All the latest news

British History Online makes all research content free to individual users until 30 April 2021

British History Online makes all research content free to individual users until 30 April 2021

British History Online [BHO] offers enhanced access to online material 

BHO is a digital collection of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, with a special focus on the period 1300 to 1800.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic the BHO decided to make all transcribed content freely available to individual users

They have now added 200 volumes of the Premium Content from 2020. This material will remain available until 30 April 2021 in the first instance.


The link to the blog post below [first published for the 2020 offer and now updated] describes what’s included in this latest move.

New 'Surnames' Innovation on the website

New 'Surnames' Innovation on the website
Until now the members interests/Cheshire surnames has only been available to members or registered users of the site
From today [24th December 2020] a read only view is available via the top menu of the webpage.
This enables surname interests to be shared to a wider audience - as anyone can now browse the list [& even add their own surnames interests, after registering with the site]
Hopefully this will stimulate more activity on the website under this particular section, as members can now be contacted by those from outside the Society.
Those wanting to follow-up on a particular surname will contact the relevant member directly through the website, with no access to specific contact details - it is then up the relevant society member whether to respond or not.
Please let the Committee know if you receive any contact at all, it would be intersting to know how popular and beneifical this new innovation proves in the future

Cheshire's Charms: Ancient Villages & Hamlets

Cheshire's Charms: Ancient Villages & Hamlets

Cheshire's Charms: Ancient Villages & Hamlets - a new book by Tony Bostock 


The old county of Cheshire is rich in treasures from the past and has a fascinating history. The county owes much to its geographical position, its natural features - rocks and rivers - and its people, the occupants of the villages, who made and shaped her history. The largely unspoilt rural landscape is dotted with quaint towns and villages, all of which have a story to tell and each has its own unique charm - landscape; architectural gems in the form of churches, houses and cottages; legends and historic curiosities. In this book the author considers over fifty villages explaining the origin of their place-names, their early history and interesting and unique aspects. For those who just wish to learn something of Cheshire's villages and their character, or those who want to get out and explore some of those places which lie off the beaten track, this book will provide much needed information.

120 pages; 177 colour photos, Paperback (6”x9”) coloured,

AVAILABLE NOW from AMAZON BOOKS UK ( or contact the author at

Price £12.99 E-book (Kindle), price £4.99 


TONY BOSTOCK is the author of a number of books and many articles on various aspects of Cheshire history, contributing regularly to the annual journal, Cheshire History. Much of his work is published on his web-site: He is a regular speaker to local history and family history societies and other organisations throughout the county. As well as being a member of a number of academic societies in the region, he has been an active member of the Executive Committee of Cheshire Local History Association since its formation in 1998: he was chairman for several years. He has also chaired the Northwich Heritage Society and is a member of the Winsford Local History Society, of which he was also chairman for many years. Having retired from a professional life in public service, Tony applies himself to the research and study of local history, heraldry and genealogy





Free Access to Find My Past Military Records

Free Access to Find My Past Military Records
From 5th until 12th November Find My Past are offering free access to all of their military records
You will need to sign up for a free account in order to take advantage of this offer 
You can use any of Findmypast's sites worldwide, but please bear in mind that the start and end times are based on London time (GMT).

Free access to some Ancestry records

Free access to some Ancestry records

Ancestry is offering free access to UK wartime records for Remembrance Sunday, offer closes at midnight on Sunday 8th November

To access the records, you need to register for a free account.
Offer includes 1939 Register, First World War service records will be free to search. This consists of the surviving service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who served in the British Army.

It includes attestation forms, which were completed by the individual when they enlisted; medical history forms; casualty forms; disability statements; regimental conduct sheets; awards; and proceedings on discharge.

Other free record collections include Civil Gallantry Awards, which were awarded to members of the Civil Defence Volunteers for bravery; the First World War Medal Rolls Index; and lists of First World War prisoners of war.



