Monday 30 September 2013

Book of Me, Prompt 4 - Favourite Seasons

I don't think I have a favourite season. When I was a kid, we did seem to have four seasons, whereas now it seems that Winter starts early and ends late and Summer might appear, but then again it might not!

Growing up in Surrey we had "proper" winters; cold, ice and snow. Now living in Devon, within a few minutes walk of the sea we rarely get snow, but true to form, when it snows the County grinds to a halt.

One of my memories that always makes me smile when I think of winter. I was about 18 or so. We had  had a real dump of snow during the afternoon on this particular Sunday. My closest friend phoned and said did I fancy a walk?  It was cold, snowing and dark, but of course I said yes and wrapped up well.

We met half way between our homes, under the clock in Guildford High Street, the only road that was still cobbled from an earlier time when horses were used as transport. We linked arms and set off for a stroll, looking in the shop windows, seeing the Christmas display and all the festivities. There was a crispness in the air, with a silence that just seemed absolutely right. We ventured into a local pub, a favourite of our year from school. The Kings Head had a lovely coal fire and we managed to get a table near the fire and warm up.

We then parted, my friend to walk home up the hill and me in the opposite direction. Whenever I think of snow I think of that evening, when we simply met for a walk in the snow and a warm by a coal fire.

This picture here is from my Guildford and District postcard collection. It shows not only the Clock we always met under, but on the corner with the lantern outside is the Kings Head.

The road that ran parallel to the High Street was North Street. In earlier times it had the rather amusing name of lower backside!

Halfway down North Street was a bakers called Ayres. They had a slight slope into the shop, nothing particularly dreadful, as long as it wasn't wet. When it was wet it was a death trap and many time I would slip and slide, grabbing hold of anything from landing on the pavement with a thud.  It was a Saturday I think and I was in town with my Mum.

We went into Ayres because in the window I had spotted some ginger cake squares which were simply delicious. I was served and left the shop. Eager to get home to a cup of tea and a slice of ginger cake. I waked half way down the street to the crossing when a lady called to me and said I was being called and pointed. I looked back, to see Mum stuck on the small wet and rather precarious slope terrified to move. I retraced my steps to rescue her but what Mum found so amusing was that I had merrily walked down the street talking to her, but actually I was talking to myself. I must have looked quite a sight, chattering away like a lunatic!

Spring to me means, lambs, daffodils and Easter. I am rather partial to chocolate, and always as a child received several Easter eggs. One of which I know I must have eaten back in the Spring of 1973.

The Easter egg were often sold with an egg cup or mug. I recall sitting with my Grandfather, snuggled up on the bed with him, whilst we consumed the chocolate and he read to me. He played the game of hiding the chocolate each time my Grandmother came into the room. I am sure she knew all the time, but simply continued with the joke of it. As soon as she left the room the chocolate would reappear and we would carry on eating, reading and listening.

I recall my Grandfather used this mug as his shaving mug when he was ill and would still shave. The mug has survived and now hangs from a hook in the ceiling beam of my kitchen breakfast room where I see it every morning.

Although I do not particularly like hot days - anything over 23 centigrade is hot for me, I like the long days awakening to the glimpse of sun through the curtains, and the day somehow seems inspiring. As Summer draws to a close and Autumn settles in it seems to reinforce the notion of dark and dreary.

Autumn is the time when the leaves change from the lovely green to a dark withered green and eventually a brown. In England we change our clocks at the end of October and soon the day becomes shorter and the nights longer. I dislike leaving in the mornings when it is dark and returning home also in the dark. That darkness I think lasts for months, across the Christmas period and through until the end of March when we set the clocks back an hour and everything seems full of hope once more.

Saturday 28 September 2013

Book of Me, Written by You, Prompt 5

Today is week 5 of what is going to be a 15 month project. Each Saturday, at around 12.30am UK time I will release the prompt for that week's Book of Me, Written by You.

If you are new here, welcome! The details, background flyer and Face Book link to the Book of Me can be found HERE

The prompt for week 5 is Your Childhood Home

When did you leave home?
Where was it?
Where did you move to?
Was it rented or owned? –  with parents/Grandparents
Was it inherited
What was it like – describe it – each room.
Were there a favourite room?
Is there anything you particularly remember from the house?
The road & area

Here is the link to the video

Thursday 26 September 2013

Genealogy - Where Ever the Road Leads

The new book involves information from archives which revealed some women were as guilty as the menI am not a great lover of the Daily Mail, a tabloid newspaper published here in the UK, but I do have a email that plops into my inbox most mornings. Today, there was this article which was giving a little background to the book shown here. It does sound fascinating and yet I do not seem to think this will be on my reading list just yet.

So, over my first cup of tea I read the article and my thoughts turned to my Aunt. She was German and married my Grandmother's brother following the second world war. I didn't know her very well although I have mentioned my Aunt before, as my Grandmother always said, her brother bought her back as a souvenir. The sentence was always said with a smile and even though the War was, and perhaps still is emotive, there was never any malice. It was a familiar repeated comment over the years and always my Aunt smiled.

I had tried before to locate a marriage for Emmy to my Uncle, but have never succeeded, that was, until today. My Uncle had served in the British Army during the second world war, and I had always assumed that he had returned to England soon after the war ended. This was not the case.

In the GRO (General Register Office) Indexes for Army Marriages I located their marriage in 1952. The index gave only the full name of the bride and where the marriage took place. I can now see that Emmy was not my Aunt's actual name, her first name was Helma with the surname of MANG, which I am assuming at this point was the name of her first husband and the marriage took place in Austria. Hopefully when the marriage certificate arrives it will tell me a little more.

My Uncle returned to England with his bride and her daughter from her first marriage. The daughter would have been about 10 or so years old and married in England under the surname of my Uncle. A further search this morning resulted in my locating the marriage for the daughter and the birth of her two children. How exciting is that?

My thoughts then returned to Austria and it's position within the War years and I feel a sudden thought towards caution. What will I uncover?

I came across the site of which enables me to search by name for a listing within phone empire in 1942.

There are just 47 listings for the surname all of which appear to be situated around the area of Sankt Polten.

