Category Archives: General

General posts

Using Note Apps for Genealogy

Last week I was looking at some of the “New Genealogy Blogs” highlighted by the GeneaBloggers blog.

The first post on one of the new blogs; Krista’s “The Great Ancestor Dig”, was all about how she uses the Evernote App for her genealogy research. She also linked to Colleen Greene’s website which has a series of posts about using Cover artEvernote for Genealogy. I was interested in this idea. I’ve used Evernote a little over the last couple of years, but hadn’t thought of using it particularly for genealogy before!

I have been thinking a little, recently, about upgrading my genealogy software. I currently have a very old version of Family Tree Maker. Partly with a trip to Scotland in the summer in my mind, I want something which will work on both Windows PC, and Android tablet/phone, and be accessible off-line, but which won’t automatically publish everything publicly on-line! I’ve looked at a few programs, and downloaded a couple of free trial versions. But nothing has yet struck me as being quite right!

So as a result of Krista’s blog post, I began to have a look at how I might use Evernote (or other similar note-taking apps) for this purpose. There is a wealth of material, articles, etc, out there about how people use apps like this for their genealogy. I soon found that Evernote wasn’t quite right for me, due to the use of its free account being limited to 2 devices! I might want to use it on 3 devices! But looking at the alternatives, I soon found that Evernote’s main competitor, Microsoft’s OneNote might Cover artwork for me. I would normally prefer the independent, open-source option! But the limits placed on using a free Evernote account drove me towards OneNote!

There is just as much online about people using OneNote for genealogy as there is about using Evernote. One great list of various articles is www.CyndisList.com/organizing/onenote/. I went through a number of the articles there, and decided to give OneNote a try. So I’ve just started putting some of my genealogy notes into OneNote notes.

I hunted online for any templates that I could use, to help me get started. And while I picked up a number of useful ideas (from advocates of both Apps), I didn’t find any template that I thought was quite right for me! I joined the “OneNote for Genealogy” Facebook group, hoping to find lots more ideas and advice about how to use the App. But I was disappointed by the relative lack of activity in that group!

So that means that for now, I’m starting with OneNote from scratch and trying to work out my own way of using it, incorporating some of the useful ideas that I’ve read about. How I use it will no doubt evolve and change over time, and at some point, when its more developed, I’ll try to write something more about how I use OneNote, and how I organise my genealogy notes with it.

Tagging images

Here is a useful tip which occurred to me, and I thought I would share it. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before!

Last night we had two ladies talking to my local Family History Society about their Local History projects in nearby villages, and how such projects could be helpful to people researching their family history in a location.

During the questions session at the end of the meeting, one of the ladies was demonstrating how she could find images/photos of particular people or subjects on her computer, because she had tagged her photos with the relevant names and key words. The penny dropped that I should be doing this; tagging my family history images, scans of old documents, etc.

06For a couple of years I’ve been tagging all my digital photos with useful details, subjects, names, places, etc, and I now have most of my digital photos tagged. Why haven’t I done the same thing with the old family documents, etc, that I’ve been scanning to post on to this blog? It’s something that I should be doing, which will make it much easier in future to search my computer to find images about a particular person, place, or subject.

Here’s a reasonable YouTube video that I’ve found, explaining the basics of what I’m talking about. This shows exactly the software and process that I use to tag photos. (Other methods and software are available).

The tags that I’ve used in posts onto this blog will a be useful guide as to what tags I’ll give to images that I’ve included in those posts.

Surnames of Interest – 2017

A few weekends ago I spent quite some time on FindMyPast, trying to make best use of their weekend of free access to birth, marriage, death, and census records. I posted on Facebook about it at the time. I downloaded and saved a lot of images from censuses and parish registers. But most of what I found was FindMyPast-logoonly to confirm details I already had. There were no big new finds. But there were a few small tweaks to some details that I previously had!

These “tweaks” made me look back at what I’ve previously included on the pages of aFamilyHistoryBlog, and I realised that I needed to do a big update to some of the material that I’ve shared here; to incorporate all of the new things that I’ve found over the last year or two, and an accumulation of other small tweaks. So I’ve been busy working on that over the last 2 or 3 weeks, and I’ve just finished updating the main details of my Family Trees pages.

wordle-26-2017
A cloud of all the known surnames in Matt’s direct ancestry (as of Feb. 2017).

I have also been rewriting my Surnames of Interest list, tweaking dates, adding details of some individuals with each surname, and expanding the list to include many more surnames – like those where I only know of one or two generations of the family with that surname.

You can see aFamilyHistoryBlog – SURNAMES of Interest page, or look below for a copy of my February 2017 version of the list. You might also be interested to look back to my previous “Names of Interest” posts to compare. See; January 2016, and January 2014. There will be some further refinements made the the SURNAMES page, adding hyperlinks to tagged names, etc.

Note; I have not yet touched the “locations” of interest in this Feb 2017 update. It is another thing that I need to look at!

I have also created 8 sub-pages; one for the surnames of interest in each of the 8 branches of my family tree that I present on this blog (from each of my Great Grandparents);

So here is my full SURNAMES of Interest list (Feb. 2017 version);

SURNAMES

AITKEN. [WALKER]; from Falkirk, Stirling (STI); 1700 – 1850. Jean AITKEN [v], b.cir. 1726, d. 1819, m. 1763, to Patrick MAIR, printer and publisher in Falkirk. See; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/mair-and-johnston-part1/ [FP][PP] [TBC]

ANDERSON. [WALTON]; from Inverugie, Aberdeenshire (ABD) / Durness, Sutherland (SUT); 1700 – 1900. Hughina Forbes ANDERSON [iv], b. 1796, Durness, SUT, d. 1858, Milton, Glasgow, LKS, m. 1817, in Edinburgh, MLN – to Thomas Balfour NICOLSON. See; http://bayanne.info/Shetland/getperson.php?personID=I404766&tree=ID1 . [TR] [PP]

BAKER. [ELLIOTT]; from Sampford, Essex (ESS); 1600 – 1700. Ursula Susan BAKER (Y? – Y?), m. Edward CLARENCE (1622 – 1688, Gt Sampford, ESS) [TR]

BALFOUR. [WALTON]; from Orkney (OKI); 1700 – 1850. Elizabeth BALFOUR [v], b. 1758, Kirkwall, OKI, d. ???, m. 1787, at Kirkwall, OKI – to Robert NICOLSON. See; http://bayanne.info/Shetland/getperson.php?personID=I404794&tree=ID1 . [TR] [PP] [TBC]

BARKER. [HUTCHISON]; from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1650 – 1800. Two BARKER sisters married two brothers in the OLIPHANT family (see OLIPHANT and BARKER family papers). Mary BARKER [v] (1733 – 1775), m. 1763 – to William OLIPHANT. Christian BARKER [v] (1741 – 1777), m. 1776 – to Henry OLIPHANT. [FP] [TR]

BARR. [WALTON]; Renfrewshire (REW); 1700 – 1850. Mary BARR [v] (Y? – Y?), m. James HENDERSON. Son John HENDERSON [iv], b. 1797, Houston, REW. [TR]

BARRON. (or BARON) [WALKER]; from Corstorphine, Mid Lothian (MLN); 1650 – 1800. Elizabeth BARRON [v], b. ???, d. ???, m. 1728, in Corstorphine (MLN)/Kirkliston (WLN) – to William WALKER. The BARRONs lived at “Clay-Walls” (or Kershall) near Gogar in Corstorphine parish, Mid Lothian, during the 1700s. They may be related to the BARONs of Preston (near Linlithgow), who’s details you can find HERE. [FP][PCR]

BASSETT. [EYRE]; from Gloucestershire (GLS); 1800 – 1900. Elizabeth BASSETT [iii], b.1829, d.???, m.1848 – to John BUCKNALL (1822 – 1887). [TR]

BAXTER. [TWITE]; from Sibsey, Lincolnshire (LIN); 1750 – 1900. Sarah BAXTER [iv] was born in Sibsey, circa 1789-90 (ref. Censuses), d. 1878. She married Joseph MAWER in 1822. But because there were two “Sarah BAXTER”s christened at the right date in Sibsey, I’m not sure which is her, or who her parents were! [PCR]