More News from the Family History Federation November Online Event

More News from the Family History Federation November Online Event

More speaker and information on the Family History Federation: Really Useful Family History Show on 14th November:


Ask the Experts Announced

FHF are pleased to be able to offer expert advice at the show from a wide range of family history disciplines. A

At the FHF REALLY USEFUL Family History Show advice will be provided by professional genealogists who are members and associates of AGRA (Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives) plus information and assistance from specialist family history society members.

They are available to help with questions you may have about resolving research challenges and general assistance on a wide range of family history topics.

Learn more about this service NOW at


More Speakers also announced -

IAN WALLER - The railways were one of the largest employers in the United Kingdom and some of the 900 or so pre 1923 companies have left a legacy of staff records. This talk examines how those records can help piece together the career of a railway worker using a variety of records up to grouping in 1923 and nationalisation in 1948. You may even have railway employees that you did not realise. They also employed merchant seamen, chambermaids and artists! Many of us will have railway navvies amongst our ancestry and these were not employed by the railway companies but by the contractors building the railway network. Part of the talk is devoted to finding their details, Ian's talk is called - On the Right Track – Railway Ancestors

JIM RYAN - This fully illustrated talk will outline Irish Catholic records and the history of their creation and survival. It will detail the format and content of surviving records and where they be accessed. Ireland has historically been a predominantly Catholic country. However, for historical reasons, the earliest Catholic church record is for 1670, and records are sparse until the early 19th century. Nevertheless they are the only evidence of most 18th and 19th century Irish people. It is therefore useful to understand the history of Irish Catholics, and the political and social factors which affected record-keeping. ​The talk will be a comprehensive account of Irish Catholic records and the historical events which affected their creation and survival. It will cover which records survive and what they contain; why the availability of records varies between regions and parishes, and other factors. It also covers where the records may now be accessed; which have been indexed, and other useful background. The talk is titles - Irish Catholic Church Records

EMMA MAXWELL - A look at the sources you will need to begin your Scottish family history research. This presentation will focus on ScotlandsPeople by showing you how to get the best out of the website and how to interpret the records you find. We will also look at some other sources you will need to research your Scottish family tree. This talk is titled -  Beginning Scottish Research 

JEANETTE ROSENBERG - The presentation will cover both UK and overseas resources and will mention specialist Jewish community records and archives and how to find them, Jeanette's talk is called - An introduction to Jewish Genealogy Sources and Resources


Time is running out so why not take advantage of the EARLY BIRD ticket offer.

Don't delay book your ticket today Early Bird ticket Offer valid until midnight (GMT) on 18th October 2020

'A Huge Pack of Witches':

'A Huge Pack of Witches':
Another FREE online talk from the National Archives 
Fri, 23 October 2020
14:00 – 15:00 BST
'A Huge Pack of Witches': A Witch scare in 17th Century Lancashire
This free online talk is presented by Jess Nelson, National Archives, Head of Collections (Medieval, Early Modern, Maps & Legal).
In November 1633, a little boy telling tall tales about witches in his local community in Lancashire sparked a witch hunt so shocking that no lesser body than the Privy Council decided to investigate.
Records of the examinations, of both the accused and the accuser, are held at The National Archives. Using these and other documents, this talk will tell the story of this witch hunt and set it within the context of witchcraft in the Early Modern period.
For more details and instructions on registration see the following link:

History Day 2020

History Day 2020
This event takes place on November 19th
Organised by Senate House Library and the School of Advanced Study
A day of online interactive events for history enthusiasts to explore library, museum, archive & history collections across the UK and beyond.
Over 50 libraries, museums, archives and history organisations across the UK will come together online to take part in talks and share collections and resources.
Come along and join collaborators across the globe to explore new worlds through some of the UK’s most treasured collections and how they are capturing history for the future.
There are three FREE online bookable sessions - see titles and links for each one below, where you can find more details and registration instructions [you can book for all three events or just one from any of the links below, there is a tick box on the form]
10:00 – 11:00:
‘History in the Making: Archiving 2020 for the Future’
14:00 – 15:00:
‘Exploring History in the Digital World’
16:00 – 17:00:
‘New Approaches to Local and Community History: Show and Tell’

Widening Horizons Webinars

Widening Horizons Webinars

Widening Horizons Webinar Series by the Guild of One-Name Studies 

*** this webinar series will launch at 8.00pm [London, UK time] on Wednesday October 7th ***

In place of the planned virtual seminar at Solihull being run jointly by the Guild and the Local Population Studies Society  this will now be a series of weekly ‘tools and techniques’ webinars and features six speakers looking at ways of collecting, analysing and interpreting data collected in the process of one-name or one-place studies, family history or local population analysis.  The data is based mainly on UK records, but records from other countries are cited where appropriate. It will be possible to submit questions for speakers to respond to following each presentation.