I don't know the geography but as I have to start somewhere this seems as good a place as any. It is worth mentioning at this point the whole region would have been in a state of turmoil, with many many displaced people so this method is not in anyway conclusive.

Meanwhile, my attentions turned back to the UK as I wondered if my Aunt had to register within the United Kingdom. Up until 1974, those born outside of the UK or it's territories had to register at the police station and pay a fee under the Aliens Act. The question was did my Aunt, or did the fact that she was married to a British citizen exempt her? Surrey History Center were, frankly unhelpful. The chap I spoke to was not as obliging as some of his colleagues. Surrey Police headquarters were unsure. The National Archives at Kew has some Registration cards online for this time period, as long as the individual would be at least 100 years old. As my Uncle was born in 1909, the chances are Aunt was born around the same time and a search of the site drew a blank.

I then moved to other archives and am busy working my way through the various sites, including those dealing with the Holocaust. Whatever happened during those war years, perhaps should be left to history, but I feel that my Aunt's history should be told, there are so many thing things I wish I had asked. I sense where-ever this research leads it will be interesting, emotional and surprising.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Just Genealogy?

Created via iPhone App - Keep Calm
On Monday, James Tanner wrote a blog post titled Inclusive or Exclusive? then on Tuesday Jenny Lancelot wrote a response post, titled Inclusive or Exclusive? How about Just Accurate?. Both of these posts were excellent and I had been contemplating a similar issue and I wondered if James and Jenny were inspired by the same thing that prompted my thought process.

Casting my mind back to a few weeks ago, when Thomas at Geneabloggers raised a similar issue and I responded that post, which you can read HERE, so this discussion has been "out there" in the genealogical Internet arena for several week although in different guises. I am not implying it is old news, but I believe that there is a consistent theme of discontent within genealogy community, and that is important.

Genealogy and Family History are for me entwined. Recently I had cause to think about what they meant, not just to me, but to other genealogists and I came to the conclusion that whilst they are entwined for me, they perhaps mean different things to different people in different countries; and that the individual definitions are neither right or wrong, just different.

Just as I was considering responding to James, I received an email in relation to a completely different matter, however, in that email was a comment about a "leading genealogist" that I had in fact never heard of. So how leading was this person? So I Googled the name. The person is a well known genealogist in their Country of origin. I responded to my email, suggesting that the phrase leading genealogist is perhaps about perception.

Whilst I was gathering my thoughts to write a response in a hopeful coherent manner, Jen Baldwin shared Jenny Lancelot's post via Google+ and I made a comment on that thread, as did Tessa Keough.

The crux of the debate is the Internet has revolutionised the way in which genealogy and family history is undertaken by the masses. We are, from a young age encouraged to be competitive, thus, we strive to always do better and therefore in a response to that competitiveness professional qualifications have started to appear on the education horizon. The moment that happened the bar was raised.

In the G+ thread it was commented that people attempt to compare genealogy to medicine and law, and probably other disciplines too, and there is no comparison. I believe people do this to try and apply the thought processes they know to genealogy. I have spent over two decades in pharmacy management. There is no comparison to genealogy apart from the level of detail and accuracy that is involved. As part of that thread Tessa made the following comment -

"Genealogy, in my opinion, is a mixture of social science (history, geography, economics, sociology and psychology) and natural science (biology, and probably some others here as well)."

I completely agree with Tessa and I then I went a stage further. Firstly, in response to the accuracy debate. Should we even be debating accuracy? If we do not research carefully and accurately, seeking answers and clarity to those facts, it does seem pointless to pursue such a interest. Who wants to own a genealogical tree with data that can not be proved? Surely no one simply adds data that is not confirmed to their genealogy? - actually, yes they do. There are some that add material from the internet with the belief that if it is online then it must be true. No, there does need to be evidence and we head back to the statement cite your sources.

Genealogy is in someways almost flexible. As we research our ancestry, not just collecting the names and dates, but fleshing out the detail we can expand our interest into other disciplines thereby researching in an almost holistic approach. I have a particular interest in the fact that a very close relative to me had Polio when they were a child, by pursuing this section of their life I have a better understanding not just of those earlier events but also the current. As medical advancement has developed, so has the diagnosis of post Polio activity become more widely known and treatment managed. There is no cure for post polio syndrome.

Genealogy is in part all about the detail, and wider context of our ancestors.

So, back to the initial point. Is genealogy inclusive or exclusive? There is no easy way to say this, to some, genealogy and profile is about massaging their ego. It is as simple as that. I base my opinion on the evidence that I have seen within the genealogical arena from some members of the community, and thankfully they are in the minority.

To research your own ancestry you do not need a degree in history, nor a professional qualification in genealogy. I have a history degree that I undertook as a mature student and by the time I completed my degree I had already been working in the pharmacy profession for over 13 years. When I took my degree it was for me, rather than part of a personal development plan to professionally migrate from pharmacy to history, although in part; another 13 years on I have done so.

There is room in genealogy and family history for everyone. There is no room, in my opinion for those who need to be stroked like a Labrador and made to feel important, because that sends out a very different message.

Just recently there was the rock star genealogy awards. I shake my head in horror. That said, there were some very well deserving names on the list and I was, in the spirit of friendship and respect for some of those individuals delighted that they were nominated and that so many others agreed. In the case of several that were publicly  acknowledged it did nothing more than massage those egos I mentioned earlier. It is those awards, that send out the message of exclusivity and elitist behavior.

The genealogy community is, in effect a buffet in a restaurant. It is made up of some really wonderful people who bring an enormous amount of knowledge to the very large table. As a collective we should be feel proud to belong to such a wonderful and informative group and be mindful that we should not wish to be heading back to the popularity of the "in crowd" akin to the school playground.

I should point out, that I have never been part of that "in crowd", either at school, in my pharmacy career or now. The reason being, that I value being an individual and being treated as such. I challenge and have no issue with stating how I feel or presenting an opposing argument, whilst believing that if we stand together and share our knowledge and resources we become a strong and more educated group.

