Friday, 24 October 2014

Temporary closure at Portsmouth History Centre

From the Federation of Family History Societies (www.ffhs.org.uk) in England, and Portsmouth History centre, news of a temporary archive closure:

We will shortly be moving our archive collections to new storage, and as a result Portsmouth History Centre will be closed from 17 to 28 November 2014. During this period staff will be unable to answer written or telephone enquiries. In preparation for the move many collections will be unavailable for study from 3 November until 5 December.

Please make your users aware of this. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Michael Gunton
Senior Archivist
Library and Archive Service
City Development and Cultural Services
Portsmouth City Council

Tel: 023 9283 4717 or 023 9268 8043
Email: Michael.Gunton@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

(With thanks to Beryl Evans and Michael Gunton)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Saturday service trial from Glasgow Genealogy Centre

The Glasgow Genealogy Centre (https://glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3214), operated by the Registrar's Service to provide access to the ScotlandsPeople computer system for £15 unlimited research a day, is running a pilot scheme to trial Saturday openings on an occasional basis. The next Saturday when it will be open is Saturday 22nd November 2014, from 9.30am to 4.00pm. There is in fact a session this coming Saturday 25th, but it is already fully booked.

The Burns Monument Centre already offers Saturday access on a weekly basis in Kilmarnock, though ironically, the provider of the service itself in Edinburgh does not. As not everybody works civil service hours, this is a very welcome development - here's hoping the Glasgow trial leads to something a bit more permanent!

(With thanks to Jack Davis via the Scottish Genealogy Network LinkedIn forum)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

MyHeritage and 23andMe announce collaboration

From MyHeritage (www.myheritage.com), news of a new collaboration between the company and DNA firm 23andMe (www.23andMe.com). First, video of MyHeritage founder Gilad Japhet breaking the news on Bloomberg TV is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1MefhlGTA8 - and below:



And the press release:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California & TEL AVIV, Israel - October 21, 2014: 23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, and MyHeritage, the leading destination for discovering, sharing and preserving family history, announced today a strategic collaboration that will provide an enhanced experience for individuals to discover their legacy based on genetic ancestry and documented family history.

23andMe pioneered autosomal DNA ancestry analysis for consumers, and has created the largest DNA ancestry service in the world. With a simple saliva sample 23andMe can reveal the geographic origins of distant ancestors and help people discover unknown relatives. MyHeritage helps millions of families worldwide find and treasure their unique history with easy-to-use family tree tools, a huge library of more than 5.5 billion historical records and innovative matching technologies for automating discoveries. Integrating the market leading solutions in ancestral DNA and family trees will provide an unparalleled experience for customers of both companies.

“We believe this collaboration with MyHeritage will offer our customers a vastly improved opportunity to build their family tree and discover new connections,” said Andy Page, President of 23andMe. “Given MyHeritage’s technology leadership in the ancestry space and vast global reach, we are excited about the value this relationship will bring to our customers around the world.”

“Combining genealogy with DNA-based ancestry is the next evolution in uncovering family history,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “DNA testing can connect you to relatives you never knew existed, who descend from shared ancestors centuries ago, but family trees and historical records are critical to map and fully understand these connections. We have great respect for 23andMe’s technology and values, and its pioneering approach to genetics represents strong potential value for our users in the future.”

23andMe will offer its more than three quarters of a million customers around the globe access to MyHeritage’s family tree tools. This will allow 23andMe’s customers to enjoy automated family history discoveries. Smart Matching™ automatically finds connections between user-contributed family trees and Record Matching automatically locates historical records from the billions of records available on MyHeritage, pertaining to any person in the family tree. MyHeritage will utilize 23andMe's API to provide the best experience for customers, by allowing any two people with matching DNA to explore their family tree connections. MyHeritage will also offer 23andMe's Personal Genome Service® to its global community of more than 70 million registered users, in addition to the DNA tests it already offers.

The first phase of integration will be complete by early 2015.

(With thanks to Laurence Harris and Daniel Horowitz)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

First World War medical records on Forces War Records

From Forces War Records (www.forces-war-records.co.uk):

REVEALED FOR THE FIRST TIME:
Personal medical records of WW1

To mark this month’s centenary of the devastating First World War battle of Ypres, military genealogy website Forces War Records has released newly transcribed versions of the medical and hospital records of 31,000 men who fought along the Western Front. Available now, these rare accounts, from the 51st Field Ambulance, comprise just the first tranche of 1.5 million the company has recently discovered - and is now transcribing. They are archive gems for those researching their family history.

