18 June 2016

Favourite Web Sites

This is an updated version of a post that I wrote a few years ago in response to a survey at Genea-Musings. We were asked to rank eight Web sites in order of importance to our research. I don't use some of the American sites listed in the survey, so I have substituted sites that are important to me.
  1. Google for general searching, blogs, and Google Alerts.

  2. GENUKI - best starting point for UK/Ireland genealogy.

  3. FindMyPast for indexes, transcripts and images of original documents, with (usually) more accurate indexing than Ancestry.

  4. Discovery for records held by The National Archives (UK) plus 2,500 archives across the country. Over 9 million records are available for download.

  5. Trove for searchable digitised Australian newspapers and much more.

  6. Cyndi's List for the biggest list of genealogy links worldwide.

  7. FreeBMD for civil registration indexes (England & Wales); and see how to use FreeBMD Postems to find distant relatives.

  8. FamilySearch for its catalogue (especially good for finding out what records exist for a town or parish), genealogy guides, indexes, European records, etc.

Other sites that I use frequently:
  • LostCousins (for Britain, Canada and the USA).

  • CuriousFox (gazetteer, maps and message board system for the United Kingdom, Ireland and USA).

Although I've had great success with some of Ancestry's databases, especially the National Probate Calendar (an index of wills and administrations that shows the names and whereabouts of vast numbers of people in other countries), I cannot bring myself to rank Ancestry in the Top 8 because its indexing is often inaccurate and I don't like the way it presents search results.

Which Web sites do you find essential for your research?

24 February 2016

Watchhouse records: People Arrested and Victims of Crime (Wednesday's Webpage for Genealogy)

This week's featured Web page for genealogy is 'Police Watchhouse Records'. Find out why they are of great value to family historians, and check the lists of names (offenders and victims) from records that I've indexed. These people were from all over the world, especially England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and Europe, with smaller numbers from other areas.

Although the registers vary in format, most give the date, town, prisoner's name, aliases, age, occupation, religion, state or country of origin, education level, offence, and how disposed of (fine or term of imprisonment, or whether sent to a reformatory, asylum etc. or discharged, cautioned, or committed for trial at which court and when). Some show previous convictions and the prisoner's signature and property. Some victims of crime are named, and there are occasional references to illegitimate children.

Offences include theft, drunk and disorderly, breaking and entering, child (or wife) desertion, having no visible lawful means of support, attempted suicide, being of unsound mind, inciting to riot, beating a horse, assault, murder, supplying opium to an Aboriginal, and being a neglected child. Children appear in the records as both offenders and victims.

An entry in a watchhouse charge book usually spreads across two large pages. This image shows some of the details that are often on the first page.

Historical Police watchhouse record


This image shows examples of minor offences. Note the reference to someone who was arrested on suspicion of being of unsound mind. Those people were often transferred to a mental asylum.

Police watchhouse record


Police Station watchhouse charge books often provide clues to sources for further research (Court, prison and mental asylum records, criminal depositions, murder files, Police Gazettes and other police records, etc.)

On the Police Watchhouse Records page, follow links and check the lists of names. If you find a name of interest, scroll down to the 'Copying Service' section on that page. It explains how to get a copy of the original record.

This post is number 4 in my Wednesday's Webpage series, which focuses on pages that either describe genealogy sources or research strategies, or list names from indexes to original records in Archives or elsewhere.

(This post first appeared on http://genie-leftovers.blogspot.com/2016/02/watchhouse-records-people-arrested-and.html.)

03 February 2016

Historical Photos and Sketches of People (Wednesday's Webpage for Genealogy)

This week's featured Web page is Historical Photos and Sketches of People.

All family historians are curious to know what the people in their family tree looked like. With that in mind, I am searching through various series of records in Government Archives and creating a name index for photographs or sketches of people. The original records include biographical or background details about the subject. This is a superb resource for family history!

My index includes photos (portraits) or sketches of:
  • people sought by anxious relatives/friends
  • people believed drowned or murdered
  • other missing persons (some were children)
  • wife / child deserters
  • deserters from ships or military service
  • fathers of illegitimate children
  • prison escapees
  • criminals and suspects.

Most of the subjects were born in the United Kingdom, Ireland, western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA or Canada. A few were from other countries.

This is an ongoing indexing project, with 1,700 names online now and about 1,000 names yet to be added. Check the list of names, which is spread over two pages. If you find a name of interest, scroll down to the 'Copying Service' section on that page. It explains how to get a copy of the photograph or sketch and its associated document.

This post is number 3 in my Wednesday's Webpage series. Each week I will focus on one page that either describes genealogy sources or research strategies, or lists names from indexes to original records in Archives or elsewhere.