BELL. (or BETT / BUTT / BEATT). [HUTCHISON]; from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1700 – 1800. The surname BELL (and spelling variations) relate to several different individuals from the same geographical area, who all married into the OLIPHANT and BARKER families. It is not clear whether these individuals all come from the same “BELL” family, or from several unrelated families with the same/similar surnames! Janet BELL (or BUTT) [vi] (Y? – Y?) m. Robert OLIPHANT (cir.1696 – 1772), and Christian BELL (or BETT) [vi] (Y? – Y?) m.1733, George BARKER (1704 – Y?). [FP] [TR]

BETT. [HUTCHISON]; from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1700 – 1800. See note on “BELL”, above. Isabel BETT (or BEATT) [v] (Y? – Y?), m. 1773, in Kirkcaldy – to John HUTCHISON (or HUTCHESON). [TR] [PCR]

BINNIE. [HUTCHISON]; from Cramond, Mid Lothian (MLN); 1700 – 1800. Robert BINNIE [v] (Y? – Y?), m. 1768, at Cramond, MLN – to Janet GEDDES. Their daughter, Joanna BINNIE [iv] (1782, Cramond – Y?), m. 1804 – to Alexander HUTCHISON. [TR] [PCR]

BLACK. [CADZOW]; from Carnwath, Lanark (LKS); 1750 – 1900. David BLACK [iii], b.cir. 1802, Carnwath, LKS, d. ???, m. Agnes MANN. Their daughter, Helen BLACK [ii], b. 1838, Carluke, Lanark, d. 1923, m. 1862, at Livingston, WLN – to James CADZOW of Lesmahagow. [TR][PCR]

BROWN. [ELLIOTT]; from ??? Croydon, Hertfordshire (HRT); 1750 – 1900. Mary BROWN [iii], b.?, d.cir. 1869, m. John (Jack) ELLIOTT. Their son, Joseph John ELLIOTT [ii], b. 1835, in Croydon, HRT, m. Lucy Elizabeth FRY. [TR] [PP]

BUCK. [ELLIOTT]; from Exeter, Devon (DEV); 1700 – 1900. Elizabeth BUCK [iv] (1775, Exeter – 1852, Exeter), m. 1801, – to Richard CLARENCE. Their daughter, Caroline Mary CLARENCE [iii] (1809, Bermondsey, LND – 1874), m. 1837, in Gurnsey – to Edmund FRY. [TR]

BUCKNALL. [EYRE]; from Stroud, Gloucestershire (GLS); 1700 – 1900. The BUCKNALL family is traced back to Samuel BUCKNALL [v] (1763 – 1821), m. 1790 – to Ann CLISSOLD (1765 – 1827). Margaret BUCKNALL [ii] (1857, Rodborough, Stroud, GLS – 1935, Upper Norwood, London), m. 1880 – to Alfred James EYRE. [TR]

CADZOW. (or CAGOW / KADZOW); from Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire (LKS); 1700 – 1900. William CAIGOW [vi], b.?, d.?, m. Janet WILSON. Their son, William CAGOW [v], b. 1760, Carnwarth, LKS, d. 1858, Hallhill, Lesmahagow, m. Jean MANUEL. Download a CADZOW ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [TR]

CLARENCE. [ELLIOTT]; from Sampford, Essex (ESS); 1700 – 1900. The CLARENCE family is traced back to about 1500, around Great Sampford, in Essex. Caroline Mary CLARENCE [iii] (1809, Bermondsey, LND – 1874), m. 1837, in Gurnsey – to Edmund FRY. See; http://studymore.org.uk/quasho.htm#Fryfamily . [TR] [PP]

CLISSOLD. [EYRE]; from Stroud, Gloucestershire (GLS); 1700 – 1850. Stephen CLISSOLD [vi] (Y? – Y?), m. Mary WATT (???? – 1789). Their daughter Ann CLISSOLD [v] (1765 – 1827), m. 1790 – to Samuel BUCKNALL (1763 – 1821). [TR]

DAVIE. [WALKER]; from West Lothian (WLN) / Lanarkshire (LKS); 1650 – 1750. Marion DAVIE married Thomas JOHNSTON (a farmer at East Mains of Ballencrieff, near Bathgate, West Lothian), and had 3 children, born in 1723, 1724, and 1728. It has been suggested in documents about the JOHNSTON family, that Marion DAVIE was related to the Covenanter, James DAVIE, who was killed while attending a conventicle at Blackdub, in about 1673, by a party of dragoons, and was buried in the secluded old churchyard of Bathgate, where there is a stone to his memory. I have no documentation as yet to verify this claim. See; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/mair-and-johnston-part1/ [PP] [TR] [TBC]

DONWIDDY. (or DUNWODE). [WALTON]; from Scotby / Wetheral, Cumberland (CUL); 1700 – 1850. Elizabeth DONWIDDY (or DUNWODE) [vi], (1748, Ambrose Holme, Scotby (CUL) – 1827, Ambrose Holme, CUL), m.circa 1769 – to John WIGHAM. See; http://benbeck.co.uk/fh/wigham.html#P4.%20BETTE%20WIGHAM%20born%20DUNWODE https://archive.org/details/memoirsoflifegos00wigh & https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=gBsZAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover . [PP]

DOUNS. [WALKER]; from Uphall, West Lothian (WLN); 1750 – 1850. Barbara DOUNS [iv], b.?, d.?, m. George NEIL. Their daughter, Isobel NEIL [iii], b. 1788, Uphall, WLN, d. 1860, m. 1816 – to John WALKER. [FP][PCR]

ELLIOTT. (or ELLETT); from Croydon, Hertfordshire (HRT); 1750 – 1900. John (Jack) ELLIOTT [iii], b. 1793, d. 1864, m. Mary BROWN. Their son, Joseph John ELLIOTT [ii], b. 1835, in Croydon, HRT, m. 1864, in Brighton – to Lucy Elizabeth FRY. Download an ELLIOTT ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [TR] [PP]

EYRE.; from Lambeth/Sydenham, London (LND / KEN); 1800 – 1900. Edward EYRE [iv], b. 1800, d.?. His son, Alfred George EYRE [iii], b. 1832, d.?, m. Emily SMITH. Their son, Alfred James EYRE [ii] (1853 – 1919) was Organist at the Crystal Palace, and Master of Music at St John’s Church, Upper NorwoodDownload an EYRE ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [TR] [PP]

FISHER. [WALKER]; from Stirlingshire (STI); 1700 – 1800. Mary FISHER [v], b. ?, d. ?, m. Alexander SMITH. Their daughter, Mary SMITH [iv], b. 1753, d. 1820, m. 1772 at Muiravonside – to Thomas YOUNG. See; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/old-walker-papers-johnston-samplers/ [FP][PCR]

FLINT. [WALKER]; from West Lothian (WLN); 1700 – 1800. John FLINT [vi], b.?, d.?, m. Marian MURKEL. Their daughter, Janet FLINT [v], b. 1739, d. 1817, m. 1766, at Kirkliston / Mid Calder (WLN) – to James WALKER. [FP][PCR][MI]

FRY. [ELLIOTT]; from Bristol / Wiltshire (WIL); All dates. A well known family of Quakers originating from Sutton Benger in Wiltshire, who became chocolate makers and type-founders in Bristol. Also related by marriage to Elizabeth FRY (nee GURNEY), the famous campaigner for prison reform in the early 1800′s. See; http://studymore.org.uk/quasho.htm#Fryfamily . Lucy Elizabeth FRY [ii], b. 1844, Plymouth, DEV, d. 1931, m. 1864, in Brighton – to Joseph John ELLIOTT. [TR] [PP]

GANDY. [WALTON]; from Fallowfield, Lancashire (LAN); pre 1850. Mary GANDY [iv], (Y? – Y?), m. ??? – to John WALTON, of Longsight Hall, Fallowfield, Manchester [TBC] [TR]

