The UGA Fellow Award is given in recognition of those living individuals whose distinguished contributions and on-going commitment to the field of genealogy are of national or international scope. This may be evidenced by any combination of publications, teaching and speaking, or leadership of major genealogical organizations over a significant period of time.
Paul Milner was the latest recipient of the UGA Fellow Award. Paul is a native of northern England. After the death of his father in 1980, he started researching his family history and turned professional in 1993. Part of his business plan was to be speaking nationally within five years. This goal was accomplished in 1996 when he spoke at his first FGS conference in Rochester, NY. He has spoken at one or both national conferences ever since as well as speaking widely at societies across the United States.
Additionally, he has spoken internationally at conferences in England, Canada and Australia and is returning to Australia to speak again in March. He has spoken on Genealogy Cruises to Alaska, the Baltic, the Western Caribbean and the South Pacific.
The first institute he attended as a student was SLIG in 1999 with a course coordinated by Dean Hunter, another UGA Fellow. He took additional courses from Dean and Burt Rawlings. The first institute he taught at was in 2002 at the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America. He has subsequently taught English and Scottish tracks at the Genealogical Institute of Mid America, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, the British Institute, and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.
Paul has served in numerous capacities on the boards of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speakers Guild, as well as his local society – the British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois.
Paul has written six how-to books on English and Scottish research as well as nearly 1,000 book reviews for the FGS Forum. He was the newsletter editor of his local society newsletter – BIGWILL for ten years and has written reviews on British Isles-related resources for 25 years.
Paul continues to develop new presentations to grow and to pass his wisdom and experience along to his enthusiastic students.
News – New Indexes for civil registration birth and deaths in England and Wales that are a game changer. Plus for a short time period there is the option to order cheaper digital versions of the certificates. Read on for more details.
On November 3rd the General Register Office put online at www.gro.gov.uk completely new indexes for births (1837-1915 – 100 year closure) and deaths (1837-1957 – 50 year closure). These are completely new indexes created from the original registers made during the now abandoned DoVE project (Digitization of Vital Events). For these time periods these new indexes will certainly replace the other indexes that are readily available on free and commercial websites. All other national indexes have been created by transcribing the existing national indexes, which are at least two generations away from the original certificates, and thus transcription errors do exist.
It is the additions to the indexes that make for exciting news here. In the birth indexes the mother’s maiden name has been added to all records, originally this information was not added until 1911. In the birth indexes the age of death is now included in all records, something not added until December 1865. Also in both indexes all forenames have been extracted. There are no initials used here as in the published national indexes.
Urgency – What is time sensitive here is that on November 9th the General Register Office started offering digital copies of the birth and death certificates, in these periods only, for a reduced price of 6 Pounds (US$7.45), as opposed to the regular price of 9 Pounds 25 Pence (US$11.49) for the paper copies. This a trial offer and is only available for 3 weeks or 45,000 pdfs, whichever comes first. It will probably be the number of certificates as this is a bargain. So do your searches now. What the government will choose to do after this is a complete unknown. I personally ordered 4 certificates yesterday on the first day and have ordered another 10 this morning. I will be ordering more.
How to Access the new GRO Indexes and Order Certificates
Go to the website – www.gro.gov.uk. Click on the link for Order Certificates Online – this will take you to a certificate ordering service notice. Click on the link for Order Certificates Online and search the GRO historic birth and death indexes.
At this point you will first need to register. If you have done this in the past you will need to sign in and then you will be sent a validation key to your registered email address. If they are going to send you digital pdfs they want to guarantee that they have a valid email address. My validation key came quickly, but online discussion groups suggest that it might take an hour. If it still has not come check your spam folder, or check old email addresses you may have used in the past.
Once in you will be asked if you want to search the birth or death indexes. Making the choice opens up the appropriate search template.
