A Kiwi in search of her Irish, English & Scottish tribes

Category: Genealogy (Page 2 of 3)

iwiKiwi is one year old today!

To celebrate being in the blogiverse for one whole year, I thought I’d take a little look back at my first post and my 2011 Genealogy Resolutions:

  • Start a blog   Yep, done that!
  • Blog regularly and contribute comments to other blogs  Hmm… did okay in the first half of the year, but posting slowed down a lot as I concentrated more on my IHGS assignments.  My reading of other blogs, and commenting on them, slowed down to the point of nothingness. At the moment I’m only reading other blog posts when prompted by Twitter.
  • Compile a proper research plan (as opposed to “ooooh, think I might look that up next, or maybe that… )  Working on this, and definitely started preparing proper plans for the research trips I undertook this year.  Except maybe the “bringing along some decent maps” bit of the plans.
  • Get to know the Centre for Kentish Studies  I visited once!  And now they’re closed till around April this year, when they re-open in a brand new and expanded facility in Maidstone.  Hopefully they’ll have some ‘Opening Week’ festivities for me to attend.
  • Complete some assignments!!!! (Ideally eight lectures this year)  Ouch.  Only three completed, but working on number 4, and completed the research work for lecture 5 and 6 assignments.
  • Visit the Suffolk record office (and a cemetery or two)  Spent four days altogether at the Bury St Edmunds’ record office, all very productive.  And my children can attest that we have visited several cemeteries this year.
  • Compile a research plan for the New Zealand trip in February  I did, I went, and now I’m off again next week!  So, another research plan is in the works.
  • Begin scanning certificates and documents I have in hard-copy  Have made a start on these, but mostly so I can share copies with relatives.
  • Get those England census records into Reunion  Almost all completed!  But I keep finding more family in more censuses…
  • Get those NZ electoral records into Reunion  Nope, nada.
  • File, organise, cite!  Trying, a little, mostly!

I’ve had a lot of fun writing this blog over the last 12 months – just need more time to write more often.  Especially appreciated are the relatives who have contacted me, the folks who have commented on my posts, and to everyone who’s still reading along.  Thanks!

Task list ~ Sorting Saturday

Well, we’re over halfway through December already and I haven’t even thought about a task list for the month!   So much for being more organised…

Anyway, a quick look at how I did on my November tasks:

  • outstanding emails    –  half done, need to finish the rest before Christmas
  • lecture 3 assignments   –   a miracle indeed, finished and submitted!!  Have even started on lecture 4 assignments
  • regular blogging (including finishing my West Yorkshire research trip series)    –   not done so well here, though completed my West Yorkshire posts
  • filing and inputting data for maternal side   –    ummm…
  • book tickets for WDYTYA? Live in February  –   yup indeedy, tickets bought and workshops booked.  Even have hotel booked, woohoo!

I also fitted in a day course at IHGS on The Parish and the Manor, and a day’s research up in Suffolk on the Wright side of my family.

The rest of this month will kinda be taken up with Christmas activities, but I’m also hoping to:

  • complete two lecture 4 assignments
  • undertake more Wright research up in Suffolk
  • do some prep work for my New Zealand trip in January
  • maybe some filing…?? ho ho ho

Sorting Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

November task list ~ Sorting Saturday

I am still behind in all my filing and sorting and such like, and not much, if any, progess has been made since September.

Happily though, my grandfather’s biography is finished.  Shrieks of joy and jubilation! Two weeks ago I finally submitted my Lecture 2 assignments for the course I’m doing with IHGS.  It’s taken me a year to do the first two lectures, and I have 22 more to go…. I think I may need to speed up a little.

I’m hoping a task list might help me get focussed over the next month.  There are six more weeks before the kids break up for Christmas, so I have to make the most of my kid-free time. These are my  priorities for November:

  • outstanding emails
  • lecture 3 assignments
  • regular blogging (including finishing my West Yorkshire research trip series)
  • filing and inputting data for maternal side
  • book tickets for WDYTYA? Live in February

Sorting Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Celebrating the Census at the National Archives, Kew

So much for getting back to blogging regularly, I keep getting distracted by other tasks.  One of the more pleasant ones was attending the Celebrating the Census conference at the National Archives on Saturday.