GEDDES. [HUTCHISON]; Mid Lothian (MLN); 1700 – 1800. Janet GEDDES [v] (Y? – Y?), m. 1768, at Cramond, MLN – to Robert BINNIE. Their daughter, Joanna BINNIE [iv] (1782, Cramond – Y?), m. 1804 – to Alexander HUTCHISON. [TR] [PCR]

GLENNY. [WALTON]; Aberdeen (ADB) / Glasgow, Lanarkshire (LKS); 1750 – 1900. James GLENNY [v], (1777 – 1804), m.1798, at Kinmuck, ABD – to Elizabeth WIGHAM. Their daughter, Jane GLENNY [iv], (1801 – 1848, Glasgow), m. 1824 – to James SMEAL. See; https://archive.org/details/memoirsoflifegos00wigh & https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=gBsZAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover . [PP]

GORDON. [WALTON]; Latheron, (CAI) / Durness, Sutherland (SUT); 1700 – 1850. Barbara GORDON [v], b. 1766, Latheron, CAI, d. 1826, m. 1793, in Durness, SUT – to James ANDERSON. See; http://bayanne.info/Shetland/getperson.php?personID=I404779&tree=ID1 . [TR] [PP] [TBC]

GREEN. [TWITE]; from Boston, Lincolnshire / Lewisham/Holborn, London (LIN/LND); 1800 – 1900. Susannah GREEN [iii], b.cir.1825, Boston (LIN), d. 1893, m. 1851, in Lewisham (LND) – to George TWITE. Susannah’s father, Thomas GREEN [iv] was a wheelwright from Boston (LIN). [TR][PCR]

HART(or HEART) [SWAIN]; from Staffordshire (STS); 1800 – 1900. Ellen HART [ii] (or HEART), b. 1846, Castle Church, Stafford (STS), d. 1938, Western Park, Leicester (LEI), m. 1870, at Whittington, Worcester (WOR) – to James Christopher SWAIN. [TR]

HENDERSON. [CADZOW]; from Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire (LKS); 1700 – 1900. Elizabeth HENDERSON,  b. ???, d. 1795, m. William MUIR. Their daughter, Margaret MUIR, b. 1795, d. 1857, m. 1816, at Dalserf (LKS) – to William KADZOW (CADZOW). (n.b. as of January 2017, all tags for “HENDERSON” on aFamilyHistoryBlog relate to those on the WALTON branch of Matt’s family, who are not related to those on the CADZOW branch!). [TR]

HENDERSON. [WALTON]; from Paisley, Renfrewshire (REW); 1700 – 1900. Helen Urie HENDERSON [ii], (1859, Paisley, REW – 1945), m. 1890 – to Edward Arthur WALTON. (n.b. these are not related to the “HENDERSON”s on the CADZOW branch of Matt’s family!). [TR]

HUBERT. [ELLIOTT]; from Overton, Wiltshire (WIL) / London (LND); 1700 – 1850. Priscilla HUBERT [v], (cir.1740 – 1816), m. Henry FRY. See; http://studymore.org.uk/quasho.htm#Fryfamily . [TR] [PP]

HUTCHISON.; from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1700 – 1900. John HUTCHISON (or HUTCHESON) [v] (Y? – Y?), m. 1773, in Kirkcaldy – to Isabel BETT (or BEATT). Robert HUTCHISON [iii] (1806 – 1883) was a wheat & grain merchant in Kirkcaldy. Download a HUTCHISON ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [FP][TR][PCR]

JAMES. [SWAIN]; from Birmingham, (Staffordshire/Warwickshire?) (STS / WAR); 1750 – 1900. Ann JAMES [iv], m. 1813, at St Martin, Birmingham (WAR) – to Christopher JOHNSON.

JOHNSON. [SWAIN]; from Birmingham, (Staffordshire/Warwickshire?) (STS / WAR); 1750 – 1900. Isabella JOHNSON [iii], b.cir. 1817, Birmingham?, d. 1882, Stafford, m. 1837, at St Martin, Birmingham (WAR) – to James SWAIN. [TR]

JOHNSTON [WALKER]; from Bathgate, West Lothian (WLN); 1650 – 1900. The earliest generations (traced back to 1692) were farmers at East Mains of Ballencrieff, Dykeside, and Nethermuir, near Bathgate. Subsequent generations of the JOHNSTON family were involved in banking in Bathgate, and in printing & publishing in Falkirk.  I have a printed family tree “of the JOHNSTON family, Bathgate” – compiled by Alexander A. CUTHBERT. I believe this tree dates from about 1906 (the last date on the tree). See this tree on the blog page, HERE. [FP] [TR] [PCR] [PP] [MI]

KADZOW. (see CADZOW)

KEY. [HUTCHISON]; from West Lothian (WLN); 1800 – 1900. John KEY [iii], (Y? – Y?), m. 1845 – to Sarah WHITE (or WHYTE). Their daughter, Sarah “Hannah” KEY [ii] (1850 – 1938), m. Henry William HUTCHISON. [TR]

KING. [EYRE]; from Gloucestershire (GLS); 1750 – 1900. Mary KING [iv] (???? – 1874), m. 1822 – to Edwin BUCKNALL (1791 – 1869). [TR]

MacKENZIE. [WALTON]; from Orkney (OKI); 1700 – 1850. Mary MACKENZIE [vi], b.bef. 1739, OKI, d. 1794, m. 1759, to Thomas BALFOUR. See; http://bayanne.info/Shetland/getperson.php?personID=I404808&tree=ID1 . [TR] [PP] [TBC]

MAIR. [WALKER]; from West Lothian (WLN) / Falkirk, Stirling (STI); 1700 – 1850. Patrick MAIR [v] was a printer and publisher in Falkirk; b. 1738, Shotts (LKS), (christened at Whitburn, WLN), d. 1805, Falkirk, m. 1763, to Jean AITKEN. See; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/mair-and-johnston-part1/ [FP][PP]

MANN. [CADZOW]; from Carnwath, Lanark (LKS); 1750 – 1900. Agnes MANN [iii], b.cir. 1803, Carnwath, LKS, d. ???, m. David BLACK. Their daughter, Helen BLACK [ii], b. 1838, Carluke, Lanark, d. 1923, m. 1862, at Livingston, WLN – to James CADZOW of Lesmahagow. [TR][PCR]

MANUEL. [CADZOW]; from Lanark (LKS); 1700 – 1850. Jean MANUEL [iv], b. ?, d. ?, m. William CAGOW (or CADZOW). Children born in 1786 and 1788, in Lesmahagow, LKS. [TR]

MAWER [TWITE]; lived at Sibsey, Lincolnshire (LIN); 1750 – 1900. Census records identify Joseph MAWER [iv] as a “wheelwright” and “carpenter” who was born circa 1800, at Walsoken, Wisbech, on the Lincolnshire/Norfolk border. But he appears to have lived most of his life in Sibsey, and I suspect that he had earlier family ties to this village. He married Sarah BAXTER, in Sibsey, in 1822. She was about 10 years older than him! Joseph died in 1883. Their granddaughter, Annie MAWER [ii] married Charles TWITE. [TR][PCR]

MUIR. [CADZOW]; from Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire (LKS); 1700 – 1850. William MUIR [iv], b. 1750, d. 1796, m. Elizabeth HENDERSON. Their daughter, Margaret MUIR [iii], b. 1795, d. 1857, m. 1816, at Dalserf (LKS) – to William KADZOW (CADZOW). [TR]

MURKEL. [WALKER]; from West Lothian (WLN); 1700 – 1800. Marian MURKEL [v], b.?, d.?, m. John FLINT. Their daughter, Janet FLINT [iv], b. 1739, d. 1817, m. 1766, at Kirkliston / Mid Calder (WLN) – to James WALKER. [FP][PCR][MI]

NEIL. [WALKER]; from Uphall, West Lothian (WLN); 1750 – 1850. George NEIL [iv], b.?, d.?, m. Barbara DOUNS. Their daughter, Isobel NEIL [iii], b. 1788, Uphall, WLN, d. 1860, m. 1816 – to John WALKER. [FP][PCR]

