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.
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!
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.