended to prevent vulnerable children from falling into criminality; children would be educated and taught a trade and could be there for a set period or throughout their education. They were also ‘youth detention centres,’ where Victorian children were sent following anti-social acts for rehabilitation.

Five years detention for truancy

On October 3 1901, Joseph Marsh aged 10 was convicted for associating with bad companions and truancy. He was sentenced to a period of five years and four months detention in one of Manchester’s Industrial schools, Ardwick Green. In his record he is described as being 4’5” tall, 65lbs, with a fair complexion, broad nose, having very light hair with blue eyes. He had five vaccination pits on his left arm. Previously, he had been given three or four years schooling and could read, write and calculate to grade III standard. His mental capacity was said to be good. Like many boys, upon completing his time at the school he enlisted in the army. The records show he joined the 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment, which was then based in Palace Barracks, Holywood, Belfast and went on to have a successful army career. His strict discipline at the school clearly helped him stay on the straight and narrow and he went on to have a very successful army career.

Debra Chatfield, marketing manager at commented: “These records are a fascinating insight into the crimes of the Victorian era and provide so much more detail than census records. Many of the crimes carried out and their subsequent punishments are quite shocking, and are far removed from what we are familiar with today. For example, stealing one lump of coal could get you seven days hard labour. Imagine what the recent rioters would have faced if they had been under Victorian law and order. Even if you do not live in Manchester now, you may have had ancestors there 100 or more years ago and these records will prove to be an essential resource in tracing your family history. Manchester is one of the largest cities in the UK, and by making these records available online people will be able to discover even more about the lives of their Mancunian ancestors.”

The records have been published online by following a two year project to scan and transcribe the original records after the website was awarded a contract by Manchester City Council Libraries, Information and Archives.

Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council's executive member for culture and leisure said: "We are continually developing our library and archive services to make them much more accessible and easy to use. We're really excited to be working with to digitise these records so that they are easily available to everyone at the simple click of a button."

You can search the Manchester Collection now at

(With thanks to Amy at FindmyPast)


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Breaking of Britain site

A new medieval website has been launched which may be of interest. From the Breaking of Britain site at

The Breaking of Britain is a collaborative project, funded by the AHRC, between the University of Glasgow, Lancaster University, the University of Edinburgh, and King’s College London (including the Department of Digital Humanities). The project is concerned with the period which extends from the failure of Alexander II’s short-lived revival of a Scoto-Northumbrian realm in 1216–17 to the formal abolition of cross-border landholding by Robert I in November 1314, following his victory at Bannockburn.

The project builds on the work of another project funded by the AHRC, The Paradox of Medieval Scotland (PoMS), and will extend the PoMS database to 1314. It will also be linked to a new database, recording interactions between the Crown and people in the three northern counties of England from 1216 to 1307. The project will also study border chronicles as a source both for medieval perceptions of identity and fields of medieval historical interest.

(With thanks to the Guild of One Name Studies @guildonename)


Tayroots Genealogy Fair - report

I'm sitting here in Largs and the rain is tipping it down outside and it is very grey - a marked contrast from yesterday at Dundee's Tayroots Genealogy Fair!

I had arrived in Dundee on Friday night (after a brief stop in Perthshire to take some photographs for a book project) and made my way to Duntrune House ( to the north of the city, which sits on the boundary between Dundee City and Angus. The B&B is run by the absolutely brilliant Barry and Olwyn Jack, who are keen genealogists themselves, and I could honestly have stayed there for a week, if only to go through their book collection! Big open fires, beautiful rooms, and yes, this paragraph has just turned into an advert for them, because YOU HAVE TO GO AND STAY THERE! :)

After dinner at a local pub with Olwyn, Barry and another guest, I returned to the B&B and got talking to some of the guests about Irish research (they were all staying to pursue their genealogy interests), and for one guest I was able to quickly make a few discoveries for a line that she has been researching for 40 years, including the fact that one member of the family ended up living on Albert Road, Carrickfergus - part of my old newspaper round when I was a kid! Unbelievably, that is the second time this year that my paper round has featured in someone else's research (the other was in Toronto a few months back)! A small room, with four or five people interested in genealogy, a big open fire, and Wi-Fi access - perfect conditions for an impromptu and enjoyable genie session, and we didn't finish until just after 11pm. YOU HAVE TO GO AND STAY THERE (sorry, think I've done that bit!)

