Courses house history

What have I learned in June?

By 31st May my pass/fail assignments for the first module of the Strathclyde Post Graduate Certificate were out of the way and I focussed on all important Assessment 1. This consisted of a selection of census, birth, marriage, death and baptism records to be entered into Family Tree Maker to create various charts and reports. I had learned a lot from the similar 2nd assignment and I’m delighted to have scored 87% (Excellent) on the Assessment. I’m finished with the Strathclyde course until October now, but will continue reading from the reading lists as and when I have time. I am looking forward to having a bit more time for researching my own family tree.

I have begun the Pharos Intermediate Certificate which consists of 10 assessed modules. The modules can be taken in any order and I have begun with Alec Tritton’s course in employment records, so far we have learned about “the professions” and the merchant navy. This week is all about Government and Crown employees.

I am co-hosting a course in Irish Ancestors & Irish Lives for the Society of Genealogists, while I don’t have any Irish ancestry I feel having an overview of the records available will be helpful when researching for other people

June has also seen the FamilyTree House History summer series of lectures from which I have learned sufficient to continue researching both my own home and one or two others that I am looking into. On 19th June I enjoyed the Online Family History Show, and made time to catch up with the lectures I had to miss over the following few days. The following weekend was the Genealogy Show, but I was suffering the after effects of my second COVID jab and need to go back and listen to the talks.

I am starting to try to put together a business plan, in part because I would like to become an AGRA associate.