It was an all day event with two streams of presentations.  Of course, there’s always a session or two where I’m torn between two different lectures!

The ones I enjoyed the most were Sharon Hintze from Family  Search giving an entertaining overview of worldwide census returns, and Helen Kelly on Irish census returns and census substitutes that made me much more optimistic about finding my Irish folk. (And that the most important thing is not trying to trace your family back to the mists of time, but actually finding the place, the land where your ancestors trod.)

Dee Williams from ScotlandsPeople gave a great background of, and searching tips for, the Scottish censuses, and TNA’s Mark Pearsall highlighted their pre-1841 censuses and listings.  Humphrey Southall (University of Portsmouth) gave a geographer’s view of the censuses and showed us their wonderful website of historic geographical information, A Vision of Britain through Time: “A vision of Britain between 1801 and 2001. Including maps, statistical trends and historical descriptions.”  Go check it out.

One of the nice things about events like this, is that you get to meet like-minded people.   Thanks to everyone at TNA for a fantastic day!

National Coal Mining Museum, Yorkshire ~ Follow Friday

My 3 x great grandfather, Henry Nunns, was a coal miner, and his father and brothers worked in the mines as well. One of the highlights of my recent Yorkshire trip was visiting the National Coal Mining Museum near Wakefield, to find out what Henry’s working life might have been like.  If your ancestors had any connection with coal mining, this is a fantastic place to visit.  What’s more, it’s free!

I’d recently watched a documentary on child labour, The Children Who Built Victorian Britain, so I had a small idea of what coal mining was about, but I really wanted to find out more – and especially, to go down a coal mine.

Get kitted out with your miner’s helmet and battery lamp then step into the cage and descend 140m underground to discover the amazing sotry of mining through the ages.  Led by ex-miners, these hugely popular tours will give you a vivid insight into the dangers and hardships faced by the men, women and children who toiled deep below the ground.
– National Coal Mining Museum brochure

Now, I’m quite claustrophobic, and I was very nervous about going underground, so I managed to convince my seven year old son to go with me.  (I bribed him with the carrot of getting an awesome ‘Extreme Reading’ photo opportunity for a school competition when we were down in the mine.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t realised that cameras and phones were banned.  Ummm, sorry kid!)  I checked beforehand to see if there were any parts of the tour that involved crawling and the like, and I was assured that any crawling bits were optional and “for the kids”.   In any event, I was fine, and the tour was fantastic!  We were first shown an area of the pit from the 1820s, and then were slowly taken down all manner of tunnels and ‘roadways’.  Our guide, an ex-miner, gave an illuminating picture of what life was like for miners over the last two centuries.

The tour takes 90 minutes, and thankfully there was enough above ground to keep my hubby and the two younger kids amused while #1 son and I took the tour.  (Children under five aren’t permitted on the tour.)  It’s a good idea to wear decent walking shoes, and a jacket or jumper, as it gets a little chilly underground.

Young miner, extreme reader

Young miner, not so extreme reader

Unfortunately I didn’t get much time to check out everything above ground, but there are historic colliery buildings, collections detailing mining history, displays of mining memorabilia, a library, nature trail, retired pit ponies, plus a shop, small children’s indoor playroom, cafe and picnic area.

I did get to buy a book which our guide had recommended, and to which I also give a big thumbs up – Victoria’s Children of the Dark by Alan Gallop.  It tells the story of the children who worked in the mines in the early 19th century, and recreates the events surrounding the 1838 Husker Pit disaster at Silkstone, Yorkshire.  Definitely a fascinating read after being down a mine and seeing the actual working conditions.

