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January 2010

Past Search Newsletter A year gone and a year to come One of the more difficult we’ve had drama and Festival and all my customers w years of the recent past, excitement e on the who sent their regards upon 2009 has been weathered home front. hearing of Ian’s predicament. well in this corner of In August my Better family news came W.D.Y.T.Y.A. Norfolk. partner Ian had a when my daughter Cáitlin Firstly thank you to rrather dramatic and decided to marry Jos, her long all my customers for theirr worrying wo o reaction term partner. support over the past year. to swine flu, or possibly The wedding is in April, The fact so many are still Tamiflu. which will add a new Blanchard commissioning me for research This rather put the dampers marriage certificate to be and attending classes in such on our summer holiday. In the unearthed in the future. austere times is very touching. finest tradition of the NHS, I’ll sign off this article by Looking at a brighter future, the staff at the Royal Devon & wishing everyone a happy new I’ve been invited to speak at Exeter hospital were fantastic. year and the best of luck in their Who Do You Think You Are Our thanks also goes to the family history endeavours and Live, on 26 February. I will helpful staff at Sidmouth Folk life in general. be presenting ‘Your Norfolk Ancestors: An Insiders Guide’ Rosary Cemetery becomes Grade II* listed from 12.45 to 1.30 pm. The event is at Olympia in London, over the weekend of 26-28 February. I’ll have a stand there on every day of the event. The stand is number 86, next door to the nice people from Pharos Tutors. Life hasn’t been all business,

It’s tradition... ● First Footing: After midnight householders would wait for a dark haired person to arrive at their door and cross the threshold. The person carried a piece of coal, some bread, some money and some greenery. The items symbolised prosperity and luck for the coming year. ● Frost Fairs: In the ‘Mini Ice Age‘ of 1550-1750 the Thames frequently froze over in January, sometimes for up to three months. New Year’s Day saw skating, sledding and even stalls being set up on the ice.

Norwich’s Rosary Cemetary has been declared to be of “more than special interest” by English Heritage. Only five percent of buildings and places in England are Grade II* listed. This graveyard was Britain’s first nondenominational cemetery, it was founded in 1819 by Thomas Drummond. Using his life savings, the nonconformist minister bought a former market garden to convert into the 13 acre resting place of over 18,500 people.

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Teaching genealogy I am looking forward to engaging with new and returning students with a lot of teaching this year. It’s been 13 years since I gained my adult teaching PGCE. Teaching is also great for getting out and seeing what really interests people. Often the topics of discussion in classes are what people want their research to focus on when I’m rooting through records. Over the years I have taught a great range of people in all sorts of places from prisons and village halls all the way up postgraduate students at the University of East Anglia. Learning how to assess student’s needs, design courses

and structure lessons are essential skills, with most of the best teachers having undergone formally recognised training courses appropriate to their audience.

This month in history... ● 9 January, 1799: The first income tax is introduced by the Prime Minister, William Pitt. Those earning more than £60 a year had to pay a 0.8333 per cent tax. ● 10 January, 1863: The London Underground opens between Paddington and Farringdon stations. It was the first underground commuter railway in the world.

Addressing an audience in Norwich

I am now on Twitter, at: Also my blog should be up and running soon at:

● 18 January, 1486: Henry VII marries Elizabeth of York. The union ends the War of the Roses, which was fought between the houses of York and Lancaster. ● 19 January, 1915: The first ever bombs fall on Britain as German airships bomb Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn.

News and recent events I’ve given well received talks to the London branch of the Norfolk Family History Society at the Society of Genealogists. I also spoke at the Great Yarmouth branch of NFHS. My thanks go to those who attended and I hope they got something out of the evenings. Look out for an article by me based around a servants’ wages book from a Walsingham estate due to be published in Ancestors magazine. It will explain a bit about how such a relatively innocuous

document can yield fascinating insights into people’s lives I’m busy working on my next publication for Pen & Sword on how to trace the history of a house or a property. The deadline is looming for the beginning of May, so the computer’s keyboard is about to endure a lot of typing. I’ve researched numerous house histories, so this book will be tying together what I’ve learnt across all of them. When it’s finished the book will set out the techniques for finding out who has called a building home over the generations and how its physical structure has changed.

Zeppelins caused fear and panic ● 23 January, 1901: After 64 years on the throne Queen Victoria dies aged 81. She is still Britain’s longest reigning monarch. ● 26 January, 1788: The first convicts to be transported to Australia arrive at Port Jackson. The date is now commemorated in the country as ‘Australia Day’.

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Upcoming Pharos online courses The Poor, The Parish and The Workhouse: Records in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Start: 31/03/2010

the records cover those who had to pay into the coffers that funded the Poor Law’s benefits.

