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The very latest news from the world of genealogy



What does Mentioned in Despatches mean?

Family History Tips: Mentioned in Despatches

When we set out researching some of our ancestors from the past we may discover that they served in the military. We may find records that prove that they were awarded medals, or that they were wounded, taken prisoner, or killed in one of the wars that this country fought. In some cases we may even discover that they have been Mentioned in despatches (MiD). But what does this term mean?

The Gazette, the official public record which publishes awards including MiDs, has a useful article that can be read here:


The article takes as its example Captain Bernard Law Montgomery who served in World War 1 in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was first MiD in 1915. Later awarded many medals, including the DSO to which his oak leaf is pinned (see the Gazette – issue 28992), Montgomery served between 1915 and 1918, ending WW1 as a lieutenant colonel. He was to go on to become Field Marshal Montgomery and 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein in WW2.


The handwritten MiD card records can reveal detail such as the military clerk’s corrections and messy amendments. You can see this on Montgomery’s 1915 MiD card, as found from a search of the Military Records on TheGenealogist.co.uk

Mentioned in Despatches

You can read the full article on The Gazette's website:



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January 2021 edition of Discover Your Ancestors out now!

Great News, the January 2021 edition of Discover Your Ancestors Periodical is out now and it contains an eclectic mix of articles that will appeal to family historians interested in researching their British Isles ancestors and understanding the times that they lived in.
This online magazine is always worth a read with stories, case studies, social history articles and research advice.
In this month's online periodical you can read about:
  • A brief history of dieting: At a time of year when many people look to their New Year's resolutions, Jayne Shrimpton reveals that dieting is certainly no new endeavour
  • If the invader comes...: Stuart A. Raymond looks at the WW2 Invasion Committees and the useful records they have left
  • The greats of greetings cards: Nick Thorne explores the records of the Jewish family responsible for many of our ancestors' greeting cards
  • How justice failed Beatrice and Emily: The unsolved murders of two little girls in 1890s Gloucestershire show the problems with convicting those identified as the likely offender. By Nell Darby
  • Crime by numbers: Kate Hollis investigates criminal record keeping in Victorian Kent
  • History in the details: Materials – leather (part 4)
If you have missed any of the informative editions then back copies can be purchased from their website: https://discoveryourancestors.co.uk/back-issues/
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TheGenealogist adds more than 55,000 new Headstone records

TheGenealogist has added to its expanding International Headstone Collection with some interesting and useful new searchable images of gravestones.


These enable family historians to see details that have been recorded about their ancestors by the monumental masons in various churches and cemeteries. All the records are fully searchable with transcripts of the inscriptions that help to decipher some of the more weathered memorials.


The headstone records released cover 174 new churchyards or cemeteries and include submissions from their many prolific volunteers. The International Headstone Collection is an ongoing project where every headstone photographed or transcribed earns credits for volunteers.


The credits are used by volunteers to help support their hobby spending them on subscriptions at TheGenealogist.co.uk or products from GenealogySupplies.com. If you would like to join them, you can find out more about the scheme at: https://ukindexer.co.uk/headstone/


The unusual, but informative, plaque on the Penruddocke family tomb at St Michael’s, Compton Chamberlayne


These new records are all available as part of the Diamond Subscription at TheGenealogist.


You can read TheGenealogist’s article: Headstones and Church Memorial plaques a fantastic resource for family historians



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Society of Genealogists online talk: Sources for Medieval and Early Modern Genealogy

The Society of Genealogist's popular live online lectures are due to continue in 2021 via the Zoom platform. From their news page we see that their first talk this New Year is 'Sources for Medieval and Early Modern Genealogy' and will be taking place on 9 January 2021.

In this talk, Dr. Nick Barratt will be looking at medieval and early family history sources, including practical information for research. He will be introducing new sources to help you trace your relatives further back in time and his talk covers: feudalism, landholding and social hierarchy, government and local administration, law and justice, and church and religion.

At the end of the Zoom talk there will be a short Q&A session for you to ask Nick questions.

