What have I learned in September?

First a flashback to the Pharos Employment Records course I took in July and August. I am very proud to say that I achieved a distinction grade. A big boost to my confidence.

I completed my second course with Pharos, Recording the Poor – from Parish to Workhouse and beyond. We learned about both the old (pre 1834) and new (post 1834) poor laws, the records they generated, and how to learn more about poor ancestors. I had not realised the prevalence of Friendly Societies and similar sorts of organisations which provided a kind of sickness and unemployment insurance. I’ve passed this course too, so that is two out of the ten courses I need to pass for the  Family History Skills and Strategies (FHSS) Intermediate Certificate completed.

I then started Wills and Administrations: The riches of probate records which I finished on 30th September. I feel much more confident looking for pre-1858 wills now and hope to find some useful information very soon. I finally understand how Death Duty Registers will help me with genealogy and I look forward to finding entries for my ancestors.

I am still working my way through “Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives: The Website and Beyond” by Amanda Bevan. I also re-read Hiding the Past (The Forensic Genealogist #1) by
Nathan Dylan Goodwin for the Society of Genealogists book club.

I have co-hosted the Society of Genealogists “Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century” course, a new 10 week course, loosely based on the shorter assessed course offered by Pharos.

I am back at work half time from 1st October so I am expecting to have less time for courses other than the work required for the Strathclyde Post Graduate Certificate next month.

Course/WebinarSpeaker(s)OrganiserMy reflections
1 September
Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century
Setting the Scene: Time-lines. Georgian life. Early Newspapers, Magazines and Periodicals
Else Churchill Society of Genealogists Time-lines are always important in genealogy. It is important to check that births, marriages, and death occur in the correct order and at plausible ages. Setting an ancestors personal time-line against the events of the time helps to understand what what going on in their life. I was surprised to find just how many newspapers are available from before 1837, and even if specific ancestors do not appear, we can learn what they were gossiping about, maybe the weather they experienced, what they might have bought from the adverts, and of course what was happening around them.
3 September
FAN Club in Action: a Simple Case Study
Geoff RasmussenLegacy Family Tree Webinars A fascinating case study in how using Friends/Family, Associates and Neighbours can enhance our family history and even break down brick walls. Names mentioned in obituaries, and newspaper accounts as well as marriage witnesses can be really useful.
4 & 5 September
Ancestor Journeys
Janet Few, Mia Bennett, Susan Swalwell, William E Cole & Nicola Waddington, Sue Paul and Nick BarrattSociety of Genealogists and the Halsted TrustA very, very useful weekend of talks. I was co-hosting for some of the talks, and really enjoyed the discussions. My main takeaway from the weekend has been how interesting it can be to research one or two ancestors in depth using any resources available. They are so many sources out there, often not available online, and not indexed that can tell us much about our ancestors work, lives and characters. My “52 Ancestors” blog posts follow this style to some extent and as travel becomes more possible I hope to explore other records more.
8 September
Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century
Parish Life. Problems and solutions with using 18th century parish records. Looking for missing baptisms and marriages, Search, strategies. The 18th Century Poor
Else Churchill Society of Genealogists Else briefly touched on the Poor Laws, which I have been learning about with Pharos too. We learned about why some birth/baptism, marriage, and death/burial records appear not be be recorded in the 18th Century and where else too look if records cannot be found in parish registers. Having been told that some household fragments exist for the 1811, 1821 and 1831 census I am very excited to find that Crich is one such place. One day I’ll get to Matlock to see if any ancestors are included.
10 September
Getting the Best out of the SoG’s NEW website
Rebecca Gregory and Else ChurchillSociety of Genealogists A very useful explanation and demonstration of how the various parts of the website work and fit together. I now understand why I have to log in several times, and I think I have found parts of the website I had not previously explored.
11 September
Getting the Best from The National Archives Website
Simon FowlerSociety of Genealogists Simon’s talk was very helpful and I learned more about how to use the search function on the website to find documents of use to my research.
15 September
Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century
Voting Rights and Responsibilities Poll Books, Jurors Lists, Borough Records, City Freemen and Associated Records
Else ChurchillSociety of GenealogistsAnother very useful session. We heard about poll books, lists of not just who could vote, but who they voted for. We learned about how the right to vote varied across the country and not to assume that poor ancestors would not have been able to vote. More and more of these records are available online.
18 September
Family Tree Maker™ Software Overview for Beginners & Refreshers

TreeVault® Cloud Services and Other New Family Tree Maker 2019 Features
Mike BollingerSociety of GenealogistsTwo talks on the same day. The morning talk covered many of the features of Family Tree Maker Software. Some, of course, I knew about through my use of the program for Strathclyde University. Other features were new to me and I look forward to trying them out.
The afternoon’s talk was focussed on new features in the upcoming release, especially developments to the back up feature TreeVault. I now know that this is much more than a back up, and will actually help with research by feeding into other websites including Ancestry, FamilySearch and so on, but also historical weather and more. Who doesn’t want to know what the weather was like on their grandparents wedding day!
22 September
Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century
Tax and Town. Directories and Almanacks, Rate Books, Land and Window Tax, Assessed Taxes, Insurance Records and Tontines
Else ChurchillSociety of GenealogistsLots of advice about using directories. I used them for the 19th Century, but not really 18th Century as yet. As well as the geographical directories listing the tradesmen, great and good in a city, there are some fascinating sounding specific directories. “A Master Key to the Rich Ladies Treasury”, written by “a younger brother” lists rich widows, while “Harris’s List of the Covent Garden Ladies” is an annual list of female sex workers, with names and what services are offered.
25 September
Breaking Down Brick Walls
Mark BayleyThe Family History Show OnlineThis was a tour of the various records available on The Genealogist website. I don’t use this site enough. The 1921 Census substitute, a compilation of electoral registers and other records sounds very useful. I need to use it more.
25 September
In Pursuit of Lots! Using Forenames to Build the Family Tree
Sue SwalwellSociety of Genealogists A fascinating insight into how an unusual forename passed down through a family can help trace a family.
25 September
Tracing Your Ancestral Home
Nick BarrattThe Family History Show OnlineI found it very interesting that houses with information about who lived in a house previously sell more quickly and sometimes for higher value. Gather clues such a title deed packages, people in the area who have stories about owners and occupiers, or local history societies with nuggets of information. Look up the various districts: parliamentary, poor law union, manor and so on. Check an aerial photography such as Googlemaps. Look at style of architecture, compare to neighbours. Lots more useful tips too.
29 September
Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century
Property and Probate. Wills and Associated Probate Records and Disputes. Deeds Registries, Manorial and Estate Records. Enclosure, Tithes and Tenants.
Else ChurchillSociety of GenealogistsA very thorough, whistle stop tour, through the various probate records. We ran out of time for the property records. It helped clarify what I have been learning this month with Pharos.

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