Hows it going? Sep 2014

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Hows it going? Sep 2014

Post by mardler »

Hello everyone. Is it fall already? Well, OK, not for our Southern Hemisphere readers (!) and it doesn't seem like it for me either. As I write this, it's close to 90 degrees (in old money) and not at all fall-like, though I am on a long road trip to see my son in New Mexico!

John Howes, centenarian
Many, many thanks to the two Daves who responded to my request for information about John Howes, born in August 1914 and now able to see his own records on our database! Dave Howes correctly identified the family but his contribution was rapidly trumped by a fairly detailed report from Dave Hardy, who is part of the extended family of the person involved. Thank you, folks.

Behind the scenes chat
Relatively quiet month for us again, with not quite 700 lives added to our database. I've been thinking a little more about this metric of focusing on the number of lives. If anything, I feel like we are working every bit as hard as we were when we were regularly adding 1,000-1,500 people every month. What seems to be different now is that thanks to the growth of the internet, including the big genealogy data providers, there are now more facts available to us and thus more to check and add before moving to the next person or family. For example, last month, we added about eight times as many facts as people. I recall that number being about six, some years back.

So it's natural that we should be "slowing down". It actually makes more sense to report how many facts we added in the month, but that's not such an easily understood number. So we'll stick with reporting the number of people and just see how it goes.

Norwich City Health Department records
Over the last three years, during my trips to England I've been spending a LOT of time in the Norfolk Record Office going through this unique set of records. in case you don't know, every week for over 65 years, the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages used to send a weekly report over to what was then called the Sanitation Department. These records are marvellous. They contain all the information one would get from a birth or death certificate, except the name and address of the informant.

Anyway, it's taken me over three years to go through every single roll of microfilm scanning for records in the name of Howes, Howse or House. Most of the original records were handwritten making concentration all the more important, and errors (mine as well as the Registrars') more frequent. The result is that we now have 1,500 detailed birth records and 500 detailed death records for events which happened in Norwich from about 1890 to 1968. We have therefore "saved" close to £18,500 (about US$30,000) in not having to buy that number of certificates and we now have most details of most Norwich Howes families nailed down for 150 years! If it's been a while since you checked your own family, you might consider taking another look in case we've been able to add more details.

Unique records?
I assume that this was done so that the department could check that children were immunized and bodies were buried. In looking at the forms used it looks to me like this was happening nationally, which would make sense. However, unless you know anything different, Norwich appears to have been the only place for which these records have survived. If you're in the UK, is it worth checking at your own record office? I'd be interested to know if you find anything.

"All of human life"
I receive a daily update via google of comings and goings around the web for people with our name. Most of the time it's pretty dull, often relating to the performance of a Howes in school sports teams around the world. Of course, those mean a lot to the folks involved but it's practically impossible to figure out how the person fits into a family from that kind of report. However, just occasionally a gem comes up with names, dates and relationships all laid out. Because the article relates to a court case it's a little sad to read, but I thought I'd share it as a model for genealogically-minded journalists to follow! ... uilty.html

Odd Howes/Howse/House/Hows/Howze references
Do you ever see reference to someone with our name? If so, please do let us know, especially if you can place the person into a family, but that last bit's not necessary.

In the last month, we must have had a dozen or so such emails. Most were from other members of the Guild of One-Name Studies. It's not an accident - we are just more attuned to looking for things like this and have a culture of looking out for other members where we can. For example, - Peter Hagger sent me a picture of a War Memorial containing an entry for J F Howes he had seen in Wramplingham Church while he was on vacation in Norfolk, and
- Bob Cumberbatch sent me a few pictures he had taken at an RAF Museum in Kent relating to a WW2 fighter pilot "ace", Harold Norman Howes. In both cases we were able to identify the person and place the photos in proper context, even though the former example's initials had been reversed somewhere along the line!

Happy hunting, folks
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