NICOLSON. [WALTON]; from Dundee, Angus / Kirkwall, Orkney (ANS / OKI); 1700 – 1900. Thomas Balfour NICOLSON [iv], b. 1793, Kirkwall, OKI, d. 1865, Glasgow, LKS, m. 1787, in Kirkwall, OKI – to Hughina Forbes ANDERSON. Their daughter, Eliza Anne NICOLSON [iii], m. Jackson WALTON. See; http://bayanne.info/Shetland/getperson.php?personID=I404775&tree=ID1 . [TR] [PP] [TBC]

OLIPHANT. [HUTCHISON] from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1600 – 1900. Mary OLIPHANT [iii] (1808 – 1852), m. 1837, in Kirkcaldy – to Robert HUTCHISON. Mary OLIPHANT’s parents were 1st Cousins x2 – sharing the same 4 grandparents; Robert OLIPHANT [vi] (cir.1696 – 1772) m. Janet BELL (Y? – Y?), and George BARKER [vi] (1704 – Y?) m.1733, Christian BELL (Y? – Y?). I have posted onto aFamilyHistoryBlog, details of a collection of original OLIPHANT and BARKER family papers – wills, etc. [FP] [TR]

PATRICK. [HUTCHISON] from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1650 – 1750. Lucras (or Lucretia) PATRICK [vii], (Y? – Y?) m.1691 – to John BARKER. [TR]

PORTSMOUTH. [ELLIOTT] from Basingstoke, Berkshire (BRK) / Shoreditch, London (LND); 1700 – 1800. Anna PORTSMOUTH [vi] (1732, Basingstoke, BKS – 1803, Bristol), m. 1755, to Joseph FRY, type-founder, printer, and chocolate maker, based in Bristol. See; http://studymore.org.uk/quasho.htm#Fryfamily . [TR] [PP]

REEVES. [ELLIOTT]; from Kingsclere, Hampshire (HAM) / London (LND); 1700 – 1850. Harriet Windover REEVES [iv] (1780 – 1833), m. 1807 – to Edmund FRY. See; http://studymore.org.uk/quasho.htm#Fryfamily & http://studymore.org.uk/quasho.htm#EdmundFrybookseller . [TR] [PP]

RUSSELL. [HUTCHISON]; from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1650 – 1750. Jannet RUSSELL [vii] (Y? – Y?), m. James OLIPHANT. Children born circa 1696 – 1710. [TR]

SCOTT. [WALTON]; from Renfrewshire (REW); 1700 – 1850. Elizabeth SCOT [v], (Y? – Y?), m. 1790, at Paisley, REW – to John URIE. Their daughter, Helen URIE [iv], (1798, Ferguslie, REW – 1878, Pollockshields), m. 1818, at High Paisley – to John HENDERSON. [TR]

SMEAL. [WALTON]; Glasgow (LKS) / West Hempstead, London (LND); 1700 – 1900. James SMEAL [iv], (cir.1798 – 1847, Glasgow), m. 1824 – to Jane GLENNY. Their daughter, Jemima SMEAL [iii], (1832 -1908), m. James HENDERSON. See; https://archive.org/details/memoirsoflifegos00wigh & https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=gBsZAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover . [PP]

SMITH. [EYRE]; from London (LND); 1800 – 1900. Emily SMITH [iii] (Y? – Y?), m. Alfred George EYRE. Their son, Alfred James EYRE [ii] (1853 – 1919) was Organist at the Crystal Palace, and Master of Music at St John’s Church, Upper Norwood. (Unconnected to the two SMITH families in the WALKER branch – below).

SMITH. [WALKER]; from West Lothian (WLN); 1650 – 1750. Elizabeth SMITH, b.?, d.?, m. James JOHNSTON, farmer at East Mains of Ballencrieff, Dykeside, and Nethermuir, near Bathgate. (1 of 2 SMITH families in the WALKER branch – probably not related to each other!). See; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/johnston-family-of-bathgate-west-lothian/ [FP][TR]

SMITH. [WALKER]; from Muiravonside, Stirlingshire (STI); 1700 – 1800. Alexander SMITH [v], b. ?, d. ?, m. Mary FISHER. Their daughter, Mary SMITH [iv], b. 1753, d. 1820, m. 1772 at Muiravonside – to Thomas YOUNG. (1 of 2 SMITH families in the WALKER branch – probably not related to each other!). See; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/old-walker-papers-johnston-samplers/ [FP][PCR]

STORRS. [ELLIOTT]; originally from Sutton-cum-Lound, Nottinghamshire (NTT); 1500 – 1750, then Chesterfield, Derbyshire (DBY); 1600 – 1800. Mary STORRS [vii], b. 1702, Chesterfield, DBY, d. 1775, Melksham, WIL, m.cir. 1726 – to John FRY. Their son Joseph FRY [vi] (1728 – 1787) was a type-founder, printer, and chocolate maker, based in Bristol. See; http://studymore.org.uk/quasho.htm#Fryfamily & https://archive.org/details/storrsfamilygene00stor [TR] [PP]

SWAIN.; from Bristol (WIL) / Birmingham / Staffordshire (STS) / Leicester (LEI); 1750 – 1900. The SWAIN family lived in various locations around the English Midlands. Many of them were involved in Shoe and Boot making. From the latter 1800’s the direct family were settled around Leicester. Earlier generations had connections to the Stafford and Worcester (WOR) areas. James SWAIN [iii], b.cir. 1800 – 1801, Bristol (WIL), d. 1883, Stafford (STS), m. 1837, at St Martin, Birmingham (WAR) – to Isabella JOHNSON.  Download a SWAIN ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [TR]

TABRUM. [ELLIOTT]; from Sampford, Essex (ESS); 1650 – 1800. Ann TABRUM [v] (1717, Old Sampford, ESS – ????), m. 1740 – to John CLARENCE. [TR]

TEASDALE. (or TEASDALL / TEISDELL); [WALTON]; from Penrith/ Ousby / Whitehaven/ Alston, Cumberland (CUL); 1600 – 1800. John TEASDALE [viii], (1679, Ousby, CUL – 1747), m. 1718, at Limestone Brae, West Allendale, NBL – to Jannet REAY (or REA) (1698 – cir.1748). Their daughter, Rachel TEASDALE [vii], (cir.1722, Alston, CUL – 1813, Allendale, NBL), m. 1746 – to William WIGHAM. See; http://benbeck.co.uk/fh/watson2b.html#M31.%20RACHEL%20WIGHAM%20born%20TEASDALE , https://archive.org/details/memoirsoflifegos00wigh & https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=gBsZAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover [PP]

TELFER. (or TELFURE); [WALKER]; from Shotts (LKS) / Whitburn (WLN); 1700 – 1800. Margaret TELFER (or TELFURE) [vi] was the mother of Patrick MAIR [v], a printer and publisher in Falkirk. Patrick MAIR was born in 1738, Shotts (LKS), (christened at Whitburn, WLN). See; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/mair-and-johnston-part1/ [PP][TBC]

THOMAS. [TWITE]; from Carew, Pembrokeshire (PEM); 1750 – 1850. Mary Ann THOMAS [iv], b.cir. 1796, Carew, Pembrokeshire (PEM), d. 1872, Edmonton, Middlesex (MDX), m. 1819 at Walcot, Bath, Somerset (SOM) – to Joseph TWITE. [TR][PCR]

TRAILL. [WALTON]; from Orkney (OKI); 1650 – 1800. Elizabeth TRAILL [vii], b.bef. 1695, Tirlot, OKI, d. ???, m. John BALFOUR. See; http://bayanne.info/Shetland/getperson.php?personID=I404806&tree=ID1 [TR] [PP] [TBC]