The Guild will launch all of these presentations at 8.00pm [London, UK, time] on 6 consecutive Wednesdays starting on October 7th.  You may watch them at any time over the following 14 days (at which time they will be only available to Guild members on the website).

You will need to register to take part in each webinar.  Please go to the seminar webpage - and click on the event you wish to attend to register 

Provisional Programme

20:00 Wednesday Presentations available online
October 7th Mortality and Morbidity: a study of National Registration death certificates for two families 1837 to 2009 – Elizabeth E Green
October 14th One-Place Studies – thinking laterally:  how a one-place study can support surname and population studies – Paul Carter and Pam Smith (Co-founders of ‘Name and Place’)
October 21st Creating a publicly-available common format database of parish register data on baptisms, marriages and burials – Dr Andy Hinde (University of Southampton)
October 28th The Ruby One-Name Collaborative Study: how it worked and what I learned – Dr Nikki Brown
November 4th Looking at single trees and whole orchards: how genealogists and demographers can work together – Dr Eilidh Garrett (University of Cambridge)
November 11th Identifying business proprietors from the census; and using the online Atlas on entrepreneurship – Professor Bob Bennett (University of Cambridge)

After 14 days each presentation  will be only available to Guild members logged into the website.

If you need any further information please email  or telephone the Guild Help Desk on 0800 011 2182.

More FHF Really Useful Show Speakers

More FHF Really Useful Show Speakers

The names of the next set of speakers at the FHF REALLY USEFUL Family History Show [14th November 2020] have been released and they are:


Dr Judy Hill - Almshouses originated in early medieval England as places that provided care for the sick poor, usually attached to a monastery. Hospitality a Christian duty. The original focus on travellers and monks was extended in the 12th and 13th centuries to include lay people who were sick or feeble usually housed in separate establishments administered by monks and lay brothers. Church authorities encouraged these foundations and bishops were urged to see there were enough of them to cater for the need. This illustrated talk will look at the history of the British Almshouse which includes the difficult times during the Reformation to the continued vitality of the almshouse movement today. Judy's talk is called -  British Almshouses
Alan Rushton The Gentleman's Magazine was the first monthly journal to appear in Britain. It ran from 1731 until 1922. However, it's only of use to the family historian up to 1868, after which it became a literary magazine. Edward Cave, its originator, invented the obituary as we know it and these have been fully indexed. It was written for the country gentry with their interests in mind, so there is much local history. It's a must for some family historians, but not the place to look for agricultural labourers unless they lived to a great age or murdered people. The talk will show how it can be approached by the family historian, giving examples of the riches it contains in so many areas and is entitled - Gentleman's Magazines as an Aid to Family Historians
Dr Penny Walters - This session will explain how to merge established paper trails with DNA results. The biology and jargon of DNA can be overwhelming and people have had to learn this new branch of genealogy quickly. Through DNA testing, people receive ethnicity estimates, a heritage map, a list of people that DNA ‘matches’ (overlaps) with, and the opportunity to contact them and collaborate if both parties want to. Many people don’t know what to do with all that information, and just focus on their ethnicity result. The advantages and disadvantages of different DNA tests will be explored; a consanguinity chart will be provided; useful information for adopted people will be given; uploading to GEDmatch and utilising the MRCA (most recent common ancestor) information, and triangulation will be explained. Attendees will be shown how to add ‘useful’ DNA matches to their tree to inform a re-structured paper trail. A variety of ethical dilemmas will be outlined during this talk, which is called - Mixing DNA and the Paper Trail
Chris Paton Whilst many of our ancestors fought, and in some cases, died during the First World War, there was another group of people deeply affected by the conflict on the civilian front. Thousands of British and British Empire civilians, present in Europe when war was declared against Germany, were rounded up and interned at a hastily converted racecourse on the outskirts of Berlin from 1914-1918. This talk will look at the fascinating story of those 5500 POWs, including over a thousand merchant seamen, whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The talk is called - British Civilian POWS in World War One
So Don't Delay - Book your £5 EARLY BIRD TICKET NOW at
With MANY more speakers and exhibitors being announced all the time keep checking back here or to the FHF Really Useful website for more updates.
FYI - the main FHF website can be accessed at the link below -