Yesterday then was the Tayroots Genealogy Fair ( at the Discovery Point, organised superbly by Sheila Faichney and her team, with many societies and vendors in attendance from the surrounding area. A very busy day. I had gone to give two talks, one a beginners' workshop on Scottish research, and the other a talk on the handloom weaving industry in Perth. This actually ended up as three talks as one of the other speakers was unable to attend at short notice, so I offered to plug the gap with a lecture on online Irish resources, which ended up packed - even if the Powerpoint I had was 6 months out of date! For those who attended, I suggested that links to the websites discussed in my talks were on my research service website: for the Scottish talk,, and for the Irish talk's links (the Irish page is considerably expanded, as these are the links for the hour and a half version that I do).

Rather brilliantly, at the end of the weavers talk a gentleman called Ron Scrimgeour approached me and told me that he was in fact the Deacon of the Dundee Weavers Incorporation - thankfully he gave the talk a big thumbs up, which was reassuring! Keeper of the Scottish Catholic Archives, Andrew Nicoll, was also there and gave a much appreciated talk on the archives, and in conversation with him during the day he told me that he is preparing two further books on Scottish Roman Catholic based family history research, following up on his recent publication listing the records available (see, so keep your eyes peeled!

I managed to catch up with many people there including Vivienne and Pat from the University of Dundee's archives service ( and huge thanks to both for the image permission - will be in touch!. I also met John Irvine from the Scottish Local History Forum ( and was so impressed with the group's periodical that I ended signing up as a member. The membership rate from October 2011-September 2012 is £20, and the group is organising a conference for Friday November 4th 2011 at Renfield Centre, Bath Street, Glasgow, the theme being Travellers, Turnpikes and Tar - further information is available on their website.

I caught up with Helen from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions (, who was having a busy day, and who is currently making her inscriptions data available down under through Gould Genealogy, which should hopefully be of interest to Ozzie readers! I also met up with genealogists Chris Halliday and Caroline Makein, and many others, including a Canadian lady who had previously been a Pharos student of mine!

After the main event, in the evening I had the great pleasure to be given a guided tour of the Howff Cemetery in Dundee by Karen Nichols of Scotia Heritage ( It was the first time I'd actually seen the place, and I was shown everything from the gravestones of the marmalade Keillors to the stones of the Nine Incorporated Trades! A fascinating visit, so many thanks Karen!

After a quick visit to the pakora bar just off the Nethergate (sorry, I AM human!), it was time to head home, and from this my final thanks to the makers of the new M74 to the south of Glasgow - honest, it makes a HUGE difference!

A great day out - thanks to all!

View from the lecture room - not bad really!

Karen Nichols at the Howff


Aberdeen & NE Scotland FHS - evening openings

Thanks to Susan Free on Google+ for news that the research centre of the Aberdeen and North-East Scotland Family History Society ( is to resume evening opening hours on Tuesdays from September 27th. The centre is located on King Street, Aberdeen, and is ordinarily open Mondays - Fridays,10 am - 4 pm. The evening opening hours will be 6pm - 9pm; the centre is also open Saturdays from 9 am - 1 pm.


RAF Polish & Czech airmen commemorated

The RAF Museum in London is hosting an exhibition from September 16th 2011 - March 4th 2012 entitled Brothers in Arms: Airmen of Poland and Czechoslovakia in the Battle of Britain & Beyond.

For further details visit

(With thanks to Paul Reed's WW2 Daily on


Genes Reunited war memorial competition

Genes Reunited ( has launched a competition for schools to create a war memorial commemorating those who fell in the First World War within the local community, essentially in the form of an individual or class project. The competition is open to both primary and secondary schools, and the winner will receive £500, 2nd place £250, and 3rd place £150.

