Sunday, 19 July 2009

Summary Sunday

Hi all!

I've had a reasonable productive week or two since coming back from the holidays.

I've got caught up in the whole GenealogyWise thing. I think it's going to be a useful tool in the future but will take a while to settle down. At the moment there are so many groups that I think will ultimately fall by the wayside while some are active already. I've joined a few and will let you know about about any progress that I made. So far I've answered some queries about Excel, contacted someone who has information about my husband's BOXALL family and read a lot of comment wall posts.

I've become a GOON! I've been thinking about it for a while and took the plunge this week to join the Guild of One Name Studies. I haven't registered a surname yet but have already found the resources available to members useful. I'm trying to tie up as many TILLINs as I can so hopefully I'll pick up tips from the Guild.

Thanks to Ancestry it's been quite easy to pull together all the TILLIN births and marriages now as they've added a full transcription of the indices for births and marriages - hopefully the deaths aren't too far away. So I've been able to add to some of the aunts and uncles with a few more life events.

Another discovery was that my local library membership also gives me access to some useful sites, including the Times archive, for free and from my home over the internet. So far I've not found much on my initial browse but I'm hoping to discover some stories about my ancestors.

I'm hoping to get some more work done this week so hopefully I'll have some discoveries to tell you about.

PS It was also the start of a new series of Who Do You Think You Are this week - Davina McCall has some interesting ancestors!!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Where does the time go?????

Well I've not updated the blog for a month or so but I've not forgotten about it!!!

We've been away on a couple of great holidays and our main computer died so there are my excuses!

I've managed to do a bit of genealogy though. I'm currently using Ancestry's BMD records to create a database of all TILLIN Births and Marriages to see if I can make some links - it's a bit painful to get right but might provide some interesting links when it's done. I've also got my parents to take some photos of headstones on a recent trip to Ireland so I will be adding them to my tree and may post some on a Tombstone Tuesday.

Not much progress or breaking new ground but at least I'm still doing stuff!!

Also, thanks to Caroline and Linda for the awards - greatly appreciated - will try to live up to them over the next few months!

Hopefully the next post will have something more concrete to talk about....

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Summary Sunday - What have I been up to this week?

I thought I'd do a quick summary of my findings this week.
  • I've been trying to do some more research into my Northern Ireland ancestors, trying to trace back my HICKINSON line. The main problem is that the surname seems to be incorrectly transcribed a lot of the time so I have to check for HICKSON, HICKISON, HICKENSON as well as HICKINSON. It makes it a bit tricky to know if you've found the person you're looking for. I've sent off for the birth certificate of James HICKINSON to see if that will confirm who his parents are.
  • My parents are going over to Ireland in a couple of weeks so I'm trying to get my information together so that they can use it to show any relatives they meet up with and maybe find out more. I'm hoping that they will get time to go to the churches at Kilraughts and Derrykeighan to have a look in the graveyards for any graves of interest.
  • I've received some photos from my husband's aunt following a recent trip to St Nicholas church in Wickham. She had taken the pictures of the war memorial there with Alfred ADAMS on it. I'll scan them in and add a post soon.
  • I actually got round to replying to the messages that had been sent to me via Ancestry. Hopefully this will lead to some further information coming to light on one of our ancestors.
  • Tried out a couple of new websites that were recommended for social networking in my Family Tree magazine -, were among them. Not sure about them yet but will wait and see.
That's about it this week - no major breakthroughs but productive!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Update on Google Your Family Tree

I emailed the website for Google Your Family Tree and asked if there was a scheduled release date for the book in the UK. I had a very prompt reply waiting in my inbox which said there were no immediate plans for a separate UK edition. Unfortunately, this didn't really answer my question. I've replied asking if they know where I can buy it in the UK as I've tried to buy it direct from the website but this only gives options for shipping to the US and Canada.

If anyone knows how I can buy this book then please let me know.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

Google Your Family Tree

I was having a look at Roots Television the other day and watched an interview between Dan Eastman and an author called Dan Lynch.

