A window on history
Oak tree against a blue sky

From little acorns...

It's been a while, but I've finally published a version of the tree I've spent the last couple of years reviewing and improving. Some people have vanished, some people have appeared, and inevitably there's still work to do on it. Which is what I like about Family History -- there's always...

25 Jun 2018
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Picture of a hole in a wall

Making a hole in the wall


It's a very satisfying feeling when you break down a brick wall... even if all this one took was 14 years of effort and finally and belatedly, the application of the FAN principle.


10 Jan 2018
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Picture of the GRO in Southport

Using BMD indices for England and Wales

Process, Records

I've been doing some research over the past few months that makes extensive use of the new indices recently published by the GRO of their birth and death registers for England and Wales. There are techniques available now that were not available without them.

27 Sep 2017
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The church at Llanfair Nant Y Gof, Pembrokeshire

Books for Welsh Research


There is much in common between researching family history in Wales and England, but there is also very much that is different — like the use of patronymic naming, and the resultant limited variety in surnames; the prevalence of non-conformity, even the Welsh...

26 Mar 2017
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 A postcard view of the British ocean liner "RMS Andania" of the Cunard Line

Wrights across the Pond

Wright, Records

One of the pleasures of revisiting my family history research is taking the time to fill in details I previously skipped over, either because I didn't know enough to do the research competently or the relevant records weren't available online and I couldn't/can't visit the archives in the USA...

16 Jan 2017
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The Middlemore Experience (book cover)

Great Canadian Expectations: The Middlemore Experience


Emigration of British Home Children (from the late 1860s right up to 1948, over 100,000 children of all ages were emigrated to destinations across Canada to be used as indentured farm workers and domestics) was and remains controversial; many of the children who were forcibly emigrated, and/or...

18 Dec 2016
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Poster: How to join the Army

Was he honest? It might be a question of definition...


When my maternal grandfather Thomas Jones (1905 - unknown) was demobilised from the British Army in early 1946, he was provided with a testimonial that read: "A good worker under supervision. He is honest." (That was the second attempt at a testimonial; first time around, the officer responsible...

28 Nov 2016
Comments: 7

The Wrights at war

A window on history, Wright

My great-grandparents John Stanley Wright and Mary Ann Harper had six sons between 1883 and 1899, so all of them were of an age where they might have served in World War I. Five of them did serve, and all of those survived, which was a blessing denied to very many families. But no family in...

11 Nov 2016
Comments: 1
Promotional still from the 1938 film The Lady Vanishes,

The Lady Vanishes

Process, Records, Wright

Anyone who has been researching their family history for any length of time will recognise the problem: you find a woman in a census with her parents but after that she falls completely out of sight.  In England and Wales, I find it a particular challenge for women born in the last part of the...

2 Nov 2016
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Image of trees

Why online trees are useful; or Which Margaret Ellen Roberts?

Records, Roberts

I'm a firm believer in putting the complete results of my research online, and hope that others will do the same.  This is one reason why: finding my maternal grandmother's birth was not straightforward, and took nearly 9 years. And it was an online tree that provided the final piece of evidence...

3 Oct 2016
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