FindMyPast Discount for Thanksgiving

FindMyPast offering 75% off World subscription

FindMyPast offering 75% off World subscription

FindMyPast, at is offering a 75% discount off its annual World subscription rate. This brings the annual cost down to $49.87 a real bargain for access to lots of British material, along with all the US, Canadian and Australian records of course.

To take advantage of this offer use the code THNKSGNG15. The offer is valid until 11/30/2015 so if you were thinking of subscribing now would be a good time to try out. There is a constantly growing collection of British Isles related material here. Check it out.

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Release of 1939 Register for England and Wales

1939 Register symbol on FindMyPast

1939 Register symbol on FindMyPast

The recent release of the 1939 Register has brought fresh excitement to British researchers. This is one of the most important documents created for twentieth century British research, because the 1931 census was destroyed during the war, and the 1941 census was never taken. I was going to write earlier this week about this but I am glad that I did not as search techniques and results presented have changed. I will provide some background information, an introduction on how to search the records and some case studies.

Background information

In December 1938 it was announced that if Great Britain went to war then there would be a National Register. Following the declaration of war of 3 September 1939 the National Registration Day was set as 29 September 1939. For those who have seen the PBS show Home Fires this event was shown in one of the early episodes. Every civilian was to be recorded, with forms being issued to over 41 million people throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland, though only the records for England and Wales have been released. Completion of the cards resulted in the issuing of national identity cards which were required to be carried at all times up to 1952, ration books, and later were used for establishing the National Health Service. The use of this record for the National Health Service is why you will see recorded the married surname of many women marrying later, and also why some people younger than age 100 are not hidden in the records, their deaths having been recorded up to 1991 in the records. If you can document that someone has died then records currently closed can be opened up.

Search for Walter Crowhurst on Advanced search screen showing all options

Search for Walter Crowhurst on Advanced search screen showing all options

How to access. The 1939 Register has been released online by FindMyPast in partnership with The National Archives. The Register consists of over 7,000 volumes with over 1,200,000 pages providing names, dates of birth, addresses, marital status, occupations, and sometimes additional comments for over 41,000,000 people. FindMyPast claims a 98% accuracy rate in transcription, so my ancestors must fall into that 2%, with more on this later.

FindMyPast provides additional background information, including a nice short U-Tube video about the Register, and a getting started guide on their website, though part of this is already out of date.

Anyone can do a search in the 1939 Register for free on FindMyPast, but to unlock the images you will need to purchase credits (300 credits unlocks 5 households). The purchasing of credits applies whether you are a subscriber or not. Providing you use the same registration email each time, then you will not have to pay to view the register pages in the future.

Search Options – You can do a simple search on first and last name; birth year and where they were in 1939. This might work for you but the advanced search screen opens up a great number of options. You can search on First and Last names, with variants; birth year, with optional range of years; date and month of birth; place keyword; sex; occupation; marital status; street; borough / district filter; county filter; country filter; first and last name of other household member; plus TNA reference. If you scroll down the search screen you will find explanations of these fields and these should definitely be read if you don’t find who you are looking for.

Example – Walter Crowhurst – gg-grandfather

Free preview screen for Walter Crowhurst household in Strood Rural District, Kent

Free preview screen for Walter Crowhurst household in Strood Rural District, Kent

Let’s provide some examples. We will start with a search for Walter Crowhurst, born 1859 – my gg-grandfather. Because of the age there are only two options and we choose the one in Strood R.D. in Kent. The preview screen shows Walter Crowhurst born in 1859, in a house with two other people. There are no closed entries in this household, implying that the other two people are either known to be deceased or would be over 100 years old. To see all the details the household needs to be unlocked. This is where you need to register and purchase credits (a subscription to FindMyPast is separate and not required).

