Archive for December 2010

Re-activate your expired credits at ScotlandsPeople

Category: General

ScotlandsPeople are offering all customers who have existing credits in their account the opportunity to re-activate and use the credits at no cost through the use of a voucher code. They are doing this to allow customers who have expired credits to take the opportunity to use them without making a purchase.

All customers who have existing credits can now use the free voucher code festive which will re-set the credit expiry to 90 days in their account. Customers may use this voucher any time until 1.00 pm. on Wednesday 5th January 2011. The voucher may only be used once in each account.

For information on how to use the voucher, click here.

Henry Ridley from Birmingham. How do I tell I have the correct man?

Category: Brick Walls

My great-grandmother's (Alice Ridley) birth certificate states that her father was Henry Ridley, a blacksmith, and her mother, Ann Ridley formerly Cotterill. Henry was 'Harry' on Alice's marriage certificate.

I see her family in Birmingham on the 1871 census before Alice was born. Living there are Alice's three elder siblings:

Henry's age is difficult to read but it looks like 30 (b. abt 1841), born in Birmingham, Warwickshire. He is a blacksmith on the census too.
Ann (actually Hannah Maria Cotterill) was born in Dudley Worcestershire in abt 1842.
1) Joseph (who is Joseph Henry), b. abt 1864 in Wednesbury, Staffs.
2) Mary A, b. abt 1868 in Moxley, Staffs
3) Alfred, b. abt 1870 in Derby, Staffs

I've traced Alice's mother in later censuses and she was no longer with Henry. She married a George Oakes in 1874 as Cotterill, her maiden name. As I hadn't been able to find a marriage between Alice's parents, this fits.

My problem is all I have for Henry Ridley is one definite census where his age is uncertain. I believe he might be the same Henry that I see in later censuses living with 'Elizabeth' in various parts of Lancashire.

Firstly, how might I gather further evidence to support the supposition that my Henry is definitely the one with Elizabeth - there's no marriage again as far as I can see.

Secondly, and even more pertinent is how can I find out who Henry's parents were? FreeBMD doesn't offer any clues as to his birth. The censuses show a possible family where the father is William and the mother is Lydia. FamilySearch reveals the same family with a baptism in 1839 in St Thomas, Birmingham. However, there may be other possibilities and I don't feel there's enough to go on so far to be certain that I'm tracing the correct ancestry. Even if I do manage to find a birth certificate for Henry, what information might it reveal to help me ascertain that he's definitely mine?

Treasure Chest Thursday: Florence's Tea Set

Category: Ancestors Corner

One of my most treasured possessions is the tea set given to me by my grandmother, Phyllis Grace Geake (nee Weaver). It had belonged to her mother, Florence Smale, and it is thought to have been a wedding present. Therefore this lovely Crown Staffordshire 12 place china set probably dates before 1915, almost an antique!

The set comprises 12 cups and saucers, 12 tea plates, 2 large cake plates, a sugar bowl, milk jug, tea pot and hot water jug with metal lid (my favourite item)......Read more »

Site updates - the Weaver families of Curry Rivel, Somerset

Category: What's New at

Family Tree Section

Gallery SectionResources > Reports Section launches the 1911 census summary books

Category: General

A while ago reached an agreement with The National Archives to acquire and publish online the 1911 England and Wales Census. Because it's such a large collection they're putting it up in stages, starting with the Summary Books which have just been launched.

The complete set of 1911 Census record images will launch online in early 2011, followed by the indexes, which will be made available in sections throughout the remainder of 2011.

Thrifty Thursday: PCC and other wills at

Category: General

Did you know include several databases of wills in their subscriptions? These are partial indexes offering online access to images of the original pages. Included are...
  • Bristol Wills Index 1572 - 1792.
  • Edinburgh Wills Index 1601 - 1700.
  • Irish Wills Index 1536 - 1810.
  • Leicestershire Wills Index 1495 - 1750.
  • Northampton Wills Index 1510 - 1652.
  • Yorkshire Wills Index 1389 - 1652.
  • Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers Covering dates 1384-1858. Contains over 776,000 records.
When I contacted about 4 months ago they advised me that their main coverage for the PCC wills so far was 1616, 1647-1650 and 1706-1857.

If you want to look up a lot of wills then a 6 month subscription to might prove cheaper than individually downloading them from the National Archives at 3.50 per will.

[Why Thrifty Thursday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

New parish records for Dorset now added to

Category: General

22,989 new Dorset parish records have been published on consisting of 1,533 baptisms, 8,084 marriages and 13,372 burials:

Number of Records: 1,533
Years covered: 1538-1839
Parishes covered:
Okeford Fitzpaine

Number of Records: 8,084
Years covered: 1546-1839
Parishes covered:
Melcombe Regis
Gussage All Saints
Glanvilles Wootton
Lytchet Matravers
Okeford Fitzpaine
Fontmell Magna
Shipton Gorge
Bishops Caundle
Frome St Quintin

Number of Records: 13,372
Years covered: 1573-1749
Parishes covered:
Dorchester All Saints
Dorchester Holy Trinity
Dorchester St Peter
Gussage All Saints
Melbury Abbas
Okeford Fitzpaine
Wyke Regis

Site updates - Family tree reports

Category: What's New at

Resources > Reports Section

Site updates - Surnames: Horn / Bailey / Rigsby / Hellier

Category: What's New at

Family Tree Section

Tuesday's Tip: Devon ancestors? Search the Tithe Apportionments database

Category: Handy Family History Links

In 1998, the Friends of Devon's Archives undertook a project to make the information from the county's tithe apportionments more accessible. Most date from the 1840's, and they cover 97.4% of the total area of the county. However, coverage does not exist for the urban parishes of Exeter, nor for Kingsbridge, Dartmouth St Saviours, East Stonehouse in Plymouth, the town of Tiverton, etc. - therefore, many highly-populated areas are not included.

