Tag Archives: findmypast.co.uk

Start Your Family Tree Week

23 Dec

Stuck for something to do between Christmas and New Year? Fed up with nothing but repeats to watch on TV? Bored with staring at leftover turkey? Why not start researching your family tree?

Boxing Day marks the beginning of Start Your Family Tree Week, the UK’s first family history awareness campaign. What better time to get started on your family history than the week between Christmas and the New Year, when many people will have time off from work and when families will probably be in contact more than any other time of the year.

The aim of Start Your Family Tree Week is to encourage more people to start researching their family tree by providing them advice and guidance on how to get started. The initiative is supported by several websites and organisations, at the forefront of whom is findmypast.co.uk.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager for findmypast.co.uk, said: “Start Your Family Tree Week will help people make the most of Christmas family gatherings to pass on their family memories across the generations, and to share in brand new discoveries by using online family history resources.
The internet has made it so much easier to trace your family tree and learn about your family’s own unique story, full of colourful, real-life characters from the past. Every family has its intrigues, well-kept secrets and heart-warming tales, and I believe we could soon see family history becoming the traditional Christmas pastime for all the family.”

Visit the special page on findmypast.co.uk to learn more and find links to other participating websites and organisations.

Even if you have already been researching your family history for years like me you should still visit the websites, as well as possibly learning something new, you might also be able to take part in some of the competitions or take advantage of the various special offers.

Weekly English Family History News Update: Friday 15th October 2010

15 Oct

This is an experimental weekly blog post, summarising some of the week’s news that might be of interest to family historians and genealogists with an interest in English research.

[Ancestry.co.uk] London Parish Registers now fully indexed

Ancestry.co.uk (in association with the London Metropolitan Archives) have completed the indexing of their London Parish Registers Collection. Previously only entries from 1813 (for baptisms and burials) and 1754 (for marriages) had been indexed, but now the index extends back to the earliest parish registers, which in theory started in 1538.

- Find out more on the Ancestry.co.uk website.

[Findmypast.co.uk] 7,000 extra Chelsea Pensioners records added

Findmypast.co.uk have further extended their collection of Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1913. This addition consist of 7,247 records (44,130 separate images) from the period 1801 to 1912, from the National Archives series WO97.

- Find out more on the Findmypast.com website.

[Online databases] Parish Register Transcription Society makes selected transcriptions available online

(With thanks to Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter for bringing this to my attention)

The Parish Register Transcription Society have made available selected transcriptions from their catalogue via the Frontis archive publishing system, using a system of pay per view credits. These transcriptions are also available on CD, but this new system will make it more cost effective if your ancestors didn’t stay in the same place for long.

- Find out more on the Parish Register Transcription Society Data Archive website

Share Your News

If you have any news, events or products that would be of interest to English family history researchers then please send an email with details to wanderinggenealogist@gmail.com.

Francis Howlett GEERING – soldier and hairdresser

16 Aug

The latest batch of British Army Service Records released by findmypast.co.uk included one I had been waiting for, the service record of my first cousin five times removed Francis Howlett GEERING. The term “first cousin five times removed” doesn’t really describe the relationship very well, I prefer to think of him as the grandson of my 5x great-grandparents James and Ann GEERING of Hailsham, Sussex.

This latest batch of records covers the years 1760 to 1854, and I already knew from The National Archives website that Francis had served with the British Army between 1838 and 1852, so all I had to do was be patient and bide my time until this particular batched arrived.

What intrigued me most about Francis was his occupation after leaving the army. In the 1861 census Francis is living in Dewsbury, Yorkshire with his wife and their first child, his occupation is recorded as “hairdresser and tobacconist”. The hairdresser part of this seemed quite bizarre to me, after almost 14 years as a soldier how did he end up as a hairdresser? Had he learnt his trade in the army? Had he been the regiments hairdresser?

The one thing that hadn’t occurred to me was that he might have been a hairdresser before he enlisted, but sure enough when he joined the 52nd Light Infantry on the 19th November 1838 he gave his occupation as hairdresser. This explains why he became a hairdresser after he left the army, but raises the question of why he joined up in the first place?

Was he running away from something? I will probably never know, but perhaps it is significant that when he left the army he settled in Yorkshire rather than returning to his birthplace of Lewes, Sussex.

His service record does make interesting reading, although he was punished at 15 times for being drunk (including one instance recorded as being “Drunk in the streets of Montreal”), over almost 14 years service that is not really that bad a record.

During his service Francis spent a total of seven years and four months overseas, two years in the West Indies and five years and four months in North America. He was discharged in 1852 after he had been found unfit for further service, the reason given was that he was suffering from “Cachexia Syphiloidea the result of Syphilis, contracted in Nov 1849″.

