2011 - Phil Moir's Blog
Welcome to the new Genes Reunited blog!
- We regularly add blogs covering a variety of topics. You can add your own comments at the bottom.
- The Genes Reunited Team will be writing blogs and keeping you up to date with changes happening on the site.
- In the future we hope to have guest bloggers that will be able to give you tips and advice as to how to trace your family history.
- The blogs will have various privacy settings, so that you can choose who you share your blog with.
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We're fast approaching Christmas and one of Genes Reunited's busiest times of the year. Since our last release, we have had a significant amount of support from development resources inside brightsolid, but who don't normally work on the Genes Reunited website. They have made a massive amount of change behind the scenes and while not every bug has been fixed, the stability and performance of the site has been much improved. We know there are still some niggles, such as not being able to print your tree, errors still appear for a few, etc., but don't worry these are not being ignored. So what other things have we been doing. Since my last update we have rolled out 3 releases albeit some were minor bug fix releases, but here's what was included:
Over the last month we have been working on four fronts in the development team. We continue to work on code changes to improve the performance. The final results of this will only be seen when they are fully complete. However, we have also worked on other areas, improving the features that currently exist on the website (this month saw the initial phase of the Message Centre revamp for which Daniele has been responsible), improving features that support the website (including an overhaul of the Hot Matches process that is being championed by Chris, although new features have not been released yet) and we continue to work on adding more datasets and new features (which is where Emma has been working). We did deploy an update a couple of weeks ago, but for performance reasons they were withdrawn, but after further testing we are happy to let members try the new functionality. Read on to see what is included in this release:
Today saw another release of enhancements, changes and fixes to the Genes reunited website. It's been a very busy three weeks, and we've been working very hard to get Parish records included into the Genes search options (and we've made it!). Continue reading for more information.
The last release was performed on 21st September 2011, but am afraid with a few days off sick, and progress being made on the next release, I forgot to post an update of what was included in the last release.
In 1904, Henry B Turnbull boarded a ship in Southampton bound for South Africa, never to return to his home town of Edinburgh and unlikely to ever see his parents or siblings again. Some 43 years later, after both the Great War and the Second World War had ended, he invited his older brother Adam (my great-grandfather who was 82 at the time) to visit him in his new homeland of South Africa. This is the letter written by Adam Turnbull, recounting the troubled decisions he had to make before taking on the flight, the bizarre encounters with people who knew his name, the journey in incredible detail and sadly, only briefly of his experiences in South Africa. Even more sad is the scant mention about his family reunion. And then he recalls the sudden departure by ship because of illness (or home-sickness), his journey through the destruction that was still evident in post-war London and finally his return to Edinburgh.
Another cycle of development came to an end today with a new release for the website being deployed this afternoon. As you might imagine, the release includes a few new developments, some fixes, and a few other bits and pieces. Today's release was not announced on the boards as it was done without the site being taken down. In general, we prefer not to have any fixed interruptions and only deploy with downtime, where we need to make critical changes that require all servers to be updated at the same time. Since I last posted on 23rd August, we appear to have had quite a stable two weeks, which has been great for site development, as we have not been distracted by performance issues. So what is included in this release?
Today saw us eventually roll out some changes that we have be trying to deploy for a few (very stressful) weeks now. Again, I'd like to apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused anyone, and I hope in the majority of cases we should see an improvement in service. We are very carefully watching the logs that report errors that occur, and anything that can be fixed quickly will be actioned. I do have to confess that some errors do occur that are not straight-forward and we are unable to replicate. To help us, we have added additional logging of these errors that can hopefully help us to resolve these obscure issues.
On Saturday the 3rd December 1904, the relatively new RMS "Kenilworth Castle" passenger liner (part of the fleet of Union-Castle Line. See also Union Castle) slipped out of Southampton Docks bound for South Africa. Master of the ship for this voyage was Captain J Morton. The ship was travelling with only half occupancy, some 330 out of a possible 754 passengers spread across the three classes and up to 250 crew. The ship would make one stop in Madeira, the small Portuguese archipelago some 400km east of the Moroccan coast in the North Atlantic, where 15 passengers were due to disembark (and a few likely to join), before proceeding onto Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and then finally 49 days after departing from England, it would reach Durban. Of the 330 passengers who originally boarded in Southampton, the majority, some 258 were due to leave the ship when it first docked in South Africa at Cape Town.
Another end to the (working) week, although I appreciate that this is for many of you, your chance to get back into your family history research, but I think it is only fair to give an update on the site.
It's Friday night, and I am just trying to wrap up a number of things on my To Do list. I must apologise that this is not family tree/history related like Estelle and Rhoda's. Mine will come! Especially since the Passenger Lists and other Travel and Overseas records are now available. For those that have received a promotional email for the Passenger Lists, the photos and pictures surrounding the promotional text are courtesy of my great-grandfather's brother, Henry Turnbull (that is him top left), who emigrated to South Africa in 1904, and sent my grandmother a series of photos taken during the voyage. More of that to come.