Apart from documenting the men’s names, service and medical details and movements, whether returned to the Front, sent back to Blighty, or ending in death, they also shed light on a grisly line-up of the top 20 most common injuries and ailments suffered by the men, from expected conditions such as trench foot and mustard gas poisoning, through to more surprising ones, including lice (97 per cent of men were infested), scabies and sexually transmitted diseases.

An e-book: Trench Traumas and Medical Miracles, has also been published. Compiled by Forces War Records’ expert researchers and downloadable free from www.forces-war-records.co.uk, it explains and adds further context to these rare documents. The e-book paints a picture of everyday life on the front line and explains the ‘chain of evacuation’: how and where these men were patched up (or not) and what was done with them next.

It also catalogues the legion of problems the medical practitioners saw on a daily basis, with many soldiers suffering from a combination of conditions at once.

In addition to battlefield traumas, social diseases also took their toll. Sexually transmitted diseases were rife as soldiers visited French brothels looking for warmth, comfort and a release from the horrors of the trenches.

Besides the ‘top 20’ list, additional common hazards of war included deafness from artillery fire, bayonet wounds, tonsillitis, haemorrhoids, in-growing toenails, even broken dentures and glasses. Many self-inflicted wounds (some imparted in a bid to escape front line duty, a punishable offence) were also recorded – and the Forces War Records team noted a number where ‘injury with pick-axe’ was cited.

The team found the records to be quite inconsistent. For instance 300 men could be affected by mustard gas on one day, but then there were quiet days where non-emergencies such as tooth decay were treated. One entry that stood out was a soldier who contracted gastroenteritis after drinking fetid water from a shell crater, such was his desperation to slake his thirst.

But there were lighter moments, such as muscles sprained from football matches and an unfortunate Private Crack who’d been shot in the buttocks.

Significance of the records
The records, the originals of which are stored at the National Archives in Kew, have not been transcribed before now since they are handwritten, many in faint pencil or with lots of abbreviations, and therefore very difficult to read and interpret. Methods of recording and fluctuating levels of accuracy between the 100 year old books also made the records challenging to decipher, even for Forces War Records’ specialist data entry staff.

In some cases the field ambulance record may be the only existing proof that an ancestor fought in the war, as it can be hard to find information on men who were injured in the war but survived.

This first collection we have digitised is from the 51st Field Ambulance, a mobile frontline medical unit that would have been based about 400 yards behind the Regimental Aid Post. It would have had special responsibility for the care of casualties from the 17th Division (an infantry division of between 12 and 14,000 men from many different regiments). It was the most forward of the RAMC units dealing with these troops, and the first line of documentation for casualties.

The records run from 17 July 1915 to 13 August 1918.

(With thanks to Nicki Giles and Dominic Hayhoe)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Mental health archive records to be digitised

The Wellcome Library has announced a UK wide project to digitise 800,000 pages of archival material from psychiatric hospitals from the 18th to the 20th centuries. From the news release:

The Wellcome Library will partner with the Borthwick Institute for Archives, London Metropolitan Archives, Dumfries and Galloway Council Archives, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archives, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists for the project, which will bring together documents from the York Retreat, St Luke’s Hospital Woodside, Crichton Royal Hospital, Gartnavel Royal Hospital and Camberwell House Asylum. These collections will be added to the Wellcome Library’s own collection of archives from public and private mental health institutions, including the records of Ticehurst House Hospital in Sussex, which provide a rare insight into the running of a privately run asylum.

For the full story visit http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/News/Media-office/Press-releases/2014/WTP057722.htm

(With thanks to @SueWilkesauthor)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Remembering Ruhleben: The other RHS

A forthcoming event by the Garden Museum and the Royal Horticultural Society to commemorate some of the British and British Empire prisoners who were interned at the Ruhleben POW camp near Berlin during the First World War:

Garden Museum in collaboration with the RHS presents 
REMEMBERING RUHLEBEN: The other RHS


An evening of readings, music & song to celebrate the forgotten story of a horticultural society that sprung up in the midst of war
WEDNESDAY 12 November 2014
7.00pm - 8.30pm


'A story of British ingenuity and gumption, which had horticulture at its heart'
The Daily Telegraph

November, 1914. War has been declared. An order is given for British men in Germany to be arrested and sent to Ruhleben Internment Camp - a bleak and abandoned racetrack near Berlin. Faced with no facilities, limited supplies and winter fast approaching, the prisoners did the only thing they could: 'maintain the British ideal of patriotism, patience, courage and usefulness through four long years.'