Dan Lynch has written a book called Google Your Family Tree and from the 10 minute interview I learnt at least 2 things I didn't know about how to do searches on Google. If you want to exclude something from a search just put a minus sign in front of it and if you want to definitely include something in a search just put a plus sign in front of it. How simple is that???

So I then had a look at the website related to the book and that has useful things on it too. Did you know that if you put an asterisk in a search that it acts like a wildcard? So searching for "daniel * guthrie" will give back results such as Daniel James Guthrie or Daniel J. Guthrie.

I'd love to order the book but it doesn't look like it's on sale in the uk so I'm thinking about whether or not to order it from the States.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Friendly Blogger Award - Thanks

Thanks to Mary at Ancestor Tracking for nominating me for the Friendly Blogger Award.

It's great to know that I'm not the only one making a start with their Genea Blog.

I'm going to have a bit of a think about who to forward the award on to and then add them in a separate post.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Ancestral Atlas - Gedcom Update

Yesterday I received an email from Ancestral Atlas to tell me that I could now upload a GEDCOM file to the site.

I chose a very small file (only 5/6 people with 15 events max) and uploaded it. Once I received the email to tell me the file was uploaded I went to the site but couldn't see anything!!! When I clicked on Events, Places etc all I could see was a green box.

I dug around for a while and spotted that one of the preferred browsers for the site is actually Firefox not the Internet Explorer which I had been using. When I used Firefox to enter the site I could now see the data that I had uploaded.

I thought that this would mean that I could now see my locations marked on the map but I was wrong. What I have actually uploaded is just the events. I now need to go through each event, find the place on the map then edit the event to pick up the place. Each even that I uploaded is marked with "*** This event is currently not attached to a location! ***" even though there is a location in the gedcom.

This is quite a lot of work (especially if you were uploading a reasonable size gedcom) when all the information is actually held in the gedcom file itself so I'm quite disappointed. I think I will hold back and wait until the location information in the gedcom can be used to at least guess at the location of the event. If Ancestral Atlas guessed the location you could then go through and verify which would be quicker.

If anyone else has any thoughts about this please let me know as I think this site could be useful in the future once the upload of data is made easier.

Monday, 11 May 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks to Jennifer at Jennifer's Genealogy Blog for nominating me for the Lovely Blog Award. Jennifer is currently running a series on the De Luca family that is providing interesting reading.

I now need to nominate other blogs for this award but a lot of the blogs I read have already received it!!

I've decided to nominate some blogs that I enjoy reading or have recently discovered

Alex at Winging It - this blog is about a one place study of Wing which is about 30 minutes away from where I live so I often recognise places mentioned. It also highlights the many different sources that can provide information.

John at The Wandering Genealogist - a new blog to me but is proving interesting for 2 reasons - we both use the same Family Historian software and again the places mentioned are familiar to me as my husband's family come from that area.

Margaret at the Cork Genealogist - I've picked up a few tips on genealogy and Irish research from Margaret's blog even though my research isn't focused on this part of Ireland.

I read many more blogs and I'm always on the look out for new ones - either because they're interesting or because they have some sort of connection to me or my family. If you have any suggestions let me know.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Family Historian 4 - First thoughts

As I've blogged previously I use Family Historian software for my genealogy work. A couple of weeks ago a new version was published and I downloaded it.

I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting but I was slightly underwhelmed at first.

The first most obvious change is the use of Projects. As an upgrading user I'm not sure that projects are of use to me. They are a way of organising your data, source, multimedia etc so that you keep everything together. I have my media organised already and don't want a duplicate copy of everything so I think for now I won't be using the Project feature. However, if I was just starting out then I think the Project feature would be invaluable as everything would be properly organised from the beginning.

The next obvious change is the Focus window. I like this new feature as it makes it easy to see information about a particular person and their family.

You can also see the properties of the person you are "focused" on. The properties can also be customised. As well as having the usual tabs of information you can add your own.

I've added a tab to show what flags are associated with each person and I'm in the process of creating one to show all census events. This allows me to see the information very quickly and change it where necessary.