There are three fields that are required – surname, gender and year. With surnames you can search for: exact matches only; phonetically similar variations; or similar sounding variations. Personally I have had good luck with the similar sounding variations especially when dealing with my easily corrupted names like Finnigan and Callaghan. With gender you have to select male or female which means you will probably be repeating all searches twice if you are looking for the children of a particular couple rather than an individual. Then you choose a year of registration – remember this may not be the year of birth if the even occurred towards the end of the year. You can choose to select +/- 0, 1 or 2 years. So when searching for the children of a couple open the range to 2 years, and repeat the searches at 5 year intervals to pick up all the intervening years, repeating again to pick up both sexes.
Your most likely search will be the addition of the mother’s maiden name, and again you have the three same variations as you had on the surname field.
Let’s do a search for the female children of a Callaghan and Hagan couple. For Callaghan I am choosing similar sounding names, and in this example I am choosing exact name for Hagan. I am searching in 1882 +/- 2 years. I get to two results. Mary Callaghan – mother’s maiden surname Hagan – GRO Reference: 1884 S Quarter in Gateshead Volume 10A Page 887. I also get Bridget Callighan – mother’s maiden surname Hagan – GRO Reference: 1881 J Quarter Volume 10A Page 932. Note the difference in surname Callaghan and Callighan. I knew of Mary’s existence as she lived long enough to be in next census, but not Bridget. I thus checked the death indexes for Bridget and have ordered those certificates. Currently on the same line as the relevant search result you can choose to order a certificate or pdf.
Selecting either one prefills the order template. Scroll down the screen and ensure that you are ordering the less expensive pdf by email and not the standard certificate (unless you want to). Further down the screen you can also select the number of copies and you can add a personal reference number.
Illegitimate Births – To find an illegitimate birth, father unknown, you put the child’s surname which will be the mother’s surname in the surname at birth field (a required field) and leave the mother’s maiden name blank. I tested this with a couple of certificates I already had in my files and it found them.
Here the age of death is a real bonus but you still might have to get creative with your searches and watch for some errors. Again you have to provide a surname, gender and a year to search. In this example I was searching for a Mary Ann Callaghan born in the June Quarter of 1879 in Gateshead district but was not found in the household in the 1881 census. So I searched on Callaghan – similar sounding variations, first forename Mary, female 1880 +/- 1 year to catch all between 1879 and 1881. There were 111 Mary Callaghan’s. Since Mary was born in Gateshead district I assumed she might have died there, so I limited the search district to Gateshead. There was only one result for a Mary Ann Callaghan in the March Quarter of 1880 aged 11 years. I still think this is mine and I have ordered the certificate but it highlights another potential problem. Evidence is appearing online that in some case if a child dies at age 11 hours or 11 days or 11 weeks or 11 months they may get indexed as 11 years rather than a 0. Obviously this can happen for any infant so be careful and you may have to order additional records to confirm.
District Geography Issues – On the search screen there is a good listing of all registration districts by name and when they were used by time period. For many people outside of England or Wales you may not be familiar enough with local district names to know if a name is close or far from where you expect to find an event. If you are not familiar with the district names and the places within the districts look to the Registration Districts in England and Wales page on Genuki created by Brett Langston. You can see here the names of the districts within each pre and post 1974 county. You can also download a pdf Place Name Index from the same page.
On the GRO website you are limited to searching in one district. You cannot select multiple districts or counties as you can with FreeBMD so sometimes it may be better to search on other sites first. There is a workaround for this limitation to pick up a wider geographic area. For any given time period the registration districts are combined into volumes. So for example in my 1880 death search Gateshead is in Volume 10A. I can omit anything in the district field but put 10A in the Volume field and it will pick up, in this case, all entries from County Durham, giving me 4 options. District 10B would be for Northumberland. The volume numbers vary by time period so you can use the List of Registration Districts provided on this site to find the relevant numbers for the time period of interest. Note that for numbers less than 10 add a 0. So Kent which is district 2A, on this site you search on 02A
Marriages – Nothing has changed here. Marriages were not indexed or digitized as part of the DoVE project before they ran out of money. You therefore have to use the existing images and order full paper certificates.
The Future – Unfortunately we don’t know what will happen at the end of this 3 week trial period. The results will be evaluated, but that does not mean the government will act on it.
