Wednesday 1st August

(Sorry about the wonky placeholders again but the video works fine!)

Wednesday 1st August 2018 – well it is our last full day and we took ourselves off to Sanctuary Wood and Hooge Crater first. Not particularly linked to James Archibald McPhee but we wanted to visit anyway.

The museum was quaint but the glass 3-D slide machines were really harrowing as they didn’t hold back on their subject matter and due to the 3-D effect felt very real. At the back are some trenches and from the pock-marked terrain you did really get a feel for what it might have been like (although we visited in a very dry heat wave).

Sadly, the Hooge Crater has been filled in and is now part of a theme park but there is a good museum and a lovely walk which really gives you an idea as to the size of some of the craters that remain even today and how close the front lines were to each other.

In the afternoon we decided to look again for where James died. Armed with maps and Sat Nav off we set.

We drove up and down the St Julian to Ypres road but it was too busy and hot to step out but at least we’d solved the puzzle.

In the evening we returned to the Menin Gate in plenty of time and it was worth the wait. With a front row spot we had a clear view of the events, which were very moving.

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All in all it was a throughly worthwhile trip and I would recommend anyone thinking about doing it to just do it! As many of our ancestors found out the hard way…life’s too short! Please contact me if you need any information or advice.

Tuesday 31st July – a better day all round

Tuesday 31st July 2018 – Hopefully we will have a much better day today! We are heading off to Track X cemetery first to find James Archibald McPhee’s final resting place and to lay our wreath. Before our trip I had not appreciated the sheer number of cemeteries that are around…many of which only contain a few graves and often in out of the way places. If you are visiting I would recommend you buy a decent cemetery map in advance of your trip!

We did find the cemetery and were touched but its small size and how well-kept it was. It was a really moving experience to stand at his headstone after all these years. It was very emotional and didn’t want to leave, instead we spent some time walking around and looking at the landscape. My thoughts are that he must have died within sight of this spot and I finally came to terms with the fact that we will never know for sure where and when he died. His headstone says 3 August but other records just state 31 July – 3 August.

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Before leaving we signed the cemetery register and left in a sombre but satisfied mood heading for Poperinghe. This town was relatively untouched by the bombing and retains a lovely charm about it. We had coffee in the famous La Poupee cafe where the legendary ‘Ginger’ waitress was known for cheering up the soldiers while they rested before the next onslaught.

We visited Talbot House which was a real gem of a place with a lovely calm atmosphere. Here hundreds if not thousands of soldiers of all ranks came for a little piece of ‘normality’. One thing that really touched me was the film recreating the sort of concert party they held. James was a great singer and as not a Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire man I have always thought he might well have been one of the Cuckoos who were the Sherwood Forester’s concert party. It was really moving and the whole house had a lovely atmosphere that must have meant so much to so many.

Once we returned to Ypres we then visited the In Flanders Field Museum in Ypres. Located in the grand cloth hall itself it was a good museum albeit a bit hot to be comfortable. One highlight for me was the audio-visual show they had which really did bring the progress, landscape and timeline to life.

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Monday 30th July – here we go!

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Monday 30th July – On the first day of our pilgrimage we decided to start with the Passchendaele museum in Zonnebeke. It was a great museum with a useful audio guide included in the price. The Chateau is set in pretty grounds with paths to other areas of interest.

We decided to walk to Tyne Cot from here  but after a while we realised that the wather was a bit too warm for such adventures so returned to the car. We drove to Tyne Cot armed with my wreath and the cemetery map I had had for some time.

One of the first things we spotted was a memorial to the Sherwood Foresters which I didn’t realise was there.

The visitor centre was nice but not what I expected. It would have been nice to understand more about how the cemetery was created and the wonderful work of the CWGC. Our first hurdle was trying to get into the cemetery – we nearly had to resort to jumping the small surrounding wall but resorted to going in though the exit instead!

It is a breathtaking sight once you enter the cemetery. However, the experience was marred by two further issues: the numbering of the rows is somewhat random and neither of us could figure it out, the second challenge was that we could not get our bearings as to where the map I had related to the arrangement of headstones. Somewhat hot and bothered I then looked at the map with fresh eyes. Oh dear! because I had grown up always believing James was in Tyne Cot it had blinded me to the very clear title of the plan I had….he was in Track X cemetery which is not part of Tyne Cot at all…it is somewhere completely different!

