London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes

The Gazette - MadAboutGenealogyGenealogists have been able to access historic gazettes for some years and very useful they have been in family history research. A recent press release from National Archives tells us that access to the gazettes has been improved and the website re-designed and re-launched.

The London Gazette is the oldest, continually published newspaper in the world. Although the three publications are know as the London Gazette, Edinburgh Gazette and the Belfast Gazette they contain details of individuals from all over the United Kingdom so a search is always worthwhile taking the time to do. A history of the gazette is available on the National Archives website.National Archives - MadAboutGenealogy

A search for one of my family names “Pottinger” came up with 654 entries dating from 1742 – July 2013 a wide range of dates and information. The earliest entry concerns an ancestor of mine John Pottinger of Compton, Berkshire, it calls for creditors to register with the Court of Chancery and the latest entry is a listing of a business in Belfast owned by a Peter Pottinger who almost certainly is a descendant of the Pottinger family who left Berkshire and moved to Northern Ireland. All sorts of genealogy treasure will be hidden amongst the other 652 entries. A good, wet Sunday  afternoon, project to work through them all !


Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britian

Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britian genealogyJames Taylor of the JGSGB kindly sent me notification of their 1st Family History Fair to be held on 7 July 2013 at Elstree. The fair will include family history exhibitors & vendors and also representatives of Jewish cultural organisations which will be very helpful for those dipping their toe into Jewish genealogy and culture for the first time.

There will also be translators on hand to help decipher Hebrew into English. However I suspect that the most important aspect for researchers will be the lectures given by experts on Jewish genealogy. Below is a list of the lectures on offer. Wouldn’t it be great if these could be videoed and made available online?

  • Functionalism and Intentionalism: is the debate still relevant? by Dr. Toby Simpson
  • Family Trees, SmartMatching, SuperSearch, RecordMatching and DNA Tests by Laurence Harris
  • From Tolerance to Expulsion by Dr John Richmond FFA, BA, MA, PhD
  • An Unfinished Suit – A Promise to a Kinder Transportee by Rabbi Bernd Koshland
  • A Silence that Speaks by Susan Soyinka
  • Finding Jewish Roots in Poland by Susan Fifer BEd
  • Jews of Lithuania by Sam Aaron
  • From East End to Land’s End by Susan Soyinka
  • Is Zionism a Modern Invention? by Clive A Lawton JP, BA, MA, Med, MSc, CertEd, ADB(Ed)
  • Jewish Roots in Scotland by Harvey Kaplan MA
  • Online research resources and technique by Mark Bayley, B.SC (Hons)
  • Family Trees, SmartMatching, SuperSearch, RecordMatching and DNA Tests by Laurence Harris
  • The legal system and Nazi persecution by Janet Mills MBE, MA
  • Ask the Experts chaired by Michael Hoffman   Panel: Ric Cooper, Doreen Berger, Susan Wolf, and Reva Hill

More information available on the JGSGB website

Just who is on your family tree?

Charlemagne DNA GenealogyI’ve just come across a fascinating website , it’s theme is “What Makes You So Special: The Puzzle of Human Uniqueness”. It is a science based website, but several of the pages concern themselves with DNA and other subjects dear to a genealogists heart. One page in particular addresses the fact that statistically it can be proved that we are all related to one another.

A particular sentence caught my attention – “anyone who was alive 2,000 – 3,000 years ago is either an ancestor of everyone who is now alive, or no one at all”. This makes sense when you think that working backwards each generation doubles the number of direct descendants, so when you go back 40 generations (not likely on a typical family tree) then you would have a trillion direct ancestors when the world population is estimated to have been only about 300 million.

So we are all related to Charlemagne, Edward 1st, Cleopatra and so on. Makes for a colourful family tree!

Here are links to two articles I think you’ll find thought provoking –

Ethical Considerations

Ethical Considerations GenealogyGenealogists can get so immersed in tracing ancestors that some forget to consider the effects that some of their finds can have on the descendants. Crista Cowan of Ancestry has recently put online an excellent video about considerations to be thought about when dealing with some of the actions of our family both living and dead.

I keep a separate file with information which could cause upset to certain members of the family, there is nothing earth shattering in there, but I can see no point in distressing elderly relatives. The information is recorded for generations to come, but not for all to see at this present time.

Are you a descendent of Tudor seaman?

Cowdray Engaving-detail of sinking genealogy

Henry 8th’s flagship the Mary Rose was spectacularly raised from the seabed off of Portsmouth, Hampshire in 1982, anyone who watched the moments as the wreck broke through the water will remember the awful shock as one of the supports failed and it seemed as if she would go back to her watery grave. However the salvage was successful and the immense task of preservation started.

A museum has been built around the remains and this is now open to the public. Interpreting what has been found is an on going task and one area which is drawing some attention is that scientists are attempting to extract DNA from the bones discovered inside the ship. Ten skulls have had facial reconstruction so we can see what they looked like, but just who were they?

Remains of 179 individuals were found inboard, mostly male and under the age of 30 years. The position within the ship gives an idea of their tasks aboard. This will be a fascinating project for genealogists to watch and will once more bring family history and DNA to the forefront of the news.

The image above is a detail of the Cowdray Engraving showing the sinking of the Mary Rose on 19 July 1545. Based on an original painted between 1545 and 1548 for Anthony Browne, Master of the Horse.