Posts about genealogy research and my experiences

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.

GOONS Area Meeting – 4th June 2011

Enjoyed a really good meeting today of GOONS members from North and West Yorkshire in Harrogate.  This was my first meeting since joining the Guild at the end of last year.

There was an interesting agenda including

Yorkshire genealogy resources  –  A very informative presentation by Jackie Depelle.  Lots of really helpful information about finding and using Internet websites and resources to locate Yorkshire records – including UKBMD, GENUKI, Borthwick Institute, Yorkshire Archives and British Newspapers Online.

How to publish your research  –  Advice by GOONS member Glenys Marriott from her experience of publishing two genealogy books.  Here are links to her two books The Cumpstons of Hull – Master Mariners and Those Who Left The Dales.

What’s in a name?  –  A talk by Pauline Litton about avoiding the pitfalls and traps when using online resources.  This included census enumerator errors, use of “nick” names in records,  transcription errors, illegitimacy and events not being registered in the expected quarter.  Pauline has written a book – Pitfalls and Possibilities in Family History Research – check it out.

Working with Family Tree Maker  –  A helpful look with Pam Smith at using FTM for your research and some of the functions, reports and links with Ancestry online

We also had information and encouragement to register our ONS name for a DNA project

All the people we met were really friendly and it’s going to be fun and interesting to stay involved with the Guild.

Genealogy for schools in Lincolnshire

Here’s a couple of links to a schools genealogy project in Lincolnshire (UK).  The project is called Making History and is supported by actors Miriam Margolyes and Colin McFarlane.

There are 12 schools involved in the pilot and it is hoped it will then be rolled out across the country.

The project will help children discover who their ancestors are and they will have the chance to make their family history into a short film.

Sounds like a really exciting project.

This is Lincolnshire

BBC News Lincolnshire

Paper paper everywhere!!

Spent most of the day trying to get some organisation back into my research. I know that other genealogists constantly struggle with this problem. My head has been in the sand for a while and things are now in a mess.

I have scribbled notes from when I have found something of interest or importance; a stack of email replies to deal with after contacting various churches and cemeteries about burial records; loads of photographs that need organising and descriptions adding; and a pile of miscellaneous papers and computer prints to work through.

Part of the problem is that I get easily distracted and move on to something else before finishing what I started.

On top of all this I haven’t touched my one-name study for about three weeks.

So I couldn’t sleep this morning and was up about 5.40am. I was straight on to the computer to deal with the photographs. I spent about an hour adding descriptions to the various images from church and cemetery visits over the last three months.

Next I reviewed my great grandparent database where I record all birth, marriage, death and burial details and whether or not I have the relevant GRO certificate. At the same time I tidied up my ring binder of certificates and changed how these are filed to match the database.

That’s when I first got distracted and started to search for missing database information. Managed to give myself a “stiff talking to” and got back to the business of the day after about an hour.

Next I created a database to record all of Jayne’s great grandparents and their details – Ok not on my original list but it needed doing.

After that I tried to find some Irish ancestor information for my son-in-law’s tree I have recently started. Failed miserably and became disheartened.

Shuffled the filing around a bit – at least it now looks tidy.

Then I had a break and watched Leeds United vs Queens Park Rangers on the telly at 12.45pm and had some lunch.

This afternoon I decided to search for some of Jayne’s ancestors on the National Burial Index and found three or four – made more notes about them.

Not a totally successful day but not a waste of time either.

Tomorrow perhaps I will look at the pile of notes and filing. I would like to have everything cleared within the next two weeks.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Weather

This is the 18th 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 18 – Weather.

Living in the UK I think that we have fairly “normal” weather. We don’t have any real extremes although we do have the occasional localised flooding, heavy snowfalls and very hot and dry spells (which we have just had – certainly in Yorkshire).

When I was a child I remember my mother being particularly afraid of thunder and lightening. We haven’t really talked about this but I do wonder if it’s because my dad was struck by lightening when he was a young man. Whenever there was a thunderstorm my mum would often take us to sit at the top of the cellar steps to keep us out of harms way. Today, however, I love a good old storm with thunder and lightening. Jayne and I  turn the lights out and watch the storm from the landing window or any other good vantage point.

My two most favourite seasons are summer and winter. I think that I can sometimes fall into the trap of believing that the summers and winters of my childhood were better than now. That is perhaps just a myth and I suspect wouldn’t stand up to proper analysis – which I’m not going to do.

But what do I mean when I say that. Well people can often be heard suggesting that the summers in the 1950’s and 1960’s were much warmer. And that in winter the snow was around for much longer and it was deeper.

We haven’t had a summer hosepipe ban for a good few years in my part of the UK and I can only recall two occasions when I haven’t been able to get to work because of the snow – one of these was just this last winter. When we’ve had public transport disruption because of snow in recent years Jayne has trudged into work on foot – a journey of about five miles. But these times are few and far between.

Although not specifically weather related I wanted to mention one other phenomena – smog. Growing up in a northern industrial city this was a regular occurrence in the 1960’s. Sometimes you could hardly see your hand in front of your face.

Here’s a couple of photographs of the snow from this last winter.

Frozen Canal

Leeds City Centre