The Opportunity right now is to have access to great indexes (likely to stay) but also to be able to get lower priced digital certificates. This is a golden opportunity to find those missing children and dead ancestors that you have not been able to locate yet. Take advantage of it.
Online Project to Save Great Britain’s Place Names – Great for Genealogists
Come join the project to identify all the place names in Great Britain. First I will explain what the project is, how it works and then why it is a great way for you to get to know the neighborhood in which your ancestor lived.
The new online project – GB1900 – is calling for volunteers to help make sure local place names can live on and not be lost forever. GB1900 aims to create a complete list of the estimated three million place-names on early Ordnance Survey maps of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). It will be a free, public resource, of great value to local historians and genealogists. I will come back to this later.
The project partners include the University of Portsmouth (Great Britain Historical GIS Project: A Vision of Britain through Time); National Library of Scotland; National Library of Wales; University of Wales; The People’s Collection of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.
On their new GB1900 web site, http://www.gb1900.org, volunteers work on digital images of all the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey County Series maps of the whole of Great Britain, at six inch to one mile scale. These maps show not just every town and village but every farm, hill and wood – and include names for most of them. The site’s software enables contributors to mark each name by clicking next to it, and then to type in the name itself. To ensure correctness each name needs to be identically transcribed by two different volunteers.
The final list of place names will be not just the most detailed gazetteer ever created for Britain, it will be the world’s largest ever historical gazetteer. It will be released under a Creative Commons license, making it usable by everyone without charge.
How the GB1900 Project Works
Go to www.gb1900.org. The first time you will need to register – name, email address and password. In the future when you return to login you will provide your email address and password. As of this morning there are 590 volunteers who have transcribed 440,789 places, and confirmed 42,766 places. What this means is that many more individual places have been tagged by individuals that have been confirmed by a second transcriber. Every place is being identified by two transcribers.
The first time into the system read the brief tutorial. It is easy to understand, but read it carefully. The mistake I made by not reading the tutorial carefully enough is that I was placing the marker on the map at the location of the feature, e.g. farm, mill, etc. This was wrong. The marker needs to go under the first letter of the text for that feature. Having tagged enough places now on the maps I can see the validity of this, especially in the crowded urban areas. Unfortunately, if you put a marker in the wrong place you can’t undo it.
You will see three types of markers. Brown – these are the places you have tagged; Green – these are places someone else has tagged; Purple – these are places tagged by someone and tagged again correctly by a second transcriber. When registered, you place the cursor under the first letter of a place name and hit enter. An entry box appears. Type in the name of the feature and confirm. The marker appears on screen, but you can’t see how it is labelled. If you are confirming a green marker and type in what the other person typed it changes to a purple marker, if you type in something different you get a brown marker. As you do more data entry menus will start to appear on your data entry box as you start typing. This is especially useful if you have common features in your area of interest, e.g. quarries, old mine shafts, foot paths, foot bridges, etc.
Common mistakes that I have made include – apostrophes in the wrong place, or missed; expanding an abbreviation, e.g. street when its only st on the map, which is easy to do especially when the entry box covers up the information on the map; or being too quick and ending up with a marker being placed where there is no feature. Unfortunately, if you make a typing error and immediately spot it, or put a marker in the wrong place there is no way to correct it.
If you log out and then come back into the system, then click on your name you will be told how many entries you have transcribed and how many entries you have confirmed. There is a ranking table for transcribers, and the number selected is the lower of your two numbers. So as of this morning I am number 10 on the top ten user list with 2,021, having transcribed 2,021 names, while I have confirmed 2113 places first marked by others.
As a Genealogist you should get involved.
You should get involved because looking at these detailed 6 inch to the mile maps helps you to get to know the neighborhood in which your ancestors lived. Doing the transcription reinforces in your mind the places names – streets, farms, mills, rivers, woods, all of which are named. But also you will learn about the: wells, parish boundary markers; public houses, foot paths and foot bridges.
