Archive for 2011


Family Historians to be Ambassadors for 2011 Census

 

It’s countdown to census time and  family historians will no doubt have noticed that the 2011 census team has been engaging with the genealogy community since last autumn  through a family history area on the website  www.census.gov.uk/2011familyhistory

Family historians  are invited to share their stories of how they have used the historic censuses in their research and post the stories on the census website. These stories have provided some of the most engaging content on the site. The census team has also created a fan  page on Facebook www.facebook.com/2011censusfamilyhistory  for members of the of the public to share their stories, tips and hints and tell how the’ ve  used the census to find people from their past. The Facebook fanpage also links back to the Societ y of Genealogists Facebook fanpage so why not visit both? if you “like” them then you can follow news and updates about the census leading up to census night and, of course, hear what’s going on at the  SoG.

The 2011 census website also includes tips on the census pages about tracing your family history and how the historic censuses can help. There is also a very useful free information leaflet on on the Society of Genealogists Website  which will help you use the census records of England and Wales in your family history research

With census well and truly in our minds and the scehdules falling through our front door, more and more people are  now signing up to the 2011 census Facebookpage and web pages. Will the 2011 census be of help to family historians in one hundred years? It’s up to the family history census ambassadors to ensure it is as complete a record as it can possibly be.

Ancestry.co.uk ‘branches’ into living relatives

The Society of Genealogists has received the following family history news update from Ancestry:

Ancestry.co.uk, has enhanced its product range by adding Living Relative Search - a service new by PeopleTracer to help Ancestry members locate living UK-based relatives.

Peopletracer is a newly formed people-tracing company from one of the UK’s leading data specialists, Tracesmart. Its founders have more than ten years’ tracing experience locating thousands of people.

In addition to building their family trees and searching 870 million UK historical family history records, Ancestry.co.uk members can now also trace lost or just discovered living relatives

Living Relative Search is a fast and convenient way of finding living relatives living in the UK. To start the search, members just need to type in the name of the family member and click ‘search’. A more refined search can also be conducted by entering the relative’s last known location or exact address.

The data is sourced from the Edited Electoral Rolls, 2003-2011, telephone directory records, land registry records and Google maps, and is regularly updated to ensure that the most accurate search is always being carried out.

Angela Wiseman from Ancestry.co.uk comments: “Increasingly, we hear stories of our members finding, or wanting to find, recently discovered relatives, so we’re very excited about providing them with the necessary tools to make connections with living family members as well as their ancestors.”

Mike Trezise from Peopletracer comments: “Working with an established brand is very exciting and will hopefully help a significant number of people connect with lost relatives.”

Click here to start tracing your lost relatives now.

 

 

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Findmypast (sponsors of the Society of Genealogists’ centenary year and host of some 9 million names from the SoG online Library Collections)  have had a busy time recently. The Society has received the following update of new ventures and online family history records relating to the British in India.

Selections from the India Office Records and a century of electoral registers will be made online

The British Library and family history website www.findmypast.co.uk are to digitise a treasure trove of family history resources held by the Library, making them available online and fully searchable for the first time.

The project will involve the scanning of UK electoral registers covering the century that followed the Reform Act of 1832, along with records of baptisms, marriages and burials drawn from the archives of the India Office. When available online, these collections will enable historians, genealogists and family history researchers to make connections and track down details of ancestors and others at the click of a mouse – work that would previously have necessitated visits to the Library’s Reading Rooms and many hours of laborious manual searching.

The British Library holds the national collection of electoral registers covering the whole of the United Kingdom.  The registers contain a vast range of names, addresses and other genealogical information.
“Digitisation of the electoral registers will transform the work of people wishing to use them for family history research,” said Jennie Grimshaw, the Library’s curator for Social Policy and Official Publications. “Printed electoral registers are arranged by polling district within constituency and names are not indexed, so the process of finding an address to confirm names of residents is currently incredibly laborious. Digitisation represents a huge breakthrough as users will be able to search for names and addresses, thereby pinpointing the individuals and ancestors they’re looking for.”  
The other holdings included in the large-scale digitisation are drawn from the archives of the East India Company and the India Office. These records relate to Britons living and working in the Indian sub-continent during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, up to Independence in 1948. They include over 1,000 volumes of ecclesiastical returns of births, marriages and burials, together with applications for civil and military service, and details of pension payments to individuals.