Course/WebinarSpeaker(s)OrganiserMy reflections
2 June
Irish Ancestors & Irish Lives
Session 1 – Introductory sweep of history / Census Records
Jill Williams & Rosalind McCutcheonSociety of GenealogistsI learned a lot, starting with the geographic structure of Ireland, beginning with townlands, which form parishes, counties etc. It is so sad that so many census records were destroyed, both deliberately and accidently. There are however alternatives, and those census records that do survive are often more useful than the English and Welsh versions.
3 June
A Virtual View: Online Sources
Cathy Soughton & Karen AverbyFamilyTreeA rapid view of various online sources for both information and pictures to be used in house history. I have bookmarked plenty of sites to come back to.
5 June
What Makes a Marriage ? – Rules & Records
Anthony MarrSociety of Genealogists This was a fascinating talk, from a former deputy registrar. He covered everything from the recent changes to marriage registration going back through the history of registration. We learned about what makes a valid marriage, and the pitfalls of believing everything written on a marriage certificate. Anthony mentioned that until relatively recently it was legal for a girl to marry from the age of 12 and boys from 13, but he had never seen a marriage certificate which gave an age of 12, 13, 14 or 15. I was quite pleased to be able to offer an example. See below.
9 June
Irish Ancestors & Irish Lives
Session 2 – Registry of Deeds / Newspapers
Jill Williams & Rosalind McCutcheon Society of Genealogists Wow! Another whistle stop tour through Irish records. A great tip for newspapers was to check free newspaper websites such as the Welsh National library collection, websites in the USA and overseas as many articles were copied into other newspapers for the Irish diaspora. The registry of deeds is a treasure trove of information and well worth exploring.
10 June
The Interwar House: From Tenant to Home Owner
Prof Deborah Sugg RyanFamilyTreeA wonderful summary of houses in the interwar period. Deborah provided some great resources for finding out more. Also pointing out that real homes weren’t show homes and would have many items from much earlier periods.
12 June
Keeping up to Date: Family History on the Internet
Ian WallerSociety of Genealogists Ian made a point that during the talk more data would be added to the internet. He also highlighted a few specific websites of use to family historians.
14 June
Getting Started: Website building 101
WordPressThis was a useful session to learn more about how to make the most of my WordPress site. I’ll be making a few changes to my blog here once I have digested everything.
16 June
Lunchtime Chat: Researching County Records at a Distance
Else ChurchillSociety of Genealogists These sessions are as much about socialising and “meeting” like minded people as they are learning. However, it was a useful session and I have found several new places to look online before needing to travel to an archive office.
16 June
Irish Ancestors & Irish Lives
Session 3 – 17th Century / Griffiths Valuation
Jill Williams & Rosalind McCutcheon Society of Genealogists The Griffiths Valuation appears to be a very useful resource for early Irish genealogy. Definitely one to be used more often.
17 June
How to Draw a Pedigree Using PowerPoint – Basic Demonstration 
Les MitchinsonThe Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical StudiesI had no idea that PowerPoint could be used this way. I’ll definitely be practising this before I join the Advanced session in a couple of weeks.
19 June
Using Wills and Administrations in Family History
Gill BlanchardThe Family History Show, OnlineA great reminder of how useful wills can be, and where to obtain them. Gill also added that Administrations can give important clues to family history even if there is much less detail than in a will.
19 June
The Basics of French Parish and Civil Registrations and Where to Find Them Online
Anne Morddel Society of Genealogists A thoroughly interesting talk. I was left wishing that I had some French ancestry to research, maybe one day for a client.
19 June
Solving Genealogical Puzzles with DNA
Donna RutherfordThe Family History Show, Online A great overview and reminder of how to solve genealogical problems, whether a foundling, adoption, or unexpected matches. Very useful.
19 June
Hidden in the small Print
Mia BennettThe Family History Show, Online Some great advice here, including to always look at original records not just transcriptions. Lots of details are often left out of transcriptions. Also looking at the neighbours on census returns, or other baptisms, weddings and burials that happened on the same day or close by can give clues to family research. Margin notes are often not transcribed and give useful family history information. Another suggestion was to always read the enumerators front page on census returns, it can give information about the area our ancestors lived and add colour to their day to day lives. Looking at census records and directories can suggest where our ancestors shopped for example.
23 June
Irish Ancestors & Irish Lives
Session 4 – 19th Century / Irish Poor in Britain
Jill Williams & Rosalind McCutcheon Society of Genealogists The Irish really do seem to have been treated badly by the UK Government even when they were p the same country.
26 June
Understanding and Using the 1939 Register
John Hanson Society of Genealogists Another really useful talk. I didn’t know that the different coloured inks on the corrections identified when they were made.
29 June
How to Draw a Pedigree Using PowerPoint – Advanced Demonstration 
Les Mitchinson The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies A really clear explanation of how to draw a well structured pedigree.
30 June
Irish Ancestors & Irish Lives
Session 5 – Emigration & Diaspora
Jill Williams & Rosalind McCutcheon Society of Genealogists The Irish having emigrated so much more than many other nationalities means that information can be found around the world, even about those that stayed at home.
Marriage certificate of my 3rd great grandparents. Marriages (CR) Duffield, RD Belper, Derbys[hire]. 18 April 1864. Samuel GREEN and Alice GREEN. Vol 7b p. 664.

Courses house history

What have I learned in May?

I have attended a number of courses, as well as progressing in the Strathclyde Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies.

I began the Certificate course on 9th April, Module 1 is all about Professional Practice and Methodologies. We were thrown straight into thinking about ethics in genealogy. This is complicated further by the development of DNA testing which can reveal family secrets more quickly and more conclusively than paper based trails ever could. I am also having to consider how clients might react to learning that their ancestors were criminals or slave owners, or how they might feel about unknown living relatives. I am rapidly concluding that a conversation needs to take place before any research about these kinds of things. Of course, reactions are likely to be very different for relatives that a client remembers to more distant relatives. When it is not in living memory discovering something salacious can be rather more like reading the gossip columns, but scandal affecting a beloved grandparent is more likely to be upsetting.

I have also been learning and reading about Professional Practice and Methodologies, everything from considering GDPR and paying taxes on my profits to what should be included in a client report. I have had a lot to learn in getting my head around Family Tree Maker, the university’s preferred software, and in correctly and accurately referencing my reading and sources. My reading pile looks rather daunting and that is without the books downloaded to my Kindle or the online articles!