Unlocked results screen for Walter Crowhurst household

Unlocked results screen for Walter Crowhurst household

Unlocking the household shows us that Walter Crowhurst was born 12 Sept 1859 is a pensioner, and is living with two of his sons: Victor James Crowhurst, born 21 Jun 1896 a farm labourer; and John Lenard Crowhurst born 13 Sep 1898 a Labourer. The new information for me is that beside John Lenard’s name we have in the comments section – Pensioner Gunner 21 years in Royal Artillery with the number NC1031520.

Details for Walter Crowhurst of Rose Cottage, Upper Halling, Kent

Details for Walter Crowhurst of Rose Cottage, Upper Halling, Kent

Given his age this suggests that he probably served during World War One but will not likely show up in any of the normal WWI records because he continued to serve after the war, and thus his records will still be at the Ministry of Defence. Walter’s address is given as Rose Cottage, Upper Halling, with no street being provided. It is common for houses in Britain to have names and so care is needed if an address search is performed.

Map showing location of Rose Cottage in Upper Halling where Walter Crowhurst Resides.

Map showing location of Rose Cottage in Upper Halling where Walter Crowhurst Resides.

Scrolling down the screen on the opened results page you will find a map highlighting where the house is located. You can see the house on the 1888-1913 Ordnance Survey six inch map, or the 1937-1961 Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 map. This can give you an indication of how the neighborhood has changed over time, though in this example it has not changed much.

Example – James Croudace – g-grandfather
Let’s search for James Croudace my great-grandfather born according to the 1939 Register on 10 Nov 1884 but this is actually incorrect because his birth certificate shows that he was born on 7 Nov 1884. This example highlights the care needed with trying to search using the dates of birth. James is listed as a widow and working as a general labourer. Note that the address is shown on this image as 29 ditto, with no indication above showing what street is. On the preview page the address is shown as 29 West Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne CB, Northumberland, England. So be careful that you have collected all the information that the record provides as it may not all be on the actual image.

No relationship is known to any of the other people in the rest of the household but it is a good example of what additional information you may find. Annie Graham born 17 Feb 1910, probable wife of Joseph Graham is overwritten in green ink to show a new married surname of Bickerdyke, while off to the side also in green is a dated entry 26-2-69 showing CR283 New, actually this is the date of her new marriage.

Example – Richard and Jean Finnigan – grand-parents

Unlocked results screen for Richard Nicholson Finnigan and Jean Finnigan of 93 Aldwick Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Unlocked results screen for Richard Nicholson Finnigan and Jean Finnigan of 93 Aldwick Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne

The above examples were easy to find. Let’s see how creative you might have to get. I was looking for Richard Finnigan born 22 Sep 1904 but he was not found in the search because of a FindMyPast transcription error on the month, and Richard giving a wrong year of birth, plus no Finnigan’s showing up on the results page. I did a search for Jean using date of birth and again no Finnigan matches. I recalled that the family moved in the 1930s as part of a slum clearance to Aldwick road in Newcastle-upon-Tyne so I did a search – but there were no Finnigan’s on the street. The search was repeated just for the street name, and there were multiple results screens but one potential Richard and one potential Jean. Now when I first did the search the TNA reference number was given and you could search on that number to reduce the number of potentials. It showed the Richard and Jean to be on the same page of results, with one closed record. I wish the TNA reference option was returned because it gave me enough encouragement to think I had the correct family in spite of the errors.

Unlocked results screen for Richard Nicholson Finnigan and Jean Finnigan of 93 Aldwick Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Unlocked results screen for Richard Nicholson Finnigan and Jean Finnigan of 93 Aldwick Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne

I paid to unlock the record and it was the correct family – Richard + Jean + 4 closed records (not 1as the search screen suggested). So why was the family so difficult to find? In the FindMyPast index their surname was listed as ~??? – try finding that surname on a search, though it is readable as Finnigan. Richard is employed as a Brass Foundry labourer in the heavy works, and in the comment field listed as an ARP Warden, the first documentation I have of this family story. The other confirmation I have that I have the correct family is that Richard’s middle name – Nicholson – has been added in green ink.