The gazetteer on the opening pages seems to use the underlying modern Open Street Map index, so it will not find all locations on the map. It can be used to find a village or town that you want to explore. A slider in the upper right corner of the map can show you how the area has changed between the old 1900 maps and present. For my readers outside Great Britain the find my location button will not work.
For those with Welsh ancestors this project grew out of the Cymru1900wales.org project, so there are more place names already identified in Wales than other places in Great Britain.
For those with Irish connections, the old maps are not part of this project (yet?). However, the modern interactive map of Ireland is available on the opening screen, move the slider in the upper right to the left to see the modern underlying map.
This is a fun way to get to know the area in which your ancestor lived, be involved in a worthwhile project, and most importantly you don’t have to worry about old handwriting issues that you may have with other transcription projects. Come join this fun project, help yourself and your fellow researchers. Learn your ancestral neighborhood.
20 Students gathered during the week of June 13-17 for the English research course, one of ten courses, at Samford University in Birmingham Alabama for the 51st gathering of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. There was 25 hours of learning both in the classroom and computer labs. What a great group of adult learners with a very wide range of experience both in genealogy and in English research specifically. All were challenged with their knowledge base expanding during the week; with the majority leaving feeling they could do this research for their family lines. Some made progress on their research during the week itself.
Next year’s Institute moves date and location. The Institute moves to the week of July 23-28, 2017 to be held at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. I will be teaching a track on Scottish research, which will be one of at least 10 intense learning opportunities. You will in the near future be able to find more information at http://ighr.gagensociety.org though the site is currently under construction.
For those who regret missing the English research track you have the opportunity to attend a modified version of the course entitled English Research: The Fundamentals and Beyond at the British Institute October 10-14, 2016 hosted by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH), meeting in Salt Lake City. Early registration for this event ends 14 September 2016. More information can be found at the ISBGFH website.
Come join us at one of these events and improve your English or Scottish research skills.
Irish Genealogy: Resources for Success is the title of 4 excellent webinars recorded on Wednesday March 16 at Fountaindale Public Library in Illinois. The speakers were Finlan Mullan and Gillian Hunt from the Ulster Historical Foundation who spoke with clear understandable Irish brogues. They were both a fountain of knowledge gained from practical experience and this came through clearly in the tightly packed presentations. The webinars did keep the speakers on schedule as there was a definite sense that they had more that they could have shared. I attended in person but I have looked at segments of the webinars again since getting home.
Irish Genealogy: Resources for Success (4 Webinars)
• Introduction to Irish and Scots-Irish Family History Research parts 1 and 2
• Using Land Records: Griffith’s Valuation, Tithe and Estate Records
• Census Substitutes and other important sources for Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, plus records related to different churches in Ireland
• Sources for Finding Seventeenth Century Families in Ireland
The webinars can be accessed for 30 days from the date of recording. You can find the webinars in Fountaindale Genealogy Blog posting for February 24, 2016. The YouTube videos have been inserted into the blog posting. On the same page you will find a number of practical downloadable print resources provided by PRONI (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland), NAI (National Archives of Ireland), NLI (National Library of Ireland) and the UHF (Ulster Historical Foundation). I especially liked the two timelines that are provided, but there are hundreds of pages of material here saving you the time and effort of searching for them.
There is material here for the beginner, but there also a lot here for the experienced researcher. I have been lecturing on Irish research for many years but there were still documents shown I had not seen before and the session on 17th century sources helped to clarify this complicated period in Irish history. It also showed the wealth of material that is actually available for the period. Now if only we could get all our Irish lines back that far.
Have a look at these excellent webinars with lots of valuable practical information, but remember they are only online for 30 days.
For the genealogists around the country who like to know where I am speaking here is my Upcoming schedule (outside the Chicago area – that list was posted a couple of weeks ago). Come and join me, a lot is changing in the world of British Isles genealogy.
