Tag Archives: findmypast.com

Remembrance: Ernest Arthur TROWER (part two)

9 Nov

Ernest Arthur TROWER (small)This handsome looking young man is my 2x great-uncle Ernest Arthur TROWER. He was the son of Ebenezer and Annie TROWER, who was born in Sayers Common, Sussex in 1895. He was baptised in the parish church at Sayers Common on the 13th October 1895. His life was tragically cut short when he was killed in action in France on the 23rd September 1917, aged 22 years old.

I have been able to find out precious little about Ernest’s military service. A couple of years before the British Army service records started to appear on Ancestry.co.uk I had already been up to the National Archives at Kew and searched the microfilms for Ernest, but had found nothing.

At the National Archives I was able to get a copy of his medal index card, which would later also turn up on Ancestry.co.uk, but that told me nothing more than I already knew from the inscription on the edge of his medals.

What little information I have comes from two sources, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour Register, and Soldiers Died in the Great War which at that time was only available online at Military-Genealogy.com but now it is also available on Ancestry.co.uk and findmypast.com.

These two sources confirmed that this man was my 2x great-uncle, but only gave me a few other details about his military service. He was a member of the 12th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry upon his death, but he had previously been in the Army Cyclist Corps (with the regimental number of 10572). He had enlisted at Hove, Sussex and had given Sayers Common, Sussex as his residence, so he was probably still living at home with his parents.

It confirmed that the date he died was the 23rd September 1917, and the place was “France and Flanders”. The CWGC site also told me he was commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, at Tyne Cot Cemetery near the town of Ypres in Belgium. Ernest is one of the thousands of men who have no known grave.

At the National Archives I was able to consult the war diaries of 12th Battalion Durham Light Infantry (WO 95/2182), and have since download a copy via their DocumentsOnline service. This sadly tells me very little about what happened on the 23rd September 1917. Between the 20th and 24th September the battalion was involved in an attack but the report of this attack fails to make any mention of the number of casualties.

It seems unlikely that I will ever find out what happened to Ernest, the best I can hope for is to learn more about the actions of the 12th Battalion from other sources and learn what took place, but I will be very lucky to find out anything on an individual level that is going to help me learn more about Ernest’s service.

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English genealogy news catch up

7 Sep

Whilst I have been busy sorting, scanning and filing there have been a few announcements in the English genealogy world that I need to catch up on.

Findmypast.com have added 1.25 million high resolution images from the 1881 census to their site, to go with the previously available transcriptions (the transcriptions are free to search).

Familyrelatives.com have added details of 120,000 pupils and masters from UK Public Schools, some dating back to 1500. I doubt whether I am going to find any of my ancestors in any of these institutions.

Ancestry.co.uk have published records of over 100,000 British and Commonwealth Prisoners of War held by the Germans during the Second World War, as well as the UK Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945 which features details of British Army personnel killed in action.

192.com have updated 380,000 Electoral Roll records. Now don’t get too excited, these are from the 2009 Electoral Roll and the main focus of this is current information, although they do have some historical data. There is a lot of information on this site, some of which is free, but it is probably the best place to start looking if you are trying to trace a living relation in the UK.

The Autumn 2009 edition of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine has on it’s cover disc two items connected with the David Mitchell episode of the series. Firstly there is some unseen footage from the episode (I haven’t watched it yet, but will let you know what it’s like) and secondly there is a deal with Ancestry.co.uk providing free access to the 1901 Scottish census (for a limited time only).

Can’t find your ancestor in the 1901 census?

11 Aug

If you have been struggling to find you ancestor (or anyone else for that matter) in the 1901 census for England and Wales then it might be worth trying the brand-new version announced by Findmypast.com.

According to their blog, they are “confident our new transcription is the most accurate online and will reveal many individuals whose names have been wrongly transcribed by other websites”. Not only is there a new transcription to search but the census pages have been scanned at a higher quality as well.

Normally you won’t find me straying very far from their competition over at ancestry.co.uk when it comes to searching census returns, but it is always worth checking elsewhere when the individual you are searching for just doesn’t show up on one or other of the sites.

Where can I get free access to the 1911 census in England and Wales?

28 Jul

UPDATE: From the 1st October 2009 free access at Manchester Archives and Local Studies and Greater Manchester County Record Office and Tyne and Wear Archives has been withdrawn as their allocation of free credits has been used up. Please check availability with the other archives before visiting.

The National Archives have announced today that in association with findmypast.com they will be providing free access to the 1911 census at seven archives and libraries across England and Wales.

The seven lucky archives and libraries listed are:

  • Birmingham Archives & Heritage
  • Devon Record Office
  • The National Library of Wales
  • Manchester Archives and Local Studies and Greater Manchester County Record Office
  • Norfolk Record Office
  • Nottinghamshire Archives
  • Tyne and Wear Archives

Researchers are advised to check with the relevant archive or library before visiting for availability. Presumably a similar system will be in place to that at The National Archives (where access to the 1911 census online is already free) which means you will only have to pay if you want to print from the website.

No mention is made of how this fits in with The National Archives proposed changes to reduce running costs by 2010.

The Family History Event

3 May

Today I attended The Family History Event at the Barbican Centre, London and it turned out to be a really good day, despite a few hiccups getting there (nearly missed the bus and the train broke down before it had even started), which meant I didn’t have as long there as I would have liked.

The show was held in Exhibition Hall 2, which was conveniently close to the Barbican Underground Station (I checked out the route with Google Street View) and although from the outside the building was not particularly appealing, it was perfectly OK inside. Likewise the streets outside were not particularly busy (I was expecting more people), but that was because everyone else was already inside.

There was a surprisingly large number of family history societies represented, in fact more than I would have thought actually existed. There was a good cross section of the entire country represented, as well as occupations and one-name studies.

The 1911 census stand from findmypast.com was really the only large commercial stand, but as sponsors of the event that was to be expected. Ancestry.co.uk and Deceased Online were the only other major online providers that I noticed, and they both had quite modest stands on the upper floor. This really was a day for the family history societies to take centre stage.

For me the best part was the opportunity to have a guided tour of the Society of Genealogists library, which was just a short walk away, about half a mile, which in my terms is a very short walk (having done nearly 13½ miles on Friday).

We were shown the three floors of the library and learnt about the types of records held there and how to use their catalogue. It occurred to me that this could be just the place to visit for some of my Carlisle research (I made a mental note to check their catalogue online when I got home).

I didn’t have time to check out any of the food and drink back at the show, or attend any of the lectures (which were almost fully booked by the time I got there), so I can’t comment on them, except to say that it all appeared well organised.

I took the opportunity to discuss some of my research with some of the societies (like the Friends of the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection), although this pretty much confirmed what I already suspected, that I probably wouldn’t be able to find out much more than I already knew.

I resisted the temptation to spend lots of money filling my bookshelves and CD rack, despite there being lots on offer and some great deals to be had on many stalls.

All in all it was a good event, well organised and it looked well attended. It was probably more beneficial to me than the Who Do You Think You Are Live show earlier this year (and half the price to get in) and I am sure many of the other visitors would agree. I really hope this becomes a regular feature of the genealogy calendar.

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