Our next stop was to find where he fell…but that was not straight forward either! A kind person had done some research for me on where and exactly when he died and gave us a location which we visited today. however, looking at the landscpe, maps and other information we had this turned out not to be correct.

Hopefully a more successful day tomorrow!

On our way!

Sunday 29th August 2018 – After an early start we are on our way across the channel. We had booked with AFerry and somehow along the way had picked up an extra passenger in the form of a pet. I have no idea how the additional passenger got on the booking but as I was not going to pay £10 to alter the booking I was prepared to live with the consequences. Luckily DFDS were not expecting us to have a pet so I am now suspicious that it was a ruse to gain an extra £10 off us!

We arrived at hotel Ariane in Ypres about 4pm and were impressed by the hotel and its close proximity to the centre. Ypres itself is a really pretty city which has somehow retained its medieval feel despite being pretty much obliterated in WWI.

We went early to the Menin Gate (so we thought) and were really surprised at the amount of crowds gathering so early! It was very moving but sadly we didn’t get the best view so will try again another night.

(sorry for the odd formatting of the video again!)

Giving that bucket list a good kicking!

28 July 2018 – Since a small girl I have always been aware of our very own war hero, James Archibald McPhee, my great grandfather. I grew up knowing he had fought in Ypres and lost his life in the battle of Passchendaele with his final resting place in the huge Tyne Cot cemetery.

Since starting my own family tree in 2000 I have often returned to this character to find out more. Luckily his military records survived providing lots of useful information to help bring him alive. I have his dead man’s penny and various anecdotal details about him: he was a signwriter by trade but was well-known locally in Glasgow for his singing prowess.

A few years ago my mum booked to go on her own on an organised tour to visit his final resting place at Tyne Cot. Sadly she broke her ankle and couldn’t go. She never did make the journey due to illness so I have felt a really strong desire to visit on both our behalfs.

In this and the following blogs are my video diaries, thoughts and tips.

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Family tree Insights – a day in the world of #Manorial Records

I thought an insight into what a typical day of a genealogist looks like would be of interest. In this case it involved additional research for the #Wigston’s in #Barwell, building on the information already gathered, dating from around 1806-1852.

Not all research can be done online, unlike the impression of many popular TV family history programmes, sometimes success comes with some good old fashioned paper-based research. My first step was to establish if Barwell was a Manor which I had researched previously by searching online, which indeed it is. The next step had been to check The National Archives’ (TNA) Manorial Document Register which identifies the nature and location of manorial records – after all there is no point in searching for something which doesn’t exist!

Sadly, #Leicestershire had not been part of the set computerised so I submitted a query email to TNA who identified two sets of documents that exist for the period I was interested in. My next step was to check the online catalogue of the Leicestershire County Record Office and this confirmed the documents which the TNA had listed…plus many more.

Armed with this background information my day starts with a trip to the Leicestershire County Record Office in Wigston. For those that have not visited it before, it is a real treasure trove and well worth the trip. You will need to take some ID with you to gain entry and don’t be afraid to seek guidance from the staff.

Using the document references established online I then requested the documents of interest, two at a time. These manorial records are really useful as they contain records of (amongst other things) tenancy transfers through the generations and court hearings in the days before local government and a national legal system. It takes time to go through each of the documents which can be lengthy, written in poor handwriting and use unfamiliar language.

However, it was worth it as I found a John #Wigson as the court foreman in 1845 (spellings often vary from place to place and over time), Jane Wigston who was a widow in 1794 and another John Wigston (might be the same one) who is described in 1806 as a framework knitter married to Amey, who occupies an orchard which he took on from Thomas Robinson.

John and Amey were new to me so when I returned home in the afternoon I used the information from the manorial records to look them up in the 1841 census online and sure enough they were there living with Elizabeth Mires. Compared to later census’ 1841 is light on detail so I searched a later one, 1861, and found John living with Elizabeth Mires who turns out to be his unmarried niece, who is deaf.

From one piece of preparation work, a visit to the County Record office and then some online follow up research I have been able to define four or five new candidates to join up with the other research on the Wigston’s of Barwell. Sometimes you put in the hard work and get nothing and other times you unlock a raft of invaluable information. This was a comparatively small victory but valuable none the less.

Juggling between tools can break down genealogical brick walls

Sometimes when researching your ancestors, it can pay dividends to step away from the usual census and parish records and think about context, using one or more alternative tools.