(This post first appeared on http://genie-leftovers.blogspot.com/2016/02/historical-photos-and-sketches-of.html.)

27 January 2016

More Good News from FindMyPast

(Update: the 10% discount has now ended)
From mid-February 2016, a 12 month Britain subscription or World subscription at FindMyPast will include unlimited free access to the 1939 Register for England and Wales.

You can get a World subscription via any FindMyPast site (Australia/NZ, Britain, Ireland or USA).

If you are not familiar with the 1939 Register, see 'What does the 1939 Register Mean for Family Historians?'

Findmypast (one of my favourite sites for family history) now gives you access to over billion records, and they add thousands more each week. Check the worldwide list of record sets (arranged by region) plus last Friday's additions.

(This post first appeared on http://genie-leftovers.blogspot.com/2016/01/more-good-news-from-findmypast.html.)

Old Age Pensions (Wednesday's Webpage for Genealogy)

This week's featured Web page is Old Age Pensions and Genealogy. It leads to pages with names of over 9,200 applicants, most of whom were born before the 1850s in either the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia or western Europe (especially Germany and Scandinavia), plus a few from other countries.

If an application was rejected, the reasons can be illuminating.

Examples of reasons for rejection


Before you search the names, read the explanation of eligibility criteria and the sources that were indexed.

This post is number 2 in my Wednesday's Webpage series. Each week I will focus on one page that either describes genealogy sources or research strategies, or lists names from indexes to original records in Archives or elsewhere.

(This post first appeared on http://genie-leftovers.blogspot.com/2016/01/old-age-pensions-wednesdays-webpage-for.html.)

21 January 2016

Good News and Bad News from FindMyPast


Today's emails brought both good news and bad news from FindMyPast (one of my favourite sites for genealogy and family history).

[UPDATE, 27 Jan 2016: And there's more good news today - 10% discount on 12 month subscriptions!]

Good news #1

FindMyPast will be FREE for 72 hours!  From Friday 22nd to Monday 25th January 2016, everyone has free access to FindMyPast's world records (except the 1939 Register). Check the terms and conditions and start / end times for each region:

Good news #2

If you have a current 'world' subscription at FindMyPast, three extra days will be added to your subscription after this 'free access' weekend.

Good news #3

From 16th February 2016, 12 month Britain and World subscribers will have unlimited access to the 1939 Register as part of their subscription packages.

Bad news and good news

From 16 Feb 2016, new FindMyPast subscriptions will cost 20% more than the current price - but if you already have a 12 month subscription, the price of your next renewal will be frozen, and you will still get a 10% loyalty discount.

In conclusion...

Findmypast now gives you access to over eight billion records, and they add thousands more each week. Use this 'free weekend' to explore those records and decide whether to buy a subscription before the price rise in February. Check out the list of record sets (arranged by region) plus last Friday's additions.

(This post first appeared on http://genie-leftovers.blogspot.com/2016/01/good-news-and-bad-news-from-findmypast.html.)

20 January 2016

Site Search / Navigation Tips (Wednesday's Webpage for Genealogy)

Top section of 'Site Search and Navigation Tips' Web page

This post is the first in my Wednesday's Webpage genealogy series. Each week I will focus on one page that either:
  1. lists names from indexes to original records in Archives or other useful sources

  2. describes genealogy sources or research strategies.

Selected pages from my main genealogy Web site will be included in this series, so it seems logical to start by looking at 'Site Search and Navigation Tips'. It explains how to get the most out of the site, which has more than 135 pages and 53,000 names, plus my own family tree.

Read the dot points on Site Search and Navigation Tips, then use the customised Google search box on that page to look for names or keywords.

(This post first appeared on http://genie-leftovers.blogspot.com/2016/01/site-search-navigation-tips-wednesdays.html.)

13 January 2016

50% Discount on FindMyPast Subscriptions

Until 11:59pm (GMT) on Thursday 14 Jan 2016 you can get 50% off the price of any new FindMyPast World subscription. Presumably this offer is only for new or lapsed subscribers, but if you have any questions, lcameron@findmypast.com is the person to ask.

Click the link for your preferred region/currency; select either a one month or twelve month subscription; type FLASHJAN2016 in the Discount Code box and click 'Apply'.

You can un-tick 'auto-renew' in the MyAccount section of the site.

FindMyPast is one of my favourite genealogy sites, for reasons listed here. More records are added almost every week, so if you haven't visited the site recently, have a look at the full list of worldwide records on FindMyPast.

(This post first appeared on http://genie-leftovers.blogspot.com/2016/01/50-discount-on-findmypast-subscriptions.html.)
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