Monday, 30 January 2012

Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society #Update.

Well, following on from my previous post, I've had an e-mail from the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society and they basically told me that they're having computer problems and memberships have been delayed as they transfer all data to new computers and that I should receive my membership details shortly.

This is fine I just wish I could've been informed about it. Surely they would have at least one computer to be able to type up a letter to members to inform them. But I don't know what type of computer issues they would be having so I can't judge it.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society (LRFHS)

About a week ago I joined the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society (LRFHS). I made the payment (£13 for single membership) and I got the receipt of payment but nothing about my membership number or any other membership details for that matter. My first thoughts were that I'd get an e-mail through about it a short time later or the details through the Post instead or both maybe. So, I thought it best to wait as it mentions 'Default Postage' on the receipt so I thought if nothing else it'd come through the post but a week later and I've still not heard/seen anything. So, I e-mailed them today to see what's happening and now I just have to wait for them to reply. To be honest it seems quite odd that nothing has come through by now but it might just be a simple error on their system. I hope that's all it is. But I'll wait and see. I'll update you when I hear anything.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Family History Hint & Tips: Getting Started: Part III

15. Searching the Census

Many County Archives & Libraries hold a certain amount of Census Retutns (each for there own County usually), most Census returns can be searched and viewed online Nationally via commercial sites, like, Ancestry UK, FindMyPast, National Archives of Ireland & ScotlandsPeople.

You have to subscribe or buy credits to view the records on these site there is a site run by the people who bought FreeBMD called FreeCEN. Which works on the same premise as FreeBMD but for the Census. Like with FreeBMD it is a work in progress and run by volunteers but definitely worth looking at.

16. Timing

A lot of online search engines let you search by name but be careful about looking for someone until you've broadened your family tree before 1911 (the latest Census to become available to the public) via BMD Certificates as this will help prevent you from researching the wrong people.

17. Finding Relatives

In some cases you might find it difficult to find an ancestor/s because there are just too many options/search results. Spelling of names (Forenames & Surnames) may change over time or an error been made in writing it down so try a variant of the name you have, such as Smyth instead of Smith for example. Also try adding an age, place of birth, occupation or even a town/city where they were living. Or a mixture of all of these.

18. Societies

One thing that might prove useful is to join a Family History Society in your area or if you don't live in the area your ancestors lived join the Society that covers that area. Family History Societies run course, hold talks, hold meetings, offer advice and share data. You can find details of a local Family History Society by visiting the Federation of Family History Societies website.

19. Reaserching a Surname

The Guild of One Name Studies have 1000’s of members who have researched specific surnames from all over the country (UK) and overseas. To get in touch with them (and join up if you want to) go to their website :

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Family History Hint & Tips: Getting Started: Part II

11. Cerificates.

One of the best ways, if not THE best way, to extend your family tree is to order your ancestors Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates (which can be ordered online at the General Register Office website: There are many websites where you can search the GRO BMD National Indexes, such as,, The indexes can be a really good way to order the certificates as it makes them arrive at your doorstep a lot quicker. I believe it would take 4 working days if you're using the indexes and 15 working days if you're not using. This is based on a standard delivery.

12. Working Backwards in Time.

A good way to do your family history is to start closer to the present and work your way backwards, generation by generation as this will help establish a connection the people your family tree that's been proven instead of jumping back oh-so-many generations and ending researching the wrong People.

13. Any Elusive Ancestors?

If you can't find an ancestors birth certificate, it might be worth ordering their marriage and/or death certificate and see what it contains. At the very least it'll help give you an approximate age of the person and where they living at the time, which may give you a good place to start in looking for the Birth certificate. Death Certificates tell you the age of the person and from 1969 they tell you the date and place of birth. If the deceased person was a married woman, it will tell their maiden name as well. Marriage Certificates will tell you their ages, where they were married and living and their fathers name and occupation.

14. Census Returns

The Census has been taken every 10 years since 1801 (excluding 1941 due to World War Two) but it's only since 1841 that they are of any real use to Genealogists as this was when personal details of a household were taken where as before it was more of a basic headcount. For Ireland it is only the 1901 & 1911 Census that have survived.

Contined tomorrow...

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Family History Hint & Tips: Getting Started.

Getting started:

1. What do you already know?

Write down everything you know about your family, going as far back as you can. Don't forget to include yourself as well, you're just as much a part your family history as your ancestors are.

2. Where were they all?

When researching your family history Geography will play a big part in your research as knowing where they were born, living, married & passed away will help you find the relevant records, such Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates (also known as Civil Registration) and finding them in a Census Return, for example.

3. Ask the Family.

Ask members of your family about what they remember, particularly the older generations if you can, such as Parents, Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles as they may remember things about their Parents and Grandparents or even family that you may never have met, such as distant cousins, or Great Aunts & Uncles for example. If you come across a family legend, don't disregard it even if it seems unlikely but at the same time don't take it too literally until you have the records to prove it.

4. The Family Archives.

Ask around your family to see if they have any official documents, such as Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates, Wills, or maybe even an old utility bill/s as they will include where they were living at one point in time. They may even have Diaries, Letters, Family Bibles or even family heirlooms.

5. Old PhotosLink

Photographs are a great way to find out about your ancestors. The most obvious is that you get to see what they look like if you don't already know. Looking on the back of Photographs can be useful as a lot of people (but by no means all people) often write on the back of the Photo/s as to who is in the Photo and when and where it may have been taken.