5 Mar 2016 – Midwest Genealogy Center’s Spring 2016 Seminar at Stoney Creek Conference and Hotel Center, 18011 Bass Pro Drive, Independence MO. For more Info –
Irish Emigrants to North America: Before, During and After the Famine
Irish Maps and Tools for Finding the Right Place
Finding Your Ancestors in Ireland
Irish Land Records
12 Mar 2016 – Dallas Genealogy Society Spring Seminar – “From Whence They Came” – 1st Floor Auditorium, J. Eric Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St., Dallas TX. For more Info Dallas 2016 Spring Seminar
Effective Use of England’s National Archives Website
Irish Emigrants to North America: Before, During and After the Famine
Scottish Emigrants to North America: Before, During and After the Rebellions
Overlooked Sources for 17th and 18th Century English Research
2 Apr 2016 – St. Louis Genealogical Society 45th Annual Family History Conference – A Whole New World for Genealogists – Maryland Heights Centre, 2344 McKelvey Road, St. Louis, MO. For more Info St Louis Genealogical Society Conference
Effective Use of England’s National Archives Website
Internet Tools and Sites for British Isles Research
Are You Lost: Using Maps, Gazetteers and Directories for British Isles Research
Irish Emigrants to North America: Before, During and After the Famine
4-7 May 2016 – National Genealogical Society 2016 thirty-eight Family History Conference, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. For more Info NGS Conference
Are You Lost: Maps and Gazetteers for English and Welsh Research
Buried Treasures: What’s in the English Parish Chest
12-17 June 2016 – Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, Samford University, Birmingham, AL. Course 6: English Genealogical Research. Online Registration now open and filling IGHR Registration
English Context – History, Sources, Repositories & Processes
Find the Correct Place: Maps & Gazetteers
English Internet – National Archives (lab)
English Internet – Free Sites (lab)
English Internet – Commercial Sites (lab)
Making Sense of the English Census
Church & Diocesan Records for Birth/Marriage/Death
Tips & Tools for Navigating the English Probate System
Parish Chest/Poor Law/Quarter Session Records I +II
Nonconformists & Recusants
Occupation, Guild, & Freeman Records
British Military I + II
England Land & Landscape Records
Sources for Landed & Titled People
Overlooked Sources: 17th & 18th Centuries
Overlooked Sources: 19th & 20th Centuries
Planning Your English Trip
31 Aug – 3 Sept 2016 – Federation of Genealogical Societies 2016 Conference, Springfield IL
English Parish Registers: How to Access, Use and Interpret
Buried Treasures: What’s in the English Parish Chest
Be Prepared! Registration opens January 19 for Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University.
Registration opens Tuesday January 19 at 11 am for the 2016 Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, to be held June 12-17, 2016, at Samford University in Birmingham Alabama. After nearly 50 years this is the last year the institute will be at this location so come experience the depth of intense genealogical learning and be a part of history. Courses can and do fill quickly so fast in fact that registration for specific courses is staggered, to prevent overloading of the system, and begins at 11 am Eastern time zone. The registration page is at http://samford.libguides.com/ighr/ighr-registration
I will be teaching Course 6: Tracing Your English Ancestors with the following proposed schedule, so hopefully this will spark interest among readers. The schedule is subject to change depending upon lab availability but all the topics will be covered. There are other courses definitely worth investigating if you have already attended this course.
· 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.: Class Orientation/Introductions
· 8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.: English Context – History, Sources, Repositories & Processes
· 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.: Find the Correct Place: Maps & Gazetteers
· 12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Civil Registration
· 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: English Internet – National Archives & Free Sites (Lab) Tuesday
· 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.: English Internet – Free Sites (lab)
· 8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.: English Internet – Commercial Sites (lab)
· 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.: Making Sense of the English Census
· 12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Church & Diocesan Records for Birth/Marriage/Death
· 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Tips & Tools for Navigating the English Probate System Wednesday
· 8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.: Parish Chest/Poor Law/Quarter Session Records I
· 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.: Parish Chest/Poor Law/Quarter Session Records II
· 12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Nonconformists & Recusants
· 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Occupation, Guild, & Freeman Records Thursday
· 8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.: British Military I
· 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.: British Military II
· 12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: England Land & Landscape Records
· 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Sources for Landed & Titled People Friday
· 8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.: Overlooked Sources: 17th & 18th Centuries
· 9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.: Overlooked Sources: 19th & 20th Centuries
· 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.: Planning Your English Trip
Come join us for an exciting week of learning. This comes with a reminder though that all classes can fill quickly, but waiting lists are also an option if you come to registration late. This is an exciting week so be prepared to register on Tuesday January 19.