My final comments are therefore this.
  • We should acknowledge the contributions of many people within the genealogy community, not just the ones that shout the loudest or who appear to be high profile.
  • There is room in genealogy and family history for everyone.
The opinions I have expressed here are mine and therefore if you do not agree, play nicely!

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Embracing OneNote

At a risk of sounding ridiculous, I think I am in love.....well I am married, but sadly my other half is not the purpose or content of this post, OneNote is.

Until I purchased my new laptop a couple of months ago I had used and preferred Office Professional 2003. Now my version of Office 2003 did not come with One Note and it was not until I purchased an iPhone and iPad that I started to tinker with the relevant OneNote applications

All became very clear when I installed the 2013 version of Office, which came with OneNote and I started to embrace the functionality of OneNote and as I said, I think I am in love!

Up until this point I had been using a mix of Evernote and OneNote, but the change in Office precipitated me to think again my online notebook set up and really embrace this rather fascinating piece of software.

The first thing I did was to look at what notebooks I wanted. I have everything in OneNote and I will share with you here a list of my current notes books

  • Ancestry Shoebox - this great idea came from fellow genealogist Tessa Keough
  • Bookmarks & URLS
  • Book of Me, Written by You
  • Books
  • Book Project - Europe
  • Book Project  - India
  • Book Project - Italian
  • Blog
  • General Genealogy
  • Genealogical Surnames
  • Guild of One-Name Studies
  • Health
  • Home & Domestic
  • IDG Notebook
  • Miscellaneous
  • Miscellaneous Scans 
  • My One-Place Studies
  • Orlando One-Name Study
  • Pharmacy CPD
  • Recipes
  • Reference
  • Stuart's
  • Society for One-Place Studies - this assists me in the role of secretary
  • Worship One-Name Study

Within each note book there are further section such as
  • IDG Notebook (
    • Column & blog post ideas
    • Column Posts 2013
    • Blog Posts 2013
    • Column Posts 2014
    • Blog Posts 2014
    • Various
      • Top Tips

There are a few odd notebooks, which probably do not mean much to to others, such as Miscellaneous Scans. I often if I want jot one thing down write one liners on a post it note. Those notes then drift around my desk or my office notice board, until I am at risk of disappearing under the barrage of paper. Then they make there way usually into a pile in a small collapsible file on my desk. 

I have recently through, much to my embarrassment scanned, using my iPhone 320 such notes and saved them all into the folder and recycled the paper mountain.

The key thing here, which is perhaps not obvious to others who are using an older version of Office is that One Note needs to be created and set up to your own taste from a computer and then you can work with it as you prefer. All the documents and notebooks will synchronise across all platforms - iPhone, iPad and computer.

For writing commitments I often work several months ahead, which is why my IDG notebook is ready for 2014. Furthermore, I have several book projects on the go and have devised my chapters for one of those using OneNote. 

I always have OneNote open when I am reading my email. Several mailing lists are great at sharing ideas and URLs that perhaps need searching at a later date, so rather than keep the email I simply save the URL to the relevant section of my bookmarks & URL notebook. As I have two one name studies, both of which collect references across the globe this is a great way of keeping on top of the details. Should I then finds something which relates to my one name studies the details are then saved in the relevant file within OneNote.

There is no right or wrong way to use OneNote. It is simply about devising a way that works for you. There are several great YouTube videos which I have come across, all designed and presented by Caroline Pointer and they are saved to my YouTube Channel under the heading of OneNote

Saturday 21 September 2013

Book of Me, Written by You, Prompt 4

Today is week 4 of what is going to be a 15 month project. Each Saturday, at around 12.30am UK time I will release the prompt for that week's Book of Me, Written by You.

If you are new here, welcome! The details, background flyer and Face Book link to the Book of Me can be found HERE

The prompt for week 4 is Favourite Season (s)

A Happy Memory.

Close your eyes and imagine your favourite season – write down what you see, feel, hear.

You can access a short video here

Friday 20 September 2013

Is there a right to do Genealogy?

Thomas at Geneabloggers posed the following question for his Thursday Thread yesterday.
"Is there a right to do genealogy?
When I eventually toddled off to bed I was still pondering the question and I was not sure that I had an absolute answer, and as I type this, now late on Friday evening I still am not sure, but I will put my thoughts out there, into the ether.

Perhaps rather than a right to do genealogy, it is a privilege to do it. I do not mean that I have an never ending bank account and therefore it is simply a way of filling an abundance of hours. I mean that it is a real privilege to utilize the numerous tools at our 21st Century disposal to unravel the past, whether that is my own family or researching someone else's.

FAMILY. Illustration with different association terms in white background. Stock Photo - 7170297
Royalty Free Stock Photo
Looking at the question from my own family perspective. I am always amazed at the paper trail that my own family left behind. It is not about wealth, either then or now, it is about unraveling their lives, the good, bad, happy and sad and understanding the series of events in the context in which they happened.

To look at events with an open mind, pass no judgement or shame. Simply follow the trail of evidence that is available and accept, what has happened in the past, has happened and that sometimes you simply have to do the best you can do, when you are caught between the rock and the hard place. It is easy to pass judgement on events that happened in the past with a modern view; and that can simply not be accurate. Who allows us to be judgmental?

Through the course of our research we will undoubtedly come across events that will make us cringe; the abortions, adoptions, murders, suicides and illegitimacy and goodness knows what else. We should behave with dignity and record those facts as exactly that, fact. Whilst not damaging the reputation or legacy those individuals left behind. You can not alter history, but should seek to understand the events as they happened and whilst we might be troubled by some facts that unearth themselves, we should behave accordingly.

Genealogy is not about apportioning blame. It is a journey that we undertake in order to establish our roots and to flesh out the details of our ancestors lives. It is our privilege to do that and we owe it to the memory of our ancestors to document the evidence and yet pass no judgement or spread malicious details no matter how long ago those events happened.

Through the course of this blog I share details of my ancestor's lives and in some cases my relatives. I never disclose information of a sensitive nature or perhaps I word it in a way that tactful, almost a little vague. I never refer to living people by name, maybe initials, or perhaps I make a generalized statement. That is about respect and to me it does not matter if the individual concerned was born in 1910 or 1710, our ancestors deserve respect.

