British Phone Books Collection Completed, 1880-1984

Ancestry has added the last installment to the British Phone Book collection which spans the years 1880 to 1984. The contents of 1,780 different British phone books containing 280 million names are the result of a 26-month digitization project. Included are the phone books for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

The British Phone Books, 1880-1984 contain names, numbers and addresses, including those of famous historical figures such as former Prime Minister Harold McMillan at his cottage in Chelwood Gate, composer Edward Elgar at his estate in Warwickshire and writer Evelyn Waugh at his home in the West Country where he wrote Brideshead Revisited.

Spanning 104 years, the collection also includes the very first phone book – for London – released in 1880 and containing just 248 entries, to those published in the 1980s when more than 47 million phone books were distributed in 145 separate editions. Continue reading

Photo Corner: Luigi’s Shoe Repair Shop

Luigi's Shoe RepairI love this photograph but I would have had to crop it terribly to fit in the newsletter, so we’ll just post it here on the blog. I love that even the family pet is in the picture! Click on the image to enlarge it.

Taken in 1918, this is picture of my grandfather in front of his shoe repair store in Grantwood, now Cliffside Park, New Jersey. From left to right is my Aunt Tina, my father Frank in the baby wagon, my Uncle John, and standing in the back is my Grandfather, Luigi. The dog’s name was Sporty! The store is no longer standing, and in it’s place is a 7-11 store.

Michael Corrado

Book Review: Bonny Kate, Pioneer Lady

Bonny Kate, Pioneer Lady, by Mark Strength is a wonderful book! I could not put it down and others have said the same. It is history and a love story.

For more information, see the website                                                         

Margarette Stout

Thanks Margarette for this review. It looks like a good book and might even be something that I could entice my daughter to read!

If you have a genealogy or history related book or movie that you’d like to recommend, you can send it to [email protected] and I’ll post it here on the blog.

Book Review: The United States in 1800

I recommend reading, The United States in 1800, by Henry Adams.  It is amazing to read how difficult it was to move around in New England.  This includes people and commerce.  I was surprised to learn that the stage-coach was invented back there.  I thought it was invented out west!
Bette Thatcher, IST
Sacramento, California

Thanks Bette! I did a quick search for that title and found that it is available online through the American Studies at the University of Virginia website. If you have a genealogy or history related book or movie that you’d like to recommend, you can send it to [email protected] and I’ll post it here on the blog.


Catching Up

My apologies for the prolonged silence here. I took some time off last week and am trying to catch up on things here in the office. I had a couple items I wanted to share, so I thought I would combine them into one post. So here goes:

Passports Are Finally Here!
And they are fantastic! If you get a chance to check them out, please do. I’ve been working on an article about them for Monday’s Ancestry Weekly Journal and it’s one of those cases where I have so many cool examples, it’s hard to pick and choose which ones to include. Ancestry members with access to the U.S. or World Deluxe Collections can click here to access them.

Interview With Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
Most of you are probably familiar with Megan through the newsletter, speaking engagements, or through news reports as Ancestry’s Chief Family Historian, and now you can see an interview with her online at Dick Eastman conducted the interview aboard the Wholly Genes Genealogy Cruise last month. Click here to see that interview and interviews with other notables from the cruise like Cyndi Howell (of Cyndi’s List fame), Tony Burroughs (author of Black Roots), and John Grenham (author of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors).

How Did We Get Started in Family History?
In last week’s newsletter Maureen Taylor shared how her interest in family history began, and invited everyone to share their stories as well. Many of you did and in fact, as I write this, there are fifty-five stories added to her article! I spent some time last night reading through them and really enjoyed hearing how people began in this pursuit we’ve all come to enjoy so much. If you got a little extra time, you can read them all here. And feel free to post your story. We’d all love to hear what inspired you to trace your family history!

Well, that’s it for now. I have a couple book reviews that I received and I’ll be putting them up shortly in another post.

Have a great day!


New at Ancestry

Ancestry____logo1.bmpPosted This Week

Coming Soon

  • Historic U.S. & Canada Atlases, 1591-2000
  • Major U.S. & Canada Newspaper Update
  • North Dakota State Census, 1915 & 1925
  • Southern Claims Commission Records
  • Stars and Stripes, Pacific Theater, 1942-1964

Weekly Planner: Escape the Hustle and Bustle for a Half Hour

It’s amazing how quickly the holidays have descended on us. It was Halloween, I blinked, and now Thanksgiving is behind us and with it the rush of preparations–decorating, gift-shopping, and baking. With all these additional activities, it’s easy to get frazzled. This week, let’s take a half hour break each day to play hooky from the holiday hustle and bustle, and curl up with a good book. When you’re done, you’ll be less stressed, in a better mood, and ready to tackle those holiday crowds!

Genealogical Inspiration, by Maureen Taylor

lightbulb.bmpGo ahead. Let’s sound off. I’d like to know how you learned to conduct family history research. Did you take a class, read a book, or follow an online tutorial? As you know there are many opportunities to become a more experienced researcher. Here’s what made a difference in my life:

I began my childhood inquiries into the past by asking questions of the oldest person I knew–my only living grandparent, my Dad’s mother. Armed with a pencil and paper I tried out my interviewing technique. Where were you born? Who were your parents? At one point she sighed and said “Let’s talk about your grandfather’s side of the family instead of mine.” When I persisted she redirected me. I’ve since learned the reasons behind her reticence but it took decades to uncover those family skeletons. My mom always supported my research driving me to town halls and libraries. At some point she stopped being my personal chauffeur and began researching her own family.

Friends and Colleagues
A network of friends and colleagues interested in the same topic create a built-in audience for family history questions. After all, having someone to talk to about your brick wall helps you get through the frustration. If you don’t know anyone in your social group who loves genealogy (gasp!) you’ll find them by attending a local meeting at a historical and genealogical society. While I didn’t know any kids whose hobby was genealogy, I began meeting like-minded folks when I began working after college. Continue reading