Example – Reginald Ernest Milner and Jane Milner- grandparents

My grandfather Reginald Ernest Milner, born 6 August 1904, plus his wife Jane Milner (nee Croudace) born 22 January 1909 along with my father James B.W. Milner born 4 October 1929 (died 1980), plus two closed brothers are all missing an unaccounted for in the 1939 Register. I have tried all sorts of combinations of names, dates and no names but with no luck so far. I think this family may fall foul of one of the exceptions in that military families are not included and I suspect Reginald was in the Army reserves and may already have been called up. My understanding is if he was in the army he would not be in the Register, but does that mean his family was not either? I include this family in the blog to point out that not everyone is easy to locate and therefore you have to think about why not. Is it an indexing problem, missing information or do they meet one of the exceptions. Unlike the Finnigan I am not sure where this family was in September 1939 – Mill Lane, Newcastle; farming in Essex; visiting family in Kent; at an army base in Yorkshire. No matter I can’t find the family anywhere.

Summary – For those with ancestors or relatives still in England or Wales in 1939 you should be looking at this resource. You can do free searching in the indexes, but you will have to pay to see the results. It will provide birth dates, which you may or may not have already, give locations and occupations, and may provide additional information.

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Book Review: A List of the Officers of the British Army to August 1755 edited and annotated by Nicholas Steward

A List of Officers of the British Army to August 1755

A List of Officers of the British Army to August 1755

A List of the Officers of the British Army to August 1755 (with an Appendix to October 1755). Edited and Annotated by Nicholas Steward. Published by Steward Archives, Salem, MA 2015. xxxi, 261 pp. Index. Softcover $17.95.

This is an edited and annotated version of the second edition, published in 1755, of A list of the General and Field Officers, as they Rank in the Army. A List of the Officers in the several Regiments of Horse, Dragoons, and Foot, &c. on the British and Irish Establishments: with the Dates of their Commissions, as they Rank in each Corps … , what became more familiarly known as the published Army Lists. Its publication by the War Office let it be formally known that these were the officially recorded officers of the army as of the date of publication, a problem with an army spread across the globe in an era with slow communications, and thus these were the people who would be paid by the War Office.

The first edition of the list was published in July 1754. The second edition, published in London, in early August 1755 is freely available for download from The National Archives digital microfilm as WO65/2. However, what is used here is the November 1755 Irish printing of the list. This is important because by then news of Major General Edward Braddock’s defeat by French forces in the wilderness of North America on the 9 July 1755 had been widely reported in the newspapers and those identified as dead are now in the published list.

There are problems with using the published Army Lists. The army was constantly changing: officers died, retired, were promoted within their own corps or exchanged to another one; new corps were raised; existing corps were transferred between the British and Irish establishments, with the consequential changes in number of officers and men. But a major problem arises in that there was no connection between editions, so if an officer left the army for any reason he would just be absent from the next list. What Mr. Steward has done is adapted an idea from the unofficial Hart’s Army Lists, (1840-1915) which included a listing of officer changes since the last publication indicating who had been promoted, resigned, or died. Thus in this annotated publication if the reason why an officer is absent from the 1756 is known then it is included in the footnotes on the same page as the officer.

The footnotes include numerous helpful identifiers for researchers. The official listing may identify officers only by title, e.g. Earl of Loudon, who is further identified in this volume as John (Campbell) 4th Earl of Loudon, which is obviously much more helpful. Looking further at the 44th Regiment of Foot as an example we see in the original published Army List the Colonel is listed as Sir Peter Halkett, but here he further identified as the 2nd Baronet. Later in the same regimental listing are Captain Francis Halkett and Lieutenant James Halkett, identified by Mr. Steward as the sons of Peter. It is also states here that Peter and James were both killed at the Battle of the Monongahela, America on 9 July 1755 (Braddock’s Defeat). There are many officers in this regiment identified as killed or wounded in this battle.

