All the latest news

A DAMNABLE and SINISTER REGIME: Vale Royal Abbey 1260~1538

A DAMNABLE and SINISTER REGIME: Vale Royal Abbey 1260~1538
New local history book by local historian tells the story of the medieval abbey of Vale Royal
Vale Royal Abbey 1260~1538
by Tony Bostock, an accomplished local historian and 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.
Thiis new illustrated paperback book is available now from AMAZON BOOKS UK ( priced £14.99/Kindle £5.99 or contact the author direct:
VALE ROYAL ABBEY is a former medieval abbey and later country house at Whitegate. The original building was founded c.1265 by the Lord Edward, later King Edward I, for Cistercian monks. Edward intended the structure to be on a grand scale. Had it been completed it would have been the largest Cistercian monastery in Europe - but his ambitions were frustrated by recurring financial difficulties and the Welsh wars added to which what was eventually what was built fell down in a storm!
When work resumed in the late fourteenth century, the building was considerably smaller than originally planned. Throughout its history the abbey was mismanaged and poor relations with the local population sparked riots. These included the murder of an abbot, rape and robbery. There was internal disorder too. The abbey was described in the early sixteenth century as a ‘damnable and sinister regime', hence the title of the book. Vale Royal was closed in 1538 by Henry VIII during his Dissolution of the Monasteries. Overall a 'failed enterprise' - a failure in the monastic ideal and in never becoming the grandiose building intended.
This story of Vale Royal is written in a way as to appeal to the general reader, those who have an interest in medieval monasticism, and of course those who enjoy learning about Cheshire’s past. In addition to relating the history of the abbey there is a final chapter on the man responsible for the abbey’s destruction, Sir Thomas Holcroft, who established a home among the mediaeval cloistral buildings. Sir Thomas is an intriguing character who served three monarchs as a courtier, soldier, diplomat and spy master

Birmingham Heritage Week

Birmingham Heritage Week

Birmingham Heritage Week [10-20 September - bit of a long week!] 

Slightly out of Cheshire I know - BUT interesting for FHSC members all the same, who may have family connections 


Eleven days of varied and fascinating events, from displays, walks and talks to open days. This year yoiu are invited, for the first time, to explore Birmingham’s heritage through virtual events as well as in person visits. You can test your Birmingham knowledge with our Brummie Quiz and take the post box challenge; what do you know about your local postbox?

Enjoy discovering Birmingham’s history and heritage, in person or from the comfort of your home.


For more details follow the link below:



FamilySearch Announces RootsTech Connect 2021: A Free Global Virtual Event

FamilySearch Announces RootsTech Connect 2021: A Free Global Virtual Event

FamilySearch has announced that the RootsTech 2021 conference previously planned for February 3–6, 2021, in Salt Lake City, Utah - will now be held on February 25–27, 2021, as a free, virtual event online 


.RootsTech Connect 2021 will enable attendees to participate from around the world and will feature inspiring keynote speakers, dozens of classes in multiple languages, and a virtual marketplace.

Reserve your place today at


“The pandemic is giving us the opportunity to bring RootsTech to a broader audience worldwide,” said Steve Rockwood, FamilySearch International CEO. “A virtual event also allows us to expand our planning to truly make this a global celebration of family and connection.” 

RootsTech Connect 2021 will be global in scope while offering many experiences that attendees have come to know and love from RootsTech events—including inspirational keynote speakers, dozens of classes to choose from, and an expo hall.  

Throughout the three-day online event, attendees will have the ability to interact with presenters, exhibitors, and other attendees through live chat and question and answer sessions. 

“Classes will be taught in many languages, and presenters will teach from a number of international locations,” said Rockwood. “We will celebrate cultures and traditions from around the world, with activities that the audience can participate in from home—such as homeland cooking demonstrations, storytelling, and music performances. This is one virtual event you won’t want to miss.” 

RootsTech Connect 2021 will offer a combination of both livestream and on-demand content to accommodate differences in time zone for participants. In addition, sessions will be available to view on-demand after the event concludes. 

Rockwood says that FamilySearch is looking forward to the opportunity to deliver the signature RootsTech experience and helping tens of thousands of participants worldwide to discover, gather, and connect their family story.  

RootsTech hopes to gather in-person again in the future but anticipates the RootsTech Connect virtual opportunity will become a regular addition to the event. 