FindMyPast, at www.findmypast.com is offering a 75% discount off its annual World subscription rate. This brings the annual cost down to $49.87 a real bargain for access to lots of British material, along with all the US, Canadian and Australian records of course.
To take advantage of this offer use the code THNKSGNG15. The offer is valid until 11/30/2015 so if you were thinking of subscribing now would be a good time to try out. There is a constantly growing collection of British Isles related material here. Check it out.
The recent release of the 1939 Register has brought fresh excitement to British researchers. This is one of the most important documents created for twentieth century British research, because the 1931 census was destroyed during the war, and the 1941 census was never taken. I was going to write earlier this week about this but I am glad that I did not as search techniques and results presented have changed. I will provide some background information, an introduction on how to search the records and some case studies.
In December 1938 it was announced that if Great Britain went to war then there would be a National Register. Following the declaration of war of 3 September 1939 the National Registration Day was set as 29 September 1939. For those who have seen the PBS show Home Fires this event was shown in one of the early episodes. Every civilian was to be recorded, with forms being issued to over 41 million people throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland, though only the records for England and Wales have been released. Completion of the cards resulted in the issuing of national identity cards which were required to be carried at all times up to 1952, ration books, and later were used for establishing the National Health Service. The use of this record for the National Health Service is why you will see recorded the married surname of many women marrying later, and also why some people younger than age 100 are not hidden in the records, their deaths having been recorded up to 1991 in the records. If you can document that someone has died then records currently closed can be opened up.
How to access. The 1939 Register has been released online by FindMyPast in partnership with The National Archives. The Register consists of over 7,000 volumes with over 1,200,000 pages providing names, dates of birth, addresses, marital status, occupations, and sometimes additional comments for over 41,000,000 people. FindMyPast claims a 98% accuracy rate in transcription, so my ancestors must fall into that 2%, with more on this later.
FindMyPast provides additional background information, including a nice short U-Tube video about the Register, and a getting started guide on their website, though part of this is already out of date.
Anyone can do a search in the 1939 Register for free on FindMyPast, but to unlock the images you will need to purchase credits (300 credits unlocks 5 households). The purchasing of credits applies whether you are a subscriber or not. Providing you use the same registration email each time, then you will not have to pay to view the register pages in the future.
Search Options – You can do a simple search on first and last name; birth year and where they were in 1939. This might work for you but the advanced search screen opens up a great number of options. You can search on First and Last names, with variants; birth year, with optional range of years; date and month of birth; place keyword; sex; occupation; marital status; street; borough / district filter; county filter; country filter; first and last name of other household member; plus TNA reference. If you scroll down the search screen you will find explanations of these fields and these should definitely be read if you don’t find who you are looking for.
Example – Walter Crowhurst – gg-grandfather
Let’s provide some examples. We will start with a search for Walter Crowhurst, born 1859 – my gg-grandfather. Because of the age there are only two options and we choose the one in Strood R.D. in Kent. The preview screen shows Walter Crowhurst born in 1859, in a house with two other people. There are no closed entries in this household, implying that the other two people are either known to be deceased or would be over 100 years old. To see all the details the household needs to be unlocked. This is where you need to register and purchase credits (a subscription to FindMyPast is separate and not required).
Unlocking the household shows us that Walter Crowhurst was born 12 Sept 1859 is a pensioner, and is living with two of his sons: Victor James Crowhurst, born 21 Jun 1896 a farm labourer; and John Lenard Crowhurst born 13 Sep 1898 a Labourer. The new information for me is that beside John Lenard’s name we have in the comments section – Pensioner Gunner 21 years in Royal Artillery with the number NC1031520.
