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 I still have the CDs in a drawer somewhere, now superceded by internet access, including S&N’s TheGenealogist website.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.
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.
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.
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.
I knew it was something I was going to have to do when the time came, but that hasn’t made it any less time-consuming and it has to be said any less tedious. It would have been nice if those little white rectangles had suddenly disappeared from the images I had downloaded, but that was never going to happen was it?
So this afternoon I have spent several hours updating all those 1911 census images that I had download over the last couple of years. As I write this I haven’t quite finished, probably another thirty images left to download, but so far it has been almost completely unproductive.
About eighty images so far have been saved to my hard drive and so far I have been rewarded with only two entries in that newly unveiled column sixteen. Horace DUNFORD (my 2x great-aunt’s husband) was a cripple from birth apparently and of course I didn’t need to 1911 census to tell me that George Thomas GASSON was a lunatic.
I suppose it is rather uncharitable of my to wish infirmity on my ancestors and relatives, even if they are long since departed, but it would have been nice to find more people with some sort of infirmity, or even one of those “funny” ones that get mentioned in press releases.
I hadn’t realised that I had downloaded quite so many 1911 census images and if I had thought about it I could have waited until the complete image was released, but greed and impatience took over and I had to have those images, now I am paying the price (thankfully in time, not money) having to download them all again when I could be doing other things.
According to the new look Who Do You Think Are? Live website tickets for next year’s event go on sale frpm the 2nd November 2011, although some pages of the website just say early November.
The good news is that this year there is a larger range of ticket options including the option of a three-day ticket for £30.00, for people like me who intend on visiting for the entire show this is a big improvement on previous years and represents great value for money.
The new look website has been around for a while and is still a little bit devoid of information yet. Hopefully this will change soon and we will start to find out the details of who, what, where, when and how.
It might be worth waiting a little while before buying your tickets to see if there are any special offers this year, like there has been in previous years.