What the published Army Lists provide is details of:
• Field Officers and above in the army from the Captain-General to major with on one or more of the following rubrics: date of their rank in the army; date of their rank in the regiment or corps, their office in the garrison, or if they were on half-pay.
• The regiments, corps, and garrisons on the British Establishment listed by seniority.
• Half-pay officers on the British Establishment
• The regiments, corps, and garrisons on the Irish Establishment listed by seniority.
• Half-pay officers on the Irish Establishment
• Annual and daily pay rates, succession of regimental colonels, uniforms, and regimental locations.

What has been added to this annotated volume, as introduction and appendices are:
• An excellent introduction to the history of the development and content of the published Army Lists, plus an explanation of changes added here and why
• Corps of Engineers (Office of Ordnance) which are not listed in the Army Lists until 1757, identifying name, rank and location
• Annual Full-Pay, Half-Pay & Strength of the Land Forces
• Regiments reduced or disbanded with Half-Pay Officers
• An essay on the political state of Europe and Great Britain in 1748
• Chronology of events from 1748 (Peace of Aix-La-Chapelle) to 1756
• Braddock’s Defeat
• Other Offices held by Army and Garrison Officers.
The book provides a full index to all officers, a good glossary of period specific military terms and a bibliography. Researchers will want to read the introduction closely to understand what is and is not included, how to understand dates (calendar change) and abbreviations, plus the raising of numerous permanent Corps of Marines and where their officers came from.

Much has been written in North America about the French and Indian Wars. It needs to be remembered that this was one part of the much more global Seven Years’ War and the British Army was fighting around the globe. This annotated listing targeting North American researchers is of value to anyone doing British Army research in the period. The layout makes it easier to read, use and understand than the original published lists and is thus recommended as a research tool.

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Book Review: Down and Out in Scotland researching ancestral crisis by Chris Paton

Book review for Down and Out in Scotland researching ancestral crisis - law and order - poverty in scotland - debt ain scotland - medical problems in scotland - covenanters in Scotland - killing time - Jacobite rebellions

Down and Out in Scotland Researching Ancestral Crisis by Chris Paton

Down and Out in Scotland researching ancestral crisis. By Chris Paton. Published by UnlockThePast Publications, PO Box 119, St Agnes SA 5097, Australia. . AUS $16.50. Available as an UnlockThePast e-book, AUS $7.95. Available in Canada from Global Genealogy  CAN $18.50; in the US from Maias Books $18.50 and in the UK from My History  ₤7.  2015. 56 pp. Illustrations, Index. Softcover.

Chris Paton’s experience as a diversified Scottish genealogical researcher comes through in this book about the down and out in Scotland. Many of our Scottish ancestors at one time or another fell on hard times, at which point society may have worked for them or against them depending upon the situation. In most cases someone was there to record the event and its consequences. It is the recording of these events that can break down the brick walls, or at minimum provide social context for how an ancestor was living or dying. Not every possible situation is addressed in the book, but many are and they will stimulate you to thinking about what else may survive.

In each of the six parts to the book the goal is to highlight some of the areas where records may have been generated. Part one examines family events and relationships focusing on: illegitimacy; foundlings, orphans and adoption; marriage, bigamy and divorce; homosexuality; and death. Part two looks at law and order outlining the many jurisdictions involved and where their records may be found, which includes: the Kirk; the Crown; franchise and burgh courts; criminal prosecution; murder; additional courts; police and prison records; transportation; and execution. Part three explores poverty, for which in Scotland there were distinctions between the ‘deserving poor’ and the ‘undeserving poor’, showing how they are different under the Old and New Poor laws and the records they created. Part four addresses debt, an issue for which it was easy for any of our ancestors to succumb no matter what levels of society, and this section especially seems to have its own vocabulary and sources, all worth exploring. Part five looks at medical problems, examining in particular: hospital records; asylums; suicide; and accidents. The final section entitled them and us, explores the periods in Scottish history when the aspirations of the people did not match those of the state or its many agencies, invariably generating hardship. The periods covered include: the Covenanters and the Killing Time; the Jacobite Rebellions; the expulsion of the Gael (Highland Clearances); and the struggle to vote. The book concludes with a brief bibliography and an index.

