in Cheshire

Latest news from the FHSC

Import News re AncestryDNA records
AncestryDNA is about to delete your potentially relevant small-segment DNA matches.
If you want to know how to Keep AncestryDNA's Small-Segment Matches, then read on.....
From 'late' August 2020, AncestryDNA will start deleting DNA matches who share less than 8 cM with you - unless you have added a note about them, added them to a custom group, or messaged them.
It's an opportunity for Ancestry users to investigate and/or save their smallest matches by adding notes, sending messages, or adding them to a group. Of course, a significant proportion will be spurious matches (which is one of the reasons Ancestry plans to remove them), and there will be many that don't have tress, or have very small trees that are of little practical use.
At the link below there is a strategy to prevent those people from disappearing from accredited researcher & family historian Julie Webster.
Julie also include links to more detailed advice from others with expertise in the matter
Family History Federation News
The Family History Federation [FHF] have today launched the FHF Really Useful Family History Show
The show will take place on Saturday 14th November 2020 featuring member societies and much, much more.
In announcing the Show, FHF Chairman, Steve Manning, said: “Irrespective of whether you’re an uncertain ‘newbie’ or seasoned enthusiast, this is the one 2020 happening you must not miss!
Why?  -  Because the FHF is totally focussed on delivering a ‘Really Useful Family History Show’ to ALL our visitors!”
The event is supported by [in alphabetical order]:
  • Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA)
  • FamilySearch
  • Family Tree magazine
  • Who Do You Think You Are magazine
This national – even international – virtual show will provide
  •  Expert presentations
  •  Discussion panels
  •  Access to all shops on Parish Chest plus those of commercial participants
  •  Opportunity to meet and talk to exhibitors live in the virtual exhibition hall
  •  UK “attendees” will receive goody bag posted to them (providing they book early!)
  •  And much more...
The event’s website will be regularly updated with details of exhibitors and speakers. It will also provide access to the online ticket booking system. Please bookmark the show’s own website at:
Further news will follow, keep tuned in!
Cheshire Archives & Local Studies Centre News

£13 Million Scheme to Create New History Centres


Progress is continuing on a Cheshire Archives plan to create two new bespoke history centres, one in Chester and one in Crewe

Cheshire Archives and Local Studies is a shared service between CWAC and CEC. The £13 million scheme would see each authority contribute £4.2m with the remainder sought via a bid for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. 

Chester's new history centre is earmarked for the site of the former Cheshire Enterprise Centre off Hoole Road which burnt down in December 2010. Crewe's history centre would be located at the 'Old Library' in the town centre. The current Cheshire Record Office off Duke Street in Chester is said to be 'no longer fit for purpose'. 

Both councils recently placed an advert seeking a quantity surveyor to implement this Local Archives project in a £90,000 contract. This follows news that National Heritage Lottery Fund gave permission to start the archives project in March 2020 with initial round one funding of £544,900.  This current development phase of the project runs for 18 months and includes:

  • Developing activities to engage new audiences with archives across the county
  • Drawing up detailed plans for the proposed new centres in Chester and Crewe
  • Writing a delivery phase funding bid for 2021

Detailed proposals will then be considered by the Lottery Heritage Fund with a view to securing full second round funding of £4,455,100.

The centres would be climate-controlled environments to house collections, better display them and make them more interactive. Chester's would house the majority of the collections. It is described as 'a natural, logical home for the service' given the city's long history as the seat of county government. 

Association of Genealogists & Researchers in Archives

Ask the Experts Week 20-25th July 2020


Tune in every day to watch some of AGRA's finest bringing their expertise to bear on your family history questions


Join six of the Association's top experts as they answer questions put by readers of Who Do You Think You Are Magazine. Each twenty-minute session goes live at 1pm (BST) daily between 20 and 25 July. And why not join each expert as they answer questions live after each session.