Antonia Moon, curator of post-1858 India Office Records said, “These records are an outstanding resource for researchers whose ancestors had connections with British India, whether as servants of the administration or as private inhabitants.”
The partnership between the British Library and findmypast.co.uk followed a competitive tender process and will see five million pages of UK electoral registers and India Office records digitised over the next year. The resources will become available via findmypast.co.uk and in the British Library’s Reading Rooms from early 2012; online access will be available to findmypast.co.uk subscribers and pay-as-you-go customers – access to users in the British Library Reading Rooms will be free.

Simon Bell, the British Library’s Head of Licensing and Product Development, said: “We are delighted to announce this exciting new partnership between the British Library and findmypast.co.uk, which will deliver an online and fully searchable resource that will prove immensely valuable to family history researchers in unlocking a treasure trove of content that up to now has only been available either on microfilm or within the pages of bound volumes. The Library will receive copies of the digitised images created for this project, so as well as transforming access for current researchers, we will also retain digital versions of these collections in perpetuity, for the benefit of future researchers.”

Elaine Collins, Commercial Director at findmypast.co.uk, said: “We’re very excited to be involved with this fascinating project. The electoral rolls are the great missing link for family historians: after censuses and civil registration indexes, they provide the widest coverage of the whole population. To have Irish and Scottish records alongside England and Wales is also a huge advantage. These records will join the 1911 Census, Chelsea Pensioner Service Records and many more datasets available online at findmypast.co.uk, which enable people to make fantastic discoveries day after day.”

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The Society of Genealogists 1911-2011: A century of family history

 After some three years of wBookcopverppt thumb The Society of Genealogists 1911 2011: A century of family historyork the Society of Genealogists is delighted to publish its history.  From the very beginning it was hoped that the work would reflect not only the history of the Society of Genealogists over the last century as seen by the personal recollections of the various authors, but also the community in which the Society found itself; social and genealogical. The Society has been at the forefront of changing family history in the United Kingdom. It has been a vocal advocate of the family historian and has pioneered a very democratic revolution in the study of ancestry. Everyone has roots and it became the Society’s ambition that everyone has the same opportunity and ability to discover their ancestors.

At the time of the Society of Genealogists’ foundation J. Horace Round had just published his masterly work Peerage and Pedigree: Studies in Peerage Law and Family History (1910) and would shortly finish his work on The King’s Serjeants and Officers of State, with their Coronation Services (1911). The series of genealogical pocket guides written by Charles Bernau included a small volume entitled Some Special Studies in Genealogy, published in 1908, in which the chapter on poor law records is called The Genealogy of the Submerged. This was the genealogical world into which the Society of Genealogists was born. But, by championing the genealogy of the common man and fighting for the preservation of and access to records that included everyone, the Society has overseen a century in which millions now enjoy tracing their family history. The Google Generation of armchair genealogists may be surprised at what their predecessors managed to achieve before the computer age.

This history gives an account of the Society’s campaigns written by Else Churchill. Michael Sharp assesses the influence of the media on family history. It contains personal memories of former chairmen and members who remember with affection monumental decisions as well as the little everyday struggles. Nicholas Newington-Irving tells tales from the members’ room. Peter Spufford relates the inside story of a group of “young Turks” who took the Society by the scruff of the neck in the middle of the century and changed its whole outlook. Sue Gibbons covers the people and the collections that are the backbone of the Society’s remarkable library and many of the Library’s treasures are shown for the first time in colour illustrations. Our Chief Executive, June Perrin tells of the period of change in the last ten years. The book explains the background to the foundation of the Society in 1911. The gripping tale of how the Heralds tried to contain what they saw as the threat from the “irresponsible” new Society of Genealogists is outlined for the first time by Patric Dickinson. Of course any genealogical book needs names and there are indexed lists of Officers, Senior Staff, Trustees, Fellows and Founding Members along with an up to date list of all the obituaries covered in the Genealogists’ Magazine.

