27 September 2016

Wiltshire Baptisms (Tuesday's Tip)

GIBLETT baptism extract
Extract from Findmypast's transcription for the 1748 baptism of Sarah GIBLETT
This posted was updated in August 2017 after more entries (for dates up to 1917) were added to the index.
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If you're looking for baptisms in the county of Wiltshire (England) between 1530 and 1917, start by searching the record set Wiltshire Baptisms 1530-1917 at Findmypast.

The transcriptions there (created by the Wiltshire Family History Society and by Findmypast) give some details (such as parents' residence in a different parish) that are not shown in Wiltshire baptism transcriptions on Ancestry.com.

The illustration shows part of the entry for Sarah GIBLETT, whom I suspect may be a sister of my 4xgreat-grandfather Richard GIBLETT.

If you're researching any GIBLETT, HYDON or HINWOOD family with connections to Warminster (Wiltshire) or Frome, Glastonbury or Shepton Mallet (Somerset), I'd love to exchange information with you. My email address is in the sidebar here.

('Tuesday's Tip' is a theme used by Geneabloggers. This post first appeared on http://uk-australia.blogspot.com/2016/09/wiltshire-baptisms-tuesdays-tip.html.)

1 April 2016

Will Books 1800-1952

Archives in a particular region usually hold wills or probate records for many people who lived or died in other regions. That's why I deliberately chose not to mention a location in the title of this post.

I've found an amazing amount of information about people in other States and even other countries in NSW Will Books 1800-1952. Countries mentioned include England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand, Canada, USA, South Africa, Germany, Fiji, Mexico, India, Holland, China, Papua, New Guinea, etc.

The original books are held by State Records New South Wales. Before 1924 they contain handwritten copies of the wills. Between 1924 and 1952 the copies were typed.

Images of the Will Books are on FindMyPast. Searches are free (you only pay if you want to see an image or transcription). My search tips are shown below. Start with strategy no.1, then try no.2, and so on.
Search screen for NSW Will Books 1800-1952
  1. Search for a name in 'Who' (you can use asterisks as wildcards). 'Death year' is optional, and you can select 'give or take' (+/-) up to 40 years. For now, ignore the 'Residence' field.

  2. In the separate field called Heirs' or executors' last name, enter a surname (you can use asterisks as wildcards), but leave both of the Who fields empty.

  3. If you use the Residence field, use wildcards. You'll understand why if you search for *Brisbane*, with asterisks before and after, and note the residences shown in results! Data in the Residence field is not entered in any set format. It may be just a town, or just a State, or just a country, or town+State, or State+country, etc (with or without punctuation, which makes a difference to the results). Sometimes places are abbreviated (eg, Queensland / Qld).

  4. Experiment with other variations and combinations. Keep a list of the search criteria that you use, because you may later think of other ways to search.

  5. When you use the Heirs' or Executors' Last Name field, be aware that the results may be incomplete. For example, you won't find heirs and executors of Julia COUTTS because (although they are shown in her Will Book entry) the names have not been included in the transcription. Presumably you could add them to the database by clicking 'Report an error in this transcription' and entering the names in the appropriate fields.

  6. It is essential to view images of the original Will Books, because a 'transcription' does not include the will itself.

  7. Click 'Learn' above the search boxes to find out more about the collection.

Although only a few of my ancestors were in New South Wales, I've already found fifteen wills - and that's just from random searches 'off the top of my head'. Imagine what I might achieve if I get organised and do systematic searches in Will Books 1800-1952!

(This post first appeared on http://uk-australia.blogspot.com/2016/04/will-books-1800-1952.html.)


I use and recommend...

25 February 2016

Why I Use and Recommend FindMyPast

Updated 1 Nov 2017

I am a big fan of FindMyPast for genealogy research. For records that are also on other sites, FindMyPast's indexes and transcriptions are (in my experience) more accurate (and this is particularly obvious with British censuses). Searches are free.

FindMyPast includes an especially good collection of Queensland records, and I have also been using their British census records and parish registers for many years. Recently I made exciting discoveries in NSW will books 1800-1952 (which include information about many non-NSW people), passenger lists, Royal Household records, the 1939 Register, East India Company and civil service pensions, and non-conformist baptisms, marriages and burials. For example, UK outwards passenger lists showed that between one British census and the next, some of my families went to South Africa and Canada and then returned to England.

Recent improvements and enhancements at FindMyPast include:
  • In September 2017 Findmypast introduced new search options. Birth, marriage and death subcategories were split into two types (civil records and parish records). Multiple subcategories can now be selected within the search form. These changes let you control the number of results you see. To sort the results, click on the title at the top of the appropriate column. For more advice see 'Searching these records' on Life Events (BDMs).

