It was with sadness that I read Simon Fowler’s post this morning, announcing that the April 2010 edition of Ancestors Magazine would be the last.
The magazine, published by The National Archives and Wharncliffe Publishing Ltd, will finish just short of it’s 100th edition.
During it’s time the magazine has provided a wealth of news and information for British (although mainly English) family historians, many of the articles drawing from the collections of The National Archives (and other archives) and from the expertise of the staff there as well as other experts in the field.
As an example of the variety of content found in the magazine, the March 2010 edition included articles on body snatchers, Court of Chancery records, wages and currency conversion, highway surveyors and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It would be hard not to find something of interest amongst it’s pages.
UPDATE (09/03/10): According to The National Archives website, there is the possiblity of a replacement for Ancestors in the works, “We are currently discussing plans to launch a new magazine from The National Archives in the autumn. This work is being led by Simon Fowler, the current editor of ‘Ancestors’, and his team.“
The latest edition of Ancestors magazine from The National Archives is a special edition focusing on the city of London. As the editor Simon Fowler says "Many of our ancestors were drawn to the capital for work, education and pleasure – even if they just passed through the city. No other place in Britain had the same irresistible attraction."
There is a great selection of articles in this issue, covering a wide variety of subjects including features on resources at the Society of Genealogists and the Bishopsgate Institute.
It would be hard to pick out my favourite article from this issue, there really are so many fascinating articles. The interview with novelist Lee Jackson has introduced me to a wonderful resource, the Dictionary of Victorian London which was a result of the background research for his historical novels.
My favourite article (and it was a tough choice) has to be the one by the editor Simon Fowler entitled Drunk and Disorderly, which describes the life of Jane Cakebread who "over a 15 year period, received nearly 300 sentences" for being found drunk and disorderly.
Although she became a well-known figure through the media of the time and despite the best efforts of one or two individuals, she ended her time in a pauper asylum, with only one person attending her funeral.
The most helpful article is probably Peter Christian’s Mapping the Metropolis which is an excellent summary of the maps of London which are available online. It is going to take some time to explore all the sources mentioned, although one worth highlighting is the Crace Collection of Maps of London at the British Library.
This has to be one of the best issues of the magazine I have seen for a long time, it is packed with interesting and informative articles concerning the city that plays a key part in so many of our ancestor’s lives.
Just in case you haven’t seen enough of the Kate Humble episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA) on BBC iPlayer already, there are now two short segments of unseen footage available on the cover CD of the latest edition of the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine (Issue 25 September 2009).
The first segment was filmed in the town of Zagan, Poland (mostly at the railway station) and Kate talks to Charles Clarke (a former inmate of Stalag Luft III) about life as a PoW.
The second segment was filmed at Stalag Luft III at the site of the escape tunnel, and is part of the conversation between Kate and historian Howard Tuck that didn’t make it to the final cut.
Both segments are quite short, a couple of minutes each if that, so probably not worth the cover price (£4.99) just for them alone, but for fans of the show there is also a seven page feature about the episode in the magazine. This includes an interview with Kate Humble, photos and information from the programme and background material.
The rest of the magazine is the usual mix of news, advice, features and adverts. This month the focus is on Devon research and the CD also contains a selection of Devon resources. For anyone just starting out on researching their family history this edition of the magazine has the first part of a “14-day family history challenge” which will help get beginners started.