Saturday, December 31, 2011

The moving target - census

[For background to The Moving Target series of posts, see the story so far]

First up, the census records. So far I have transcribed and made available online the census for Wing for 1841, 1871, 1891, plus the enumerators summary books for 1911. That leaves 1851, 1861, 1881, 1901 and the full 1911 census.

There's a clear distinction here between what has value for me personally (in terms of ease of accessibility to the information) and what has value to other researchers who use the Wing One Place Study website. Transcribing all of these other years is still a goal. But I'm not sure it's a particularly important goal anymore.

My personal standpoint was that where a non-profit organisation, such as a family history society, was already transcribing a census year then that year isn't a priority for me. I believe that family history societies are valuable (particularly once they figure out how they will evolve in the internet age) and I'm not keen on inadvertently cutting off their sources of revenue. The Buckinghamshire Family History Society has the 1851 census available, and the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society currently has 1861 and 1881 (and 1891 which I've already done for Wing). The 1881 census is freely available via FamilySearch. That leaves the two most recent years, 1901 and 1911, which are available commercially only. These also have the highest population numbers and the most pieces of information to be captured so they would be a very substantial job.

Hands up who likes seeing their ancestors' handwriting? Me too. So I would think any transcription of the 1911 census is somewhat redundant when any sane genealogist would have a clear preference for actually looking at the household schedule completed by their ancestor. I can't provide those, due to copyright, I can only provide transcriptions - useful for me, but you guys are going to need to fling some money at the big commercial providers to get what you want.

Something that might be worth me investing a bit of time in is updating my 1911 enumerators summary spreadsheet to add any other surnames that appear in each household. That would make that spreadsheet a more useful finding aid for me (if I'm going through looking for a surname I tend to want to grab all instances of it, rather than just one individual or a particular family group), but I'm not sure if this would be something that is useful for the website. It would only take around half a day to flick through and do this.

This leaves the 1901 census as the next census I should transcribe. That year there were 1740 individuals in Wing, with both enumeration districts completed by gentlemen with fairly readable handwriting (hurray!). If I average out 3 minutes per person for the transcribing and checking process (including the head-scratching and investigation phase for unknown place-names and the like), it should take around 87 hours. Assuming I can find 4 hours a week for this project (I work full-time and should focus more on limiting the amount of leisure time I stare at a computer), that's 22 weeks to complete, or around 5 months. I'm finding it difficult to get excited about now that I've done the numbers. I'm sure there's other things that I would find more fulfilling than this particular project right now.

I've already ended up a a different place than expected by taking this fresh look at things - previously I'd been waiting until 1 Jan 2012 when that previously-redacted infirmity column on the 1911 census becomes available so that I could get started on the 1911 census. Now I can park that project - and simply check out the infirmities of my own families instead!

Friday, December 30, 2011

The story so far

[This post got a little long and cathartic. I hope that some of you will stay with me for this and follow-up posts.]

As tends to happen, this month I had a last-minute panic about what the January update to the website might be, and specifically how on earth I was going to get it ready in time once I decided what to do! I do think it's important to have an update each month but over time any kind of planning as to what that new content might be has completely gone out the window. This is not good for my stress levels, and not good for the one-place study either. So instead of an update this month I've decided to evaluate what I've achieved so far, along with what I hope to complete over the coming year.

The Wing One Place Study was "born" in late 2004. Initially it was just the 1841 census for Wing, fully transcribed the old-school way. That's typing it up while looking at the census film at the local LDS Family History Centre - yes, 2004, a time before each census was all over the internet, a time when you couldn't even purchase scans of the census on CD so work could be done in your own time at home. In short, a time when a young woman in a business suit showing up at the LDS FHC on her lunchbreak, laptop in hand, raised eyebrows. Back then, the only records otherwise available online for Wing were the 1881 census transcription and the extracts of the Wing parish registers for baptisms and marriages 1546 to 1881 (*cough* peppered with omissions) that could be found in the IGI.

