Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Irish Wills

If you are researching Irish Ancestors then you may have been to this site before . The good news is that the information for Wills has been greatly improved. Now a fully search able index to the Will Calender entries of Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry is available online for free.
The database covers 1858-1914 and 1922-1945. Digitised images of entries for the period 1858 1900 are also online and are free to view.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Australian Ancestors, Fremantle

Most West Australians will have visited Fremantle, no doubt to have 'Fish and Chips'.
Are they aware though of the Army Museum there and the part it played in the 1st and 2nd World War?
The Army Museum is located in the historic Artillery Barracks that were established in Fremantle in 1910
Take a look at the Museum and the role it has played.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Find Your Ancestors this Christmas

I don't know how it managed to get here so fast this year but we are now in the big countdown to Christmas. If you are wondering what to give the keen family history researcher as a present, then membership of a big Ancestry site may be a good idea.
As you are reading this ,then you may be thinking that you would like this for yourself. You could drop a few hints or go the whole hog and buy it for yourself.
Ever since i received a Microwave for Christmas i have either asked for a particular thing or gone out and bought my own present.
Another present that would suit the researcher is the DVD set of the TV series 'Who do you think you are' This has been a TV show that started in the UK and then Australia and America produced their own series. This may be a particular good idea for those of you who live in a cold climate at Christmas.
Enjoy your shopping!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Naval Medals Records

Have you looked on Ancestry.co.uk lately to see what is new?
They now have Naval Medals and Award Rolls 1793-1922. I was able to find the Medal record for my Great Uncle Allen McMullen. He had been awarded the Star, Victory Medal and the British War Medal.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Lancashire Ancestors

Lancashire Ancestors can be be found in Lancashire Cemeteries. This site is free to search the records. To view the Headstone Inscriptions and Burial Records a small fee is charged.
For WW1 Casualties the records are free to search and view.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Finding Your Ancestors Photograph

While visiting my parents a couple of years ago I was rummaging through some of my late grandmother’s belongings. Prayer books and a few other items. One of the items was an old, sepia toned framed photograph of an older woman dressed in the finery of the day. I asked my mother who she was. She had no idea. Just that it had always been on her mother’s dresser. I asked my aunt. She didn’t know. So, I took the photo out of the frame to look on the back for possible clues. It was one of those old postcard photos. And there was only one word. Rose. No last name. No date.

My Nana was not a sentimental woman. She did not hang on to things for very long. And she very rarely talked about her family or her years growing up in the mill town of Lurgan in County Armagh, Ireland. We knew her father died young and her mother remarried. She had told my mother that during that time the kids were with relatives. I have no idea why.

I adored my grandmother so naturally I was quite intrigued. This must have been a special person in her life if the photo had a permanent place on her bedroom dresser. And since my Nana was an important person in my life I packed up that photo and brought it back with me to California. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. But I placed it on one of the end tables in my living room. And it remained there. I dusted it regularly and every once in awhile my children would ask, “Do we know who she is yet?” And I would reply, “No, not yet.” Even if I never found out who she was I would keep her picture there. Maybe as a reminder of the importance of people in our lives and maybe just as an appreciation and respect for my ancestors.

In the meantime, while pursuing my interest in my family’s genealogy, I had reconnected with one of my mom’s first cousins who lived in that very same town of Lurgan. The secretary at the local parish had given him my email address. It was amazing. Michael provided me with so much information on the family. He filled in the blanks that my grandmother had left empty. He even sent me a photo of Nana’s parents. My mom had never even seen a picture of her own grandparents. So, of course, I sent him the picture of Rose. He had no idea who Rose was but promised to show her photo around to some of the family. He did but had no luck.
I had the thought that maybe if Michael posted her photo at the church we might get some results. But I didn’t pursue it at the time. I just remembered my dad saying to go back to the church when looking for information. That was the place where births, marriages and weddings were celebrated and recorded. And as I found out… they also pass along email addresses! I put the idea on the back burner thinking that at some point I would pursue it.

I spent some time looking for neighbors or possible relatives named Rose in the Lurgan census reports of 1901 and 1911. Nothing. Dead ends.

