Thanks for dropping by :-) This blog contains an assortment of tips, advice, resources and other useful bits and pieces for anyone researching their family history in the UK and Ireland. If you want to keep up with the posts, don't forget to subscribe using the links to the right.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

New Twitter Meme: Surname Saturday

Just a quick post to let you know about a new Twitter meme (is that a tweem?) called Surname Saturday organised by Thomas McEntee. It should be a good way of getting more genealogists to use Twitter, and you can find out more here.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Does tweeting run in the family?

Sorry for the prolonged absence - life got in the way :-( Pesky life. Anyhoo, I've just posted a question over on Twitter:

QOTD: Which of your ancestors would tweet? What kind of tweeter would they be?

I'd love to hear your answers?

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

1911 UK Census Now Online

The UK census for 1911 has been published online. Or at least, a substantial part of it. Scots records won't be available until 2011 due to differences in privacy laws. Welsh records, and those for some English counties have not been uploaded yet.

It's free to search the database, but there is a charge to view the results. So far, there is no sign of it being made available for free for a limited time as the 1901 census was.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Did your grandma eat baps, cobs or buns?

 It doesn't really matter, they are all the same thing - a bread roll!

OK, so you know who your ancestors were, where they lived, what they did for a living, maybe even what they did for fun and what they looked like - but how did they speak? Did they have a pronounced regional accent, or even use a form of dialect? Maybe they were very grand and only spoke the Queen's English?

The UK has a wide variety of accents and dialects. People in the north east of England sound very different to those in Cornwall or Edinburgh*, but even if you know this, it can still be hard to imagine just how someone may have sounded, especially if you don't have personal experience of hearing voices from a particular area on a regular basis. To give an example, for the first twenty years of my life I was pretty sure I knew how people from Yorkshire spoke, then I moved here and discovered I hadn't got a clue LOL

While it isn't possible to give you an exact replication of your ancestors voice, the following links may help you to understand how accents vary around the regions, and how they have evolved over the centuries.

Sounds Familiar - a collection of sound and audio which give you practical examples of a range of accents from various parts of the UK, and also examples of older pronunciations**.

Sound Comparisons - a collection of audio files demonstrating different pronunciations of the same words from various English (and Germanic) language countries.

The Routes of English - useful for anyone who can trace their ancestors back to the Middle Ages, this sub-section of the BBC site examines the evolution of English throughout the centuries and offers audio examples of how it might have sounded way back when.

* I was once told that the people of Edinburgh speak the best English in the whole of the UK. I have no idea if this is correct, but they do have a pleasant accent.

** I found the older samples from East Anglia particularly fascinating. A lot of my family came from that area, so it was really interesting to hear how they might have spoken.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

7 Social Networks for Family Historians

Family historians tend to make good social networkers - in other words, they are skilled at building connections with other people through social interactions. Bearing this in mind, it isn't surprising that as a group they have embraced the rise of Web 2.0, or in plain English, genealogists quickly discovered ways to utilise new websites and technologies which allow users to build communities of like-minded folk.

Over the last couple of years, a number of social networks have sprung up, some designed specifically for use by genealogists, others which are more general, but still extremely useful to anyone who wants to connect with other researchers, or find people who are researching the same lines. Today, I'd like to take a look at a handful you might find useful.

Facebook - Facebook is one of the most popular networks, and although not intended as a genealogy tool, it does have a thriving community of family historians who socialise, share advice and take part in writing challenges and carnivals. The site can also be a useful tool for finding long lost relatives. Since I have been a member I have been contacted by 3 previously unknown cousins who found me by simply using the name search tool. However, this might not work as well if you have a popular surname. There are also a small number of applications which members can add to their pages to display a family tree and/or find others who are researching the same lines, and a Blog Network application (you can see my network widget in the far right sidebar) which you can use to find interesting genealogy blogs.

Genmates - This is a new, but growing, purpose made network. Features include forums where members can post their research interests or ask for advice, blogs, events, photo albums and an events listing board. The site is very easy to use and you have the option of email notifications to keep you up to date with new messages and posts. Because of the ease of use, I would suggest this as good site for anyone who is new to social networking.

My Heritage - Another purpose made site, but this one is more sophisticated. Members can build a family tree, either manually or by uploading a gedcom, add photos, post to the message boards, contact other members, and download the accompanying family tree software package to coordinate their online and offline research. There is also a powerful search tool, but I've found it seems to concentrate mainly on US relevant resources - the site is still new so that may change.

Ancestry UK and Ancestry.com - Although, Ancestry is really designed for research, there are a number of community features which give the site a social feel. You can upload and share your family tree, leave message in the forums, or search for other people who share your research interests.

Geneanet - Particularly useful for anyone searching on the European mainland, you can upload your gedcom, use the forums, contact other members, and contribute to the wiki. The site is available in both English and French.

My Family - Made by the people behind Ancestry, features include photo albums, online family tree, discussion boards and video uploading. You have the option of keeping your tree private, only sharing it with those you invite.

Amiglia - I haven't used this site, but it seems to be similar to My Family. Features include family tree, photo albums, calendars and maps. There is also a tool called Family Facebook which displays all your friends on one page along with contact options.

Any suggestions of your own? Why not share them in the comments =>

Monday, 15 December 2008

Who's your 1000th?

I just posted my response to the 'Who's your 1000th' game over at my personal genealogy blog. Why not pop over, have a read and then tell us about your 1000th.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

How to get the most from Google searches

I've been planning to write a post about how to make the most of Google searches, but discovered Robert Ragan has already made a video tutorial which demonstrates some really useful techniques - you can see that above.

I hadn't thought of using the misspelling 'geneology' in my searches - I'm a word nerd, I like to make sure I use correct spellings - but it is a good idea, because not everyone will spell the word correctly, and it would be a shame to miss useful information simply for the sake of one letter. On the other hand, I'd make an addition to combined searches in the shape of the term "family history" which has turned up some interesting results when combined with a surname.