In September 2005 I transferred the 1841 census and a few other bits and pieces to the study's own domain name, and kicked off things in earnest. Since then, three census years have been fully transcribed with up to 1800 people in each, 58 years of baptisms, 34 years of marriages, 127 years of burials, 23 directories, 43 wills, 56 gravestones, 13 other types of lists of landowners/residents from 1522 to 1873,  220 military men identified, 67 criminals, dozens of Wing non-conformist families, three-and-a-half key industries profiled, and various other pages of snippets of data have been collated.

The Wing OPS costs around NZ $220 a year in hosting/domain costs - that's currently around £110. However the real cost is obviously the time involved. And, honestly, the stress I create for myself from my expectation that every record should already be transcribed, every idea should already be fully realised, and every email should be able to be promptly answered without a thousand apologies for the information I might be able to provide if only I had been able to do things as completely as I should have. Being a Type A personality is not helpful sometimes.

As we head into 2012, digital scans of each census released to date along with more or more-commonly-less reliable census indices are easily accessible on each of the main commercial providers. It looks like 2012 will be the year of the parish registers race as these are also being scanned and indexed by those sites. Does this make an OPSer's efforts in fully transcribing each census and parish register somewhat redundant?

In follow-up posts I'll try and work out what the gameplan should be for the coming year - which information would add most value, what a realistic workload for the project might look like, and create a master list of all those things floating around in my head (or on my computer) that may or may not make the 2012 list. Please do leave some feedback in the comments, particularly if you have ancestors from Wing. After seven years I need an outside perspective!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!

It's a sunny Christmas day here in NZ (well, it mostly is if I ignore the cloud that's blocking the sun as I type this), just the way we like it, the turkey (this year it's rum glazed with mango and green banana stuffing - what on earth would my ancestors have made of that) is in the oven and it's almost time to start gathering together. I hope you all get the Christmas day you are wishing for.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

No December update

There won't be an update to the website this month. Right now I'm on a plane between Antigua and London, spending time with current generations of the family tree. See you next month!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I've come over all lightheaded

I've been hyperventilating with excitement. The British Newspaper Archive is temporarily open in beta form this weekend. You do have to pay to view actual pages rather than snippets of results (£6.95 for 1000 credits, with each newspaper page viewed being 10 credits) but  with no ability to download images during the beta period. However I'll be able to access those pages I paid for once the site goes live, and you bet I'll be back!

As part of the terms and conditions of the beta period I can't share many details of the treasures I discovered - suffice to say the Bucks Herald was one of the newspapers included and there were plenty of results for Wing! One of the first things I found was the newspaper report of the theft accusation involving one JORDAN in 1836 that was a noted point of ill-will in the ADAMS murder case the following year. Also that year was the suicide of a habitually-intoxicated Wing resident, the case of the stolen cowstalls, and the sale of wheat, straw and machinery from Burcott Farm.

 If you preregistered on the site you should have received an email about beta access. Have fun!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

November update

As promised, the update is a little late this month.

The links page now includes a a link to the TATHAM website that includes information about Wing's turn-of-the-century (19th to 20th, that is) vicar Francis Henry Tatham, and a couple of the existing links have been updated.

Servicemen HEALD and VALLENTINEs (twin brothers descended from the local farming family) have been added to the WWII  and WWI military men pages respectively. They were identified via the excellent War Graves Photographic Project website and both have gravestones in All Saints churchyard.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Superstar genealogy friends

Isn't it nice to have superstar genealogy friends? The kind that support what you're doing, think of you when they come across something that might be relevant for your research, and generally make you feel all warm and fuzzy about the genealogy community.

One of my superstar genealogy friends is Paul Brazell. Paul recently visited the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, and before he went he emailed me to see if there might be anything he could take a look at for me. I duly compiled a long list (you know, just in case there was some disaster that meant he might be trapped in there for days with nothing to do but photograph and scan records for me) and sent it off. And now I have photographs of the 1797 Wing inclosure map! This will be a great help to my current farm project and for general Wing research.