Register for free at 

Scottish Indexes Online Conference ~ 30 August

Scottish Indexes Online Conference ~  30 August
Final Reminder  -  DON'T FORGET the SCOTTISH INDEXES conference on Sunday 30 August
Once again it's free to attend - all the registration instructions are below or simply click on
Registration Instructions:
Facebook: This is the option that most people use, simply join the Facebook group at  and you can watch the family history conference streamed live. You can ask questions of the presenters and chat online with other attendees. Click on following linknto join the Scottish Indexes Facebook Group - 
Zoom: You can also join for free on Zoom, simply click on the link and follow the instructions -

"Growing Up With Foreigners" by Peter Frank

"Growing Up With Foreigners" by Peter Frank
Newly published book with local interest by ex-Northwich resident Peter Frank 
'Growing Up With Foreigners'
Peter Frank was born in North Wales and grew up in North West England, namely Northwich, Marbury and Greenbank. Educationally Peter describes himself as an under-achiever, who scraped into grammar school, where between the ages of sixteen and eighteen he failed all his A-Levels and, notably, failed his English Language O-Level examination six times. He started work as a bonus clerk and then moved on to become a computer operator. Later, his work involved running acceptance tests on main-frame computers allowing him to travel widely in Britain, Czechoslovakia, and Russia. He then went to Australia for two years, where he began his career in computer sales. Peter ended his career as a Vice President of Software Sales, before moving to Austria for love. He graduated
with 2:1 BA Honours degree in European Studies in 2008.
The story is a mixture of adventure, fact, fear, fiction and fun about a German-Polish-Catholic woman from Upper Silesia and an Austrian-Jewish-Protestant man born in Vienna.
Before arriving in England in 1939, they enjoyed comfortable lives. The man escaped Nazi tyranny and the Holocaust but his parents didn't. The woman came to England to study. Her parents fled before the advancing Russian army to Bavaria in 1945.
They met, married and survived World War II together, living in poverty as stateless people. The man, being classified as an enemy alien, should have been interned on the Isle of Man. Had this happened, the woman would have been left destitute with a newly born daughter.
As we follow the lives of the stoic Pole and the excitable Austrian, their relationship is like Newton's first law of motion where the irresistible force meets the immovable object. It describes their exotic nature and their integration into English society in the 1950s and 1960s, whilst they still wanted to hold on to parts of their early lives that had gone forever.
Price - £7.99
Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie Publishers Ltd.
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 370012
The book can be ordered from the following: or for individual orders:
Book Depository,
Barnes & Noble,
WH Smiths
Alternatively take the details to your local bookstore and get them to order it for you.

Nation Archives: Meet the Author Series

Nation Archives: Meet the Author Series
The National Archives launch their first ever online Meet the Author series
This brand new programme of free online talks with high-profile authors will take place between 9 September-23 November 2020
From raising a queen to cracking the Enigma code, Cold War espionage to real life murder cases, the discussions will reflect the expansive collection held by The National Archives.
Events will usually be chaired by a specialist historian and will be followed by a live Q&A, giving attendees the opportunity to join the conversation by submitting questions.
The Timetable of talks is detailed below- 
  • On 9 September, Dermot Turing will discuss his book The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park with Mark Dunton, Principal Records Specialist at The National Archives. The book retells the history of Bletchley Park and explores the work of its most famous alumnus Alan Turing, Dermot Turing’s Uncle.


  • On 16 September, Wendy Holden will talk about her book The Governess with Jessamy Carlson, Family and Local History Engagement Lead at The National Archives. Exploring the extraordinary experiences of Marion Crawford, who became governess to young Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret in 1933, Wendy Holden’s new fiction is based on historical sources and first-hand accounts.


  • On 7 October, Trevor Barnes will be in conversation with MI5 historian Professor Christopher Andrew, talking about his new book Dead Doubles. The book explores the Portland Spy Ring, one of the most infamous espionage cases from the Cold War, and is heavily based on government documents at The National Archives.


  • On 18 November, Rebecca Gowers will discuss her book The Scoundrel Harry Larkyns with Katherine Howells, Visual Collections Researcher at The National Archives. The book uncovers the astonishing true story of the mysterious nineteenth-century figure and his murder at the hands of photographer Eadweard Muybridge, a founding father of cinema.


  • On 23 November, Roger Dalrymple give a talk on his book Crippen: A Crime Sensation in Memory and Modernity. The book explores the case of Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was hanged in London in November 1910 for the murder and mutilation of his wife. The talk will take place on the 110th anniversary of Crippen’s execution.


Talks will start at 7:30pm and last around 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute Q&A session.

Once registered, attendees will have the opportunity to buy a signed book from The National Archives Shop.

Click on link below for tickets and more information.