My final thoughts are summed up with this.
"Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his boots. Don't criticize another person's work until you've tried to do it yourself; don't judge another person's life until you've been forced to live it.
Source - Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" (1996)

Thursday 19 September 2013

My Furry Friend....

I awoke this morning to some sad news. My daily plans that required a degree of concentration put on hold whilst I digest and think about things.

A week or so ago, someone commented via, I think, the Book of Me facebook group as to the identity of Alfie.

Well, here he is. This photograph taken earlier this week  when he was in one of his numerous cheeky phases.

Today, sensing my sadness he has not strayed far from my side. His friendship is unconditional and somehow is just what I needed. If only everything could be fixed with a dose of Alfie!

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Wedding Wednesday - Frederick William Wait & Bertha Agnes Turner 1917

So, Who was Fred?.....

This was a question that I strove to answer back in December 2011 when I showed this picture on Guildford & District Blog

A search of the Marriages for a B Turner in Guildford 1916+ to a Fred revealed one such entry. The marriage of Bertha A Turner to Frederick W Wait in the September Quarter of 1917 at Guildford. (Ref 2a, 201).

Working backwards to the 1911 Census. Did that reveal more of Bertha? The index revealed one entry for a Bertha E Turner. I took a chance and looked at the data. It didn't pay off, and revealed a Bertha Elizabeth Turner residing at 144 Walnut Tree Close Guildford, a stones throw of my Grandmother at 114. Isn't research curious?

Anyway, A quick look through the First World War records didn't prove obviously helpful, neither did the Commonwealth War Graves website. So I still didn't know who Fred was. A quick search of the 1911 Census for him and I was surprised. It revealed one entry; just one.

Frederick William Wait, Single and Aged 20 years born 1891 Guildford. On overseas military duty and recorded as in the 7th Dragoon Guards and stationed at Hislop Barracks, Trimulgherry, Duccan, India.

That I had not expected. This is still not conclusive that the Fred in India is the Fred in France. Were regiments pulled from various bits of the Empire in order to fight in Europe. Quite possibly.

Into June of 2013 and Ancestry have just released the Surrey records - a fabulous day! I took opportunity to see if I could locate the marriage record that had appeared in the indexes.

And here we are. The marriage  a little over 96 years ago!

Courtesy of Ancestry.
Marriage September 13th 1917 St Mary's Guildford

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Tuesday's Tips - Controlling those blog tags and labels

For several months I have been highly irritated with the tags that I have used on this blog. It's my own fault, I have over 1600 posts and about 30 posts scheduled and another 60 in draft.

Tags or labels as blogger calls them are provided so that you can streamline your search for particular posts, so if I look at genealogy I can see that there are over 190 posts and I tend to cross reference mine to Geneabloggers as I often link in to various day prompts.

Over the course of 10 years, things have got a little out of control and I need to really make some changes. I have a search box which does a grand job of locating stuff.

When I have written things and I have to use the search facility to find them, then things need to be changed.

I have lots of labels and am too lazy to go through them all and the blog facility is fiddly and I don't particularly like it. The alternative is to edit the tags facility and instead of viewing all, allow those that are the most used to be visible. The search box will plug any gaps. It is not perfect, but I really do not want to be wasting hours when I want to use the time for other things.

So in addition to that I am going to go back through some of the earlier posts, as the mood takes me and tweak the tags and share to Google+ thus giving some of those older posts an airing.

If you have any suggestions please share them, and in the meantime, I will leave you with my Tuesday's Tip - choose your tag or label wisely!

Happy Blogging!

Monday 16 September 2013

Tracing Your House History by Gill Blanchard

I was recently given a copy of this book to review and what a delight it was.
cover for Tracing your House HistoryThis book is more than a guide to researching the history of your house, or a house of interest. It is a font of interest if you are seeking to research and understand the social and domestic lives of people and their communities from early times.
The book is comprehensively laid out over 7 chapters and gently walks readers and researchers through where to find information. Starting with indexes, catalogue's and transcriptions before moving along to finding archives in Records offices, local history libraries, heritage, local and family history organisations and numerous on line resources.
The section on dating your home and house style is very comprehensive, starting with looking at architects and their role and then moving along to dating a building.
This nicely links into the third chapter which features architecture styles across the ages, commencing with Prehistoric through Norman, Medieval, Tudor, Stuart, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times. This chapter also looks at Modern homes, before moving onto discuss and provide resources for model villages, Garden Cities and Philanthropic Schemes, new towns and council housing. Also touched upon is the Public Health and slum clearances, why they were necessary and what gave rise to them in the first place along with locating the redevelopment and clearance records.
The book progresses to the process of building local knowledge, by looking at local histories, the importance of oral histories, local tales & legends and the foundations they can provide in research. This is followed by two important areas; finding out about local history and then about the resources of Societies, groups and information. Moving on from that is a section that looks at the visuals of such a study; photographs and postcards, along with paintings and drawings which add illustrative social context to your study.
Chapter 5 is a very full and comprehensive chapter on resources. Many will be already known to family historians, such as Birth, Marriage and Death records, Parish records, and Census returns. Also included is business and occupation records, directories and gazetteers, Electoral registers and poll books, Fire Insurance records, Glebe and estate records. Various taxes are looked at, such as Hearth, Window and Land taxes. Land registry, deeds, Manorial records, Maps and plans. The National Farm Survey 1941-1943 which is a an often neglected source in family history research, Quarter session records, Land Owner returns 1873 – 1876 and Valuation Office Survey 1910 – 1920 and finally Wills. A real bonus for this chapter is the inclusion of the useful and comprehensive time frame for each resource.
The final two chapters deal with how you can present and write your own house history, but similarly this can apply should you be researching a One-Place study, before moving along to the directory of resources looking at Organisations, Websites and a selected Bibliography. There is an index at the end of the book.
All the way through there are illustrations in black and white with links to numerous and various web pages.

This book has been thoroughly researched and presented; and I believe it should be considered the book for those researching houses or a One-Place Study. It was a true delight to read and review.
Disclaimer – I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Book of Me, Prompt 3 - Physical Self

Prompt 3 went live yesterday. You can read the details HERE .