Did I mention that Paul had much less time at the Centre than expected, due to traffic snarlups? And that he doesn't live in the UK either?

A big public thank you to Paul, all my other superstar genealogy friends, and, indeed, everyone's superstar genealogy friends - you're awesome.

And in case you, my dear reader, find yourself at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies with some spare time up your sleeve and would like to contribute to the Wing One Place Study, here's the rest of my list:
* any tithe maps - I believe there's one for 1851 and I think there's some others as well
* D-X1099/1 (pp 129-205 are Wing) register of farm tenants of the Earl of Chesterfield c.1760-c.1792
* D-X1099/2  (pp 61-102 are Wing and hamlets) - survey including plans of farm tenants of Earl of Chesterfield and other landowners c.1778 - also on microfilm (M 42)
* D-X1099/3 (pp 10-39 are Wing and hamlets) - similar survey but in 1798
* D-X1099/4 (pp 28, 31 and 62-71) similar survey but in 1810
* D 94/48 to D 94/54 documents re properties sold to the Rothschilds 1752-1876
* NC 5/1 Burcott Congregational Chapel church book 1871 to 1913 including admissions and baptisms
* NC 5/11 Burcott Congregational Chapel notebook by Kate HELEY dated 1879-1890 "Scraps and Incidents and Notes of the Lord's Dealings" - would love someone to take a look at this and comment on the kind of things included as I'm very curious about it!
* NMP/401 register of marriages for Church Street Primitive Methodist Chapel 1902-1983
* QS/W/E/234  return of dissenting places of worship 1829

Sunday, October 02, 2011

October update

Another month, another update - this time we turn to the farms of Burcott. I've also added links to both the Ascott and Burcott farming pages from the Industries page and, as always, all pages are accessible from the Sitemap.

The monthly update schedule will be slightly altered over the next few months. As you know, you can expect an update to the website each month on the first day of the month. However next month I'll be away at a conference around the 1st, and the following month I'll be at a family wedding, multiple international flights away and out of reach of the internet to boot! So my plan at this stage is to have a small update around 2 November, and no update for December. I'll be trying to get the next farm page ready for the January update - a big job!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Birthday

It's the Wing One Place Study's birthday today! Well, sort of - the website for the study was born six years ago today, while the study itself was technically around for several months before that. If you have ancestors from Wing but haven't explored the study lately then why not take a look at the sitemap for the website and see what you might have missed?

Monday, September 05, 2011

Woodland for sale in Wing

Oh, how I wish I could buy this! It's a bit far for me to visit though. From the description it sounds like it is Fox Covert (or part of - I'm sure anyone with any concept of space/size could look at a map and work it out but alas I am not that person), part of the old ADAMS farm.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

September update

It's a small update this month - the abstract of the will of Elizabeth FOUNTAINE who died in 1851 has been added. If anyone has wills for any of their farming ancestors in Wing that aren't already abstracted on the website, please email me as they will be useful both in their own right and to help me out with the farms pages.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

September update - delayed

It turns out that sore backs and the odd 12-hour working day aren't conducive to spending time at the computer on genealogy (or, indeed, anything else), so the September update will be slightly delayed. I should have something up on Sunday. Sadly it won't be the next page in the Farms series.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

An intriguing ADAMS document

I know I just said that I thought the ADAMS saga was over but....

I just found this intriguing record in The National Archives catalogue. Sadly it's £40 to get a digital copy so I'll likely never know what it's about. I could speculate though - perhaps some kind of dispute over Thomas ADAMS' will, with proceedings brought by his murderer dearly beloved son William?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Genealogical fiction - who's writing?

No, by genealogical fiction I don't mean those spurious family trees scattered far and wide over the internet.

I've been toying with the idea of writing a historical novel about one of my ancestors. After much pondering (and much listening to the wonderful I Should Be Writing podcast), I've come to the conclusion that I simply don't want the novel written enough to actually write it, so I've parked the idea for now.

