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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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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Was your ancestor a railwaywoman?

Although the majority of people employed by the railways were men, a number of women were also to be found amongst their ranks.

Helena Wojtczak, in her book “Railwaywomen” (Hastings Press, 2005), tells the untold story of the British railwaywoman, charting her progress from exploited drudge in the 1830s to steam engine driver by the 21st century.

railwaywomen1 Was your ancestor a railwaywoman?

A copy of the book is held in the Society of Genealogists’s library in Clerkenwell and Society volunteer Frank Hardy has recently produced an index to all 2644 people mentioned in the text. This index has now been made available on the Members’ Area of the Society’s website where a free basic search can be made.

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Spotlight on the Kent Topographical Collection (30th September 2010)

Each Topographical Collection is unique and contains valuable and insightful information on local, social and family history dating as far back as the 17th century. The Kent Topographical Collection for the towns of ‘Seale’, ‘Tunbridge’ and ‘Southborough’ are particularly thrilling to look through due to the volume of original family history documents, all of which are in good condition. Click here to view a selection of original documents from this collection.

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Personal Notes of a Famous Ancestor (Treasures Tuesday 28th September 2010)

The Society’s extensive family history document collection contains a handwritten book of notes by the famous American physician, professor, lecturer, and author Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr in which he lists every book he read from 1881 – 1935 which includes law and medical books as well as famous novels such as ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Brontë. Click here to find out more about this and other Treasures of the Society.

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