TWITE.; from Bath, Somerset (SOM), then London (LND); 1750 – 1850. Joseph TWITE [iv] was a shoemaker, b. 1781, d. 1845, at Philip Street, Bath, m. 1819 at Walcot, Bath, Somerset (SOM) – to Mary Ann THOMAS. Their son, George TWITE [iii], b. 1824, became a Butcher at 46 Fetter Lane, Holborn, LND. Download a TWITE ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [TR][PCR]

URIE. [WALTON]; from Renfrewshire (REW); 1700 – 1900. John URIE [v], (Y? – Y?), m. 1790, at Paisley, REW – to Elizabeth SCOT. Their daughter, Helen URIE [iv], (1798, Ferguslie, REW – 1878, Pollockshields), m. 1818, at High Paisley – to John HENDERSON, who was Provost of Paisley; 1841 – 1844. [TR]

WALKER.; from Kirkliston, West Lothian (WLN); 1650 – 1900. The WALKER family lived and farmed in Kirkliston parish, West Lothian. The first records place them at “Puncheonlaw“, N.E. of Kirkliston village, towards Carlowrie, from 1728. In 1745 they moved S.W. to Hiddlefaulds (or Hiddlefolds). They also had connections at this time to Overtoun farm (or Overton), in Kirknewton, Mid Lothian. During the 1800s they combined the farm at Hiddlefaulds with its neighbour, Kilpunt (or Kilpont), which the family moved to in the 1840s. From here the family moved down to Hertfordshire in 1898. William WALKER [v], b.cir. 1694, d. 1768, m. 1728, in Corstorphine (MLN)/Kirkliston (WLN) – to Elizabeth BARRON.
I am working on a series of blog posts about various old WALKER family papers.
Download a WALKER ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [FP][PCR][MI]

WALTON.; from Fallowfield, Lancashire (LAN); pre 1850. John WALTON [iv], of Longsight Hall, Fallowfield, Manchester, married Mary GANDY (dates unknown!) [TBC]. Their son, Jackson WALTON [iii] (1809 – 1873), moved to Aberdeen and then Glasgow. Download a WALTON ancestor “pedigree”file (.pdf) HERE. (details to be checked. Some vague details, and differing sources which may be contradictory!). [MI] [TR] [PP]

WARD. [SWAIN]; from Staffordshire (STS); 1800 – 1900. Ann WARD [iii], m. 1830 at St Mary’s Church, Stafford (STS) – to Charles HART (or HEART). [TR]

WATT. [EYRE]; from Gloucestershire (GLS); 1700 – 1800. Mary WATT (???? – 1789), m. Stephen CLISSOLD (Y? – Y?). Their daughter Ann CLISSOLD (1765 – 1827), m. 1790 – to Samuel BUCKNALL (1763 – 1821). [TR]

WEIR. [WALKER]; from West Lothian (WLN); 1700 – 1800. Margaret WEIR [v], b. ???, d. ???, m. John JOHNSTON, farmer at Ballencrieff, Bathgate. Children born around 1750 – 1770. See; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/johnston-family-of-bathgate-west-lothian/  [FP][TR]

WHITE. (or WHYTE). [HUTCHISON]; from West Lothian (WLN); 1800 – 1900. Sarah WHITE (or WHYTE) [iii], (Y? – Y?), m. 1845 – to John KEY. Their daughter, Sarah “Hannah” KEY [ii] (1850 – 1938), m. Henry William HUTCHISON. [TR]

WIGHAM. [WALTON]; from Allendale / Coanwood / Haltwhistle, Northumberland (NBL), then Aberdeenshire (ABD); 1600 – 1900. John WIGHAM [vi], (1749, Coanwood, NBL – 1839), m.cir.1769 – to Elizabeth DONWIDDY (or DUNWODE). Their daughter, Elizabeth WIGHAM [v], (1779 – 1854), m.1798, at Kinmuck, ABD – to James GLENNY. See; http://benbeck.co.uk/fh/wigham.html#P3.%20JOHN%20WIGHAM  https://archive.org/details/memoirsoflifegos00wigh & https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=gBsZAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover . [PP]

WILSON. [CADZOW]; from Lanarkshire (LKS); 1700 – 1900. Janet WILSON [vi], b.?, d.?, m. William CAIGOW (or CADZOW). Children born 1760 – 1771, at Lesmahagow, LKS. [TR]

YOUNG. [WALKER]; from Ecclesmachan, West Lothian (WLN); 1700 – 1800. Thomas YOUNG [iv], b.cir. 1747, Ecclesmachan, WLN, d. 1824, m. 1772 at Muiravonside – to Mary FISHER, daughter of Alexander SMITH [v] and Mary FISHER of Muiravonside. See; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/old-walker-papers-johnston-samplers/ [FP][PCR][MI]

Notes;

Counties are abbreviated using the Chapman codes. All locations should be read as being located within the British Isles, unless another country is clearly stated. I have set the “dates of interest” quite broad, to try and cover one or more generations on either side of those that I already know of.

[i] [ii] [iii] [iv] [v] [vi] [vii] [viii] – represents the generation of my family tree that the person named belongs to, counting backwards. [i] = my Great Grandparents. [v] = my 5x Gt Grandparents.

At the end of each entry is a note about the kinds of sources that I have for that branch family;

  • [FP] = Family Papers, original documents, etc. I generally have high confidence in the accuracy of information from such original sources!
  • [MI] = Monumental inscriptions, (gravestones, etc.)
  • [PCR] = Parish and/or Census Records.
  • [PP] = Publications (books, newspapers, non-family websites, etc)
  • [TR] = Family Trees from other people (distant relations), on paper, or online.
  • [TBC] = To be confirmed – information that I’m cautious about! Records need checking & original sources finding!

    wordle-known-surnames_1-to-7x-gt-grandparents_jan-2017_29
    A cloud of all the known surnames in Matt’s direct ancestry (as of Feb. 2017).

AFamilyHistoryBlog Review of 2016 and Plans for 2017

First, I would like to say a big

HAPPY  CHRISTMAS

to all the readers of AFamilyHistoryBlogchristmas-star-clipart-ds687z-clipart

Review of 2016;

Having worked on developing it privately for the previous 2 years, I went “Public” with AFamilyHistoryBlog at the beginning of 2016, and did quite a lot to make it known; getting it listed on other websites, like GeneaBloggers and relevant local family history websites. For a recap of what I wrote in January 2016, see HERE.

IMG_7613-crop2I also started working to post details of some old papers of my WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian. I posted 13 pieces about the WALKERs in Jan, Feb, and March 2016; that’s about one a week.

But after March, I posted very little through the summer months! In the autumn I started looking again at various bits of family history (none of which I’ve yet written about here!). I returned to posting some more WALKER documents/photos in December, facebook-logo-1and was inspired to start a Facebook page where I can share things that I find of a more general family history interest. Then I found some very interesting details about the JOHNSTON family which I have recently posted about.

At the time of writing this post, during 2016, AFamilyHistoryBlog has received 1,195 visits and 2,633 page views, including; from the UK – 1,093 views, from USA – 670, Australia – 303, Canada – 193, Denmark – 135, and New Zealand – 105, along with smaller numbers from 27 other states.

Plans for 2017;

In January 2016 I wrote about wanting to try and post to AFamilyHistoryBlog on a more frequent basis! But clearly the year has followed the same kind of pattern as previous years – working  on the blog over Christmas and into the new year,  then a long period of relatively little activity through the summer and autumn.  (See what I wrote in January 2016 – HERE). I fully expect the same pattern to continue through 2017 and beyond.

IMG_9478-croppedI want to post details of many more documents that I have about the WALKER and JOHNSTON families. Among these, there are invites from the Earl of Hopetoun, to Dinners at Hopetoun House, West Lothian, and related documents. I also want to post a piece about a Great-Uncle, James Hope WALKER R.F.C., who died in a flying accident almost 100 years ago, during WW1. I have photos of James, and of the crashed biplane to post. And there are still many other branches of my family that I want to cover on AFamilyHistoryBlog.

