Monday, November 2, 2015

1939 Register

Find my Past has just released the UK’s 1939 Register, which fills the gap in UK censuses from 1921 and 1951. The 1939 Register has been dubbed ‘The Wartime Domesday Book’ - it is the most comprehensive survey of the population of England and Wales ever taken.
The 1921 census is the next one due to be released, but that isn’t scheduled till 2021. The 1931 Census was taken, but was destroyed in a fire. And the 1941 Census was never taken due to war going on … so the next one that was taken (and that survives) is the 1951. So the 1939 Register fills this gap nicely.
The 1939 Register was a one-off survey of the public. The war with Germany had just started and officials had little time to lose in preparing for the fighting and privations to come. So on 29 September 1939, just 26 days after hostilites had been declared, a survey nicknamed the UK’s only “instant census” took place. 65,000 enumerators were employed to visit every house in England and Wales to take stock of the civil population.
The findings enabled the issuing of identity cards and ration cards, plan mass evacuations and co-ordinate other war-time provisions - and the register applied to ALL citizens. In the longer term, the 1939 Register would go on to play a central role in the establishment of post-war services like the NHS.
The details the 1939 Register requested were:
– Name
– Sex
– Age
– Occupation
– Address (at the time off filling in the form)
– Marital status
– Membership of navel, military or air force reserves, auxiliary forces or civil defence services or reserves.
It is these individual returns for England and Wales that have been digitised by Findmypast and made available on their database. There are 7,000 volumes, which totals about 41 million records.
As well as the original record image, Find my Past has also added maps, facts and figures and photos of the time to further increase the value of this resource. You will be able to see who lived in the household – although some records are closed due to being younger than 100 years old and still alive. You can choose to unlock these records to access additional information.
Interactive maps show how a neighbourhood has changed over the past 130 years Local and national newspaper articles from 1939, give an insight into the world at this time. Photographs document life in 1930s and 1940s England and Wales. Facts and figures compare average ages, occupations and popular names compared to the rest of the country.
For more about these significant records, read the BBC’s article about the Register.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Genealogy Courses

The University of Tasmania (UTAS) has run their Introduction to Family History course twice, with an incredible response each time. Now they are offering a new course on writing family history.
As with the earlier course, it is done fully online, and it is FREE.
The Course provides an introduction to writing non-fictional and fictional narratives based on real genealogical records. As with the earlier course, this one gives those doing the course free access to Library edition.
On successful completion of this unit you will be able to:
Use and reflect on a range of key strategies and techniques for writing narratives based on genealogical records;
Contribute to a supportive online workshop environment by giving and receiving constructive critical feedback on short writing exercises;
Produce a coherent piece of short fiction or non-fiction based on genealogical research.
This course runs from 23 November 2015 until 31 January 2016.
To take part in this course you:
need to have a computer with internet access.
be prepared to spend approx. 4-5 hours a week on study.
need to be an Australian citizen
For further details, including enrolling and a number of FAQs, visit the University of Tasmania (UTAS) website

University of New England offers courses in Local, Family and Applied History.
If you are interested in local or family history as a part of your job, a leisure activity, or a community service then here is an opportunity to pursue that interest and get a university qualification while doing it.
Non-Graduates: If you have never done any university study, you can do an Advanced Diploma in Local and Applied History. This course takes a minimum of two years and a maximum of six years to complete by part-time external study. Age is no barrier. Past and present students range in age from 20 to 70.
Graduates: If you have a university degree in any discipline, or a three year diploma, we offer a Graduate Diploma in Local and Applied History. This course normally takes two years to complete by part-time external studies. Graduate students are also welcome to enrol in the Advanced Diploma.
Study at Home: UNE offers you the chance to study externally, so you can do most of your work at home wherever you live. You are supplied with extensive notes, reading and study guides. However, you are not alone. You can contact staff by phone, letter, fax or email, or they can be visited on campus. You can also borrow books from the extensive holdings of the Universities Dixson Library.
Topics: The courses introduce you to the skills and sources for researching and writing local, family and applied history. You can learn how to find and interpret historical documents; how to determine the history of a public building, church, house or farm; how to interpret an historical landscape or cemetery; how to develop skills in interviewing and editing; and the role of museums and historical societies. And you will learn about the history of your country and its place in the world.
Cost - 
Advanced Diploma: There is a Government charge (HECS) that applies to university courses. You have the option of paying the fees by instalments through the taxation system or 'up-front' in which case there is a 25% reduction. Some students may be exempt from these charges.
Graduate Diploma: This is a full fee-paying course. Candidates in both diplomas are also required to pay the University's General Service Fee.

The Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) also offer genealogy courses.
Certificate in Genealogical Research: The Certificate Course was introduced in 2010. This undertaken over an 18 month period and requires successful completion of 8 components of work. Candidates must be financial members of SAG when undertaking the course, which has been designed so that members who live outside of the Sydney area can participate. Good internet access is important as all work is despatched and received by email. 
Diploma in Family Historical Studies: Completion of the Certificate course is required at a credit level of 75% or higher before application can be made to undertake the Diploma Course.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

SAG Website updates

The Society Of Australian Genealogists (SAG) has recently upgraded its website. They now have a new Event Registration system, which allows you view all upcoming events, search for an event, book for an event and pay online. The shop software has also been upgraded, providing secure payment system. This is one website worth a visit for their services, information and activities.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Family Trees on Genealogy Databases

Many Genealogical Databases now offer the facilities to upload your family trees to their database, allowing other family history researchers the option to view and use your research. If you do use someone else's information, please double check that it is correct. You cannot assume that the person uploading the family tree has it right. In one search recently we were looking for information on Jane Chadwick. When her name was entered in we found 12,013 family trees containing that name. In checking the first page, where 20 family trees were displayed - 18 referred to our Jane Chadwick and the other 2 were clearly a different Jane. Just using those 18 references, Jane's birth year varied from 1811, 1814 to 1817. The spouse varied from John Belcher & John Whaley to John Whealey and others. Not all gave their sources, but some thankfully did and also added other records. By going through all those trees and viewing all the records referenced, we were able to compare them to the information we already had and draw our own conclusions. We have been unable to find any record of her birth, but the 1828 census gives her age as 14 - making her birth year 1814. In 1828, John Belcher, a convict, applied to marry an underage 15 year old Jane Chadwick, so perhaps she was born in 1813, but still 14 at the time of the census, or she lied about her age. This marriage never took place and John Belcher later died in 1835. In 1832 and subsequent years, she had children to John Whaley and she eventually married him in 1846. John Whaley had been in trouble with the law and had several aliases - Whalan & Whealey are just two. She died in 1880, drowning after a falling from Manly Pier. The inquest gave her age as 63, leading to the birth year of 1817. Jane led a very hard and colourful life in a rough rural setting, with little female influence. From the documents available we can piece together some facts about her life, but the rest is conjecture.

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Monday, July 27, 2015


Associated Press together with British Movietone are uploading 550,000 old movies to YouTube. These clips document the most momentous and historic events of the last 120 years. It is a fabulous resource for getting details of social history - the look, the era, the happenings of the time, the fashion and so on. British Movietone os arguably the world's greatest newsreel archive, spanning the period 1895 to 1986. Their newsreel archive contains many of the world's enduring images and is rich in coverage of news events, celebrities, sports, music, social history, science and lifestyle. Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent news gathering covering global news and entertainment video stories also dating back to 1895. People who want to use the clips in their own videos will still need to license them through AP or British Movietone, but they are a wonderful resource to help us understand our ancestors.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

The Surname Society

Launched in November 2014, is a website dedicated to researching surnames. It has been set up by The Surname Society, which is a not-for-profit group founded by a team of genealogists from around the world. It focuses on single surname studies, with a vision to connect like-minded people by providing facilities which enable members to share knowledge, data and good practice with others. The society allows members to register both worldwide and is entirely online. Maybe it is just the group you have been looking for. Worth looking up. You can follow their news at , read study stories or join in the forum discussion.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Heaven Address

A new service offered by funeral directors at present is to list the deceased on the website Heaven Address. The website lists recent deaths and funeral services. Family members are then able to add memorials and obituaries. Some include photographs and you can search by name. Links to final resting places, i.e. cemeteries or memorial wall at crematoriums can also be created. HeavenAddress claims to be a respectful online memorial community to honour and celebrate the lives of our loved ones, keeping memoires alive by creating personalised pages for the deceased family member.