Welcome to the Family History Social

The very latest news from the world of genealogy



For the first time you can go to a death record and see their whole life in just a few clicks.

Linking together the life of a relative can often be a difficult and time consuming task if you don’t have much prior information to go on… however, I've found with my subscription to TheGenealogist that this process can be a whole lot simpler with its unique ‘SmartSearch’ facility.  This has been further enhanced by the addition of 14 million newly transcribed death records from 1960 to 1983 to add even more power to the search feature. With the total of 26 million death records for England and Wales from 1960 to 2005 now available on TheGenealogist, using the unique ‘SmartSearch’ feature, I've discovered we can now go from the death record from 1960 to 2005, to a birth record, to finding the parent’s marriage to tracing siblings in very easy steps. The team at TheGenealogist tell me by Christmas the records should stretch back to 1930 adding even more power to our fingertips! As an example, I've used one of the newly transcribed death records on TheGenealogist to see a prime example of how the new records can really benefit your family research. I’ve taken the records of legendary T-Rex guitarist and vocalist, Marc Bolan, who tragically died in 1977 at the age of 29.

Marc Bolan at the height of his fame

His real name was Mark Feld which we can now use to search the death records on TheGenealogist.

Death record result for Mark Feld


Marc Bolan Death record

Mark Feld transcribed death record

The ‘SmartSearch’ facility allows us to jump straight to his birth record which links to his parents and potential siblings. Mark didn’t have a brother or sister but we can find full details of his parents Simeon and Phyllis (including marriage record below) which allows us to move onto the next stage of the family tree.

Marriage record details

In my opinion, the 26 million death records now transcribed on TheGenealogist really enhances the ‘SmartSearch’ feature. From a death record it’s now easy to jump to past generations with just a few mouse clicks. You can now start your research with just the basic data and still find results quickly. Searching is now quicker and easier than ever.    
View all 3 comments

RootsMagic Version 6 now available in the UK.

As a keen user of the family tree software, RootsMagic,  I was pleased to find out this week that the newly updated Version 6 has now arrived in the UK. It comes with a number of handy new features and the improvements are good enough to keep it up there with the best of the family tree software currently on the market. RootsMagic is ideal for both the newcomer and experienced researcher, I've found it produces great looking family trees, charts and reports. It's invaluable to those family historians who wants to keep everything nicely organised. So what are the new features? With my brand new copy, which I 'road-tested' this week, I found the following features stood out the most for me: Online Publishing -the software can create visually attractive, dynamic websites with pedigree, family and individual views as well as supporting notes, sources and media. Combined with the free My.RootsMagic.com hosting service, your family history has an online home with just a quick click of the mouse. Live Timeline View - A live-edit panel on RootsMagic's timeline view makes this one of the most powerful editing features. Make corrections to your data while viewing it in context with other family members' life events. I found this feature very useful. Find Everywhere- with just a single search you can now find every record in your file containing the text you want. Quickly find people, families, notes, sources, places, to-do items, research logs and more. You can then edit those records directly from the search results.

Find Everywhere screen

The 'Find Everywhere' screen on RootsMagic 6

WebTags- attach links to websites for any person, source, citation, place or research log item and instantly jump to a web page tagged to a record. CountyCheck Explorer - look up a county, state, or country from a multi-national database. It can even show you historical county boundaries. This is particularly useful for keeping an eye on those confusing UK county boundary changes over the years which can throw a family historian off the scent in their ancestor search.

CountyCheck Explorer on RootsMagic 6

CountyCheck Explorer Page

  RootsMagic Version 6 is now available from Genealogy Supplies For those that recently purchased Version 5- there is a special offer of free upgrades for those customers that purchased after 21st August 2012. Please contact S&N Genealogy Supplies on 01722 716121 for more details.
View all 2 comments

Did your ancestors make the ultimate sacrifice?

Tracing your family tree can often lead to some fascinating discoveries, surprising everyone in the family.  Some discoveries are good, some can be very tragic. As we approach the 11th November and Remembrance Day, we take a look at one family and how the war altered their family history. Using the ‘smart search’ features on one of the research websites I use- TheGenealogist.co.uk , we demonstrate how technology can help us remember those heroes of yesteryear.

The Freke Family

The Freke Family outside their family butcher business

This is a comprehensive way to trace your family history online through the years. The sophisticated ‘master search’ facilities allows us to follow a family and get a snapshot of their lives. With this example, we take a look at the family of Benjamin Freke, a family butcher from Bristol. Born in 1871, using the Master Search facility on TheGenealogist we find him.

