Tag Archives: website

Familyrelatives.com celebrate their fifth birthday with a special offer

22 May

To celebrate their fifth birthday Familyrelatives.com have announced a special subscription offer, until the 31st May 2011 you can get 20% off an annual subscription. This means you will be paying £25 ($42 or €29) for a year’s access to the website.

Familyrelatives.com is not a name that comes up often on this blog or in the genealogy news and they obviously don’t have the same sort of budget as the big name data providers, and their collections are not as extensive but they do deserve a closer look.

What I really like about their website is that they have all their English collections listed and linked on one page along with links across the top of that page to collections for other countries.

There is quite a cross-section of records on the site. They have the GRO BMD Indexes (partially indexed), a selection army and navy records, a large selection of directories, school records and medical registers, as well as a selection of parish registers for a variety of places.

If you are not interested in a subscription there is a pay-per-view option for some of the records and they even have some free to view records (details here and here). If you are interested then don’t hang about, you don’t have long to take advantage of this special offer.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

BBC Domesday Reloaded: Was this where it all started?

13 May

I was delighted to read the announcement from The National Archives about the relaunch of the BBC Domesday Project. This was an ambitious project to compile a modern Domesday Book in 1986 and although completed it was pretty much destined to immediate obscurity due to the technology involved.

The resurrection of the project is a fascinating story and a useful lesson on the obsolescence of data storage formats. A lot of effort went into rescuing the data in this project, could you afford the same effort to rescue your genealogy data?

The real reason for my delight was that it was around the time that this project was being compiled that I started to get involved in local history, I don’t think it was actually this project that got me started, it was probably a year or two before that.

I seem to remember it was talked about at school, as we were going one of the groups involved in supplying some of the data. I think however when it came down to it my class had moved on to secondary school and it was left to our successors to actually complete the project.

I think my interest in local history was spurred on by another project, I am not sure what that project was, but I seem to remember an exhibition was going to be put on somewhere, but again we left before it was completed.

I remember viewing the original project at the Science Museum in London on a couple of occasions, and I think the last time I saw it, probably ten to fifteen years ago, it wasn’t actually working anymore. Whether the hardware had failed or whether they had turned it off to try to prolong it’s life I don’t know. In more recent years I have viewed a re-mastered version of the project in the library at The National Archives.

I spent some time last night exploring the project, looking at some places that I remember from my childhood, and was surprised how things have moved on in the last twenty-five years. For genealogical purposes there could be some useful information contained among the data, such as the following entry, submitted by an eleven year old John Gasson (not this John Gasson I hasten to add):

My name is John Gasson.I am 11 years
old.I wake each day at 7.15am.I dress
in my school uniform of grey trousers,
white shirt,green and yellow tie and
green jumper.My mother,father,brother
and I have breakfast together.At 8.30
my father leaves.He works at Banstead
as a structural engineer.My brother
and I leave next.My favourite subjects
are Geography,History,Maths,Games and
Swimming.I am Captain of the School
Football Team and I have played for
Surrey County Football Team.
Two weeks ago Mrs.Morgan took Year4 to
a hotel in Seahuses,Northumbria.We
visited the Farne Islands,Lindisfarne,
Hadrian’s Wall,Vindolanda,Carvoran and
Bowes Museum.It was a very successful
week.We worked hard and learned a lot.
My grandfather has traced our family
as far back as 1461:right back to my
fourteen-times grandfather Buckler.

As you can see the original formatting has been retained, every character counted in those days as they tried to cram in as much data as possible. The good news about this latest incarnation is that you can search the content as well as by place. This was how I came up with the above example, over the next few days I will try some more ancestral places and surnames and see what other delights I can discover.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

NEWS: Records for UK’s largest cemetery now on Deceased Online

16 Feb

Deceased Online have completed (almost) the release of 800,000 records from the UK largest cemetery (in terms of the number of burials).

With the exception of approximately 20,000 remaining entries (which are still being added) the records for St Pancras and Islington Cemetery in north London have been made available on the website. Searching the website is free and the amount you pay to view the results depends on just what is found. This should include a scan of the burial register, but might also include photographs of the headstone and/or a map of the exact location of the grave.

St Pancras and Islington Cemetery was the first publicly owned cemetery to be opened in London and was officially opened in July 1854. It seems to have developed in a very piecemeal fashion, involving various parishes and boroughs over the decades, all helping to create a very interesting but complicated history.

The cemetery is now jointly run by the London Boroughs of Camden and Islington, and more details can be found on their websites, including details of the bus service that operates across the 190 acre site. I must put it on my list of places to explores because it sounds like there are some wonderful memorials there.

This addition to Deceased Online, strengthens the position of the site as the place to go online to find UK burial and cremation records, by my calculations this takes the total records on the website to over 1.75 million names from across the UK, but it doesn’t stop there.