In the summer 2017 we have another bigIMG_1863_Hutchison-family_May-2015 HUTCHISON family gathering booked. We’re heading to a location which is new to most of the family, in South Ayrshire, Scotland. My idea is to stay another week in Scotland, around the gathering, and do some research while I’m up there. I think that I will visit Edinburgh and West Lothian. I may also visit Glasgow. And following what I’ve recently found about the JOHNSTON family, Falkirk is now on my list of places to visit. So I hope to be blogging about this trip when it comes.

Once again, have a very

Happy Christmas

and thanks for reading

Matt

All known surnames in Matt's ancestry up to his 6x Gt-Grandparents
All known surnames in Matt’s ancestry up to his 6x Gt-Grandparents

AFamilyHistoryBlog – new Facebook page

Today I was reflecting on a number of interesting pieces that I’ve either seen, heard, or read, about family history/genealogy in the last couple of weeks. I’ve thought about posting links to some of these onto “AFamilyHistoryBlog” – the website which I’ve been developing for nearly 3 years now. But I haven’t particularly wanted to do so because I want to keep the blog focused primarily on my research into my own family history.

facebook-logo-2Then the idea came to me that I could create a Facebook page where I can easily share links to interesting general articles like these, as well as to “AFamilyHistoryBlog” articles about my own research.

So after a bit of evening tinkering, here is that Facebook page.

This is intended, in part, to be a kind of scrapbook/diary for myself – to collect together such articles that I find of interest.

facebook-logo-1But I would also like to encourage family, and anyone else who’s interested in my family history research, to “Follow” BOTH the WordPress blog (click the “FOLLOW” button in Right-hand column of the website), and the Facebook page (click “LIKE” at the top of the page).

IMG_9478-croppedI will continue posting articles about my own family history research onto AFamilyHistoryBlog and will then share those articles on this Facebook page. But I will also use the Facebook page to quickly share anything else I see of general interest to family history research.

Thanks for FOLLOWING.

Matt.

All known surnames in Matt's ancestry upto his 6x Gt Grandparents
All known surnames in Matt’s ancestry upto his 6x Gt Grandparents

GB1900.org project

This week I heard about a very interesting new project called GB1900.org which needs volunteers to “help save GB place names from being lost for ever”, by helping to transcribe an “estimated three million place-names on early Ordnance Survey maps of Britain”.

So over the last few days I’ve been spending some time (which I would otherwise have not used very productively at my computer!) looking at the map and transcribing the names I find on it. I’ve blitzed my own local area (which now needs others to look at and “confirm” the transcriptions), along with several other places that I know well, and many others that I don’t.

Unfortunately this map is not old enough to show some of the places that I’ve been mentioning on AFamilyHistoryBlog; particularly farms connected with the WALKER family in West Lothian; like Hiddlefaulds.

They are trying to “save GB place names from being lost for ever”. But many names have vannished before the time of the maps that they have here to work on! I hope that perhaps these older maps will be added to the project at some point in the future.

The GB1900 website’s press release (which I’ll copy below) explains things best, along with the site’s Tutorial page. I’m finding this project fun to help with, and would really like to encourage others to get involved.gb1900-site

Press Release; from GB1900.org

Help save GB place names from being lost for ever.

A new online project – GB1900 – is calling for volunteers in Great Britain to help make sure local place-names can live on rather than be lost for ever.

GB1900 aims to create a complete list of the estimated three million place-names on early Ordnance Survey maps of Britain. It will be a free, public resource, of particular use to local historians and genealogists.

The project partners include the National Library of Scotland and the National Library of Wales, and the University of Portsmouth.

On their new GB1900 web site, http://www.gb1900.org, volunteers will work on digital images of all the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey County Series maps of the whole of Great Britain, at six inch to one mile scale. These maps show not just every town and village but every farm, hill and wood – and include names for most of them. The site’s software enables contributors to mark each name by clicking next to it, and then to type in the name itself. They can also add any personal memories they have of the place. To ensure correctness each name needs to be identically transcribed by two different volunteers.

The final list of place names will be not just the most detailed gazetteer ever created for Britain, it will be the world’s largest ever historical gazetteer. It will be released under a Creative Commons licence, making it usable by everyone without charge.

Professor Humphrey Southall, professor of Historical Geography at the University of Portsmouth, said: “We hope to tap into local knowledge about place names around the UK. The more people who can volunteer information through this project, the more we can make sure these names can live on rather than being lost forever.”

“Names of places are a vital key to unlocking the social and linguistic history of the land. They recall agricultural practices and local industries, changed landscapes and lost settlements. They preserve a rich heritage of Welsh- and Gaelic-language forms from across Wales and Scotland, chart the arrival of English, and illustrate interactions between the two.”

The project is based on cymru1900wales.org, which includes all the Welsh place names gathered by that project, and existing cymru1900 transcribers will be able to log in using their existing account information, but the new system needs many new volunteers wanting to work on England and Scotland.

The partners in the GB1900 project are the University of Portsmouth, the National Library of Scotland, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, the National Library of Wales and the People’s Collection Wales.

Some other pieces about this project;

 

Why You Might Want a Personal Genealogy Blog on WordPress

This morning I came across this great article about how to create a Genealogy Blog (like AFamilyHistoryBlog) using WordPress. It includes a lot of facts, that I didn’t know, about just how popular the WordPress service is for creating sites like this. I would encourage people to read it, so I’m sharing the link here;

Why You Might Want a Personal Genealogy Blog on WordPress

“You probably can find dozens of reasons for creating a blog. In addition, you can probably find dozens of companies that will host a blog for you. Given the choices and the reasons available, tryin…

Source: Why You Might Want a Personal Genealogy Blog on WordPress, at Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.

wordpress-logoThis is a good follow-up to the article that I wrote a few months ago for my local Family History Society (which I copied onto AFamilyHistoryBlog) about my Creating a Family History Blog.

I would really like to encourage other people to have a go at doing likewise.

It’s easy to make false assumptions!

It’s very easy to make false assumptions; but harder to get the real facts.

I’d like to tell a cautionary tale from my own research.fieldnotebook

First some context; on occasions I’ve found other people’s family trees posted in various locations on the web, which appear to have connections to mine. They claim to have connections to the same ancestors. But there are some differences! Some “extra details” that are a surprise to me, or some clear discrepancies! So I try to contact the person who has posted the tree; to try and get more details and find out what their sources are; to see if it really does fit with my tree and whether there are new details that I can add to my tree.

Too often I’ve either had no response, or they are unable to explain the sources of their information. And too often people appear to have relied only on details obtained from the transcriptions of Parish registers (like the IGI), and to have assumed that the same “name” appearing in several places in the Parish register all relate to the same “Person”.6generation_ancestor_chart_braces

mag-glassI want to explain, from an example in my own research experience, why I believe that this particular approach is highly unreliable! And why I believe that more evidence is normally required!

It must be said that there is a scale to the reliability of this approach. If you’re dealing with particularly rare or unusual names then there may be a reasonable degree of reliability to this approach. But more often than not you’ll be dealing with relatively common names (both forenames and surnames), and here this approach is totally unreliable!

Remember also that in the past people rarely moved very far, unlike they do today. So it was very common to find extended families living geographically close together, and to find cousins or second cousins, or uncles/aunts & nephews/nieces, who shared the same names, living in the same parish. So, unless you can study the original text for un-transcribed details (which might confirm a continuity between different records), you can’t rely on a name that appears in the records on several occasions being a reference to the same person on each occasion. But also people did sometimes move, and the person you’re looking for may be married in a completely different parish to where they were christened.

IMG_7620-edIn my recent posts about Walker family papers, I have mentioned 2 examples (William Walker, b.1739, and Elizabeth Walker, b.1769) where trees posted by other people appear to have made assumptions from the Parish registers that the same “name” appearing in different places in the registers is the same “person”. But these associations seem to me to be at odds with the evidence that I have found in the original family papers that I have!

I have another example from the same family where I appear to have made the same kind of error! This demonstrates the unreliability of this approach, when there is no other evidence to support the assumptions being made!

