Ancestry.co.uk Blog » Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk The official Ancestry.co.uk blog Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:56:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 War Hero in my Familyhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2012/05/01/war-hero-in-my-family/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2012/05/01/war-hero-in-my-family/#comments Tue, 01 May 2012 14:27:24 +0000 Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=3421 A new family history TV programme is running on Tuesday nights at 8pm on Channel 5. War Hero in my Family puts a new spin on the idea of celebrities tracing their trees, as famous names discover the emotive stories of their relatives in World War II. TV host Chris Tarrant, politician Ann Widdecombe and… Read more

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War Hero in my Family

A new family history TV programme is running on Tuesday nights at 8pm on Channel 5. War Hero in my Family puts a new spin on the idea of celebrities tracing their trees, as famous names discover the emotive stories of their relatives in World War II.

TV host Chris Tarrant, politician Ann Widdecombe and cricketer David Gower are among the stars discovering their fearless forebears over the next six weeks. The heroes in their stories range from Military Cross winners and Prisoners of War to Jewish spies. Here’s a rundown of who you can expect to see every week:

May 1st: Chris Tarrant & Lisa Faulkner
May 8th: Ann Widdecombe & Quentin Wilson
May 15th: Paddy Ashdown & Helen Lederer
May 22nd: David Gower & Sara Cox
May 29th: Dom Littlewood & Pamela Stephenson
June 5th: Robert Llewellyn & Angela Rippon

As you watch each episode, see if you can pick up any tips to help you discover the heroes in your own family. We have military records from the Napoleonic Wars right up to WWII revealing our military ancestors – the WWI service records and medal records are the most comprehensive.

But heroes don’t have to have served in the Armed Forces. You might have relatives who fought their way out of poverty, travelled the high seas, or pioneered the Industrial Revolution. You can learn more about them in census, immigration, occupation and parish records.

Once you’ve uncovered your family’s heroes, pay tribute to them in our Hall of Heroes on Facebook. We’re collecting together your stories as a permanent reminder of our most courageous ancestors.

Visit the Hall of Heroes now

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New Irish recordshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2012/04/22/new-irish-records-2/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2012/04/22/new-irish-records-2/#comments Sun, 22 Apr 2012 00:01:28 +0000 Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=3403 Last month we celebrated St Patrick’s Day by releasing two brand new collections of Irish records. We’ve also made some of our older collections from Ireland far more useful – which adds up to great news for anyone with roots on the Emerald Isle. Our first new release contains over 200,000 pages from the Belfast Newsletter, created over… Read more

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Last month we celebrated St Patrick’s Day by releasing two brand new collections of Irish records. We’ve also made some of our older collections from Ireland far more useful – which adds up to great news for anyone with roots on the Emerald Isle.

Our first new release contains over 200,000 pages from the Belfast Newsletter, created over the past 300 years. The Newsletter is the oldest English-language newspaper still in circulation, and our digital archive covers everything from the Irish Rebellion to the French Revolution.

But of course, it’s not all about global events. You’ll also find birth, marriage and death announcements, local adverts, military notices and thousands more smaller articles that could well feature members of your family. You can browse the editions by date.

Our second addition is a similarly diverse mix of resources, going back even further. Dublin, Probate Record and Marriage Licence Index, 1270-1858, includes over 100,000 index entries extracted from wills, letters of administration, marriage licences and other records within the Diocese of Dublin.

Most of these court records reveal names, dates, places and occupations. They’re also fully searchable, so it’s easy to pinpoint the cases that affected your family.

Speaking of fully searchable records, we’ve added indexes to four of our rarest and most sought after Irish collections. These are partial censuses for 1841 and 1851, covering County Antrim, County Cork, a range of locations across Northern Ireland, and a similar assortment for the Republic.

Most Irish census records from before 1901 were destroyed in the 1922 fire at the Public Records Office in Dublin. However, some fragments survived, and these have been combined with other records from the same time to create our lists.

Don’t forget, we already have over 30 million Irish records on the site, including birth, marriage and death indexes plus Catholic and Anglican parish records.

See all our Irish collections

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“God Himself couldn’t sink this ship”http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2012/04/20/god-himself-couldnt-sink-this-ship/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2012/04/20/god-himself-couldnt-sink-this-ship/#comments Fri, 20 Apr 2012 15:12:43 +0000 Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=3396 The sinking of the RMS Titanic is one of the best-known events in British history. Indeed, the disaster has become so shrouded in myth and legend that it’s easy to forget that it directly affected over 2,000 real people. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the accident, we’ve released five new record collections that reveal… Read more

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Titanic

The sinking of the RMS Titanic is one of the best-known events in British history. Indeed, the disaster has become so shrouded in myth and legend that it’s easy to forget that it directly affected over 2,000 real people.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the accident, we’ve released five new record collections that reveal the ship’s passengers and crew. You can discover where these men, women and children lived, how they worked and their future plans before their lives were so suddenly interrupted.

