Posts about genealogy research and my experiences

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

Yorkshire Dales Grave Search

Last day of my Spring holiday today and we had a trip out to the Yorkshire Dales in search of more graves. I knew where I needed to go. I had already found some ancestors on the National Burial Index. So we were heading for three specific churches.

First stop was St Andrews at Gargrave. No luck here unfortunately. Managed to speak with the vicar who told me that there was a major clear out of the graveyard back in the 1970’s and 1980’s to make space for new burials. There are no remaining records or details of the removed monumental inscriptions.

St Andrew's, Gargrave

St Andrew's, Gargrave

Some of the old headstones had been used to create a memorial footpath. We couldn’t find one for my ancestors. The vicar told me that some of the old headstones were also sold off.  Then again there might not have been a headstone in the first place.

So on to St Michael’s and All Angels at Linton. A lovely building dating back to the 12th century. We had more success here. Managed to locate one of the two graves on our list plus another related name.

St Michael's and All Angels, Linton

St Michael's and All Angels, Linton

I have a postcard of the Linton church so this will appear as a future blog post.

Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling very well by this time – perhaps it was too much excitement or the thought of going back to work tomorrow after nearly four weeks off. Anyway we decided to head home and leave the remaining church in Conistone for another week.

Petrol rationing

It’s my dad’s birthday today – he would have been eighty one. So I was thinking of something to write and looking through a box of stuff I have saved after he passed away three years ago

I came across these petrol ration coupons.

In the wake of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the Arab oil-producing countries (OPEC) imposed an embargo on supplies to the US on 20 October 1973. For the wider world, oil prices went through the roof, from around $3 a barrel before the war to over $11 by early the following January.

My readers of a certain age may well have a memory of the three-day week – power cuts, flickering candles and the early shutdown of television at 10.30pm every night. I have been employed in an office all my life and I can remember the lights and the heating going off and having to work by candlelight.

Early in December 1973, the chancellor, Anthony Barber, told the cabinet that the country was facing its worst crisis since the second world war, triggered by the decision of Arab oil producing states to quadruple the price of oil, coupled with an overtime ban by the miners and the power industry workers.

On December 4, Peter Walker, the trade and industry secretary, told the cabinet that falling coal stocks at the power stations would make indiscriminate electricity blackouts inevitable by the end of February unless emergency action was taken.

Mr Walker said that the government’s policy of denying the Americans the use of UK airbases during the Yom Kippur war may have put Britain at the top of the list of countries regarded as friendly by the Arab states, but it had not stopped the cabinet having to consider petrol rationing.

More than 18 million petrol ration books were printed, 12 million “supplementary coupons”, 20 million forms and 7 million envelopes, and distributed to post offices and motorists to beat the Christmas rush.

In the event the petrol rationing books / coupons were not used.

Here’s a link to an article in the The Guardian from 2004 about the oil crisis and a veto on the Queen