Ancestry.com.au Blog http://blogs.ancestry.com/au A hundred years of naming conventions flushed down the toilet Wed, 15 Oct 2014 23:05:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Family Tree Maker expert Duff Wilson touring Australia in Julyhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/06/19/family-tree-maker-expert-duff-wilson-touring-australia-in-july/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/06/19/family-tree-maker-expert-duff-wilson-touring-australia-in-july/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 05:27:19 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2228 Duff Wilson, Senior Product Manager for Family Tree Maker in Provo, Utah, is touring Australia in July to share his expertise on Family Tree Maker and Ancestry. Duff will be speaking in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, so make sure you book early to secure your spot using the details below. Duff has worked for Ancestry… Read more

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Duff Wilson, Senior Product Manager for Family Tree Maker in Provo, Utah, is touring Australia in July to share his expertise on Family Tree Maker and Ancestry. Duff will be speaking in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, so make sure you book early to secure your spot using the details below.

Duff has worked for Ancestry for over a decade, with more than twenty years of software design and development experience and a number of notable awards for his work. He holds a Master’s degree from Utah State University in Instructional Technology with an emphasis on computer-based instruction. Duff has been passionate about genealogy from a young age, and as part of his work with Ancestry, he has travelled to numerous countries and connected with countless genealogists, ranging from novice to expert.

Duff’s work has given him an increasingly high profile, as the ‘voice’ in the Family Tree Maker webinars, and also getting rave reviews from the recent ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ Congress in London.

This is Duff’s first visit to Australia, so don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear from one of the world’s foremost experts on Family Tree Maker and Ancestry.

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Session details:

Brisbane
Queensland Family History Society (QFHS)
20th July: Time 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Registration from 9:30 am
Venue: Aspley Hornets Football Club, 50 Graham Road, CARSELDINE
Cost: $55.00 ($45.00 QFHS and VicGUM Members (both prices GST inclusive))
(Morning and afternoon tea, and a light sandwich lunch provided. Please advise special dietary needs.)
Bookings: for Ancestry and Family Tree Maker Seminar online at www.qfhs.org.au/events
or by post to QFHS, PO Box 171, Indooroopilly, QLD. 4068 or by phoning (07) 3355 3369 during library opening hours.

Sydney:
Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG)
22nd July: Time 10.00 am – 4.00 pm. Registration from 9.45 am
Venue: Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt Street, SYDNEY
Cost: $60.00 ($50.00 for SAG & VicGUM Members; (both prices GST inclusive))
Includes morning & afternoon teas & light sandwich lunch
Bookings: Through SAG website at www.sag.org.au Enquiries (02) 9247 3953

Melbourne:
Victorian GUM Inc. (VicGUM)
26th July: Time10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Registration from 9:30 am
Venue: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, MELBOURNE
Cost: $60.00 ($50.00 for VicGUM Members (both prices GST inclusive))
Includes morning & afternoon teas & light lunch
Bookings: through VicGUM www.vicgum.asn.au/30thMelbourneSeminar.html or ring the office (03) 9639 2005 Tuesdays or Thursdays.

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What Can Your Surname Tell You?http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/06/10/what-can-your-surname-tell-you/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/06/10/what-can-your-surname-tell-you/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 22:40:46 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2224 At least for purposes of research, just about every genealogist rues the ancestor whose last name is common, and therefore hard to trace, and rejoices in their ancestors with more unusual names. While an unusual surname undeniably can make genealogical research easier, it doesn’t corner the market on interesting and informative origins. In Western Europe,… Read more

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At least for purposes of research, just about every genealogist rues the ancestor whose last name is common, and therefore hard to trace, and rejoices in their ancestors with more unusual names. While an unusual surname undeniably can make genealogical research easier, it doesn’t corner the market on interesting and informative origins.

In Western Europe, surnames first came about in Medieval times as civilizations grew larger and it became necessary to distinguish between people.

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Sometimes, names were based on occupation: a blacksmith may have been “John le Smith” (John the Smith) which became, over the generations, “Smith,” and a person named Appleby lived by or tended the apple orchard. Celebrity Robin Leach’s ancestor was probably a physician (because in medieval times, physicians used leeches to bleed people). Actor Christopher Reeve’s ancestor, the one to first take the surname, was most likely a sheriff, and Sarah Jessica Parker’s early medieval ancestor probably tended a park.

Other surnames were based on location: an Acker, which comes from “acre,” lived near a field, and a Hall lived in or worked in a hall of a Medieval nobleman’s house. And it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what a forebear named Young or Strong or Gray looked like.

Higher social status surnames are more rare today — how many Rothschilds (from the German “red shield”) did you go to school with? — and lower status ones fairly common. Lower social status people were also sometimes given unfortunate names by others, such as “Tew” (Welsh for “fat”) or “Dullard,” which means a hard or conceited man.

And in many parts of the world surnames derived from men’s names. A person named Robertson is descended from someone who was the “son of Robert,” and a MacDonald is from a Scottish “son of Donald.” Armenian names of this sort generally end in “-ian,” Polish ones in “-ski,” and Irish ones are put together a little differently, starting with the prefix “Fitz-.”

In Spanish-speaking parts of the world, people often take both their mother and father’s surnames. And some families still use family or “house” names that are not surnames at all, like the royal Windsors or Plantagenets.

Asian surnames have different stories. Most of the approximately 100,000 Japanese surnames in use today only date from 1868 and the Meiji Restoration, when surnames were mandated for the first time. There are just a few hundred common Chinese surnames, and 20 of them (which reflect an entire clan or were adopted by nobles) are shared by half the population. There are about 250 Korean surnames, three of them comprising almost half the Korean population, and just about 100 Vietnamese ones, with three making up 60 percent of all names in that country.

More than 2,600 members at the UK-based Guild of One-Name Studies devote their genealogical research to about 8,400 “one-name studies,” meaning they study everything known about a particular surname, whether the people they research are related biologically or linked to other family trees they are studying. Focusing in on a family surname can be a useful way to break through a genealogical brick wall, and most guild members are easy to reach and willing to share information (generally they ask, in return, for you to share your data on a name).

Name distribution of Duffield families. (Ancestry.com)

Name distribution of Duffield families. (Ancestry.com)

Plugging your surname of interest into the Ancestry.com Last Names Meanings And Origins widget gives an interesting and useful overview, too. Plug in the surname “Duffield” and you see it’s English, a “habitational name from places in Derbyshire and East Yorkshire, so named from Old English Dufe ‘dove’ + feld ‘open country.’” The results page shows what records Ancestry.com holds for the name Duffield and a “name distribution” of Duffield families through the years, as automatically generated by Census records.

Slide a bar and a map shows how families with that surname moved through space (in this case, England, Wales, and the U.S.) and time (from 1840 to 1880 and 1920). In addition, there’s an overview of occupations the family has held, immigration and Civil War service records, and links to pertinent threads from message boards.

Discover the surnames and stories in your family. Start free trial.

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Don’t let mould destroy your family historyhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/05/09/dont-let-mould-destroy-your-family-history/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/05/09/dont-let-mould-destroy-your-family-history/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 05:00:24 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2214 Mould, a five letter word that causes a lot of four letter words from historians around the world. It can destroy your documents and it can make you sick. What do you do when you discover that granddad’s WW1 letters or the family Bible has mould on it? Here are some tips to help you… Read more

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Mould, a five letter word that causes a lot of four letter words from historians around the world. It can destroy your documents and it can make you sick. What do you do when you discover that granddad’s WW1 letters or the family Bible has mould on it? Here are some tips to help you when you discover mould.

First, protect yourself:

You can’t tell who will be affected by exposure to mould. Common reactions to mold exposure include runny nose, eye irritation, cough, headache, fatigue, and aggravation of asthma. Anyone with asthma, serious allergies, respiratory problems, diabetes, compromised immune systems, or taking steroid therapy should avoid moldy materials and the area where they are.

Take steps to protect yourself. Mould spores can enter your body through your breathing and also through small breaks in your skin. Here are some ways to help prevent mold exposure:

  • Use a N95 disposable respirator, available online and in some home improvement stores
  • Use disposable gloves when handling the materials
  • Wear goggles or protective eyewear
  • Do not touch your eyes or mouth after touching a mouldy item
  • Wash your hands as soon as possible after you’ve left the area where the moldy item is
  • Shower with hot water as soon as possible
  • Wash your clothes in hot water; use bleach. (And don’t wear good clothes. Mould can stain and it does not come out.)

Get the item safe and dry

Mould thrives on moisture. If the item is wet, you’ll need to dry it before you can attempt to remove the mould. Store it somewhere away from people, perhaps a garage or a dry shed. If you have something with multiple pages, like a book or magazine, you may need to put paper towels or blank copy paper between the pages. Here’s how I recently dried out a book that landed in my bathtub.

Removing the mould

After the item is dry, use a clean paint brush to lightly dust off the mold. If there are stubborn spots, you can try gently wiping with a slightly damp cloth or sponge. A better solution is to use a non-chemical natural dry sponge. These are often advertised as “soot sponges.” (Absorene is one brand name.) They are available in many home improvement stores. What’s nice about them is that they are designed to be used dry, so you’re not introducing any moisture to the item.

When you’re using a sponge, remember to be gentle. This isn’t like rubbing out a stain from your shirt. Rub too hard and you might end up tearing the paper or erasing the print!

If in doubt

If you’re not comfortable working with a mouldy item or if the job is too big for you to handle, contact a professional conservator. Many historical societies and archives maintain lists of conservators and preservationists in your area.

About the author

Nancy E. Kraft is a preservation librarian and the Head of the Preservation and Conservation Department, University of Iowa Libraries. She is part of the American Institute for Conservation-Collections Emergency Responders Team (AIC-CERT). Nancy received the Midwest Archives Conference 2009 Presidents’ Award for her extraordinary work following the historic levels of flooding that struck Iowa in the summer of 2008. She is a lecturer and preservation consultant for the OceanTeachers Academy, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO, in Ostend, Belgium. She is active in the American Library Association having served as Chair of the Preservation and Reformatting Section of the Library Collections & Technical Services Division and currently serving as the ALA Voting Representative to the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). She is a regular contributor to the Preservation Beat blog at the University of Iowa – click here for more.

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Ancestry.au Discovers Princess Kate and Jane Austen Are Relatedhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/04/29/ancestry-au-discovers-princess-kate-and-jane-austen-are-related/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/04/29/ancestry-au-discovers-princess-kate-and-jane-austen-are-related/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 22:51:13 +0000 Paul Rawlins http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2209 Kate Middleton shares traits in common with Austen heroines—and a distant relative with Austen herself. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So said Jane Austen in her famous novel Pride and Prejudice. And now, as the royal couple… Read more

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Public domain

Public domain

Kate Middleton shares traits in common with Austen heroines—and a distant relative with Austen herself.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

So said Jane Austen in her famous novel Pride and Prejudice. And now, as the royal couple settle down into comfortable domesticity, Ancestry.ca has announced that the former Catherine Middleton and Jane Austen, one of the best known and most popular novelists in the English-speaking world, are related.

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Catherine, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, and Austen, best known for her novels focusing on lower gentry or middle-class women and their romantic interactions with men of higher rank and wealth, are related through their common ancestor Henry Percy, the 2nd Earl of Northumberland. Percy, who lived in the first half of the 15th century, is Kate’s 16th great-grandfather and Jane Austen’s 10th great-grandfather, making them 11th cousins, six times removed.

Though her work touched on many topics, from economics to equality, Jane Austen is largely considered to be the pioneer of the romantic fiction genre. Her novels are known for their biting social commentary and romance between classes and her heroines for their spirit, intelligence and wit; they are readers and walkers; they are loyal friends and sisters.

It has been just over 200 years since Jane Austen published her first novel, Sense and Sensibility (1811). Written with both comedy and emotional depth, Sense and Sensibility is considered to be one of the greatest romantic dramas ever written, demonstrating why Jane Austen remains one of our most popular authors almost 200 years after her death. The 1995 film version of the novel earned Emma Thompson, who authored the screenplay and starred in the film, an Academy Award.

 

Sisters and Friends

Throughout her life, Jane Austen’s best friend and strongest supporter was her elder sister Cassandra. In fact, when Cassandra was sent off to boarding school at age 10 in 1783, eight-year-old Jane refused to be separated from her sister, demanding to go also.

The close relationship between the Austen sisters is easily comparable to the bond Catherine shares with her younger sister Pippa, who served as Catherine’s maid of honor at her wedding, attended the same boarding school as her older sister and then followed her to Scotland to college.

While all her novels conclude with a happy marriage between the heroine and her hero, neither Jane nor Cassandra ever married. There is however every expectation that Pippa will follow her sister’s example and marry her own prince charming.

 

Fame and Fortune

Born in 1775, Jane Austen is perhaps best known for her works Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, two of six novels she wrote in addition to lesser-known short stories and unfinished works. While her writing brought Austen little fame or fortune during her lifetime, today a cult of “Jane-ites” has emerged around the world. Numerous sequels to her works have been penned, various film adaptations of her novels produced, and a new generation of female readers, often speculating on their romantic endeavors, asks themselves, “What would Jane do?”

 

Royal Connections

Henry Percy, the ancestor who connects Catherine and Jane, was born in 1392 at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. Percy was a 2nd great-grandson of King Edward III—meaning that King Edward is also a distant great-grandfather of Catherine Middleton.

Spending his youth in Scotland, because his father and grandfather were killed fighting against King Henry IV of England, in his early twenties, Percy reconciled with King Henry V (after Henry IV’s death) and was tasked with protecting the Scottish border. He was killed in 1455 during the first battle of the Wars of the Roses, at St. Albans, England.
Find your own famous family. Start a free trial today.

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Discover your story. Enjoy free access to our Australian immigration records all weekend!http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/04/17/discover-your-story-enjoy-free-access-to-our-australian-immigration-records-all-weekend/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/04/17/discover-your-story-enjoy-free-access-to-our-australian-immigration-records-all-weekend/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:18:09 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2187 Before the age of digitised records, piecing together a family tree across generations and continents was an almost impossible task. Now thanks to Ancestry.com.au it’s all at your fingertips – bringing to life our ancestors’ adventures and stories that were once buried in archives across the globe. Ancestry.com.au offers the world’s largest online collection of… Read more

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Before the age of digitised records, piecing together a family tree across generations and continents was an almost impossible task. Now thanks to Ancestry.com.au it’s all at your fingertips – bringing to life our ancestors’ adventures and stories that were once buried in archives across the globe.

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Ancestry.com.au offers the world’s largest online collection of historical records, and this Easter long weekend, over 43 million immigration records will be free to search.

They include the newly launched Fremantle Passenger Lists, providing a crucial link that will help millions of Australian sleuths trace the pivotal turning point in their family history.

JOURNEYS TO A NEW LAND
It’s estimated that one in four of Australia’s 22 million people was born outside Australia. Before airlines offered a viable alternative, migrants arrived by ship. Fremantle Port opened in 1897 and became a major gateway for new arrivals, either those in transit to other Australian ports, New Zealand or settling in Western Australia.

The Fremantle Passenger Lists cover migration from 1897 to 1963, providing vital clues for those tracing their ancestors’ passage to Australia. The Fremantle Passenger Lists add a wealth of new information to ancestry.com.au’s existing immigration records from Australia, the UK, the US and other countries. This extensive database, created in collaboration with the National Archives of Australia, allows people to track the routes their ancestors took, providing valuable insights into how and when they arrived, as well as intriguing snippets about their past. Other immigration records included in the free access campaign including passenger arrival records, outbound passenger lists, citizenship and naturalisation records, convict transportation records, border crossings and passport applications. Twentieth century immigration records can be highly detailed, including names and addresses of other family members, in both the old country and new.

TEN POUND POMS
One of the biggest migrant waves was in the fifties and sixties, the era of the so-called ‘Ten Pound Poms’, when one million British people paid just 10 pounds to call Australia home. Some of the celebrated music talent who arrived in this wave include the Manchester-born Bee Gees brothers, Barry, Maurice and Robin, in 1958.

AC/DC’s Bon Scott, and brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, were also expats from this era. In fact, since October 1945 alone, more than 7.2 million people have migrated to Australia, and their details can be found in the unprecedented collection of immigration records available on ancestry.com.au.

UNLOCKING THE PAST

WHEN LYNNE MANNOLINI came across a collection of old photographs and documents belonging to her grandmother, it sparked a quest to discover the stories behind the photos, culminating in a family tree that now stretches back 10 generations. Using the vast resources of ancestry.com.au, Lynne discovered the background to her grandmother’s arrival in Australia in the early 1900s, aged just six. Drawing on census records, birth, death and marriage indexes, and various passenger lists, she has added convicts, policemen and gaolers to her family story. She’s uncovered immigrants from Germany, together with records of their arrival and documentation of their holidays back and forth within Australia.“Each new piece of information opens up a whole new path to follow, so the story continues,” says Lynne.

JAMES William Henry in diving gear

Enjoy free access to all immigration records this Easter long weekend at Ancestry.com.au. Access starts 12:01am Thursday 17 April and finishes 11.59pm Monday 21 April. You can access the records at www.ancestry.com.au/immigration2014

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Titanic Mystery Solved with DNA Testinghttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/03/21/titanic-mystery-solved-with-dna-testing/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/03/21/titanic-mystery-solved-with-dna-testing/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 04:23:54 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2170 DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago. The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the… Read more

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DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago.

The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the Atlantic on the Titanic. At the time of the sinking, it is said that Trevor was rushed to a lifeboat by their maid and that the other three died on the boat. However, only Hudson’s body was found, leaving the mystery of what happened to Loraine and her mother.

The New York City Herald covered the sinking tragedy on April 16, 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

The New York City Herald covered the sinking tragedy on April 16, 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

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The unknown remained until 28 years later when Helen Kramer came forward on a radio show called “We the People”, and said that she was the two-year-old missing girl. Only a few of the distant relatives believed her story, but immediate family members denied the claims and kept her out of the inheritance.

When Helen died in 1992 the claims seemed to have died with her. However, in 2012 the granddaughter of Helen, Debrina Woods, resurfaced the claims by saying she had inherited more evidence from her grandmother and that the truth should be told.

With all of this evidence, and with a desire to solve this case, a group of Titanic researchers put together a project to help unlock the mystery.

They did just that, by convincing descendants from each family to have a DNA test done.

The results from the tests show that there is not a relationship between the two families, suggesting that this was a hoax or a complete misunderstanding.

We don’t want to downplay the tragedy of this story to those involved but rather highlight that we have a tool that will help us unlock the mysteries of our past with DNA testing.

This isn’t the first time DNA has helped provide evidence to disprove a connection to a historical claim. DNA testing disproved Anna Anderson’s claims that she was Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. Similar to the Kramer story, researchers found multiple people from both sides of the family in question and had them take a DNA test. No DNA was shared, disproving a relationship.

What questions have you always wondered about in your family?

Discover your family story. Start free trial.

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Spelling Didn’t Matter To Our Ancestors — Wild Cards to the Rescuehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/03/20/spelling-didnt-matter-to-our-ancestors-wild-cards-to-the-rescue/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/03/20/spelling-didnt-matter-to-our-ancestors-wild-cards-to-the-rescue/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:59:45 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2166 Our ancestors often used a variety of spellings for their first names and surnames. You can use wildcards with the Exact filter selected to find unusual spellings of names. There are two wildcard characters: ? (question mark) : matches one character which can be anything * (asterisk) : matches 0 to N characters So if you enter… Read more

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Our ancestors often used a variety of spellings for their first names and surnames. You can use wildcards with the Exact filter selected to find unusual spellings of names.

There are two wildcard characters:

  • ? (question mark) : matches one character which can be anything
  • * (asterisk) : matches 0 to N characters

So if you enter Sm?th* you can match Smith, Smyth, Smithe and Smythe

Ann* will match Ann, Anne, Anna, and Annabelle

My maiden name is Gillespie, and it is very often spelled: Gillaspie, Gillispie or Gillespie or even Gillespy.

I can use wildcards to match a variety of combinations.

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This matches a variety of spellings, making my search just a little bit easier.

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Happy Searching!

Ancestry Anne

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Real James Bond Found Hiding in an Archivehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/03/08/real-james-bond-found-hiding-in-an-archive/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/03/08/real-james-bond-found-hiding-in-an-archive/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 21:47:53 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2153 Sidney Reilly, the secret agent widely believed to be the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s legendary character James Bond, has been uncovered in a very un-Bondlike location: an online archive. The record (shown above) was found in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 collection, which details medals earned by more than 4.8 million WWI… Read more

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Sidney Reilly, the secret agent widely believed to be the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s legendary character James Bond, has been uncovered in a very un-Bondlike location: an online archive.

The record (shown above) was found in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 collection, which details medals earned by more than 4.8 million WWI soldiers. It reveals that Reilly’s Military Cross was issued for service in the Royal Flying Corps.

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Sidney Reilly, known as the “Ace of Spies,” was an agent for Scotland Yard’s Special Branch. In 1918 Reilly joined Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, the first director of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), as an operative for MI1 (a predecessor to MI6). His friend Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart knew Ian Fleming for many years and told him of Reilly’s espionage exploits. Later Fleming allegedly mentioned to a colleague at the Sunday Times that he had created Bond after hearing about Reilly.