A new video will be each be released at 1pm (BST) each day as follows:

  • Monday 20 July - Missing births, with Sharon Grant.
    Sharon, of Grantshire Genealogy, is the Chair of AGRA and will be answering questions on tracing the origins of missing and mysterious ancestors where birth records are proving elusive.
  • Tuesday 21 July - Civil registration, with Antony Marr.
    Antony is a researcher who also worked as a deputy registrar, and will be discussing how best to use civil registration records to solve problems.
  • Wednesday 22 July - Welsh research, with Gill Thomas.
    Gill is a professional genealogist specialising in researching and running courses about Welsh Ancestry. In this session she makes suggestions as to how best to untangle the Welsh surnames maze and also looks at the importance of using Non-Conformist records where searching parish records in isolation has led to a brick wall.
  • Thursday 23 July - Military records, with Simon Fowler.
    Simon is a researcher specialising in records of the armed forces and the two world wars. He will be answering questions on the military side of family history.
  • Friday 24 July - Missing records, with Carol Ann Kerry-Green.
    Carol is an experienced genealogist researching in and about Yorkshire. She will be answering questions on finding missing documents and illegitimacy.
  • Saturday 25 July - Missing records & DNA, with Mike Sharpe.
    Mike is a researcher specialising in the West Midlands and writing family histories. He will be answering questions on Birmingham & Black Country records and using DNA to breakdown brickwalls.

Find the videos at

Listen along and share your comments within YouTube, or on Twitter/Facebook using the hashtag #AskAGRA

Cheshire Record Office - Reopening
Announcement, this morning [15 July], from Cheshire Record Office 
We will be reopening with a limited service from Tuesday 28th July. To keep staff & visitors as safe as possible, the following measures have been put into place:
  • Access to the searchroom will be strictly by appointment only & numbers are limited to a maximum of 4 researchers at any one time. Appointments will be for a morning or afternoon session.
  • Bookings are to be made by email and can be made up to 2 weeks in advance.
  • Our revised opening times are as follows:
    • Tuesday, 10am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4pm
    • Friday, 10am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4pm
  • Access will be limited to original records & local studies publications. There will be no access to microfilm readers or paper catalogues.
  • Documents must be ordered in advance
  • Social distancing and hygiene measures are in place in the searchroom.
    • Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance.
    • The toilets will be open on a one in one out basis.
  • Please bring your own paper & pencil and a bank card for any contactless payments
  • Our online shop & research services have now been resumed, please visit our website for further info.
  • These arrangements for your visit have been developed in conjunction with the Cheshire West & Chester Council H&S team and in line with current Public Health & Government advice. They may be reviewed at any time as this advice changes.
The first Family Tree Academy: Weekend Conference,
The first Family Tree Academy: Weekend Online Conference, in association with FamilySearch
24 to 26 July 2020 

The team of presenters from FamilySearch will take delegates through topics aimed to help people both new to family history and those already with some years of experience.

The presentations will be aired live on the Family Tree webpage and you will be able to put your questions to the presenters at the end of the live sessions each day via Facebook Live. 

The presentations will start at 5pm each day (24 to 26 July), and each will run for approximately 20 minutes each, with comfort breaks, closing with the presenter Q&A session.


For quick reference, list of titles below, for full details and joining instructions see -

Friday 24 July, from 5pm:

  • Getting started on your family history – Brian McKechnie

  • FamilySearch overview and resources – Tim Manners

  • How to start your family tree on FamilySearch – Andrew Milnes

Saturday 25 July, from 5pm

  • Discovery experiences on Family Search – Keith Penfold

  • An introduction to memories (The importance of having a personal digital asset plan) – Virginio Baptista

