Church yards are wonderful family tree resources with information on the gravestones that children can help you discover:
Once they can read you can get them to hunt down any gravestones that mention members of your family.
There is lots of fascinating information on them including dates of birth and death. You can challenge your children to work out how old a person was when they died based on these dates.
So why don’t you take your children down to the churchyard? You can create a grave scavenger hunt for your family:
- earliest/most recent date for burial
- youngest/oldest person buried in grave yard
- how many different occupations
- most common surname
- anyone born somewhere overseas
Just give your child a notepad and pencil and let them wander around whilst you do your own research!
Posted in Family History
Tagged ancestry, cemeteries, children, culture, family history, family tree, genealogy, graves, gravestones, records, sources
Last month I posted about finding my great grandfather’s medal record from ancestry.co.uk in this post. When the article came to the attention of my aunt and uncle I discovered that they had the actual medals! Today I got to see them and plenty of other memorabilia from my great grandfather.
It appears he was in the forces (maybe as a reservist?) as far back as 1913 as he had some medals for 3rd places in an army shooting competition at both 300 yards and a quarter mile. Both these medals are from the 5th Battalion the Hampshire Regiment:
In 1914 he was serving at the front in the 5th London regiment as a private. The proof for this includes a letter published in the local paper in Bickerstaffe:
He also had been given a box of cigarettes and tobacco by Princess Mary and her charity for Christmas in 1914:
There are still original cigarettes and tobacco in the box! Charles was himself a pipe smoker and his pipe from the war had his friends’ names carved into it:
For his service in 1914 he would receive the 1914 Star:
At some point before his wedding in 1915 he received a rapid promotion to 2nd Lieutenant. We need to get his full records to find out more. This meant he moved from a clay dog tag to a metal one:
Whilst he was an officer he had a notebook he used to record both important information on explosives and details of the mess bills:
Apparently he helped train troops whilst recovering on sick leave and on one occasion had to act fast when a recruit pulled the pin out of a grenade but forgot to throw it…
By the end of hostilities he had earned two more service medals:
I am just bowled over to have been able to hold these precious pieces of my family history. I feel so lucky that my great grandfather came through the whole war when so many others didn’t. Now the challenge is to see if I can find out more about his service…
So go and ask your family if they have something lurking in a tin or box in the attic.
Posted in Family History
Tagged ancestry, band, family, family history, family tree, genealogy, History, medals, people, personal family tree, world war 1
Today I want to look at my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. She was born in Lancashire the daughter of Charles Band and Lillie Agnes Kellett.
Charles had been born in Glossop, Derbyshire in 1885. He was the youngest of 9 children:
I have to say that since being given an iPad I’ve discovered how good the Ancestry app is. It never really worked for me on the iPhone but on the iPad it really shines.
Once you have downloaded your family tree from Ancestry on to your iPad it then starts looking for hints for existing members of your family. When you review each hint it brings up an image of the relevant data such as census page or sheet from a church record. You can then review the information and either accept or ignore. If you accept you can then choose which items get changed on your tree. The source information is automatically added.
A very useful app but be careful as you could be on there for hours…
I am loving the free access to the 1911 Census on Ancestry.co.uk this weekend (11-14th May). I have discovered an ancestor was a soldier and added a new 4x great grandfather to my tree.
Get on there quick!
For most family historians with English ancestors at some point you will have to visit at least one County Record Office. So here are few tips if it will be your first time.
Plan your visit
Where is the record office?
This will be listed on the relevant county council web site. Remember county boundaries have changed over the centuries so you may need to confirm with a site like Genuki as to which record office you need. Some counties like Cumbria have more than one record office.
What records does the record office have?
There is no point travelling to the record office if it doesn’t have the records you need. This may include census records, parish registers, newspapers or other historical documents. Some of these may need to be requested in advance so check on the web site or telephone ahead.
The office may not be open 9-5 six days a week. This information should be on the web site too. It may be that you have to leave the building at lunch time if it closes. It may also be necessary to make an appointment if there is restricted space.
What should I take?
To join the County record office network (CARN) you need to bring along ID such as passport or driving licence. Once you have a card it makes access to all similar archives so much simpler.
Take a printout of the part of the family tree you are interested in for that visit. You may be able to take a laptop but check first. Have a list of what you are hoping to achieve – this may help you stop getting side tracked.
You will be restricted on using pencils in the research rooms. Take more than one and a good notebook to write down your discoveries. If you want printouts of what you find then you will need some cash to pay. Anything else will probably have to be left in a locker and mobiles set to silent/turned off.
In the record office
Don’t be afraid to ask
If it’s your first visit then ask the archivist for help on finding what you need to save time. They will also show you how to use micro film readers and point out the rules of use.
Start with your initial target and work your way through the records just looking at them. If anything else catches your eye note where you find it and come back later. Write down the source references so that you can double check at a later date if necessary.
Above all enjoy the records and finding out more about your ancestors.
As far as this site is concerned here are my plans for 2012:
- Post at least once a week
- Add more about my personal family tree to break down barriers
- Provide more assistance to others in their family history and IT journey
What are your Family History plans for 2012