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Ezine masthead image
Welcome to the November 2011 Edition of the FFHS Ezine                                                        No 29

Society Spotlight:
Northumberland & Durham FHS

Writing Competition

Book Draw

RAF Exhibition

Search for Crewmen

This Month's Competition

New Memorial in Liverpool

Records of Japanese POW


In Memorium 2014

Start your Family Tree Week with Find My Past

British Library Blog

Dickens Exhibition



Book Reviews

Diary Dates

Advertise with us

Competition Winners

Flashing Tree


We would like to wish all of our readers a Happy Christmas and Healthy New Year!

Flashing Tree


Society Spotlight

Northumberland and Durham Family History Society

We all know what an upheaval it is to move house. Well, imagine what is involved in moving a whole family history research centre, complete with library! 

That is just what Northumberland & Durham Family History Society did recently.  They moved to the 7th floor of Percy House, a modern office building in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, with two big, easy-to-manage lifts, and disabled access. The new premises consist of a reception area with self-service coffee bar, a computer and fiche room, the library, and a sales office.  In the outer lobby are toilets and free lockers for the use of staff and visitors.

The computer and fiche room contains a vast amount of information on fiche and the computers in this area have free access to the Society’s own computerised database, Ancestry, Familysearch, Free BMD, and many other genealogy-related websites.  The extensive library has books and records on a wide range of subjects, mainly relating to Northumberland and Durham, including printed census indexes and local history etc.

The Society recently acquired all the stock from the Original-Indexes company, and this is available for sale.  It also publishes its own material in books, and on fiche and CDs.   Sales catalogues and information about buying on-line can be found on their website

If you have any connection at all with North East England, you may find that a visit to NDFHS at Percy House is well worthwhile, however please do telephone first to book a computer or microfiche reader - they are hoping to be very busy!


Who is the most interesting person in your family tree?

closes on December 31st 2011

Write about the most interesting person in your family tree in 1,000 words or less. Your Family History magazine will be offering the winner the opportunity to have their story published for which they will receive £150. The winner of the Young Persons category (Age 21 and under) will receive a year’s subscription to the magazine. For details of other great prizes and how to enter visit the FFHS website

Did you have an ancestor who sailed on the Empress of Ireland? Between 1906-1914 she crossed many times between England and Canada until she sank in 1914. If so you may be interested in a new book


Into the Mist by Anne Renaud is a new publication by Canadian Publishers Dundurn Press. The author tells the story of the Empress of Ireland, one of the fastest and most elegant liners of the Edwardian era to grace the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and how, in the early morning of May 29, 1914, she came to rest on the bottom of the St. Lawrence River.

Empress of Ireland
Remembered primarily for sinking in only 14 minutes and for having a greater loss of passenger life than the Titanic, the Empress's true legacy is the significant role she played in the building of Canada. More than 115,000 hopeful immigrants who left Europe to build new lives on Canadian soil sailed on her.
To enter the draw for this book give away, kindly donated by Dundurn Press, send an email with "Into the Mist" in the subject line by 15th December 2011 to: competitions@ffhs.org.uk

WW2 Plane

Brothers in Arms - Airmen of Poland and Czechoslovakia in the Battle of Britain & Beyond.
16 September 2011 - 4 March 2012

The RAF Museum, in association with the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, is holding an exhibition to commemorate the valuable contribution that the airmen of Poland and Czechoslovakia made during the Battle of Britain and World War 2. 

The multimedia exhibition explores the bravery of these fighters, some of whom were the most successful pilots of the campaign.  The museum has created an online exhibition and podcast where families and friends of the Polish, Czech and Slovaks can add their stories.  The museum does not hold personnel records so cannot carry out individual research but it does have an extensive library and reading room where the original documents can be consulted. RAF Museum Website

Do you have an ancestor who was a World War I pilot?  If so you may be able to help the Royal Aero Club to complete its archive.   The archive includes over 28,000 records and 13,000 photographs but unfortunately Volume 4 is missing.  Most pilots were initially trained by the Royal Aero Club and when they successfully passed they were given an Aviator’s Certificate which needed 2 photographs – one was used in the certificate and one was kept by the Club.  It is the photographs from the certificates that the club is hoping to trace.  If you have one of the missing photographs please email the Royal Aero Club.  You can also check the names of the pilots whose photographs are missing at Ancestry

This Months Book Giveaway

STOLEN CHILDHOODS - The Untold Stories of the Children Interned by the Japanese in the Second World War

We are giving away a copy of the book by Nicola Tyrer kindly donated by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, The Orion Publishing Group

When the Japanese entered the war in 1941, some 20,000 British civilians in the European colonies in Asia were rounded up and marched off to concentration camps where they were to remain for three long years. Over 3,000 of them were children. This is the first time their extraordinary experiences of suffering, endurance and bravery have been collected together.

To enter the draw for this book give away, send an email with "Stolen Childhoods" in the subject line by 30th December 2011 to: competitions@ffhs.org.