Cousin Michael then suggested putting Rose on the storefront window of the local print shop. A place where notices, photos and events are posted. I thought it was a brilliant idea. A place where there would be a lot of foot traffic and a place for Rose to be seen.

Oh, Rose was seen all right. And she caused a bit of a stir in the town. The calls started coming. Michael and his wife, Margaret were fielding telephone calls from all sorts of different people. Seems everyone wanted to claim Rose. Some he had to reject outright since there was no connection to our family whatsoever. Some callers left the line disappointed that Rose wasn’t theirs.

But one day he received a visit from a local woman accompanied by her sister who was visiting from London. They were relatives of ours and they claimed that her name was not Rose but Mary McGovern. It was their great grandmother. I had already known that Mary McGovern was in fact my great great grandmother. My Nana’s grandmother. But I wouldn’t have a clue as to what she looked like. And I couldn’t figure out why Rose was printed on the back. Now, I think I have it. Mary McGovern’s daughter Rose emigrated to the US. I think that this photo of her mom was given to Rose. And then maybe Rose gave it to her niece, my Nana. Or maybe it was given to Nana after her aunt Rose died.

Michael received another phone call from a family member who said it was his great grandmother. Mary McGovern. And he had other photos also! Michael swung by his house but the fellow wasn’t in at the time. But his wife was and she explained why her husband was so sure of this photo. As Michael turned his head he was surprised to see a copy of the print shop photo of Rose proudly displayed on the fireplace mantle. In a brand new frame.

A few days later this relative would visit Michael with a load of family photos. He even had one of my grandmother when she was a young girl! Another one was of my great great great grandparents. Rose’s parents! I mean Mary McGovern’s parents! I cannot tell you how exciting this all was for me. I was named Mary Elizabeth after my Nana. And she was named after her grandmother. The woman staring at me from this old photograph gave me my name.

I was so thrilled to reconnect with my family, learn more about my background and have these wonderful photos of family in my possession. Sparked by my love of family history and genealogy but spurred on by a photo of a woman with a feathered hat and a shiny shawl posing for the camera. She may have been born Mary but I will always think of her as Rose. I will keep her photo on the end table because I now know she belongs with me. But also as a reminder that everyone has a name, a story, and a background. And that in order to discover these things we need to be a little creative. Think outside the box. Try different tactics. Dig a little deeper. Ask questions.

It worked for me. I found my name


Friday, November 12, 2010

HMS Indefatigable

Yesterday was the day that we remember, those who gave up their lives for their Country.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month we have two minutes silence. I was at home doing the ironing when it came on the radio. For years i never had any connection with this until i found out that my Great Uncle Allen McMullen had lost his life on the 31st May 1916 on the HMS Indefatigable.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Irish Superstitions

If your Ancestors came from Ireland, then there is a good chance that you have heard of a few Irish Superstitions.
One of them is the story about the 'Seventh Son Of The Seventh Son'
In Irish Folklore he possessed Supernatural Powers. It was said that the Seventh Son would have these powers but if his Father had been the Seventh Son then the powers were greater.

My father would tell me the tale that his youngest brother was the 'Seventh Son of the Seventh Son' and on occasions had been able to see into the future. 'Uncle Tony' was indeed the Seventh Son but after finding my Grandfather and his family in the Census. I realised that my Grandfather was the Eighth Son as he was the youngest child of ten, eight boys and two girls. Now we all know that the Irish can tell a tale and my Dad was no exception !

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Best Free Genealogy Websites

One of our readers has asked the question 'What are the best free Genealogy sites'
No doubt we will all have a different favourite. Here are my favourite three.

Number 1) Roz Davis's County Down website

Number 2) lancashire Parish Clerks Online

Number 3) FreeBMD

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Parish Records for Southport, Lancashire

I have been asked for Parish Records for Southport, Lancashire. Follow the link, then click on OPC Search which is on the left of the page. Then you need to click on the letter S for Southport . The records are there for Southport. If you do not see the records that you are looking for ,then check back in a couple of weeks as this site is always being updated.