As Ruhleben was transformed through the prisoner's efforts, a very British Horticultural Society was set up, and - just like any Horticultural Society back home - they turned to the RHS for help.

Largely forgotten today, this remarkable story will be retold by actors, using diary extracts, live music, poems, and various musings from the Ruhleben Camp Magazine.

Programme
6.30pm
Doors open

7.00pm
Performance

8.00pm
Q&A with Fiona Davison, Head of the RHS Lindley Library

This event celebrates the Gardens and War Exhibition, on at the Garden Museum until 5 January 2015

Tickets
£20 Standard
£15 Garden Museum and RHS Members

To book, please visit www.gardenmuseum.org.uk or call 020 7401 8865

The RHS is searching for stories about the Ruhleben gardeners from their friends and descendants. Anyone with information can contact the RHS at libraryenquirieslondon@rhs.org.uk

COMMENT: Thanks to organiser Dudley Hinton for sending this through. I'm unfortunately not going to be able to attend, but for those who had relatives interned at Ruhleben, check out my The Ruhleben Story web project at http://ruhleben.tripod.com, where details of some 2000 of the 5500 or so POWs who were there have been recorded (my great uncle was one of them, which sparkled off my interest in the camp).

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Durham Records Online update

From Durham Records Online (www.durhamrecordsonline.com):

Penshaw baptisms 1841-1865, burials 1841-1865 and marriages 1 July 1837 through 1865

Gosforth baptisms & burials 1762-1812 & 1840-1846, marriages 1762-1812

Felling baptisms 1866-1871, marriages 1867-1877

Auckland St. Helen burials 1813-1814 updated

North-Easterners aboard H.M.S. Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar

Coming Soon:
Benfieldside Cemetery burials 1920-1981
Bishopwearmouth Cemetery burials 1900-1904
Gateshead Primitive Methodist Circuit baptisms 1855-1867
Hartlepool St James baptisms & marriages
updates to existing Wingate Grange baptisms

In the queue: 
Several South Shields Presbyterian churches, Morpeth, Longhorsley, Hart Cemetery MIs, South Shields St Hilda baptisms 1836+, Newcastle All Saints baptisms 1835-36, Hexham Whitley Chapel baptisms & burials 1843-1888, Birtley St Joseph Catholic marriages 1846-1899, Durham St. Cuthbert RC baptisms 1841-1885, early Dinsdale records, Sunderland Methodist records

(With thanks to Durham Records Online)

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Previously... Scotland's History Festival announces programme

Previously...Scotland's History Festival has announced its programme of events and talks for this year's offering from Wednesday 12th to Sunday 30th November 2014. The programme is available at http://www.historyfest.co.uk/2014-events/november-12/

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Save Every Step lifetime memories site to close

Another genealogy life memories/timeline site is to close, this time Save Every Step (www.saveeverystep.com), which was first established in late 2010. Here's the announcement:

Important news from SaveEveryStep HQ

After a great deal of deliberation, we must reluctantly advise you that, due to unforeseen life changing family circumstances, the SaveEveryStep website is to officially close from 1st November 2014.

This is a decision which has not been taken lightly, but is, alas, unavoidable.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your custom. It remains our passion to encourage others to save their memories for future generations, and very much hope that you will continue to do so in another format.

Whilst we are sure that any images or information you have posted on SaveEveryStep will be backed up elsewhere, we would advise you to download anything you wish to before the site closes.

Kindest regards,

The SaveEveryStep team.

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks

Monday, 20 October 2014

Caledonian copulation kicked it off...

The history of Scotland has never been made more central to everyone of us around the world researching our family trees!

It transpires that in the last day or so, white coated boffins from Flinders University in South Australia have revealed that the origins of each of us having to have two parents behind the act of our creation in fact goes back to an ancient Scottish loch somewhere 385 million years ago. It was then that small vertebrate creatures called placoderms first learned the art of copulation, as opposed to spawning - and wait for it, these placoderms are more technically known as Microbrachius dicki (I kid you not). The full story is available at http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/19/us-health-sex-idUKKCN0I80O320141019.

Wha's like us? Well, err, it now seems to be everyone... :)

Incidentally, just to maintain the art of accuracy, these particular placoderms also apparently lived in Estonia and China. But just to clarify, I have no idea if this is evidence of an early Scottish diaspora, or simple coincidence!

Chris

Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks