Monday, 2 March 2015

Learn the Lingo

Hi everyone! I've decided to do a new post series ('Learn the Lingo'!) to explain some of the genealogy terminology that I rarely notice is terminology anymore. This will be normal terminology as opposed to things I come up with when I'm in a strange mood (let's face it, we all do it!)

So, today's lingo word is (drumroll here)....

Certs to a genealogist doesn't mean 'for certain.' It is in fact short for certificate - referring to Birth, Marriage and Death certificates which are used to find information about individual family members.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The day the people wanted politics

The chartist uprising of 1839 was an important part of Welsh history and the history of people and politics in this country. It wasn't just suffragettes who had to fight for the right to vote. The Newport chartists wanted everyman of the age of 21 and over to be allowed to vote - not just the wealthy. Because of property restrictions on eligibility to vote, the poverty stricken did not have that right - and therefore were alienated from a system which largely ignored them and their needs.

Tonight at 9pm on BBC 2 Wales, the actor Michael Sheen presents a programme on the Newport Rising. It will be available on iPlayer for those in other regions.

Friday, 20 February 2015

178 year old family Bible is returned to its owners

Hi everyone!

I found this interesting short article about how a piece of one Welsh family's history (a 178 year old family Bible) was returned to them. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, 9 February 2015

When you need some help with your research

Hi everyone, just to remind you that if you've decided to look into your British family history, and have got a little overwhelmed or stuck, help is at hand!

My hourly rate, Leaves, is £9.50 per hour; feel free to get in touch with me the usual way (via the e-mail address found on my website so that I can help you out with your genealogy mysteries and "brick-walls."

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Preserving the people in the pages

I'm sure many of you will have seen the media coverage yesterday of Holocaust memorial day, at the 70th anniversary. Most will agree that the Holocaust is something worth remembering, though many will disagree about how - and rightly, as we're all very different people, and some will place commemoration and memorialisation above education and the terrible lessons taught, while others will see it as the ultimate example to use to prevent future atrocities.

Regardless of your standpoint, something horrible happened in the 1930s and 1940s to the people who were Jewish, Communist, Homosexual, Disabled, and likely others who I have unintentionally left out, who were living in Nazi controlled territories. They took their lives, tried to eradicate their identities, their memories, their humanity - but in these latter points they did not succeed.

Projects like those run by the USHMM in conjunction with partners are an attempt to restore that measure of identity, memory, and humanity, that the Nazis did chip away at. The USHMM (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) holds large amounts of documentation related to the Holocaust - things such as lists of Polish Jews living in ghettos, and applications for the identity cards which all had to carry. You may think that these things are better forgotten - but I respectfully disagree. The Nazis wanted the Jewish people (and others) to be stripped of their names, instead calling them and branding them with numbers. These documents are the pieces they couldn't take - their names, where they lived, what their occupation was, their parents, their birth details, and in some cases even some small passport-style photographs stuck to the middle of the form. And every one of those people is beautiful.

So, when I'm there typing their details into an index on behalf of one of USHMM's partners (the archiving project of a well-known family history website,) people assume that I find it depressing. And yes, there are moments when you feel sad for what was and what could have been, but overall it's a very positive experience. I can help to restore just a little bit of justice to these people - I can let people know they were there, they existed, they were completely normal, they loved laughed and cried. Most importantly, I can help to give them back their names, their identities - and if that isn't positive I don't know what is.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

A quick note on a remarkable man

Those of you who saw the One Show last night will know what a remarkable man Freddie Knoller is. If you want to hear his full story of surviving Auschwitz and the Holocaust (surviving the Holocaust - Freddie Knoller's war,) you can see it on BBC2 at 9.30 tonight, and on iPlayer afterwards. Viewers in Scotland can see it on BBC2 at 10pm on Sun 25 Jan, and it will be repeated in all regions except Northern Ireland and Scotland at 23.20 on Monday 26 Jan.

It really is worth a look if you want to know the human story of the Holocaust and encounter this remarkable character.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Transfixing Tudors

Have you ever noticed that we seem utterly transfixed on the Tudor dynasty? There's no end of plays, books, TV shows, and films on the subject - and every couple of years we seem to go Tudor crazy.

At the moment, BBC has a wealth of Tudor programming on offer (not least the adaptation of Wolf Hall starting on BBC2 tonight at 9pm,) but why is it we keep returning to this family's story again and again?

Well, firstly everyone likes a scandal and a gossip - illegitimacy, mistresses, and who-is-chopping-who's-head-off abounds here, which is as compelling as modern celeb gossip (and we all know about that.)

There's also something of the mafia-style family drama to it; the transfer of power, betrayal, and political point-scoring. And there's the compelling nature of Anne Boleyn - perhaps the most talked-about of Tudor women, a lady who 'won' a king and was the mother of one of Britain's greatest queens, but lost her head in the process.

Maybe it's all these things and more; but to fans of Tudor adaptations, there's plenty around to get stuck into at the moment.