National Coal Mining Museum for England
Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Overton
Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 4RH
tel: +44 1924 848806
www: www.ncm.org.uk

Follow Friday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

A Day in Dublin

I was in Dublin visiting friends over the weekend, and because of the Bank Holiday in the UK, had decided to stay until the Monday and grab some precious research time – and my first foray into records there.

I had an early start, as I was driving into Dublin from Co Wicklow, but traffic was definitely not as bad as it was a few years ago.  First task was parking the car, and I’d chosen the parking building off Trinity Street, despite it being horrendously expensive, as it was near to my last stop of the day.

And so, onto Lombard Street and Joyce House, where I hoped to pick up the marriage certificate of Mary Jane Clark and her first husband.  After a short wait, I was told at the counter that they only dealt with certificates for marriages after 1920, and directed me to Navan (where the marriage took place) and the GRO in Roscommon.  Neither place was on my itinerary for that day!  I hurried over the river to the Irish Life Centre in Lower Abbey Street and the GRO Research facility there, where I filled out the appropriate form, paid €4 and waited.  I was warned it would take approximately 20 minutes, and I was thinking I should have brought a book with me, but in the end it was probably only ten minutes and then I was on my way.

Just across the courtyard, in Block 2 of the Irish Life Centre, is the Valuation Office.  It was very quiet in there, no waiting at all, and after giving a staff member the name of the townland I was interested in, relevant Revision books (or ‘Cancelled Land Books’) then came out.  After Griffith’s Valuation,  the revision books show the change in ownership and occupancy, as well as size and value, of a piece of land over the years.  Changes were recorded in different coloured ink, depending on the year, which makes it more useful to view the original books in colour, rather than in black and white on microfilm at an LDS centre.  The books themselves go from around 1859, essentially a copy of the Valuation, up until 1977.  (Thanks to Donna Moughty and her blog post that alerted me to this valuable resource!) Self-service full-colour A3 copying is available, at a cost of €1 a sheet, and it took almost no time to copy the fifteen pages I wanted.

Next stop: the National Library in Kildare Street.  I stowed my bag and coat in a free locker, and set off upstairs to the Main Reading Room to get a reader’s card.  To view the church records I wanted, it didn’t look like I needed one, but they’re valid for three years, so it was good to get it for later research.  I had brought along some passport-size photos, but they weren’t required as they take your photo there.  Once I’d been issued with my card, I headed back downstairs to the Genealogical Service room with a helpful staff member, who showed me where the church records on microfilm were kept and set me up with a microfilm reader in a separate room.  Once I found a record, I had to take the film back to the Genealogical Service room to wait for a reader connected to a scanner.  I also had to buy a printer card (€1) from the shop to pay for any copies I wanted. Unfortunately, when I came to print the first record I had found, the scanner machine failed to work.  Which meant a 20 minute wait for the only other machine in the room.  (I felt sorry for the main staff member in the room – very overworked, and running around doing an amazing job trying to help everyone as quickly as she could.)  After finally being able to print the record, my time was up – I had just enough time to grab a very quick cuppa with a friend before heading off to the airport.

Hitting the books ~ Sorting Saturday

I had a couple of kid-free hours today, so I could tackle some assignment work.  This current block of assignments are all focussed on family records, and I’m currently drafting an appraisal of the records I have in my possession, and how they’ve helped (or hindered) me in my research.  I also did a little work on the third assignment – my grandfather’s biography – adding some more information to the timeline I’ve created, and making notes where more research is required.  I need to incorporate significant historical events into the biography, and found some great timelines for New Zealand history online.  Hopefully I may also be able to source some New Zealand history books through my local library, otherwise I’m kinda relying on the internet.

I had great plans to do more organising of my Stuff today, but that fell by the wayside.  I’m motivated more to start planning a research trip to Yorkshire in the summer.  With three young kids in tow, it will be “interesting”.

