News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. Who Do You Think You Are? new series starts tonight

    Charles Dance discovers he has two sisters born 50 years before him in this opening episode to the 14th series of of Who Do You Think You Are?.  Charles’ dad who he knew little about served with the Royal Fusiliers in the Boer War and was much older than he thought. He was 72-years-old when the actor was born.

    A tearful Charles says in the episode: ‘I have a sister, I see. I have to say this is quite moving, because I know so little.’

    The episode will be broadcast tonight at 9 pm on BBC 1


  2. Who Do You Think You Are? 14th Series celebrities revealed


    The new series starts Thursday 6 July at 9pm and will be broadcast in two five-episode blocks. bbc-wdytya

    The celebrities for this series are:

    Actor Charles Dance

    Clare Balding, OBE is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist and author, 

    Big Brother presenter Emma Willis,

    Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood

    Fearne Cotton, television and radio presenter

    Actor, director and producer Noel Clarke


    EastEnders star Lisa Hammond

    Comedian Ruby Wax

    Adil Ray, star of Citizen Khan

  3. A sad entry found.

    The following poignant entry was discovered whilst indexing our collection of Monumental Inscriptions. St Mary’s Church Doddington “Mary wife of John Richards died 30 June 1771 on her wedding day before she left the church”

  4. The meaning of a Badger

    Names can have many origins and meanings. One example of this is a Badger.

    “Badgers” was a term used in Tudor times to refer to a licensed beggar. It is thought that the origin of the surname Badger derived from this occupation or from those whose who made bags.

    Another possible origin of the surname was as a habitation name taken from a  small parish in Shropshire.

    So if you are a Badger one of your earliest ancestors were either a peddle, a bag maker or from Shopshire. What is certain was they were not named after the animal!

    Just to complicate things further part of the Old Poor Law Settlement Act of 1697 required those receiving poor relief to wear a badge on their right shoulder bearing the letter “P” and as a results paupers became know as “badgers”. However this was long after surnames were established. This act stayed in force until 1810.

    The term badger was not used for the animal until the 16th Century. The earliest recorded use was in 1523. Before that, it was called a “brock” or “bauson”. National Badger day is the 6th October every year.


  5. More unusual occupational terms

    Finding out the meaning of an ancestors occupation can give you an insight into how they lived and lead to other sources for your genealogical research. Many occupations simply no longer exists. For example, a Higgler was an itinerant trader who bought and sold goods such as butter, cheese, poultry eggs and fish. Higglers and other travelling salesmen, such as peddlers and badgers (those who sold corn and grain), needed a licence. Licences were issued by the Justices of the Peace at the Quarter Sessions and the surviving records are held in local archives. Searching these records can add detail to your family tree and enhance your understanding of your ancestry.

  6. Old Occupational Terms

    As you study your family history you may come across terms that we no longer use. This is especially true of occupations where trades are no longer practised or the terms has fallen out of use. For instance a Fellmonger. This was a dealer in hides, most commonly sheep skins. They would also prepare the hides for tanning. The word comes from from the Old English ‘fell’ meaning skins and ‘monger’ meaning dealer. A good reference source for genealogists to find out the meaning of  archaic words and phrases is The Oxford English Dictionary.

  7. Vice Chair of AGRA appointed

    Congratulations to the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies [IHGS], Director of Education, Les Mitchinson, who has recently been appointed as the Vice Chair to the Council of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA).

  8. Discovery of Archbishop’s Tomb at Lambeth.

    Many of use struggle to find the burial place of all our ancestors but you would expect that this would not be true for those in positions of power and influence. The front page of the Sunday Telegraph has a story on the accidental discovery of tombs belonging to five former archbishops of Canterbury by builders carrying out refurbishment work near Lambeth Palace.

    A hidden chamber at St Mary-at-Lambeth church contained 30 lead coffins piled on top of each other, with an archbishop’s mitre resting on one of them. Closer inspection revealed metal plates bearing the names of five former archbishops of Canterbury, dating back to the early 17th Century.

  9. WDYTYA? Live at the NEC 2017

    We had great time at Who Do You Think You are? Live catching up with students and tutors on the IHGS Correspondence Course in Genealogy and the latest genealogical news. Advances in DNA testing dominated the show but it was nice to see so many Family History Societies attending.

    Our sister company, IHGS The School of Family History launched their brand new course, Awaken Your Ancestors. For more details go to their website.

    Before the doors open

    Before the doors open

    Les Mitchinson and Richard Baker manning the stall.

    Les Mitchinson and Richard Baker manning the stall.



October 2017
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