The latest news and tips from the world of genealogy and family history; and perhaps some local history. A round-up of bits and pieces of news, together with some book recommendations, local history and TV. If you missed last months edition then catch up here – News Nov 2011
FHS Cheshire Toolbar
Check out the free toolbar
at the Family History Society of Cheshire web site, it works with Firefox, IE, Safari and Chrome. All the links are here for exploring Cheshire and the surrounding counties, plus lots of useful UK sites and all the commercial sites. All the links you need in one place!
Outwit Hub (Firefox add-on)
If you have been following my exploits searching for the origins of the TIMMINS surname, you will have noticed I found a web extraction tool called Outwit Hub. Since the last post I have been reading the tutorials
, they have proved really useful, enabling me to refine the way I extract data from genealogy web pages. You often find hidden data that can be really useful.
You can try it for free from the Outwit Hub
British Newspaper Archive
There has already been lots of reviews on this new resource already. However the blog post by Kirsty Wilkinson, at the Professional Descendant,
is an excellent first hand experience view by a professional genealogist and worth a read.
One of my favourite newsletters is just out – LostCousins
. The author Peter Calver has been busy using the Freedom of Information Act, getting to the bottom of the GRO fiasco on the losses made by increasing the cost of BMD certificates.
Getting your ancestors into the LostCousins database is really easy and it’s confidential, I currently have for England & Wales: 1881 – 54 entries; 1841 – 48 entries; and 1911 – 39 entries. You are not restricted just to the UK as Ireland, Canada and the United States Census’ are also supported.
Genealogy Search Sites
Dedicated search engines for genealogy research can be very useful tools filtering out adverts and unnecessary hits. Here are two search sites that I use on a regular basis: first is the Google based search by Randy Majors – AncestorSearch using Google Custom Search
This tool helps you build a better Google search for finding web pages mentioning your ancestors. It returns a more focused set of search results by using advanced Google search techniques including exact phrases, forward and reverse name order, alternate name spellings, logical operators, and so on. Nothing magical, just a big time-saver!
The second is Mocavo – Today they announced a premium PLUS version with an annual subscription of $79.95 which seems rather expensive if you ask me!! I can’t comment in depth though as I have not tried it. Dick Eastman has reviewed it in his latest EOG Newsletter. My interest stems from the announcement on 29th Nov when Mocavo introduced a dedicated UK version of the search tool – mocavo.co.uk. Initial results using the search were very encouraging, I would urge you to give it a try. The Mocavo blog said:
Today we’re thrilled to launch Mocavo.co.uk – a United Kingdom version of Mocavo that will search websites, blogs, records and content specifically from, or discussing, English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh decent. While Mocavo.com searches sites and blogs from around the world, and will continue to do so, Mocavo.co.uk will focus specifically on the United Kingdom, giving those who wish to narrow their search to that region the ability to do just that.
My wife has a far more interesting family history than I do! On her maternal side having links to the Indian sub-continent and on the paternal side to the Brock Fireworks dynasty. I have been assisting in the family research on both sides, but I find the Indian connection absorbing. I am always looking for interesting articles or new avenues for research in this area.
The Families in British India Society (FIBIS) has partnered with Brightsolid to digitise many of the India Office Records for the British Library. The India Office records will be available online to users of Brightsolid’s findmypast.co.uk website. Included in the project are two million records of baptism, marriage and burials of European and Anglo-Indian persons in India. **I can’t wait**
An interesting blog post that came to my attention recently was by Anu Anand Hall at Sacred Cows. Read about Anu tracing her Hindu ancestry with the aid of panda’s, no not the animals!
On 29th Nov I listened to a Dan Lynch Legacy Webinar – Take a Closer Look at Google+ If you are a genealogist and serious about Google+ you have to watch this. Understand why completing your G+ Profile is so important. Be quick though before this webinar becomes payable. –Listen here —
Book of the Month – December 2011Reared in Chester Zoo by Janice Madden I go to Chester zoo regularly and never get bored. This book opened my eyes to the history of the site, reminding me of the times when I was a child watching the polar bears and riding on the elephant with the mahoot.
To the people of Cheshire the Mottershead family is synonymous with the world famous Chester Zoo – the pioneer of zoo’s without bars. Reared in Chester Zoo traces the story of the development of Chester Zoo through the life of June Mottershead, younger daughter of George Mottershead, who conceived of and founded the Zoo in 1931. Through June’s eyes and thoughts we understand how what most people at the time considered a crazy and intrusive idea, became a thriving reality.
Previous Books of the Month
November 2011 –The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers by Cecil R. Humphery-Smith This is an expensive book to buy, but once you have used it in a record office or local library you realise its worth to the british genealogist. It is my book of the month for its invaluable help in understanding the parish boundaries during recent research into my family surname TIMMINS in the Dudley area of Worcestershire.
I noted over the past weeks a couple of software upgrades. First is Louis Kessler’s Behold Genealogy program which has moved from Beta into Full Release. You can try the program free for 45 days. Louis is a genealogist who was unhappy with the commercial programs available, as they failed to provide data in the format he wanted, so he wrote his own! I like the program using it as one of my secondary databases, however I guess it’s different approach will not suit everyone.
Next is RootsMagic
which has moved on to Version 5. I particularly like RootsMagic for its web building capability and the New FamilySearch support. Again you can try the program before you buy, I would suggest this with all genealogy programs, pity there weren’t more choices when I started my research! Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings
has been putting the software through rigorous testing, so if you are interested stop over at his blog.
Family Tree Maker 2012
I mentioned this last months news, but the good news is that Amazon have now dropped the price to £29.99 – If you are looking for a Xmas present then the Platinum Edition is excellent value for money as it comes with 6 months PREMIUM
membership to ancestry.co.uk which would normally cost £77. Family Tree Maker 2012 Platinum Edition (PC)