Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Making Use of Genealogy Podcasts

One of the most interesting ways to indulge our passion for genealogy is to listen to podcasts and Internet radio. These can not only be interesting and entertaining, but also very useful for picking up some genealogy research tips. 

I have decided to bring together some of the best known genealogy podcasts in this post. I have not personally listened to all of them, but user opinion from others is very favourable.

  • Geneabloggers Radio - If you look to the left of this post you will see that this blog is a member of Geneabloggers. This website is a fantastic resource for family history bloggers. One popular feature is Geneabloggers Radio. Although it used to be broadcast on Friday nights, it now follows a more irregular schedule. The archive of previous episodes is well worth listening to, and details can be found here.
  • The Genealogy Guys - This is one of the best known genealogy podcasts on the Internet. The discussions by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith are entertaining and informative, and include news from the world of family history research. Over 200 episodes can be downloaded for free from iTunes here.
  • Family Tree Magazine Podcast - The popular Family Tree Magazine produces a monthly podcast on their website. The July 2012 episode features tips on researching Revolutionary War ancestors, as well as news on the 1940 U.S. census. Episodes can be found here.
  • Genealogy Gems Podcast - Genealogy Gems is the very popular website run by Lisa Louise Cooke. There is a wealth of information on this site, as well as seven seasons of podcasts, equating to over 100 episodes. Each episode lasts for around thirty to forty-five minutes. You will need to subscribe to listen to the podcasts, but this is completely free. This list of episodes can be found here.
  • Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter - This newsletter is a terrific resource, and includes many highly interesting podcasts. Recent examples include an interview with Daniel Horowitz, the Chief Genealogist at MyHeritage, and an interview with Grant Brunner of Geni.com. Details can be found here.
  • Digging Up Your Roots - Regular readers of this blog will know that my research is mainly focused on my Scottish ancestry. Digging Up Your Roots is a genealogy program radio show produced by BBC Scotland. It features advice and tips by the respected professional genealogist Dr. Bruce Durie. Unfortunately it is only broadcast for a couple of months of the year, but at those times it can be listened to on the BBC iPlayer service. Details of the program, including the Digging Up Your Roots blog, can be found here.
Hopefully you will find some, or all, of these links useful, and the podcasts entertaining. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Findmypast.co.uk 10% Off

To celebrate the London Olympics Findmypast.co.uk are running a special offer whereby customers can get a 10% discount on their subscriptions. All you need to do is go to their subscription page, choose your package, and enter the code 'TORCH' when prompted. 

Be quick though, because the promotion ends at midnight on Thursday 26th July 2012.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Scottish Post Office Street Directories

I want to write a quick post about a fantastic free resource that I have been making great use of in my recent research. If you have Scottish ancestors then it could be worth your while to visit the National Library of Scotland's website. They have a range of Post Office directories free to view on the site in PDF format. They cover areas throughout Scotland, and range from 1773 to 1911.

Some areas are better served than others, with the big metropolitan areas like Glasgow having more records to view than small areas such as Peterhead. I managed to find listings for my ancestors in both the Glasgow and the Ayrshire directories. In total there are 694 directories to choose from.

The Post Office directories are a great resource for discovering where your ancestors lived at a particular point in time. Some of them also list occupations, adding another useful piece of information to your research. Some also include advertisements and business listings, and as such can give an extremely interesting glimpse of the business practises of the past.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Findmypast.co.uk Free Credits

I've just received an email from Findmypast.co.uk. They are currently running a special promotion where they have credited some of their members' accounts with 25 free pay as you go credits credits. With a value of £3, this is a very generous offer, and there is absolutely no catch. You just need to log in to your account and use the credits within the next week.

Findmypast.co.uk have census records for 1841-1911, fully indexed birth records, millions of parish records, and military records for 1656-1994. In other words, plenty of ways to use up those 25 free credits!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Scottish Weddings

Researching Scottish marriages is often highly interesting. There are certain Scottish customs which can prove confusing for people who are tracing their Caledonian ancestors. For example, sometimes it will appear as if a date of marriage cannot be trusted, as the parties would be too young to be wed. However, prior to 1929 girls could marry as young as twelve, and boys at fourteen. No parental consent was required, which is still the law today, although since 1929 the minimum age for getting married has been sixteen.

One of the most confusing aspects of Scottish marriages, at least for me when I first started my genealogical research, is the fact that a search might return several dates for the same couple. I quickly discovered that the dates related to a proclamation of marriage, known as banns, as well as the marriage itself. 

Proclamations of banns were traditionally made on three consecutive Sundays, and were recorded in the Old Parish Registers of both the bride and groom. The couple would state their intention to marry, and the congregation in each parish would be given the opportunity to object. If no objections were made the couple would usually be married in the bride's parish, sometimes in a church, but more typically in her own home. 

This means that there are usually several different records to research for any particular historical marriage in Scotland, but the results can be very rewarding. OPRs will usually reveal the names of the bride and groom, their parishes, the dates of proclamations and the marriage, and the names of at least two witnesses.

The OPRs will also sometimes show irregular marriages. An example of an irregular marriage would be a man and woman living together as husband and wife, but without having gone through the proclamation of banns and a formal ceremony with a minister. Such instances were often punished by the kirk sessions in the parish, hence their inclusion in the OPRs. Prior to the Marriage (Scotland) Act of 1834 irregular marriages were relatively common.

Finally, from 1855 onwards Scottish marriage certificates can be a rich source of information. They include the names, addresses, ages, marital status, and occupations of the bride and groom. They also include the names and occupations of the parents of each party, including the maiden names of the mothers. This can be extremely valuable new information, and is an advantage of Scottish records over others. The names of two witnesses can also be found on Scottish marriage certificates. 

Researching the marriages of your Scottish ancestors can not only be enlightening, but it can also provide a huge amount of important information to take you on to the next step of your genealogical journey.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Free Record Worksheets

I have just received an email from Family Tree Magazine highlighting some of the tools that they offer to genealogists to aid them in their family history research. In particular, they provide forms, worksheets, and organisers to help you to keep track of all of the information you discover relating to your ancestors. On their website they offer basic charts and worksheets, research trackers and organisers, census forms, immigration forms, record worksheets, and forms for oral history and heirlooms. They are all available in PDF format, and they are all free. You can get them here.

Another similar resource which I have used myself is offered by the BBC. Once again the records are in PDF format, meaning that you will need the free software Adobe Reader to view them. On offer are first information sheets, record sheets for births, marriages, and deaths, and a pedigree chart. As with the Family Tree Magazine resources, all of these are completely free to download. They can be found here.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Familysearch.org Census Records

On the 2nd of July 2012 FamilySearch released index returns of the Scottish censuses for 1881 and 1891, meaning that they now provide records for 1841-1891. The data for this latest release has been provided by findmypast.co.uk. 

Familysearch.org also hosts transcriptions and index returns for the censuses for England and Wales for the years 1841-1911. With their continuing work on the 1940 US Census, as well as their ever growing list of Canadian transcriptions, it is more evident than ever that this is an invaluable resource for any family history researcher. There really is a huge amount of information on offer, and best of all it's free!