Showing posts with label Findmypast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Findmypast. Show all posts

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Genealogy Patience Pays!!

We all know of the seemingly impenetrable brick walls which we bump into on a fairly regular basis. I hit one one these with my 4th great-grandfather, Benjamin Ferguson, who, according to the 1841 census was living in Kendal, and born in 1766 in England but not in the county of Westmorland. He did not appear on the 1851 census, so I assumed that he had moved on to higher things.

Over the years I have tried to find out more about him, visiting the Kendal Archives to find his burial, but without any luck, in fact I cannot even find the christenings of his children in the Kendal Parish Registers. My research has not been helped by the fact that northern England is an outpost of internet indexing, meaning that the Union Tavern in Kendal is almost a second home!

Regularly I search new registers which come on-line, and three months ago I had a minor break through, I found a Benjamin Ferguson born in 1776 in Pardshaw, Cockermouth, Cumberland, on the Beta Family Search site. OK, the surname was spelt "Furgison", but the given names of the family were those commonly found in my family. Could this be my long lost relative? With still some way to go, I contacted Kendal Archives again to see if they had the Kendal Settlement Certificates for the period between 1770 and 1790, but unfortunately they only had those to 1734.

Every now and again I switch the main search site which I use, and this month moved back to Findmypast. As always, I carried out a quick check on my brick walls and nearly fell off my chair when I found my Benjamin on the 1851 census living with his, now married, daughter Mary Airey, of whom I had never heard! This time his surname was given as "Ferginson" and his place of birth Cockermouth - Eureka!! I am left with another brick wall though - where does his father "Samual Furgison" (sic), date of birth unknown, come from??

Advances can happen in most unusual ways. Like many of you I try and help other researchers whenever I can, and this week received an email asking if an Ann Owen born 1807, father George, had any connection with the Owen family of Prescot, Lancashire, in my tree. Not having an Ann in my Owen family I asked for more details, only to be be told that since her Ann and my family came from the same area she wondered if there may be a connection.

A Richard Owen born 1791 is my one of the 3rd great grandfathers on my maternal side, and I wondered if Richard might have had a brother called George who might have been Ann's father. I have not even looked at this side of my family for years, so I started by looking for his birth in Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerk, and there was his christening, and the names of my previously unknown 4th great grandparents.

Yes, persistence does pay, as time goes by it may not seem like it, but consistently checking records and revisiting sites which may well have been updated since last time often brings results. Now, if only I could get my hands on the person who ignited the 1851 Salford Census records and with it my 3rd great grandfather's history, but congratulations to Manchester & Lancashire FHS who have recovered so much of them.

© Ron Ferguson 2010

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Are Genealogy Fairs Worthwhile?

Although I have been involved in genealogy for some 10 years for various reasons I have not visited Genealogy Fairs until this year. I have attended fairs at Stockport, York and Newcastle on Tyne, and broadly speaking my reaction has been favourable. But why?

Visiting the various companies displaying their software, books, charts etc. is interesting, but hardly earth shattering, although I have usually found two or three things which are of use to me, usually books or specific data discs. If  I was asked whether I would go specifically to have a look at the wares on sale, then probably not.

No, what has been of most use has been the help available from "information providers". Whilst companies such as Ancestry, Findmypast, and The Genealogist are frequently represented at these fairs, it is not these to which I refer, largely because I am reasonably familiar with their range of services, but I do recognize that they will be valuable to those who are not. Their stands are always very busy, maybe because they often offer free access!

What I find most attractive are the genealogy organisations, the local family history societies and national organisations, such as The Genealogy Society, Local and National Archives, and many others, strictly speaking some may not be genealogy societies but concern themselves with aspects of out history, eg. The Indian Army. Following my visit to the York Fair, I am pretty sure that I have found my 5th great-grandfather from an idea I picked up at a local fhs stall.

