Archive for the ‘family history’ Category

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surname history

In family history on January 19, 2006

the surname history profiler gives a fascinating look at the distribution of a surname across britain and how that distribution has changed between 1881 and 1998.

it comes as no surprise to me that most of the darbyshires are concentrated around lancashire. that’s what my family have always known. no one in southern england can spell the name correctly; go north west however and people have heard of the name and not just the misspelt county.

Darbyshires in 1881

and by 1998 they have spread out across most of northern england and north wales too, but still with a hotspot in lancashire.

Darbyshires in 1998

my darbyshires all come from birmingham though. the thing that has surprised me most when researching my family history is not finding a link back to lancashire. i thought i’d got the family traced back to yorkshire at one point but when i stepped back another generation i found them back in birmingham again.

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salvation of the dead

In family history on September 10, 2002

i really must sort out comments for when i ask questions round here!

thanks to john robinson of a site for sore eyes
and to kirsty neill for sending me details of why the mormons are so big on
family history. apparently the mormon religion allows for the baptism of
dead ancestors, something which makes me feel a bit icky about using their
resources. i’m of the opinion that religion is a personal thing and something
you decide on for yourself. baptising people posthumously doesn’t seem on
to me, though from my own point of view i don’t really think it does any harm either. john sent me a link to an old wired article that explains:

The obsession with genealogy really took off in 1836. That
year, when Joseph Smith’s controversial teachings were already arousing the
hatred that would eventually get him killed by an Illinois mob, Smith announced
that the Hebrew prophet Elijah had appeared to him, granting the Mormon priesthood
the ability to “seal” families together for eternity, a power that eventually
carried over to dead ancestors and then to the mass of expired humanity.
Mormons began to anticipate a heavenly reward that would fill many modern
Americans with terror: an endless family reunion. Central to this process
is the Mormon religious practice known as the salvation of the dead.

Nothing
ghoulish is required. The Mormons baptize and seal the dead by proxy. Inside
the temple, a living member of the church gets dunked in a baptismal font
and listens to a recitation of Mormonism’s teachings on behalf of the deceased,
whose spirit thus gets a chance for salvation.

thanks for the information!

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more resources

In family history on September 6, 2002

i’m a newbie to this genealogical research stuff and am finding good stuff all the time. the international genealogical index
is my database of the day. this index is compiled by the church of jesus
christ of the latter day saints (aka the mormons) (i must find out why they
are so keen on tracking family history – a quick search turns up nothing
more than “family is important in our religion”). in england and wales it
mainly comprises an index of parish records, it’s not complete by any means
but when it works it’s stunning. i’m pretty certain i’ve tracked my great,
great, great grandmother down to a village in northamptonshire in 1834 and
i have possible matches for her parents and grandparents too.�

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addictive

In family history on September 5, 2002

don’t go to the 1901 census website that i linked to the other day. it’s addictive. don’t go there. don’t ask your auntys for help on your great grandparent’s names. don’t find seven out of your mother’s eight great grandparents there. and after you’ve not done any of that, don’t go and explore freebmd, a volunteer site that is aiming to transcribe the indexes to the births, deaths and marriages registers of england and wales from 1837 (when they began) up to 1901 (a hundred years seems to be the generally accepted limit for putting data about real people online). don’t go there and probably find your mother’s other great grandmother lurking there in an 1889 marriage certificate.

just don’t do it because it’s addictive. you’ll end up in a daze of increasingly bizarre boolean database searches surrounded by printouts of loopy almost post victorian handwriting detailing people who built houses in northamptonshire and shropshire, who farmed the fields on the welsh border and in huntingdonshire and somehow eventually ended up passing their genes on to you. and you start to wonder what you’re really doing here and what they’d think of you.

and then you realise that one day in 2081 someone will read a hundred year old census page and they might look for a 9 year old in the west midlands, in 2091 they might see a london student living in a hall of residence in a century gone by, in 2101 they might find a software engineer on tyneside at the beginning of the last new century. you wonder what else will be left behind for them to find.

and in the meantime i’ve got the other, trickier, half of my family to find.

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more family trees

In family history on August 5, 2002

and talking of family trees, is the 1901 census site ever coming back? i had a ball with it on the day it was up in january
even though only one search in twenty was giving me a result. it was taken
down to get strengthened up for a week due to the unpredicted demand for
it and it hasn’t reappeared yet.

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census 1901

In family history on January 2, 2002

actual census data is sealed for a hundred years and only statistical analyses are released by the public records office. this means that today is the first time that the actual 1901 census data can be pored over. and for the first time the pro have put the census online rather than making us all go to the family records office to strain our eyes using microfiche readers. from what i heard on the radio this morning it sounds like they are planning on going back and making previous censii(??) available online too. let’s hope they sort their server out first as the current setup is woefully inadequate and consists mainly of apache errors, connection timeouts and “sorry the server is too busy” notices.

i’ve been trying to locate my great grandmother who would have been eight years old at the time of this census. i’m not quite sure if i’ve got the right person because of a slight difference in name, age and place from what i would have expected. i’d be willing to pay the 75p to see the actual census record and check with my family. except i have reservations about putting money into a system as flaky as this one. although it costs 75p to view an image of the original census page featuring a person there is a minimum charge of £5 per “session”. i’ve already been told that my session has timed out several times so i’m not willing to let the machine eat my money as well as my time.