News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. A 17th Century Mince Pie Recipe

    Mince pies were once quite different from those we know of today. Originally filled with meat, such as lamb, goose or beef, they were larger than today’s and were  oval in shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in. A tradition has it that if you eat a mince pie on every day of the twelve days of Christmas, you will have twelve months of happiness. Here’s a recipe for you to try, that your ancestor might once have used.a

  2. Genealogy the perfect Christmas Gift

    As Christmas draws closer, why not think about a unique gift for your loved one.  A Christmas Gift Certificate for family history research could be the perfect present for Christmas day.

    We can provide an attractive certificate to give as a gift on Christmas day, and then work with the recipient on the research after Christmas.  Why not contact us to find out more.

  3. Festive surnames

    Genealogist Liz Yule is used to festive jokes about her surname, but Yule is just one of a number of seasonal surnames that exist.  Christmas is of course the most festive example, particularly when coupled with the forename Mary.  But how about Bell, White or Snow?  Or those representing festive blooms, such as Ivy.

    Forenames can also be festive.  Our searchers have found two births registered with the forename Mistletoe, for example: Mistletoe Ellis was born in 1906 in Hampshire, whilst Mistletoe Spencer was born in 1910 in Doncaster.

    If you have festive or unusual names in your family tree, why not contact us to find out about researching your ancestry.

  4. Who invented the Christmas cracker?

    The British tradition of Christmas crackers has been around since the 1840s.  Originally called bonbons or Cosaque they were developed by one Tom Smith of London from bonbon sweets – of course, crackers look like a large sweet in a wrapper.  The sweet itself was later replaced by other, larger gifts, and it was Tom Smith’s son, Walter, who added in the paper hat.

    The company Tom Smith crackers still exists today, although is no longer family owned.

  5. The origin of carol singing.

    Our tradition of carol singers going from house to house is a result of carols being banned within churches in Medieval times, due to them disrupting the service.

    The word “carol”  means to sing and dance in a circle, deriving from the ancient Greek ‘choros’, which means “dancing in a circle,” and from the Old French word ‘carole’, a song to accompany dancing. Carols were introduced to Church services by St Francis of Assisi, and the tradition spread through Europe; however the intrusive nature of the singing and dancing led them to be banned from Church. The traditional time to sing carols is from St Thomas Day (21st December) until Christmas Day morning.

    Carols, alongside other traditional celebrations of Christmas, were banned completely from 1647-1660 by the Puritan government.

  6. Genealogy Christmas gifts

    There is still time to commission family history research in time for this Christmas.  What more unique gift could your loved one receive on Christmas day, than the history of their family?  We can undertake research based on as much, or as little, information as you know about the family, to create an unforgettable Christmas present.

    Contact us to find out more, and for a free quote.

  7. Christmas gift ideas

    Family history research can make a really unique gift idea for Christmas, but also for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations.

    As well as the research itself, we can also provide family tree diagrams, or pedigrees, showing your family tree.  We can print pedigrees any size up to A0, which can then be framed, or several copies printed off to give to relatives.  For further details about our family tree charts please click here, or contact us to discuss this further.

  8. Get ahead with Christmas presents

    Now that Halloween is over, Christmas is rapidly approaching.  Why not think about researching family history as a gift for that special someone?  Genealogical research is a unique present, and certainly not one that will be replicated by other friends or family!

    We can either complete research in time for Christmas, or provide a Christmas gift certificate to be given on Christmas day.  We can then work with the family once the surprise is over.  Contact us to find out more.

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