Searching for Wills and Administrations in England and Wales. Start: 10/06/2010

The parish poor may seem to be a forgotten section of society for many centuries, but detailed records of them do exist. This course covers the background and language of key types of record. It also explains how to use the wealth of online information that is available. Even those tracing ancestors from wealthier families can gain from the course, because

Tying the Knot: Marriage and its Records. Start: 18/05/2010

Records of wills and administrations reveal what a person owned and to whom they wished to give it in death. Seeing who was rewarded and who was slighted is intriguing. Often wills name many relatives besides the next of kin. This course covers wills before and after 1858, administrations before and after 1858 and death duty registers.

This is a brand new course and a valuable addition to the Pharos repertoire. Marriage records are vital for tracking name changes and seeing how families combine com co m and diverge. T The core of this course c covers the history of marriage law and m methods of finding rrecords produced in accordance with it. a

Upcoming courses and talks Writing Your Family History. to fly the nest and start looking Starting: 11/04/2010 at Norfolk for, and looking at, physical Family History Society. documents. This course is designed to This course will concentrate on show how online research skills how to bring your ancestors to apply to finding information life and how to present your in paper records and impart research as a written story. the new skills necessary for Six fortnightly workshops research in the real world. will take place on Sunday Eight weekly classes will take afternoons; 1:30 to 4:30pm. place on Thursdays; 6:30 to The Norfolk Family History 8:30pm. Society is based at 70 St. Giles Street, Norwich. The society is 30 years old and has a dedicated research centre Writing Your Family History. with a library that is open to all. Starting: 03/07/2010 at the There is lots of useful material Society of Genealogists. even if you have no local ancestors. Three interlinked, practical creative writing workshops will From Computers to Records: teach participants to bring the How to Develop your story of their ancestors to life. Research Beyond the Internet. These workshops explain the Starting 22/04/2010 at Norfolk different phases of writing and Family History Society. editing. Three Saturday afternoon The internet is now a ubiquitous classes on 3 July, 17 July and 31 and bountiful starting place for July. many researchers. But eventually it becomes time

The Society of Genealogists on Goswell Road, London

Other events ● 10 February: I will be delivering a talk on family history to the Poringland Women’s Institute at Poringland Community Centre ● 12 May: I will be telling the Norwich Business Womens Network about running a historical research business. Venue to be confirmed.

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Some informative page-turners... British Architectural Styles: An Easy Reference Guide by Trevor Yorke

Book Company. It retails at £4.99 in a paper-back binding.

It covers terminology and the basics of research techniques with enthusiasm and humour. A Glossary of Words Used in Although a great East Anglia by Walter Rye introduction to family history research this book has little to In 1895 Walter Rye compiled offer experienced researchers. a precursor to the slang Who Do You Think You Are is dictionaries of today by looking published by BBC Books. It at the regional dialects of East retails at £4.99. Anglia. Most documents include little slang, but as an insight into how people once spoke the book is fascinating and amusing. A Glossary of Words Used in East Anglia is published by Oxford University Press. It retails at £17.00.

This book is a great starting point for anyone looking to gain an understanding of how building design has evolved. More importantly it explains which features denote certain eras of building. The reader learns to see where features have been added and even removed from buildings over time. Making it a great companion to a visit to an ancestors house. A slight niggle is that the book covers mainly houses, which is great for the family historian, but may leave a little to be Who Do You Think You Are? desired for the architectural by Dan Waddell buff. British Architectural Styles: The tie-in book to the TV An Easy Reference Guide is series is a great introduction to published by the David Brown family history for novices.

... and some online offerings freepages.genealogy. rootsweb.ancestry. com/~tinstaafl/ The Norfolk Baptism project is a great little site full of complete indexes of records from many Norfolk churches. Using the moniker ‘Tinstaffl Transcripts’, an anonymous researcher has been busy writing up the transcripts of thousands of records. It is very rare for someone to provide such a great volume of data and simply give it away. The scale of the altruistic endeavour that

is involved in making this site is worthy of great praise. It is worth noting that getting some proper instruction in transcribing and ordering records is advised before starting a record website. A lack of accuracy taints many well-intentioned sites of this nature. A broad range of databases are available on the Origins Website. They can be searched for names to see if there is any leads worth following up on. Members of the Society of Genealogists are entitled to a certain number of free searches each year. This is because includes several databases

held at their library. Subscriptions start at £4.50 for three days access to the English, Scottish or Irish databases. It is £7.50 for access to all three. This offer gives a taster of the site and can provide a good weekend of research. Although some of the databases can be clunky to use it includes some real gems that make the subscription worth its weight in gold. These include Boyd’s Marriage Index and the National Apprenticeship Index, London burials as well as some census returns and material relating to Ireland and Scotland. If you have Irish ancestry the library section has photographs, drawings and accounts of 19th century tours.

Past Search Newsletter January 2010  
Past Search Newsletter January 2010  

Past Search Newsletter January 2010