Monday, November 28, 2016

Who Do You Think You Are UK

If you have never watched this show on Youtube you are missing out on some great ideas. It has been on for more than 10 years and there are lots and lots of shows to watch. I don't know many of the people whose genealogy they are doing but I have learned something interesting and enjoyed every one that I have watched. 

I have learned about records that I never knew existed, I have learned about historic events that I was unaware of and I have gained a much deeper knowledge of where to look for records. 

It is free to watch these videos on Youtube. Nothing interesting is on TV, grab your laptop, phone or tablet and spend 48 minutes enjoying this wonderful British show. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ordering certificates from the GRO online

What is the GRO? If you have ancestors from England, you recognize this as the General Register Office. In America, this would be the town hall or courthouse that holds records such as births, marriages, and deaths. Records date back as far as 1837 when it was required by law to register these events. Prior to this time, most records are held by the local parish. 

It is quite simple to order copies from England online. For many of my ancestors, I actually ordered the records in London and then had them mailed home. You can't just walk in and ask for a certificate, you have to order it.  

In order to order it, you will need to find the record that you want to order. You need to know what district the event was registered in and the page number. You can find this information by going to the BMD register online.

You search for the event you are looking for by name. Be creative. I ended up having to search by surname name (last name) only to find what I wanted. It takes a little determination but be persistent and think outside the box. 

The cost is £9.25 per certificate which includes the cost of mail. This is inexpensive when you consider the alternative, a trip to England.

This sounds easy and ordering from the GRO is easy. Getting the correct certificates, however, is not so easy and I tell you honestly that I have ordered quite a dew that turned out not to be for the person I was looking for. How can this happen? When it comes to marriages you are assuming that it is your ancestor but you are only seeing the name of one person getting married. When the certificate arrives, you will see the parents names and this may end up being the wrong person. 

So far, however, all the certificates have been for people who ended up being related in one way or another. I have two certificates that I just ordered and received and even though I didn't get the answer I was hoping for, I have no regrets.  


Monday, November 14, 2016

DNA and what it can tell you

Last year, I was approached online through my Gedmatch account by two people who I share DNA with. Both of them have roots in Cavan. I have no Cavan roots that I am aware of. 

Last week, I saw a new match on Gedmatch. It was at 3.7 generations. In DNA terms, that is pretty good, it means we probably share 2nd great grandparents. I shot off an email to the woman and yesterday she responded. She shares my 2nd great grandparent with me. They are my County Laois family, the O'Çonnells, Tallants, and Morans. This is the part of my family I thought most likely came from Cavan since Laois is a lot closer to Cavan than Kerry. 

To prove this, I did a one to one kit test on Gedmatch between both of the people who are related to me. They are not related to each other and the chromosome on which our matching DNA is located is not the same either. 

That blew that theory all to heck but it did show me that I might be able to isolate the chromosome for certain names in my genealogy. I will be working on this for the immediate future. If I come to any conclusions, I will let you know. 

In the mean time, I am again realizing that things are often not the way you would think they should be in genealogy and making assumptions is never a wise thing to do. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Wisbech & Fenlands Museum

Located in the market town of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire the Wisbech & Fenland Museum offers not only a very fine small museum of the Fens but is the caretaker of many records of interested to genealogist and historians. To find out which parish registers are held by the museum you can check their website.

In addition, they have a collection of maps, manorial records, local government records, diaries, estate and business records and much more. They have the sort of records that can add some meat to the bare bones of genealogical research. The registers on micro film are available to be viewed in a special room in the museum. Beyond just the genealogical aspects, the museum has many interesting exhibits to enjoy. 

The noted abolitionist Thomas Clarkson was born in Wisbech and many things that relate to him can be found in the cases. One treasure not to be missed is an original copy of Charles Dicken's Great Expectations. Roman items recovered in excavations and a case of advertising items taken from one store in town are also on display along with lots of posters and cardboard food packaging from yesteryear. A display of photos of buildings in Wisbech and the surrounding area is of particular interest.

One that was of interest to me was of the Wisbech workhouse where many local people died including an ancestor. Robert Bell was quite knowledgeable about it and was able to say that it was the only hospital in town in that time period. If you find a record that gives the workhouse as the place of death, it may very well mean that the individual was brought there as a patient and was not necessarily a resident of the workhouse.

The museum has a small store with a collection of postcards and books on local topics. It is open year round with the exception of the first few weeks of January. If you would like to visit during that time, contact the assistant curator Robert Bell. He will be able to help you to arrange a time to visit.

I have used this museum several times and it has added greatly to my knowledge about my grandmother’s family.