However, it seems that other genealogists out there have stepped up, written, and published their genealogical fiction. Here are a few that have come to my attention over the last couple of weeks:

* D.J Wiseman - A Habit Of Dying is an English murder-mystery stemming from a journal found in a box of family heirlooms.

* Steve Robinson - In The Blood features an American genealogist solving a historical murder-mystery in Cornwall.

* William Leverne Smith (aka geneablogger Dr Bill) - Back To The Homeplace and the new sequel The Homeplace Revisited are set in more recent times in the Ozarks but feature family history themes.

I've just purchased the first two (from Book Depository and Smashwords respectively) - unfortunately the last isn't available in epub format with any online retailer that will sell to NZers, so that will have to wait for now.

What else is out there? Anyone want to confess to having a work in progress?

Monday, August 01, 2011

August update

The page about the Adams murder first appeared on the website in 2005 - after 6 years of occasional updates it now feels like this case is concluded. Further information about the fate of alleged murderer and convicted thief William Francis ADAMS has been unearthed and can be found on the Adams murder page, along with a new newspaper report of the murder trial, this time from the Brighton Patriot. This contains additional names and testimony of Wing folk. It also contains different forenames for a number of people when compared to the initial report I had from The Times, and one case (Edgar OLLEY/Walter RALEIGH) demonstrates how easily names can be misheard and misrecorded.

There's another important new page on the website this month - the first of the farming series. This first page covers the farms and farmers of Ascott. Over the coming months Burcott, Cottesloe, Crafton and the remainder of Wing will be added, along with a page about the farming industry in Wing in general. This is one of those big projects that can never really be concluded, so I have decided to upload the information as it is collated. If you are connected to any of these farming families and have further information to add, or have access to other maps that may help pinpoint the exact boundaries of a farm at any given point, please please get in touch.

Friday, July 22, 2011

GATES help

I'm back working on the pages about the farms and farmers of Wing, hoping to have at least one hamlet ready for the August update to the website. However I need a bit of help unravelling the GATES family (specifically the line that came to Wing from Aston Abbots, i.e. the line where Baron appears as a forename) in the early 20th century. If there are any descendants or relatives out there who could share information with me, please please email me at as I'd love to get it resolved.

Friday, July 01, 2011

July update

I've been a bit quiet this month - spending more time knitting than researching! But I do have the July update up. This month it's for those researching back in the 16th century - the subsidy roll for 1524/5. This is approximately 20 years before the start of the parish registers, so if you're looking for men (or women, there are a few of those listed) around this timeframe who had assets or income of £1 or more, you may just find them being taxed - or rather, providing a subsidy to the King - in the subsidy roll.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

June update

Hi everyone - the June update is now up on the website. This month we have 12 new memorial inscriptions from photos provided by Maureen. Thanks, Maureen!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Still here

Yes, I am still here! This month I've been very busy at work and home, as well as being sick, so haven't had time to post - or to complete this month's update, which I should get finished and uploaded this weekend. Hopefully you will forgive me just this once.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

May update

Hi everyone! New additions to the website this month are:

* The will of William HONNOR from 1752, provided by regular contributor Dave. This will gives an interesting insight into William as he is quite specific about his bequests. It's also interesting due to what happened next - William died within a week of making his will, swiftly followed by his wife and eldest son who were both buried within a week of William himself. This caused some problems for the execution of the will given those two were joint executors.

* New memorial inscriptions for HOUNSLOW, provided by Christine who has recently made her first visit to Wing, MALLETT and PEASE, provided by regular contribution Maureen (more to come next month).

Do you have something similar you could contribute to the website? Email me. Photos of gravestones in All Saint's churchyard are particularly welcome since I don't live in the UK so can't get there myself. If you are taking photos specially for me, then the higher the resolution/filesize the better (I'm happy to accept all formats including RAW).