In typical secret-agent fashion, much of Reilly’s life is shrouded in mystery. It is alleged that he worked undercover and stole revolutionary aircraft engine parts and weapon plans from the Germans before the First World War even began. He was then dispatched on counter-Bolshevik operations in Germany and Russia during the conflict itself. He did travel to the U.S. from Russia in 1915 with new wife Nadine (Nadezhda) Zalessky, as shown in this ship’s manifest. Like Bond, he was known as a womanzier, though unlike Fleming’s character, Reilly married several times (not always bothering with the formality of a divorce in between).

reilly manifest june 1915

 

Reilly’s medal was awarded for his “distinguished services rendered in connection with military operations in the field,” which are said to have included parachuting behind enemy lines and disguising himself as a German officer in order to obtain undercover information.

His record is one of thousands of medal cards online, revealing the medals awarded to each First World War soldier. In addition, more than 50,000 of these cards also list details of covert operations undertaken or letters from next of kin on their reverse side, meaning thousands of people today can track down find the spy in their own family.

Ancestry’s researchers have also found another interesting James Bond-related fact: Daniel Craig is actually the half 19th cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, his on-screen partner in crime during the acclaimed opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Who’s keeping a secret in your family’s past? Discover you family story. Start a free trial today.

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Guest Blog: What’s in a name? Surnames have meanings and originshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/02/17/guest-blog-whats-in-a-name-surnames-have-meanings-and-origins/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/02/17/guest-blog-whats-in-a-name-surnames-have-meanings-and-origins/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 05:29:22 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2149 Authored by Bob Cumberbatch. Bob is the Education Liaison Officer of The Guild of One-Name Studies and can be reached at education@one-name.org. Surnames began being used in the 11th century and they have meanings and origins which can be grouped into four broad categories, which are: People, Places, Occupations and Nicknames. Surnames based on people… Read more

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Authored by Bob Cumberbatch. Bob is the Education Liaison Officer of The Guild of One-Name Studies and can be reached at education@one-name.org.

Surnames began being used in the 11th century and they have meanings and origins which can be grouped into four broad categories, which are: People, Places, Occupations and Nicknames.

Surnames based on people often mean “son of” a person. Robertson is a name derived from someone called Robert. This surname is especially common in Scotland, where Robert was a popular personal name and the name of three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce (1274–1329). Other examples include: Williamson meaning ‘son of William’, Ferguson meaning ‘son of Fergus’ and Johnson. Gaelic names from Scotland and Ireland include Mac or Mc as in MacAlister. Irish examples include: O’Brien, FitzPatrick or Brennan. ‘Ap’ in Welsh means ‘son of’ and ‘ap Richard’ evolved into Pritchard and ‘ap Ellis’ became Bellis; Williams, meaning ‘son of William,’ is very common in Wales.

Surnames based on places are named after a particular place or a description of a place. Millington which is a name derived from places called Millington in Cheshire and East Yorkshire, so named from Old English mylen ‘mill’ + tun ‘enclosure’, ‘settlement’. Wood which is mainly a name for someone who lived in or by a wood or a metonymic occupational name for a woodcutter or forester, from Middle English wode ‘wood’ and Old English wudu. Hill is an extremely common and widely distributed name for someone who lived on or by a hill; from the Old English hyll.

Occupational surnames originated from someone’s work, their title or a position of status. Smith is an occupational name for a worker in metal; from Middle English smith and Old English smið, which is possibly a derivative of smitan meaning ‘to strike, hammer’. Metal-working was one of the earliest occupations for which specialist skills were required, and its importance ensured that this surname and its equivalents were perhaps the most widespread of all occupational surnames in Europe. This is the most frequent of all British and American surnames. Other examples of occupational surnames include Chandler a maker or seller of candles, Taylor, Faulkner from falconer, Burgess and Bishop.

Strong is a name from Middle English strong or strang meaning ‘strong’, probably a nickname for a strong man but perhaps sometimes applied ironically to a weakling. Other examples include Reid, and its English equivalent Read, which is a nickname for a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion, from Older Scots reid ‘red’. Small is a nickname for a person of slender build or diminutive stature, from Middle English smal ‘thin’, ‘narrow’. There are examples of nickname based surnames from other European languages, such as German Klein and Schmal and French Petit.

Discover the meaning of your surname online at Ancestry.

