Archive for December, 2010

Internet Explorer 8 Bug

No_ieAre you having problems viewing web pages on this site or on other sites when using Internet Explorer 8? If so, you have hit the "Internet Explorer 8 display problem."

Luckily, Microsoft has produced an easy fix: click on the Compatibility Mode icon or read the explanation below.

A half dozen or so blog readers have reported that they cannot read this blog correctly online. I suspect there are more readers with the same problem. In every case, those who reported the problem were using Internet Explorer 8. We have a bit of advice for those readers: "Don’t use Internet Explorer 8!"

In fact, Microsoft won’t call it a bug but the company does admit that many sites that work perfectly in Internet Explorer 7 will not display properly in Internet Explorer 8, unless you use Microsoft’s "workaround." When Microsoft upgraded to Internet Explorer 8, they broke something that used to work properly in Internet Explorer 7. The same sites also will display properly in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and other web browsers.  If that’s not a bug, I don’t know what is.

ZDnet has compiled a list of 2,400 major web sites that cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer 8. You can see the list at (that list is old; more sites than that have since been discovered). Yet, every one of those sites displays properly in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and even in Internet Explorer 7.

Genealogists can appreciate that the giant web site of reports similar issues. Many of the pages on do not display properly when using Internet Explorer 8 but do display properly when using Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox. You can read more at

Luckily, Microsoft has produced an easy fix.

Compat_view Any time you find a web page that does not display properly in Internet Explorer 8, click on the "Compatibility Mode" icon. That is the icon just to the right of the address (URL) bar, just to the left of the refresh icon. The Compatibility Mode icon looks a bit like a page that has been torn in half. You can see an image of it to the right.

You can learn more on Microsoft’s web site at (click on "Compatibility View".)

You can also find a few thousand more reports of Internet Explorer 8’s compatibility problems at

Problems like this help explain why Internet Explorer’s market share has slowly eroded from over 90% to approximately 67%. I suggest you do what I did: switch to Firefox and get rid of the bugs.

Actually, Firefox isn’t perfect but it is a lot better than Internet Explorer 8. It works faster (and Chrome is even faster than Firefox), has fewer bugs and fewer security issues. You can obtain the free Firefox web browser at

Some people prefer the new Chrome web browser produced by Google. It has fewer features but is very secure and runs much faster than Internet Explorer and somewhat faster than Firefox. You can download the free Chrome web browser at

Our thanks to Dick Eastman for allowing us to reproduce this post

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The complete 1911 Census available now on Genes Reunited.

The Society of Genealogists has received the following press release.

Leading family history website has published online the complete 1911 census for England and Wales, allowing its members to view the original householder schedules for the first time.

The 1911 census records are the most detailed of any census it includes places of birth, details of siblings, occupations, how many children have been born to the marriage, how many still alive at the time of the census and how many had died. It even allows our members to view the actual handwriting of their ancestors and in full colour.

At it is possible to search the complete 1841-1911 censuses as well as other historical records such as birth, marriage, death and military records. The 1911 census Enumerator Summary Books have already been available since May 2010.  

Unlimited access to the 1911 census and all of the other records is included in a Platinum subscription, costing £64.95 for 6 months.  Alternatively you can view the 1911 census on a pay-per view basis.  It will cost 5 credits to view an individual transcription, 10 credits to view the household transcription and 30 credits to view the original household image (within these 30 credits you also get to view the Enumerator Summary Book).

Credits can be purchased at the following prices: £5.00 for 50 credits (credits will last for 30 days) or £17.95 for 200 credits (credits will last for 90 days)

Rhoda Breakell, Head of Genes Reunited, said: “We are extremely proud to be able to offer our members the complete 1911 census for England and Wales now.  People will find this an invaluable resource for tracing their ancestors and finding out more about their family history than they knew before.”

About Genes Reunited

Genes Reunited was launched in 2003 as a sister-site to the internet phenomenon Friends Reunited. Since then it has grown to become the UK’s largest genealogy website.

It marked a revolution in genealogy and ancestry by combining them with internet social-networking. Members are able to build their family tree by posting it on the site and investigating which ancestors they share with other members. They can also search historical records such as census, birth, marriage, death and military records.

Genes Reunited has over 11 million members and over 750 million names listed. One new name is added to the site every single second.

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Society of Genealogists’ Library partially closed due to power failure

Yet agan local intermittent power supply problems have resulted in power problems in the Society of Genealogists’ Library (Wednesday 8 December) This means that the Middle and Lower Libraries at the SoG currently have no lights or computers and are temporaily closed until further notice. If the situation cntinues the Society will close at 4pm.

The Society of Genealpgists is very sorry for the inconvenience caused and we hope the problem is rectified as soon as possible. Anyone travelling to the Society is recommended to telephone reception 020 7251 8799 to establish the latest situation as we know it.  (updated 13.00 pm Wednesday 8 December)

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Volunteering in a family history library

Many organisations are seeking volunteer help at present, and even the Government recognised the vital role that volunteers play when they launched their ‘Big Society’ campaign in June.

The Society of Genealogists is currently looking for volunteers who can come into their library in London to help scan some of their vast collection of family history  records. You would need to be able to visit the library on a regular basis (either a half day or whole day per week) to help operate the Society’s scanners. Full training will be given and although little technical knowledge is required a basic familiarity with computers would be an advantage. If you would like to help in this vital work please email the Head of Library Services on with details of when you would be available.

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PRONI online wills project shows how it should be done

Family Historians should be very impressed with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireleand’s (PRONI) project to provide and index and images of wills from 1858. It’s a model for others to follow and a very good reason for suggesting that the historic post 1858 probate records for England and Wales should not be under the jurisdiction of the Courts Service but rather transferred to an agency that knows how to look after and make accessible popular records used by genealogists. However given that there are over 20 million wills held by the Court service I guess it will be some time before these  are all made availeble online.

The PRONI website application provides a free fully searchable index to the will calendar entries for the three District Probate Registries of Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry, with the facility to view the entire will calendar entry for each successful search.  The database covers the period 1858-1919 and 1922-1943.  Part of 1921 has been added, with remaining entries for 1920-1921 to follow in the near future. 

Digitised images of entries from the copy will books covering the period 1858-1900 are now available online, allowing users to view the full content of a will.  93,388 will images are now available to view.

The Society of Genealogists’ online guide to using Probate Records is avilaible on the SoG webiste

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