White Gloves & Archives

White Gloves GenealogyWhenever someone on the TV programme Who Do You Think You Are? handles a document without wearing white gloves the social media runs hot with complaints from those who think they have been causing damage to the fragile paper or parchment. When I started in genealogy the only time you would wear gloves when handles archives was when they were so filthy dirty that you wanted to protect your skin from several hundred years of dust and mouse droppings! White glove wearing was un-heard of, then a few years ago it suddenly was decided the oil from skin was causing damage to documents and white gloves became the norm.

Now the pendulum has swung the other way and National Archives, London has written an article declaring that white gloves are causing more harm than good and will no longer be issued to those handling old manuscripts.

So if you have shares in a archival white glove manufacturer it might be a good time to sell them !


One Place Studies

One Place Studies GenealogyI am sure that all family historians have experienced the attachment to a particular parish where one’s ancestors lived. You become so engrossed with the people that you have meet in the parish registers and the census that it almost feels like you have lived there!

Some genealogists and local historians take research one step more and undertake a one place study researching the people of a community within the context of the place they live. Of course in this day and age of the internet there is a website and a society to bring together people who are undertaking such research,

The Society for One Place Studies is based at the Devon Heritage Centre and link to their website is below. There is a page explaining about the society, a blog and a list of where studies are being undertaken. The society is still in it’s early days having been established in June this year, but the site is well worth keeping an eye on.



WW1 Soldier Wills online

Some 230,000 WW1 Soldier’s wills have been digitised and put online for the first time. The digitisation is part of the commemorations planned for the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WW1. Some of the wills also contain letters which were to be given to the next of kin if the soldier died whilst in service.

The excellent HistoryExtra website has a good article about the wills and there is a number of short videos already on YouTube, I am sure there will be more within the next few days.

The project has been overseen by Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) and is offered on the probate website. Searching the index is free and wills costs £6 each.




Non-Conformist records now on Ancestry

John Wesley Genealogy

If I had a £ for every time someone has said  to me “my ancestors were always Church of England” I would be a rich woman !! I would guess that all of us have ancestors who attended a non-conformist meeting at some stage. One of my Berkshire families were Churchwardens etc. generation after generation when suddenly in the mid 1800’s a branch of the family popped up in the local Baptist records for about ten years before returning to the parish church. I fancy they fell out with the local Vicar and so moved their allegiance to  the Baptist minister for a while!

The records released on Ancestry today are from the National Archives, Kew cover the time period 1567 – 1970 and are those held under the reference

RG4 – Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths surrendered to the Non-parochial Registers Commissions of 1837 and 1857.

RG 5 – Birth Certificates from the Presbyterian, Independent and Baptist Registry and from the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry.

RG 8 – Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths surrendered to the Non Parochial Registers Commission of 1857, and other registers and church records in the Protectorates of Africa and Asia.

Non-conformist records are often much more detailed than C of E ones. I did a sample search using the surname Bint and chose at random a baptism entry for a Priscilla Bint of Warrington, Lancashire. The entry is below

Non Conformist records Genealogy

You can see that amongst the usual information is the name of the mother’s parents and child’s birth date. All beautifully written out and clear to read.

They are all indexed so it is easy to run your family names through to see if I am right about you have non-conformists on your family tree !


More online presenatations for genealogists

TED Talks GenealogyFirstly my thanks to Michael LeClerc on Mocavo for his blog post on TED talks which inspired me to also write about TED as a follow on from my previous post about online genealogy courses. I have been a fan of the TED Talks website for some time now, but as Michael so rightly pointed out there is plenty there of genealogical interest. Most family historians are people with enquiring minds so TED talks are likely to appeal.

Some of my favourites are as follows ….

Brewster Kahle, the founder of Archive.com, which is a free digital library of out of copyright books.

David Christian gives a 18 minute talk giving a complete history of the world !

Beil MacGregor traces 2500+ years of Middle Eastern history through a single object.

These are just a few of the thousands of talks on offer, free on TED. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design and covers a vast number of topics, put genealogy or history into the search engine and see what you find or you can simple take pot-luck and surprise yourself. The talks are generally about 20 minutes long so ideal to watch/listen to as you complete boring non-genealogy tasks !