I'll leave it there for now while I carry on playing with FH4 but will review the updated multimedia functionality soon.

New website

I've been keeping myself busy recently with putting together a website showing my genealogy work to date.

We have a family site and I'm adding my family tree information to this using TNG. So far I've had to upgrade our hosting and now I'm starting to learn a bit about php coding.

Once the site is live then I'll add a link here and hopefully be able to link up with others.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Data Backup Day

Yesterday was the first of the month and should have been data backup day!!

Thanks to Elyse for reminding me - I've now copied all my files to our lovely new hard drive so I can feel happy that everything is backed up for another month!!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Another Certificate - Peter GUTHRIE death

I've ordered a couple of certificates from the GRO in Belfast now and I've been very happy with the service. It costs £12 to buy a certificate from them but always seem to arrive within a week even if I've been a bit sketchy with some of the information I've provided.

Peter GUTHRIE was my gtx2 grandfather. He died on 14 May 1888 at the age of 91in the townland of Pharis in the parish of Loughguile in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. He was a farmer and I think that the farm he had was probably the same one that my mother was brought up on.

He was a widower but so far I've had no joy in finding out who he was married to. His son, Daniel, married Jane LOUGHRIDGE. I have no idea if Daniel had any siblings. Peter appears on Griffith's Valuation in 1851 but that doesn't give me anymore information about the family.

I am slowly piecing together bits of information about Peter but the most interesting bit can be found here. According to this book one of Peter's fields was called "the graveyard field" because they found human remains and coffins!

Latest Certificate - EAGLES/JAMES marriage

Another certificate landed on the doormat today.

It's for the marriage of my husband's gtx3 grandfather and gtx3 grandmother.

Their names were James EAGLES and Sarah JAMES. James and Sarah got married in Croydon, Surrey on 30th August 1854. Strangely enough my husband actually lived in Croydon for a few years without knowing that he had a family history there.

James' occupation is given as coachman - this tallies up with the census entries I have for him. According to wikipedia, a coachman was the servant who preceded the chauffeur in domestic service before cars.

The certificate also gives me the names of James and Sarah's fathers. William EAGLES was a carpenter and Edward JAMES was a gamekeeper.

One of the witnesses was Mary Ann JAMES, I'm wondering if James and Sarah named their first child after this person - Mary Ann EAGLES is my husband's gtx2 grandmother. Perhaps this witness was a sister of James?? Something else to investigate

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Easter Eggs

So I'm trying out Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun on Genea-Musings - a Genealogy Easter Egg Hunt!!

The first step is to pick a place from my research that I don't know much about. I've picked Gibraltar. My husband's great grandmother comes from there and I'm intrigued to see if I can find out more about her and her family and how they ended up with a family in England.

Step two is to go to Google and put in the place name, the state name, and the words "genealogy" and "society." I decided to search on [gibraltar genealogy society].

For step 3 I pick the web site that looks the most interesting or promising, and search for data about your ancestor(s) that lived there. The first result that came up was the Gibraltar Genealogy website.

So let's see what I can find out.

The first stop was the message board to see if there was anyone looking for the same family as me - ROBBINS/FAIRCHILD/HERNANDEZ. Unfortunately I didn't find anything but I may leave a message.

I then followed the links on the website. Many ended up at sites that were no longer updated (some didn't even exist!) but there were a few that might give me potential leads. I will update the blog if any of these come to anything.

Thanks to Randy for highlighting a new and fun way forward though!!!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Oops - it's been a month....

Can't believe it's been over a month since I updated this blog.

Life has been busy - I've been away on a girlie weekend, then had a christening to organise and just got back from a wedding.

Hopefully things will get back to normal now and I'll be able to update on my genealogy. I've managed to get at least 1 certificate in the last month or so, continued organising and managed to do my first of the month back up onto our new hard drive.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Transcribing for FreeBMD

This week I've volunteered to transcribe for FreeBMD. FreeBMD is an ongoing project aiming to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales, and to provide free Internet access to the transcribed records.

I've found FreeBMD very useful in the past - especially for finding other halves of marriages and for births where the maiden name of the mother is part of the index.

