Articles of Interest
South East Star
Changes in Genealogy
As former President of the Federation of Family History Societies for ten years and Vice-President of the same since 2011, it is my very great pleasure to have been invited, along with the present President, Dr Nick Barett, and the Vice-President, Dr Colin Chapman, to be in attendance at the future executive committee meetings of the same society, now renamed as the Family History Federation.
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.
03 June 2019
Current Genealogical Problems
When will the General Registrar for England and Wales follow Scotland’s People example who have the birth, marriage and death indices on line to 2019, whereas the GRO finishes around 2006. They are available on microfiche in some offices but there is nothing south of London which creates great inconvenience for researchers. It seems highly unlikely that we shall see any improvement. The almost certain reason is the government’s concern over personal privacy, an easy parallel being with the national probate index where the last few decades of entries have been stripped to the absolute minimum, sometimes not even giving enough detail to identify an individual.
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.
05 April 2019