This is definitely not a book to begin your Scottish research with. It assumes you have done your basic research and you want to go further, into more depth, and explore the troubled lives of your Scottish ancestors. It will help you understand how Scottish society worked, what records were created, may have survived, and may have been indexed and how to access transcripts or the originals. There is much in this volume that I have not seen in other Scottish guide or reference books, so is highly recommended for those wanting new avenues to explore.

Chris Paton will be speaking with me on the upcoming July 2015 UnlockThePast Cruise to the Baltic seaports.

Here are links to some of Chris Paton’s other books that I have reviewed on this blog.

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News: UPCOMING Virtual Institute – An In-Depth Look at the ‘Big Four’ Records of English Research

Paul Milner - Virtual Institute for Genealogy - the Big Four Records for English Research - English Census research - English Parish Register research - English probate research - English Church Records Research

Paul Milner – Presenter for the Virtual Institute

UPCOMING Virtual Institute: “An In-Depth Look at the ‘Big Four’ Records of English Research”
By Paul Milner

30 May and 6 June 2015

Standard $69.99
Plus $99.99
Click here to register for this course
When doing English and Welsh research there are four major record groups that most researchers will or should utilize – civil registration, census, church records and probate potentially covering the time period from the 1380s to the present. With the ever increasing numbers of these records being put online through free or subscription based services it is becoming easier to find individuals. Speed though often increases the risk of finding a person with the right name in the right place, but who is not the correct individual and thus the researcher goes off climbing a tangential or incorrect family line.

These institute presentations will take an in-depth look at the four major record groups – civil registration, census, church records and probate as they relate to research in England and Wales. You will get a good grounding in how and why the records were created, how they are organized, their content, how to find them online and offline, and how to effectively use them to construct a solid family tree. Case studies are used throughout highlighting search techniques, problems to watch for, and how to use the records as a starting point to put ancestors into context. The fundamentals are provided for those new to English and Welsh research, but the case studies and tips will be of value to more experienced researchers.

Paul Milner, a native of northern England is a professional genealogist and international lecturer, having presented extensively on British Isles research in the USA, Australia, Canada and England. He is the author of Discover English Census Records (forthcoming, UnlockThePast 2015); Buried Treasures: what’s in the English parish chest (UnlockThePast, 2015); Discover English Parish Records (UnlockThePast, 2014); Genealogy at a Glance: England Research (Genealogical Publishing Co, 2011); plus co-author with Linda Jonas of A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage (Betterway Books, 2000); and A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your Scottish Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage (Betterway Books, 2002). He holds an advanced degree in Theology and is particularly knowledgeable about the church and its role in record keeping.
Paul is the course coordinator for the English and Scottish research tracks at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He has also taught the Scottish track at the British Institute in Salt Lake City organized by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History. Paul is currently the book review editor for the BIGWILL newsletter and recently retired review editor of the FGS FORUM. He is the past-president of the British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois (BIGWILL), and a past board member of the Association to Professional Genealogists, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and the Genealogical Speakers Guild. Paul focuses on British Isles resources and methodology on his blog at

Course Schedule (all times U. S. Eastern) – each session is 90 minutes with Q&A
30 May 2015
• 11:00am “English Civil Registrations: Tips for use and problem solving”
• 1:00pm “Making Sense of the English Census”

6 June 2015
• 11:00am “English Parish Registers: How to Access, Use and Interpret”
• 1:00pm “Tips and Tools for Navigating the English Probate System”

England Times – 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm
Perth Australia Times – Saturday 30 May 11:00 pm and Sunday 1 June 1:00 am
Sydney, Australia Times – Sunday 1 June 1:00 am and 3:00 am
Wellington, New Zealand Times – Sunday 3:00 am and 5:00 am
The webinar will be recorded and made available at a later date for purchase.