Findmypast.co.uk free access – my world cup warm-up

26 Jun

Could tomorrow be our last chance for free access to Findmypast.co.uk? I wouldn’t dream of making a prediction on the outcome of England’s match tomorrow, but I need to make sure I get the most out of the free 90 minutes.

The last time England played I was on my way back from walking part of the South Downs Way, and by the time I got home I didn’t really have the energy and wasn’t really prepared for my 90 minutes and so most of it was wasted. This time I need to be better prepared, it could be my last chance for another four years!

I have a subscription to the 1911 census (which will soon run out, but that is another issue I need to consider) so I can ignore that. I have been through the indexes for the Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records and I don’t think there is anyone there that I need yet, although I could do a bit more searching on some of my surnames and places just in case they turn out to be related in the future.

Although I have access to Ancestry.co.uk there are a few people I haven’t been able to find in their indexes. I might stand a better chance with different set of indexes, it is certain worth a try.

Similarly, whilst Ancestry have GRO birth, marriage and death indexes up to 2005, findmypast has the indexes up to 2006. It is probably worth searching the births, marriages and deaths for that extra year?

Now I am off to have another look around the findmypast website. Which other collections have I forgotten that I should be checking?

  • Passenger lists leaving UK 1890-1960 – were released several years ago now, is there anyone that might be in those lists that I have forgotten? Did any of my relations that left the country (or their descendants) ever come back to visit? On a similar track, I don’t think I have ever checked for passport applications, perhaps now would be a good time to have a look and see what is in that database.
  • Parish Records Collection 1538-2005 – findmypast have a large collection of parish register transcription, formerly on the Family History Online website and provided in association with the Federation of Family History Societies. Who might be lurking in those records? It could be worth looking again as my research has moved on since the closure of Family History Online.
  • Index to death duty registers 1796-1903 – I have never really looked at these death duty registers, so now would be a good time to have a poke around in these records to see what is included in them rather than just looking for my relations.

If you are not already registered then make sure you get along to their website and register by midnight tonight (26th June). You can find full details on their website, and don’t be blinded by the 1911 census and Chelsea Pensioners Records, there are plenty of other record types that could reveal far more interesting details about your family (the divorce indexes are another example).

findmypast.co.uk have moved the goal posts – check the latest instructions for free world cup access

16 Jun

Findmypast.co.uk have changed the conditions for free access to their website during the next England World Cup match on the 18th June 2010. Hopefully this will enable more flexibility for overseas visitors and ensure that everyone gets a shot at free access.

Free access will now be available for 90 minutes (no extra time), but the 90 minutes starts at any time you want between 9am (UK time) on England match day and 9am (UK time) the following day. Full details are available on their website.

Also you need to make sure you are registered with the site before midnight on the 17th June to qualify for free access.

Hopefully this should spread the load on their servers this time around, so that everyone will be able to take advantage of this fantastic offer.

Might as well be watching the football

12 Jun

It all seemed too good to be true, free access to findmypast.co.uk for the duration of the England football match this evening, but obviously I was not the only one who turned off the television and went searching for ancestors.

It is now halfway through the three hours and I have so far managed to download three images from the site. They are part of the service record for Richard GEERING of Lewes, Sussex, who is probably a relation of mine, but I haven’t got as far as the information about his next of kin to enable me to precisely identify him.

It is such a shame, it seems he had quite an interesting military career, being convicted for desertion, then for assault and final discharged for misconduct. It looks like he might have spent more time in prison than with his regiment. If only I could get the rest of his record.

I wondered if it might just be the service records that were overloaded, so I thought I would try an 1841 census search, but with the same result, their website clearly can’t cope with the demand.

I suppose I can’t complain too loud, because I haven’t had to pay for this, but I am sorry to say that findmypast deserve a red card. If we are talking football clichés then I would have to say this was a bit of an own goal.

Findmypast.co.uk gives non-football fans something to look forward to the World Cup for

11 Jun

UPDATE 16/06/2010:  Findmypast.co.uk have changed the instructions for free access, check out their website for latest details, and make sure you are registered before the 18th June.

I am definitely in the non-football camp, sure I would like England to do well, but I won’t be getting excited about the upcoming World Cup. However, findmypast.co.uk have given us non-football fans something to look forward to.

Findmypast.co.uk have today announced that for the duration of the England matches (starting 30 minutes before kick-off) access to their records (except Living Relatives searches and Memorial scrolls) will be free. This means you will be able to access their great collections, including the 1911 census and their growing Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records collection.

All you need is to be registered with findmypast to take advantage of this great offer, then book your seat in front of the computer for the first England match on Saturday evening. By my reckoning free access should start at 1900BST and according to the announcement should last for three hours.

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