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Welcome to the January 2013 Edition of the FFHS Ezine                                                        No 37

Society Spotlight: Dorset Family History Society

Congratualtions to Brenda Murray & Pauline Litton

WDYTYA?Live 2013

Famine Girl Orphan Database

The Gathering

This Month's Book Giveaways

Cheshire Family History Day

Railway Workers who died during WW1

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Needs your Help

Manchester Records to go Online

Hearth Tax Online

Canterbury Archives Re-opens


Book Reviews

Diary Dates

Advertise with us

Competition Winners

Society Spotlight

Dorset Family History Society

Dorset Family History Society LogoDFHS exists to help people anywhere in the world to find their Dorset ancestors and to help those lucky enough to live in Dorset to search for their antecedents wheresoever they came from.  A small and friendly group, we really enjoy helping folk.

All of Dorset’s Parish Registers have been transcribed and copies are held at our research centre – Treetops, in Poole (BH15 3AJ). Our Treetops volunteers will guide you through our resources and help you get started, or continue, with your research.  We have computer access to the major pay to view sites and an eclectic mix of other data sources, many donated by our members. Our Library contains information on many topics, family, local and house history and much more.  As you would expect there is a bias towards Dorset material and one prize holding is ‘The History and Antiquities of Dorset’ by the Revd John Hutchins MA. It is a detailed study of the county which became his life’s work, compiled over many years in the early 18th century.  This is now available from our bookstall and you can make purchases of our stock via Genfair or Parish Chest.  If you can’t get to Treetops you can find some Dorset data that we have uploaded to findmypast.co.uk

Our monthly meetings at St. John’s Church Centre, Parkstone (BH14 0AA), have an interesting mix of speaker sessions and members’ nights.  The programme is on our website and visitors are always welcome. If you are coming this way on holiday do contact us if you would like to use our resources, we will always try to accommodate you.

Congratulations to Brenda Murray BEM and Pauline Litton MBE
Brenda Murray is a member of the Liverpool & South West Lancashire Family History Society and she was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2013 New Year Honours List. Brenda, who is aged 88, received the award for 'Services to Heritage and History'.  She is one of the original founders of the Liverpool History Society and she tirelessly campaigned for a bronze bust of William Gladstone to be placed in Seaforth, Liverpool, his birthplace.  Brenda was quoted in the local press as saying her family were very excited about her honour and she was looking forward to going to Buckingham Palace.

Pauline Litton has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). The award was made for Pauline Littonservices to genealogy and family history.  Pauline is currently one of the Federation's four Life Vice-Presidents and has been involved in genealogy and family history since 1968.  She is also the President of Harrogate & District Family History Society.  Pauline has written several books on family history and edited 27 ’Basic Facts’ booklets for the FFHS.  She has also been involved in a number of family history societies in the north of England.  As well as helping many others achieve success with their own family trees, Pauline has traced the Litton tree back to 1590.  In 1979/80, as editor of the North Cheshire Family Historian, she won the Federation of Family History Societies first ever Elizabeth Simpson Award for the journal making the best contribution to family history. Pauline has both initiated, and participated in, projects organised by societies (and by their umbrella body, the FFHS) to ensure that information and records are recorded and made available for the benefit of future generations.  Our congratulations to both Brenda and Pauline.

WDYTYA? Live LogoWDYTYA 2013
Who Do You Think You Are?Live is returning to London’s Olympia.  The show will run from 22-24 February 2013 and the theme will be ‘Migration’ so you can expect workshops and experts exploring the subject. The National Archives will also be at the show hosting talks on migration and offering useful advice. There will be genealogical experts, informative workshops, resources from libraries, museums and archives and all the major online resources as well as a dozens of family history societies. Samantha Womack will also be appearing. You can view the workshop timetable on the WDYTYA?Live website.  Preparations are now underway and the FFHS stand will be manned by volunteers from some of our member societies, we hope that you will come along and say hello if you are visiting the show. Please visit the website and enter the competition to win an online genealogy course from Pharos Teaching & Tutoring worth £100. This competition has been sponsored jointly by the FFHS and Pharos. Also keep up to date with all the latest news of the show!

Famine Orphan Girl Database
During the Great Irish Famine (An gorta mor) over 4,000 young Irish women were sent to Australia under Earl Grey’s Famine Orphan Scheme.  The women came from the workhouses all over Ireland, most had lost at least one parent and all were destitute. The majority of the women were aged between 14 and 20 years.  Some of the girls’ names have been inscribed on the Irish Famine memorial in Sydney and the names are also available to search on the Famine Orphan Girl database.  The information can include name, age on arrival and parents’ names and invaluably for those researching Irish ancestors, the place where they came from is often recorded.  The Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee is looking to compile stories of these women and sometimes there is further information included which has been given by descendants of the women.   The database also gives information about the ships and dates the women came over.  It is free to search.

The Gathering Ireland 2013The Gathering
Are you one of the global Irish diaspora of 70 million people?  2013 is the year of The Gathering, a year of events celebrating Irish family history and culture.  Events will include festivals and gatherings all over Ireland ranging from music and sports to family reunions and much more. You can download a free guide ‘Tracing your Ancestors in Ireland’ from the website as well as finding further information and links to other websites.  As part of The Gathering celebration is the Ireland Reaching Out project. This is an Irish Government-sponsored programme which aims to find people of Irish ancestry around the world and connect them to the local Irish communities from where their people first emigrated in Ireland. The programme enables people of Irish heritage to return to Ireland to see the homes their ancestors once lived in, the land they may have farmed, family gravestones, and possibly, to meet living relatives in Ireland.  There are currently over 500 parishes with volunteers assisting in answering questions and queries.


Big Louie and Me

This Month's Book Giveaways

This month we have ‘Big Louie and Me: Caravans, curses and cockfights’ by George Locke to give away.

Kindly donated by University of Hertfordshire Press, this is George Locke's warm-hearted memoir of life in a very close-knit Gypsy community in the Black Country.  George was born on the edge of the Black Country a few years before the start of the Second World War and lived there in a wooden wagon amongst his extended family. He was lucky as his dad paid for teachers to visit the site and educate some of the children, and he finished off his education in the Royal Air Force. On his return from the Forces he left the Tribe to make his own way in the world.  From a lifetime teeming with incident, George picks out the best stories from the old days.  If you have Romany or Gypsy ancestors you may be interested in the Romany and Traveller Family History Society.

To win a copy of this book send an email with ‘Louie’ in the subject line to competitions@ffhs.org.uk by17 February 2013. 


The Home FrontOur next giveaway this month is 1 x package of 3 titles from The Family History Partnership (FHP) which comprises of ‘The Home Front 1939-45’ by Stuart A. Raymond, ‘Title Deeds for Family Historians’ by Tim Wormleighton and ‘New Cousins’ (2nd Ed.) by Karen Bali.  The Family History Partnership was formed in 2007 with the aim of ensuring family and local historians are provided with the handbooks and guides that they need.  They also welcome proposals from new and existing authors.  The Family History Partnership has recently updated their website where you can now purchase titles online. To win this package please send an email with ‘Partnership’ in the subject line to competitions@ffhs.org.uk by 17 February 2013. You can find reviews of these books on our Book Review page on the FFHS website.

The Family History Society of Cheshire LogoCome to Cheshire’s longest established Family History Fair!
The Family History Society of Cheshire is holding a Family History Day on Saturday 16 February 2013 10am to 4pm, at the Memorial Hall, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5QJ. There will be displays and help desks, with an opportunity to speak to local experts from the society’s branches throughout Cheshire. Plus, a wide variety of commercial stalls offering books, CDs, maps, postcards, and a chance to speak with archivists from the Cheshire Record Office, and the team behind Cheshire BMD.

