Archives for February 2013

Legacies of British Slave-ownership

Legacies of British Slave-ownershipUniversity College London has launched a website which will challenge our feelings towards some of our ancestors. You can’t judge your fore-bears because you haven’t stood in their shoes, haven’t lived in their society and can’t possibly know the whole story, but we might not always like what we find.

Sometime ago I discovered a will of a brother of one of my direct line ancestor who left the family home and travel to America. The will left a number of slaves to his son along with land and personal possessions. How did I feel …. mortified, but whilst I can and do condemn the business of one human being being enslaved to another I can’t judge the man. He was English, he went to America to better himself and in so doing he complied with what was normal for the time, he had slaves.

The UCL has two projects which are looking at the impact slavery had on the formation of modern Britain, the Legacies of British Slave Ownership database is the outcome of the first. Structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763 – 1833 is the second.

I can report, with some relief that my ancestor doesn’t feature in the database, but a search under the name Smith brought forth 325 individuals. I chose the first entry as an example.

Sarah Arrowsmith of the estate Dick’s Last Shift

of St Andrews, Jamaica

Claim dated 30 November 1835 for £522 13s 1d

22 enslaved

If family names are found then a certain amount of background reading would be required before the data discovered on this website can be understood.

An interesting website for which UCL is to be congratulated, but one that some family historians might find challenging.

RootsTech Free Online Videos

RootsTech 2013I know I am being greedy, but I am so jealous at the moment!!  Here I am just off the fabulous Unlock The Past 2013 Genealogy Cruise, I’ve hardly unpacked my suitcase and I want to be off again this time to RootsTech 2013. RootsTech is the yearly event where family history and technology collides and those two are a match made in heaven!

For those of us unable to attend there is a second option – watch some of the 2012 presentation that are available on I suspect that these 2012 videos may be replaced by those from this years show so I’m going to have a mini RootsTech experience this evening to make sure I don’t miss out.


The videos on offer are

  • Inventing The Future as a Community – Jay Verkler
  • Do I Trust The Cloud ? –  D Joshua Taylor
  • Effective Database Search Tactics – Kory Meyerink
  • Twitter – It’s Not Just “What I Had For Breakfast” any more – Thomas McEntee
  • Eleven Layers of Online Searches – Barbara Renick
  • Exabyte Social Clouds and other Monstrosities – Josh Coates
  • Publish Your Genealogy Online – Laura Prescott
  • Optimizing Your Site for Search Engines – Robert Gardner
  • Genealogist’s Go Mobile – Sandra Crowley
  • Google’s Toolbar & Genealogy – David Barney
  • Making The Most of Technology to Further the Family History Industry – Tim Sullivan
  • Genealogy Podcasts & Blogs 101 – Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Future of FamilySearch Family Tree  – Ron Tanner
  • Privacy in a Collaborative Environment – Noah Tutak
  • YouTube Your Family History – Devin Ashby
  • Reputation Systems for Genealogy – Jimmy Zimmerman
  • GeneTech: YDNA Solutions to Common Genealogical Problems – Nathan Murphy
  • Using Android Devices for Genealogy and Family History – David Lifferth

So settle back and enjoy a taste of the RootsTech experience from your armchair – oh and remember to buy that Lottery ticket so that you can attend the real thing next year!



Criminal Records 1817 – 1931

Criminal Records 1817 - 1931

FindMyPast has just released a new collection of criminal records 1817 – 1931, additional records will be added in the coming months to make the complete dataset 1770 – 1934.

The original records are kept at The National Archives and among the records which will be available online today are:

  • Admiralty registers of convicts in prison hulks between 1818-1831 (ADM 6)
  • After trial calendars of prisoners from the Central criminal court between 1855-1931 (CRIM 9)
  • Calendar of Prisoners in Home Office records 1868-1929 (HO 140)
  • Criminal petitions 1817-1858 (HO 17)
  • Metropolitan Police records of habitual drunkards for the period 1903-1914 (MEPO 6)
  • Prison Commission records for 1880-1885 (PCOM 2)

A search for Henry Matkin gave the following details

Number 72
Name Henry Matkin (indicted with No. 41 in the Calendar)
Age 28
Trade Glazier
Degree of Instruction Imp.
Name & Address of Committing Magistrate J Vaughan Esq. Bow Street Court
Date of Warrant 5 May 1885
When received into Custody 13 May 1885
Offence Assaulting Joseph Payne, a police constable acting in the execution of his duty
Before whom tried J D Fletcher Esq.
Verdict of Jury Not guilty
Previous Convictions —–
Sentence or Order of Court —–

Depending on which type of record you get come up in a search depends on the information given. Some records have accompanying photographs of the accused, sadly there was no such photo of Henry (he is one of my ancestors).

A very interesting set of records to have at our fingertips especially for those who like me have more than their fair share of criminal ancestors!


Manor Park Crematorium Records Online

Manor Park CrematoriumThe records for Manor Park Crematorium in Forest Gate, East London are now all online at DeceasedOnline. The registers date from 1955 through to 1991 and computerised records 1991 – 2010 so quite a recent run of records.

At the present time there are a total of 145,000 individual records online for Manor Park, and the balance for the cemetery will go online within the next few weeks. The total number of records for the cemetery & crematorium will be 420,000 so a significant set of records.

More Cemetery Records Online

DeceasedOnlineI’m playing catch-up with all the family history news that happened whilst I was away floating around the pacific on the Unlock The Past Genealogy cruise. I see that DeceasedOnline have released news about several more cemetery collection due to go online soon or are online now.

West Yorkshire. The registers of 18 cemeteries, some quite large, and 2 crematoria are due online in March. No word where they are situated in West Yorkshire as yet.

Manor Park, East London. 420,000 records from the Manor Park Cemetery & Crematoria in East London have started to go online, the complete upload will be finished early March. The records comprise Burial Registers, Grave Registers, Maps and some photographs. Manor Park Cemetery is a significantly large London cemetery, it opened in 1875 with the first interment taking place in March of that year. Set on 43 acres it is run by the great grandchildren of the original founder of the cemetery.

The cemetery has an interesting website which you might want to view if you find you have ancestors resident there.