Monday, April 18, 2011

War Memorial - restoration in progress

Maureen has kindly provided this photo taken just after you walk through the lychgate at All Saints Church, looking down the path towards the Wing War Memorial - now resplendent with scaffolding.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Memorial inscriptions

Do you have photos of any of the gravestones in Wing's churchyard? If so, please email them in to me so I can add them to the pages of memorial inscriptions. I understand that the passage of time and lack of care is causing the inevitable decay of the existing gravestones, and recording those memorials while they are still whole and readable is a lovely gift to pass on to future generations.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

War Memorial restoration underway

Wonderful news from Wing - on Saturday the scaffolding will go up and work will commence on the repair of the War Memorial. Fundraising for this has been undertaken for several years and now this project can be brought to fruition.

Friday, April 01, 2011

April update

I have several new 17th century marriage strays this month (BREEDON, KEENE, MORTIMER, ROBINSON, STRUPOR, WIGG). Whenever I learn about a new genealogical website or database I tend to use Wing Bucks/Buckinghamshire as my test search string to see what pops up, and I found these entries within books at Internet Archive using the Mocavo genealogical search engine. I won't comment further on Mocavo as it's brand new.

By the same method I came across a will of a Benjamin FEN senior from Milford Connecticut. He had inherited land in Wing from Agnes SEARE, and in turn passed this land on to one of his sons when he died. I must locate Agnes' will and find out what the connection was between the two.

Behind the scenes I'm trying to get my pages on the farms of Wing ready. This is a big big job!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Once, Twice, Three Times A Lovely Blog

Kisses to Sharon, Ros and Fi, who think I'm a Lovely Blog. Right back at ya, darlings!

After four-and-a-half years of blogging (which is 27 web-years according to footnoteMaven), I must confess I'm a bit old and jaded when it comes to these blog awards. However it hasn't escaped my notice that there seems to be quite a few UK geneablogs popping up lately, so I'll wave my walking stick towards these bright-eyed young whippersnappers and wish them the best of luck on their blogging journeys.....

Elizabeth at Your Local History

Beth at Walking With Ancestors

Claire at MahoganyBox

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

March update

This month I've added one more military man - or have I? Arthur Ernest Fountain has a record in the WO97 military pensions series, and while I haven't viewed that record yet I have gone ahead and listed him. He may or may not be the same "A Fountaine, an old soldier" who died in 1916 - watch this space!

The second addition this month is another newspaper report on the coroner's inquest of baby Jane Bowden in 1857. This particular report has detailed quotes from the evidence of a number of Wing residents, but as this crime was a particularly sad one readers may find the report upsetting.

Friday, February 25, 2011

No census for you

We all know the pain of discovering that there is no census for us. No, our ancestors lived in jurisdictions that didn't keep their census returns, like Ireland or New Zealand. Or the census was either never taken, like England in 1941, or their records were collateral damage in wartime. Sometimes even we just get desperately unlucky and find our ancestors were living in the small pockets around the country where the census records for that year have perished or are inexplicably missing.

Our knowledge and understanding of our ancestors' lives are enriched by these records - a happy byproduct of the original purpose of the census, to gather statistical data for future planning. As genealogists we actually get excited about completing our modern-day census returns, contributing to this process and leaving behind this official record, just as our ancestors did.

The New Zealand 2011 census has been cancelled in the wake of the latest earthquake to devastate the city of Christchurch. There is no census for us. I'll be completing my forms anyway (I had been looking forward to doing this online, but the old-fashioned way will suffice), and filing them away along with a copy of this article announcing the cancellation. It's a pretty sad relic of this year to leave behind.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

When chickens come home to roost

This week NZ booksellers Whitcoulls and Borders (both now part of the same Australian group) were placed into voluntary administration. Whitcoulls and its predecessor firms have been around for more than 100 years, so this is sad news. I worked for Whitcoulls for three years while attending university so I was predisposed to give them the benefit of the doubt when I experienced problems with their e-book retailing attempts since they launched this nine months ago. They've done a pretty good job of destroying all that goodwill though - here's a sample of my experiences:

* Inability to consolidate the two email addresses Whitcoulls held for me without going into a physical store and getting them to put in a manual request
* Inability to edit or remove an expired credit card attached to my account
* Inability to add a second credit card so that I could actually buy books after my original card expired
* Purchasing e-books that then never showed up in my eLibrary so that I could access them
* Purchasing e-books that then didn't have the advertised epub format
* Support requests being closed as "fixed" without notifying me that they had been closed or, indeed, actually fixing the problem
* Removal of some of the very useful functionality that the platform has (the same platform that Whitcoulls adopted for their website)
* In-store display models of the Sony Reader with no books on them (because why would you actually want to see what it's like to read a book on it before purchasing one??)