When I uploaded my GEDCOM to FindMyPast (in Jan. 2016), I noticed that I had “Isabell Walker” (b. 23rd Aug 1729 in Kirkliston, West Lothian) recorded as marrying William Glass in May 1760. The “Walkers in Scotland” website lists the IGI transcriptions for the marriage like this;

  • 16750 – Isobel WALKER, William GLASS, marr, 4 May 1760, Edinburgh Parish Edinburgh, Midlothian, 993527
  • 16751 – Isobel WALKER, William GLASS, marr, 2 May 1760, Kirkliston West, Lothian, 1066630

The similarity of these 2 records means that they are almost certainly recording the same couple, registering their marriage in the parishes where each of them lived. This appears to be the only record for the marriage of an “Isobel Walker” (or similar name) recorded in the Kirkliston parish records. So at some point I appear to have associated this marriage with the Isabell Walker b. 23rd Aug 1729 in Kirkliston, to William Walker & Elizabeth Barron. I’m not sure if this came from seeing this association being made in someone else’s tree! But more likely, it’s an association that I had made myself!

IMG_9478-croppedI know that I’ve not found any evidence for this association from among the family papers that I have, or from any other sources. So seeing it again through the FindMyPast Family Tree Builder made me question what evidence I had for it. Nothing except the transcribed Parish registers, it seems, which I don’t think is sufficient!

So last week I started searching on-line to see if I could find any more evidence that would prove (or disprove) this association. If I couldn’t find more evidence, then I intended to delete this association from my tree, as unreliable! But it would be important to keep a separate note of it being a possibility, for future reference and further research.

As it was, I soon found evidence that this association was completely false; that the “Isobel Walker” who married “William Glass” in 1760, could not be the daughter of William Walker & Elizabeth Barron, b. 1729. The first thing I found, from Google Books, was; “The General Correspondence of James Boswell, 1766-1769: 1768-1769”; a transcription of letters, published by Edinburgh University Press in 1997. On page 92, an editors’ end-note about one of James Boswell’s letters says the following;

“ Lady Jane’s serving-maids were Isobel or Isabella (‘Tibby’) Walker and Euphemia (‘Effy’) Caw. Walker (b. 1719), a naitive of Leith, re- mained in the service of Lady Jane until Lady Jane’s death. She later (c. 1759-62) became servant to William Hogg of Edinburgh and c. 1762 married William Glass, gardener at Newliston (Douglas memorial, pp. 130-31, 142; Hamilton Proof, p. 48).”

(“Lady Jane” was; Lady Jane Douglas, married to Sir John Stewart)

This indicates that the “Isobel Walker” who married William Glass was 10 years older than the daughter of William Walker & Elizabeth Barron. None of the described life events of this Isobel Walker appear to match with what I would expect to find for the Isabell Walker in my family tree! I wanted to find out more! I wanted to check out what the source of this note; the “Douglas memorial” actually said!

After a bit of web-searching, trying slightly varying terms, I found 2 contemporary records, digitised on Google Books, which mention the Isobel Walker who married William Glass;

The Memorial for Archibald Douglas contains numerous mentions of “Tibby Walker”, or “Ifobel Walker” (the “s” being replaced with an “f” – it was common in old handwriting to sometimes write an “s” like an “f”. This practice has been copied in the original print, and in the modern, digital transcription.). She is also identified in parts of the text as “Isabella Glass”, and “Mrs Glafs”.

It takes a while to read through these references and their contexts. There are 2 or 3 points where the text indicates that Isobel was “about the age of twenty-nine” (in 1748), and that she was further advanced in years” than her colleague, Effy Caw, whose birth-date is identified in one place as “1st February 1727”. All this proves to me that this “Isobel Walker” (who married William Glass) is too old to be the “Isabell Walker” in my family tree, who was born in August 1729.

The point of this post is to show how easy it is to make false assumptions. It was unreliable for me to assume (without other evidence) that a name appearing more than once in the records of a parish related to the same person on each occasion. It may, more often, not be the case. I have tried this approach and proven it to be potentially faulty! But it seems to me that too many people take this kind of approach, or at least fail to provide sufficient details of any other evidence that they may have to support such assumptions.

The trouble I have is that when someone posts, publishes, or shares a family tree which contains this kind of assumption, these assumptions become “pseudo-facts” which people using the tree further down the line will treat as real, proven information.

JOHNSTON-family-tree-coverTake the Johnston family tree (published circa 1909). I have treated it all as fact. Looking at the tree, without other evidence to hand, you have no way of knowing if it all has evidence to prove it, or if any of it is based on assumptions (like those I’ve describe above) which may turn out to be false (if you could find the genuine evidence)! I do have other evidence which supports significant parts of the Johnston tree.

Likewise the genealogy of the “Barons of Preston” in “Some Old Families”, by Hardy Bertram McCall (published in 1890); you would probably take it on faith to be accurate! But due to the evidence that I have found in my family documents, I have some questions and doubts about that genealogy (expressed in my notes HERE).

I want my trees to be as accurate as possible; based on evidence rather than assumptions; facts rather than theories. I’m happy to discuss assumptions and theories (mine and other people’s), as you can already see from some of my blog posts. But I want to be really clear about what has evidence and what is assumed. I want to try and avoid including assumptions, that lack clear evidence, in any formal trees or genealogy reports that I post to this blog or publish anywhere else.

I hope that others will also want to be as clear in distinguishing between evidence and assumptions, and in providing reasonable evidence for their information.

Creating A Family History Blog; copy of an article for my local Family History Society newsletter

As I previously mentioned in a “Names of Interest update“, I have written an article about creating AFamilyHistoryBlog for my local Family History Society’s newsletter. The Spring 2016 newsletter featuring my article has just been published, and I’m copying the article to the blog for others to read. The article is (in part) edited from the text on my Intro/Welcome page.

Here it is;

CREATING A FAMILY HISTORY BLOG
by Matt Walker

pic-of-Matt-for-blog-5I’m in my 30’s and have always been interested in my family history. Over perhaps 15 years or so I have been gathering together a lot of research, trees, etc, done by many other people, and have from time to time done research of my own, to verify that done by others, and to add to it where I can.

In January 2014, I was looking back through some of my own family history notes, and through some very old family documents, and I thought that it would be a great idea to create a website about my family history. I have created several blog based websites in recent years, both for myself and for community groups/projects that I’m involved with. So I knew that it would be technically easy for me to setup the basic website.

A “blog” is a “web-log”; a kind of on-line journal. There are several services that will allow anyone with an e-mail to create a free blog, with space to “post” your journal entries, and the ability to create static web pages; e.g. a personal profile, or a welcome page. Among blogger-logo-ithe popular services is wordpress-logoBlogger”, owned by Google – if you already have a Google account for e-mail or YouTube, then you can easy start a “Blogger” blog. Another great service is “WordPress.com”.

My primary motivation for creating a website is to share more widely the details of these old family documents (dating back as far as the early 1700’s). My concern is that if these documents are held in just one small part of the family, then how will other people in the wider family (with a shared ancestry and a shared interest in documents about their ancestors) get to know or hear about such documents, or about the family details that they can contain – details like evidence for family relationships which may be difficult to demonstrate purely from other available records. These documents and the details they contain could remain unknown to many people who would be interested in researching these family histories.

IMG_7620-edBy creating a website I can share scanned images and transcriptions of these family documents for others to find on-line, helping them with their family research, and demonstrating the sources of my information – which sometimes lead me to conclusions that differ from those of others on-line who often appear to have relied only on records like parish registers!

I began my blog as a private, password protected site, because I wanted to build up some content and play with the layout and format before showing it to other people. With blogging services you can often choose and change between a large range of site design “templates”, which you can then customise to varying extents. I also wanted to consult my close family about it before going more public. So it’s only after about 2 years that I’m ready to make my website more public. Blog-screen-shot-2

I deliberately chose a generic name for my site; “A Family History Blog”, because my intention is to include material about all the different branches of my family tree. Other people might be focused on a particular branch or surname, so might wish to use that name in their blog’s title. I was fortunate to get the name I had thought of. You could try to register a variety of different website names and find them all to be taken already! So you’ll probably need something very original!