6. A Family Tree

Once you've collected enough information, it's time to compile a Family Tree. The easiest way to do this is to use Computer Software, such as Family Tree Maker, MyHeritage & Legacy. Many Websites offer a service so you can upload a Family Tree direct to their website either by entering the information manually or upload a GEDCOM file from your computer software. Ancestry, FindMyPast, Tribalpages & Genesreunited offer this. If it took your fancy, you could even draw it up yourself with a Pencil & Paper.

7. Planning

You'll begin to notice gaps in your Family Tree for parts you don't know. Such as a missing birth, marriage, or death date or location or an unknown name. Creating a "to-do list" of parts that are missing will help you decide which parts of your Family History you'll want to look into next and where you might be able to find out the missing information.

8. Archives

There are a range of Archives (online or not) where you can search for ancestors. Online; there are Portal sites like Genuki that contain sources of information and where they can found. Archives Online (ARCHON) from The National Archives give a list of Archives & Libraries in your area. If you know where your local Archives/Record Office or even your library is then feel free to go in and ask about what services they offer with regards to Family History.

9. The Internet.

There are countless amount of Webpages that offer access Genealogical records/data. A lot of them run by volunteers and can all be extremely helpful, especially if you can't get to the Archives but try to avoid just diving in head first as you can easily get swamped with information and not know where to start. Have a clear idea of what it is you're looking for beforehand.

10. Civil Regiatration
Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates (BMD's) are by far the building blocks of Family History. They can contain information on Ages, Parents, Occupations & Addresses depending which certificate you're ordering. Civil Registration began in England & Wales in 1837 and in Scotland in 1855 and Ireland in 1864. Try to bear these years in mind when looking for BMD's in the mid-19th Century, as you may come across an ancestor who may have a Death Certificate but not a Birth or Marriage Certificate if they were born before 1837 in England & Wales for example, in which case you'll have to look intoParish Registers.

Continued Tomorrow.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 2): First Airplane Ride

Sharing Memories (Week 2): First Airplane Ride

Well, my first ever Plane ride was when I was at the "grand old" age of 23 years old. My family couldn't afford to go on trips overseas (although where I went this isn't technically overseas depending on how you look at it) so we never went abroad. We went on Holiday, don't get me wrong just never anywhere involving Planes.

My Wife & I (Fiancee at the time) decided to go to Dublin, Ireland and it was only an hours ride in the Air. We flew with Ryanair at the time. So not the best airline in the world but at the time I honestly did care. I was on a Plane. I felt like a 5 year old as I was actually quite excited about being on a Plane. Although the Plane Ride wasn't exciting, nothing spectacular happened. But to me it was great. I loved looking out of the Windows even though all you could see was Water & Clouds.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Which Period?

Out of curiousity, what time period/era in your family history would you have liked to a have seen/experienced?

Mine would have been the Victorian Era. I think that's only because the ancestors of mine that I first came across in my research were born or living in the victorian era and I've wondered what life was like for them. Don't get me wrong I'm interested in all aspects of my family's history and I'll always wonder what life was like for them no matter what era it was but for some reason the Victorian era is sticks in my mind.

Friday, 6 January 2012


There is one Free genealogy site that I believe is a must for Genealogists and that is FreeBMD.

FreeBMD is a Genealogy based website that's run by Volunteers dedicated to providing Indexes to Birth, Marriage & Death indexes for free. It is an ongoing project that aims to transcribe the Civil Registration indexes of Birth, Marriage and Death indexes for England & Wales. It's part of the FreeUKGen family which includes FreeCEN (Census Returns) & FreeReg (Parish Registers) as well.

Civil Registration started in 1837 and because of this, the earlist year you can search is 1837. Transcriptions on FreeBMD are by no means complete and a break down of what years are available to search through are provided at FreeBMD. There is a link on the homepage to the relevant page, and it's called a 'Coverage Chart'.

FreeBMD are still looking for volunteers for those that are interested. More information is provided here.

I hope this will help those of you searching your Family History.

Sharing Memories 2012 (Week 1): First Chidlhood Memory

Olive Tree Genealogy have started another year of their 'Sharing Memories' series about Journaling your own memories here is a link to this weeks theme: Sharing Memories - Olive Tree Genealogy and here is a link to the 'Sharing Memories Page' that'll explain it all better than I can.

My first Childhood memory was when I was about 12 - 18 months old. I'd just climbed to the top of the stairs at home and my Dad came out of one of the upstairs rooms. He asked me, in a playful way, what I was doing upstairs. He then checked to see if my Nappy needed changing and it did and he changed me at the top of the stairs (that's as much info as I'll say on that bit) and in the process I saw a Spider crawling along the Floor on my right hand side and even though I'd seen a Spider before I freaked out at the time as it looked kinda creepy and my Dad tried calming me down and eventually killed the Spider and once he did so I calmed down instantly and then I looked to my left and out of the Window at the top of the stairs, noticing the Clouds and for some reason I pointed my Dad to the window. Why I'm not sure. At this point the memory stops.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Christmas & New Year

How was everyones Christmas & New Year? Did anyone discover anything new in their Family History? After all Christmas is a good time for telling stories so you might have heard something from a story by a Grandparent, Aunt or Uncle maybe.

If I'm honest I've not found out anything new myself lately. I'm at the stage where I need to order more Birth, Marriage & Death (BMD) Certificates (and can't necessarily afford all of them) and visit the Leicestershire & Rutland Record Office before I can do much else and I don't necessarily have the time to visit the Record Office at the minute. I've been trying to go for months but something more important keeps cropping up. I think it'll be a case of making the time now otherwise I'll never get down there.
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