Advanced Notice of Family History Fair

Advanced Notice of Family History Fair
The Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society Family History Fair
Provisonal details for this event are - 
Date: Saturday 27 March 2021
Time: 10am -40m
Venue: Manchester Central Library [Covid19 restrictions allowing]
This event is still very much in the planning stage and more details will be provided as soon as they are available - watch this space and save the date! 

Fancy getting involved in Census 2021?

Fancy getting involved in Census 2021?
The Office for National Statistics in conjunction with Adecco are now starting the recruitment process for people to become latter day Enumerators for the 2021 Census 
There are a range of fixed-term jobs, from managers and supervisors who co-ordinate activities, to officers who help the public complete questionnaires. A variety of full-time and part-time opportunities are available. All roles require the flexibility to work evenings and weekends.
If you have previously worked or volunteered in community engagement or outreach projects or speak English and a language fluently and confidently, including: Bengali, Akan, Shona, Swahili, Tigrinya, Yoruba, Mandarin, Cantonese, Gujarati, Panjab, Nepali, Panjabi, Urdu or Somali - then there are many Community Advisor roles to be applied for as well.
If you feel you might have an interest in a particular role, then your first step is to read all the information at the link below and click the appropriate box to register.
We would be interested to know how any FHSC members who apply get on with either the recruitment process or the role if successful, it would be great to share with everyone.

Import News re AncestryDNA records

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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  -


Handy Latin Words

Handy Latin Words

Find My Past recently added a tranche of Catholic Church Records to their Collection


Quite a lot of the older records are written in Latin - which is nowadays considered, by many people, an extinct language, but it's useful to know some basics when searching the Catholic records. So below are listed some words that crop up on a regualr basis and a 'rough' translation as a guide. There are varations according to nominative, accusative and genitive use of a noun, as well as plural and singular.  If you wish to view a more detailed and nuanced list of the translation of Latin then pop along to the FamilySearch guide [link at the bottom of this post]

Nomen ~ Name [Christain name]

Cognomen ~ Surname

Filius ~ Son

Filia ~ Daughter

Die ~ Day

Mensis ~ Month

Anno ~ Year

Biptizatus/baptizata  - Baptised [Male/Female]

Matrimonium ~ Marriage 

Sepultum est ~ Was Buried

Pater ~ Father

Mater ~ Mother

Patrinus Fuit ~ Godfather [he was godfather]

Matrina Fuit ~ Godmother [she was godmother]



National Archives - online events [July - September 2020]

National Archives - online events [July - September 2020]
The National Archives have announced a whole new season of online events:
Including their first ever virtual wine tasting, the return of the extremely popular Top Level Tips webinars and exciting guest speakers. Talks are always free, I have listed the talks and Top Tip webinars below ~ BUT for details of these and much more from the National Archives, sign up for the newsletter or pop along to - 
Speakers/talks/times include -
We need to buck ourselves up a bit!’: British propaganda of the Second World War:
10 July | 14:00 to 15:00
Katherine Howells examines the development of visual propaganda during the Second World War and tells the stories behind the most famous campaigns and images.
Dunkirk: From the archives to Hollywood:
17 July | 14:00 to 15:00
Joshua Levine discusses the many years of historical research and true narrative accounts which he contributed to the story that formed the basis of the 2017 Hollywood screenplay, Dunkirk.
Restoring Charles II, 1660:
31 July | 14:00 to 15:00
Neil Johnston charts how Charles II secured his kingdoms and re-established himself and his government across the Stuart territories in 1660, using unique examples from our collection.
Bordeaux and the Brits: Online wine tasting:
4 August | 20:00 to 21:00
In our first ever online wine tasting, tutor Pippa Hayward dips into England’s historical involvement with Bordeaux, while showcasing the exciting range of wines that modern Bordeaux produces.
The Gin Craze:
8 August | 14:00 to 15:00
Emma Major delivers this highly illuminating talk on 18th Century gin crazes. Meet gin-dispensing cats and Old Toms, as you learn who drank gin and how, and why there was a gin craze.
You cannot put stinking fish into beer’: the controversies of brewing science around 1800:
14 August | 14:00 to 15:00
James Sumner (Manchester University) discusses the challenges that brewers faced in promoting new innovations to an often justifiably suspicious public.
Audacious raids: Operations Grouse, Freshman, Swallow and Gunnerside:
4 September | 14:00 to 15:00
Juliette Desplat examines the four operations carried out by SOE and the Norwegian Resistance in Norway in 1942-1943, that wrecked Nazi plans for an atom bomb.
Out in the City: Queer Club culture in London, 1918–1967:
18 September | 14:00 to 15:00
Victoria Iglikowski-Broad reveals some of the clandestine LGBTQ+ spaces that were raided and closed by police, and the covert methods of communication that had to be relied upon in 1918-1967.
Top Level Tips webinars -
Top Level Tips: Using Discovery:
14 July | 14:00-14:30
Learn our top tips for using our catalogue, Discovery. Within half an hour you will come away with all of the tools needed to make the most of the catalogue for your research.
Top Level Tips: Discovering your local history:
21 July | 14:00-14:30
Join our expert-led webinar that will give you guide you through all the basics to get started with discovering your local history within half an hour.
Top Level Tips: Discovering your family history:
11 August | 14:00 to 14:30
Join our expert-led webinar that will give you guide you through all the basics to get started with discovering your family history within half an hour.
Top Level Tips: Using Discovery:
18 August | 14:00 to 14:30
Learn our top tips for using our catalogue, Discovery. Within half an hour you will come away with all of the tools needed to make the most of the catalogue for your research.
Top Level Tips: First World War army records:
8 September | 14:00 to 14:30
Find out how to start researching First World War army records, or a specific person listed on your local war memorial, in this this short expert-led webinar.
Top Level Tips: Using Discovery:
15 September | 14:00 to 14:30
Learn our top tips for using our catalogue, Discovery. Within half an hour you will come away with all of the tools needed to make the most of the catalogue for your research.