I've downloaded all the relevant software and just uploaded my first page. Already I'm starting to get quicker while remaining accurate - hopefully!!

So far so good - I'll update on any interesting names that I find along the way.


I've noticed a lot of blogs talking about "Celebrate Your Name" week.

I looked up my name at Behind the Name and found out that it was a variant of Joan. So I looked up Joan and found out the following:

"Medieval English form of Johanne, an Old French feminine form of Iohannes (see JOHN). This was the usual English feminine form of John in the Middle Ages, but it was surpassed in popularity by Jane in the 17th century.

This name (in various spellings) has been common among European royalty, being borne by ruling queens of Naples, Navarre and Castile. Another famous bearer was Joan of Arc, a patron
saint of France (where she is known as Jeanne d'Arc). She was a 15th-century peasant girl who, after claiming she heard messages from God, was given leadership of the French army. She defeated the English in the battle of Orléans but was eventually captured and burned at the stake."

So, taking my lead from Sheri at the Educated Genealogist, I found out the hidden meaning in my name.

"Extremely intelligent in thought and deed you are gifted at communication and finding practical applications for your ideas. You are strong willed and ambitious and need to have passion, freedom and adventure in your life. Always willing to help others your warm, honest and loyal nature ensures that you are loved by all. It is likely that you will achieve a great deal of success and recognition in life."

I've been interested in the meaning of names for a while - mainly due to the fact that I've had to name 2 children in the last couple of years. I found it quite a responsibility but both of them really suit the names that we eventually chose.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

1st of the Month - Data back up done!

So, following the advice of many different blogs I've made a copy of all my genealogical data.

I'm going to back up this blog at the end of this post.

For next month I'm going to have a look at some of the online backup/storage solutions and see which one might work for me.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live (28th Feb 2009)

Yesterday I attended Who Do You Think You Are? Live at Olympia in London.

We had a really good day. We arrived at 9.45 am and headed straight to the 10am workshop presentation on Irish Records at the National Archives. There was a lot of information but I picked up a few tips that I want to follow up in the future. I made lots of notes so hopefully they will still make sense when I come back to them. I might even take a day to travel to Kew and visit the Archives in the future.

Here are a couple of photos showing the view from the gallery at about 11am. As you can see there are quite a lot of people around.

We then headed for the stands in the Irish section and had a chat with a very helpful girl on the PRONI (Public Records Office for Northern Ireland) stand. She helped us with possible lines of investigation such as the Wills on their website. She confirmed that I need to try and get hold of some of the certificates for my Northern Irish ancestors to help firm up dates and locations. Since chatting to her I'm hoping to go over to Belfast for the day to have a proper look at their records and will take on board her tips for preparing beforehand.

After wandering through the stands for a bit longer we stopped for lunch. The queues for the food outlets were long and there was always a mad dash for seats as soon as any were vacated.

The next stop was to investigate the offerings of the different genealogical societies. We chatted to people on the Berkshire and the Ulster tables. Everyone we spoke to was very knowledgeable about their area and we picked up tips along the way. I hadn't realised how much work the family history societies do - many had cd's of transcribed information that had taken years of work to put together.

We managed to not spend too much money - I picked up a couple of books including the latest version of the Genealogist's Internet which is very useful.

By this point in the day I had brain ache!!! There was so much information that it was difficult to take it all in so we headed home about 2pm but we could have stayed longer.

I'm sure I've forgotten lots of details already so I may do a second post later on after I've had a bit more time to think about it.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Organising, organising and more organising...

Today has been an organising day! (Inbetween the usual daily chores and looking after the baby of course!)

I now know what I've got, what I haven't got, printed copies of documents I only had on the pc and added another list of things to find to my to do list. I've also created a mini folder with summary info to take with me to Who Do You Think You Are Live at the weekend.

But there is definitely something satisfying looking at a nice clean folder with everything filed away.

All I need now is someone to ask me a question so that I can go to my newly arranged files and swiftly provide the answer!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Griffith's Valuation On Line

This valuation contains details of every landholder and householder in Ireland. Thanks to Margaret Jordan's post at the Cork Genealogist I've found that it is now freely available.

