Tag Archives: london family history centre

I finally made my mind up!

23 May

I finally made a decision about what to do today (Saturday), it did take me until Friday morning to decide, but I got there in the end. I did have second thoughts when I saw how beautiful the weather was this morning (bright sunshine and hardly a cloud in the sky), but I stuck to my plan.

That plan was not going to the Hampshire Record Office in Winchester or walking in the countryside, no instead I decided to head up to London!

London Family History Centre

London Family History Centre

I decided I really wanted to get on with finding out more about Thomas KINGHORN (4x great grandfather) and short of going up to Carlisle, the London Family History Centre (left) was the next best thing.

As an added bonus I was able to start dig into the Ospringe, Kent parish registers and try and get a grip on what was going on with my WRIGHT ancestors. But at the same time I could look into the Alton, Hampshire parish registers as well and see what secrets (if any) they held. As you can see it was still a beautiful day by the time I got to South Kensington.

The Science Museum, London

The Science Museum, London

I also wanted to pop into the Science Museum which is just on the opposite side of the road from the London Family History Centre. In particular I wanted to see if they still had an original mail coach on display, like the one that Thomas KINGHORN would have guarded.

I couldn’t find a mention of it on their website, and their search box didn’t find it, but I thought it was worth having a look around inside, especially as entrance to (most of) the museum is free.

My first visit to the London Family History Centre

26 Mar

Although I have already mentioned my visit in two other posts, but I thought I would share my impressions of the London Family History Centre (LFHC) with you. It was the first time I had been to any LDS family history centre, but I had heard good things about them, and everything I had heard was true!

For me it was pretty easy to get to. I arrived by train at London Victoria and it was a short tube ride along to South Kensington, from there you just follow the subway right to the end (past groups of school children being herded back towards the Underground station after visiting the Natural History and Science Museum). Emerging from the subway the LFHC is almost directly opposite on the other side of the road.

Once inside I was directed downstairs to the basement, which may sound a little gloomy, but most of the rooms in the basement were bright and airy, with lots of natural light. Those that weren’t were the rooms with the microfilm readers, so the lack of natural light was quite helpful.

There were plenty of microfilm readers and computer terminals (I didn’t need use the computers), although I guess being a weekday afternoon it wasn’t at it’s busiest, so it may get a bit crowded at times.

The staff were very helpful and friendly, they showed my how their ordering system worked, and found me a reader. I knew they had the films I wanted in stock, so I didn’t actually have to get any films ordered from the US. Pretty soon I was sitting down winding through the first microfilm looking for my ancestors.

My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to spend there to explore their resources further, but I have no doubt that I will be visiting again in the future.

The LFHC website is a nice looking site, the main components of which are the film search facility and the film catalogue, so you can check on film orders and see if the film you want to view is in stock.

If any of the staff are reading this let me take this opportunity to say thank you for the help you gave me and for the help you give others like myself, the centre truly is a great resource.

Thomas KINGHORN, at last his parents are confirmed

25 Mar

My visit to the London Family History Centre today finally confirmed who were the parents of Thomas KINGHORN, my 3x great grandfather. It was a brief visit and my first time at an LDS Family History Centre, but the visit will probably go down as one of my most important research moments ever.

The answer was that Thomas’ parents were Thomas and Margaret KINGHORN, and he was baptised in St Cuthbert’s parish, Carlisle, Cumberland in 1808. I had suspected this for several months, but struggled to find proof, but I finally found it in the baptism registers (well, actually the Bishop’s Transcripts of the baptism registers).

Although Thomas was baptised in 1808, I started looking at the post-1813 baptisms for the same family (I had found the details in the International Genealogical Index but this didn’t give the father’s occupation). As I had the exact date from the IGI it was easy to wind through the microfilm to the correct place.

There it was, listed under occupation, the words I had been looking for: mail coach guard, this was a match for the father’s occupation shown on Thomas KINGHORN’s marriage certificate. My heart stopped (well perhaps not literally), my efforts had not been wasted, my hunch had paid off it was the correct family. As I stared at the entry many more questions rushed into my head, it was like one problem solved, and another dozen arrived to take it’s place.

I checked the rest of the film to see if there was a burial for Thomas, but there wasn’t, at least not between 1817 and 1828 in St Cuthbert’s. So I switched to another film, with the earlier registers on, I wanted to confirm the dates from the IGI were correct for the marriage and the baptisms of the other children.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the pre-1813 baptism entries contained the same amount of information (if not more) than the later ones, something which seemed quite unusual to me, I am used to seeing just the date, child’s name and the parent’s name (sometimes just the father).

The entry for Abraham, baptised 10th June 1810, was packed with more information than I could ever have dreamed of, Abraham son of Thomas Kinghorn of Moffat of North Britain, late of the City of Carlisle, guard to the mail coach, and of Margaret his wife / late Sewell.

This gives me the green light to plan a trip to Carlisle to try and find out more (all I need now is a green light from my wife), and believe me there are so many more questions, such as why if they were living in Moffat, did they travel nearly forty miles to have their children baptised in Carlisle.

I also have visions of Thomas KINGHORN defending his mail coach from robbers and highwaymen, but perhaps that is just my imagination running wild again!

You know you are addicted to family history when….

25 Mar

You know you are addicted to family history when you take half a day holiday from work and spend £11.90 on a train ticket, to visit London so you can check two baptism records!

I’m sure there have been many posts like this on genealogy blogs the world over, but I think it is time to admit that I have a problem, I am addicted to genealogy.

The aim of my trip was to try and find out if my 3x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN was baptised in Carlisle, Cumberland, England (yes, I still hadn’t found the answer to that one). I knew the records were at the London Family History Centre, and I had some other stuff to check if I had time or if my first search was negative, so it wouldn’t be a complete waste of time.

So, it wouldn’t be a waste of time, but even to me in retrospect it seemed a little extreme or extravagant. This is why I think I am addicted, the need to be researching my family history is so strong now that I cannot last a week without visiting a record office!

I don’t think there is any way I can cure my addiction to family history, but I may be able to cut back on my consumption. So I am going to make a promise to myself and the blogosphere, that starting in April I will restrict myself to one record office/archive visit a month. There is plenty of research I can do without setting foot inside a record office, and it will give me an excuse to catch up with lots of sorting out I should be doing.

Besides, there are still five days  before the start of April!


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