Even though I set the prompt, I was less than impressed. I have always followed the mantra if you want someone else to do something, then you should be prepared to do it too! So here goes -

I am fairly short, at 5 foot 1", little and good, although I think there are a few that would disagree! My shoe size is size 5 (UK). My hair is typically short, although longer than my profile picture. Currently in a bob style; and my husband has taken to irritatingly calling me Bob and to my horror, I even answer him!

The new hairstyle was suggested to me by a former work colleague and coincided with a change in my professional and work schedule. The psychologist in me wonders if that is my sub-conscious freeing myself of those horrid previous work chains? At birth my hair was jet black, which then fell out and was replaced with a dark brown. Now there are real hints of grey and I noticed this year, that seems to be increasing. I have never, ever died my hair and don't think I will. A former colleague who was boss and someone I greatly admired often use to remark on my natural highlights, to which I always responded, "you can go off some people you know" -  it was a joked between us, especially has they were completely grey.

I do have my ears pierced, something that I had done for my 12th birthday. My left ear hurt like mad afterwards and despite applying lots of surgical spirit, it became infected and now I rarely wear earrings, although if I do they must be at least 14 carat gold or silver. I never sleep in them.

I wear very little jewelery, typically just my wedding ring, which is a 18 carat gold, 4 mm plain band. My husband's ring is the same, just bigger and wider.

The day we went to buy our rings was a lovely day, in our saved items box we still have the boxes and receipt. We looked at loads, but I am fairly traditional so I opted for a plain band and I wanted my husband to have the same style as me.  My eternity ring, is 18 carat gold diamond set and was my anniversary gift from my husband on our 15th wedding anniversary. I guess I wear that about 50% of the time and always take it off at night, but my wedding ring never comes off, unless it is absolutely essential.

Here we are in July 2013
This was taken a day or two before our anniversary
We celebrate our 20th anniversary next year.

As I have got older I find that the weight does have a tendency to increase. I have no thyroid gland,
having had two surgical procedures
and the result is that I take medication to replace the natural thyroid, it does not completely do the job, but as close as it can. So this means my metabolism is fairly slow. This hasn't been helped by my working life of eating irregularly, often on the hoof, supplemented by the odd sandwich, packet of crisps and chocolate bar, so my poor body stores the fat as it is never sure when it will next be fed. Since I have had a change in my professional life, I have lost about a stone in weight, but I am not going to tell you what the numbers are! but I feel better than I have done in years.

I am right handed and therefore wear my watch on my left wrist. I have a very small mark just to the right of the watch dial which was a burn mark, from the sun when I was in Hawaii in 1991. That mark eventually went, but always comes back when we have hot sunny weather. I have a scar on the little finger of my right hand, caused by putting my hand through the glass in our old back door having locked myself out. I also have a scar on my right knee which I did during a hockey match sometime between 1982 -1986. I have a scar on my throat from having two partical thyroidectomies, we call that here an NHS neck-less, because it was done on the NHS! After over 20 years it has faded, but it can still be seen. I have a few random scars caused by scratching when I had chicken pox as an adult. In my first year after qualifying in pharmacy I had 9 colds and chicken pox!

The In-Depth Genealogist - Digital Magazine - Issue 8 - OUT NOW!

The next issue of the free digital magazine is available NOW!

Enjoy this digital edition of the magazine? then why not stop by The In-Depth Genealogist and read the
You can read my Introduction post HERE and you can follow the column by visiting The In-Depth Genealogist website and subscribing via email or via twitter and Facebook.

This is a great addition to the genealogy market and I am very proud to be a part of it. This month's Across the Pond column is about one place studies and newly launched Society for One-Place Studies which is truly worldwide. The committee span three continents and studies are included from across the globe.

Happy reading & researching!

Saturday 14 September 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You, Prompt 3

Today is week 3 of what is going to be a 15 month project. Each Saturday, at around 12.30am UK time I will release the prompt for that week's Book of Me, Written by You.

If you are new here, welcome! The details, background flyer and Face Book link to the Book of Me can be found HERE

The prompt for week 3 is

Describe your physical self.

Your size – clothes size
Eye colour
Draw your hands
Finger Prints

Now before everyone panics at the last hint of the prompt, have a look at this

Friday 13 September 2013

Friday 13th - Superstition!

I was looking for something on YouTube earlier today, when I came across this song. Feel free to sing along, tap those feet, or perhaps do both! is the perfect song for today, if you are so inclined.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Tuesday's Tip ~ Getting to Grips with Google+

Anyone who regularly reads this blog might have noticed that during the course of the last 10 days or so, I have switched my profile across to that of Google+. Now Google+ was a mind field for me and I am not too sure that I understood it, but with the view of nothing ventured nothing gained I persevered and so far, so good.

Then following a Google Hangout with Tessa, who mentioned the Foodies Online Community was very active and shared lots of tips, I joined. Here, I came across two posts that presented a huge amount of information to those who are, like me getting to grips with Google+

Written by Chef Dennis, there are two incredibly informative posts. Post 1 is about setting up your profile and why completing the various sections is a real help to budding G+ fans. Post 2 is about posting and getting the best out of posting.

Furthermore, I came across a YouTube video by Chef Dennis and that in turn lead me to a blog by Martin Shervington, which I equally recommend.

Google (and Google+) is about engagement. The concept was built as a moving social media format that evolved in time with technology. A profile on Google+ needs to say a little about you in addition to your name. I am not suggesting the fine details of your life, but what you do, what sort of posts are likely to come through your Google stream.

You can link to other social media, Twitter, Librarything, Facebook and of course your blogs, especially those on the blogger platform which is part of the Google family. Like any social media, you need to keep it active and to be consistent.

Google+ takes time to develop and to build upon, in the similar way to networking within a profession does. It is about long term investment rather than instant rewards.

The way to be successful online is to evolve and embrace the never ending features and development of social media.

If I can, so can you!

Tuesday's Tip - Hay Festival Audio Library

Castle Bookshop - May 2006
I had always wanted to go to Hay-on-Wye, a book lovers paradise and I did in 2006, twice. For a weekend in May and for a week in October.