My Greatx2 Grandfather, Peter GUTHRIE, appears on the list in Pharis. His landlord is George Macartney who I believe is from Lissanoure Castle. I've just found their website here. I've actually been to Lissanoure about 4 years ago for my aunt's birthday party. According to the Valuation he rented house, offices and land. There is then a valuation, in this case the total rateable value is £10 15s.

Another interesting thing on this page of the valuation is that some of the other family names in Pharis were still around 100 or so years later when my mother lived in Pharis as a girl. She recognises some of them and it shows how some families just didn't move much.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2009 - Advice Welcome

On Saturday I'm going to Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2009 at Olympia in London.

I've never been to an exhibition like this and I'm not sure what to expect.

I'm going to attend 2 workshops - one on Irish Records at the National Archives in Kew, London and one with the Berkshire Family History Group.

Does anyone have any ideas what would be good to take with me? Obviously I'll take a pad and a pen but not sure how much of my own information I should take so that I can make the most of any opportunities for further research.

Dan Eastman from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter has attended in the past and posted a video on his blog which can be seen here. It looks like there is a really good atmosphere and plenty to see.

To Do List

So, now I need to come up with a list of tasks.

1. Look up relatives on Ireland Civil Registration Indexes 1845 - 1958 at FamilySearch.

2. Work out how to get certificates for Irish Births, Marriages and Deaths.

3. Get Family Historian v4 as soon as it comes out in March then use it to make sure all the information is sourced properly.

4. Add the direct line families to my binder for both lines.

5. Go through the box of bits from my mum and scan in anything interesting.

6. Look into the common places for each surname.

7. Find out about the jobs that people did.

8. Investigate any military connections.

9. Start proper lists of certificates to apply for, documents to find, questions to ask, places to visit

10. Find out what resources are available at the local library

11. Volunteer for some sort of transcribing programme or local society.

These are in no particular order but should serve as a bit of a reminder when I'm coming back to it. Time is always the thing I run out of first as it's tricky to do much research when you're looking after 2 children under 3!!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Taking a step back

So, I've got 700 or so names in our family tree. Sounds good doesn't it?

The only problem is that for most of them all I know is that they were on a census at some point or that my mum remembers a distant cousin. The majority are actually not direct line ancestors but collateral ancestors.

Luckily I've already been through once and made sure that I have a source for each fact but I feel like I need to add more focus to my research.

So, I'm getting organised and using folders (I think they are called notebooks in the States?) for surnames, then filing each family and associated documentation in their own section. This should mean that if someone says "What do you know about the family of Daniel Guthrie and Jane Loughridge?" I'll be able to go to a file and show them all the information in one place. This is based on the postings in DearMYRTLE.

It is difficult to leave behind some of the interesting stories I've started to uncover on distant relations but I can always come back to them in the future.

The 1911 Census at the Irish National Archives

Copies of the Irish 1911 census are held at the Irish National Archive website. Through this site I've been able to find details of my family at the time.

Each image shows the actual census document rather than a transcript so I've actually seen my great grandfather's handwriting!

The other good thing about this website is that it's free (unlike the 1911 census in England) so you can have a really good trawl around it.

The census return took all names, relation to the head of the family, religious preference, education, age, sex, profession, length of marriage, number of children born alive, number of children living, county of birth, whether they speak Irish or not and if they are deaf, dumb, blind or an imbecile.

As well as the individual returns you can also see the enumarator's abstract, details of the houses and buildings at each address and further information on the outbuildings

This photo shows the return for my great grandfather, Daniel GUTHRIE. On Sunday, 2nd April 1911 the family was in the townland of Pharis in the parish of Loughguile in County Antrim. This Census entry has confirmed information that I'd obtained from an old family bible that my mother has. It has also given me middle names that I didn't have.

This is the buildings information for the townland of Pharis. It shows what types of buildings and who rented from whom.

