The nature of genealogy and family history has changed greatly in the last decade and our global hobby now faces unprecedented challenges. I very much hope that my long professional career and three decades of speaking around the world to promote the subject will be of great assistance in the assessing and planning future policies as genealogy moves steadily and decisively from a paper-based world to one of the internet and computer-based research facilities together with Facebook strategies. The interest in DNA in finding relations and living kin is ever growing and again reaches worldwide. I would suggest to everyone that in their searches they google everything they can think of and then that very high brick wall may be breached. My other suggestion is for greater exchange of ideas and knowledge, and that joining a Family History Society is an excellent way of becoming more involved, making new friends and enjoying the events and talks that are given.
What do other people think?
Having been on a site where other researchers have done their family history, I was surprised to see that my great-grandfather was put down as having died in Marylebone in 1865 when in fact he died in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1856. This does illustrate the vital importance of getting birth, marriage and death certificates to ensure your assumption is correct. Never take anything for granted until it is proved twice, if not three times, from separate sources.
In the last two months I have been to four committee meetings where people were concerned as to how Family History Societies can attract new members. What do people want and how can we encourage them to join and see the benefits? As more and more records become available online so that you can sit in comfort at home or in the library, many people now do their research on Facebook and are not always aware of the other available sources. No comprehensive family tree can ever be compiled just from indexes and selected digitised material; vast amounts of unique source material can be found in every archive or local studies centre.
"I was very pleased to be asked to speak at the Thanet Branch of the Kent Family History Society in Birchington last month. This was my fourth visit and it was good to see familiar faces as well as some new ones. The Society has always been welcoming and my talk on Hospitals-Their Records and where to find them elicited of plenty of questions. I look forward to returning for a fifth time."
Thanet Branch - Report for February
At our February meeting, Lady Mary Teviot spoke on 'Hospitals - their records and how to find them'. She gave a brief history of hospitals and explained the different types of hospital which developed during the 18th and 19th centuries. Among them, voluntary hospitals, founded through philanthropy, took patients nominated by subscribers and were quite particular as to the patients they admitted. Asylums were open for the mentally ill and sanatoria isolated, and attempted to treat tuberculosis cases, whilst cottage hospitals were opened from the 1860s, Mary explained what records, including for patients and staff, were likely to survive and where they might be found (usually country records offices, but see the National Archives database). As to how they might be accessed, whilst records are often closed for 100 years, applications by relatives, under the F.O.I. Act, could succeed. She lightened the talk with some amusing examples of odd diagnoses and misbehaviour of patients and staff.
Birchington Parish Council Magazine
The Street-wise Guide to Doing Your Family History
by Lady Teviot
Over 50 years being a family historian and professional genealogist is explored in what is a very readable and highly informative book, published as one of a series of Street-wise guides by EER.
The adjective ‘Streetwise’ according to one online dictionary means: ‘….having the shrewd awareness, experience, and resourcefulness needed for survival in a difficult, often dangerous urban environment….’ This book certainly lives up the first part of the definition- how to deal shrewdly and resourcefully with the problems encountered when carrying out family history research.
Lady Teviot is well known from her association with the FFHS – former President and now life Vice-President- and her lectures especially overseas. This book distils the wisdom and information contained in those talks.
The format is interesting. Part is in effect an autobiography, referring to her experiences and those of her husband, Lord Teviot, in their family history researches. Part is an explanation of sources, which are regularly used by family history researchers: parish registers, censuses, the parish chest. However, the bulk of the book concentrates on sources and facts which will be unknown to most of its readers. The Chapters on Underused Sources of Genealogical Research, as well as those on Medicines and Illnesses, Baby Farming, Workhouses, Lunatic Asylums and Hospitals are quite a revelation.
In the chapter entitled ‘Sight Unseen’ the author gives a very good appraisal and overview of how Websites can assist the researcher, who uses the internet and a selection of Key Websites concludes the book. Almost worth buying for these chapters alone.
The book will appeal to researchers at all levels: everyone who reads it will learn something new and it will assist them to carry out their hobby in new directions. A first class read!
Reviewed by David Lambert, June 2018
Letter to the editor, page 26 'Opinion'
Mystery of baby Joy is solved
Thank you for publishing my letter last week about the mystery if bay Joy Dennett.
Lady Teviot, from Burgess Hills, who is an expert in such matters kind contacted me the day the paper came out and resolved my query.
For those who might be interested in the name of baby Joy was wrongly transcribed on records and should have read Ivy, born in 1910, so Joy never existed.
Whilst I am on the subject, if any family with Royal British Legion associations have any remembrance of my grandfather John Dennett's Boer War or First World War I would be grateful if thy could contact me ...
John Dennett, who died in 1943, was a former standard bearer for the Legion, but I am having difficulty tracing his movements in the two wars mentioned,
I am indebted to her (Lady Teviot) for her assistance. I am also grateful to Middy reader Richard Webb for other information he provided about my family.
Junction Road, Burgess Hill
Published on 29th March 2018 by
EER Edward Everett Root Publishers, Brighton, England.