The BIG Family History Fair returns in 2015

I’m very pleased to have spotted that The BIG Family History Fair is set to return on 2nd May 2015.

Returning to St Ives’ Burgess Hall, Cambridgeshire, after a 3 year break, The BIG Family History Fair will bring together experts, local genealogy and history societies, and companies with products to help you with your research.

One of the halls at The Big Family History Fair 2012, St Ives.

One of the halls at The Big Family History Fair 2012, St Ives.

2012’s show was busy – with expert talks full, and so this show will hopefully expand on that success, as well as prove to be just as successful.

More information can be found nearer the time at the Huntingdonshire Family History Society’s website.

With Who Do You Think You Are? Live scheduled just a few weeks before in Birmingham, this comes as a welcome treat.

See you there!

Andrew

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Julie Walters to open new UK Who Do You Think You Are? TV series

Logo from BBC's UK series of Who Do You Think You Are?

The new UK series of Who Do You Think You Are? is almost with us.

Actress and Novelist Julie Walters CBE will be leading this year’s celebrities, as the show celebrates its 10th year in the UK. The BBC One series begins on Thursday 7th August at 9pm.

Other celebrities going under the researcher’s spotlight are: Brian Blessed, Tamzin Outhwaite, Brendan O’Carroll (who has been rumoured since the last series by the Irish Independent), Sheridan Smith, Mary Berry, Martin Shaw, Reggie Yates, Twiggy, and Billy Connolly.

The series will be preceded by a special documentary about the series’ 10 years of genealogy, on 6th August at 10:35pm, that will look back on the outstanding moments from this award-winning series.

If you’re struggling to wait for the series to begin, and you’re in the UK with use of iPlayer, then check out The Secret History of Our Streets for a fascinating look at urban life in the UK.

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Tombstone Tuesday – The Harrison family grave

It was wonderfully sunny on Sunday, so I went for a short drive to Little Downham – a village synonymous with my paternal ancestry – to re-tread my steps from years ago, and photograph the gravestones that match my ancestral surnames.

I always find it interesting to see how the headstones have changed in the preceding years too, some look much the same, other’s have become more lichen and mossed over.

William, Mary and Sarah Harrison headstone

The 19th century headstone commemorating William and Mary Harrison, and their daughter Sarah stands in Little Downham parish churchyard, and is almost 200 years old.

This stone, which I don’t remember seeing before (perhaps I was yet to uncover my Harrison roots), stands on the West side of St Leonard’s church, against the perimeter wall. Whether this is it’s original place of standing, or whether it’s been moved, is a mystery, but having noticed that a lot of stones are around the edges, then I’d suspect this to be the case.

It’s a delight in colour, typography, and of course design. I just wish that the long piece of prose at the bottom of the stone had survived. The legible part reads:

IN MEMORY OF William Harrison who died Nov 8th 1819 Aged 73 years.

Also of Mary his wife who died Nov 3rd 1836 Aged 69 years.

Also of Sarah their daughter who died April 22nd 1828 Aged 24 years.

And, actually, as I write this blog article, a strange shape has caught my eye on the top left of the photo – is that a horseshoe resting on the top of the left corner of the stone, or a metal brace to keep this stone standing up? It was a fair few inches away from the wall… I’ll have to return and check!

As for the occupants of this gravestone, William Harrison was born circa 1746 to William Harrison and his wife Anne Leaford. He was baptised on 27th July 1746 at Little Downham. He married Mary (surname not discovered), and the couple had at least five children, with Sarah seemingly being the youngest born around 1802. She was baptised on 25th September 1803. She died aged 24 years, on 22nd April 1828, and was buried with her father (who had died in November 1819) 3 days later. Her mother joined them in November 1836.

At the moment, these Harrison family members seem to be eluding my own William Harrison branch, who seem to alternate between this family group in the Little Downham registers. It is pretty certain that these were ultimately the same family.

Research continues…. and i think i need to get my timeline/whiteboard out again to solve this puzzle.

 

 

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Expert speakers revealed for 2014 Cambridgeshire Family History Fair

Cambridgeshire Family History Society logoThe Cambridgeshire Family History Society has confirmed the guest speakers for this year’s Cambridgeshire Family History Fair.

A series of announcements via their Facebook Page, have revealed the following experts will be talking at the Fair on 25th October 2014.

  • Author, and former BBC researcher, Kathy Chater will be talking about how to turn your family history research into a story.
  • Author, well-known local historian, and President of the Cambridgeshire Association for Local History, Mike Petty MBE will be talking about the resources available to you when researching your Cambridgeshire ancestors.
  • Social historian Tom Doig returns, this time to talk about identifying dates of Edwardian photographs and postcards.
  • Carl Warner, Research and Information Manager at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, will be explaining how you can use the Museum’s vast image library to research and share your story.

The Fair returns to Girton Glebe Primary School, in Girton, on the North-west side of Cambridge. Parking and entry is free, and doors are open 10am-4pm.

For the latest information about the event, and to find out about the Society, take a look at their website.

A view of some of the trade stands at the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Fair, 2013

A view of some of the trade stands at the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Fair, 2013

I went to last year’s Fair History Fair, and really enjoyed it – attending Tom Doig’s lecture, and picked up a few special priced bargains.

See you there!

Andrew

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CONFIRMED: Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2015 goes to Birmingham NEC

Who Do You Think You Are? Live logoAs reported here in April, the Who Do You Think You Are? Live team have confirmed their venue for 2015 – as Birmingham NEC.

After quizzing a few stall holders at WDYTYA? Live 2014, I realised that they’d not been asked to return to Olympia in 2015, and that there were no ‘earlybird’ tickets for 2015’s show on sale.

After I checked, I found that Olympia’s diary was already full without the show. With Earls Court being demolished, and (thankfully) the show didn’t move to London Excel, rumours about Birmingham began to appear on social media.

It wasn’t until April, when my local Cambridgeshire Family History Society‘s newsletter announced the move, that all the rumours seemed to point in one direction – to Birmingham.

Changes

Today, in the announcement, along with the new venue confirmation, comes the offer of rail discount on Virgin trains.

There’s also another change – the dates have moved – 16th-18th April, rather than the usual February dates.

Ancestry, the show's sponsor, at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

Ancestry will continue to sponsor Who Do You Think You Are? Live in 2015.

How does this change affect you? Will you have an easier journey? Does this now mean that you will be able to attend more than one day?

I still plan to attend all three again (I don’t know why I didn’t do that in previous years – it was so much more fun), but will need to work out the most efficient way to get there, as it may not be train.

See you there?

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Privacy and the Genealogist

There’s some pretty big data privacy issues hitting the news lately – with some of the largest organisations seemingly taking a lacklustre approach towards the importance of security of individual’s private information.

Private door beside tree

Privacy and the family tree. Photo: mendhak via CreativeCommons.

How does data privacy affect genealogy?

We’ve all got our data backed up, right? (right?) and that’s sitting somewhere, perhaps online so that we can easily access it from an account like Evernote, Dropbox, or Google Drive?

At worst, you’ve not yet backed it up, but you’re just about to (PS: here’s a great article from Caroline Pointer on ‘Cloud’ storage for genealogy).

What’s in that data?

I’m guessing that you’ve got names, dates, and locations for a wide range of people through the centuries, but probably a few photographs, maybe some contact details for modern relatives/researchers, and maybe some copies of emails or letters in there too.

There’s some personal data there. How are you handling that? How do those big online storage sites handle that data?

I like a papery office

One of my favourite things about researching a family tree, is having documents, objects, papers, letters, photos etc in a real tangible form. Even if they are just photocopies, or photo reprints. I really enjoy having these items around me, and find them useful. I spend too much of my day staring at a screen already – ‘real’ objects are a welcome break.

Filing is of course important, but no-one is really going to hack my paper files. The worst fate they can meet is fire, flood, robbery, or a stray firework.

Thinking about privacy

I’m fortunate with my Reunion 10 software on my Mac, in that I can flag anyone as ‘private’, and when I do, they are then excluded from any data exports that I do, until i un-flag them.

The 'Private' option in Reunion10 for Mac.

The ‘Private’ option in Reunion10 for Mac.

So I can happily share my data with anyone, knowing that I won’t be about to give personal details away.

Building a tree in privacy

If you’re wanting to build a tree online, but want to retain privacy, then there are a few sites that allow for this.