Given his age this suggests that he probably served during World War One but will not likely show up in any of the normal WWI records because he continued to serve after the war, and thus his records will still be at the Ministry of Defence. Walter’s address is given as Rose Cottage, Upper Halling, with no street being provided. It is common for houses in Britain to have names and so care is needed if an address search is performed.
Scrolling down the screen on the opened results page you will find a map highlighting where the house is located. You can see the house on the 1888-1913 Ordnance Survey six inch map, or the 1937-1961 Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 map. This can give you an indication of how the neighborhood has changed over time, though in this example it has not changed much.
Example – James Croudace – g-grandfather
Let’s search for James Croudace my great-grandfather born according to the 1939 Register on 10 Nov 1884 but this is actually incorrect because his birth certificate shows that he was born on 7 Nov 1884. This example highlights the care needed with trying to search using the dates of birth. James is listed as a widow and working as a general labourer. Note that the address is shown on this image as 29 ditto, with no indication above showing what street is. On the preview page the address is shown as 29 West Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne CB, Northumberland, England. So be careful that you have collected all the information that the record provides as it may not all be on the actual image.
No relationship is known to any of the other people in the rest of the household but it is a good example of what additional information you may find. Annie Graham born 17 Feb 1910, probable wife of Joseph Graham is overwritten in green ink to show a new married surname of Bickerdyke, while off to the side also in green is a dated entry 26-2-69 showing CR283 New, actually this is the date of her new marriage.
Example – Richard and Jean Finnigan – grand-parents
The above examples were easy to find. Let’s see how creative you might have to get. I was looking for Richard Finnigan born 22 Sep 1904 but he was not found in the search because of a FindMyPast transcription error on the month, and Richard giving a wrong year of birth, plus no Finnigan’s showing up on the results page. I did a search for Jean using date of birth and again no Finnigan matches. I recalled that the family moved in the 1930s as part of a slum clearance to Aldwick road in Newcastle-upon-Tyne so I did a search – but there were no Finnigan’s on the street. The search was repeated just for the street name, and there were multiple results screens but one potential Richard and one potential Jean. Now when I first did the search the TNA reference number was given and you could search on that number to reduce the number of potentials. It showed the Richard and Jean to be on the same page of results, with one closed record. I wish the TNA reference option was returned because it gave me enough encouragement to think I had the correct family in spite of the errors.
I paid to unlock the record and it was the correct family – Richard + Jean + 4 closed records (not 1as the search screen suggested). So why was the family so difficult to find? In the FindMyPast index their surname was listed as ~??? – try finding that surname on a search, though it is readable as Finnigan. Richard is employed as a Brass Foundry labourer in the heavy works, and in the comment field listed as an ARP Warden, the first documentation I have of this family story. The other confirmation I have that I have the correct family is that Richard’s middle name – Nicholson – has been added in green ink.
Example – Reginald Ernest Milner and Jane Milner- grandparents
My grandfather Reginald Ernest Milner, born 6 August 1904, plus his wife Jane Milner (nee Croudace) born 22 January 1909 along with my father James B.W. Milner born 4 October 1929 (died 1980), plus two closed brothers are all missing an unaccounted for in the 1939 Register. I have tried all sorts of combinations of names, dates and no names but with no luck so far. I think this family may fall foul of one of the exceptions in that military families are not included and I suspect Reginald was in the Army reserves and may already have been called up. My understanding is if he was in the army he would not be in the Register, but does that mean his family was not either? I include this family in the blog to point out that not everyone is easy to locate and therefore you have to think about why not. Is it an indexing problem, missing information or do they meet one of the exceptions. Unlike the Finnigan I am not sure where this family was in September 1939 – Mill Lane, Newcastle; farming in Essex; visiting family in Kent; at an army base in Yorkshire. No matter I can’t find the family anywhere.
Summary – For those with ancestors or relatives still in England or Wales in 1939 you should be looking at this resource. You can do free searching in the indexes, but you will have to pay to see the results. It will provide birth dates, which you may or may not have already, give locations and occupations, and may provide additional information.