Archive | Websites RSS feed for this section

Soapbox Saturday: The most annoying thing about the British Newspaper Archive

5 May

 I haven’t really spent much time on the British Newspaper Archive website since it launched last year, but I decided today that I would fork out some money for a few credits to spend over the couple of days. I had bookmarked a few pages over the last few months, waiting until the time was right to actually view the images.

So today for the first time I have started to discover some of the website’s annoyances. The poor quality of the OCR in places was a little annoying, most of the images I was looking at were of a reasonable quality, especially for someone used to searching newspapers on old and worn microfilms.

Some of the PDF downloads were not such good quality, in fact some were unreadable, and it is quite fortunate that the images of the Sussex Advertiser appear to be quite good quality. All in all the website is useable, not outstanding, but acceptable.

There is however one thing on the site which was soon getting on my nerves, that damn Twitter feed below the main header.

I am not a fan of Twitter, quite frankly I find it annoying to keep being encouraged to follow people and organisations on Twitter, almost as annoying as being told to “Like us on Facebook”.

There I would be reading a newspaper extract when another message would appear in the banner above, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it I couldn’t help but be distracted. The movement of the scrolling text was impossible to ignore.

But what’s that, there is a pause button at the right-hand end of the banner, that would do it. Sure enough it did, the annoying scrolling text stopped. I could focus again on the image I was interested in without fear of distraction.

However my relief was short-lived, the minute I moved to another screen, the scrolling text was back again. Please brightsolid if you must inflict highlights of your Twitter feed on me then please give me an option to turn it off and keep it off.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

The S&N Story – twenty years of genealogy supplies

18 Mar

As well as providing news of their latest offerings and Who Do You Think You Are? Live, the latest S&N Genealogy email newsletter provides a link to an interesting article marking their 20th anniversary.

Twenty years ago family history was very different to what it is today. The idea of genealogy data being available anywhere other than archives was almost unthinkable. As we know that has all changed and one of the companies that helped make those changes was S&N Genealogy.

It is fascinating to read how the business has grown and evolved, often leading the way in a world that was becoming increasingly digital and internet orientated.

I remember those early days (although not the full twenty years ago) when only the 1881 census (in the form of a transcript from Familysearch) and 1901 census (after it’s initial teething troubles) were available digitally, so to fill in the gap I ordered the 1891 Sussex Census CD set from S&N.

This served me well until the images became available online, indexed as well. I still have the CDs in a drawer somewhere, now superceded by internet access, including S&N’s TheGenealogist website.

Congratulations S&N on your 20th anniversary, it has been an interesting 20 years. I look forward to the next couple of decades.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

Network Rail’s Virtual Archive

6 Mar

If like me you have a fondness for both railways and archives then you might be interested in Network Rail’s Virtual Archive, which is a collection of documents (mostly plans and drawings) from the organisation’s archive.

The Network Rail Archive is not open to the public because they are “fully engaged in managing information to support the activities of the operational railway“. This is perhaps the most important thing to remember here, these may be historic documents but many of them are also engineering drawings for bridges and stations that are still in use today.

The documents are presented as a series of articles, along with historical background on the subject, such as a timeline or links to information on the railway company or engineer responsible.

This is a wonderful collection of documents, but there is probably little chance that the average family historian will find any information about their ancestors in the archive.

However most of these bridges, stations and tunnels were built by armies of labourers, if your ancestor was one of these labourers then the documents in the archive might give you a chance to see what it was they were working on.

The only drawback so far is the lack of documents from my neck of the woods. I would love to see some plans for Balcombe Viaduct on the Lonodn to Brighton mainline or details of some Sussex railway stations like Brighton or Bognor Regis.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

NEWS: Free access to Canadian Vital Records on Ancestry

16 Feb

Someone at Ancestry must be reading my blog and seeing my need for some Canadian records they have decided that they will open up access to their Canadian Birth, Marriage & Death Collections until the 20th February 2012 (more specifically until 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the 20th February). Either that or it has something to do with Family Day in Canada on the 20th.