Railway Workers who died during WW1rw
The National Railway Museum (NRM), has launched a database of railway workers who died during World War One.  The database took over 2 years to compile and the information was gathered from railway staff company magazines and items in the NRM archive and includes names of over 20,000 railway workers.  The list includes names, rank, military number, rail department, railway occupation, address, information on their families, war memorial and date of death of railway workers. It also includes references to photographs in staff magazines. Alison Kay, Assistant Archivist commented “ We’re looking forward to welcoming people who want to look up details of former family members, friends or neighbours that may have died in the wars.  We plan to keep on adding to the database over the coming years”.   You can view the list here.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Constance and Cyril Holland (Wilde)The CWGC commemorates the men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars.  The Register records details of Commonwealth war dead so that graves or names on memorials can be located. The website has a free searchable database.  As part of the preparations for the centenary of the start of World War 1, the CWGC is installing visitor information panels at some of the significant WW1 sites. Through the use of QR Code technology, CWGC are using the panels to tell the human stories behind the history and they would like your help. The CWGC are looking for the personal stories of those buried at Etreux British Cemetery, Guards Grave, Vailly British Cemetery and Houplines Communal Cemetery Extension, France. If you are aware of a personal story relating to any of these four sites, please email the CWGC. 

Manchester Records Online
MLFHS reports Ancestry is to publish the Church of England parish registers of the Manchester Diocese in February 2013. The Diocese area covers Ashton under Lyne, Bolton, Bury, Leigh, Manchester, Newchurch, Oldham, Old Trafford, Salford and Stretford. Over 6 million records have been digitised and name indexed, including baptisms (to 1915), marriages (to 1930) and burials.  It is hoped to add the non-Conformist Church registers later in the year.  You can also search for Lancashire ancestors (including those from the Greater Manchester area) on the Online Parish Clerks website which has transcripts of some parish registers in Lancashire and is free to use.

Hearth Tax OnlineOld Hearth
The Hearth Tax was a tax introduced in 1662 where each liable householder had to pay one shilling twice a year for each hearth in each dwelling.  The records are a rich source of data and give an insight into communities in the 17th century and are also useful as a supplement to parish registers and other local records.  However, the detail and survival of documents varies from county to county.  As part of the statistical analysis of the data The Centre for Hearth Tax Research has transcribed the names of the householders and also produced statistical maps on its website, Hearth Tax Online.  Not all counties are yet available on the website but it will be frequently updated as new counties are completed.

Canterbury Cathedral Archives Re-Opens
Canterbury Cathedral Archives will reopen to the public on Tuesday 22nd January 2013, following its closure for extensive building works.  The first Cathedral is thought to have been founded around 597 by St Augustine.  Perhaps one of its most famous moments was the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170 and during the 17th century the crypt of the cathedral was used by Huguenot refugees for services. The parish registers of the cathedral are available on findmypast.co.uk.  To celebrate the re-opening, tea and cakes will be served in the morning of 22 January 2013. To find out more about opening times or book an appointment go to the website. You can find family history societies covering Kent on our website.


For this edition we have The National Archives podcasts rather than a blog. Recent broadcasts include 'Tracing Huguenot Ancestors', 'Bess of Hardwick' and 'Tracing Marriages; legal requirements and actual practice 1700-1836'. There are more podcasts on the website and they are easy to download.

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The FFHS Ezine has a current readership of over 14,500 worldwide. To discuss sponsorship or advertising, please email
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

The Bracknell Family History Fair, Bracknell, Berks, 27 January 2013
The Creative Crafts Show, Five Lakes Resort, Nr. Tiptree, Essex 14-16 February 2013
Family History Society of Cheshire Annual Fair, Northwich, Cheshire, 16 February 2013
WDYTYA?LIVE, Olympia, London 22-24 February 2013
The Creative Crafts Show, Malvern, Three Counties Showground 28 Feb-2 March 2013
Creative Stitches & Hobbycrafts, Glasgow 7-10 March 2013
Hobbycrafts, NEC Birmingham 21-24 March 2013

For a list of events visit our Events Page on our website and GENEVA