Here's hoping the future for Whitcoulls involves new management that have a clue.

In the related realm of print marketing, this time specifically genealogical, could someone out there fill me in on why UK genealogical magazines arrive in NZ with entirely different names? Your Family Tree is on our shelves with a cover proclaiming it to be Your Family History. All the inside pages are still branded as Your Family Tree. Meanwhile, the magazine actually called Your Family History is on the shelves as Tracing Family History (again, the inside pages all show as the original name). These covers are clearly not specifically printed for the NZ/AU region as the pricing still shows in pounds. If it hadn't have been for the "from Nick Barratt and his team" on the cover of "Tracing Family History" raising my suspicions, I would never have realised that this was in fact the very magazine I'd been keen to see for months. Genealogical magazines tend to have confusingly-similar names anyway, so why oh why are publishers allowing this dilution of their brand?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

To explore strange new worlds

I'm going to be seeking out new life and new civilizations, and boldly going where I haven't gone before - to Ireland! Not literally, just genealogically. I have signed up for the National Institute of Genealogical Studies "Research: Irish Ancestors" four-week course.

I wanted to do a course in something I knew as little as possible about, and Ireland certainly fits the bill. The couple of formal genealogical courses I have done to date covered topics I already knew quite a lot about (after the best part of a decade researching you do pick up a thing or two), so I wanted to stretch myself this time round. And I had a discount to do another course through the National Institute, so..........

I recently visited my aunt who has an Irish husband, which gives me a line to practice my skills on - should be interesting to see how things differ from my traditional stomping ground of England.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Those Places Thursday - Wing Buckinghamshire

It's Thursday!

It occurs to me (somewhat belatedly) that you may have been eagerly anticipating my own contribution to Those Places Thursday. Sadly I haven't actually written one for the occasion. As always, you are welcome to peruse the main website at (this blog is a sideline, so if you have ancestors from Wing and haven't visited the main site, prepare to get excited!) - the pages in the Industries section and the Miscellany are probably the most informative and amusing if you don't actually have a connection to Wing.

You should also check out the page of photos of All Saints Church, because I have some news to report about it. Wing is a great example of how you can take a 10th century Saxon church and modernise it from time to time, and this time the roof is the centre of attention. Solar panels were recently installed as part of the Church of England's Shrinking The Footprint iniative. There's an article and nice photo of the panels here, and if you live anywhere nearby you should definitely head along to the seminar at the Church on Saturday 5 March to learn more about renewable energy options for churches.

I'm so proud - well done, Wing!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

February update

This month we have:

* an update to the DORMER family tree - Ursula, at the head of the tree, has been correctly named as Alice Collingridge. Thanks to Charani, who is undertaking a one-name-study of Collingridge, for the heads-up on the surname.

* two more newspaper articles about the murder of baby Jane BOWDEN in 1856. These expand, and in some cases differ slightly from, the information reported in the trial. I do have some further articles on this case to get typed up, and also have some further articles on the Adams murder.

* Frederick CORKETT has been added to the list of WW1 military men from Wing. In Fred's case I hadn't previously located him in the WO363 records as his birthplace hadn't been indexed and his residence was London at the time he signed up. This is probably quite common as this generation did head London-ward, so there will be more men out there that I haven't identified yet - if your man served but is not listed, do let me know.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A challenge for you

Got a blog? Got an ancestor? Tell us about their ancestral place.

One of the blogging themes at is Those Places Thursday. Every genealogist should have a basic profile of each of their ancestral places, so this week why don't you pick one of those places, do a bit of research, and report back this Thursday on what you find?

