Thursday, 21 May 2015

Learn the Lingo - pre-1837


We genealogists talk a lot about 1837. It only struck me recently how odd this must seem to people unacquainted with genealogy. On the face of it, 1837 seems to be such an odd year to pick.

In reality, there's a reason why genealogists find post-1837 research much easier than pre-1837. 1837 was the year in which civil registration for births, marriages, and deaths was introduced to England and Wales. Pre-1837 is the period before there was such a thing as a birth certificate, and the same for marriages and deaths. This means we have to rely on parish records (the church or chapel registers of what baptisms, marriages, and burials took place in the church) which are often varied in terms of what information is recorded, or even who was baptised/christened. This is also before the first national census in 1841, leaving us with little choice but to get creative with our research if we're going to get any further back. Any records that do exist start getting notoriously vague!

So, pre-1837 is the genealogist's term for the time before modern records, where research can get quite difficult, particularly if your ancestor's lived in an area with poor record-keeping.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Just a Note

Hi everyone, I've been very busy, but will hopefully find time to post again some time this week. Hope you're all fine! See you soon!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A Political Statement from 1909

'...What measure of success he had attained - he did not say this boastfully, but to encourage others - was due to consistent hard work. He entered public life because he thought it the duty of every citizen to render some service to the parish or the town where he lived, and the greater the privileges they enjoyed in this respect the greater were their responsibilities.'
Cardiff Times, 27 March 1909, detailing a speech made by Alderman Lewis Morgan, Lord Mayor of Cardiff

Monday, 27 April 2015

24 Hours in the Past

BBC One trailer via YouTube

A 'living history' reality show called 24 Hours in the Past starts tomorrow night (Tues, 28 Apr) at 9pm on BBC1.

So, what is it? Well, in a nutshell, a bunch of celebrities have to spend time working as Victorians, and sampling four different workplaces over four different days. They also have to live in a Victorian style.

Who are the celebrities? There are six celebrities - several of which have previously featured on Strictly Come Dancing. They include Ann Widdecombe, Alistair McGowan, Tyger Drew-Honey (Outnumbered) and Welsh athlete Colin Jackson.

So, only time will tell how good or otherwise the programme turns out to be - but anything that encourages an interest in history and social history is worth a try.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Illness of a General

Was there a chink in Caesar's armour? This article from Discovery News explores the possibility that the famous general suffered from mini strokes. Take a look!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Hidden Arthurian Gems

Hi everyone, thought I'd tell you about this article showing hidden gems discovered by UV light in the medieval manuscript known as the Black Book of Carmarthen. Enjoy!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Learn the Lingo - Alias


The term alias is used when an individual used more than one name. Most commonly, this will be found in criminal records - for example 'John Smith alias George Jones was found guilty of...' This is because people in trouble with the law often changed their names to avoid their pasts and evade detection.

The second most common use of an alias is in the case of illegitimacy. Where a child was born outside marriage, they may be known by both their father and their mother's last name, for example 'John Jones alias Evans,' this can also happen in the case of fostering, informal adoption, or remarriage of one of the child's parents. 

There are of course also many individually unique reasons why someone may be known by more than one name.