There is something rather innocent about the ethos of the Castle Bookshop and the outside bookshelves, open to the elements.

Castle Bookshop Honesty Box - May 2006

The books here are not free, but 20p a book and are what I would call disposable. They are a wacky decoration meanwhile, available should someone want to by one as they stroll the streets on a spring evening. They probably don't sell that many although I bought 3 books from these shelves!, but in case they do they can leave payment in the honesty box. See what I mean about innocent?

I digress.

The book festival, which takes place in Hay during the Spring is famous and every now and again a newsletter plops into my inbox.

The latest edition directed me to the podcast page where you can download a variety of the informal events held during the festival week. Here you can listen to or download for free an amazing amount of fascinating accounts by some leading and not so leading authors. I caught up with the podcasts of Bill Bryson from 2010 for example.

There are more recent podcasts available. Use the filter function and you can go back to 1995 for the UK Festival and there are overseas festival available too.

What I hadn't realised was that the Hay Festival is in fact replicated around the globe, including one in Kenya which is where one of my book loving genealogy friends will be during the festival. Now, far be from me to suggest they attend......but why not?

Monday 9 September 2013

Accessing Early Personal Material

Having just responded in part to the second prompt in the Book of Me project. I thought I would share with you some factual details, which may be worth noting for those of you in the UK (and I suspect other Countries will have similar issues).

In 1989, the Children's Act was passed through Parliament. That act came into force in 1991. As part of that Act there was no obligation for social services departments to retain old case files. This means that those files may have been destroyed with a potential a loss of private data.

The disposal of early files will depend on the social services department involved and the criteria that each individual department had. The rule of thumb is typically, 6 years from the last case entry or when the individual became 21 years of age.

There is an exception with adoption cases, but that is not the case with those who were almost adopted - for example those who were going to be adopted and then were not.

The message here is in essence if there is a social services file (or indeed any file) about your early years make an application to receive copies. In the UK there is a fee for data protection access, but do it before it is too late, and is shredded, as I said previously, there is no legal obligation for record to be retained.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Announcing the Society for One-Place studies

The following announcement was written by the Society for One-Place Studies:
Pne_Place-Studies"We, the founder members are proud to announce the launch of the 'Society for One-Place Studies', a 'not-for-profit' organisation for individuals and societies with an interest in family history and local history.
The Society has used the websites of John Palmer and Alex Coles' websites as the foundation for this new organisation. The aims of the Society are to encourage and assist those involved in one-place studies and to advance the education of the general public in these types of studies. The newly designed website shares good practice, ideas and methodology, promoting the research principles and problem solving techniques required in historical and genealogical research on a particular locality.

A truly global organisation from the outset, the Committee members are situated around the world from New Zealand to England and the USA and in the first week since its announcement, the Society has nearly forty enthusiastic members who represent studies in eight different countries.

The cost of membership to the Society is just £10 per annum with the option of registering your place of interest for a further (one-off) £10 fee per study. This can be a road, hamlet, village, town ....whatever! The Society provides an online study profile and a dedicated email address for registered studies and a plethora of resources including a fascinating quarterly newsletter in the Members' area of the website. We have many other developments in the pipeline to expand the service we offer to our members.

So, what are you waiting for? Take a look at the website and if you are interested, join!"
The Society for One-Place Studies may be found at:

Saturday 7 September 2013

Book of Me, Prompt 2 -Your Birth

Prompt 2 went live earlier today. You can read the details HERE.

I am keeping my Book of Me as a private blog, but each week I will share some of my details within this blog.

Here is part of my responses for prompt 2.

This is one of two baby photos that I have. This is me, taken aged 9 months old, which puts the photo in July 1970. I had been born in the October of the previous year, although my due date was 27th September, so I was about 2 weeks late. A trend that continues, I hasten to add.

The photograph when Mum and I discussed it earlier in the year I think gave rise to some memories for her. I think my birth was a bit of an ordeal. 

Mum had been in hospital, at Guildford Surrey for two days prior to my birth. This is confirmed by, what is described as a "Co-Operation Card for Maternity Patients" record.

I arrived in the early hours of a Friday morning, and rather thoughtfully I received that as a reminder within my second forename. My name was selected by my maternal Grandmother. I was born with jet black hair, a legacy of my Italian heritage, although it gradually dropped out to be replaced with dark brown hair, although now tinged with grey.

Apparently I had been sat initially wearing blue shoes. I was given the ball and was unimpressed. Mum said to me that I displayed that look that I still use now, of when I am less than impressed.

The shoes were taken off and Mum said this look is classic, to her it says " I supposed to be impressed?....."

I sat and obliged and when I had, had enough I cried. The whole event apparently took several hours as I was not overly helpful. I have to say, even now that brings a faint smile to my face!

I have in my study an old suitcase that had been my Grandfathers. Inside in tissue paper is a really soft and smooth wool blanket given to me by my Great Grandmother, my maternal Grandfather's mother.  At the time I was born I was not her only Great Grandchild, and wonder if she purchased a similar blanket for my cousins. I must ask them. I have kept the blanket in the hope that I might one day use it for my own family. This has not been the case and I shall pass this on to my Cousin's daughter who is currently only 11 and that way it will hopefully provide a link between the past and future.

Over the years I have periodically looked at this photo. It has appeared once on this blog previous, as part of the February Photo Collage Festival. When I was typing this up yesterday in order to post for today I looked at the blanket. I suddenly realised that I still have this blanket. It is not the one my Great Grandmother gave me, but another apparently, purchased especially for the photograph ordeal event.

A little detail about the Co-Operation Card for Maternity Patients. This details my Mum's age, name and address. It shows her doctor and details of past illnesses. It shows her blood group and the responses of the various checks that were done; blood pressure, weight, tests for sugar in the urine and the position that I, as an unborn baby was in. It then gives some detail of the post natal care and Mum's condition on discharge. It also confirms that I was female, satisfactory and weight at birth was 6lb1oz and that I was being fed Cow and Gate every four hours.

Another little fact. My Mum's first cousin was on the same ward, having given birth to her third child, and first son at the beginning of the month.