If you are considering going to one of these fairs my recommendation would be to look carefully at which societies will be exhibiting rather than at the commercial concerns who, in general, will be there anyhow. Look for family history societies and local archivists from the areas in which you are researching. The national organisations can also give invaluable advice on where to look for information.

Finally, before going do ensure that you have noted exactly what you need to know. There is nothing worse than going to a stall and not be able to remember a name or place. Take my word for it - I know!

© Ron Ferguson 2010

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Genealogy Searches - What Now?

The publishing of the complete England/Welsh 1851 census by raises the interesting question as to whether to subscribe to that site or, particularly since the former includes the English/Welsh 1911 census. I hope that the following may help you decide (For England, in the table, please read England/Wales - with apologies).

Comparison Table

For the purpose of this comparison I have chosen to compare the Ancestry Premium subscription with the Findmypast Explorer.

Full English Censuses
Complete BMD's
Family Trees
Parish Records
Irish Records
Scottish Records
Full WW1 Records
Other UK Military Records
Complete Eng. Emigration Records
Annual Cost UKPs++


Ancestry does not include the 1911 census
* Not directly searchable before 1984
** transcript only
+ Scotlands People is a sister site to Findmypast
++ Ancestry Essentials subscription at £84.40 excludes Parish and Irish Records
*** Findmypast Explorer costs £89.95 but excludes the 1911 census (available [you've guessed!] at £59.95/annum)

Both companies offer vouchers, but, as might be expected, comparison is not easy! Ancestry offer 12 record views for £6.95. valid 14 days, and Findmypast 60 credits also at £6.95 valid 90 days. It should be noted that to view a Findmypast image usually costs up to 10 credits, although the top rate is for the 1911 census - 10 credits to view the transcript, but a massive 30 credits to view the image!

I know that the above will not answer the question as to which is the most appropriate, and it is clear that the choice will depend on your particular circumstances. It seems that it would be best to take out a subscription with the company which has the majority of searches which you will need, and buy vouchers for the other - but note Ancestry's very short life-span.

The assessments which I have given are based on my own use of these sites, rather than on the owners' blurbs, and I have only included their major databases. Both sites have other data of more specialist interest.

© Ron Ferguson 2009

Friday, 2 October 2009

What to do With Genealogy Source Images!

A regular question on genealogy forums, and not only from beginners, is how to store and use images from genealogy websites, such as Amazon and Findmypast, on one's PC. The question of storage depends on which genealogy program is being used and whether it only stores the paths to the images or embeds the image in the Source.

For myself, I use Legacy Software which only stores the path, thus only one instance of an image is required to source a number of Events, whereas some other software will embed the image in the Source. In the latter case the number of images increases as the number of times a specific Source increases and is, therefore, very memory intensive. In the latter case, it is better to use the image once only eg. a census may be linked only to the head of a family, but do try to be consistent. When only the path is linked then it can be linked to every instance the Source is used with very little extra memory being taken up. Remember also that images in grey scale use less memory than those using RGB..

Why link the images in the first place?

I find on an almost daily basis when working on my data that I need to check something with the original data, it maybe just a date of birth, and having it only one click of a button away is so much more convenient and faster than going back to the website or searching through a load of hard copies.

How can I publish the images?

This can be tricky! Although the data may be copyright free, the images and indexes are almost certainly not. The answer to this question is to always read the small print on the original source very carefully. The UK censuses, for example, are Crown Copyright, and as I have no wish have action taken against me by Her Majesty the Queen I do not publish these images. Similarly the indexes will be the copyright of the organisation which compiled the index, and how these may be used is determined by that organisation.

I have on my web site some searchable parish registers, this data is copyright free but the format and coding is my copyright. So, abstracting and using the data is fine, but that is all! (I will happily allow copying, with my express consent, provided that my site is acknowledged as the source).

There is another problem with publishing many images, and that is their physical size. For hard copy of censuses a new page will be needed, otherwise they will be virtually unreadable, and for web pages the most convenient way is to use expandable thumbnails.

© Ronald Ferguson 2009