1921 Census Release

1921 Census Release

Find My Past announce details of the release of the 1921 Census


In the most anticipated family history development since the online publication of the 1939 Register, Findmypast has been selected as The National Archives’ commercial partner to make the 1921 Census of England & Wales available online.

The census, which was the first to be conducted following the introduction of the Census Act of 1920, will be published online by Findmypast in January 2022.

The project will see Findmypast capture digital images and transcribe the records in a way that will enable family historians across the globe to conduct meaningful searches of these important records when they are opened for the very first time.

Taken on 19th June 1921, the census consists of more than 28,000 bound volumes of original household returns containing detailed information on close to 38 million individuals.

It provides greater detail than any previous census as, in addition to the questions asked in 1911, the 1921 returns also asked householders to reveal their place of employment, the industry they worked in and the materials they worked with as well as their employer’s name.

The 1921 Census also included detailed questions on education, and was the first in which individual householders could submit separate confidential returns.

Those aged 15 and older were required to provide information about their marital status, including if divorced, while for those under 15 the census recorded whether both parents were alive or if either or both had died.


For more details and a comprehensive list of FAQs - see the following link -

A House Through Time ~ Series 3 ~ Review and Resources List

A House Through Time ~ Series 3 ~ Review and Resources List

A House Through Time ~ Series 3 ~ 10 Guinea Street


Review and Resources List 


David Olusoga’s A House Through Time, chose Bristol, a city with historic links to the slave trade, which as it has turned out recently, was a theme that resonated more that he could possibly have imagined when he first knocked on the door of No 10 Guinea Street, built in 1718 by Captain Edmund Saunders, a prolific buyer and seller of people at that time.  

The researches linked Saunders to over 40 voyages conveying 12,000 souls from their homes in Africa to slavery in the Americas. Saunders himself never lived in the house but rented it to another slave trader, Captain Joseph Smith.

Moving on with the story of No 10 Guinea Street and a foundling baby which was left on the doorstep, Smith and his wife having refused to take her in, she died at the age of three in the doubtless negligible care of the parish. This section took us down the highways and byways of poor laws and the options available to the vulnerable in a time long before the welfare state.

  • If you are interested in Foundlings, then the Foundling Museum is always a good place to start. Mothers would often leave a ‘token’ with the child and a blog by the historian John Styles on an exhibition in the museum can be read here. Of course, searching through the relevant local parish registers can sometimes turn up gold when a curate might make a comment in the margin with regards to a child being found on a doorstep or in the churchyard and then go on to mention it’s fate. Many local archives have workhouse records as well as Poor Law and Board of Guardian records, which are parish based. Many such London records are online at Ancestry.

The next owner, Tory political satirist John Shebbeare, whose main hobbyhorses were the ‘national ruin’ brought about by the Hanoverian kings and the general uselessness of women, famously saying ‘The best I ever knew is not worth the worst man’ and about his own wife in particular, ‘I think I have been yoked for about one and 40 years and have wished my wife underground anytime since’. Charming!!  But could you imagine if he ever had his own Twitter account!!

Next came another link to slavery with the Holbrooks, whose fortune lay in slave-run sugar plantations and they had the latest ‘must have fashion accessory’, namely a black servant, the Jamaican born Thomas. He ran away, but eventually returned after a newspaper advertisement asking for information on his whereabouts, however, what happened to him after that, we will never know. Olusoga also ventured into the dark world of domestic violence, the joy of his presenting style I find, is that he gives the story time to draw breath and talks about the small people, such as the lives of servants and women, lives that normally go undocumented, hidden from history and thus pays tribute to the silent anguish of those who life events never made it into official records.

