Family History Skills Courses at the Society of Genealogists

Else Churchill, the genealogy professional at the Society of Genealogists explains the content of the three family history skills courses taught at the Society. There are three courses of interest to family historians ranging from the very basics of where to start and up to how DNA can help in genealogy. These courses can be booked at our website www.sog.org.uk and the very latest in family history happenings can be found on our blog at www.societyofgenealogists.com

Why Become a Member of The Society Of Genealogists

A member of the Society of Genealogists explains to the Genealogy Officer why he joined the Society and how it has benefited him whilst researching his family history. They discuss the benefits of joining the Society of Genealogists and how it can be of use to anyone reseaching family history and genealogy in England, Scotland and Wales. See www.sog.org.uk for further details or the family history blog at www.societyofgenealogists.com

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National Library of Ireland Launches New Sources Online Directory

The National Library of Ireland’s has launched a new digital directory of Irish studies called Sources

The National Library of Ireland’s new digital directory of Irish studies  means researchers can now retrieve any one of up to 196,574 catalogue records of materials housed in the National Library of Ireland or in universities and research institutions around the world. Subjects covered in the materials range from art, architecture and archaeology through economics and genealogy to history, politics, literature, science and zoology. This is a first class resource for genealogists looking for the records of landowners and estates in Ireland where our ancestors may have been tenants.

As a result of being able to source this information on line, the initial research period is now reduced from at least several days to just a few minutes.

The ‘Sources’ digital directory pinpoints exactly what Irish interest material is held where – information which previously could only be accessed by consulting the bulky printed catalogues in either the National Library of Ireland in Dublin or one of a limited number of university libraries or major research institutions holding the complete set of printed records. With the click of a mouse anyone can now access the Sources database via a PC and can start the process of researching what material exists on a particular topic, and in what library or institution around the world that material is held.

For the first time, it will be possible to search the manuscript and periodicals records together. As a result, someone doing research on their local area might find information about manuscript maps, estate papers and business records for local shopkeepers, as well as details for articles in local history journals. Once the records are found, the information can be easily emailed or shared to bookmarking and social networking sites such as Delicious and Twitter. Other features of ‘Sources’ include an interactive map showing the location of all the archives and libraries around the world where the Irish material listed is stored. Full contact details for each outlet are also provided.

The current process of digitising the original ‘Hayes Sources’ data represents an investment of several years’ work by the National Library of Ireland. Commenting on the launch, Aongus Ó hAonghusa, Director, National Library of Ireland noted:

“For decades, the original Manuscripts Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation, or ‘Hayes Sources’ as it is more commonly known, proved to be a tried and trusted resource for researchers in any and all fields of study relating to Ireland and its people, at home and abroad.

“Now, it has been given a new life, and a slightly less unwieldy name, in an online arena. The unprecedented opportunity it will provide for current and future generations of researchers worldwide to find Irish source material from their desktops, wherever they may be, would surely have pleased Richard Hayes and his dedicated team who first embarked on this mammoth indexing task almost 70 years ago.”  Hayes work was originally pubished as  Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation and Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation: Articles in Irish Periodicals. The original hard copy of Manuscript Sources was contained in 11 volumes produced in 1965, with a further three volumes produced in a supplement in 1975. That project created a portal to a vast amount of manuscripts housed in repositories in Ireland and elsewhere. Periodicals Sources was published in nine volumes in 1970 and includes bibliographic references to articles appearing in some 157 publications, the earliest of these commencing in 1785.

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New Online Resources from TNA Available Free at the SoG

In this week of Remembrance The National Archives have published  datasets for RAF Officers and Soldiers of the First World War. Both these datasets can be viewed free of charge on the Society of Genealogists Library.


 
The National Archives has made 99,000 RAF officers’ service records available online through its Documents Online pay per view service for the first time. These records are easily searchable by first name, last name and date of birth, and were previously only accessible to visitors at the Kew site. The courageous aviators of the early Royal Air Force (RAF) played a crucial role in Britain’s victory in the First World War. Among the service records available are some of the country’s most celebrated and famous pilots – known as ‘Aces’ for having shot down five or more enemy aircraft. Documents Online is available free of charge at the SoG Library

In addition and in partnership with The National Archives, Ancestry.co.uk has now made available online the entire collection of British Army World War One Service Records, 1914-1920, detailing the full military careers of more than two million soldiers who served during World War One. Ancesry.co.uk is available free of charge at the SoG library

Service records contain a variety of information concerning all aspects of the army careers of those who completed their duty were killed in action or executed. They include the soldier’s name, date and place of birth, address, next-of-kin, former occupation, marital status, medical records, service history, regiment number, locations of service and discharge papers.

The files were chosen for digitisation because they are one of the most popular resources accessed at The National Archives and, prior to now, only available in microfilm format. Digitising the microfilm records makes these valuable records easier to search and more accessible to a wider audience.

Approximately 60 per cent of the paper originals of the service records were destroyed by fire when the War Office (in London) was struck by a bomb in 1940 during an air raid. The surviving 32.5 million records became known as the ‘Burnt Documents’.

Together, the service and pension records form the definitive source of information in existence on more than three million ordinary soldiers who fought in the British Army during World War One. The sheer volume of material has meant that the collection has been digitised in stages. The final tranche of digitised files comprised of those records from O to Z.  The process has taken three years to complete.

Among the surviving service records are those of a number of both brave soldiers and celebrities, including :

Basil Rathbone – the British actor, best known for the portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in 14 movies between 1939 and 1946, enlisted in the London Scottish Regiment in 1916. The discharge papers within his service record describe his eyes and hair as ‘dark’ and his complexion as ‘fresh’.

George Peachment – George’s service record reveals he was awarded the Victoria Cross – an accolade he received for his bravery in saving the life of an officer near Hulluch, France, where he was later killed in action. His record also features a letter from his mother requesting his personal effects after his death and a journalist requesting a photograph of him.

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325,499 names in 163 Data Sets available online in the SoG Members’ Area

 

The Society of Genealogists is happy to announce that there are now some 325,499 names in 163 Data Sets available for Members of the Society to search in the SoG Members’ Area  of the Society of Genealogists Website. For the first time the Society is now able to make its prestigious journal  the Genealogists’ Magazine available online as these Data Sets include PDFs of the first 4 volumes from 1925 and the contemporary indexes.


 

Further information about the contents of each of the datasets can be found on the  SoG Website 

Non-members may search the  indexes for free but full entries are only available to SoG members

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