Jul 272014

The weather continues to be absolutely amazing with warm days and being summer the daylight starts early and finishes late so it is still light at 9.30 plus at night. Some of the locals have not been as impressed as the Australians aboard the Marco Polo as they are finding it a bit warm!

So after my success at the Highland Archives I went back to listen to Eileen O Duill on “Research in Ireland: Planning is the Key to Success”. A good talk on how to determine the origin of your ancestor from  the documents you already have in your possession and the types of document that will help. Without the place of origin it does become more difficult to research particularly if you have a common name to research.

Skara Brae

Day 4 we arrived at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands and I went on the Skara Brae excursion which also took in the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. These were all amazing and I strongly suggest looking at Google for information on Skara Brae to see the Neolithic homes.

Standing Stones of Stenness

After the tour it was back to the ship and the next sessions. today was Lisa Louise Cooke on “How the Genealogist can Remember Everything with Evernote” I was looking forward to this presentation as although I do have Evernote on my laptop and my iPad I still haven’t started to use it properly. Lisa made it make sense so now I have the impetus to get going with it.

I missed Paul Blake’s presentation on British Army Records 1660-1913 as it was on at the same time as Lisa’s. Then I was part of the Genealogy Software Panel where we had a Family Historian, Reunion, Family Tree Maker, Legacy, RootsMagic and The Master Genealogist presentations by Jackie Depelle, Mike Murray, Rosemary Kopittke and myself. The main aim was to show people a selection of what was available as no one program suits everybody and it helps people when they can hear about a program from someone who uses it. It went well. 

“Which family history program should I use?”  is a regular question I get asked and, at times, I think they think I am being difficult when I say “which program depends on the person, how they visualise things, what extras they want to do etc”.

I started with Personal Ancestral File (PAF) way back when I started then changed to Family Tree Maker when it was still a Banner Blue program because among other things it would print a chart with occupations and my partner had six generations of blacksmiths. I kept PAF on my computer as I really liked the cascading pedigree charts with the associated family group sheets. I stayed with FTM for a few years until The Master Genealogist was released then shifted to it (with all the interesting things that can happen with multiple shifts across programs) and have stayed with it as my primary program.

I currently have on my computer, The Master Genealogist as my prime program and Legacy, RootsMagic and Family Historian also for other features that I like and use occasionally.

Jul 272014

I am publishing these as internet allows so sorry for the delay.

Invergordon, Scotland was the port of call today for the 5th Unlock the Past cruise. The weather was absolutely beautiful with bright blue skies. 

There were a number of possible shore excursions including one to Loch Ness although seeing this sign at an Invergordon Tourist shop I was quite happy with my planned excursion to the Highland Archives in Inverness.

In my personal research I don’t have much in the way of Scottish research, my grandfather died there after a training accident in World War Two. I also have my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Hester Carter who died in Edinburgh in 1924. 

I only found her dying there as a result of my One Name study on Quested. I had done an extraction of Questeds from the Scottish indexes that i found her listed under her maiden name of Quested! I later found out that after her husband died she went up to Scotland to be near her son and also daughter who both ended up there. If Elizabeth had not been listed under her maiden name I probably would not have ever found her as I had no reason to look in Scotland and Carter is not the most uncommon name in the world!

Invergordon is a pretty town and they have done a lot to enhance its character with these bright paintings around the town.

Marie Dougan and Paul Blake were also among the group that decided to go to the highland Archives in Inverness and after initially deciding to go by train we ended up in a taxi and off we went!

After a scenic ride we got to the Archives after passing the best known second hand book shop in Scotland. Yes, I actually PASSED the bookshop and although had hoped to get there later ran out of time. 

Inside the Archives,  Chris Halliday kindly welcomed the group and the research began. My plan was to look at Scotlands People for the certificates I could not access online and I had a wonderful day extracting the data for 140 of the 148 certificates I had listed. So for 15 pounds for the day fee and 29 pounds photocopying and 20 pounds for the transport I received 140 certificates for my One Name Study! Fantastic value!

We stayed researching until closing time and then back to the ship satisfied for the day and ready to hear the next lectures.

The below shows the printed certificates (the policy here is to not allow you to use a USB to download digital copies so printing was the way to go) and I also had many for which I needed to do transcriptions.

Jul 222014

Rosemary Tithe Map UK Archive
After some room changes done just before the cruise began, the conference was underway with the first session today by Dr Lesley Silvester talking on the Mystery of the Standing Stones – Orkney, Lewis and Ireland followed by Government and Police Gazettes by Rosemary Kopittke  then a session talking about the Genealogist.

It is an interesting subscription site. I have been a member for a number of years and originally was very valuable to me because of their Non-Conformist record sets for which they had the exclusive licence for a number of years. This record set is now able to be seen among other providers now.

The Genealogist now has been working with the National Archives on a wonderful record set: the Tithe records. In 1836 England was mapped as part of the Tithe Commutation Act. Previous to this time one tenth of all produce was tithed.  This created a number of problems and it was decided to determine values of land and to have the tithes done in cash. Each landholder and tenant are listed, field by field. Maps were drawn (interestingly one of my Quested’s drew a number of the Tithe maps in Kent). These are large maps, this one that Rosemary is perusing is around seven plus foot square.

The Genealogist is also digitising these maps in colour and these will become available over the next twelve months.