Famberry logoOne site that takes data privacy as its main point, is Famberry, whose online tool specialises in allowing you to build a tree in collaboration with those you specifically invite, and no-one else, from the out-set. Whilst they’ve seen success in the US, where data privacy has been a big issue/challenge/problem and therefore a key topic for web users, they’re busy building their UK presence.

Sites like FindMyPast, GenesReunited, and of course Ancestry, also include options to set your tree as private, and also to make living relatives anonymous to those outside of your invited tree viewers.

FindMyPast's privacy settings

FindMyPast’s new tree tool includes two sets of privacy settings – one for the tree, one for living twigs.

However, that note above from FindMyPast has got a point… sharing IS a great way to learn from those who have the same interests.

So what IS privacy? What is the bare minimum that you can share, and what you should share? What happens if someone asks you to hide/remove their data? A lot of our basic information is easily available via Facebook, Google+, electoral records, LinkedIn, telephone directory services (print and online), newspaper clippings, and even headstones give away information.

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below:

  • How do you handle privacy in genealogy?
  • Have you ever asked to be hidden/excluded?
  • Have you ever been asked to hide someone’s details?
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Surname Saturday – The Flower family

The Flower family appear in my maternal ancestry – with its most recent name bearer being my 7x Great Grandmother, Frances Flower.

Frances was born in 1731, and was the oldest of five daughters born to William Flower and his second wife Phillipa Thorpe, who had married the previous year at Wicken parish church, Cambridgeshire, England.

St Laurence's church, Wicken. Photo: Steve Day via Creative Commons.

St. Laurence’s church, Wicken, Cambridgeshire, would have been a familiar sight for the Flower family. Photo: Steve Day via CreativeCommons.

William’s first marriage to Jane Diss on 3rd November 1715 at Wicken, had produced six children – the last, Thomas, born not long before Jane’s death in 1728.

  • Jane Flower b.c.1716
  • Mary Flower b.c.1718
  • Elizabeth Flower b.c.1719
  • Frances Flower b.c.1722 d.1726
  • William Flower b.c.1724
  • Thomas Flower b.c.1727 d.1748

Jane’s death left William with five young children, all under the age of 12 years old. Having re-married to Phillipa in 1730, the couple settled down to raise five children.

  • Frances Flower b.1731
  • Rose Flower b.c.1732
  • Anne Flower b.c.1734 d.1735
  • Anne Flower b.c.1737 d.1742
  • Elizabeth Flower d.1737

Frances was baptised at Wicken on 13th June 1731.

Frances married at about the age of 21, on 30th March 1752, to widower Richard Bayley, who also lived in Wicken.

The couple settled down and had nine children.

A danger strikes a fatal blow

Frances’ parents, lived until their 50s/60s, but the Wicken burial register notes ‘coll’ as the cause of death. I’m pretty convinced that this note, which appears alongside several other entries, suggests that there was an outbreak of Cholera in the village.

There are eight recorded ‘coll’ victims in Wicken in 1785-1786, and five of these were in the Bayley family – suggesting a contagious disease, which my other initial thought of ‘Colick’ is not (obviously, I am no doctor).

Both Frances and her husband, their son and daughter-in-law, and another married daughter, all died as a result of ‘coll’ within the space of five weeks.

Millions of people still die from cholera each year, but unlike those in the 18th Century, we can now treat the disease to help reduce that figure.

Cholera in Wicken might suggest that there was poor water sanitation in the village, or that the Bayley family had low food hygiene standards.

It is sometimes linked to poverty.

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Wordless Wednesday – Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral - St Etheldreda, Ely, Cambridgeshire

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Family History Fair returns to Cambridge in 2014

Cambridgeshire Family History Society logo

The Cambridgeshire Family History Society has announced its Family History Fair is to return on 25th October 2014, after the success of last year’s event.

Girton Glebe Primary School plays host once again to a day’s worth of family history – with free admission and parking. Last year’s event saw a mixture of stands from Cambridgeshire, but also from neighbouring counties and genealogy and history organisations covering the local area.

A series of lectures will be announced nearer the time – I particularly enjoyed last year’s one on dating photographs by Tom Doig.

For more information about the event, how to book a stand, and all the latest on that expert talks timetable – check out the Society website.

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Wordless Wednesday – Gottle O’ Geer

Frederick Vernon Cross (1909)

Frederick Vernon Cross (1909)

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