The last line on the reverse of the card in small print reads "This card when completed should be returned to the family doctor". Mum was a rebel, which explains lots!

The Book of Me, Written By You, Prompt 2

Today is week two of what is going to be a 15 month project. Each Saturday, at around 12.30am UK time I will release the prompt for that week's Book of Me, Written by You.

If you are new here, welcome! The details, background flyer and Face Book link to the Book of Me can be found HERE

The prompt for week 2 is Your Birth

  • Do you have any baby photos?
  • Where were you born?
  • Who was present at your birth?
  • Dimensions?
  • What day was it? Time?
  • Did you have hair? Eye colours
  • Are you a twin?

A little later I will stop by with my answers.

Friday 6 September 2013

Blogging to become an author......

Two of the three ‘R’s’ have been classed together in educational terms since the 1700's when, in 1795 Sir William Curtis used the phrase, “Reading Writing & Arithmetic” during a speech. In 1818 it appeared as space filler in the ‘Lady Magazine’.

Is anyone else struck by the irony that education was not compulsory in the UK until the Education Act of 1870. Prior to that typically the wealthy, and especially boys received an education of some sort.  Indeed, many of the poor families who did manage to send their children to school typically and repeatedly removed their children from school at particular times of the year. It was these periods that gave the historical grounding to the still used school holidays, such as spring for lambing and harvest during October.

Reading and writing quite naturally go together and very often there is natural movement between the two in a two way flow process.

Samuel Pepys.jpg
Portrait of Samuel Pepys by J. Hayls.
National Portrait Gallery, London
The moment we put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) we essentially become an author. In former years those key historical figures who kept diaries such as Samuel Pepys (1633 – 1703) never really expected their diaries to survive and become a testament to their very existence.

Fast forward to the internet years and every one of us has a medium for being an author of sorts with the creation of blogging. Just as in the early stages of writing, blogging evolves with practice, time and interaction with others. 

The internet has completely revolutionised the way in which we purchase, read and write books. Indeed, it is no longer the serious and devout academics that produce books. The playing field had been opened up and everyone can not only write, but publish their creation.

Furthermore, there is something rather appealing about creating your own personal space, in which to say exactly what you think, feel and wish to share with others. Those familiar with London will know of Hyde Park Speakers Corner, in which anyone of us is free to stand and lead a discussion in the confines of leafy and probably wet suburbia.

Blogging can therefore be what ever you want it to be. It can be a space where you can share your inner thoughts and as an anonymous person, or you can share your thoughts, comments and plans about any subject or various subjects as you wish.  A blog is effectively your own creative sandpit, an open space, a place where you can share your creativity and explore. The world of creativity has taken the whole concept and process a stage further and there are now companies and sites that will allow you to create books of your blog posts.

The technology and internet has enabled each of us to produce whatever we want. We can write and self publish. It is quite possible to self publish and use all the best bells and whistles that would be used if the routine publishing route had been taken. The contemplation that self publish means last resort has gone, as several well know American actors take to the self publishing platform; their plan has just raised the bar again.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Response to Genealogy: A House Divided or A House With Many Doors?

These badges are all the rage just now and I rather like them. This was produced using an iPhone app, called ironically, Keep Calm!

A week or so ago Thomas at Geneabloggers resurrected the subject matter of the state of the genealogical community in his recent post Genealogy: A House Divided Door.

When Thomas mentioned it a few months ago, I read the post, and thought I would write something then everything kind of went happened and the post was not written. That does not mean I didn't think about it or reflect upon it. I did, and with this follow up post I did the same, determined that I would respond, albeit, rather late.

For me this issue is broken down into several points -the opinions reflected here are mine, so if you don't agree, play nice!
  • Genealogy is about understanding your line of descent, and family history is about taking that line of descent and fleshing out the bones. Discovering through whatever sources possible what your ancestors did and when they did it. It is also good to understand the history of the time, which might indicate why they did, what they did.
  • Genealogy is a the fastest growing hobby. I can't give a source for that fact, because I didn't know when I read it I was going to cite it!
    • This is because the internet makes accessing data easier
    • We can contact archives in a speedy manner and thus receive an email (hopefully) in response to our inquiry without the need to pay for postage. Remember those days of stamped addressed envelopes or international reply coupons?
    • Genealogy has got on the television - shows like Who Do You Think You Are and Heir Hunter and now the new show hitting the US screens Genealogy Roadshow (very envious!). Those shows, rightly or wrongly make genealogy look easy. In someways they have to....the production team are making an hour program, incorporating research which took many hours, so sadly, we see a succession of snapshots in these programmes rather than the succession of historical research which took anything from the click of a button to many, many hours.
Do we need such books? To me it is common sense that if you are researching and you plan on producing a piece of work you need to reference where it came from...the paper trail. Otherwise you are at risk of committing and being accused of plagiarism. I wrote about my concerns here, however, look at Ancestry. It is littered with trees with no source material. Does that mean they are worthless? Perhaps, perhaps not. My tree on Ancestry is private. Should someone hack into the account they will have a tree with no sources. The tree is there for my benefit which is why it is private. If you believe that someone shares a connection to you and there are no sources, you can always trace the possible paper trail and drop them an email.

Sources are important. If you are a serious researcher you MUST reference where you found material. Not just for the benefit of others, but for yourself too. How many of us see something, note it down and forget where we saw it? Ironic given my statement above, but that is perfectly true.

Image from NGS

Then we have the newly released book Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W Jones. This book took the US genealogical world by storm. There have been read-a-longs and discussions on Google+ as we, as groups of genealogists seek to ensure understandings within the genealogical field.

These two books have attempted to raise the bar of genealogical research and understanding. 

Are they elitist? I do not believe so. I believe that these two books have a real place of worth within the genealogical arena. They are seeking to educate the novice genealogists, and act as a handbook and professional text for those who are advanced researchers or professional researchers.

Societies and Organisations are another string to the bow of genealogists. It is not just about paying your fees, receiving a journal of some kind and accessing data. Perhaps that is how it was when I started researching in the mid 1980's. Societies and organisations exist, as a way of bring like minded people together. At the start there were transcribing projects and many thousands and thousands of hours were invested in projects. Those projects are almost ignored these days because of the corporate enterprises that have sprung up.