The National Archives Annual Digital Lecture

The National Archives Annual Digital Lecture
~ Diary Note ~
The National Archives Annual Digital Lecture
This FREE event will take place online: 

Wed, 4 November 2020

16:00 – 17:00 GMT


In her lecture ‘The death of anonymity in the age of identity’ speaker Carly Kind [Director of the Ada Lovelace Institute] will discuss what the loss of anonymity in our digitised age means for our future.
To read more and book tickets for this FREE online event click on the following link -                                                                                       

Great News for Nantwich Museum

Great News for Nantwich Museum
Congratulations to Nantwich Museum from all at FHSC
The Museum has been picked as one of the 60 diverse organisations participating in 'The Lab' project.
It is part of the Digital Heritage Lab which is providing digital mentoring support helping organisations develop their digital capabilities.
It is a free programme for small to medium sized heritage organisations and is project managed by the Arts Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy, One Further and the Collections Trust.
It is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Digital Skills for Heritage initiative.

Remembering the Parish

Remembering the Parish

The Royal Historical Society ~ Eighteenth Warwick Symposium on Parish Records

This year takes the form of a webinar

To be held on Saturday 7th November 2020 - 10.00am-6.00pm GMT


This year the theme of remembrance is addressed and very broadly defined.

In five panels dedicated to ‘Buildings’, ‘Communities’, ‘Records’, ‘Revolution’ and ‘Environments’, speakers from four countries explore aspects of material culture and natural settings, local commemorative cultures, various types of primary evidence and the long-term repercussions of moments of change from the Middle Ages to the present.


Keynote address:  Nicola Whyte (Exeter), ‘Remembering the Parish Landscape’


Confirmed contributions:

  • Ian Atherton (Keele), ‘Remembering the English Civil Wars in parish registers’
  • Mary Carrick (Independent), ‘A very peculiar parish: Wawne, also Waghen in Holderness, East Yorkshire’
  • John Craig (Simon Fraser), ‘Record keeping and remembrance in early modern London parishes’
  • Lydia Fisher (Exeter), ‘Removed and rearranged: Recovering medieval stained glass from 19thC accounts’
  • Alexander Hutton (King’s, London), ‘Remembering and forgetting the English historic county since 1945’
  • Fiona McCall (Portsmouth), ‘The wickedly wicked times: loyalist memories of the interregnum parish’
  • Imogen Peck (Warwick), ‘Veterans, commemorations and the politics of the parish in early modern England’
  • Hannah Reeve (Newcastle), ‘Perambulation in Yorkshire: Boundary beating in the long eighteenth century’
  • Michael Roth (Heidelberg), ‘Church foundation stones as time capsules in early modern European perspective’
  • Michael Sewell (Essex), ‘Use of siege ruins in Colchester in the long nineteenth century’
  • Hàìghlèàgh Winslade (Winchester), ‘Parish churches in the downland and their connections to the landscape’
  • Stanisław Witecki (Kraków), ‘Recollections of 18thC everyday life in egodocuments of Polish-Lithuanian priests’


The Warwick Network for Parish Research warmly invites anyone with an active research interest in parishes to join the event as a discussant.

This virtual gathering will be facilitated by the Blackboard software – all you need is a device with an internet connection. For organizational reasons, however, advance registration is required.

All registered participants will receive access details shortly before the Symposium.

On the day, the hosts will strive to run everything as simply and smoothly as possible but please bear with us in case of any practical issues.