The most important of our new collections is the official Titanic passenger list. This tells you the names, ages and occupations of the people who got their hands on the most famous tickets in maritime history. It even provides the country where any permanent emigrants were intending to set up home.

The other side of the coin is the staff that sailed the ship, managed its operations, and served the illustrious passengers. Our crew records reveal their addresses, nationalities, and the duties they performed. Look out for notes about employees who were ill or didn’t show up – surely some of the luckiest near misses in history.

Of course, the sad truth is that 1,517 souls lost their lives when the Titanic went down. Our death registers list them together with their ages, last residences and occupations. We also have photographs of some of their memorials, plus an index of the bodies recovered.

Search the Titanic Collection 

Few of us are actually related to anybody who boarded the Titanic. However, most families do have members who travelled the seas. You’re more likely to find your emigrant and immigrant ancestors in our other passenger lists from the UK, USA, Australia and other key countries.

If you are looking for more information about Titanic passengers, you may find that they were on other boats before – or even after – their most famous journey.

Search our immigration and travel records

Speaking of lives before the Titanic, you’ll be able to find most of the passengers and crew on the 1911 Census. Taken almost exactly a year before the ship set out from Southampton, this will tell you where and how they were living – and with whom.

Search the 1911 Census

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NEW London records – Freemen of the Cityhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/11/29/new-london-records-%e2%80%93-freemen-of-the-city/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/11/29/new-london-records-%e2%80%93-freemen-of-the-city/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2011 16:43:13 +0000 Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=3087 When it comes to family history, London is definitely a special case. To have a realistic chance of finding ancestors in most other parts of the UK, you need to have some sort of local connection. With the capital, though, it’s worth anybody searching the records – because so many people owned businesses or second… Read more

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When it comes to family history, London is definitely a special case. To have a realistic chance of finding ancestors in most other parts of the UK, you need to have some sort of local connection. With the capital, though, it’s worth anybody searching the records – because so many people owned businesses or second houses in the City, or moved there in search of a better life.

Our latest London release will help you discover the most prominent people in all kinds of occupations and trades – across more than 200 years. It also gives you a remarkable insight into an ongoing capital tradition.

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London Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1925, reveals almost 600,000 men and women who were given one of the City’s most prestigious titles. These Freemen were allowed to vote in civic elections, drive livestock over London Bridge, and even carry a naked sword in public!

More importantly, becoming a Freeman gave you an elevated standing within all kinds of occupations. From constables and aldermen to merchants and stonemasons, people from all walks of life benefitted from this exclusive status.

Find relatives among our Freemen, and you’ll discover intimate details about their lives. You may also find information about the people that taught them their trades – effectively giving them the chance to earn a decent living.

And remember, even if your family didn’t live in London, there’s a good chance they may have moved there to take advantage of the opportunities only the capital could offer.

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Search the records now

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1911 Census – start searching!http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/10/27/1911-census-start-searching/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/10/27/1911-census-start-searching/#comments Thu, 27 Oct 2011 14:47:46 +0000 Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=2966   Good news this week for everyone in Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, plus the millions all over the UK with roots in those areas. We’ve completed the first part of our 1911 Census transcriptions – and you’re the ones to benefit. Right now, everyone can search for ancestors in Wales and the… Read more

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Good news this week for everyone in Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, plus the millions all over the UK with roots in those areas. We’ve completed the first part of our 1911 Census transcriptions – and you’re the ones to benefit.

Right now, everyone can search for ancestors in Wales and the Crown dependencies just as you would with our other census records. Just type in a name, give your best guesses of things like birth dates and places, and see what you can find.

Many of you have commented before that we tend to start with English records. We’ve taken these observations on board, which is why we’ve concentrated first on other parts of the UK this time.

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It’s obviously great news if you’re one of the three million people in those areas. However, the popularity of surnames like Evans, Jones and Davies shows how the Welsh in particular have spread all over the UK. If you have connections to London, Liverpool or any of the coalmining towns in the North and Midlands, for example, it’s definitely worth checking for Welsh roots.

Remember, this is the first Census where you can see the forms filled in by your ancestors. That means you can study their handwriting, and look for any extra notes or comments. Plus, the records include added information, such as how long couples had been married, and the number of children they’d had.

