Archive for July, 2010

Treasures Tuesday (13th July 2010) Family Bibles

This weeks Treasures Tuesday focuses on Family Bibles. The family Bible was used to record family births, marriages and deaths and so can be an invaluable tool for genealogy research. Click here to learn more.

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Abney Park Well not quite – but………………..

According to an article in the Daily Telegraph “Belgian undertakers have drawn up plans to dissolve the corpses of the dead in caustic solutions and flush them into the sewage system”

Legislation has already been passed in six States in America to allow this process to go ahead but in Belgium they want to go one step further and flush the remains into the sewage system.

These proposals are currently being studied by the European Union and if approved could be used anywhere in Europe.

Although we think otherwise, the dearly departed have always been treated in a very callous way. one only has to read George Walker’s “Gatherings from Graveyards” to understand  the gruesome burial practices in London in the 18th & 19th Century. The Cholera epidemics of the 19th Century woke the populace up to the idea that the dead and the living don’t mix well together and led to the growth of cemeteries. These of course have in many cases been left to rack and ruin such as Abney Park in London where in many cases gravestones are so overgrown that it would be impossible to find an ancestor without a full blown jungle expedition! (Warning – do not visit Abney Park on your own – there are a lot of “strange” living people in the undergrowth)

This century brought the Crematorium with the 30 minute (if you are lucky) service – with in many cases their rank commercialism (move along time for the next ceremony) – Want to remember your loved ones? – £300 for a ten year lease on a plaque…

So now we move on to become total waste material. I have heard it said that “in every glass of water we drink a molecule of Oliver Cromwell’s pee” so soon it will  be a pot pourri of everybody…

Click here to read the full article from the Daily Telegraph

What do you say? Please leave your comments

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New Family Relatives Navy Dataset available free at Society of Genealogists

Family Relatives tell us they just digitised the most comprehensive online collection of Royal Navy Lists  covering intermittent years from 1847- 49, 1882 and 1913-1945.

More than 2 million names are included in the Lists which date from the mid – 19th Century (or the Eleventh Period in Navy History) when Britain was involved in a number of conflicts.  Regular readers at the SoG will be familiar with the Navy Lists of Officers as the Society’s run of these books goes back to 1756. These records of commissioned officers of the Royal Navy dating back 163 years have been published online for the first time by

The Royal Navy has played a central role in Britain ’s history for centuries. It is the oldest of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and is the Senior of the three Services. Founded by Henry VIII a professional and national naval force was in existence when King Charles II came to the throne in 1660.  At the time he inherited a huge fleet of 154 ships and it was the beginning of the Royal Navy as we know it today.

British ships and sailors were symbols of the nation’s dominance until the 20th Century but this dominance was driven not only by great naval supremacy and naval leaders but by Britain ’s industrial advance and technology which helped to shape the future of warfare. From the beginning of the 19th century until well into the 20th century it was the most powerful navy in the world at a time when Great Britain was the world’s only superpower.

The Navy List runs like a catalogue of history – The Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, the occupation of Beijing and Egypt all of which involved the supply of troops and the protection of troop transports and much later conflicts such as the Boer War and the forcing of the Dardanelles in the First World War.

The Navy Lists contain the details of all Royal Navy and Royal Marine commissioned officers on the Active List of those serving at the time of publication. It was said that every Captain in the Navy had a copy of the list as he was always anxious to know the exact status and seniority of other officers he met.

The information covers every aspect of both Royal Navy and Royal Marine officers whether Active, Retired or on the Reserve Lists, from the date they entered the Service. The List of appointments range from navy and marine cadets to Admirals of the Fleet. Masters and Commanders are featured alongside Physicians, Paymasters and even wounded officers. There is even a section on officers dress regulations, awards and decorations. An important part of the records is the Lists of Ships in the Navy with their Commanders and Officers names as well as Commissioned Packet Ships and Revenue Vessels, together with captured prize ships and their bounties.

For example the 1934 List of Ships and Vessels includes Submarines of the Royal Navy, also the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy arranged in their various classes, their Officers and present Stations. The lists also include RAF Units for Naval Cooperation which was extensive at the time.

The following detailed information is also disclosed:

The type of ship and where deployed, the Displacement Tonnage, the indicated horse power or shaft horse power and the main armament.  (This excludes field guns and machine guns used by the navy as an auxiliary land force as in the siege of Ladysmith).

The Name and first names of Officers is shown with an initial denoting his qualification for duties i.e. G for Gunnery duties, T for Torpedo duties, N for Navigating duties, S for Signalling Duties, W/T for Wireless Telegraphy duties, or I paid as an Interpreter. The dates shown are the dates of first appointment to a ship and where two dates are shown for a Marine Officer, the date in brackets indicates when his current sea time commenced.


An example of the search results screen for the Navy List search on Family Relatives can be seen below

Family Relatives Navy List search 1934

Family Relatives is one of the free genealogy websites available in the Society’s Library

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Treasures Tuesday (6th July 2010) Marriage Licences

This weeks Treasures Tuesday looks at the Society’s extensive collection of Marriage Licences and demonstrates how these simple documents can be extremely revealing. Click here to find out more about this and other family history documents.

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