On Monday, I’m hoping to visit the London Family History Centre if I can get myself sorted with a research plan before then.   It requires a bit of a search through their catalogue to see what records they have that might be useful – I know they have Casey’s O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland on microfilm, for example, which may help me greatly with my Co. Kerry ancestors.

Stuff and censuses ~ Sorting Saturday

Some of the blog posts I’ve been reading lately have inspired me to start tackling some of my stuff that’s Not Been Dealt With. For instance, while writing yesterday’s post I realised most of the census records I have collected are just images on my computer, a few have been transcribed, none have been printed out, and only a couple have made it into my Reunion family file.

What to do? I wonder what everyone else does?

This afternoon I have been printing off census images, then transcribing the information onto blank UK census sheets from Ancestry. I’ve also noted down any extra citation information like date accessed and GSU roll. Once done, I place both pages back to back in a clear punch pocket and file away in my surname ring binders. This is going to take some time, but I figure if I do a bit every Saturday, it’ll get completed eventually. And then there’s adding all the information into Reunion as well, which I probably need to do as I go, or it will become a nightmare job!

Two books I had requested from the library turned up this week – more background reading for my course work: The Female Line – Researching your Female Ancestors by Margaret Ward, and Family Photographs & How to Date Them by Jayne Shrimpton. I met Jayne at Who Do You Think You Are? Live back in February and she dated a photograph for me, so I’m looking forward to reading about how she does it.

And in other news, I passed my first two assignments! (I’m studying towards the Higher Certificate in Genealogy with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies). I received a B+ for my autobiography and an A- for my Seize Quartiers (drop-line pedigree chart up to my 16 great great grandparents). It was great to get the comments back before I finish my next lot of assignments. I’m currently working on my paternal grandfather’s biography, need to get cracking on that.

Sorting Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Not very ~ Sorting Saturday

I am not very sorted.  Genealogically-wise, I don’t have huge amounts of family ephemera to store, but I have recently amassed a fair amount of research that has Not Been Dealt With.

There’s all those wills and letters of administration I photographed at Wellington Archives Office when I was in New Zealand, plus all the photos I need to edit and put online for family to help identify.  And not to mention all the little notes I’ve written in my A5 project book that need adding into Reunion.

My latest “discovery” is the New Zealand Electoral Rolls on Ancestry, which I now have access to since upgrading my subscription.  Wow!  Initially I was focussing on my grandfather (for my assignment) but I keep coming up with other ancestors I want to track down.  While not as informative as a census record (only adults over 18 are listed), the rolls were compiled every three years, giving you a much better chance of tracking your relatives as they moved about.  Not all the rolls are indexed, but as long as you have an idea of where your relative is living, you can search for them by browsing in the relevant electorate(s).  Having said that, I have yet to find my grandfather in 1931.

So lots to do, and what do I end up doing today?  Reading a book that arrived in the post – Settlers: New Zealand Immigrants from England, Ireland & Scotland 1800 – 1945 by Jock Phillips and Terry Hearn.   Of course the first thing I did when I got it was check the index for names of any of my ancestors – no luck there, but so far the book is proving to be a very good distraction from other more mundane tasks such as filing and organising stuff that’s NBDW.  Oops.

Sorting Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

At last!

Finally I have submitted the first assignments for my course!  Knuckled down this week and got them finished and sent off yesterday.  So I kinda missed my self-imposed deadline of Monday, but at least they are done. ( I’m doing the Higher Certificate in Genealogy by correspondence with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury.) And I’ve already downloaded and read the next lecture and started some prep work for the next three assignments, one of which is the biography of a grandparent.  I’m looking foward to this as it sounds like fun, and I shall be grilling my father and his siblings for information about my paternal grandfather.  It would be a great exercise to do for my other grandparents as well, so might think of tackling them later on in the year.

It took me six months to complete that first lecture and its assignments – yikes!  Am aiming to finish this next one within six weeks, and plan to schedule set times during the week for study time.  Of course, my schedule will be all out the window come Easter school holidays, but hopefully I’ll have made a good start by then.

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