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Filed under England, News, Where is Paul?

NEWS: Free Credits for ScotlandsPeople

ScotlandsPeople Home Page where you can get 20 free credits to add to your account.

ScotlandsPeople Home Page where you can get 20 free credits to add to your account.

FREE Credits for ScotlandsPeople Website

Scotland Now website has teamed up with ScotlandsPeople to encourage family history research by providing 20 FREE Credits, worth ₤4.50, (US$6.70, AUS$8.60) on ScotlandsPeople website. You have until April 30, 2015 to take advantage of this offer.

For New Subscribers – you get 20 FREE credits on a site where it costs 1 credit to look at a results page, and 5 credits to view an image, or 10 credits for a will. It gives you the opportunity to explore the site before adding or spending more money.

For Current Subscribers – you can add 20 credits to your existing credits, and it will reactivate your account and any inactive credits will become active again. It will also extend the expiration clock on all credits to 365 days. This is a big win-win for existing subscribers and everyone should take advantage of this offer.

Take advantage of this offer if you have Scottish Ancestry. Follow this link to the Scotland Now page – you will be asked to take a one question survey which you can skip if you want to.

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2016 FGS National Conference Call for Presentations

2016 FGS Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference Logo - Springfield IL August 31-September 3, 2016

2016 FGS National Conference Call for Presentations.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces that presentation proposals are now being received for its 2016 Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” to be held in Springfield, Illinois, Aug 31 – Sept 3, 2016. The conference will be held in cooperation with the Illinois State Genealogical Society as local host. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are within walking distance of the Prairie Capital Convention Center, the conference venue. The deadline for submission of presentation proposals is Friday, 10 April 2015.

“Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” recognizes the vast array of people and resources whose paths into the United States brought them to, and through, the Midwest. Topics related to methodology and research skills are always welcomed, in addition to content-specific areas, such as:

  • Military: War of 1812, American Civil War, Indian Wars, World War I, World War II, European and Napoleonic Wars.
  • Migration: Europe to North America; naturalization records; passenger lists; ports of entry; to and through the Midwest; the Great Migration (northward from the sharecropping South); migration trails and routes (Mormon, Oregon, Santa Fe); refugee resettlement; modern economic migrants.
  • Ethnic Origins: The Baltic Basin (including Poland, Scandinavia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Denmark, Germany); Central Europe (including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic/Bohemia, Hungary); Romance Europe (including France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Papal States); the Mediterranean/Adriatic Basin (including Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Cypress, Armenia); Latin American research.
  • Great Britain and the former British Empire (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India); the British diaspora; records (civil and ecclesiastical); churches (Anglican, Quaker, Catholic, dissenter, non-conformist, Presbyterians); military records; city directories; trade directories; guilds; poll books; valuations and tax records.
  • Occupations & Work: Farmers, carpenters, brewers/distillers, boatmen, firefighters/police, railroaders, canal builders, laborers and factory hands; women in the workforce; unions, guilds and apprenticeships; coal miners; slaughterhouse workers; doctors, midwives and pharmacists; clerks and lawyers; pressmen and printers; trade directories; smugglers, bootleggers and other illicit trades.
  • Religions, Adherents and Records: Jewish, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant traditions and records; religious colonization’s and refugee movements; Pogrom and Holocaust survivors and research; the Underground Railroad; Mormon/LDS; utopian communities; peace churches, pacifists and conscientious objectors; convents, monasteries and cloistered communities.
  • Regional research: Research repositories in the Midwest; research in Illinois and nearby states—Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio; archival collections; college and university research collections; migration destinations from Illinois: the Great Plains, Texas, Oklahoma, and California; migration to Illinois from feeder states of the east and south.
  • Genetics & DNA: the basics of DNA research; autosomal studies and advanced analysis; testing procedures; ethical considerations; adoptions; forensic and expert work; case studies.
  • Skills, Abilities & General Knowledge: Beginning research techniques; evidence analysis; online resources and tools; wikis; collaboration techniques and etiquette; terminology; comparative analysis; units of measure, trade and currency; time, calendars and dates; writing a family history; publishing – print vs eBook; creating websites, blogs and vlogs; earning genealogical credentials.
  • Society Management: Use of technology by and for societies; adaption to change; internal and external communication; meeting changing member needs and member engagement; education projects and events; society leadership; team building, implementing large projects.