  • How to make Family History fun for all ages – Jacob Hawkins

Sunday 26 July, from 5pm

  • Introduction to FamilySearch mobile apps, Tree and Memories - Tim Manners

  • Helping your relatives to share their Memories - Brian McKechnie

  • How to share my family history and memories - Torsten Kux

The National Archives -  Reopening
Press Release from the NATIONAL ARCHIVES regarding re-opening
Since mid-March, our iconic and much-loved building in Kew has been silent. With our reading rooms closed, the vast majority of our staff working from home and many of our usual services suspended, we have focused on bringing you more digital content and online resources. I hope you’ve been able to enjoy our online talks, podcasts, free downloads of digital records available through our website and our ever-popular research guides and education resources.
Following recent government announcements, I am delighted that our reading rooms in Kew will re-open on 21 July 2020. It’s wonderful to know that visitors will again be able to use our reading rooms and have access to our collection of original documents.
The re-opening will be a gradual process and The National Archives will look and feel very different to what you are used to. We’ll be providing limited access to parts of the building and our services will operate differently for the time being.In recent weeks, we’ve been busy preparing and introducing new measures. We will be introducing a booking system. All visits will need to be pre-booked and we will ask everyone to pre-plan and order all documents in advance. You will notice a new document delivery process to protect you, our staff and to ensure the correct handling and quarantine of documents. A one-way system will be in place around the building with signage to help with social distancing. There will also be rigorous cleaning throughout the day.
​You can find more information on our website about how to book, our new safety arrangements, and what to expect when you visit.
The safety of our visitors and staff is paramount to the decision we have taken to re-open our reading rooms. We will keep all of our opening arrangements under constant review, and would welcome your feedback over the coming weeks.
I’m pleased to say that, for the time being, we will also continue to provide free downloads of our digital collection on our website, along with a huge number of research guides, resources and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for your continued support of The National Archives and look forward to welcoming you back from 21 July.
Details of fascinating new book - War, Peace, and the Women's Institute


The 'War' in the title relates to the Suffragists in North-East Wales who continued to meet throughout WW1, 'Peace' relates to the 1926 Peace Pilgrimage in Britain and the the ‘Women’s Institiute’ relates to the early years of the first WI in Britain at Llanfairpwll, Anglesey. 


Synopsis - 

In the early 1900's north-east Wales was a dangerous place for women - Suffragist's meetings descended into near riot, or in some cases were banned by police before they even started! 

Against this background, Llangollen Suffragists continued to meet throughout WW1. As well as working for votes for women, they actively supported two war charities: The Welsh Hospital, Netley, Southampton and Scottish Women’s Hospitals. The Welsh Hospital, funded entirely by the Welsh people for the duration of WW1. SWH, founded by Suffragist, Dr Elsie Inglis, sent nurses abroad – including Nurse Goodwin, a Llangollen Suffragist, particularly to Serbia where they endured truly horrifying conditions. Once the vote was won, many Suffragists supported the Women’s Institute and the Peace Movement. One man and his dog, Colonel Stapleton Cotton and Tinker were responsible for the foundation of the first WI in Britain at Llanfairpwll, Anglesey, in 1915 – which still meets on the third Tuesday afternoon of each month.

In 1926 2,000 women, their blue peace flags flying, descended on the little market town of Pen-y-groes near Caernarfon, at the beginning of the Peace Pilgrimage (based on the Suffragist’s 1913 Pilgrimage) to London.

The appendices for each section include fascinating minibiographies of personalities mentioned in the chapters. Some of the Anglesey WI members lives are nothing short of amazing – manning soup kitchens one day and attending Balls at Buckingham Palace the next!

Author Biography - 

Barbara Lawson-Reay was brought up on The Wirral and has lived in north Wales for nearly forty years. During her working life she had several different jobs ranging from warden of a half-way house for recovering psychiatric patients, to social secretary at a Methodist hotel taking parties up Snowdon (climbing – not on the train!) once each fortnight during the season. Since she retired twelve years ago, she has been able to pursue her interest in modern social history. She is particularly interested in the lives of ‘ordinary’ people – which often turn out to be extraordinary! She is also the author of Votes for Women, published in 2015.


Further information - 

The book has just been published by a small, local company which needs all possible support at this difficult time and costs £9.50 plus £2.50 packing and postage. It is also available from:
Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. 12 Station Yard, LLANRWST, North Wales LL26 0EH or pop along to the Gwasg Carreg Gwalch website to order  -