In the case of Stamford, I recently carried out some research where I learnt some useful additional information using an online old OS map website, the 1891 census return and Google maps with its handy Street View functionality.

The National Library of Scotland have done a fabulous job of digitising many maps including a collection of nearly 90,000 Ordnance Survey 25 inch to the mile maps of England and Wales, which date from 1841 to 1952. These maps are of particular interest as they are detailed topographical records that include features such as civil and municipal boundaries, individual buildings, street names, railways, industrial premises, rivers farms and even ruins. The first edition maps were coloured and even included details such as what material the building was made of.

The maps are searchable as individual sheets using a zoomable map of England and Wales or using the search facility. It’s worth a visit at www.maps.nls.uk/os/25inch-england-and-wales .

Although there is a modern map overlay feature, I prefer to use google maps to search for street names and to use Street View. By seeing the actual modern-day location, you can get a sense of the level of wealth of the area and likely industries present where buildings have survived and what happened to roads that have ‘disappeared’. Using this approach is particularly useful when used in conjunction with the census enumerators route, which is outlined on the first page of each enumeration district.

In the case of some recent Stamford research, I referred to the OS 1886 25 inch to the mile map and one thing that struck me was that I was completely unaware that there had been a castle in Stamford at that time. Obviously, some road names were a bit of a clue but in 1886 it was still present as a ruin but is now sadly the bus station.

I then referred to the enumerators route in the 1891 census which states for Lincolnshire, All Saints, District 3: “All that part of the parish of All Saints Stamford comprising Rutland Terrace, Austin Street, Austin Friar’s Lane, Hopkins Hospital, Melancholy Walk, Meadow Cottages, Thompson’s Court, Kings Mill Lane, St Peter’s Vale, Bath Row no 7 to17 inclusive, Sheep Market No 8 to 19 inclusive, Castle Hill, St Peter’s Street S, St Peter’s Hill W, All Saints Street S, Mallory Lane, Red Lion Square Nos 8, 9, 10 and 1 to 5 Red Lion Street. The whole in the Parliamentary Division of Stamford”.

Using this information, it is possible to map the route the enumerator would have walked, although not all this route is on the OS 1886 map, it still served the purpose I needed it for.

I was looking for Mallory Lane which does not feature as a named road on the 1886 map and I drew a blank when searching on Google. However, Google Street View gave me the breakthrough I was looking for. By following the Enumerator’s route, I knew roughly where it would have been and by looking at the current Street View from All Saints’ Street, there it was: a little street sign for an alleyway!

The family I was looking for lived at no 1 and thanks to the enumerator’s route I can pick out the actual house on the 1886 OS map. By the size of it, it is a modest dwelling which fits with the occupation of House Painter who lived there with his son, daughter-in-law and their family of four children. It must have been quite a squeeze!

By using the census, OS maps and Google together it can really help to break down some brick walls in your research and add some context that is hard to obtain through any other route.

The Parish Registers and Bishop’s transcripts – Leicestershire

I live in Rutland which is the smallest county in England and the records for this area are kept at the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland at Long Street, Wigston Magna in Leicestershire.

County record office Leic

My birth name is Wigston and from time to time I plan research on various groups of Wigstons in the Leicestershire area in the hope that over time I will be able to link them together and create a direct line to myself. I am interested in Wigstons who were living in Leicester in medieval times but recognised this might be just too much of a challenge due to the availability of records, their potentially poor condition and the fact they would be in Latin.

For this research, I chose to use the 1841 census online through Ancestry.com. By entering Wigston as a surname residing in Leicestershire, 35 individuals showed up, grouped in Barwell, Elmesthorpe (neighbouring village to Barwell) and St Mary. Iin this instance I chose the family group in Barwell headed by Thomas Wigston and as a secondary piece of research I also selected the family group in St Mary headed up by Joseph Wigston.

Thomas Wigston was aged 55 so therefore born about 1786, living with Miria aged 20, William aged 25, plus Harriett and Fanny both aged 10.

By viewing the actual record within Ancestry.com this information could be double checked before any further research took place. In particular, I was interested to check Miria’s name and from the image I could see that indeed her name was Miria. At the time of the 1841 census they were listed as living in Spring Gardens, in Barwell.

Preparation for the record office visit

From the County record office website at www.leics.gov.uk/record_office.htm I checked the process for accessing the library, do’s and don’ts, open times, directions and parking. As it has been some time since I used a record office and expect to be doing more research in this, and potentially other record offices, I took with me the correct means of identification so that I could obtain a CARN*.