  • Original parish register images that are online only at Findmypast are for Cheshire, Devon, Hertfordshire, East Kent, Leicestershire, Rutland, Shropshire, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Wales, Westminster, Yorkshire North Riding and Yorkshire East Riding. Scroll down on British and Irish family you won't find anywhere else.

  • New record sets are added every week. Check the full list of record sets worldwide plus last Friday's additions.

  • Additions to the superb Yorkshire collection include the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of York Probate Index 1688-1858.

  • A 12-month World or Britain subscription now includes unlimited free access to the 1939 Register for England and Wales. This is similar in some ways to a census, but it shows exact birth dates, and name changes after marriage, by deed poll, etc.

  • The British Newspaper Archive is available within FindMyPast.

  • There are many ways to search. For example: 'Search All' is good for people with connections to more than one country, or for one-name studies.  'Category search' lets you search multiple datasets of a similar type (such as all census years).  'A-Z' lets you select a single dataset and search it with more powerful filtering options (and I recommend doing this).

  • Links marked 'Learn more' and 'Discover more' lead to helpful information about the original records.

  • When the general public is allowed several days of free access, FindMyPast adds the same number of free days to existing 12-month World subscriptions.

  • You can now attach records to your online family tree, which can be created by importing a GEDCOM file or by entering data manually.

  • Findmpast has partnered with BillionGraves to add more than 12 million grave marker (headstone) indexes (with more to follow).

  • Findmypast offers DNA testing services for genealogy (through FamilyTreeDNA, a reputable company that is probably the best one to use if you have British ancestry).

  • Article about the 1939 Register (England and Wales).

  • 'Top tips for overcoming 'brick walls' in family history'.

  • 'Hard to read records'.

  • Records from Origins.net were added to FindMyPast. That includes the National Wills Index with pre-1857 probate material for England and Wales. FindMyPast will be the largest online resource for UK wills and probate (and those records include data for people from other countries including Australia). The collection includes (to name just a few) Queensland intestacies and wills (from Government Gazette notices); Bank of England wills extracts 1717-1845; British India Office wills and probate; London probate index; Suffolk testator index 1847-1857; Great Western Railway shareholders; index to death duty registers 1796-1903; index of Irish wills 1484-1858. To narrow your search in the 'wills and probate' collection, click 'Browse record set' then select the one(s) you want.

Searches on FindMyPast are free. You only need pay-as-you-go credits or a subscription to see transcriptions/images of original records. Always view images if available (they have details not shown in transcriptions).

If you are not sure whether FindMyPast will suit you, use the 14-day free trial (un-tick 'Auto-renew' in MyAccount after you register) or get a one month subscription. A 12 month subscription is the best value (and there is a 10% loyalty discount for renewing it), but some people find the one month option more convenient. It is available for the World collection and for each of FindMyPast's regional collections (Australia/NZ; Britain; Ireland; USA).

If you have no Australian research but need access to UK records, sign up via findmypast.co.uk.

Check out FindMyPast's full list of record sets. They include many unusual sources that are superb for overcoming dead ends in family history!

When FindMyPast has discount offers and 'free access' days (several times per year), they are usually listed on Genealogy Discounts and Freebies.

Findmypast

31 January 2016

CuriousFox (gazetteer and genealogy message system)

Logo on www.curiousfox.com
CuriousFox is a gazetteer and message system that connects genealogists and local historians. Collaboration between these two groups is immensely beneficial.

In CuriousFox, every town and village in the United Kingdom and Ireland has its own page. There is also a USA version, which I have not personally used.

Things I like about CuriousFox include:
  • Exact map locations and historic maps.
  • Free to join, add entries, and search by village or surname.
  • With surname searches, finding relevant entries is easier because you can work at town / village level.
  • You can search for 'nearby' entries.
  • It is easy to edit or delete your entries.
  • Google searches will find your entries (so 'new relatives' can contact you).
  • No spam (your email address is not visible).
  • Privacy (the system sends messages between members, and you decide whether to give a particular member your address).
  • Advantages of being a paying member (about five pounds per year) include:
    • Contact and be contacted by all other members (free or paying).
    • Receive email alerts when people add entries for towns of interest to you.
    • Publicise your Web page or blog.

Entry screen for my ASHTON message
HINTS:
  • Give some thought to the wording of your entries. They should be concise, with surnames (and only surnames) in capital letters. Specify dates, and use appropriate punctuation.

  • For large towns with many entries and multiple pages, delete your entry every year and immediately resubmit it (updated if necessary) so that it reappears near the top of the list for that town. I did this recently, and within 24 hours a local historian contacted me and offered to send transcriptions of land records for that surname/town!

I hope you will try Curious Fox and share your success stories in a comment here.

(This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared on http://uk-australia.blogspot.com/2010/08/curiousfox-follow-friday.html for 'Follow Friday', a theme used by Geneabloggers. I also published it on http://worldwidegenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/08/curiousfox-gazetteer-and-message-system.html.)
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