July 2011

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RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) is the National Public Service Broadcaster for Ireland. On RTÉ Radio One there is a program called “Documentary on One”. They cover many and varied topics. I download them through ITunes and listen to them on my IPod. You can also listen to them online or download them from their website.

Under the topic history was one very interesting program. It is called “Bullet Holes in the Manuscript” and was broadcast in 1991. It is a radio documentary that focuses on the destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1922. It is very interesting to find out some of the stories behind the event.

I remember my Grandfather telling me that he was 11 years old when the fire started and he saw bits of scorched paper floating down into his back garden. The family lived in Clonskeagh a suburb of Dublin. He said it was quite a sight and although my Grandfather did not know it then he was watching some of his nations printed history float down into his garden.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

On a regular basis I am going to share with you some of my favourite blog posts from other bloggers. They may not all be genealogy related but have some connection to the process of researching your family history.

Amy Coffin of “The We Tree Genealogy Blog” has a post called “If Genealogists Ran Hollywood.” It is a humourous look at the premise of what would happen if the theme of family history had an influence on the movie industry. I would really like to see “Genealogy Conference: The Movie.”

Marian Pierre-Louis of “Marian’s Roots and Rambles” takes a look at “The Top 3 Changes in Genealogy.” It is a thought provoking post that covers Awareness and Visibility, Education and Outreach, and Technology which includes Blogging, Facebook and Digitization.

George Angus of “Tumblemoose,” a blog about the writing process, has a post called “50 Books That Will Make You A Better Writer – Repost.” This is a good reference for those family historians who want to write, are getting ready to write or are in the process of writing their family history. He breaks the list down into Classics, Composition and Rhetoric, Genre and Medium, Literary Criticism, Reading, and Analysis and Notable Writers.

The National Library of Ireland have launched a new blog aptly name “NLI Blog.” Fiona Ross, Director of the NLI wrote the first posting. She weaves the past history of the library into the present and beyond into the future. The doors of the library opened for the first time in August 1877. They are celebrating 121 years of continuous service next month. There is a quote, at the end of the post, from a speech given by Dr. Edward Dowden on the opening day which is very poignant.

The blog “Planting the Seeds Genealogy as a Profession” by Michael Hait had an interesting post about the top five books on his bookshelf. He links to “Marian’s Roots and Rambles” and “Greta’s Genealogy Blog” who posted their own lists.

Chris Paton’s blog “Walking in Eternity” has a very heartfelt tribute entitled “Missionary man – David Macdonald Paton” telling the story of his experiences in China as a missionary for the Church Missionary Society.

“The Family Recorder” blog by Audrey Collins has an interesting post entitled “Work in the workhouse” where she looks at an advertisement she recently found for a firewood bundling machine.

Happy Reading!

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

The National Library for any country is a wonderful resource for a family history researcher. Part of their mandate is to preserve their countries history through books and now quite a few are putting their digital collections online. The really wonderful thing is that these collections are usually free to access.

The National Library of Scotland has put their Post Office Directories online. The time period covered is 1773-1911 and 28 towns and counties in Scotland are represented. There are 694 directories in the digital collection.

Right now you can search the collection on the National Library of Scotland’s website but there are plans to have a website dedicated to the collection up and running some time this summer.

The main parts of the directory are the street and trade section and a section that alphabetically lists residents by their name. In the alphabetical listing you sometimes find their address and occupation.

The directory can create a picture in time of the town it is covering. You can find information on what can be found in the city including lists of banks, churches and clergy, conveyances, education, insurance, law, medicine, post offices and lists of the people involved in the parliamentary process.

The towns and counties covered in the collection are: Aberdeen (88), Airdrie (1), Angus and Mearns (2), Ayrshire (32), Bute (19), Clackmannan (1), Dalkeith (8), Dumfries (1), Dundee (52), Edinburgh (128), Forfar (26), Glasgow (115), Greenock (65), Hamilton (2), Helensburgh (2), Inverness (15), Kilmarnock (3), Morayshire (5), Motherwell (1), Musselburgh (1), North-East Scotland (1), Perth (29), Peterhead (1), Portobello (3), Renfrewshire (61), Scotland (18), Stirling (12), West coast Scotland (2).

The numbers in the brackets are the number of directories for each place. Edinburgh and Glasgow have the most. The one for Airdrie is for 1896 and Peterhead is for 1853.

You can download a PDF or you can view the book online. The online link takes you to the Internet Archive website where the images are held.

The earliest one for Glasgow is John Tait’s directory for the City of Glasgow 15 May 1783 to 15 May 1784. The alphabetical name index is by first letter only. The list for each letter is not alphabetical.

