Ancestors gone to New York?

New York GenealogyDid any of your ancestors sail across the Atlantic and settle in New York? Many of us will find that people who disappear between census suddenly appear in the Big Apple. FamilySearch have just released a very informative free guide to New York ancestors. The guide comprises a series of research articles about tracing ancestors in New York City which is a vast area so you need all the help you can get.

One of the many interesting points made in the articles is that early New York records are held on The Netherlands. Included is a link to the records available online through the FamilySearch website.

WW2 Far East Prisoners of War father fought in the Far East during WW2 and for a brief period was a prisoner of war so i was interested in the following website Children & Families of Far East Prisoners of War (COFEPOW).

Carole Cooper from Norfolk read a newspaper article in 1994 about a POW’s diary which had been auctioned and sold to an anonymous buyer. As Carole read more of the article she realised that the diary had been written by her father who had died in Burma whilst a POW. Carole tried to persuade the buyer that the diary should return to the family and she offered to buy it from him, but he refused. However Carole was not daunted and eventually she was given a photocopy of the diary. Reading it was traumatic, but answered lots of questions for her.

From the discovery of the existence of the diary has grown the COFEPOW website which is a must for those family historians who have Far East POW’s in their family. A campaign was launched to raise funds to build a fitting memorial to honour the men who lost their lives and also to those who survived. The Far east Prisoners of War Memorial Building was opened in 2005.

Essential website for research into this harrowing subject.

Licences of Parole for Female Convicts 1853-1887

Licences of Parole for Female Convicts, 1853-1887. Gosh it’s hard to keep us with everything that is put onto the internet these days and it is easy to miss something. Today I was browsing the Ancestry Card Catalogue and found that sometime in 2010 Ancestry had put online a dataset of Licences of Parole for Female Convicts, 1853-1887.

This dataset contains the documents generated by the issuing of parole to female convicts. By being given parole the convicts were allowed to be ‘at large’, but if the authorities decided there was good reason the parole could be rescinded and the convict recalled to prison. The dataset contains some of these documents.

The records can be searched by

  • Year of the licence
  • Name
  • Estimated birth year
  • Court and year of conviction

The information that can be found varies, but can include next of kin, religion, literacy, physical description, a medical history, marital status, number of children, age, occupation, crime, sentence, dates and places of confinement, reports on behaviour while in prison, letters or notes from the convict, and (from 1871 forward) a photograph.

I did a search for Pottinger and found just one entry, the set of records for Elizabeth was 8 pages long and the information given was

Date of licence Name Age
Status Children Crime
Where and when convicted Sentence Which prison held
Literacy Occupation Next of kin
Health Previous criminal record if any Conduct
Description Conditions of parole

Elizabeth was sentenced to 3 years for fraud and was released on parole 13 days before the end of her sentence. One can only assume that they needed her bed !!

Even if you don’t have any female convicts on your family tree do go and look at some of these documents, they are just wonderful.




British Jewry Book of Honour

British Jewry Book of Honour

Dominic Hayhoe of Forces War Records sent me an email to let me know that they have a new addition to their collection. They have transcribed the British Jewry Book of Honour that records the details of 50,000 Jews who served in the British & Colonial forces during WW1.

This important book was published in London in 1922 and gives details of enlistment, casualties, military honours as well as Jewish units, hospitals, institutions and agencies. So if you have Jewish ancestry you will want to access this publication.

Inner Temple Calendars 1505 – 1845

Amazing what is coming online these days, it seems as if everyone has suddenly seen the advantage of digitizing their archives and placing them on the internet. A recent addition is the Calendars of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple 1505 – 1845. If you have ancestors who practised law then this site has to be a must.

I don’t understand the process whereby a graduate of law became admitted to an Inn and it’s chambers and then called to the bar, but I do know that this website has a lot to offer those with ancestors who practised law. The website offers a brief history of the site that the Inner Temple occupies, the buildings, the Archives as well as offer access to the digitized calendars and an Admissions database 1547 – 1920. Lots of lovely webpages to keep a genealogist happy.

A search of the Admissions database for the name Pottinger came up with 7 entries.

Using Richard Pottinger as an example I found the following on his record.

First name Richard
Last name (standard) Pottinger
Last name (given) Potenger
Admission date 22 April 1769
Call date n/a
Bench year n/a
Leaving date not known
Date of death not known
Judicial Appointment not known
Father’s name John Potenger
Father’s occupation Gentleman
Father/son relationship Eldest son
Father’s address City of London

I particularly liked that the surname was noted with a standard spelling and a given spelling. The surname Pottinger is one of those names that can have a wide variety of spellings and it seems that this database is well able to pick all the variations up in one search.

In my humble opinion m’ Lord a very useful website Winking smile