The names of owners, lessees and occupiers, together with the names of the holdings and their acreages, have been extracted and a database of this information has been created. Several border parishes in Cornwall and Dorset have also been included.

This database is available to search for free on the Friends of Devon's Archives website.

The data can be accessed in two different ways, - by searching on a parish to obtain a complete listing of the parish, or searching on a name to obtain all occurrences of that name.

The main limitation with the database is that it does not contain field names or numbers and, except for named holdings whose location is known, the searcher will have to resort to the original Tithe Apportionment and map to obtain a geographical location of property.

I put in the surname, Horn, to try and find my 5 x great-grandfather, William Horn of Black Torrington, and the database rendered the following results:

Parish, Owner, Occupier, Holding, Acreage,
Black Torrington, Burden, John, Horn, William, Hole, 92.0.30
Black Torrington, Burden, John, Horn, William, Uptcott, 34.3.06
Black Torrington, Horn, William, Collacott, William, unnamed cottage etc, 0.0.03
Black Torrington, Horn, William, Dart, John, unnamed cottage etc, 0.0.04
Black Torrington, Horn, William, Horn, William, unnamed cottage etc, 0.0.20
Black Torrington, Horn, William, Horn, William, unnamed land, 1.3.34
Black Torrington, Paige, George, Horn, William, unnamed land, 1.0.00
Bradworthy, Oke, Hugh, Horn, William, unnamed house etc, 0.0.19
Holsworthy, Stanhope, Earl, Horn, William, unnamed house etc, 0.2.16

Area given in acres, rods (or roods), and perches (40 perches = 1 rod, 4 rods = 1 acre)

Used in conjunction with the 1841 census, I found the Tithe Apportionments database to be a useful tool. For instance, the census showed George Paige, the owner of an acre of unnamed land occupied by William Horn, lived at Bridge, Black Torrington. Using the Ordnance Survey maps at Bing, I discovered Hole Farm, Upcott Farm and Bridge Farm are all still in existence today.

[Why Tuesday's Tip? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

How to organize your digital family history data

Category: General

There's no one particular way to keep your digital genealogical research organized but I thought I'd mention how I do it. If you have an alternative method please share it in the comments section.

My research is organized within a series of folders on my computer, two of which are named Family Members (Maternal) and Family Members (Paternal) respectively.

Inside these folders, I have a sub-folder for each person in my tree for whom I have documents, photographs, or both. I name them using the surname first, in capitals, then the Christian names and lastly, in brackets, a married name for women. In the case of several individuals bearing the same name, I add the birth year or other fact in brackets to differentiate. Here are some examples...

FRYER Richard (b abt. 1663)
PARKER Sarah Albinia (Dando)
TOYSOM Alexander (the elder)
WALKER Sarah (Dando, Hamilton)
!UNKNOWN Hannah (Pitcher) (b abt. 1808)

I use the exclamation mark before those with unknown surnames so these individuals will be placed at the beginning of the folder when alphabetically sorted.

I make sure my folder is sorted on 'name' so I'll be able to find my chosen individual quickly. To do this in Windows, you need to open up either the Family Members (Maternal) or Family Members (Paternal) folder and in the menu, choose View > Arrange Icons By > Name. If they are sorted Z-A perform this action once more and you should have them arranged A-Z.

Inside the person's folder, I create another folder named 'Documents'. This is where I store all the downloaded documents and scanned images of documents in my possession. Wherever possible, I date them so these documents will appear in order inside the folder. For example...

1869 - England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915 - Alfred Charles Hibbitt.jpg
1869 - England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915 - Alfred Charles Hibbitt.mht
1871 - England Census - Alfred C Hibbitt.jpg
1871 - England Census - Alfred C Hibbitt.mht
1928 - Alfred Charles Hibbitt - Death Certificate.jpg

1882 - 17 Feb - London Gazette - Bankruptcy of William Elbert Dando.pdf
1915 - Post Office London Directory (Part 5 - Law, Court & Parlaiment Directories) - William Elbert Dando.jpg

There is inevitably, a certain amount of duplication for instance, a census document might contain a family of 6 people so the same document will eventually be stored in 6 different folders. I feel this is the best way to ensure I'll always find the document I'm looking for but it does, however, take up more disk space.

Besides the 'Documents' folder, I sometimes create a folder called 'Photos' within the individual person's named folder. As the name suggests it's where I place photographs relevant to the person if I have them. These might include scanned pictures of the person or photographs of places where they lived or worked or churches where they were baptized, married or buried, either taken recently or from old photos. I might also include pictures of memorabilia such as medals or other personal possessions.

Whatever your method, remember to always back up your important data either onto an external hard drive or to CD or DVD or memory stick or to an online backup service, anywhere just so long as you keep an additional copy. Your data represents many hours of hard work which you'd be heartbroken to lose.