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 notes about parents' residence in a different parish) that are not shown in Wiltshire baptism transcriptions on Ancestry.

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 16 Sep 2019

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). I also love the fact that Findmypast lets us sort the search results. Searches are free, so give it a try!

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.

See the updated version of my article Why I Use and Recommend Findmypast, which highlights some of the most outstanding features of the site.

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 six 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.)