The program committee specifically seeks new and dynamic proposals that will provide exceptional learning experiences for conference attendees. Proposals for workshops and sponsored talks are encouraged.

Multiple proposals (more than four) are welcome and encouraged, as most chosen to speak will be engaged for more than one presentation. There is no limit on the number of proposals a speaker may submit.

Submission Requirements

Speaker submissions and deadlines for the FGS 2016 Conference reflect the implementation of an online submission system. Interested parties must submit all presentation proposals using the online portal. The Call for Presentations is now open and will close on Friday, 10 April 2015. This deadline is for all proposal submissions, including sponsored presentations.


Selected speakers receive an honorarium, travel compensation, and conference registration as well as per diem and hotel nights based on the number of presentations given. (Sponsored speakers only receive conference registration and syllabus materials. See more about sponsorships below.) Non-sponsored speakers receive compensation according to the FGS Conference Speaker Policy at

Sponsored Presentations

Societies and businesses are encouraged to submit proposals for sponsored talks by the stated deadline for proposal submission. The sponsoring organization will cover its speaker’s costs to present the presentation. Sponsored speakers are expected to abide by all speaker deadlines and syllabus requirements. Sponsored speakers will receive complimentary FGS conference registration and electronic syllabus materials.

Additional Information

Invitations will be issued in October 2015. Syllabus format guidelines will be sent to speakers at that time. The deadline for acceptance and submission of signed speaker contracts is 1 November 2015. Camera-ready handouts are required for each presentation or workshop presentation and will be compiled in a syllabus distributed to conference participants. The deadline for submissions of syllabus materials is Wednesday, 13 April 2016.

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Book Review: Tracing Your Naval Ancestors – A Guide for Family Historians by Simon Fowler

Review of Tracing Your Naval Ancestors by Simon Fowler ISBN 978 1 84884 625 8

Tracing Your Naval Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians by Simon Fowler

Tracing Your Naval Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians. By Simon Fowler. Published by Pen & Sword Family History, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2AS, UK. ₤12.99. US Distributor: Casemate Publishing, 1016 Warrior Road, Drexel Hill, PA 19026. US$24.95. Australian Distributor: Gould Genealogy & History, PO Box 119, St. Agnes SA 5097. AUS$34.95. 2011. xi, 186 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover.

Even the author admits that researching a Royal Naval ancestor can be intimidating, especially in comparison to working with the records of the British Army or the Royal Air Force. Yet, Fowler provides a clear guide on how to use and access these records found in numerous repositories around the British Isles. The bulk of the records are found at The National Archives at Kew, and he recognizes that Tracing Your Naval Ancestors by Bruno Pappalardo will be needed to fully use this repository but it is the identification of resources in other locations, including the internet, that makes this a valuable addition for Royal Navy research.

The book begins by providing a short introduction on how to get started in your research, emphasizing which common generally utilized records may provide indications of a career in the Royal Navy. Records of officers and ratings can be located back to 1660, with a higher rate of success than is likely to be found with the land forces. The discussion for officers and ratings are different and thus separated into two chapters, yet these chapters appropriately cover the whole period up to 1914. A separate chapter addresses all levels of the service after 1914. Additional chapters address the: auxiliary services (of which there are many) and the coastguard; care of the sick and wounded; the Royal Marines; researching ships; and HM Dockyards. Appendices identify: the large number of different naval ratings, how they compare with one another as they existed in 1853; documents now held by the Fleet Air Arm Museum; how to access merchant navy records (since many Royal Navy personnel also served on these ships); jackspeak, the language of the navy; useful addresses; and bibliography.

