General

Posts about genealogy research and my experiences

Summer recess is over

Hello – I’ve taken a break from blogging over the summer.

It has allowed me time to do some research for other people which I really enjoy. Also me and Mrs D have taken up “hiking” or really just strolling gently on a Sunday around our lovely Yorkshire countryside – this has stopped me becoming almost permanently attached to my computer.

I now need to re-connect with some relatives who have contacted me through my blog over the last year. I discovered new relatives in Yorkshire and in Australia.

Anyway please look out for new posts coming soon and thanks for taking time to read my blog and for your comments.

World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day so I thought I would share  two poems for all my fellow genealogists.

Your Ancestors

If you could see your ancestors all standing in a row,
Would you be proud of them?  Or don’t you really know?
Strange discoveries are often made, in climbing the family tree.
Sometimes one is found in line who shocks the progeny.

If you could see your ancestors all standing in a row,
Perhaps there might be one or two you wouldn’t care to know.
Now turn the question right about and take another view.
When you shall meet your ancestors, will they be proud of you?

Author Unknown

Dear Ancestor

Your tombstone stands among the rest; neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiseled out on polished, marble stone.
It reaches out to all who care; it is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist; you died and I was born.

Yet each of us are cells of you in flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled one hundred years ago.
Spreads out among the ones you left who would have loved you so.

I wonder as you lived and loved, I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot, and come to visit you.

Author Unknown

CWGC Website

I have just visited the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website for the first time since it’s relaunch on 19 January.

I must say that I am really impressed both with the look and feel of the site.  It has certainly been brought ‘up to date’ with a much more modern style.

All the same information is there but is presented more clearly and I found it easier to navigate around the pages.

If you haven’t been on yet go and have a look.  What do you think about it?

I’ve been away – but now I’m back

I’ve been missing from the blogging world for a few weeks but now I’m back.

At the beginning of September we had a family illness to deal with and things now look a lot better than they did nine weeks ago.  So my focus has been somewhere else for a while.

However I haven’t been neglecting my family history research completely.  I have been a subscriber to Ancestry for a long time but was becoming frustrated with not being able to find some entries in the 1901 census that I knew should be there.  No matter what search criteria I used I couldn’t find any entries for my Dawson relatives in the village of Steeton with Eastburn, near Keighley, West Yorkshire.  In fact I couldn’t find any entries at all for Steeton with Eastburn.

So I decided to buy a subscription to Find My Past.  There were two reasons for this.  One was to see if I had any better luck trying to find people living in Steeton with Eastburn.  Second it gave me access to the 1911 census – I had been paying separately for this on the 1911 Census website and this was becoming expensive.

I was immediately rewarded.  There it was – Steeton with Eastburn did exist in 1901 and there was a census!!  I was able to fill in quite a few gaps in my information.

It seems that this whole village is missing from Ancestry.

I was then eager to start updating as much of my tree as I could with the 1911 census information.  So over the past few weeks I have been trying to go through the primary names in my ancestry and systematically add the 1911 information and search for subsequent births, marriages and deaths.  This work is ongoing.

I have to say that I was really excited at the prospect of using a new set of records from Find My Past.  However I was also quite disappointed with the quality of some of the census transcriptions that I came across.  I duly submitted corrections and they were quick to deal with these.

Don’t get me wrong here – I know how difficult it is to accurately transcribe handwriting especially if the document is not very clear and the location names are not known to the transciber.  I discovered just how hard it was when I started transcribing for Family Search.  But sometimes the correct information just seems so obvious.  Anyway that’s my little rant out of the way.

As a result of all this my attention has been diverted from blogging – but I have kept up to date with some of my favourite bloggers and am glad to be back with you.

WDYTYA (UK) – June Brown

I settled down last night anticipating an interesting story and hearing about June’s “journey”.

Well, I must admit to being bored after about half an hour.  So much so that I stopped watching and started working on the laptop only keeping one ear on the TV.

It seemed that June had already done quite a bit of research or had a good knowledge of her more immediate ancesors.  Especially her 3x great grandfather Isaac Bitton the bare knuckle fighter.  I felt that there was too much time spent on this part of the story.

It was really quite amazing though that with the help of historical documents June was able to go as far back as her 6x great grandfather in Oran, North Africa – now modern day Algeria.