The free access (registration required) covers some 28 million records across the following collections:

  • Acadia, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1670-1946
  • Bells Corners Cemetery (Richmond Road)
  • Births-deaths-marriages, Christian messenger
  • British Columbia, Canada, Birth Index, 1872-1903
  • British Columbia, Canada, Death Index, 1872-1990
  • British Columbia, Canada, Marriage Index, 1872-1935
  • Canada Obituary Collection
  • Canada Parliamentary Marriage and Divorces, 1867-1919
  • Crawford Cemetery, Dalhousie Township, Lanark County
  • Elmview Cemetery, Kars, Ontario, North Gower Township, lot 24, conc. 1
  • Kitchener, Ontario German War Graves
  • London Press (Ontario) Obituaries, 1998-99
  • Mariages de l’Enfant-Jesus de la Pointe-aux-Trembles, 1674-1975
  • Marriage Notices of Ontario 1813-1854
  • Nova Scotia, Canada, Births, 1836-1910
  • Nova Scotia, Canada, Deaths, 1864-1877, 1890-1960
  • Nova Scotia, Canada, Marriages, 1763-1935
  • Ontario Marriage Notices [1830-1856]
  • Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913
  • Ontario, Canada Marriage Registers by Clergy, 1896-1948
  • Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928
  • Ontario, Canada Obituaries, 1999-2001: Kitchener Record and Windsor Star
  • Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967
  • Ontario, Canada, County Marriage Registers, 1858-1869
  • Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947
  • Ontario, Canada: Civil Marriage Registrations, 1869-73
  • Ontario, Canada: Roman Catholic Marriages, 1827-1870
  • Ottawa, Canada, Beechwood Cemetery Registers, 1873-1990
  • Quebec, Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families (Tanguay Collection), 1608-1890
  • Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967
  • Répertoire des mariages de Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham, comté de Gatineau : 1853-1963
  • Répertoire des mariages du Lac-Sainte-Marie (Comté de Gatineau) : (1881-1963)
  • Repertoire des mariages, Sainte-Anne-de-la-Perade, 1684-1900
  • Riverside Cemetery Index, New Hambug, Ontario
  • Scottish-American Gravestones, 1700-1900
  • Sheldon Cemetery
  • St. James Anglican Church Cemetery, Hudson, Quebec, Vaudreuil County.
  • St. Paul’s United Church Cemetery (the old Methodist cemetery), Richmond, Ontario
  • St. Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Papineau County, Buckingham, Quebec
  • St. Thomas Anglican Church Cemetery, Stanley’s Corners (formerly Rathwell’s Corners)
  • The Denny Cemetery near Philipsville, Ontario
  • Toronto Star Obituaries, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1999 – April 2000, February 2001
  • Waterloo County, Ontario, Cemetery Inscriptions
  • Web: CanadianHeadstones.com Index, 1700-2010
  • Woodland Cemetery Records, Kitchener, Ontario
  • Zion Cemetery, Scarborough, York County, Ontario

What’s in it for me…

As you can see there is a definite shortage of Alberta records, which is where my attention is currently focused. However, I shall be taking full advantage of this free access to search for Patrick and Kate Vaughan and their children, as there is no guarantee that they remained in Alberta. Also there are one or two other relations scattered in my family tree that ended up in Canada that I haven’t really looked into, including Kate’s brother Asher.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.

News: Canterbury Cathedral records to go online at findmypast.co.uk

29 Jan

The most exciting news for me this week was the announcement from findmypast.co.uk that they are going to be digitizing parish records from the Archdeaconry of Canterbury.

Starting “in the coming weeks” the website will be adding the Canterbury Collection to its existing collection of parish register records. This has been timed to coincide with the temporary closure of their current home, Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Initially the collection will consist of just browsable images, but the records will ultimately be transcribed and an index provided “later this year”.

I have written several times about my difficulties in researching in Kent, so this marks a great step forward for me. The county of Kent has been under-represented online until now and although most of my interests are further west nearer the Sussex border (the Archdeaconry of Canterbury covers eastern Kent) I am sure this is going to prove a valuable asset in my research.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 113 other followers

%d bloggers like this: