Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Preserving Old Photographs/Archives

Below is a link to site that appears to give good advice and tips on how to preserve your old Photographs and Archives. Which will come in handy when you are faced with Photo's and Documents that are delicate and could/are falling to bits.


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Interviewing A Relative

When it comes to asking around your Family about your Ancestors, it'll be worthing making notes on what you'd like to ask them. Whether the questions are about them, their Parents or Siblings (if any).

Below is a list of 50 possible questions you could ask them. Some of them might not be relevant but they may give you an idea of other Questions you might like to ask. Bear in mind there may be some subjects that your relative may be uncomfortable talking about so you'll need some degree of tact. But if they don't want to talk about a specific thing then it'll be best to respect that. As it will save a lot of arguments.

  1. What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have a nickname?
  2. When and where were you born?
  3. How did your family come to live there?
  4. Were there other family members in the area? Who?
  5. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
  6. Were there any special items in the house that you remember?
  7. What is your earliest childhood memory?
  8. Describe the personalities of your family members.
  9. What kind of games did you play growing up?
  10. What was your favorite toy and why?
  11. What was your favorite thing to do for fun (movies, beach, etc.)?
  12. Did you have family chores? What were they? Which was your least favorite?
  13. Did you receive an allowance? How much? Did you save your money or spend it?
  14. What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend grade school? High school? College?
  15. What school activities and sports did you participate in?
  16. Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothes?
  17. Who were your childhood heroes?
  18. What were your favorite songs and music?
  19. Did you have any pets? If so, what kind and what were their names?
  20. What was your religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?
  21. Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
  22. Who were your friends when you were growing up?
  23. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
  24. Describe a typical family dinner. Did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking? What were your favorite foods?
  25. How were holidays (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) celebrated in your family? Did your family have special traditions?
  26. How is the world today different from what it was like when you were a child?
  27. Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
  28. What do you know about your family surname?
  29. Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?
  30. What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
  31. Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?
  32. Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
  33. Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
  34. Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
  35. What was the full name of your spouse? Siblings? Parents?
  36. When and how did you meet your spouse? What did you do on dates?
  37. What was it like when you proposed (or were proposed to)? Where and when did it happen? How did you feel?
  38. Where and when did you get married?
  39. What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?
  40. How would you describe your spouse? What do (did) you admire most about them?
  41. What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
  42. How did you find out your were going to be a parent for the first time?
  43. Why did you choose your children's names?
  44. What was your proudest moment as a parent?
  45. What did your family enjoy doing together?
  46. What was your profession and how did you choose it?
  47. If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn't it your first choice?
  48. Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?
  49. What accomplishments were you the most proud of?
  50. What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Remembrance Day

In on honour of Remembrance Day (11th November). I wanted to write a Post dedicated to it. In which I'll provide links to help you discover your WW1 Ancestors who helped make the world what it is today.


The above link provides information on World War One and a video on tracing your WW1 Ancestors. Although it's not been updated for a while.

For a more indepth search of your British Army, WW1 Ancestors and WW1 as a whole then a great place to visit is The Long, Long Trail. It provides details on WW1, individual Regiments and Battalions and has a specific section for researching solidiers.

My Great Grandfather, John Arthur March, my Great Great Uncle, Walter Joseph March, and my Great Great Grandfather, John March, all served during WW1. Thankfully they all came back safe.

My Great Grandfather served with the Durham Light Infantry, Northumberland Fusiliers and the Royal Defence Corps.

My Great Great Grandfather served with the National Reserve.

My Great Great Uncle served with the 298th Reserve Labour Corps, Leicestershire Regiment

Monday, 8 November 2010

Saffron Hill Cemetery

This is a family burial plot at Saffron Hill Cemetery, Leicester.

Catherine A Nash (nee Lewis) is my maternal Great Great Grandmother. She was born in 1867 in Radnorshire, Wales.

Geoffrey George Lancelot Nash is my Maternal Great Grandfather (Catherine A Nash's son) and he was born in 1904 in Hartpury, Gloucestershire, England

Muriel Kathleen Talbot Whitt (nee Nash) is my Great Great Aunt (Geoffrey's Sister). She was born in 1906 in Hartpury, Gloucestershire, England

Freeda Marie O'Neill (nee Nash) is my maternal Grandmother (Geoffrey George Lancelot Nash's daughter) and she was born on 14th November 1930 in Leicester, England.

Click on the Picture if you wish to know more about Saffron Hill Cemetery.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Lost Ancestors

Out there in the World Wide Web is a group that I have found to be extremely helpful. It is called Lost Ancestors. It has 8 sub-groups which feature on the homepage, all with the intention of helping the Family Historian. There are regular posts to help you with your research, providing links and information on what's out there. They also have a Blog, and a Notes pages where you can add your own messages and the kind members of the group always seem happy to help you if you're struggling to break down those tiresome Brickwalls. This is one place I would recommend visiting. They've helped me countless times. Click here to visit the site or the link above.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Facebook & Family History

When you think of Facebook, or other Social Networking Sites, you might not automatically think "family history", but Facebook can be a great place for Family History. It has more than 500 million registered users, so, chances are you'll find living relatives out there somewhere and also, if you look hard enough you might even find a relative who also has an interest in Family History. Plus, it won't matter which relative you find, whether it be an Aunt, Uncle or Distant Cousin they'll be able to tell you something about their/your family history.

Plus Facebook has dozens of 'Pages' and Groups dedicated to Family History with some really nice People who are willing to help if you need it and there are even Facebook Applications that are purely for Family History, including FamilyLink's 'We're Related' and FamilyBuilder's 'Family Tree'.

So, basically Facebook can be well worth checking out.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Michael John O'Neill (update)

Following my original post on my Maternal Grandfather, Michael John O'Neill, (which can be found here) I have managed to get passed my Brickwall of not finding his Birth Record. It turns out that he wasn't born in Ireland at all. But he was born in Kalkara, Malta on the 1st December 1931 at 18:00 and that his Mother, my Great Grandmother, wasn't born in Ireland either. She was born in Plymouth, Devon, England and was a Housewife. But his Father, my Great Grandfather was born in Ireland. He was born in Shannons Harbour, County Offaly, Ireland.

I know all this now because I finally tracked down his Birth Certificate. I believed he was born in Ireland but there was a few family members who claimed he was born in Malta. But then as well, I discovered that his brother, my Great Uncle, was born in Plymouth. So, which was it? Was he born in Malta, Ireland or England? I couldn't for life of me find any reference in the English Birth Indexes to say he was born in England. But that didn't mean he wasn't. The same thing applied to Ireland. Malta doesn't have any Birth, Marriage or Death (BMD) Indexes online. Now, I don't order any sort of BMD unless I feel confident that I have the right information and the right person in the Indexes. But in this case there wasn't anything to make me feel confident about ordering his Birth Certificate. So, after finding nothing in the English & Irish BMD's online (or Church Records in Irelands case) and knowing that Malta doesn't have an online BMD Index, I knew I had to grin and bear it and order a Birth Certificate from Malta with the information I did know and with a few details from my Great Uncle such as his Parents names and dates of birth etc I took the plunge and order it. Despite not being totally confident it was there. BUT it turns out he was born in Malta and I'd ordered the right birth certificate. Which I found to be brilliant. Especially considering that my Great Uncle and Great Aunt won't acknowledge his existence and tell me anything about him and my Family couldn't be sure when or where he was born. I only worked out the year he was born in from his Marriage and Death Certificates and where he could have been born from scattered stories from family members.

Catherine Anne Lewis 1881 Welsh Census

Catherine Anne Lewis is my maternal Great Great Grandmother. Who at the time of the Welsh Census of 1881 was working as a Drapers Assistant at aged 13 years old.

1881 Welsh Census for Catherine A Lewis.


Catherine A. Lewis



Estimated Birth Year:

Abt 1868





Where born:

Knighton, Radnorshire, Wales

Civil Parish:






Street address:

1 Compton House


Draper Assistant

Registration district:


Sub-registration district:


ED, institution, or vessel:


Household Members:



Henry J. Stephens


Ellen S.D. Stephens


Ellen M.C. Stephens


Eliza Prosser


Arthur Parker


Lucy Williams


Hannah Evans


Catherine A. Lewis


Lewis Family 1881 Welsh Census

Below is the transcription of the 1881 Welsh Census for my Great Great Great Grandparents and there 2 Daughters and a lodger. My Great Great Grandmother is Catherine Anne Lewis but she wasn't but at aged 13 years old she was employed and living with Henry J Stephens as Drapers Assistant. I'll include her 1881 Welsh Census in my next post.

1881 Wales Census

Name: Alethea B. Lewis
Age: 46
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1835
Relation: Wife
Spouse's Name: David
Gender: Female
Where born: Kington, Hereford, England

Civil parish: Knighton
County/Island: Radnorshire
Country: Wales

Street Address: Church St

Registration district: Knighton
Sub-registration district: Knighton
ED, institution, or vessel: 1

Household Members: Name Age: Relationship to Head of Household
David Lewis 40 Head
Alethea B. Lewis 46 Wife
Fanny S. Lewis 12 Daughter
Emily J. Lewis 10 Daughter
Charles Davies 40 Lodger

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Archives Tip.

I have a small tip for anyone wanting to visit a County Record Office/Archives but you're not able to visit.

Now generally, if you want them to research something or someone for you there is a fee for doing so BUT this is for indepth searches. If you contact them with a small/minor search then they may be happy to do it for free.

For example, if you contact say the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland by e-mail and you want to know if your Great Grandfather is mentioned in the Leicester Mercury, now they'll be able to do so for free if you provide them with as much detail as you can, such as the date of the paper (a precise date if possible, if not then a shorter period as possible) and what part of the paper you are looking for (obituaries, Sports etc).

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Wakelin Surname

This ancient name is of 1066 Norman-French origins in England, although its antecedents are even earlier. It derives from the pre 8th Century Saxon "Walho", a personal name which itself is an aphetic form of "Waltheof", meaning "the wealthy one", and as such was either a nickname or was baptismal. Perhaps not surprisingly the name was very popular, and in various spelling forms developed into the later medieval surname. In its form as "Wakelin" it is a double diminutive, i.e., the son of the kin of Walho, and includes both Saxon suffixes "el" and "in", shortened forms of little and kinsman. The name is first recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book for London as "Walcelin", and whilst this may be a surname form, this is not proven, and most unlikely. The recording as shown below is believed to be the first "surname", others include Nicholas Walklin of Somerset in 1225, and Andrew Walkelyn in the Rolls of Norfolk for 1273. An interesting recording was Walchelin the Moneyer in the Rolls of Henry 11 (1154 - 1189). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Wakelin, which was dated 1221, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of London", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Wakelin#ixzz1496vrUEq

Parker Surname

This great and noble surname is English. Borne by the Earls of Morley and Macclesfield; the Barons of Boringdon and Monteagle, and having more than sixty Coats of Arms, it is ultimately of French occupational origins. It described an official in charge of the extensive hunting parks of a king or wealthy landowner. The derivation is from the words "parchier" or "parquier" meaning "park- keeper". The surname was first recorded in Englnd in the latter half of the 11th Century following the 1066 Norman Invasion, and as such was one of the very earliest surnames on record. Only five percent of the entries in the great Domesday Book of 1086 show people having surnames, and this is one of them. Amongst these very early recordings are examples such as Geoffrey Parchier, in the book of 'Seals' for the county of Northumberland, dated 1145 a. d. and Adam le Parker in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Norfolk for the year 1273. The surname was one of the very first into the new American colonies. William Parker, aged 20, who arrived in the ship Charles of London, in the year 1616, is shown in the records for January 23rd 1624 as being in the "muster" of Susan Bush, of 'Elzabeth Cittie'. Quite what his situation was is far from clear, as Susan Bush herself arrived in 1617, and was only aged 20! The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anschetil Parcher, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of the county of Somerset, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087.

Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Parker#ixzz1496aOq12

Nash Surname

This famous surname much associated with Georgian period of the 18th century, is of early medieval English origin. It is topographical and describes a person who lived "at an ash (tree)." In ancient history the ash tree held particular significance, being considered to have magical powers, perhaps because of the many and varied uses of the wood. As a result local tribes often met held their meetings at an ash tree, when business would be conducted, and any court proceedings held. In some cases ash trees were specially planted to provide boundary markers between differing tribal territories. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created in the 13th century, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Early examples of the surname include: William atte Nasche and John ater Aysse, both noted in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex in 1273; Henry Aten Assche of Worcestershire in 1301; and Alan Tassh, recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1327. In the modern idiom, forms of the name containing the fused preposition "atte" include: Tash, Tasch, Tesh and Tesche, with Nash, Nayshe and Naish resulting from a misdivision of the phrase "atten asche". Later examples include: Elizabeth Tash, christened at St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, in 1611, and Alice Nash and Edward Sproson who were married at St. Giles church, Cripplegate, city of London, on August 15th 1611. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Ate Nasse. This was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls" of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Nash#ixzz1496Ch8XK

Machin Surname

This interesting and long-established surname recorded in many spelling forms including Macun, Machin, Mason, and Masson is of pre 10th century French origins. It is job descriptive for a skilled stone mason and a member of the ancient guild of Masons. It was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, the derivation being from the word "machun". Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and only later became hereditary, if the son continued in the fathers occupation. Early examples of the name recording include: Roger le Mason in the Cartulary of Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire in the year 1200; Adam le Machon in the 1279 Assize Court Rolls of Northumberland; and Richard Machen in the 1284 Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire. ecordings of the surname from English church registers include: the marriage of Kinborne Machin and Edward Garland on July 12th 1562, at St. Dunstan's in the East, London; and the christening of Mary, the daughter of Matthew and Jane Mochan, in 1803, at West Gate Presbyterian, Wakefield, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of John Macun. This was dated 1130, in the "Ancient Charters of London", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Machin#ixzz1495uHXDz

Wells Surname

Recorded in several spellings including Well, Wells, Welman, Wellman and Wellsman, this is an English surname. It has a number of possible origins - topographical, locational, or even job descriptive. If locational, it originates from any of the various places such as Well near Bedale in North Yorkshire, or Wells in the county of Norfolk and in Somerset. However spelt all derive from the pre 7th century word "waella" which describes not a well, but a spring, and probably one that was associated with a holy place. "Wells next the sea", in Norfolk is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Guelle". As a topographical surname it denotes residence at or by such a spring or well, as in Roger Attewell of the county of Sussex in the year 1200. This is also a surname that survives in modern times as Attwell. As an occupational name with the suffix "-man", this probably denoted somebody responsible for looking after the village spring, although not necessarily in any other way associated with the various places called Well or Wells. Early examples of church register recordings include Robert Wells, who was christened on January 7th 1557, at Christchurch Greyfriars, in the city of London, whilst Richard Wellman was recorded at St Georges Chapel, Hanover Square, Westminster, on March 1st 1730. Ann Wells, at the age of 15 years, was an early emigrant to the New World. She left London on the ship "Planter" in 1635, bound for Virginia Colony. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Toke de Wells. This was dated 1177, in the pipe rolls of the county of Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Wells#ixzz1495UUwwQ

O'Neill Surname

This interesting surname, with variant spellings Oneile, Onele and Oneal results from the dropping of the raised apostrophe from the Gaelic Irish surname O' Neil. The Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal byname Neil(l) or Niall from the Gaelic "niadh" meaning "champion". This great family claim descent from Niall Glundubh (Black knee), Monarch of Ireland, who was slain in the early 10th Century. The legendary, Niall of the Nine Hostages, 4th Century High King of Ireland was also a remote ancestor. Two main branches of this family established themselves in Ireland, the northern O' Neill of Ulster who held the title "Earls of Tyrone", and from whose Coat of Arms the Red hand of Ulster is taken, and the souther O'Neill clan who occupied County Meath. On June 16th 1605 Margaret Oniell, an infant was christened in St. Bride Fleet Street, London, and in August 1735 Arthur Oneill and Sarah Godfrey were married in St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donell O' Neill, grandson of Niall Glundubh, which was dated circa 1000, in the "Historic Annalls of Ireland", during the reign of King Malachy 11, known as "High King of Ireland", 977 - 1002. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/O%27Neill#ixzz149524lat

March Surname

This name derives from the Medieval English or Olde English 'marche' meaning a boundary and was originally given as a topographic name to a dweller by a boundary, especially the border between two territories for example the Marches between England and Wales. In some cases the name may be locational from March in Cambridgeshire. Recorded as 'Maerche' in the Domesday Book of 1086, the name, derives from the locative case of the Olde English pre 7th Century 'mearc', a boundary. The surname from this source is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below). Henry le March who appears in the 'Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire', dated 1273 may have been baptised in the month of March or may have owed a feudal obligation then. One, John March in Sware was recorded in the Commissary Record of Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1624. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de la Marche, which was dated 1295 - 'Records of Barnwell', Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/March#ixzz14941GAwO
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