I believe I've also found the return for another great-grandfather, James HICKINSON, when he was 18 and living with this parents (my greatx2 grandparents) in Carncullogh Upper in the parish of Derrykeighan in County Antrim. I haven't yet corroborated this with other evidence but I'm working on it!

I've also found the returns for some of my collateral lines but as I'm trying to focus on my direct line ancestors I won't include them here.

I'll cover the details of the census when I describe what I've learnt about the individual families.

The Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you so much to Jennifer for sending me the Kreativ Blogger Award. It's lovely to connect with such friendly people and has definitely motivated me to add more to my blog.

So, the rules are:
  1. Copy the award to your site.
  2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
  3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
  4. Link to those sites on your blog.
  5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.

Ok, well as I'm new to the world of blogs I'm sure most of the blogs I nominate will have already received this award but here goes. (I'm not sure I'll manage 7 though....)

Elyse's Genealogy Blog - this was the first blog I found and I realised how interesting geneablogging could be

DearMyrtle - she has given me some great tips on the organisation of my research

Jennifer's Genealogy Blog - a fellow accountant interested in family history which means we have so much in common already

Facebook® Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers - I've learnt so much just from one evening of reading the posts

Small-leaved Shamrock - an irish family history blog which I'm sure will have lots of tips for me

Right, off to leave a comment on those blogs so that I've completed my first set of blogging tasks!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Websites - Worldnames

I've just found this website World Names Profiler and it's quite interesting.

It shows how surnames are distributed across the world.

Don't know how accurate it is but it does make for interesting reading.

I've checked out TILLIN and HICKINSON and they seem to match up with what I already know.

Thanks to Facebook® Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers for highlighting this website

Software - Family Historian

For my research to date I've been using a software programme called Family Historian.

This software is easy to use and has many interesting charting features. I'm now starting to use its query tool more but this is not very straightforward. It's been great to have a way of linking my source photos and documents to individuals.

There will be a new version coming out soon and I'm hoping that it has some improvements in the reporting and web section.

I've found the Family Historian User Group very useful when trying to pick up tips and ideas.

Who am I researching?

I've been looking into our family trees for a couple of years now. I started off researching my husband's family as they were predominantly in England so more straightforward for a novice. Once I'd got the hang of it I started looking into my ancestors who were based in Northern Ireland.

Since then I've collected various pieces of information on hundreds of ancestors - both direct line and collateral. The problem is that this is all very interesting but not very accessible to anyone else so I've decided to take a step back, concentrate initially on our direct line ancestors and try to put the information into a format that is easier to look at.

The names I'm going to focus on at first are
  • ADAMS - Somerset, England and Hampshire, England
  • BIRCH - Kent, England
  • FAIRCHILD - Gibraltar
  • GUTHRIE - Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • HERMON - Berkshire, England
  • HERON - Surrey, England
  • HICKINSON - Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • LOUGHRIDGE - Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • MOLLOY - Derbyshire, England
  • REDMOND - Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • ROBBINS - Kent, England, Gloucestershire, England and Gibraltar
  • SAIT - Hampshire, England
  • TILLIN - Berkshire, England and Surrey, England

The locations are where I believe the majority of our ancestors resided. This is based on Census information as well as anecdotes.

What am I doing?

So this is my first ever blog posting.

I thought I'd pop down a few thoughts on why I've decided to do a blog when I don't really know what I'm doing!

  • I've been looking at a few of the other genealogy blogs on the web and found them really interesting. Also, I've picked up a few hints and tips - especially about how to organise your research.
  • I've not found many blogs relating to UK and Ireland history so that I'm hoping to find a few along the way.
  • A blog seems like a good place to try and organise your thoughts (or "wibbles") on a particular subject and that's what this blog is all about.
  • It seems like a good place to share what I've found with other members of my family without having to work out how to set up a whole website. I'm not sure how this will work out but worth a try.
  • I might be able to get in touch with other people who can help me with my "brick walls" (currently in Northern Ireland where it's difficult to get too far back but more about that on another day).

So, off to work out what to add next.

If you've got any hints, tips, links, ideas then leave a comment and let me know.