There's a nice example here where Jen's looked at Herencia in Spain, learned a bit about its geography and history, thought about how that may have influenced her ancestor Nicanor's life, and identified what aspects of Herencia she'd need to know more about to round out Nicanor's ancestral story.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And lo, the archetypal ancestor smiles beatifically upon me

Or maybe not.

Nevertheless, I have been blessed by the current round of Ancestor Approved awards. Thanks to Geniaus and Mike - mwah! Go check their blogs out!

As long-time readers will know, I'm not one for playing by the official rules on these things, and I don't have any cider today. Boooo! I do have a sugar-rush though, so here's a surprising thing I learned about one of my ancestors this week (mostly to name-drop, you understand).

James POULTER (1809-1873) from Farnham, Surrey, somehow managed to progress from ag lab to farmer sometime between 1843 and 1847. Odd, no? Firstly, how did he get the money? Didn't inherit any, his daddy hadn't popped off yet and he was only an ag lab too. Secondly, what's someone as posh as a farmer doing hanging out in my family tree? You're making my hundreds of ag labs feel bad. Thirdly - dude, you were a farmer. How can you have no will? For several brief, shining days, I lived in hope that when the time came to check the probate index, there you'd be, but no. For shame, James.

And now to pass it on....if your genealogy blog is feeling sad and neglected without the Beatific Ancestor glaring at you, then go ahead, plug your blog in the comments, and she can come and live with you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

National Institute for Genealogical Studies

Hi everyone! No, I haven't dropped off the face of the planet, but it has been summer holidays here in NZ and the computer is not so appealing then. I did do two genealogical things of note though.

The first was the introductory course (Methodology part 1) at National Institute for Genealogical Studies based in Canada. Louise from the National Institute spoke at the History and Genealogy Roadshow I attended here back in November (and apparently never blogged about), and I signed up then for this freebie course. I was curious to see how an alternative online genealogical education provider handled things, and I was just as pleased with this one as I was with Pharos. The materials were excellent, albeit they didn't really tread any new ground for me but that was hardly the course's fault, just a factor of my experience. The interactivity of the course didn't seem as high as Pharos which was definitely more fun to do. Once you have completed one module within your National Institute course you are given access to the next module, so you don't have to wait for the next week for the materials to be given out as you do with Pharos - the flipside to that is that you don't get the same sense of camaraderie with your classmates as you do with Pharos when you are all working with the same material at the same time. Each course from the National Institute is offered more frequently (generally every two months) than Pharos at present, which is handy to know if you feel the need to upskill quickly on an area. I won't comment on value for money, as the actual cost for you may well be dependent on the exchange rate at the time, as it is for me.

The second was a vist to my aunt, who lives too far away for regular visiting, but doesn't live so far away that I should leave it so many years between visits - she's in the same country, for goodness sake! She's also interested in the family tree so I took down trees of the four branches for her grandparents based on what I've done so far (and had a crash course on diagrams in Family Historian in the process). I hope to make enough progress on that side this year to be able to write it up and share it with the family properly. While down that part of the country I also got to meet my cousin's newish baby - another leaf on the tree!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

January update - Happy New Year

Welcome to 2011, everyone! There are updates scattered all over the website this month.

There's several new military men picked up from the WO97 military pensions series. Most of these are for pre-1900 service and are from the ASHPOOL, BIRCH, BRAND, DUNCOMBE, ESSEX, GATES, GUTTERIDGE, HOUNSLOW, NEWENS, ROGERS, SHRIMPTON and WOODEARDS families.

Private Joseph DUNCOMBE was Wesleyan Methodist, so he's been added to the Methodist page.

I received a transcript of the will of George TRUEMAN thanks to Alan Jones - as well as the will itself, George was a major benefactor to the Congregational Union Church and a key player in the brickmaking business in Wing, and the will contained important information on both those areas. See those pages for further elaboration.

I've done a general tidy up of external links as well.

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