News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. Interested in heraldry?

    Are you interested in heraldry and would like to find out how it can help with your own family history research?  Our sister organisation the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies is running a day course on heraldry on Saturday 20th February 2016.

    To find out more, and for cost and booking details, click here.

    Alternatively, if you are unable to visit Canterbury, why not contact our research team to see how we can help you investigate the heraldic aspects of your family history.  Click here to contact us for advice and a free quote.

  2. Place of birth Mexico . . . . or Middlesex?

    Transcription errors are far from rare within indexes of genealogical sources, not least in census records.  Poor handwriting and misunderstanding information can cause all sorts of mistakes to be made within the original records themselves, as well as the indexes compiled at a later date.

    A perhaps surprisingly common error is the indexing of “Middlesex” to read “Mexico”.  Type in Mexico as a place of birth within any census search engine, and many results are given.  But look closely, and how many suggest indexing errors?  For example, with the 1901 census surely “Holborn Mexico” and “Southall Mexico” and the numerous entries relating to “London Mexico” all refer to the county of Middlesex?

    So take care when examining indexes, and always look at the original!

  3. While it’s cold outside, trace your family history!

    Whilst it is so cold outside, why not spend some time thinking about your family history?  The best way to start is to write down anything elder generations of the family can remember.  This can be an excellent starting point, and jogging their memories may provide some useful clues to learning about earlier generations.

    Looking through any surviving family photographs can help, and see if any forgotten family stories emerge.

    Once a few details have been sketched out, why not contact us to fill in the gaps, and trace your family history.

  4. Mis-understanding places of birth

    One of our genealogists was tracing a family living in Hull this week, where the father of the family came from over one hundred miles away, in Staffordshire, specifically Burton on Trent.  But how had the census enumerator of 1901 interpreted this place of birth?  As “Burton Brent”.  He had probably never heard of this place, and had interpreted it as best he could.

    This is a common scenario when undertaking research into census returns, and sometimes a little thinking-outside-the-box helps when using the various indexes available.

    Place of birth Burton Brent

    Unable to find your ancestors in census returns?  Contact us to see how we can help.

  5. Family history . . . . of a piano?

    Last week genealogist Liz Yule obtained a piano.  One was going spare and it seemed like a good idea.  As a historian, of course, the first question is how old is it?  Followed by where did it come from?  Apparently it was around 60 years old.  But why not find out more?!

    The maker is one “C H Wood and Co, Hollinwood”.  So a piano from Manchester then. Research then revealed that C H Wood was one Charles Henry Wood, who died relatively young in 1901.  His daughter continued the business alongside family member John Bainbridge, but kept the name C H Wood.  When Charles died he left an estate worth around £2000: fifty years later at the death of John Bainbridge, he left over £100,000.  The piano business clearly served the Wood family well, and it is clear Liz’s piano was built under the tenure of John Bainbridge.

    And the future of the piano business?  On John’s death his two sons were working as a solicitor and a chemist respectively, so it appears that the business possibly died with him.

  6. Disrupting a singing class in prison . . . .

    The increasing number of digitised genealogical records becoming available online can reveal information on our ancestors’ lives that we may never have dreamed of finding.

    Recently, our searchers were investigating a criminal record from the 1870s, and found with it a list of misdemeanors conducted whilst the prisoner was incarcerated.  Most fascinatingly, the prisoner was accused of receiving tallow, presumably a black market product in prison, whilst in a singing class.  The punishment? To leave the singing class.

    Prison records

  7. Thinking of becoming a professional genealogist?

    If you have thought about becoming a professional genealogist, but have questions about the practicalities, or simply want to talk to others in a similar situation, or to those who work as genealogists, then you may be interested in a course run by our sister company, the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies.

    The Professional Approach is a one day course being held at our headquarters in Canterbury on Saturday 5th March 2016.  Further information, including cost and how to book, can be found here.

  8. Happy new year

    As we celebrate this damp start to our new year, it would be fitting to remember the new year of a hundred and one years ago, when 1914 turned to 1915.  The famous Christmas truce in the trenches of WWI in 1914, actually extended to new year’s day 1915 in some parts of the trenches.

    In December 2014, a memorial was unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum commemorating the famous Christmas day football match which took place in 1914.  The memorial is entitled “Football Remembers” and was designed by a Newcastle school boy after a nationwide competition.

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