Search now

We’ll have another set of transcriptions for you, covering a large part of England, within a couple of months.The rest will follow next year. In the meantime, you can continue to use the whole Census by browsing the records. Find out how

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NEW Warwickshire parish recordshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/10/24/new-warwickshire-parish-records/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/10/24/new-warwickshire-parish-records/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2011 09:20:39 +0000 Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=2955 Wherever you are in the old county of Warwickshire, you’re surrounded by history – from the Cathedral in Coventry, to Rugby School, to Warwick’s Tudor houses. The region has played host to some of our most important figures – William Shakespeare was born in Stratford, while it’s said that the Gunpowder Plot was hatched in… Read more

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Wherever you are in the old county of Warwickshire, you’re surrounded by history – from the Cathedral in Coventry, to Rugby School, to Warwick’s Tudor houses. The region has played host to some of our most important figures – William Shakespeare was born in Stratford, while it’s said that the Gunpowder Plot was hatched in Warwick. Now you can discover your family’s part in this fascinating tale, with our NEW Warwickshire parish records, 1502-1984.

These comprehensive lists of baptisms, marriages and burials, created in parish churches, take you right back to the time when Catholicism was the established religion, before Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of monasteries such as Nuneaton Priory and Coombe Abbey near Coventry. For the next 300 years the Church was the centre of the local community – so its registers reflect the ups and downs of parish life.

 
 
Because these new records overlap with our civil birth, marriage and death indexes, they let you pick up your family’s story where those more recent records leave off in 1837. You could start by searching for a relative that you’ve already found in the civil indexes, to pinpoint the church where they were baptised or buried.

Often, families stayed in the same parishes for generations. So, once you’ve located that first ancestor, you can move back through the centuries, following the twists and turns in your family’s story.

Start your search now

Of course, this is just the latest in our series of parish releases. In the past few months, we’ve also released local collections from West Yorkshire, London, Dorset, Liverpool and Ireland. These add to millions of parish records already at our site.

See all our parish collections

 
 

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FREE* today – Irish landownershttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/10/02/free-today-%e2%80%93-irish-landowners/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/10/02/free-today-%e2%80%93-irish-landowners/#comments Sun, 02 Oct 2011 06:00:23 +0000 Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=2818 It’s day two of our ‘15 minutes with 15 collections’ countdown! Today, we’ve made Griffith’s Valuation, 1848-1864, completely free for everyone to use. It’ll stay that way until October 15th.  Griffiths Valuation is the most important set of records for uncovering your ancestors’ lives in 19th-century Ireland. It reveals around a million people who either… Read more

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It’s day two of our ‘15 minutes with 15 collections’ countdown! Today, we’ve made Griffith’s Valuation, 1848-1864, completely free for everyone to use. It’ll stay that way until October 15th. 

Griffiths Valuation is the most important set of records for uncovering your ancestors’ lives in 19th-century Ireland. It reveals around a million people who either owned or rented land all over the country, and tells you their approximate address.

TOP TIP
Irish surnames were particularly prone to changes in pronunciation and spelling. An ancestor who appears as Colin O’Neill in one record could be Colin O Neill or even Colin Neill in another. Similarly, MacDonald can be written as McDonald, M’Donald, Donald or O’Donald! Make sure you search for all the possible variants.

Come back tomorrow for free access to our California Marriage Index, 1960-1985.

See all our free record collections this month

* Each collection will become available to search for free from 7am BST on the relevant day.  All collections will be available to search until 12 midnight BST on 15 October 2011.  To view these records you will need to register for free with Ancestry.co.uk with your name and email address.

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FREE* today – USA death recordshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/10/01/free-today-%e2%80%93-usa-death-records/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/10/01/free-today-%e2%80%93-usa-death-records/#comments Sat, 01 Oct 2011 06:00:03 +0000 Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=2809 Today marks the start of our ‘15 minutes with 15 collections’ countdown. To kick things off, we’ve made our US Social Security Death Index completely free for everyone to use. It’ll stay that way until October 15th. In the States, just about everybody has a social security number. Our index provides the name, birth and… Read more

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Today marks the start of our ‘15 minutes with 15 collections’ countdown. To kick things off, we’ve made our US Social Security Death Index completely free for everyone to use. It’ll stay that way until October 15th.

In the States, just about everybody has a social security number. Our index provides the name, birth and death dates and last address of everyone with a number whose death was reported to the Government – so it’s a comprehensive list of American deaths.

TOP TIP
If you find an ancestor in the index, view their result then look for a Suggested Records box on the right of your screen. This will tell you other records that we think may mention the same person – either because the details match, or we’ve found the two records linked in someone else’s family tree.

