IGHR Registration opens Tuesday January 19. Attend my English research track.

IGHR - Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research logo sponsored by Samford University, Birmingham Alabama.
Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research sponsored by Samford University Library, Birmingham Alabama.

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.

Monday.
· 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 Discount for Thanksgiving

FindMyPast offering 75% off World subscription
FindMyPast offering 75% off World subscription

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.

Release of 1939 Register for England and Wales

1939 Register symbol on FindMyPast
1939 Register symbol on FindMyPast

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.

Background information

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.

Search for Walter Crowhurst on Advanced search screen showing all options
Search for Walter Crowhurst on Advanced search screen showing all options

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

Free preview screen for Walter Crowhurst household in Strood Rural District, Kent
Free preview screen for Walter Crowhurst household in Strood Rural District, Kent

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).

Unlocked results screen for Walter Crowhurst household
Unlocked results screen for Walter Crowhurst household

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.

Details for Walter Crowhurst of Rose Cottage, Upper Halling, Kent
Details for Walter Crowhurst of Rose Cottage, Upper Halling, Kent

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.

Map showing location of Rose Cottage in Upper Halling where Walter Crowhurst Resides.
Map showing location of Rose Cottage in Upper Halling where Walter Crowhurst Resides.

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

Unlocked results screen for Richard Nicholson Finnigan and Jean Finnigan of 93 Aldwick Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Unlocked results screen for Richard Nicholson Finnigan and Jean Finnigan of 93 Aldwick Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne

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.

Unlocked results screen for Richard Nicholson Finnigan and Jean Finnigan of 93 Aldwick Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Unlocked results screen for Richard Nicholson Finnigan and Jean Finnigan of 93 Aldwick Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne

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.

News: UPCOMING Virtual Institute – An In-Depth Look at the ‘Big Four’ Records of English Research

Paul Milner - Virtual Institute for Genealogy - the Big Four Records for English Research - English Census research - English Parish Register research - English probate research - English Church Records Research
Paul Milner – Presenter for the Virtual Institute

UPCOMING Virtual Institute: “An In-Depth Look at the ‘Big Four’ Records of English Research”
By Paul Milner

30 May and 6 June 2015

Standard $69.99
Plus $99.99
Click here to register for this course
When doing English and Welsh research there are four major record groups that most researchers will or should utilize – civil registration, census, church records and probate potentially covering the time period from the 1380s to the present. With the ever increasing numbers of these records being put online through free or subscription based services it is becoming easier to find individuals. Speed though often increases the risk of finding a person with the right name in the right place, but who is not the correct individual and thus the researcher goes off climbing a tangential or incorrect family line.

These institute presentations will take an in-depth look at the four major record groups – civil registration, census, church records and probate as they relate to research in England and Wales. You will get a good grounding in how and why the records were created, how they are organized, their content, how to find them online and offline, and how to effectively use them to construct a solid family tree. Case studies are used throughout highlighting search techniques, problems to watch for, and how to use the records as a starting point to put ancestors into context. The fundamentals are provided for those new to English and Welsh research, but the case studies and tips will be of value to more experienced researchers.

Paul Milner, a native of northern England is a professional genealogist and international lecturer, having presented extensively on British Isles research in the USA, Australia, Canada and England. He is the author of Discover English Census Records (forthcoming, UnlockThePast 2015); Buried Treasures: what’s in the English parish chest (UnlockThePast, 2015); Discover English Parish Records (UnlockThePast, 2014); Genealogy at a Glance: England Research (Genealogical Publishing Co, 2011); plus co-author with Linda Jonas of A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage (Betterway Books, 2000); and A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your Scottish Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage (Betterway Books, 2002). He holds an advanced degree in Theology and is particularly knowledgeable about the church and its role in record keeping.
Paul is the course coordinator for the English and Scottish research tracks at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He has also taught the Scottish track at the British Institute in Salt Lake City organized by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History. Paul is currently the book review editor for the BIGWILL newsletter and recently retired review editor of the FGS FORUM. He is the past-president of the British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois (BIGWILL), and a past board member of the Association to Professional Genealogists, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and the Genealogical Speakers Guild. Paul focuses on British Isles resources and methodology on his blog at www.milnergenealogy.com.

Course Schedule (all times U. S. Eastern) – each session is 90 minutes with Q&A
30 May 2015
• 11:00am “English Civil Registrations: Tips for use and problem solving”
• 1:00pm “Making Sense of the English Census”

6 June 2015
• 11:00am “English Parish Registers: How to Access, Use and Interpret”
• 1:00pm “Tips and Tools for Navigating the English Probate System”

England Times – 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm
Perth Australia Times – Saturday 30 May 11:00 pm and Sunday 1 June 1:00 am
Sydney, Australia Times – Sunday 1 June 1:00 am and 3:00 am
Wellington, New Zealand Times – Sunday 3:00 am and 5:00 am
The webinar will be recorded and made available at a later date for purchase.

Buried Treasure: what’s in the English Parish Chest – new publication by Paul Milner

Buried Treasures - what's in the English Parish Chest - Paul Milner author genealogist
Buried Treasures: What’s in the English Parish Chest – new book by Paul Milner from Unlockthepast Publications.

Buried Treasure – What’s in the English Parish Chest is fresh off the presses and is being released at the Rootstech / Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference this week in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is available for purchase at Maia’s Books and can also be viewed at the UnlockthePast Booth.