Tithe Map
Then it was lunch time before we started the next sessions. Eileen O Duill gave a good talk on starting your Irish Genealogical research and looking at ways of determining the home place of your Irish immigrant. This is something you need to be able to research effectively especially if his name is Michael Murphy or James Ryan!

Then Lisa Louise Cooke gave a fabulous presentation on “How to Create Exciting Interactive Family History Tours with Google Earth”. You know how it often is when you mention anything to do with family history,  the relative gets either a glazed expression in the eyes or a panicked expression on their face. So finding a way to tell the story so they want to hear more is fantastic. The end result had everything , the old maps, the video, the photos, certificates and so much more but done in such a way that the recipient doesn’t realise it is the same documents you have been trying to show them all along. By making the tour interactive with items to click and see makes it in Lisa’s words “almost like playing a video game”. As every scientist/psychologist will tell you once people start interacting you definitely have their attention!Lisa

Then another break before Paul Blake took us through the joys of English probate research. Post 1858 there was the Central Probate registry which for the first time meant the Government took control of the proving of wills. prior to this time it was the various levels of Church courts and you needed to know which Church court covered which area and which level of court was likely to be used to be able to find the will. From 1792 to 1903 this was made a bit easier by the Death Duty registers which recorded the amount of money the Government was going to get, it also recorded other information which is of use to family historians. The indexes to the registers are available on Ancestry so well worth a look.

Marie Dougan then gave a presentation on “Families Moving Between Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales”. There were many reasons for this movement ranging from work to family to the lure of the cities etc. Work is a big reason and those of you with coal mining families will often find this movement occurring. The military, coastguards, government employees are all people who could end up moving around and then perhaps staying in an area far from home, even the agricultural labourer will often move from one employer to another from a hiring fair. I have a family who move along the Pennines from village to village with few of the 13 children being born  in the same parish. He was a mole catcher and moved as required. My coach builder in Kent did the same with the railways. The railways , of course allowed for easier movement as the 1800s progressed.

Then after another short break Mike Murray gave a fascinating presentation on “Crofts and Crofting – a unique way of life in the Highlands and Islands”. It is a very different way of life and I didn’t know a lot about it as not having any Scottish research of my own I had not delved before. Then the final presentation of the day was another look at a different way of life with Sean O Duill. His presentation was on Death and Burial Customs: Peasant Ireland in the 19th Century. Again a very different way of life.

Then off to dinner. It was a formal night in the main restaurant and I must admit that is not my scene so we went to dinner in the bistro which had a nice selection in a non-formal environment.


Jul 222014

5th UTP cruise start
  Saturday 19th,  7 hours 31 minutes and 38 seconds to go before the cruise begins. So today is the day we are heading off down the M25 then on the A13 to go to Tilbury Docks  to board  the Marco Polo for the UTP cruise. 
It was a gray day (a bit different to the bright sunshine and 30 degree+ temperatures we had had for the previous couple of days). It was interesting on the drive down to see the large wind turbines in use.
We arrived at the Tilbury Docks Terminal and waited for our meeting with the Cruise Director.
Photos group on the way

The plaque above was before you went into the cruise terminal and the map was inside. There was also this banner talking of the docking of the Empire Windrush in 1948. It was beautifully made. Don’t we look bright in our Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruising shirts?

The Team and the Banner

Then we went on board to have the meeting and see the set-up. Most of the other UTP cruise members were coming down by coach from Victoria and there was a hold-up with one coach which didn’t arrive until 4.30 or so.Registration

After the meeting it was time to set up for registration and to welcome the UTP cruise participants aboard. Interestingly being Australians we had to hand in our passports. Always a strange feeling giving over your passport to other people!

Then at around 5.00pm we had the mandatory Lifeboat drill. 

Not sure the life-jacket will catch on as a fashion statement.Then it was time for the Meet and Greet and then a quiet chat before dinner and bed.

Life jacket on

Jul 102014

I started writing this blog for my own personal satisfaction and as a way of sharing items I found interesting and to share information about my own family history journey.  Along the way it has been a tremendous amount of fun and I have met up with some relatives, which is always a bonus as well as making many friends.

It is hard to know at times who is reading the posts (as not many people comment) but apparently some people do indeed read them and consider them useful.

I am honoured to announce that this blog  has been selected for permanent preservation by the National Library of Australia in their Pandora web archive.

 So as their website explains:

The name, PANDORA, is an acronym that encapsulates their mission: Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia.

The PANDORA Archive is a selective collection of web publications and websites relating to Australia and Australians. It includes materials that document the cultural, social, political life and activities of the Australian community and intellectual and expressive activities of Australians.

I will be  good company as other blogs I know that have been archived are Judy Webster’s blog, Shauna Hick’s blog and also the First Families site.

The websites being archived cover a wide range of topics as can be seen below:

And a number of these topics can be broken down into further sub-topics.

Jul 012014

Looking at another treasure in large amount of papers I inherited from my Grandmother was this item. A programme for military exercises a few months prior to the start of World War Two.
I knew my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather were in the26th Battalion in the mid-1930s but having this gives more evidence that one of them was still there in the 26th in the late 1930s.

Programme Inside

So I thought I’d go hunting in our favourite place for further information Trove and this is just one of the articles I found.