Bob is the Education Liaison Officer of The Guild of One-Name Studies and can be reached at education@one-name.org

Studying a surname and identifying its roots and distribution can be particularly helpful in tracking down people who have migrated overseas and finding the right person from multiple candidates

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Top 20 Search Tipshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/02/17/top-20-search-tips/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/02/17/top-20-search-tips/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 05:18:30 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2143 Use our suggestions to track down missing ancestors and get more from your Ancestry searches. 1. Focused searching Searching all our records at once is extremely powerful, but it can give you too many search results. Consider searching categories, such as census or military records. Or if you know where and when you’re looking for… Read more

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Stack of books and magnifying glass isolated on white background

Use our suggestions to track down missing ancestors and get more from your Ancestry searches.

1. Focused searching

Searching all our records at once is extremely powerful, but it can give you too many search results. Consider searching categories, such as census or military records. Or if you know where and when you’re looking for your ancestors, you can often search within particular record collections.

2. Recent collections

On our main search page, look for ‘Recently viewed collections’ in the top-right corner. These links will take you straight back to the record collections you last looked at.

3. Recent searches

Slightly further down the page, on the left, you’ll find ‘Recent Searches’. This provides a list of the ancestors you last searched for – click on them to go straight back to your search results.

4. Local records

At the bottom of the main search page are maps of Australia & NZ, the UK, USA, Canada and more. Click within the map to see lists of record collections for any country. You can then use the options on the right to see just the collections for a particular county.

5. Find more records

We’ve created pages for each of our main categories to help you find more useful records. For example, our Census and Voter page includes links to all our census and electoral collections – as well as help for using those records.

6. Card Catalogue

For a wider view, use the Card Catalogue – you’ll find this at the bottom of the Search menu at the top of the screen. This lets you see all the record collections across our whole site, and filter them by category, location and date.

7. New releases

We’re constantly adding record collections, so there are always new opportunities to find your family. Stay up-to-date with our latest releases here. You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest content releases.

8. Exact matches

The ‘Match all terms exactly’ option can be useful in narrowing down your results. However, be careful as this will exclude any records that don’t include all the information in your search – for example, many records don’t have a death date.

9. Alternative names

Names were often spelt differently in the past, so use the options under the ‘First Name’ and ‘Last Name’ boxes to include alternatives. However, also take the time to search for other possibilities yourself (for example Owen and Owens), as this can be more effective.

10. Wildcard searches

You can also look for different spellings using wildcard characters. Use an * if there are several letters you’re not sure of (‘Rob*son will look for Robinson and Robertson) or a ? for a single letter (Sm?th for Smith and Smyth).

11. Nearby counties

You’ll often find that your ancestors moved across county borders. You can use the advanced options under any Location box to focus your search on the county that you entered, plus any bordering counties.

12. Family members

There are many James Olivers in our records, but far fewer who were married to ladies named Charlotte, and fewer still with sons named Frank. Use the ‘Family Member’ options to include other relatives in your search.

13. Lateral thinking

Another option is to simply search for a different person in the same household. Perhaps you can’t find James Oliver? Try searching for wife Charlotte or other family members with more unusual names, and see if you can spot James elsewhere on the record.

14. Collection Priority

The ‘Collection Priority’ option lets you focus on different parts of the world. Perhaps your greatuncle ran away to America? Switch the collection priority to United States to view mainly American records, and tick ‘Show only records from these collections’ if you don’t want to see anything else.

15. Browsing records

When you’re searching within individual record collections, you’ll often see options to ‘Browse this collection’ on the right. These let you choose a particular place and time period, and read through the records as though you were reading a book – they’re particularly useful with parish records.

16. Result views

There are two ways of viewing your results. – switch between them using the ‘View’ option in the top-right. ‘Sorted by relevance’ presents each individual record with the closest matches at the top; ‘Summarized by category’ groups your results together, so you can see what categories and collections they come from.

17. Edit Search

If you’ve made a mistake, or you want to try a slightly different search, you don’t need to go back to the search page. Just click ‘Edit Search’ in the top-left, change anything you want, and then click ‘Search’.

18. Narrow by Category

Perhaps you’re only interested in census records or travel records? You can easily filter your results by selecting one of the options under ‘Narrow by category’. You’ll then see more filter options, such as date ranges or sub-categories.

19. Record preview

If you keep clicking on all your results, it can take a long time to check which ones relate to your family. Instead, just hover over a result to see a quick preview of the most important information.

20. Hot Keys

You can use keyboard shortcuts to move through your results more quickly. For example, pressing ‘r’ will let you edit your search, while ‘p’ brings up a preview of the record you’ve selected.

Share your top search tip below.

 

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