There are many records to use for naval research, varying depending upon the time period. This book gets you into these voluminous records, explains well what they contain and is well illustrated. It is also up to date highlighting which records are online, and there are many.

This book would make a fine addition to a personal or genealogical library for anyone interested in Royal Naval ancestors, British military and any British Isles reference collection because of the sheer number of families with maritime ancestors.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Military, Navy

Buried Treasure: what’s in the English Parish Chest – new publication by Paul Milner

Buried Treasures - what's in the English Parish Chest - Paul Milner author genealogist

Buried Treasures: What’s in the English Parish Chest – new book by Paul Milner from Unlockthepast Publications.

Buried Treasure – What’s in the English Parish Chest is fresh off the presses and is being released at the Rootstech / Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference this week in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is available for purchase at Maia’s Books and can also be viewed at the UnlockthePast Booth.

Buried Treasure – What’s in the English Parish Chest examines all the records created by parish officials for the civil and religious administration of the English parish, except the baptism, marriage and burials records described so well in the companion volume – Discover English parish registers.

Records surviving in the parish chest will often solve your brick wall problems, including: “Where did my ancestor come from before here?” or “Who is the father of that illegitimate child?” In this detailed guide, family historian Paul Milner explains how and why the records were created, how changing laws affected who was and was not included, what the records look like and what information they contain. After showing examples of numerous records, the guide explains how and where to access the records, (online, microfilm, originals or in print).

Here is a practical guide that will help family researchers solve their problems, and put them into historical context. This small volume is full of material for both the beginner and the experienced researcher. It is a well-illustrated guide to the contents of the English parish chest that allows any researcher to go way beyond the baptism, marriage and burial registers commonly used for parish research.

The book will be available soon in Australia from UnlockthePast, in Canada from Global Genealogy, in the US from Maia’s Books and in the UK from My History.

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Spring 2015 Speaking Events

pce 16 1 croppedSpring 2015 Schedule of Speaking Events

I often get asked when and where can I come and hear you speak. This spring I get to speak in a number of different locations in northern Illinois, but also in Missouri and Canberra, Australia. Come and join me if you can and if you already read my blog please do introduce yourself.

 15 Jan. 2015 – Town and Country Public Library, 320 E. North Street, Elburn, IL . For more Info.

  • A New Location: Steps for Quickly Getting Started

17 Jan. 2015 – Cary Area Library, 1606 Three Oaks Road, Cary, IL . For more Info.

  • A New Location: Steps for Quickly Getting Started

7 Mar. 2015 – Midwest Genealogy Center, 3440 S. Lee’s. Summit Road, Independence, MO. For More Info.

  • Finding Your English Ancestors: The Big Four
  • Finding Your Scottish Ancestors: The Big Five
  • Effective Use of England’s National Archives Website
  • Are You Lost: Using Maps, Gazetteers and Directories for British Isles Research

16 Mar. 2015 – Zion Genealogical Society of Lake County, IL, Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 W. Wadsworth, Beach Park, IL   For more Info. (A Reschedule)

  • Finding Your Ancestors in Ireland

26-30 Mar. 2015. – 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry – Canberra, Australia. For More Info.

  • Scotland – Maps and Gazetteers for Research
  • Buried Treasures: What’s in the English Parish Chest
  • Tracing Your Pre-WWI British Soldiers
  • Digging for Gold – Locating British Miners and their Records
  • Genealogical Lecturing Skills (lunchtime talk)

14 May 2015 – McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society,  Pointe Outreach Center, 5650 Northwest Hwy, Crystal Lake, IL  For More Info.

  • Finding Your English Ancestors: The Big Four

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