I am delighted to have a got my hands on a copy of The Parish Chest by W E Tate. It is out of print and most genealogists will refer to their copy regularly. My copy is an old library copy, sold to me by a former student.

I had a learning experience with my second assignment for Module 1 of the Postgrad Certificate. I have only every recorded deaths when I knew when or where they happened, but Strathclyde expect the death date to be completed with details of after the last date the person was known to be alive. This does make a lot of sense for reporting and producing charts, and something I will certainly be doing when working on other people’s family histories from now on.

Course/WebinarSpeaker(s)OrganiserMy reflections
24 April
How to Catch (a Killer) An Ancestor with DNA!
Diahan Southard & Nathan Dylan GoodwinThis was a fun session based on Nathan’s fictional genealogy books. I am yet to read The Chester Creek Murders but I am looking forward to it after reading several of his earlier Forensic Genealogist series. We joined the fictional genetic genealogy team of The Chester Creek Murders, as they chased a criminal using his DNA matches. We learned some DNA sleuthing strategies to help track down elusive ancestors.
6 May
Finding Death & Burial Records in the United States
Dave Mc DonaldSociety of Genealogists (SOG)My first time co-hosting a Zoom meeting for the Society of Genealogists and I think I did OK. No one was left in the waiting room for too long. I was concentrating on my co-hosting duties so did not get the full benefit of the talk. US records civil records are harder to find because each state does their own thing. The only national database is the social security list. I have several collateral relatives who emigrated tot he USA and so I will need to return to the notes from this session in order to track them down.
12 May
Reaching out to Family Online & Learning more about the Lost Cousins website and newsletter
Peter CalverSOGI did not know about the Lost Cousins website until this course. What a fantastic idea. I have been busy adding my ancestors to it and would recommend that all genealogists do so. Identifying our ancestors on the 1881 census allows us to find and collaborate with distant cousins who are researching the same people.
12 May
Using atDNA in cases of unknown parentage
Dr Maurice GleesonUniversity of StrathclydeI need to listen again to this, it was thankfully recorded. There was a lot to take in, but some very helpful tips for triangulating DNA matches to find unknown parents and break down brick walls.
13 May
Finding Parish Registers in England and Wales
Else ChurchillSOGAs always Else had a lot of information to pass on, not only about how to find locate parish registers but what to do if they are missing and how to make the most out of them.
15 May
The House History Show
Karen Averby, Gill Blanchard, Dr Nick Barratt, Keith Searle, Ellen Leslie & Cathy Soughton FamilyTreeThis was a great day with a lot to take in. I have bookmarked plenty of webpages to come back to when I have more time, and jotted down questions for my sister about potential clues around her house.
20 May
Getting the Most from Certificates and other Documents
Doreen HopwoodSOGI was co-hosting this and had to help out with some technical difficulties so couldn’t get as much from it as I would have l liked. The notes are comprehensive though and have been added to my reading pile. The main thrust was to analyse every detail on every document. Who were the witnesses, what addresses are mentioned etc.
20 May
Back to the Land: The National Farm Survey, Inland Revenue Survey, Tithe and Enclosure Records
Gill Blanchard FamilyTree This was another very enjoyable talk. I can’t wait to start exploring the various maps to see what I can find out about my sister’s house. We did try to look at tithe maps previously but I think we confused ourselves.
26 May
Getting the Most from the Society Catalogue (SOGCAT)
Else ChurchillSOGI have attended a similar talk previously, but I am amazed at just how much there is available in the Society of Genealogists Library. It is exciting that there is more and more available online, though I am still looking forward to the day I can get to London.
27 May
Who’s Been Living in My House
Ellen LeslieFamilyTreeI had to miss this talk, but it was recorded and as soon as I find a spare moment I will be watching.