Monthly Archives: May 2013

New ‘National Records of Scotland’ website now up and running

Further to the merger a couple of years ago between the National Archives of Scotland and the General Register Office for Scotland, it appears there is finally one cohesive website with information about both organisations in one convenient place under the name of ‘The National Records of Scotland’.

Tim Ellis, the new Registrar General of the Archives, has just announced that the NRS now has a more dedicated main portal site up and running at http://nrscotland.gov.uk. This web address previously led to a site that told you there had been a merger and contained links to the old GRO and National Archives websites. Now there is substantially more information available to view on the new site on areas such as Valuation Rolls and Census Information for example. To find out more try the following link.

 

New Podcast from The National Archives

The National Archives have recently made a podcast available to download for those interested in Scottish history around the time of William Wallace.

The talk featured on the podcast is given by leading historian John Reuben Davies, who has published a number of works on Scottish and Welsh ecclesiastical history. He covers the time of crisis in Scotland following the death of Alexander III leading to the eventual conquest by Edward I. The podcast can be found by clicking on this link.

William Wallace in Scottish history
William Wallace portrayed in a book from 1906

 

 

 

Dambuster records now launched on TheGenealogist

To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the famous wartime raid, new online records of the Dambusters Raid are now available on TheGenealogist

To coincide with recent commemorations of the RAF raid on the industrialised areas of the German heartland, TheGenealogist has now made available full online records of one of the most daring bomber raids of World War Two.

RAF 617 Squadron, the Dambusters
Aircrew from RAF 617 Squadron, the Dambusters

Prior to the start of the war, the British Air Ministry identified Germany’s heavily industrialised Ruhr Valley and especially the dams as important strategic targets. Repeated air strikes with large bombs could be effective but Bomber Command had struggled for accuracy in the face of heavy enemy fire. Finally ‘Operation Chastise’ was devised using a specially designed ‘bouncing bomb’ invented and developed by Barnes Wallis.

Full details of the Operation Record Book have now been made available to view online. It provides an in-depth analysis of the mission which went on to achieve legendary recognition. The fascinating information includes an account of each aircraft’s flight, including full crew list and details of the awards made to each of the crew members after the mission.

This new resource is ideal if you had a relative involved with 617 Squadron (the famous Dambuster Squadron), or if you are interested in one of the most iconic RAF missions of World War Two. There’s more details available here.

Weekly book review- ‘Bound for Australia’

Written by experienced family historian, David T Hawkins, to commemorate the 225th anniversary in 2012 of the sailing of the eleven vessels of the First Fleet from England, bound for Australia, this book is a must read for all those with any Australian ancestors.

From the arrival of the first 778 convicts in 1788, to the end of transportation in 1868, a staggering 165,000 criminals were sent to Australia for a range of crimes.In addition to those transported, hundreds of thousands of free persons emigrated from Britain and Ireland to colonies in Australia. With the vast distance involved, few people returned and many now have descendants living in Australia.

Tracing those descendants can be a huge task and that’s were this book is so useful. First of all it looks at convict records – what to search for, the types of records that can be located and the actual court record proceedings with some actual examples.There’s also admiralty records of the ‘hulks’ the prisoners were stored upon and then the ships they were transported upon.

The book looks at the voyage to Australia, giving a fascinating insight into the tough journey. Aside from convicts there is a look into other early settlers, records of officials and examples of those people who returned to Britain.

The book is a recommended useful guidebook for those people looking to trace Australian ancestry or who may have discovered a relative who was convicted and transported in the late 1700s and early 1800s. It’s very thorough and provides useful pointers for what you can find and where to search to find those all important records. The book is available priced £20 from S&N Genealogy Supplies at the S&N Genealogy website.

Bound for Australia new book
Bound for Australia by David T Hawkins

Secret files now available to view at the TNA

Latest news from The National Archives is that there are a number of new, previously top secret files from the past now available to view by the public. The files contain records of the role of British Intelligence in World War 2 and the period during the early Cold War.

463 pieces from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office are now available covering the years 1939 to 1951 as well as a selection from 1903 to 1913.

Some of the fascinating subjects covered in the files include the assassination priorities of Operation Overlord (D-Day) suggesting targets such as German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and the security matters relating to Wallis Simpson and the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936.

There’s more information about the new available files from The TNA website.

New secret files released by The National Archives
New secret files released by The National Archives

New awards for RootsMagic

The 2013 ‘Readers’ Choice Awards’ winners have been announced by the website About.com. It was good to see my preferred choice of genealogy software, RootsMagic, do well in the reader awards. It is significant recognition following the launch of the version 6 of the software and shows RootsMagic is as popular as ever.

RootsMagic was formally declared the ‘Best Genealogy Software for Windows’ and was also voted in first place for the new RootsMagic App (for iPhone or iPad), voted top in the ‘Best Online Genealogy or Mobile App’ category.

You can read more about it on the About.com website

RootsMagic app
The new ‘award-winning’ RootsMagic app

New dates announced for Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

The dates for Who Do You Think You Are? Live at London Olympia have been announced for 2014. The show will run next year from Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 February,  a change from the usual Friday to Sunday schedule. It’ll be interesting to see if the change in show days has any effect on attendances, we’ll find out next February. If you want to sign up to the official newsletter to keep up with the latest news, there’s more details on the official site.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live exhibition
Who Do You Think You Are? Live

Kent Family History Society Fair

This Sunday, 19th May, is the Kent Family History Fair in Maidstone, Kent. Run by Family History Fairs, it’s at Lockmeadow Market Hall, Hart Street in Maidstone, Kent. It’s £2 admission and is open from 10am to 4pm. Apparently there’s over 100 stalls going to be present offering a wide variety of genealogy products and services, so should be a good day out for the family historian. Are you going?

 

New WW1 Project in Northern Ireland

An amazing discovery of 77 lantern slides taken by well known photographer Alex R Hogg, dating from World War One has recently been made in Belfast. The slides were found in the organ loft of Alexandra Presbyterian Church last month. A project has now been put together to identify all the men pictured in the slides. Apparently there are 137 men to be identified.

The Castleton Lanterns project is now looking for assistance from the public to try to identify the names of each of the soldiers listed. There’s more information from their official website. If you have an ancestor from Belfast who fought in the Great War it is well worth taking a look to see if you can help!

Alex R Hogg Lantern slides
One of the lantern slides from Alex R Hogg