What have I learned in November?

I had a break from Pharos in October, but in November studied Nonconformity – Its Records and History 1600 – 1950 and Professional Genealogist – Become One, Become A Better One. I also squeezed in the Really Useful Family History Show one weekend, followed by a 2 day virtual event at Strathclyde University. So it has been a very busy month alongside working on the second term of the Strathclyde Certificate and working half time for Ffestiniog Travel.

I have struggled somewhat with what to let go, should it be housework, Freegle, time for myself, walking, blogging, sleep or genealogy. There was no time at all for research into my own family history. I cut back on my social media time, and asked Tony to take on a bit more of the housework. I did keep up walking, but failed to complete the distance for a week long sponsored walk. I spent sometime creating filters for Freegle emails so that I could spend a little time each day focussing on Freegle rather than reading and acting on emails as they arrived.

I have continued to learn about civil and church registration in England, Wales and Scotland through Module 2 of the Strathclyde Certificate. Despite having used the English and Welsh records for many years there have been some surprises through the course, particularly in changes to regulations over the years. Scottish records tend to contain far more information than English and Welsh records. I have passed the first assignment on this Module and have handed in the second. I’m working now on the Module Assessment which is a pedigree drawing exercise, we were given one individual and have been asked to draw a 4 generation pedigree with all the usual basic facts (birth, baptism, marriage, death, burial, probate, census returns and occupations) for each of them, plus 20 additional facts, and 3 pictures. I’ve found some school records and university alumni records as some of my additional facts but I have more to do on this.

I found Janet Few’s talk about the next generation of genealogists fascinating and an area of discussion I hope to join with over the coming months. This was followed up by an open forum a bit later in the month and another discussion about #genealogyforall. Very interesting and there definitely seems to be a movement away from regarding genealogy as a hobby for retirees.

I read The Jeopardy of Every Wind:The Biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey by Sue Paul for the Society of Genealogists book club as well as continuing my way through Steve Robinson’s Jefferson Tayte series which are rather more gruesome than my usual choice of novel but I’ve enjoyed them.

I have to say, I’m starting December exhausted!

