Family History Articles
Articles from "Discover My Past"
The British Newspaper Archive
Read about historical events at the time they were happening. Perhaps you'll discover your ancestor in their local newspaper?
The first railways, which operated as early as the 1820s, were for business use, rather than leisure. The earliest lines, in County Durham, carried coal from mines to the sea and rivers, for export.
By 1830, both the Canterbury & Whitstable and Liverpool & Manchester railways opened. Each was capable of carrying both freight and passengers.
James Taylor helps you to share your genealogical data. You're going to need some software to progress with your family history research. Not only does it vastly simplify the entering and editing of your information but it makes the sharing of that information as easy as handing over a memory card, USB Flash Drive, or a CD. The problem is that many popular software database programs will usually only open other programs' data if there's a "family" connection between them and their predecessors.
Does your family album contain military portraits? Photo-historian John Hannavy offers some dating and identification advice
In the early years of the Second World War, Liverpool photographer E Chambré Hardman reportedly had queues of women outside his studio on occasions, each wishing him to take a special photograph for her husband to carry with him when he was sent overseas. In other studios, soldiers in their new uniforms posed for their pictures – something to remain on the mantelpiece at home.
Life in the Crimean trenches was a rude awakening for the British, says John Hannavy.
“It is now pouring rain – the skies are black as ink – the wind is howling over the staggering tents – the trenches are turned into dykes – in the tents the water is sometimes a foot deep – our men have not either warm or waterproof clothing – they are out for twelve hours at a time in the trenches – they are plunged into the inevitable miseries of a winter campaign – and not a soul seems to care for their comfort or even for their lives. These are hard truths, but the people of England must hear them! They must know that the wretched beggar who wanders about the streets of London in the rain leads the life of a prince compared with the British soldiers who are fighting out here for their country.”
John Hannavy looks at how our Victorian and Edwardian ancestors filled their leisure time.
Sue Wilkes looks at how our ancestors lived and worked.
Professional genealogist Anthony Adolph tells us more about how wills can help our family history research.
In the last issue, we looked at wills, and what they can tell you. Whether written by rich or poor ancestors, they will often name spouses and children, and perhaps other relatives, thus helping to prove and extend family trees in a way few other records can. They are thus one of the most useful building blocks in genealogical research.
John Hannavy explores England's history as a maritime trading nation.“You know you’re getting old when…” is the opening of many a one-liner, but “You know you’re getting old when you can use some of your own photographs to illustrate an historical article” is not one I have come across until now…
One of my first professional assignments was in Manchester Docks in the 1960s, taking photographs for publication in a weekly encyclopaedia.
Professional genealogist Anthony Adolph shows how to use wills to help trace your family tree, and to find out more about your ancestors.
Wills may not be amongst the first things you would think of seeking when researching your family tree, but they can be amongst the most useful. They are documents written by people (who in this context we call “testators”) stating what they want to happen to their property after they have died. They are profoundly helpful to genealogists because, more often than not, testators leave their property to relations, and this makes a will a treasure house of genealogical details.
Anthony Adolph helps you decipher “old writing”.
One of the greatest problems you will face in starting your family history is not so much being unable to find the right records, as being able to read what they say. The problem is not a new one, and alongside genealogy there has always been another discipline, called Palaeography: the study of “old writing”.