Full details on the competition are available at - the winning entries will be announced on Remembrance Day.

Some additional key dates for the competition:

Registration complete: Noon on Monday 3 October.
Entries submitted: 9 am on Monday 31 October.


Manchester Central Library preview

There's a sneak preview of Manchester Central Library's £170 million revamp in the Manchester Evening News yesterday - see

The work should be completed by 2013.

In Search of an Axe Murderer...

I am currently putting the finishing touches to a book that I have written about the murder of one of my ancestors in Perthshire in 1866. As a part of that I made a location visit to the area where it happened on Friday, just to refresh some details in my mind, having not visited in a while. On this occasion, however, I learned for the first time that a house which I previously had thought destroyed was still able to be found, albeit in ruined form. The occupant of the house was James Crichton, who played a key part in the story. Never one to miss an opportunity, I had my video camera with me also, so recorded a short video diary within! Definitely an odd experience...

The Mount Stewart Murder will be released next year by The History Press - more details soon!


Northamptonshire's Wellingborough Museum under threat

Wellingborough Council is planning to slash the £26,000 annual budget for Wellingborough Museum to just £10,000. In addition to holding items of local interest, the facility also hosts 3000 reels for Northamptonshire Film Archive and the library of the Northamptonshire Family History Society. The museum has only one paid member of staff, Ian Nunney, its archaeologist, whose job is now believed to be under threat.


Reel Histories in Gwersyllt

The miners' story of Gwersyllt recently featured on Melvyn Bragg's Reel Histories, and is available to watch until next Tuesday - for more, visit


Welsh 1911 census on The Genealogist

From The Genealogist (

We have now added over 2.3 million records to our Diamond Premium subscription, releasing all 13 counties for Wales! These include:


The transcripts provide more detail than any previous census and the images on TheGenealogist are twice the resolution than have been available online before for 1911. The records have been integrated into our existing search tools, so you can access the transcripts using our House and Street search, Keyword Master search and Family Forename search.

We have also released the complete Huntingdonshire 1911 Census, with over 48,000 records.

We now have approximately 8 million 1911 records online.

Further images can also now be browsed:

Diamond subscribers can now search three quarters of the 1911 Census images online at TheGenealogist. These are indexed by County, Registration District and Sub District. You can then choose the ED (Enumeration District) number and the page you would like to look at. There is a step-by-step guide on how to use the 1911 Census image viewer within our research guide.

If you are unsure of the page or ED number, you can simply start at the beginning and work your way through the images. We have 49 out of the 62 counties available, with the rest to follow shortly.

(With thanks to S&N Genealogy Supplies)


Oxfordshire FHS Open Day

Oxfordshire Family History Society's 2011 Open Day will be held at The Marlborough School just outside Woodstock, from 10am to 4pm on October 1st. Admission is free.

From the society's site: "The Open Day will feature the usual assortment of visiting Societies, publishers, dealers in second hand books and postcards, and the like. Our own Society's range of transcripts and search services will be available for consultation, whilst we will also be manning a beginners' helpdesk. Additionally, there will be computing demonstrations, which will give advice on such things as which genealogical software package to choose, and the use of the internet in family history."

For more information visit


Friday, 23 September 2011

World War 2 SAS diary released

The SAS Regimental Association has released a World War 2 diary describing the activities of the service, established in 1941, for its 70th anniversary.

The BBC has the story, with a video taking a look at the document, at


War of 1812 US service records index

Family Search has added 622,984 images of records indexing the US volunteers who served in the War of 1812. Here's the description:

Name index to compiled military service records of volunteer soldiers who served in the War of 1812. The files are located in the National Archives in Washington D.C. This collection is a part of RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917 and is National Archive Microfilm Publication M602.

The collection is accessible, by browsing,at


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Berneray historical project

Hebrides News has an account of a historical project on Berneray entitled A' Tilleadh ar n-Eachdraidh Dhachaigh (Bringing Our History Home), now underway on the island to try to trace what became of many of the island's emigrants.

For the full story visit

(With thanks to project worker Peter Kerr, @direcleit on Twitter)