I took with me, pencils, paper, my lecture, notes I had made from background reading on Parish Registers, and details of the two family groups concerned.

Just to be sure I did not have a wasted journey (it is 50 minutes away) I e-mailed the office to check on open times for a Saturday morning and also to check what parish records they had for Barwell. They responded with confirmation of the following records held in the office for Barwell:

Christenings: 1661-1976

Marriages: 1654-1993 (1986)

Burials: 1653-1887 (for later burials, see Stapleton)

I also consulted Phillimores Atlas which I found out is held at the local museum in Oakham, Rutland, where there is a small research centre. This helped to identify what records were available and where they were deposited along with a check on the parish boundary for Barwell.

The Phillimore’s showed:

Deposited register                                                           1653-1993

IGI                                                                                       1563 – 1856

Registrar at the Society of genealogists                      1563 – 1640

No Boyds register

1837 – 1851 the parish came under Hinckley

No Pallots register

Visit to the County Record office

To be sure that I made the most of my visit, I consulted with one of the three staff members on where to find the parish records and how to use the fiche reader.

The index of what parish registers are available and where were kept in folders in alphabetical order. Inside the first folder which was A-BAS where typewritten sheets in clear pockets with the information such as what records were available on a parish by parish basis and a reference number. For Barwell the following parish registers are available:

Deposited with the record in 1973

DE1330/1 Baptisms 1661-1717 Listed as on fiche (although a note has been added to the banns record indicating it is not which might indicate that it has gone missing)
  Marriages 1665-1717
  Burials 1653 – 1717
     
DE1330/2 Baptisms 1717-1772
  Marriages** 1717-1753**
  Burials 1717-1770
     
DE1330/3 Baptisms 1773-1812
  Burials 1771-1812
     
DE1330/4 Baptisms** 1813-1843**
     
DE1330/5 Baptisms 1843-1879
     
DE1330/6 Baptisms 1879-1904
     
DE1330/7 Marriages 1754-1779
     
DE1330/8 Marriages 1779-1808
     
  Banns (not on fiche) 1779-1820
     
DE1330/9 Marriages 1808-1812
     
DE1330/10 Marriages** 1813-1837**
     
DE1330/11 Marriages** 1837-1879**
     
DE1330/12 Marriages 1879-1914
     
DE1330/13 Burials** 1813-1863**
     
DE1330/14 Burials** 1863-1887**
      On checking with the staff, these records need to be ordered from the strong room so these will be checked on the second visit.
  Banns** 1823-1839**
  Banns** 1839-1862**
  Banns 1863-1885
  Banns 1885-1920
     
  Notebook giving name, residence, occupation, religious denomination and ages of children of non Anglicans** n.d (no date?)**

 

I also consulted the booklet created by Leicestershire museums, art galleries and record service, ‘Handlist of Leicestershire Bishops’ transcripts published by the record office in 1987. This detailed the transcripts that had survived and were lodged with the County Record office:

Barwell including the hamlets of Elmsthorpe, Potters Marston & Stapleton –

1564                       1571                       1574                       1576                       1585                       1596-7

1604                       1606-9                   1613                       1617                       1621-2                   1624-9

1632-4                   1636-40                1660-7                   1669-81                1683                       1685-8

1690-6                   1699-1700            1703-11                1713-14                1716-18                1720

1722-4                   1726-31***              1732-51***              1752                       1754-1812            1813-36

1842-56

***1731 not certain but probable. 1751 not certain, may be 1753.

Leicestershire was an archdeaconry which was included in the massive diocese of Lincoln before being transferred to the diocese of Peterborough until 1926 when it became a separate diocese in its own right.

Outlined below is a list of the records found for this family of Wigstons which were obtained by searching the microfiche highlighted in by ** above, original banns register books and microfilm of the bishop’s transcripts:

THOMAS WIGSTON born c. 1786 (according to 1841 census)

No baptism, banns, marriage or burial entries were found

MIRIA/MARIA WIGSTON born c.1821 (according to 1841 census)

Baptism was found for a Maria, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Wigston on 11 October 1820, abode as Barwell and trade or profession of father was listed as framework knitter.

The burial register shows a Maria, daughter of Thomas & Sarah Wigston died in Barwell and was buried 8 April 1846 aged 25 years.

