World War I attack on Scarborough, Whitby and Hartlepool

On this day in 1916 the German Navy’s battle cruisers bombarded the north east of England.

The Germans had hoped that the raid would draw out the Royal Navy’s capital ships in pursuit of the raiders and so forcing them into engaging in a sea battle. Their tactic was for a large number of ships of the German High Seas Fleet to join the fight by following on behind.

The British force, however, managed to avoid being drawn into an unbalanced fight with the bulk of the German fleet. Unfortunately for the towns attacked, signalling errors and deteriorating weather meant that the raiding ships managed to slip the Royal Navy’s attempt to intercept them. The tragedy was that nearly 140 people – predominantly civilians – were killed and 600 were injured.

Searching TheGenealogist website, I have found a contemporary report in one of the newspapers and magazines on this site which give a flavour of how enemy actions were reported in Britain. The Great War  periodical gives us the sense of British outrage, at the time, under the no holds bared title of Crimes Germany has committed.

The Great War Issue 87 on TheGenealogist
The Great War Issue 87 on TheGenealogist

“The Bombardment by German warships of the coast towns of Scarborough, Whitby, and the Hartlepools, on the morning of December 16th, 1914, was a murderous act of barbarism.”

and later…

“A  Berlin newspaper proclaimed this wholesale slaughter to be ‘a further proof of the gallantry of the German Navy”

If you are researching ancestors from the First World War then the articles in these publications on TheGenealogist can be very useful to fill in background and sometimes find an ancestor named in a report.

Sir Patrick Moore’s collection to go to the Science Museum

The late TV astronomer Sir Patrick Moore had built up an extensive personal archive  of objects and written material including some of the draft scripts and memorabilia from the BBC programme The Sky at Night.

It has been announced that Sir Patrick’s collection has now been acquired by the Science Museum to preserve them. They will be kept at the Science Museum Library and Archives at Wroughton in Wiltshire.

http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1023a/
Sky at night

December Newsletter from S&N Genealogy

The latest newsletter from S&N Genealogy has landed in my inbox with some seasonal promotions for the family historian.

S&N are giving away a Christmas gift to their readers of a free 3 month subscription to the online magazine Discover Your Ancestors.

They also have some fantastic Christmas gift ideas and special offers, including free Family History binders and sleeves, free gifts, and savings of up to £370 from their online shop.

You can now get the UK version of RootsMagic7, with its range of new features, from them and they are also taking advance orders for Family Historian 6 that is due out this month.

If you are looking for a special offer for a family history website subscription then you are in luck. In this newsletter I spotted that there is £40 cashback at TheGenealogist.

To also read a fascinating article, about experiences of transcribing headstones, take a look at their newsletter here: http://www.genealogysupplies.com/email_news.htm

It’s not what you know, its who your ancestors were!

If your surname reveals that your family came over from Normandy, the last time that England was conquered, then even today you are more likely to be upper class than the average member of the population in Britain. Quite astonishingly, the social status of your ancestors has more influence on your life chances than on your height. Normans recorded as property owners in the Domesday book of 1086 are 16 times more likely to be at Oxford or Cambridge in 1170 and still 25% more likely that their ancestors are there today.

Gregory Clark of the University of California, Davis and Neil Cummins from the London School of Economics have published an article in the Journal of Human Nature that shows that social mobility from 1170 to 2012 has always been slow and even now is not much greater than in the pre-industrial period.

An example being the Bunduck family whose name regularly appeared in the registers of the Oxbridge universities consistently from the 12th century until the modern day. The Bunducks were also found on the rich property owners’ database, which is another suggestion that they were of a higher class as is their appearance on the 19th century probate registry.

‘Strong forces of familial culture, social connections, and genetics must connect the generations,’ said Mr Clark.

‘Even more remarkable is the lack of a sign of any decline in status persistence across major institutional changes, such as the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth century, the spread of universal schooling in the late nineteenth century, or the rise of the social democratic state in the twentieth century,’ added Mr Cummins.

Source: The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility. Gregory Clark (with Neil Cummins, Yu Hao, and Daniel Diaz Vidal and others), 2014. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

The Son Also Rises

New RootsMagic Version 7 just out

I’ve just received some news from S&N Genealogy that a new edition of the award winning RootsMagic is out.

Version 7 is the latest issue of what is a full-featured genealogy program that has become one of the UK’s most favoured genealogy packages. It is the top rated program in numerous reviews and articles which have emphasised RootsMagic’s ease of use and powerful attributes.

Packed with great features this software will allow you to easily create superb wall-charts and reports, make a family history website, publish your own family history book, shareable CDs of your research and more.  Authored by Bruce Buzbee, the author of Family Origins, the UK version is published by S&N Genealogy Supplies.

