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What have I learned in October?

First a flashback to the Pharos Wills and Administrations course I took in September I am very proud to say that I gained another Distinction. So that is three out of the ten courses I need to pass for the Family History Skills and Strategies (FHSS) Intermediate Certificate completed.

I took a break from Pharos in October, mainly due to returning to work part-time with Ffestiniog Travel, and because term restarted for the Strathclyde Post Graduate Certificate. However, I have just begun Nonconformity – Its Records and History 1600 – 1950 which I am hoping will help me to learn more about my maternal grandfather’s Methodist family.

This term the Strathclyde Certificate has focused on Church and Civil records. So I have been learning a lot about the history of the census amongst other things. Learning that the oh so useful for genealogists “fertility questions” on the 1911 census had it’s origins in a belief in eugenics[1] sent a shiver down my spine. I have been learning about the differences in marriage law between England and Wales, and Scotland, and how cultural differences affected civil registration.

I have continued to host 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. We just have one class left.

I re-read Hiding the Past (The Forensic Genealogist #1) by
Nathan Dylan Goodwin for the Society of Genealogists book club. I’m just finishing Ian Mortimer’s The Time Travellers Guide to Regency Britian before he is the guest speaker for the final class of the Long 18th Century course.

2 October
Getting the Best from the SoG Online Collections
Else Churchill Society of Genealogists There have been some changes to the website so this was a very useful review of the many many resources available on the SOG website. There are two different collections which need searching separately. A very useful session.
5 October
Using the FamilySearch Catalog
FamilySearchI missed the beginning of this as I was at work. However it was a useful session and I will be able to search more effectively in future. I’d like to see it again at a better time though.
6 October
Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century
Court Records – Criminal Assizes, Old Baily. Common Law, Equity and Civil Courts.
Else Churchill Society of Genealogists Else took us through courts and their records in a blizzard of information. I definitely need to watch this one again, probably more than once.
9 October
A Stitch in Time, A Social History of Seamstresses,   Dressmakers and Tailors
Adele EmmSociety of Genealogists A fascinating, and at time heart rendering, account of he lives of those who made clothes. The slop shops or sweat shops were truly horrendous places to work. My 2 x great aunt who was a self employed dressmaker in the late 19th century would have had a much easier time of it.
9 October
Researching your Coal Miner Family History in England
Jill Clapham of the National Coal Mining MuseumSociety of Genealogists While individual coal miners might not feature very much in the records, unless they were involved in an accident, there is still plenty that can be learned about their life and work.
12 October
Using the FamilySearch Wiki
Danielle Batson, AG. MLS.FamilySearchA useful session which gave me a few tips I hadn’t already picked up. I didn’t realise how spoilt we are in Britain with the parish pages.
13 October
Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century
A Country at War Militias, Volunteers and Fencible
Else ChurchillSociety of GenealogistsWell, I now know what a fencible is, and it was fun to see Pride and Prejudice mentioned in the context of genealogy. Wickham was in the militia while Colonel Fitzwilliam was in the regulars.
20 October
Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century
Monuments and Memorials, Graveyard Inscriptions, etc
Else ChurchillSociety of GenealogistsI didn’t realise I had so much to learn about monuments and other burial records. So many are disappearing fast and we should be very grateful to everyone who has worked over the years to transcribe them.
23 October
Scottish Indexes Conference XIII
Eilir DanielsScottish IndexesI had a lot of other things going on today so only listened to Eilir Daniels talking about how to trace Welsh Ancestors. I now have a much better understanding of Welsh patronymics, and non-conformity.
27 October
Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century
Rise of the Professional Classes, Universities and Schools, etc
Else ChurchillSociety of GenealogistsYet another fascinating talk about which has left me feeling that I’m missing out on quite a lot of records. I need to spend more time investigating my ancestors education, especially those who worked in the professions.
30 October
Careers in Genealogy: Want to be a Professional?
Antony MarrSociety of Genealogists One or two people admitted at the end of the morning that the session had put them off considering becoming a professional genealogist, but I found the opposite. The course was inspiring with plenty to consider. It has strengthened my resolve to gain the qualifications that I am working on, and then to launch a business. It is very exciting!

[1] Jolly, Emma. (2013) Tracing your ancestors using the census: a guide for family historians. Pen & Sword. https://www.vlebooks.com/Vleweb/Product/Index/1410049?page=0 : accessed 6 September 2021. p140

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