Monthly Archives: April 2013

Collections at National Library of Wales damaged

The fire over the weekend on the roof of the National Library of Wales seems to have unfortunately damaged some of the new collections housed there. The fire broke out on the roof  and the water used to put out the flames unfortunately soaked through and damaged some of the valuable collections stored there.

The library has millions of books plus manuscripts, archives, maps, pictures, photographs, films and music.

Some of the damaged items have been taken to Oxford by a team of salvage experts to hopefully restore. There’s more at the BBC website.

Catalogue ‘switch-off’ at The National Archives

Latest news from The National Archives is on the 30th April they will switch off their old catalogue, and ‘Discovery’ will become the only way to search TNA collections.

The Catalogue was a groundbreaking tool when first launched over a decade ago. However, the TNA reached the point where it was no longer practical or cost-effective to maintain or update it, and started work three years ago on building a new catalogue: Discovery.

Both catalogues were kept operational to allow users to get to grips with the new version. However, TNA has now said due to budget cuts it can no longer maintain two systems so the old catalogue is to be switched off on the 30th April and Discovery will be the only way to search the vast collections. There’s more information here.

Which system do you prefer? A number of family historians have not been that impressed with the new Discovery catalogue system and preferred the old one!

The Importance of Archiving

Here’s our tip for the week. Once you have collected those precious documents, photos and other memorabilia as part of your family history research, it’s worth remembering to keep it safe and protected! For example, standard PVC sleeves can suffer from leaching of plasticizer, which will lift print off pages and ruin your valuable material.

To ensure that your collection of certificates and research documents are preserved in pristine condition, they should be kept in specialist binders with inert, archival quality sleeves. This keeps them in the best condition possible whilst still making them accessible, should you need to check your sources or share your research with friends and family.

I use the binders from S&N Genealogy Supplies. I particularly like the new A4 Springback binders they offer. Unlike ring binders, you don’t have to punch any holes in the paper – you simply choose the sheets you want, fold the covers of the binder back, and place the paper into the spine. You can add or remove pages as many times as you like.

This binder has hardback covers with an acid-free lining, and has a 25mm capacity, which can hold up to 200 A4 pages. There’s more details available here. Do you have any tips or advice that you use to protect all your valuable research?

Quality A4 Springback Binders from S&N

Oxfordshire DNA project

Oxfordshire Family History Society has launched a new project offering two free DNA tests to members of their society. It is open to members only who have at least 3 generations of Oxfordshire ancestors going back into the mid-19th century or earlier.

All you have to do is submit 400-600 words on why you feel a DNA test would be useful to help you discover more about your Oxfordshire family/families using DNA, including a short summary on your family and your family history ‘brick walls’. Send to editor@ofhs.org.uk before 30th May 2013. Terms and conditions apply and are available from the Editor of the Oxfordshire society.

If you are not yet a member of the family history society, but have Oxfordshire ancestors and want to enter the competition, then why not join? It’s well worth the cost of the membership to have a chance of winning a DNA test. See www.ofhs.org.uk for membership details.

If you’d like more information in general regarding DNA testing for family history research, please use this link.

New release of colonial administration records from The National Archives

Latest news from the National Archives is the proposed new release of more colonial administration records, covering the many territories under British administration before they gained independence. The National Archives is working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to transfer and begin releasing these records, referred to as the ‘migrated archives’, between April 2012 and November 2013. 

The records cover a wide range of subject matter relating to colonial administration. The material reflects events in the territories generally pre-independence and reflects Her Majesty’s Government’s views at the time.

The records are being released in tranches. The fifth tranche of files will be made available on site at The National Archives from Friday 26 April 2013. This release will contain records from Ceylon, Kenya, Malta, Mauritius, New Hebrides, Nigeria, Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Palestine, Sierra Leone and Singapore.

Well worth taking a look if you had ancestors living in these countries pre-independence! There’s more on the National Archives website.

Wiltshire FHS Family History Day

The programme of local family history fairs for 2013 starts off with a ‘Family history day’ this Sunday 14th April, run by the Northern branch of the Wiltshire Family History Society. It runs from 10am to 3pm and is at the Haydon Centre, Haydon Wick, Swindon. There’s a talk on ‘The workhouse- the lot of the poor’ by Barbara Fuller and ‘Asylums and their Records’ by David Chilton.

It promises to be a good day, if you’re in the area, it’s well worth a visit. There’s more information on their website.

World War One Army Diaries Digitisation now complete

Latest news from The National Archives at Kew. Over the last few months they have been digitising part of the WO 95 record series which consists of unit war diaries from the First World War. The project has now been completed. The series is apparently one of the most requested in their reading rooms and digitising these diaries will enable them to publish online, making them more accessible for the First World War centenary commemorations happening next year.

There’s more details available from the National Archives website here.

Great War records
First World War Unit Diary digitisation now complete

The British Library will archive the nation’s ‘digital memory’ by capturing billions of web pages

The British Library is to ‘harvest’ billions of web pages, blogs and e-books in a bid to preserve and document the nation’s ‘digital memory’.

For centuries, the library has kept a copy of every book, pamphlet, magazine and newspaper published in Britain.

It will also be bound by new regulations to harvest the entire UK web domain to document current events and record the country’s burgeoning collection of online cultural and intellectual works.

The British Library, which has invested £3million in the project during the past two years, plans to collect the material by conducting an annual trawl of the UK web domain – every website ending with ‘.uk’. It will harvest information from another 200 sites – such as online newspapers or journals – on a more regular basis, as often as once a day.

There’s more on the British Library website. What do you think? Is it a great idea to document modern day life in this way?