If you are a current user there is an UK update available, or the full new UK Edition of RootsMagic can be found here: http://www.genealogysupplies.com/rootsmagic/

RootsMagic 7
RootsMagic 7

Family history shop added to online site.

If you read my last post, then you will know that with a month to go I was writing my list for Santa (or at least as a massive hint for loved ones to buy me something useful this year!). So it is very timely that this news has come in from the team at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist Family History Shop is now open!

Christmas is coming; it’s that time for giving and receiving again.

Are you looking for some great gifts to make a family historian happy this festive period? Simply head over to the fantastic new shop pages recently added to TheGenealogist for a great selection of scanners, software, archival storage, spring binders and charts. Made available in association with S&N Genealogy Supplies, the UK’s largest genealogy publisher and retailer, your present selection is covered this Yuletide.

While you are there, why not browse for something for yourself? To make sure that you get what you want in your stocking this year, just drop your loved ones the hint by giving them TheGenealogist shop’s page link.

TheGenealogist shop
TheGenealogist shop 

http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/shop/

Christmas presents for the genealogist

Christmas is coming; it’s that time for giving and receiving again. So its probably a good idea to start thinking about what a family historian might want to put on this year’s letter to Santa. So here is mine to get people started!

That  shoe box of photos, certificates and A4 family-pedigrees could really do with being more organised. I would really love it if, this Christmas, under my tree I’d find some hard backed binders, to protect all that valuable research I’ve done and preserve it in a more presentable way for future generations of the family to read.

Gift vouchers to allow me to buy exactly what I want are always well received, especially if they are family history related!

I would also be so grateful if that kind person, who regularly gives me the box of shortbread’s that does nothing for my waist line after all the other food on offer at this time of year, would substitute the biscuits with a non edible present instead. Perhaps a useful set of charts to present my family tree in a more attractive way than the print out from my computer, or the scribbled hand drawn tree on that sheet of paper that I have at the moment?

At the top of my list (hint ,hint!) would be a portable scanner, to capture images of the certificates and photographs that I see on visits to my relatives or at the archives.

Flip Pal

On this day in 1905

1905 The SS Hilda, a steamship owned by the London and South Western Railway sank, with the loss of 125 lives when she struck ground at the entrance to Saint-Malo harbour.

She had sailed from Southampton at 22:00 on 17 November 1905 on her regular service to Saint-Malo in Brittany with 103 passengers on board. Thick fog caused her master, Captain Gregory, to anchor off Yarmouth, Isle of Wight to await better weather conditions. At 06:00 on 18 November the Hilda resumed her voyage and by 18:00, she was approaching St Malo. Although the lights from the town could be seen, squally snow showers  impaired visibility and her Captain was forced to abandon the attempt to reach port.

There then followed occasions when the visibility improved briefly but then deteriorated. Gregory made several attempts to reach St Malo’s port, each of which he had to abandon. Around 23:00, the visibility improved again and the Hilda made its final attempt to enter the harbour. Sadly, minutes later, the ship struck the Pierre de Portes rocks, that lie to the west of the entrance channel to St Malo’s harbour and broke up.

About 20 or 30 survivors managed to climb the rigging  of the wreck to await rescue. By 09:00 on 19 November, when they were discovered by SS Ada, only six remained.

SS Hilda sinks off Saint Malo this day in 1905
SS Hilda sinks off Saint Malo 19th Nov 1905

Was Twiggy’s ancestor a victim of fashion?

‘Twiggy’, the fashion icon and model from the 1960s and who appeared in a recent BBC Who Do You Think You Are? programme on the TV, had an interesting family story to tell.

Twiggy uncovered the sad truth that her ancestor’s family were torn apart by illness, poverty and crime. Her search took her into the Victorian’s bleakest institutions, the workhouse and the prison, something she had never heard about previously in connection with her family and on to her great-great-grandmother whose life ended in a tragic way, shopping for clothes and being killed in a “bargain sale” stampede.

Twiggy's family history story
Twiggy’s family history story

Twiggy whose real name was Lesley Lawson (formerly Lesley Hornby) appears in a fascinating piece in the Featured Articles on TheGenealogist.

Echoes of the Past 2014

This weekend sees the second family history fair to be held at The Lincolnshire Showground. Echoes of the Past will be on this Sunday 26th October from 10am to 4pm at the EPIC Centre, Lincolnshire Showground. Entry is £4 per person and there is free parking.

There is also a free hourly bus shuttle service to and from Lincoln city centre.

There will be free talks throughout the day including the popular ‘Breaking down brick walls’ talk from Mark Bayley of TheGenealogist. It promises to be another great event, if you live in or near the Lincoln area, it’s well worth attending the event!

There’s more information from the Lincolnshire Echo website who are organising the event.

Echoes of the Past
Echoes of the Past returns to the Lincolnshire Showground this Sunday 26th October.