Meetings, Webinars, Courses etc this month:
3 November
Researching your Ancestors in England in the Long 18th Century
Time Travelers Guide to Regency England
Ian MortimerSociety of Genealogists The final class of this course. Ian Mortimer was a wonderful speaker. Witty, interesting and quirky. He talked us through an A-Z of life in the Regency period. I loved his suggestion of obtaining some coins from any period in history which one is studying. Handling something that your ancestor used on a daily basis forms a connection to them. Coins passed through many hundreds of hands.
6 November
Marriage Law for Genealogists (England and Wales)
Rebecca ProbertSociety of Genealogists This was a very helpful talk through Rebecca’s book which I had read only a week or two ago, as well as a look at divorce, bigamy and so on, all of which will feature in a new book. I was a very useful session and highly relevant for my degree course.
12 November
Genealogy: the Next Generation
Janet FewFHF Really Useful ShowThis was a wonderful talk, full of very good points about bringing the next generation into genealogy. Societies are ageing and not appealing to anyone very much under retirement age. There are conversations beginning to happen about what should be done, clearly current efforts are not working. Janet also mentioned research I have seen briefly previously about children who grow up knowing about their family history being more secure and well balanced.
13 November
Preserving and Digitising the 1921 Census of England and Wales
Mary McKeeFHF Really Useful ShowFascinating to learn the process the 1921 Census has been through prior to us being able to access it early next year. Pins equivalent to the weight of two bowling balls were removed and well bits of tobacco and some minibeasts! It really wasn’t just shoving some documents through a photocopier! I’m very excited to see my ancestors on the 1921 census in just 2 months time.
13 November
Researching your family history: 20th century sources
Jessamy CarlsonThe National ArchivesA basic but useful overview of records for tracing family history at the National Archives.
13 November
Using Genuki
Malcolm FHF Really Useful ShowUnfortunately the technology didn’t seem to have been tested before this session, but it was very useful to see how much GENUKI has to offer. I’ve been using it for years, but there was plenty I didn’t know.
13 November
The National Burial Ground Survey Of England
Tim VineyFHF Really Useful ShowThis project which hit the media a couple of months ago looks to be very comprehensive for England, I think just the Church of England.
13 November
Palaeography and Reading Documentary Handwriting
Carol BannisterFHF Really Useful ShowContext helps! Carol told us about different transcription types. We also learned about tips and tools to help such as software. We went through some of the common contractions and other complications.
13 November
Become a house detective ā€“ Researching the History of Your Home
Stephen PoulterFHF Really Useful ShowWe were taken through how Stephen used the clues around his home to research its history. We also learned about using tithe maps, and dealing with unnumbered properties.
15 November
Using Genetic Genealogy in your research.
Donna RutherfordUniversity of Strathclyde MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic StudiesDonna explained how DNA testing works and how it can be used to aid genealogy. She used some case studies to explain how DNA has solved some difficult cases such as foundlings and adoptees. She explained that they do not always have a happy ending such as on Long Lost Families.
15 November
Wills, Probate and the Church Courts: What we can learn from them.
Laura YeomanUniversity of Strathclyde MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic StudiesLaura explained about court records that can be found at the Borthwick Institute. Many of them are incredibly useful for genealogical research.
15 November
What is the genealogical value of the late 17th century ledgers of the scrivener-banker Sir Robert
Clayton and the goldsmith-banker Sir Richard Hoare?
Will Lyon-Dalberg-ActonUniversity of Strathclyde MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic StudiesWill told us about his research recently completed for the University. It was fascinating how much information there is an less thought of source.
15 November
Save It!: Backing Up & Organizing Your Photos, Digital Files, and
Paper Piles.
LaDonna GarnerUniversity of Strathclyde MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic StudiesLaDonna had some really useful tips about backing up and organising.
15 November
Strathclyde PhD
Dr. Barbara BallUniversity of Strathclyde MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic StudiesDr Barbara was the first student to complete the PhD in History and Genealogy at Strathclyde she told us about the process she went through and provided some tips.
16 November
Cemetery and headstone/burial marker research in Ireland
Joe BuggyUniversity of Strathclyde MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic StudiesI had no idea there were so many places to search for Irish grave markers and their inscriptions. A fascinating talk.
16 November
The Jews of Scotland ā€“ a data mining exercise.
Michael TobiasUniversity of Strathclyde MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic StudiesMichael showed us how he had automated processes for gathering huge sets of data from some of the large genealogy websites and putting them into spreadsheets for comparison and processing.
16 November
How English Civil Registration actually works.
Antony MarrUniversity of Strathclyde MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic StudiesYou may have noted that I have heard Antony Marr talk about civil registration before, but he knows the topic so well that there is always something new to learn from him.
20 November
5 Killer Apps for Genealogy on the Go
Graham WalterSociety of Genealogists This was a really useful session. Graham showed us Evernote, FindAGrave, Dropbox, Microsoft To-do list and Genius Scan. I have tried Evernote previously and can see the uses but I need to try it again. I think there is quite a lot of overlap with Zotero which works well for University referencing. I’m already using FindAGrave and Dropbox, and I like ToDoist instead of the microsoft version. Genius Scan looks to be a useful addition to the apps on my phone.
25 November
The Future of Genealogy
Nick BarrettRegister of Qualified GenealogistsNick gave a very interesting talk about the directions that Genealogy could go as it becomes more and more accessible with records available online. There were some intriguing ideas around community work and supporting those with or at risk of dementia.
26 November
Birds, bats, badgers, beavers and bunnies
David Llewelyn PhillipsHeraldry SocietyI am very aware that my Post Grad course is in Genealogy, Palaeography and Heraldry. We have not covered any heraldry as yet, and my entire knowledge of the subject comes from pub quizzes and a week or two in pre-GCSE History many many years ago. Although not intended as an introduction to the subject this was very interesting and I picked up a few of the important terms – canting, crest, sable, argent, chief.
26 November
Genealogy For All
Daniel LoftusDaniel’s GenealogyA discussion about making genealogy more inclusive, whether that means getting younger people involved, addressing issues in the software we use such as forcing male/female choices, getting to meetings for those with care responsibilities, how to talk to children who aren’t from western traditional stereotypical nuclear families about family history.
27 November
Genealogy: the Next Generation
Janet FewFamily History FederationA follow up discussion about interesting younger people in genealogy.
27 November
Researching your family history: 1837-1911
Audrey CollinsThe National ArchivesThis was at the same time as the above discussion and so I will be watching the recording as soon as I’ve completed my work on Module 2.
27 November
Manorial Records and Property & Taxation Records: Sources for Researching Rich & Poor Ancestors
Caroline Gurney Society of Genealogists Caroline presented a lot of detail about how to get the most out of these sources as well as where to find them.

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