I went in and checked the Glasgow directory for 1801. This is an alphabetical list for last name but the first names are not alphabetical. Sometimes you can not read the last entry on a page so try making the image smaller. At the end of the names index there is a list of “Names omitted in their proper place” and while not all directories might have this it is a good idea to check if they do. I did not find the ancestors I was looking for in this directory.

They were found in the 1825 directory. Walter Campbell is a smith and farrier at 322 Gallowgate in Glasgow. In this directory I did a search for my Waddell family and the search said there were no results. When I checked under the letter W there were 12 Waddell’s listed. Do not rely on the search function.

I just spent a wonderful afternoon going through the post office directories and found many interesting items relating to my Waddell family. The directories along with statistical accounts of Scotland can help you find more information about your family and how and where they lived.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

It is important not to take everything you read at face value even if it is from a reputable source.

Humphrey Charles Minchin was my four times Great Grandfather. The Minchin family was from county Tipperary. Their family history is found in “Burke’s Irish Family Records”

According to this reference book Humphrey Charles Minchin first married Frances Catherine Sirr on 14 Jan 1775 in Dublin. Humphrey’s second marriage was to Arabella Ashworth in 1812. Above the notation to Humphrey’s second marriage is a reference to his daughter Louisa Arabella and it says she was born in 1821 and married Walter Bourne.

Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, editor, Burke's Irish Family Records (London, U.K.: Burkes Peerage Ltd, 1976)

This information would suggest that Louisa Arabella is a daughter from Humphrey’s second marriage. How many people would take this information as it is found?

The truth about this family is that Humphrey and Frances did marry on 14 Jan 1775. They had six children before Frances died in 1810. Their last child Louisa Arabella was born circa 1800 not 1821. This is where the information needs to be unraveled.

Louisa Arabella Minchin married Walter Bourne on 6 Aug 1821 in the Parish of Taney. The record is found in the parish registers. Louisa died on 2 Jan 1882 and her death certificate says she was 82 years of age. Her first child was born on 22 Aug 1822 and baptized shortly thereafter.

Humphrey married Arabella Ashworth on 6 Jul 1812 in the parish of St. Peter’s in Dublin. A reference to this marriage was found in the parish register at the Representative Church Body Library for the Church of Ireland.

The notation of b is probably a typo and should read m.

Please remember not to believe everything you read. Reference books are a great resource but please research further to verify the accuracy of the information.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

To all my readers in the United States – Happy Fourth of July! I hope you are all enjoying the picnics, barbeques and family gatherings. Tonight will be the big night for fireworks.

This year is the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. She has been a part of many firework displays in New York harbour.

While you are enjoying all the family gatherings why not sit down with one of the senior members of the family and have a chat. See what stories they might have to tell. You may find out something new about the family.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

July is the month that Canadians and Americans celebrate the birth of their nations. Canada’s birthday is July 1st and the United States is July 4th. Canada will be 144 and the United States will be 235 this year.

There has been a long relationship between the two countries. Many of our ancestors have crossed over the borders in each direction and some of them several times.

The first week we will look at places to find out more about the history of Canada. You can find links to some of the more well known parts of Canadian history at Canada Online.

The name Canada first showed up on a map in 1547 and referred to the land that was located north of the St. Lawrence River. Did you know that other names for Canada could have been Victorialand, Cabotia, Superior and Tuponia which stands for The United Provinces of North America.

The second week let’s look at the history of the United States. You can find a lot of information on Wikipedia. There are many different topics and historic moments discussed on this website.

The National Archives have a website that provides information on the history of the Constitution. You can find out more about their online exhibits here.

During the third week we will look at the history between the two countries. You can find a historical timeline of the history of the two countries here. There is a history about the boundaries of the United States that you can find here.

The last week of July let’s look at how to find information on the border crossings between the two countries. There are no official Canadian records until 1908 when the Canadian government officially started to record immigrants coming into the country. You can find the Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935 at Ancestry. Ancestry has the Canadian Border Crossing Collection which dates from 1895 to 1956 and contains information on those crossing from Canada into the United States. You can find the Detroit Border Crossings and Passenger and Crew Lists, 1905-1957 on Ancestry.

Enjoy all the family gatherings, picnics, historic events and fireworks this holiday weekend. If you are in New York or Ontario why not drop by and enjoy the Friendship Festival where both countries share and enjoy their birthdays. If you are in the area of the Peace Bridge on July 3rd there is “Hands Across the Border” so why not join in.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Today is Canada’s 144th Birthday. The celebrations on the hill in Ottawa ended a short time ago. There are more festivities tonight. This year the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge came to shared the day with us. You can find out more about the celebrations here.

While everyone is celebrating this birthday Governor General David Johnston reminded us that in six years Canada will be celebrating our 150th birthday. He asked that everyone think about how they can make changes in their communities to enhance our country. There are already committees formed to preserve and promote our history.

What projects can you think of that will help preserve our nations history for it’s 150th birthday?

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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