A plaque in tribute to the Far East Prisoners of War and civilian internees who returned to Liverpool during the autumn of 1945 has been unveiled at the Pier Head, situated near the new Museum of Liverpool alongside other WWII Maritime memorials.
It is the first memorial, in Liverpool, dedicated to the many thousands of men, women and children who survived their ordeal in Japanese PoW camps.

In Memoriam



Protecting your Local War Memorial

From Frances Moreton, War Memorials Trust Director:

In Memoriam 2014 offers greater protection for war memorials in the UK by marking them with a forensic liquid called SmartWater. The crime prevention fluid, which is being made available at no charge, will not only make memorials uniquely identifiable, it also offers robust traceability should a theft occur.

If you have a local war memorial, or a memorial commemorating one of your relatives, which you believe should be protected then please get involved. Visit the website to find out more or contact the custodian of the war memorial, perhaps the council, church or company your ancestor worked for, to ensure they are aware of the scheme and have applied.

Sign up to follow the project on Facebook or Twitter @InMemoriam2014. This project is a partnership between War Memorials Trust and the SmartWater Foundation.


Who Do You Think You Are? Live! returns to the Olympia in London from 24th – 26th February 2012 for its 6th show. At next year’s show you’ll find leading genealogy experts, one to one sessions, informative workshops and over 150 exhibitors specialising in researching your family tree all under one roof.  The Celebrity Theatre will once again play host to stars from BBC1’s television series Who Do Think You Are? and the first confirmed celebrity  is actor Larry Lamb.  We will also be seeing the return of the ‘Heirloom Detective’, antiques expert Eric Knowles.  Visit the website where you’ll also find the latest news as well as great competitions. You could also join the Facebook group and follow @WDYTYALIVE on Twitter. WDYTYA Live! website


Special offer
A single ticket will cost just £15 in advance but FFHS can offer you two tickets for just £25, a saving of £19* when you quote code FFHS2425.
*£2 transaction fee applies. Standard on door price is £22. Offer ends 10th February 2012.

Find My Past




Start Your Family Tree Week - 26 Dec 2011 – 1 Jan 2012

Boxing Day is one of the most popular times of the year for people to research their family history. With the family gathered around for the festivities, it’s the perfect time to quiz the older generations on what they remember about the family, and get the youngsters inspired too.  And with nothing but repeats on telly all week, you’ve got time on your hands to get down to some serious record searching. With this in mind, findmypast.co.uk will be taking part in this year’s Start Your Family Tree Week.  From Boxing Day 2011 right through to New Year’s Day there’ll be special offers available every day, including free getting started guides, printable charts, discounts and competitions. To find out what will be on offer, register for free at Find My Past and look out for an email about all of the exciting activities they have planned!


The British Library has a new blog Untold Lives: Sharing stories from the past.  It is hoped that the blog will “inspire new research and encourage enjoyment, knowledge and understanding of the British Library and its collections”.  The blog will also provide informatin about any events or exhibitions as well as links to research information and online resources.  Recent posts include Slavery, Shipwreck and Suicide; Napoleon - du pain, du vin and A Radical Intellectual for Black History Month. British Library Blog

As part of the celebrations to mark the 200th year anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens the Museum of London is holding an exhibition which will run from 9th December until 10th June 2012.  Charles Dickens was born on 7th February 1812 and when he was aged about 12 years his father John Dickens was imprisoned in Marshalsea Prison for debt and Charles was sent to work in a blacking factory to support the family.  This early life of poverty would later surface in his novels.  This will be the first major UK Dickens exhibition for more than 40 years and through sounds and projections the exhibition will recreate the atmosphere of Victorian London which inspired his writings.

Museum of London

Charles Dickens



Christmas Day is approaching quickly!  So here are a couple of ideas for the perfect gift for either yourself or someone you know. 

Most family historians love books.  Take a look at our New Books page on our website for reviews on the latest books and publications with links to online bookshops.

How about membership to a family history society?  Not only is it an unusual gift, it will last through the year!  Visit our website for a list of Member Societies

To get you in the Christmas mood here are some facts about this special time of year:

  • John Calcott created the 1st modern Christmas card in 1843
  • Thomas Smith, a London Sweetmaker, created the 1st Christmas cracker in 1847 based on Bon Bon sweets
  • Christmas trees were introduced to Britain by Prince Albert during the 1840s.  Christmas trees had been a tradition in Northern Germany since about the 16th century.  Reportedly, the 1st use of a Christmas tree was in Estonia in 1441
  • The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square is a present from the people of Norway to thank the British for their help during World War II
  • Oliver Cromwell banned the celebration of Christmas and the eating of Plum Pudding!  For our seasonal Plum Pudding recipe visit our website
Xmas Postcard

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The FFHS Ezine has a current readership of over 17,000 worldwide. To discuss sponsorship or advertising, please e-mail the
Ezine Editor Samantha Bourne

Book Reviews

To read reviews of recently published books of interest to family historians

visit our Book Review Page

Ezine Competition Winners

A full list of Ezine competition winners can be seen on the FFHS website.

view competition winners

Diary Dates

For a list of events which the FFHS will be attending please

visit our Events Page