WILLIAM WIGSTONE born c. 1826 (according to 1841 census)

Baptisms were found in the parish registers although there were 3 illegitimate Williams. However, this would make sense if William was the first born, which I do not think is the case within this family.

On checking the Bishop’s transcripts a baptism entry was found for William on 8 March 1823. This does not accurately tie in with the estimated date from the census but this was not unusual. There were not normally any written records and so the census was reliant on memories and honesty. The census was also subject to rounding down ages to the nearest 5 years which would have meant that William may have been recorded as 15 not 18 in the census.

No further records were found for William using either Wigston or Wigstone as listed in the baptism entry.

HARRIET WIGSTON born c. 1831 (according to 1841 census)

Baptism was found for Harriet, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Wigston on 8 July 1826, abode as Barwell and father’s trade or profession was listed as framework knitter. There is quite an age discrepancy but once again this could be down to the rounding of her age from 14 to 10.

No further records for Harriett were found

FANNY WIGSTON born c. 1831 (according to 1841 census), (were Fanny and Harriet twins or just born close together if you go by the census dates?)

A Frances Wigston was baptised 30 September 1829 to a Thomas and Sarah Wigston who lived in Barwell and again he is listed as a framework knitter. I am suggesting in this case that Fanny is a nickname for Frances. (please see http://genealogy.about.com/library/bl_nicknames.htm for reference).

In the banns register John Peace and Frances Wigston are listed – he as a bachelor of the parish and she as a spinster of the parish. Banns were read out on February 9 1851, February 16 1851 and then February 23 1851. Frances married John Peace on 24 February 1851, both were of full age and both listed as framework knitters.

John and Frances went on to have a son, John, who was entered into the burial register having died in Barwell as an infant and buried 29 September 1850. Having been named John after his father I would suppose that he was the first-born son.

The records above are what I found out about the family as identified in the 1841 census. In order to be thorough I checked for the name Wigston on all the fiche I viewed in case any were missing. In an age of high infant mortality and especially in a frame knitters community where fatalities were very commonplace I wanted to be sure none of them were missed.

MARY WIGSTON

A baptism record for Mary was found for 21 April 1810 in Barwell, to Thomas and Sarah Wigston.

Banns entry was found in the original register of November 1 1823 – 15 September 1839 which was ordered from the strong room. William Riley of the parish of Barwell and Mary Wigston of the parish of Barwell. Banns were read out on 29 July 1838, 5 August 1838 and 12 August 1838.

A marriage entry was found for Mary Wigston whose father was Thomas Wigston in Barwell on 14 August 1838 to William Riley, both of full age. She is listed as a framework knitter and he is a shoemaker. This was witnessed by Ann Wigston.

ANNE WIGSTON

Baptism for Anne, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Wigston on 29 June 1815 and Thomas is listed as a framework knitter.

In the burial register Anne is listed as being the daughter of Thomas and Anne and was buried 24 January 1841 in Barwell.

GEORGE WIGSTON

Baptism for George, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Wigston on 4 May 1818 and Thomas is listed as a framework knitter.

A burial entry was found for George, son of Thomas & Sarah Wigston, living in Barwell. He was buried 7 May 1819 aged just 1 year old.

AMEY WIGSTON

A baptism was found in the parish registers for Amey on 28 November 1812.

A marriage entry has been made on 30 April 1839 to William Lapsworth, both of whom were framework knitters. At first I thought the entry was for Anney but Anne Wigston was a witness so could not be the same person.

I double checked in the Bann register and there is an entry for William Lapsworth of the parish of Barwell and Amey Wigson (missing a ‘t’) also of Barwell and the banns were read out on 31 March 1839, 7 April 1839 and 14 April 1839.

William and Amey Lapsworth then had two children that I could find: John and Sarah (see below).

Amey Lapsworth died quite young and her burial record shows she was interred 20 August 1848 aged 35.

JOHN LAPSWORTH

Baptised 16 May 1840 and William is listed as a framework knitter. Sadly there is also a burial listed – John, son of William and Amey Lapsworth living in Barwell, buried 6 May 1841 aged 11 months.

SARAH LAPSWORTH

A baptism record was found for Sarah Lapsworth, 29 August 1842. No further records were found.

JOHN WIGSTON

A baptism entry is made in the parish registers for 11 December 1807 in Barwell. A burial entry is made for John, son of Thomas and Sarah Wigston of Barwell. John was buried 25 May 1819 aged 11, giving him an approximate birthdate of 1808, although no baptism records were found.