Please send your name, email and a brief description of related research interests to:   – registrations will close on 31 October 2020.

For a full programme and future updates please visit our Symposium homepage at:



The names of the first speakers at the FHF REALLY USEFUL Family History Show [14th November 2020] have been released and they are:
STEVE MANNING: - FHF Chairman, Steve Manning, is an enthusiastic family historian who firmly believes that, wherever possible, the whole family should be part of the ‘research adventure’. His talk is called - Beginning Research
AMELIA BENNETT: - Ameila has been researching her family history for 25 years and has been a trustee of the Society of Genealogists for over five years. Her talk is entitled - Hidden in Plain Sight
GRAHAM HART: - Graham is Co-Founder and and Trustee of Free UK Genealogy. Graham has been involved in genealogy for 35 years and, as well as Free UK Genealogy, is particularly interested in DNA genealogy and tools that can help analyse the matches. In his real life Graham is an IT Director of a company based in London and lives just to the west of London. He will be presenting - Focus on Free BMD
DARRIS WILLIMAS: - Darris is presently the FamilySearch Wiki & Community Trees Manager, freelance genealogist, and family history instructor. A special area of interest has been Welsh family history. Darris's talk is called - Surnames in Genealogy
JACKIE DEPELLE: - Jackie has been teaching Family History since the days of micro-film and fiche and is now fully supporting digital initiatives. A speaker at major events such as WDYTYA-Live and RootsTech London, Jackie has also run workshops and events for Archives, Country Houses, Libraries, Museums and Universities. She will be presenting - Ideas for Researching Non-Conformist Ancestors
SUE GIBBONS: - Sue was the Librarian of the Society of Genealogists for almost 20 years. During this time she was responsible for managing a major Lottery funded project to convert the old card catalogue into computer form and make it available on the Internet. Sue's [presentation is entitled - Tracing Immigrant Ancestors up to World War II
CHRIS FLEET:- Chris has worked at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and the National Library of Wales before joining the National Library of Scotland in 1994. His main responsibilities at NLS relate to modern and historical digital mapping, and he has overseen the development of the Library's maps website over the last two decades. Listen to his talk on - The Value of NLS Maps in Family History Research
PAUL CARTER: - Paul is a genealogist specialising in military, Kent and London records and a website developer. As a software developer, web designer and genealogist, he helps family and local historians to support their research through technology. His talk will be all about - Relating a Name to a Place
So Don't Delay - Book your £5 EARLY BIRD TICKET NOW at
With MANY more speakers and exhibitors being announced all the time keep checking back here or to the FHF Really Useful website for more updates.
FYI - the main FHF website can be accessed at the link below -

Who Do You Think You Are? returns to our screens in October

Who Do You Think You Are? returns to our screens in October
The eagerly awaited 17th series of the popular genealogy/family history programme will air in October
Only 4 episodes were completed before the coronavirus lockdown began. 
Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker, comedian and author David Walliams, Gavin & Stacey’s Ruth Jones and Silent Witness actor Liz Carr will take turns uncovering the unexpected, fascinating and sometimes tragic tales in their family trees.
For more details click on the following link  -

2nd Family History Show Online

2nd Family History Show Online
The 2nd Family History Show Online
26th September 
10am - 4:30pm 
Tickets cost £6 for the day ~ but there is also a lot of free content.
The online events have all the features of the physical shows, from the comfort of your own home!                                                                    Put your research questions to an expert, watch a free talk, speak to a local society, archive or genealogical supplier.

~ Ask the Experts ~

Submit your questions to the panel of experts before the show.

Either book a free 1-to-1 session or watch the live stream question panel at 15:30 where you can ask your questions live!

The Experts cover a wide range of topics, including Military, DNA, House Histories, Social History, Brick Walls and General Research.

There will also be Society of Genealogists' Census Detectives on hand to answer your questions.


~ Societies & Archives ~ 

Visit exhibitors, societies, archives and companies in our virtual exhibition hall.                                                                                                                                   

There will be the oppotuntiy to talk to some of the stallholders [including little old me representing the FHSC]  by text, audio or video, all from your own sofa! 


All details can be found at the link below -