The Hathi Trust – a real treasure house

London Burial Grounds

With reference to my interest in London Cemeteries I have been long aware of a book that was originally published in 1896, but has been reprinted a number of times since “The London Burial Grounds: notes on their history from the earliest times to the present day, by Mrs. Basil Holmes”. I decided today that I really must buy a copy, these days I prefer to buy e-books so I did a Google search and up came a copy on the Hathi Trust website.

Those of you who have been reading the MadAboutGenealogy website for a while or who have heard me speak on genealogy subjects will know that I am a great fan of Google Books & Well the Hathi Trust is a similar organisation, I mentioned it in passing in January as they have a good run of the Gentleman’s magazine, but feel it is worth posting about it again.

The trust is in partnership with major research institutes and libraries 

Hathi Trust

and their joint aim is to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. My copy of Mrs Holmes book came from Yale University and I was allowed to download it as a PDF free of charge. I noticed that on each page is a small note saying that the digitisation was supported by Microsoft, so well done Mr Gates!

A general search using the term genealogy came up with 20,960 items, so enough to keep anyone busy on a wet Sunday afternoon. The site has a leaning towards American items, but there was enough English based material to make me put this site onto my Favourites List.

I’m off to start reading Mrs Basil Holmes book on London Cemeteries, take a look at the Hathi Trust website and I am sure you will soon find something to interest you!

Discover Your Ancestors I had a pleasant email from Mark Galbraith the publisher of the bookazine Discover Your Ancestors telling me that they are about to publish a new monthly  magazine called Discover Your Ancestors Periodical. The new publication will be published monthly and I think it will fill the gap nicely between the Discover Your Ancestors bookazine issues.

I wrote some time ago about Issue 1 of Discover Your Ancestors, which I was most impressed with. It was an easy, informative read that managed to have something for family historians whatever their level of expertise. Being a bookazine means that it naturally seems to find it’s way onto the book case rather than in the pile of genealogy magazines languishing under the coffee table ! I am looking forward to getting my hands on Issue 2 which has just been published.

Discover Your Ancestors Issue 2 is now available from the publishers DMG or from newsagents & booksellers such as W H Smith.

There are a variety of subscription packages for the new Discover Your Ancestors Periodical, details of which can be obtained via the new website. I shall be opting for receiving my monthly edition on my iPad and I’m told the online ordering facility will be up and running in the first half of April. There is an Early Bird Special of £12 for a year’s subscription which is such a bargain I am sure many genealogists will be tempted.

Family History Books

Family History Books OnlineOn my visits to the Family History library in Salt Lake City I have always been torn between reading as many films as I can of records which haven’t been put online, making a beeline for the book & pamphlet library (I could spend weeks sitting on the floor just reading everything shelf by shelf !) or do I head for the family history books to see if anyone has published a book on one of my family lines? Decisions, decisions…

As some of you may know there is a project by the LDS to digitize the genealogy & family history books from some of the leading libraries in America and also the contents of the Family History books at Salt Lake. The collection now numbers in excess of 40,000 books and whilst many of them will be by American authors a considerable number will have English content in them. The libraries that are involved in this project are listed below.

The material being scanned includes family histories, county and local histories, gazetteers, and medieval histories & pedigrees. There was a report on the FamilySearch blog which lists the new additions for June to the online collection. The list is separated out into various headings so finding material of interest is very easy. Scanning quickly through the British Isles section I see that there is a wide variety of documents from “The fabric rolls of York Minster : with an appendix of illustrative documents”,The visitations of Kent, taken in the years 1530-1 by Thomas Benolte, and 1574 by Robert Cooke” to “The road-books & itineraries of Ireland, 1647 to 1850; a catalogue” & “The parish registers of Hollesley, Co. Suffolk”.

The books can be found on the FamilySearch website, Benson Family records Genealogyclick on the tab BOOKS, then click on the coloured tab FAMILY HISTORY BOOKS, there is a simple or an advanced search option and the search can be undertaken by title, author, surname or full text. The books can be save onto a disc or onto your computer hard-drive.

This online library is just one of the gems on the FamilySearch website, put aside a couple of hours and enjoy searching through this wonderful genealogical collection. Also remember that new additions are being added on a monthly basis.



FamilySearch blog report

British Isles new additions June 2012

Are you related to the aristocracy?

Royalty Genealogy

I wish I had a pound for each time I have been told by a beginner in genealogy that they are related to the aristocracy ! Anyone who has undertaken a reasonable amount of research knows that many a family legend turns out to be a myth although they should never be dismissed as often there is a grain of truth in them. Also those more experienced in family history will know that given enough time and access to records we are all related to landed gentry, aristocracy and royalty. It’s just that those links might be rather distant.

A friend of mine has been corresponding with a fellow researcher on her father’s side of the family and when she saw that this person had put a member of the aristocracy onto her online tree she did a relationship search and found that her correspondent was related to this eminent person via the husband of 1st cousin 4x removed of husband of aunt of husband of grand aunt of husband of aunt of wife of 1st cousin of wife of 1st cousin 1x removed !! Think the genetic links are running a bit thin by then !


The Peerage

If you think there may be an aristocracy connection there is a good website called The Peerage which lists thousands of entries concerning English & European Peerage and titled families. The information is well researched and is presented in family format. There is also a free iPad app as well as the main website. has a number of databases that would be helpful. Amongst those on offer are …..

The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland & Wales 1884Burkes Peerage

Peerage of the British Empire 1848

The Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain & the United Kingdom 1910-1916

A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage & Baronetage of the British Empire 1865 Vol. 2 only

Commoners of Great Britain & Ireland enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank: but uninvested with heritable honours 1837-1838

Burke’s Family Records 1897

Burke’s Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland & Scotland 1841

Find My Past doesn’t seem to have anything to offer in the way of databases especially for the aristocracy.


Google Books

Google Books is a favourite amongst family historians, it is always worthwhile running your family names through the search engine to see what turns up. Also if you know a title of a book that you wish to look at then also try the title search. It is surprising what Google Books holds and the holdings will only get better as books and pamphlets houses at The British Library come online.

A quick search using the word Burke’s showed quite a number of hits for books on the Peerage etc.


So if you think you might have blue blood running in your veins take a look at these websites.

Genealogy Magazines


Genealogy MagazinesHas anyone noticed how difficult it is to find family history magazines on the shelves in book shops, newsagents and the like? I subscribe to a couple of magazines, but like to pick up copies of the others if they have articles that are of particular interest.

Now that Borders Bookshops have disappeared from the High Street it seems that the only way to get copies of Family Tree, Practical Family History etc etc is to pay out for a subscription. Is this the beginning of the end for specialist magazines?

One recent innovation is “Discover My Past England” & “Discover My Past Scotland”. These magazines are subscription based and are delivered via the internet so that you have the option of printing off a copy or reading totally online. The subs for these magazines are £2.50 per copy or £7.00 for three issues. The publication monthly and is 40 pages in length and the preview of the first pages seemed to be of a good standard. However compared to “Who Do You Think You

Are”’ which is 98 pages for a cost of £4.99 I think “Discover My Past” is a trifle expensive, especially as they don’t have printing, transport and seller’s commission to include in the price. What do you think? The new Mad About Forum would be a good place to give your opinions on the pro’s and con’s of genealogy magazines.

I was at the London launch of the Apple ipad recently and after having had a good play with the device I can see that in the near future we may all be having our magazines delivered and read via such gadgets. However tempting as it was I left the store without purchasing, my pocket at that moment wasn’t full of up to £699.00 of loose change! Also I must say that the clapping and cheering by staff after each and every purchase was a major turnoff for me!!