Friday, 30 March 2007

Avert Financial Ruination

If you feel you must spend time tracing your genetical roots (and I would advise caution at every step), then help is at hand for those who have been brought to the brink of bankruptcy by their endless quest for certificates, census images and shipping logs.

I have, alas, seen many families ruined by this same, insistent desire; children going shoeless to school merely because their mother felt the need to have 'just one more death certificate'.

Someone calling themselves Clear Digital Media have highlighted all the information on that can be found free of charge.

I hesitate to encourage you - but if you are driven to spend your every free moment in the pursuit of dead relatives, you may well find some of them here.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007



An independent assessment of on-line resources for genealogists who have been unable to shake off the heavy coat of their British ancestors is now very much available. This long-overdue, impartial view of the good, the bad and the ugly, makes a refreshing change from the marketing hype that sometimes attends genealogical sites.

In endorsing this site, you will understand that I am in no way encouraging the unhealthy globalisation of family history, which has the potential to pull the addicted further from their current family even as it drags them towards their past. You have been warned!

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

More grist to the mill...

If you thought you were safe now that the Gene Detective series has finished on BBC TV, with quite a while until the celeb-fest of the next series of Who Do You Think You Are?, then you were wrong.

News just in to GENanon tells of a new series on Radio 4, called Tracing Your Roots. I listened to the first show via the admirable 'listen again' facility offered by the BBC website. It sounded good to me: down-to-earth, honest-to-goodness family history as it was meant to be. Not a whiff of royal blood to be had from start to finish.

But it's evidence (if more were needed) that the grip which genealogy has on the zeitgeist is growing yet stronger. How long before UKTV launches a specialist Family History channel?

Monday, 12 March 2007

The Blurredy Thing!

A Doctor writes:

Sooner or later, genealogists will encounter the medical condition which we doctors have come to know as Microfilm Blur ('krə-fĭlm'
The condition is often transient, but is noted for its severity on those occasions when it does manifest itself.
Typically, the subject will have spent a minimum of 3 hours in a County Records Office. In some cases (and this has been reported from patients in the North Yorkshire area, in particular), the surroundings in which they find themselves will be so cold as to lead to the onset of shivering and a hacking cough. Combined with microfilm blur, such a condition can only be treated by complete bedrest. On no account must the patient be allowed to look at grainy images of parish records - even if these are high-quality photocopies, taken with a view to looking at them later.
Thankfully, symptoms have been shown to ease after a short period. Alcohol may help.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Alas, dear Garrick...

I knew him well.

I only ever met Garrick Webster once. But he struck me as exactly the kind of guy you'd want to edit your favourite family history magazine.

Garrick has, apparently, been the editor of Your Family Tree magazine for four years. Since he first took over the helm, assembling beside him a team of staff who seemed genuinely interested in family history, the magazine has gone from strength to strength.

I haven't a clue where Garrick's moving onto. For all I know, he's using his 'transferable skills' to edit Cross-Stitch Monthly. But I doubt it. His evident love of family history leads me to think there'll still be a history theme to whatever magazine he goes on to edit.

Let's hope he brings the same skills and abilities that have made Your Family Tree the UK's favourite family history magazine to bear in his new job.

Good luck, Garrick! Now, that's the kind of name I'd love to name a theatre after!



Thursday, 1 March 2007

Biting My Nails

Having spent two days interrogating the IGI for Dade records, in preparation for a visit to the North Yorkshire Records Office in Northallerton tomorrow, you can only imagine my despair when, on calling them today to book a microfilm reader, I was told that they were closed this week for 'refurbishment and stock-taking'.

I trust, while they are 'taking stock', they come across my ancestor William Clark, a wheel-wright of Skipton-on-Swale, near Topcliffe, North Yorkshire. If they don't, and he's been stolen, then I think I should be told.