  • Many cases run away servants can be found in the advertisement sections of the local papers and court cases concerning domestic violence were also reported, not always without some bias but reported all the same. Newspapers can be found at the British Newspaper Archive.or if you have a subscription to Find My Past then the newspaper archive is also available on that site, as well as hard copies or microfiche copies at local records offices/libraries/archives

By the time Olusoga reached the final episode we were dropped into the 1930s when N0 10 was owned by the Wallington family and when the clouds of the Second World War were about to burst open. Bristol, being a major port, inevitably became a target for the Luftwaffe, and in November 1940 a 50kg bomb hit Guinea Street. Among the injured was Isaac Long, who with his wife Mary, later became a lodger with the Wallingtons at Number 10.

  • The 1939 National Register, available on both Ancestry and Find My Past is excellent source, discovering who was where just before WW2 as well as giving an accurate [we hope] date of birth. You can also find out about the previous owners of your house.

After talking through the deaths of the Longs within a few months of each in the early 1950s, Mary apparently killed herself after her husband’s death, Olusoga then devoted a good deal of the episode digging into the chequered past of a tenant, Cyril Tabrett, a man of some mystery, with several different birth-dates and a variety of professions, even claiming at one point to be Belgian. However, it was eventually discovered that basically he was just a petty thief and forger.  I am not convinced that the attempt by the programme makers to make his story into an ominous model of poverty and despair quite came off. In similar fashion the death of Norris, moved from a possible suicide into the rather anticlimactic fatal gas leak. The series closed with the current owners, who rather serendipitously had given a home to an Ethiopian refugee.

A couple of things here:

  • Cyril Tabrett was shown to have a number of documents with contradicting information on them. Beware of what I like to call, official fiction masquerading as historical fact. Information given for birth, marriage and death corticates, even in the not so distant past was never double checked against any official sources. Such documents often need a lot of careful interpretation, and in many cases a healthy dose of scepticism, all a certificate really proves is that an event took place and was recorded by a registrar, what if doesn’t prove is that any of the particulars noted were actually true in the first place. Even today mistakes are still made and still recorded, as truth for posterity
  • Kim, the lady who lived in the house at the time of Norris’s death is a prime example of making sure that you take any oral history with a slight pinch of salt. People’s memories are fallible, especially childhood memories, which can be clouded by parental judgements or scruples and even the occasional skeleton hiding in a cupboard  – Kim said it was Cyril who died in the cellar and possibly committed suicide but she wasn’t sure, in the end it turned out to be Norris, who actually died in his room from an accidental gas leak -  perhaps Kim’s parents told her he had died in the cellar to scare the children and stop them going down there? Who knows!  Memory and folklore are not always that reliable, as was shown, and so whenever you can triangulate your story by checking any facts against other sources and official accounts, more often than not there is a good deal of truth there, you just have to sift it out from the prejudices and ‘rose coloured spectacle’ approach.

Other records to use to trace your ancestors or those living in your house include but not limited too:

  • Trade Directories and Occupation Records of individual trades such as teaching for instance, which are searchable on Find My Past and The Genealogist
  • Electoral Registers – although beware these are only those who could vote at any particular point in time, various electoral/rates records can be found at Ancestry and Find My Past
  • Local Newspapers – at local archives, libraries, records offices, try the actual paper themselves if they still are in operation. Also at the British Newspaper Archives and Find My Past online
  • BT Telephone Books – to be found at Ancestry
  • School Registers – many which can be found on Ancestry and The Genealogist
  • Wills – at the moment there is free access and download to many wills at the National Archives. The Genealogist also has some earlier downloadable wills and the National Probate Calendar is accessible at Ancestry
  • FamilySearch has many records that you perhaps would not think of looking at, have a search through their data bases, especially for records from Europe
  • Military Records can also give a lot of information and are available in various guises at Ancestry, Find My Past, The Genealogist as well as on local archive/record office databases
  • Passenger Manifests can help to pinpoint ancestors to certain places at certain times, again held my Ancestry and Find My Past

Your local records office may also hold coroners’ reports, National building records. Civil defence records, hospital records as well as access to the main genealogical web sites. A good search of the catalogues at your local archives, records office, library can easily turn up some interesting records that you perhaps would never thing of searching. 

If you are interested in researching the history of your house then a couple of good blogs/sites to read are -