I hope that my website can become a very collaborative one, with some of my relatives adding details of the information that they have, and the research that they’ve done into our shared ancestors. It is possible with most blogging services to add multiple authors/accounts to a blog, allowing each one to add articles/“posts” to the site, while one account remains overall administrator.

I would advise anyone else thinking of starting their own family history website to think about what your aims are for doing so. This will help to inform what services you use, and the style, layout and content of your site. Also have a look at the numerous other personal family history websites that are out there. As I began my site, I discovered GeneaBloggers-logowww.GeneaBloggers.com which has a list of over 3,000 genealogy and family history-related blogs. It’s well worth looking through some of these to get a sense of the kind of site that you could create. In due course I plan to submit my site for addition to the GeneaBloggers list.

Please have a look at my blog. I would welcome the thoughts/comments of more experienced family history researchers about my site and approach. I would also be happy to speak in my local area, to individuals or small groups, to advise about the practical/technical side of how you can create your own family history website.

You can see my blog at; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com

e-mail; [please use the Contact Page of this website]

Matt Walker.

Useful resources;

Blogging services (just a few of many);

Genealogy and Family History blogging;

A new user’s review of FindMyPast

FindMyPast-free-weekendI was tempted last week by the offer of a weekend of free on-line access to “billions of historical records” at FindMyPast.co.uk. And after a great talk at my local Family History Society meeting, by Myko Clelland from FindMyPast, I decided to sign up, give it a go, and see what new things I could find. So I registered, and uploaded a GEDCOM file, with nearly 4,500 people in it. Then I had an initial explore of the site, and waited for the free access weekend to start.FindMyPast-logo

The FindMyPast website was not as good as I had hoped! I’ll explain how I got on as a new user, and in particular the things that frustrated me about the site.

The first thing I found disappointing with the site was that the “Hints” system which FindMyPast advertises as a great way to find new, relevant records to help build up your family tree, only works (currently) when you edit entries, or manually enter new ones. It doesn’t provide hints for the people that you’ve added from a GEDCOM file! FindMyPast should make it clearer before you start that when uploading a GEDCOM file you won’t get “hints” for the individuals in that file.

FindMyPast-hints-imageMy next frustration was that when I did start getting “Hints” (after adding details from paper notes that were missing from the GEDCOM file) – although at first sight many hinted records looked to be relevant, digging deeper revealed that they really weren’t relevant to my tree. A couple of times I added facts to my tree using the hints provided by FindMyPast, but then deleted them again after looking much more closely and checking back on my paper notes of details I’ve previously found! (this largely related to parish registers from the 1700’s).

It appears to me that FindMyPast‘s threshold for matching the information to provide its “Hints” may be set too low! Many of its hints can be very quickly screened out. But the difficulty comes with the ones that you have to dig into much more deeply to detect the inconsistencies. It is so easy to see something that seems to match, and add it to your tree. This could so easily lead to many false paths in numerous family trees.

All known surnames in Matt's ancestry upto his 6x Gt Grandparents

AFamilyHistoryBlog is (in part) my attempt to counter some of these “false” trees that appear on-line, where people have assumed connections to exist between separate records, but without any clear evidence for the connection. I hope that by posting the real evidence that I have from original family documents and other reliable sources, I can help to challenge and correct some of those “false” trees which can so easily develop. I also hope that if and when I follow a false path, my blog will allow others to contact me with any evidence they have, to put me back on the right path.

I had hoped to find many more images of original documents to be available to view on the FindMyPast website. But while it does have images of things like census records (which is useful), it doesn’t seem to have images of the parish registers which I had hoped for! Only the transcriptions of them!

Very often seeing images of the original parish registers (which I have done in the past on microfilm) provides additional clues/evidence that is too often missing from the transcriptions; for instance names of witnesses (who often may have been relatives), or names of places (houses/farms) where the people lived, which can confirm a continuity between different records. Without establishing such continuity between records you often can’t be certain if the name appearing several times in a parish register relates to one person, or to several different people with the same name. It was very common in the past, when extended families often lived geographically close together, to find cousins or second cousins, or uncles/aunts & nephews/nieces, who shared the same names, living in the same parish. So in the records (and more-so in their partial transcriptions) it can be very difficult to tell these individuals apart!

After these initial frustrations with the FindMyPast system, where I was largely trying to find more about earlier ancestors through parish registers, etc – largely the Walkers of Kirkliston (whom I’m currently posting documents about), I decided to change track. I began to have a look at the lines of my ancestry that I can trace least far back. From my 3x Gt-grandparents back, some gaps begin to appear. So I began looking to see if FindMyPast could help fill any of these gaps.

That generation of my tree typically features individuals born in the late 1700’s and particularly the early 1800’s – people who often had their families at the time of the early censuses. So it proved easy to find out some more about some of these ancestors from the UK censuses. In one case I have been able to obtain the maiden name of a 3x Gt-grandmother, where before I only had her married surname.

census-picElsewhere I was able to work out sideways, adding children and other details in the next generation. But this also produced one more frustration with the FindMyPast system. FindMyPast would try to use the census data about a household to identify everyone in the family and use that to update or add individuals in your family tree. But too often it risked duplicating individuals because slight differences in name spelling meant that it didn’t link the person in the census to the person in your tree! And you couldn’t easily compare the full household list in the census with the whole family group in your tree, to check who was there and who was missing.

In one case I added a “son-in-law” from the census to my tree. I already had the son-in-law in my tree, but FindMyPast didn’t connect the two together, or connect the son-in-law from the census to his wife in my tree (who was also in that census entry), but only to his parents-in-law! So “Henry” then appeared twice in my tree – a duplicate! I tried to find out how I could merge the two entries into one! But I couldn’t!

The best help I could find was on a blog by Phil Moir, who is “technical lead for the Family Tree team” at FindMyPast. That helped a little, but wasn’t exactly what I wanted! In the end I had to resort to copying the new details provided by the census, from the “new” Henry, and pasting them into the profile of the “old” Henry, then delete the “new” Henry from my tree. Not very satisfactory! It should be much easier to merge two “profiles” into one.

FindMyPast-screen-print2Another example of the problem with FindMyPast‘s handling of census records is where a child in a family had died. Then a new child was given the same name, which was common when child mortality was high – in this example “William”. The 1891 census records the younger William (b.1886). But the FindMyPast system picks up on the older “William” in the family tree (b.1867), who had died (1871) before the 1891 census, and attempts to persuade you to change his date of birth to that of the younger James, who is in the census and on your tree. If you were to follow through on FindMyPast‘s advice and update “William’s” details based on the census record, then you would have two “William”s with the same approximate date of birth in the family group. This would then look like a duplicate of one individual (similar to what I described above), when in fact they were two different individuals, with a wide gap between dates of birth.

You really need to be able to compare the census records, and what FindMyPast is hinting you to change in your tree, side-by-side with the WHOLE family group that you currently have in your tree. You need to be better able to see the context of the wider family into which you’re being prompted to add new details of an individual. As far as I can see at the moment the best that you can do is to switch between the “merge” page and the “family view”, in separate browser tabs. This isn’t satisfactory. You should be able to view them side-by-side, in the same tab, in order to fully check how the details in the hinted record compare to the family group that you already have in your tree.

So, to summerise my experience; while FindMyPast could be very useful as a research tool, the frustrations that I’ve had as a new user trying it out for the first time, mean that I can only give it 2 stars! ★★☆☆☆

The free Family Tree Builder app is great and I’ll probably continue to play with it, adding material that I’ve got elsewhere. It looks great. I just wish it was a bit easier to navigate between different branches of my tree. A tab at the top of the “family view” that would let you get quickly to an index of all the individuals in your tree would be great for that.

The available records that you can search is also good. But I think that the systems of “Hinting” records, and of merging record details into your own family tree needs improvement (I realise that this is sure to be a very technically challenging thing to get right!).

So I think that I am unlikely to take out any kind of subscription to FindMyPast until I can see them ironing out many of the frustrations that I’ve mentioned above. Once they do, it’ll be a really great tool.