Naturally, the editors of the work are immensely grateful to contributors for their individual chapters. They did indeed volunteer to celebrate the achievements of the Society and this history is the story they wanted to tell. However, it must also be said that the book could not have been made without the considerable effort of the designers Graham Collet and Sybil Spence and the photographs of many of the SoG treasures taken by Ed Templeman. If, in the rush to print we didn’t thank them formally, then I must take this opportunity to do so now. It was great fun exploring the history of the Society of Genealogists and the people who influenced the century of family history. Many care passionately about the Society. I’m grateful to Roy Stockdill for his editorial guidance and sub-editing. It was a delight to check facts with Nicholas Newington Irving, though some still eluded us till the bitter end and if we have missed more than I apologise.  I still wish we knew the names of the two lady typists who were engaged in the 1920s to create the Apprentices of Great Britain index. Any errors, omissions or oversights will no doubt be brought to our attention. I leave it to others to review. However in working on the book we became immensely proud of the Society of Genealogists and look forward to the next century of family history.

The Society of Genealogists 1911-2011: A century of family history, 2011, 216pp is published by the Society and available from our bookshop at £25 (£22.50 for members). It may be possible to arrange for a special hard-bound presentation copy to be ordered according to demand. If anyone is interested in this then they should contact the bookshop on sales@sog.org.uk

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The Society of Genealogists again celebrated a successful weekend at Olympia as Who Do You Think You Are? Live reached its fifth year. 

The Society’s centenary celebrations were launched in style at a reception hosted by the Society’s centenary sponsors findmypast.co.uk and we were delighted that our new book The Society of Genealogists: A Hundred Years of Family History arrived just in time to take to the show. An interview with Debra Chatfield from FMP talking  to Chris Paton about the Society of Genealogists Data online is available on Youtube

As usual the membership team and volunteers manned the SoG’s stand (newly designed for this year) to sign up new members and tell everyone about the Society. I don’t think we broke last year’s record for sign ups but we came pretty close which, considering the economy, was a considerable achievement. So a big thank-you to all at the stand and of course to those who were kept busy selling on the bookstall. The new titles (the SoG History and Jayne Shrimpton’s Getting the Most from Family Pictures) seemed to be well appreciated and sold well. I hear SoG Librarian Tim Lawrence was quietly pleased with the quality of books available on his second hand books stall and he and his team raised a nice sum for the Library.

Away from the SoG stand the new space for the Society’s Ask the Experts Area in the upper gallery was well appreciated. We managed the queues well and helped as many people as ever before. Every time I rushed by I saw a huge numbers at the tables with all our expert volunteers so thanks to everyone who helped Lori and her team in that area. However, I do hope we can arrange for that big new space to be a little warmer next year.

The SoG workshops were well attended with many selling out and lots of people standing outside listening in. Some of the handouts and slides from the speakers at WDYTYA?Live 2011 are available on the Family History Show Pages of the Society of Genealogists’ website

Spreading the workshops out in the Upper Gallery was good for the audience and speakers but did mean I had to sprint from one to the other during the handover breaks between talks to thank all my speakers and make sure everyone was happy. I think they were and as usual all the talks were of an excellent quality. I am particularly grateful to the overseas speakers from New Zealand, Israel and America who travelled to take part and it was great to meet so many eminently knowledgeable speakers. However if you missed me in the blur as I strode purposefully past you know where I was heading.

The Society of Genealogists’ Family History show remains an integral part of WDYTYA?Live and the stall holders seemed as busy as ever. It struck me that a few voices disappeared as the stall holders talked to thousands of visitors. We were delighted to see the return of some societies who haven’t been able to attend in past years.

So what news did we hear at the show? Brand Events,who organised the event for the last 5 years, has sold its major share of the show to BBC Magazines Bristol who will be managing the event from now on and who have lots of new plans to take the event further. I didn’t have time to enquire on what’s new on all the stands so I am grateful to fellow bloggers and inveterate news hounds Dick Eastman and Chris Paton for posting show news round ups so early. The British Library announced its digitisation of the India Collections. The Genealogists is adding war memorials and Deceased Online has added Scottish MIs. Findmypast will be adding transcriptions of Scottish census records only. The trends for the future look to be technology and its potential for enhancing the family history experience so look out for new workshop content and more social network elements for next year’s WDYTYA?Live 2012. See you there.

 We will be posting some of our own pictures  from the show in due course but here are a few pictures taken by our friend Chris Paton and Pictures from Dick Eastman posted on their blogs

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