Freke search results

Initial search results when found via an online family history website

From the 1901 Census listed here, we find the records of Benjamin’s two children, Frank and Albert. From here, we can find the birth record for (Benjamin) Frank Freke born in 1899.

Frank Freke aged 2

Benjamin and Albert

Frank and Albert (pictured above) are again picked up on the 1911 Census, as can be seen from the genealogy website I use:

1911 Census records

In 1911, Frank is now 12 and still classed as a scholar with his younger brother and probably destined to work in the family business in Bristol. On the census, he is listed by his middle name ‘Frank’ rather than his first name Benjamin, which can often confuse researchers. Frank was growing up in troubled times and with the dark clouds of war gathering, he would find himself by 1917, at the age of 18 obligated to join the fight against Germany. The next fact we find about Frank is his listing on the research website where we find he was tragically killed in 1918 at just 19 years old. We search in the ‘World War 1 Deaths’ section and find the details for Benjamin Frank Freke.

Frank Freke Casualty record

Frank Freke Casualty record

Private Benjamin Frank Freke is tragically killed in 1918 as is confirmed in the war death records as documented online.

Using online family history research websites can help you find the heroes in your family. Using modern technology to find information about your family can lead you to discover things about them you never knew, including tragedies such as this one where a family loses a son in the Great War.  
One comment so far

Exploring your local Family History Fair can really benefit your research.

If you live near to a major town or city, or are a determined genealogist, chances are you will have visited family history fairs that are staged around the U.K.

A wide selection of stalls and information on offer

Organised by local and regional family history societies, the fairs feature data products and other items of interest to both the keen amateur and professional family history researcher. Books, maps, Data CD's and advice and guidance is available aplenty from the numerous stalls.

The great thing about family history fairs is that information is available from both the 'host' society on local genealogical matters and also societies from other areas of the UK that attend the fairs. This gives the researcher the opportunity to ask for (and buy) information on areas of interest relevant to their family history. It's also a useful exercise if you've hit that research 'brick wall' and are struggling to know which direction to turn next. Asking a local expert can make all the difference and help you overcome that research hurdle.

Exploring the family history fair

The typical family history fair will also feature guest 'talks' and occasionally the presence of companies that provide products and services that can be used by the family history researcher. The talks are well worth attending, providing informative, useful information that can only help you in your research. Often the talks are given by leading 'personalities' in the industry, such as Nick Barratt who formerly assisted on the BBC 'Who Do You Think You Are?' programme and Mark Bayley, Head of the Online Division from TheGenealogist.co.uk who provide nuggets of help and advice for the family history researcher. As well as the local family history fairs, there is also the major fair, held at Olympia in London. Organised by 'Who Do You Think You Are?, it is by far the largest and features the widest selection of genealogical products and services available. As the online method of research is becoming more commonplace and more essential for the researcher, it is worth taking advantage of the show 'offers' that are often available at these events. You will often see a special discount available for online subscriptions to family history research websites and it's worth taking advantage of these offers. Just look out for the stands at your next local show, often they can demonstrate how the website works and what records it contains so you get a feel for what the site looks like.


A typical display from one of the major family history websites

If you're unsure if there's a family history fair near to you, it's worth a Google search to find your local city/town/ county society and they will have a page dedicated to when the next local fair is scheduled. Then enjoy your visit! The current schedule published so far for Family History Fairs for 2013 is: 2013 January Sun 27th       Bracknell Family History Fair (Bracknell) February Sat 16th      FHS of Cheshire Family History Fair (Northwich) 22nd to 24th  Who Do You Think You Are? Live (Olympia) March Sun 3rd       Merseyside & Cheshire Family History Fair (Port Sunlight) Sat 16th      Harrogate Local & Family History Day (Harrogate) April  Sat 13th      City of York Family History Fair (New Earswick) Sat 27th      Family History Fair (Pudsey) May Sat 4th        Gloucestershire FHS Family History Fair (Gloucester) Sat 11th      Sussex Family History Fair (Haywards Heath) Sat 11th     Scottish Association of FHS's (Galashiels) Sun 19th     Kent Family History Fair (Maidstone) June Sat 1st        Sheffield & District FHS Family History Fair (Sheffield) Sat 29th     Yorkshire Family History Fair (York) September Sat 7th        The National Family History Fair (Newcastle) Sat 21st      The Yorkshire Group of FHS's (Doncaster) October Sat 5th        Oxfordshire FHS Open Day & FH Fair (Woodstock)    
Leave a comment
Found 4 Results.
Back to top