Come back tomorrow for free access to Griffith’s Valuation, 1848-1864.

See all our free record collections this month

* Each collection will become available to search for free from 7am BST on the relevant day.  All collections will be available to search until 12 midnight BST on 15 October 2011.  To view these records you will need to register for free with Ancestry.co.uk with your name and email address.

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15 days – 15 FREE* collections!http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/09/30/15-free-collections/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/09/30/15-free-collections/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2011 23:01:33 +0000 Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=2772 Over the next couple of weeks, we’re giving you free access to some of our most popular collections from around the world. Better yet, we’re helping you make the most of them with a series of quick tutorials. All you need is a spare 15 minutes every day! From October 1st-15th, we’re making another top collection free… Read more

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Over the next couple of weeks, we’re giving you free access to some of our most popular collections from around the world. Better yet, we’re helping you make the most of them with a series of quick tutorials. All you need is a spare 15 minutes every day!

From October 1st-15th, we’re making another top collection free every day. From Australian electoral rolls to World War I documents, you’ll have access to all kinds of records, many of which are usually only available to our Worldwide members.

With each free collection, we’ll provide a tutorial right here on our blog. These helpful articles will give you a taste of what you can find in the records, and suggest some quick tricks you can try in a quarter of an hour.

Don’t worry if you miss a day – after they become available, the collections will be free right up to the 15th. And of course, we’ll leave our tutorials up indefinitely, so you can keep coming back and trying our tips.

By the time you’ve finished, you’ll have several new places to look for your ancestors, and some great tricks to help you uncover their stories. Just remember to keep checking this blog every day for the latest tutorial.

Here’s a full list of the collections we’re making free each day:

October 1st – US Social Security Death Index
October 2nd – Ireland, Griffith’s Valuation, 1848-1864
October 3rd – California Marriage Index, 1960-1985
October 4th – Bavaria, Germany, WWI Personnel Rosters, 1914-1918
October 5th – 1920 US Federal Census
October 6th – Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1954
October 7th – Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997
October 8th – Sweden, Births from the Swedish Death Index, 1947-2006
October 9th – US WW I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
October 10th – England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005
October 11th – Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage & Death Announcements, 1851-2003
October 12th – Quebec Vital and Church Records, 1621-1967
October 13th – 1930 US Federal Census
October 14th – 1901 England Census
October 15th – US Obituary Collection

* Each collection will become available to search for free from 7am BST on the relevant day.  All collections will be available to search until 12 midnight BST on 15 October 2011.  To view these records you will need to register for free with Ancestry.co.uk with your name and email address.

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Who Do You Think You Are? – Larry Lamb uncovers the truthhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/09/01/who-do-you-think-you-are-larry-lamb-uncovers-the-truth/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/09/01/who-do-you-think-you-are-larry-lamb-uncovers-the-truth/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2011 10:31:43 +0000 Russell James http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=2649 Part of the joy of family history is discovering family secrets – and then learning the truth behind them. For Eastenders actor Larry Lamb, the secret was closer to home than most, as he found out his mother was adopted. His search for his biological family made for fascinating viewing. Lamb was actually lucky, as recent… Read more

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Who Do You Think You Are?

Part of the joy of family history is discovering family secrets – and then learning the truth behind them. For Eastenders actor Larry Lamb, the secret was closer to home than most, as he found out his mother was adopted. His search for his biological family made for fascinating viewing.

Lamb was actually lucky, as recent law changes meant he had plenty of information about his grandparents to get him started. I’ve spoken to several people in the past who were adopted themselves or had relatives who were, and have found it very difficult to discover anything at all about the birth parents.

The history of the fairground was an entertaining backdrop to the first half of the episode. Professions such as lion tamer and names like Jimmy Wildbeast Day will liven up anybody’s family tree! It’s a shame he couldn’t discover what happened to his grandfather Albert, but he did fill out a large part of his tree, and of course meet some living relatives.

I was also delighted with how true-to-life so much of the research was. We regularly saw Lamb searching online, and he followed up his findings with visits to relevant archives and historical sites. In particular, marriage certificates were crucial in kicking off his discoveries – don’t forget you can search the official marriage indexes and order certificates on our site. Search now

The final stage in the journey took us to California, USA. It’s incredible how easy it is to uncover branches of your tree on the other side of the world using online records. All our millions of worldwide immigration records are currently free to search – until 5th September – so you can find out where your family ended up. Search now

Lamb was clearly performing his search on behalf of his mother, so it was a fitting end when he put her on the phone to her American half-brother. This must have been a truly emotional moment – I hope they can find a way to bring the two together in person.

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