Buried Treasure – What’s in the English Parish Chest examines all the records created by parish officials for the civil and religious administration of the English parish, except the baptism, marriage and burials records described so well in the companion volume – Discover English parish registers.

Records surviving in the parish chest will often solve your brick wall problems, including: “Where did my ancestor come from before here?” or “Who is the father of that illegitimate child?” In this detailed guide, family historian Paul Milner explains how and why the records were created, how changing laws affected who was and was not included, what the records look like and what information they contain. After showing examples of numerous records, the guide explains how and where to access the records, (online, microfilm, originals or in print).

Here is a practical guide that will help family researchers solve their problems, and put them into historical context. This small volume is full of material for both the beginner and the experienced researcher. It is a well-illustrated guide to the contents of the English parish chest that allows any researcher to go way beyond the baptism, marriage and burial registers commonly used for parish research.

The book will be available soon in Australia from UnlockthePast, in Canada from Global Genealogy, in the US from Maia’s Books and in the UK from My History.

Unlock The Past 8th Genealogy Cruise to the Baltic Seaports

Saturday 11 July 2015 to Saturday 25 July 2015 Baltic Cruise
8th Unlock The Past Genealogy cruise from Southampton to the Baltic Seaports 11-25 July 2015.

Unlock The Past Cruise to the Baltic Seaports is scheduled and space is filling up. If you are interested check it out on the UnLock The Past website. I recently gave 24 different lectures, in three cities and I promoted the cruise at those venues.  Since returning I have had further inquiries so I thought it best to post a fresh reminder of where to find information and summarize the trip – some may say a trip of a lifetime – and you get to hear me again 🙂  This is the companies 8th Genealogy Cruise – for 14 nights from Saturday 11 July 2015 to Saturday 25 July sailing from Southampton England to the Baltic Seaports aboard the Celebrity Eclipse, operated by Celebrity Cruises.

The key speakers are Paul Milner (myself, just in case you came here via a search engine and you missed who’s blog you are reading); Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi’s List fame (http://cyndislist.com) from the United States; Carol Baxter, the History Detective, a great history writer from Australia (www.carolbaxter.com) ; and Chris Paton from Scotland who writes British GENES, a must-read blog for keeping up-to-date on the news from the genealogy world in the British Isles (http://britishgenes.blogspot.com). Other confirmed speakers include Rosemary and Eric Kopittke, Helen Smith, and Shauna Hicks from Australia; Daniel Horowitz from Israel; Dr. Janet Few, Caroline Gurney and Jane Taubman from England; and Carol Becker from the United States. The presentations in the program are still being worked out but you can see the outline. No matter your interests it will be a great conference and you will get to hear some of the best speakers in the world and have opportunities to learn from one another.

This cruise will offer over 100 topics offered in 50 sessions; special interest groups; Research Help Zone times offering one-on-one and small group opportunities with the experts; opportunities to purchase Unlock The Past and author publications; with visits to some of the world’s great cities along the way. There is also an additional signup bonus for those singing up by November 10 – see website for details. Please also note that much of the cabin block assigned for this conference is selling out fast, so if you are interested make contact soon.

From Southampton the cruise will sail to: Zeebrugge (Brussels) Belgium; Warnemunde, Germany; Muuga (Tallinn) Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; and returning to Southampton.

To book the cruise or for more information check out Unlock The Past site at www.unlockthepastcruises.com/cruises/8th-unlock-the-past-cruise-baltic . If the schedule for this genealogy cruise does not meet your need, check out the upcoming Unlock The Past cruises sailing across the Atlantic; a European river cruise; or around Australia and New Zealand. There is certainly lots to choose from, and all are well organized conferences.

Come Join Us.

Guardian Newspaper publishes collection of Untold Stories of World War One

The Guardian Newspaper has just published online a collection of “Untold Stories of the War” referring to World War One.

These short stories are told by twelve familiar British authors: Jeremy Paxman – HMS Audacious sunk on 27 October 1914 yet spent the whole war on the official complement of the Royal Navy throughout the war; Michael Morpurgo – who after talking with two old veterans decided to write about the war from the perspective of a horse, creating the book War Horse, later turned into a popular movie; Sebastian Faulks – the horrors seen by the soldiers; Margaret MacMillan – Britain declaring war in the “proper manner” , Richard Curtis – discusses the comedy in the War leading to the writing of the sitcom Blackadder Goes Forth and the power of the final minutes of the sitcom; Terry Pratchett – How the soldiers became known as “Tommies”; Pat Barker – the humanizing of the wounded soldiers in the pastels of Henry Tonks a surgeon and illustrator; Richard J. Evans – the surrender of German officer in New Guinea after the end of the war; Max Hastings – the bloodiest day of the war – 22 August 1914 when the French lost 27,000, the bloodiest day for the British was the 1 July 1916 with 20,000 fatalities; Antony Beevor – tells of the divided views of how historian’s view the war, but ends with the personal diary entry of his grandfather-in-law winning the DSO; Douglas Newton – discusses the behind the scenes maneuvering by British politicians that led to its commitment to war; and Helen Dunmore – explains a game of Bomb Ball to be found in an official pamphlet on games, which is in reality an understanding of the rules for handling grenades.

This is a long piece by newspaper standards but worth reading for the fascinating vignettes told about the war.

I want to thank John Reid who brought this to my attention in his blog – Anglo-Celtic Connections.