According to the website they “are currently digitising 1.6 million burial and cremation records to add to our database, from 14 burial and cremation authorities around the UK. Nearly 2 million further records are due to be added from another 13 authorities. And we are in serious talks with a further 31 authorities about bringing nearly 5.3 million more records to the website.”

Whereabouts Wednesday: The new One Place Studies website

1 Dec

Family history is predominantly about people, but to look at those people without taking into account the place where they lived would lead to a very narrow view. So much more can be understood about our ancestors by studying the place they lived, the people they lived with, how they worked and how they played.

The one place study is a hybrid of family history and local history, rather than considering just one family line, the whole community is studied. Like family history the emphasis is on people, but in a one place study the common link between them is place rather than just family ties.

November saw the launch of the new One Place Studies website, which is administered by Alex Coles (who must have a time machine to find the time for many projects she is involved in).

The website appears to have two distinct functions, to provide information on which one place studies are being undertaken (in the form of an index) and resources for those undertaking a one place study (in the form of articles and a discussion forum).

The index provides a list of all the studies and is dominated by England (not that I’m complaining). Selecting a county will take you to a map showing all the one place studies in that county, plus neighbouring counties.

One place studiers (is that the right name?) seem to be a little shy about using the discussion forum or perhaps they are just too busy. The resources are an interesting selection of articles on the ins and outs of one place studies. Well worth a read even if you are not engaged in a one place study or considering one. I look forward to reading more in the future.

The website is well designed and has some great content, which has brought me another stage closer to launching my own one place study.

London Lives 1690 to 1800 – a great new resource

28 Jun

London Lives 1690 to 1800 – Crime, Poverty and Social Policy in the Metropolis is a great new online database which according to the website "includes over 240,000 manuscript and printed pages from eight London archives and is supplemented by fifteen datasets created by other projects. It provides access to historical records containing over 3.35 million name instances".

I heard about this new database on the Today programme this morning, although it took me a while to actually find the website earlier today that I was wondering if I had dreamed it. It was well worth seeking out the website, I have only scratched the surface of the website but it provides a great example of a digitisation project and how to bring together many resources focusing on the same subject.

London Lives brings together "a wide range of primary sources about eighteenth-century London, with a particular focus on plebeian Londoners." It provides registered users with the facilities to "link together records relating to the same individual, and to compile biographies of the best documented individuals."

Sadly I haven’t traced any of my ancestors back to eighteenth century London yet, but it was fascinating to have a look around the website and browse the records. The website helpfully provides a  Copyright and Citation Guide, which should be useful for family historians, and an in-depth section of Historical Background which itself includes a section of Research Guides.

Even if you don’t find ancestors amongst the documents, there is plenty of other material to keep you occupied for hours. If you do find you ancestors amongst the documents the historical background and research guides will help you interpret what you have found.

London Lives was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and implemented by the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield and the Higher Education Digitisation Service at the University of Hertfordshire.

Try out the latest tools in The National Archives Labs

17 Jun

The National Archives (in the UK) have announced a new way to try out some new tools for "sharing, re-using and accessing" their data in the form of The National Archives Labs.

The purpose of The National Archives Labs is to give users a chance to try out some new tools and applications that are in development, and to get feedback about their good and bad points. The idea of "labs" is nothing new these days, many genealogists will no doubt be familiar with FamilySearch Labs.

The hope is that users will play around with these tools and leave some feedback about your experiences. There are currently three tools available in The National Archives Labs:

  1. Valuation Office Map Finder
  2. Person Search
  3. UK history photo finder

The Valuation Office Map Finder looks like it is going to be a very useful tool, removing the need to consult the master maps and try to pinpoint the relevant map (and find the correct catalogue reference) for the property you are searching for, not an easy process on a small scale map.

The Person Search for me doesn’t really provide much more functionality than the normal catalogue search, so I am not sure that it is really needed, but I will have to play with that one further before I leave any feedback.

The technology behind the UK history photo finder doesn’t seem to be that new, searching for photos using a map, but it is a new way of accessing the image collections of The National Archives, which might not be seen otherwise. Although you can view the images for free, I would like to see some information on how the images can be used.

So put on your white coat and safety goggles and pay a visit to the labs, and let them know what you think of their new tools.

Re-activate your ScotlandsPeople credits (for a limited time)

4 Jun

For a limited time (until 1pm on the 17th June 2010) ScotlandsPeople are giving users of their website the chance to re-activate any unused credits that have expired.

As explained on their website, you can bring life back to your expired credits by the use of a special voucher code. These revived credits will then be active for another 90 days. Normally you would need to buy further credits to make use of any expired credits.

This is great news for me, because I have expired credits on the site and I have at least one census image to look up and need to have a look and see if Thomas KINGHORN (my 4x great-grandfather) did actually come from Scotland.

So far I haven’t found any records for my ancestors on the ScotlandsPeople website, even though Thomas KINGHORN (my 3x great-grandfather) was born in Scotland, he was baptised south of the border. Maybe this time it will be different.

Either way it will be good to make use of my currently inaccessible credits, without having to pay for more.

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