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What have I learned in August?

I completed my first course with Pharos, Employment Records. We learned about the kinds of records which exist for many different occupations, where to find them and how they may be of use in family history. My final assignment was about blacksmiths and you may already have read my blog about Thomas Hopkinson, father and son, blacksmiths.

I then started Recording the Poor – From Parish to Workhouse and Beyond. We thought about why a higher percentage of the population was poor in previous generations, and how we would know our ancestors were poor. We looked at using newspapers to learn about pauper ancestors. I’ve much more understanding of the old and new poor laws now and the records that they generated.

I took a bit of a break from reading, and I am still reading Ian Mortimer’s “The Time Traveller’s Guide to Regency Britain.” I am also working my way through “Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives: The Website and Beyond” by Amanda Bevan.

As light relief I enjoyed In the Blood (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery Book 1) by Steve Robinson. It made a change from Jane Austen fanfiction! Currently available through Kindle Unlimited, it is also an audiobook, paperback etc. The blurb on Amazon compares it to Dan Brown, Stieg Larsson and Arthur Conan Doyle, well I love the first two so worth a try? It certainly was … I finished it at 2am.

I have co-hosted the Society of Genealogists “Tracing your London Ancestors” course, which continued from July. Very few of my ancestors came from London, but so many people visited or lived there for a while that this course feels very useful.

Course/WebinarSpeaker(s)OrganiserMy reflections
1 August
My Ancestor was a Blacksmith
Ian WallerSociety of Genealogists This talk has been very useful for my Pharos Employment Records assignment. It has pointed me in the direction of other records that I might not have thought about otherwise, such as checking whether my ancestors smithy was adjacent to the coaching inn. Ian suggests looking at Quarter Session records and title deeds in the local archives to find out more about blacksmith ancestors.
4 August
Lunchtime Chat – Ephemera- How do Transitory Objects offer Insight into your Ancestor’s Lives?
Else ChurchillSociety of Genealogists Some people are lucky to have received letters, birthday books and other documents handed down from previous generations. Others have nothing, or so much that they don’t know where to start. One attendee had written her family history in 100 objects. For each object she wrote about the family member or ancestor associated with it. Objects chosen ranged from jewellery to pictures to furniture. What a fabulous idea.
4 August
Burying the Body in England
Helen SmithLegacy Family Tree WebinarsHelen suggested some useful places to look to find out where our ancestors might have been buried. I didn’t know that in many parts of the world the burial location is listed on the death certificate.
5 August
Latin for Family Historians
Caroline GurneySociety of Genealogists Following on from last months class on palaeography this was incredibly helpful and gave me confidence that I will be able, if slowly, to work out Latin documents that I come across in my research.
7 August
Tracing your London Ancestors Course class 6: Finding London Burials
John HansonSociety of Genealogists This followed on very neatly from Helen Smith’s talk a few days ago. There are many many indexes which can help to trace where London ancestors were buried.
11 August
Ship to Shore
Janet Few Society of Genealogists Living close to the sea shaped our ancestors lives. It was often a dangerous and uncertain life, more so than inland lives. There are some specific records that can be used, perhaps the deaths at sea registers need to be considered more often. I’m looking forward to learning more about the sea men that I find in the Pentrefelin records.
14 August
Tracing your London Ancestors Course class 7: London Sources in the SoG Library
Else Churchill Society of Genealogists I learned that the Society was originally focussed solely on London and only later became a national organisation. It was not a surprise to learn that the library holds many and various records of Londoners.
17 August
Quick Start: Blogging
WordPressI still find the process of blogging and getting it to look how I would like difficult. I learned a little more about how to structure my blog site but several of my questions were directed to the forums rather than answered.
18 August
Standards for Genealogical Documentation
Tom Jones, Ph.D., CGLegacy Family Tree Webinars A very helpful presentation which mainly covered the importance of referencing and how to craft a citation.
18 August
Using Zotero to Organize and Annotate Your Family History Research
Colleen Robledo Greene, MLISLegacy Family Tree Webinars I had begun using Zotero as it had been recommended by the tutors at Strathclyde University, but this gave me much more insight into how to use it to keep track of my sources and books. I’ll be spending some time organising soon.
30 August
The Role of the Victorian Head Gardener
Judith HillSociety of Genealogists A fascinating look into gardeners, the progression from a 12 year old garden boy, through to head gardener. I suspect my great great grandfather Job didn’t work at a “big house” so this wasn’t quite what he was doing. My first presentation where I added notes straight into Zotero.

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