Is Genealogy elitist?  Perhaps and perhaps not. Societies, forums, books and alike exist to enable the coming together and the sharing of data, best practise and standards. What is the point of investing in hours of research, if once you are no more, your descendants can not make head or tail of it?

Qualifications - Do you need them? This is a tough question. Not necessarily is my answer, however, undertaking a type of course, whether that be a certificated course or simply for your pleasure will make you more knowledgeable. That knowledge will then enable you to join the dots when it comes to understanding things within our ancestors lives.

I have spent the last 20 odd years within pharmacy and management, and have qualifications that relate to that. I also have a diploma in Counselling and a history degree. In addition it makes me more informed and unless I tell you those things you won't know, nor did the person who spoke with me last week, who attempted to indicate that they were more knowledgeable in the genealogical arena in an attempt at one-up- manship, but should I need to tell you? No. Just because I do not shout from the rooftops does not mean it isn't so.

Genealogy is for everyone. We all have our families and line of descent. Our knowledge will make that genealogical journey more meaningful and worthwhile, but there is nothing that can't be learnt reading a book, a blog or a journal. It is about taking part, being part of a friendly, (on the whole) group of people from across the globe. That interaction is possible because the Internet has revolutionised the way we can interact with each other and undertake genealogical research whether it is for ourselves or for paying clients.

As I said at the beginning, the opinions reflected here are mine, so if you don't agree, keep calm!

Mentioned by Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings  - Best of the Genea Blogs 1-7th September 2013

What does this say to you?

A little earlier this week, I met with one of the two groups who are physically completing the process & workshops of the Book of Me (meet with me in person). After a few minutes of the usual banter - how was your week? and alike, the group started to talk among themselves on their previous prompt and pondered what the next one was. As I listened to them, whilst getting the new prompt ready I suddenly changed tactic and instead gave them this quote
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside awakes. ~ Carl Jung
The group were surprised but embraced the sudden change with gusto. We proceeded through our workshop discussing and writing about what that quote said to them as individuals.

Meanwhile, the Book of Me Facebook group are going great guns on the first prompt. Just yesterday I read a comment from a participant who said they were looking forward to the next prompt. This sentiment was echoed through the group, which is a fantastic response. 

This morning I was reflecting on the group response, the subsequent discussion and the activity along with the content of the Facebook group. Therefore this morning I shared the quote above and asked the question 

What does this quote say to you?

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Who Do You Think You Are ~ US Style!

Image courtesy
of DearMyrtle
I stayed up very late last night and joined the Google hangout after the show of the American series of Who Do You Think You Are. The show airs at Central US time of 8pm, which equates to 3am here in the UK.

Those of us in the UK get our own (original) version of the show, but can not see the US show, sadly. I have below shared the trailer but viewers in the UK you will need to click the link in this article

The show was recorded if you were not able to see the hangout and is presented here for your viewing pleasure!

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Virtual Genealogy Fair 3rd & 4th September 2013

The National Archives in the US is hosting a virtual genealogy fair; how exciting is that? Click HERE to join in the fun

The schedule of lectures and talks is on the web page and will be available for live viewing and for those of us not in the US or in the US time zone can view the recorded sessions available after the event.

Obviously the records are all those pertaining to those in the United States, but if you have ancestors that ventured across the pond or are undertaking a one-name study, such as I am then there are a few gems. I most certainly plan on listening to the recording of Alien Files and the recording of Immigration, Naturalization & Citizenship records.

Are you planning on attending the virtual genealogy fair?

With thanks to The In-Depth Genealogist & Hack Genealogy for alerting me to this exciting genealogical development.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Ramblings from my Desk..... (16)

The first day of Autumn has arrived here in the UK. The weather has been lovely today and a warm sunshine prolongs the life of the summer flowers.

A few weeks ago we were told by friends that a nearby garden centre already had their seasonal department layout for the Christmas and festive season. The season that seems to get earlier and earlier, coupled with the season merging.

Global warming I think has played it's part. When we returned from Australia at the end of last October it was zero degrees Centigrade. The temperature and weather remained low and miserable for months, with Autumn, Winter and Spring merging. I wonder what will happen this year?

As the sun rays shined across parts of Devon today I have been involved in several big projects. One started in January and has just debuted on line as the Book of Me, Written by You and I have been busy talking and I could say leading, but that would be wrong.

Those that joined the Facebook group have truly embraced the sentiment of the idea; and the ideas and thoughts are flowing nicely! It really doesn't matter what you do, whether you host something online, walk into a shop or work from behind a desk, the common denominator is people and it those people that make things a success.

The other big project has been my involvement with a new Society, which specializes in One-Place Studies. Again, through this project it is the people that make the difference as we exchange ideas, develop friendships and embrace the expanding world of social media.

The children, not that I have any, have returned to school and two neighbours of ours this morning had fairly glum faces as they returned to a new school year. In England it means, probably snow, cold weather, burst pipes, cold and flu season and Christmas and that is just this term. The truth is it will go into much of next term too.

On the domestic front, I am feeling better, happier and content. I still am always busy and my new laptop and I have been on a journey of discovery and frustration together as I grasp Windows 8. The penny has finally dropped!

As to forthcoming projects. The book I have been writing about a particular branch of my family that hailed from Surrey and went to India is progressing very slowly. The projects mentioned above have hindered the book, but that is OK. I thought long and hard about publishing  versus self publishing. Then someone recently said to me that self publishing meant that your work was not worth publishing. I was a little speechless, and saddened that someone has such a narrow minded view, and it takes all sorts in this world, it would seem!

Self publishing is a big step. I have 100% of the cost outlay and I therefore take 100% of the revenue and 100% of the risk. It is a risk I am willing to take.  The saying that everyone has a book in them is probably true, but it does not necessarily mean that it is a book that should be published or will be published! For me it is all about taking part, bring an idea to life and resulting in something I am proud of. Something where I can say I did that, and that other family members can enjoy along with other historians.

I have a few other projects to get to, some are new, others were on previous lists and some are in progress, but as I said, it is only the first of September!


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