What this research shows is that the parish registers themselves are a valuable source of reference but like many records, are not enough on their own and other reference material is often needed to corroborate the information which sometimes does not quite ‘add up’ or to fill the gaps within the records.

*CARN: County Archive Research network – a nationally recognised system of readers’ tickets for local authority record offices.

Bibliography

J Charles Cox                                      The parish registers of England (Methuen 1910)

Nick Barratt                                        Who do you think you are? Encyclopaedia of genealogy (Harper Collins  2008)

Mark D Herber                                  Ancestral Trails (Genealogical Publishing Co 2000)

Stella Colwell                                     The Family History Book (Phaidon Press 1989)

Cecil R.Humphery- Smith              The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers (Phillimore & Co Ltd; 2nd Revised edition edition, 7 July 1995)

 

Christmas is a time to collect those priceless family memories and folklore

As we approach Christmas it is a good idea to think about making the most of those precious times with family members – especially (although not exclusively) the older members. Christmas is often the only time we spend time with family members all year and often family gatherings will trigger memories and reminiscing. All too often genealogists and other family members will lament about not asking questions about grandad’s funny accent or finding out more about what uncle Billy did in the war when it is too late.

If done sensitively a wealth of factual and anecdotal information will help to bring alive those names and dates in your tree for generations to come.

Kimberly Power on About Parenting recommends some of the following tips:

  • Stay engaged with the storyteller(s) and enjoy the session
  • Don’t be afraid of silence and try not to interrupt. Sometimes it takes a moment to dig deep and find the information in the storyteller’s head or it may be that they are recalling something difficult.
  • Ask the right amount and type of questions but don’t make it feel like an interrogation. Having a pen and pad handy with some questions written out by way of a prompt might help and you can also jot down any thoughts on further investigations for after the session
  • Follow up on the good stuff by asking additional questions and digging a bit deeper
  • Be yourself and keep things natural
  • Get personal by probing dark corners but gauge carefully whether it is a ‘no go’ topic or can be addressed with humour or a sense of secrecy
  • Don’t challenge them on certain aspects as it is their view on a particular story
  • Use props such as photos or memorabilia to trigger the memories. Ask if you can bring your scanner and ask permission to scan them. Maybe offer to digitally enhance them and make prints or put them on CDs to share by way of a ‘Thank you’.
  • Make it a group session so the storytellers can work on an event or person together and fill in any missing gaps

To relax and enjoy the experience while still getting the most information out of the session I would recommend recording the session if the storyteller is happy with this. Nowadays this can be done unobtrusively with a smart phone or video camera which will soon become ‘invisible’ and give you a natural session. It’s always a good idea to practice and experiment beforehand to see what gives you the best results. Afterwards you can play and replay the recording to glean the information you want. However, please be mindful that these recordings are very personal and I would not recommend posting them on social media without explicit permission.

By capturing these memories it is a good idea to store them in such a way that they are not going to get ‘lost’. Remember to download the files and name them something that makes sense (especially years after the event) and put them in a folder that has a meaningful title and date. As always, a backup is a really good idea, especially to an external drive or memory stick which should be stored safely away from the tablet or PC in case there’s a theft or fire.

Finally, by way of a ‘Thank you’ it is a nice gesture to send the storyteller(s) a note or card. These oral histories are literally priceless and it is the least you can do – it might also ensure they will be willing to help again in the future.

For those interested in capturing oral history in a professional way, the Oral History Society has some training and also some tips – www.ohs.org.uk/training/

It’s that time of year again!!!

voucher scanAs the summer in the UK seems to have ‘switched off’ immediately after the August public holiday, my thoughts have whisked from sunhats, sun protection and bottles of water to packing the summer furniture away and…Christmas!

In addition to making an effort to make many of the presents for my nearest and dearest (non-genealogy based, I hasten to add!), I do get requests for family tree help or gifts at the last minute which is a bit of a challenge.

It is very hard to research and create a family tree gift without the recipient knowing unless there is plenty of other family support. A much more practical idea is to give a gift voucher which the recipient can use at their leisure to start a family tree, convert their research into something ‘pretty’ or help with a brick wall. It’s novel and even if they get a similar voucher from elsewhere it is still of use.

Please see my website if you are interested https://genrooters.co.uk/products/gift-voucher

Now, where did I put that oasis foam and gluegun, best make a start on those presents now in case I still get a pre-Christmas rush on research!