Archive for 2010

Army Volunteers (Treasures of the Society 26/10/10)

The outbreak of hostilities with the French Republicans after the Revolution left Great Britain feeling unprepared for a possible invasion.

An act was passed limited to the duration of the war authorising the raising of Volunteer corps and companies for the defence of the counties, towns and coasts, or in case of necessity, for the general defence of the kingdom.

The Volunteer corps usually did not receive pay, instead benefiting from other perks, like free haircuts as shown by a barbers bill from 1799. Click here to find out more.

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My Ancestors were Gypsies

The Society of Genealogists has just published the fully revised third edition of My Ancestors were Gypsies by Sharon Sillers Floate.  Any family historian or researcher looking at Gypsy ancestors will regard this book as an essential guide to accessing and understanding records on the subject. My Ancestors were Gypsies is available from the Society of Genealogists bookshop, and online at, price £8.99.

Was your ancestor a Polish immigrant to England?

If so you may find him/her mentioned in the Polish collection held at the Society of Genealogists family history library in London. These records were compiled by Antoni and Stella Szachnowski, members of the Catholic Family History Society, and donated to the Society of Genealogists in November 1999.

An index to part of the collection is now available on the Members Area of the SoG website. The first section (Polish Subsistence) includes returns of Polish refugees receiving assistance from the Grant voted by Parliament between 1838 and 1841.

The second section (Polish genealogy) covers a diverse range of records listing Polish immigrants. These include entries from the registers of the Chapel of the Virgin Mary of Czestochowa, baptisms from St Peter Apostulate, Electoral rolls for St Pancras (1891), Lambeth (1891), St Marylebone (1892) and Westminster Borough (1908), plus entries from the1841 Census of Portsea in Hampshire, the Polish Refugee Hospital  and naturalisation records.

Two further boxes of correspondence and papers assembled by Mr and Mrs Szachnowski but not indexed on the Members’ Area can be found amongst the Society’s Special Collections.

To search the above records click here. To view the full details you will need to be a member of the Society of Genealogists.

Tim Lawrence (Head of Library Services)

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Civil Service Evidence of Age records unravel family history scandal (Treasures Tuesday 19/10/10)

The Civil Service Evidence of Age for established civil servants and civil service examination candidates were collected by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) from 1855 in order to establish accurate birth dates for the purpose of either ensuring that an examination candidate was of the required age, or granting a pension.

These records along with mostly original documentation can be found in the Society of Genealogists archives. A simple evidence of age request by the CSC reveals a mothers desperate attempt to hide a family secret that dates back to 1857. Click here to find out more about this and other Treasures of the Society.

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Genealogists Magazine now available to members online

The Society of Genealogists is delighted to announce that future issues of its highly respected journal The Genealogists’ Magazine will be made available to members online, as well as in printed form. Details of how to access them can be found below.

The journal, first published in 1925, carries a wide range of genealogical articles, as well as news of what is happening at the Society and new additions to its extensive family history library.

The journal is just one of the many benefits of being a member of the Society of Genealogists, others including free access to its library and discounts on its wide ranging programme of lectures and publications.

 If you are already a member you can login and view the current issue of the Genealogists’ Magazine (volume 30) here. Please note that you will have to login to the Members’ Area to view the Magazine. Details of how to do this can be found here.

Tim Lawrence, Head of Library Services

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