So in short it was quite interesting in parts but I wasn’t gripped by the story.

Who Do You Think You Are?

The new series of Who Do You Think You Are? will be starting on the BBC in August.

As ever I am looking forward to this great series and hearing about the lives of the ancestors of ten more “famous” people.  Look out for stories about:-

Richard Madeley – TV personality, columnist and presenter

Tracey Emin – artist

June Brown – actress

JK Rowling – author

Alan Carr – comedian and presenter

Emilia Fox – actress

Len Goodman – dance judge, coach and professional ballroom dancer

Larry Lamb – actor

Sebastian Coe – former athlete and politician

Robin Gibb – singer and songwriter

Should be another great series.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Songs

This is the 26th challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 26 – Songs.

The No.1 song here in the UK when I was born was Frankie Laine singing “I Believe”.  In the USA the No.1 song was “The Doggie in The Window” by Patti Page.

Neither of them are in my record / CD collection.

The first singles I remember buying were The Beatles “I Feel Fine” / “She’s A Woman” and Brian Poole & The Tremeloes “The Three Bells”.

So from the early sixties I started taking an interest in music.  In my teenage years  I didn’t have a particularly favourite band although I bought quite a few records by the Bee Gees so their songs feature among my favourites of the time.

My interest in listening to music has continued to this day and my CD collection is really quite eclectic.  However for the last eighteen years or so our house has been dominated by the music and songs of The Boss – Bruce Springsteen.

That obsession with The Boss has also influenced other music we buy and listen to.  Sometimes it’s because Bruce has mentioned them as someone he likes; sometimes it’s an artist who he has played with Bruce in the early days (and even now);  and if does a guest spot on someone’s album then we would buy that.

I know that some people have songs that evoke particular memories for them – that isn’t the case for me.  For example Jayne and I didn’t have a special song that we danced to when we got married – that’s probably because we didn’t have a dance when we got married – hmm.

I also listen to songs differently to Jayne.  She focuses on the lyrics whereas for me it’s the melody that grabs me.

I really can’t imagine not being able to listen to music.  If I had to choose between getting rid of the TV or CD player then it would definitely be the TV.

The way we buy songs in our house hasn’t changed over the years.  We don’t download very many songs at all.  We like to go to the music store and browse the CD’s.  For us having the physical CD is part of the attraction.  Jayne avidly reads the lyrics and all the other words – the thanks, the production info and who the other musicians were.

So to round off the post here’s a list of my top 20 songs (in no particular order)

Song Artist
Something In The Air Thunderclap Newman
I’ve Gotta Get A Message to You Bee Gees
Days The Kinks
Back In Your Arms Bruce Springsteen
He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother The Hollies
From The Underworld The Herd
Please Stay Warren Zevon
Atlantic City Bruce Springsteen
Farewell Is A Lonely Sound Jimmy Ruffin
All The Way Home Southside Johnny
Lady Of The Night Donna Summer
Desperado The Eagles
The Rising Bruce Springsteen
Saved By The Bell Robin Gibb
When A Man Loves A Woman Percy Sledge
Keep Me In Your Heart Warren Zevon
Drive All Night Bruce Springsteen
Wild Horses Rolling Stones
I’d Rather Go Blind Fleetwood Mac
Crimson and Clover Tommy James and The Shondells

Now if I did this list again next week it may well be different – I can already think of other songs that I would put in – maybe it should be a top 50…100…150.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Books

This is the 23rd challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 23 – Books.

I wasn’t a child who read much – but that has changed since growing up.

Of course like many children of my generation I recall reading Enid Blyton.  I was a Secret Seven reader.

I also remember reading Animal Farm (George Orwell), The Day of The Triffids (John Wyndham) and The Catcher in The Rye (J D Sallinger).  I know that I must have read more than that because I have memories of going to the local library and borrowing books but there is nothing else that has really stuck in my mind.

Since becoming an adult I now read regularly – especially crime fiction.  My list of favourite authors include John Grisham, Mark Billingham, Peter Robinson, Lee Child, Michael Connelly and David Baldacci.

Both me and my wife (Jayne) were sucked in to the Harry Potter phenomenon and have read them all.

The bookshelves at home include quite a number of non-fiction which tend to be political or sports biographies – many of which remain unread, although I have good intentions.