About the speaker: Dr Nick Barratt obtained his PhD in history from King's College London. At the National Archives he previously was head of Medieval, Early Modern Legal, Maps & Photographs, and was president of the Family History Federation for ten years. Nick worked in television as a specialist archive researcher and consultant including House Detectives and Who Do You Think You Are. He is the owner of Sticks Research Agency, as well as being the director of Learner and Discovery Services at the Open University.

This Society of Genealogist's event is online and is a one-hour talk on Saturday, 9 January (2pm UK), cost £10.00/£6.50 SoG members. This talk as well as the SoG's other January events can be booked through their website.


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How our ancestors decorated their homes for Christmas

Decking the halls

Ruth A Symes explored how our ancestors decorated for Christmas, from mistletoe to paper chains in an archived article from Discover Your Ancestors

Greenery and fruit, sparkle and snow, colourfully dressed tables and walls inscribed with Yuletide mottos – Christmases past were decorated using much the same general combination of ideas as Christmases today. But the specifics of the way our ancestors decorated their homes at any given time in the past depended not only on tradition, but also on what was currently most novel and up-to-date.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, domestic and church decorations at Christmas tended to be simple and worked on the principle of bringing something of the outside world indoors. Our ancestors would decorate their lamps, candles and tables, very shortly before Christmas Day, with material such as holly, ivy, mistletoe and berries collected from hedges and winter gardens. The candles (attached to the greenery with wax or pins) would be lit only on Christmas Eve to minimise the danger of fire hazard. The Rev James Woodforde, who kept a diary from the mid-18th century onwards, recorded that he filled his house with holly and lit a great wax candle especially for Christmas. Fruit and vegetables, imported from overseas, or newly-grown in British hothouses, were considered decorations in and of themselves. The Market Post of December 25th 1848 noted that in Covent Garden that Xmas season, the supply of pineapples, apples, pears, hothouse grapes, foreign grapes, walnuts, lemons and oranges was "seasonally good and sold readily".

A typical home at Christmas in the mid-Victorian period, would have been decorated to draw the eye towards the fireplace, which would have been ablaze with colour and sparkle. The popular installation of a Christmas tree in the domestic environment was widely attributed to a widely publicised etching of the Royal family at Christmas, complete with a tree (decorated with tinsel made from real shavings of silver) in the London Illustrated News of 1848. Mottoes or biblical quotations, with the individual letters cut out from paper and decorated with coloured rice or cotton wadding to imitate snow were often strung across the walls.

Trees were decorated with ornaments made from lace, paper, scraps of newspaper and magazine illustrations. Spurred on by the royal endorsement of Christmas, our Victorian ancestors proceeded to go decoration-crazy as the century progressed. As the Supplement to the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent of Saturday 24 December 24 1881 commented, "[Christmas decorations] are no longer hung around a room haphazard – as pineapples, apples, holly bough here, a bunch of berries there, a trail of ivy elsewhere. They are carefully planned and artistically constructed."

--- Reproduced with kind permission of Discover Your Ancestors Online Periodical ---

Read the entire article for free on the Discover Your Ancestors site 

Or take a look at the latest issue, books and subscriptions: https://discoveryourancestors.co.uk/


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New Version Released: Family Historian 7

Family Historian Version 7

Just in time for the Christmas presents market there has come a welcome announcement about some family history software. The highly anticipated new version of the deluxe genealogy application written by a leading UK software designer for the UK market is now out!

Family Historian version 7 is said to be a new concept in genealogy programs that allows you to enter your family by drawing a tree. Full support is given for sources, notes, facts and linked multimedia elements. For researchers it provides support for Queries and Reports. 

This powerful, award-winning genealogy program has a range of new and improved features designed to meet the needs of the beginner and expert alike.


We have found it offered online in a tantalising package from S&N Genealogy Supplies who have put together everything that you need to Research, Record and Report your Family History!


Their offer is just £69.95 (Saving you 46%) and this includes:

- The newly released Family Historian V7

- Quick Start Guide

- 3 Months Gold Subscription to TheGenealogist, giving you access to Census, BMDs, Parish Records and more

- A Regional Research Guidebook