Hello everyone. It's been a solid month for us here. I've been at home all month, though with the warmer weather I've been playing a bit more golf and spent several days at The Players Championship, which occurs just a few miles up the road. It's the biggest money golf tournament of the year and consequently almost all the world's top golfers participate.
We've added 1,200 people this month and now have 193,881 people in our database. Most of the increase came from the single family of a Canadian gentleman named Charles Grandfield whose research dates back 25 years. The original Howes family hailed from the village of Burgh St Margaret, aka Fleggburgh, in Norfolk, England and settled in Ontario in 1874. The couple had no fewer than fourteen children and believe it or not we have a photograph of all sixteen people which will shortly appear online. Their descendants have since spread all over North America. We are grateful to family members for sharing the work with us and allowing us to put it online.
1950 USA census
As I write this, we are about 12 hours away from a major genealogy event: the release of the 1950 US Census at midnight tonight. In contrast to many countries, the US is less concerned about the privacy of its residents and has only a 72-year rule. Result is that many older citizens are looking for themselves and other family members in the census. I well remember the release of the 1940 census when a large number of researchers helped transcribe the entire census in the course of just a few months. This census will be even quicker. It's my understanding that the National Archives will prepare at least a surname index using Amazon's handwriting recognition program. Ancestry and Family Search will be working together to take the original images created from microfilm and run them through their own handwriting programs and make a first pass of a transcription which will then be checked by volunteers, hopefully making the whole process even quicker than last time. If you are staying up late tonight to search for your own family, good luck and do let me know how you get on. . . .
Restoring a historic World War 2 aircraft
I came across this film this month about the restoration of a Mosquito plane by a team of Canadian specialists. One of the featured men interviewed is Martin Howse. He and his father, who are both in our database. As a boy growing up in Norfolk, I remember seeing these amazing machines, but being wood, they do not last well exposed to the elements. This was a spellbinding film. It held my attention all the way through.
!921 census of England and Wales
I won't drone on about this every month, I promise, but I do want to recognize the kindness of a fellow member of the Guild of One-Name Studies who makes frequent trips to the UK National Archives at Kew. During the month he sent me a large number of images which he has downloaded there for free, covering families headed by men named Charles Howes and John Howes. Thank you, sir! As a result, the count of our citations for the 1921 census rose from 400 to over 1,500, placing it only about 80th in our list of sources. So, if you have found your family members and downloaded the images, please do let us know what they say.
Big news from New York City
Over the years I have talked about what a great record set the New York City marriages are. Until recently, the sets were only available on microfilm either at downtown Manhattan or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, both of which I visited. I transcribed somewhere North of 600 marriage records. What makes them marvellous records is (1) the level of detail with both parties parents' names and (2) the fact that people came from all over to get married there. Just to give one example, I've related about how I found the marriage of brother and sister-in-law from Somerset in England who travelled to mid-town Manhattan to marry and then returned home as fully legal husband and wife.
New York City has been ridiculously bureaucratic in keeping their own record sets behind closed doors, BUT just a few days ago, they reversed course dramatically and has released 70% of their collection of births, marriages and deaths, with the rest to come soon. In total, that will be 13.3 million records from about 1855 to 1949!!!! I can't tell you how helpful those will be to our quest, despite the record sets still having a few gaps in coverage for that period.
Curious, I started looking at the Howse name as I knew there weren't many and wouldn't take long. I found some marriages we already had, a birth which gave extra detail for what we already had and a mis-transcribed Howe. The first death I looked at was of a nurse in New York who had been born in Canada, with the surname of House. In working her family back, I've added 100 people, so far!
To see these records for yourself, click here: https://a860-historicalvitalrecords.nyc.gov/. On the right had side, click on Certificate Number and you will see the option to search for a surname instead . . . .
RootsTech 2022 was a fabulous success with over one million people from around the world signing up for live sessions. You could also sign up to see whether any of your relatives were also attending. I did that, and found I had a few hundred, with the closest being a 4th cousin twice removed. One American genealogist I know had 60,000!
IMPORTANT: even if you didn't sign up for the conference, you can still sign up and watch the sessions
With the huge total number of sessions, it’s impossible to watch them all live. The good folks at FamilySearch recognize that and make all the sessions available to view at your leisure. Not only are sessions for 2022 available but all of 2021’s are there too. Honestly, there is something that will interest everyone in that list and I thought it might help if I listed five from this year that I found interesting, in case you do too. I make no apology: these are all folks I know and they’re all fellow members of the Guild of One-Name Studies!
Michael Cassara: Putting things in their place: Paying it forward in the digital age
Michael is one of the very first people I ever met at RootsTech many years ago, now. We met because we were queueing for drinks and he saw New Jersey on my name tag, he being from New York. Michael’s session is about returning old family photographs and heirlooms to their original family. What better than to define your own puzzle, solve it and please others all at the same time?! He describes how to find photos/heirlooms and what then to do. I myself have been a recipient of Michael’s generosity.
https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/ ... igital-age
Cathie Sherwood: Finding US civil war soldiers in Australia and vice versa
Cathie's an Aussie genie. I know her from having shared an apartment with her at the first London RootsTech. I’ve seen from my own One-Name Study how a foreign genealogist can make a difference for those people studying their own history in a different country. You find a record that they would never likely have discovered on their own. It’s a bit like the old listings that people would make of “strays”, people living in a particular county or state who are from elsewhere. Cathie takes this concept and applies it to a particular circumstance of the US civil war and finds a surprisingly large number of people with connections to Australia whose lives were dramatically affected by that war.
https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/ ... -australia
Drew Smith: Organizing your research process
Drew’s background is in computers and librarianship. With this connection he thinks logically and understands how to organize vast volumes of information. US librarians frequently find themselves helping family historians too – so he is used to explaining things to the public, which he takes to the next level with the Genealogy Guys podcast. Drew offers a two-part lecture on organizing your research process. He literally wrote the book on this topic and there is no-one better.
https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/ ... ch-process
Myko Clelland: Scottish marriages
Myko from FindMyPast offers this session and others on births and deaths. As you will all know, my One-Name Study surname originates in Southern England, whence it has spread around the world. With Scottish records hidden behind a paywall by their government, I tend to concentrate on lower-hanging fruit (like the rest of the world!) but I can’t ignore it forever. Myko explains the peculiarities of the law and what sources are available beyond Scotlandspeople. Very helpful. Using newspaper sources, I was able to rebuild quite a large Scottish Howes family.
https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/ ... the-basics
David Allan Lambert – Follow the money!
I’ve approached US genealogy with the same approach as I began with in the UK: take modern records and go back as far as you can, constructing the building on solid foundations. However, for families who were in the US before 1850 I do know that I will have to learn a lot of new approaches: using probate, property and military records. I know I’m not alone in that! And with my new role as President of my local Florida Genealogy Society I feel the need to get stuck in and use my experience to help other people. So what better to use one of the several sessions offered by David Lambert, the chief genealogist of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society to learn how to put my toe in the water!
https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/ ... al-records
I hope you find these sessions as interesting as I did.
I still miss seeing old and new friends in person in Salt Lake City, not to mention sampling the city’s excellent brew pubs! So I am much buoyed by the announcement that next year’s conference will again be in person as well as online. Fab!
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