New Year ….. New Data

London is currently shivering under a thick layer of snow

which, according to the news, is the heaviest for 18 years. So this seems like a good time for an update on some of the new data that’s appeared online since Christmas.

First of all was the addition of Counties Antrim, Down and Kerry to the 1911 census for Ireland at which were added to the existing records for Dublin on 23 December 2008.

Next came the annual upload of new data on Scotlandspeople. We can now view the images of the registers of births for 1855-1908, marriages 1855-1933 and deaths 1855-1958 at

The current big excitement is the 1911 census for England and Wales which went live on 14 January at They have gradually added to the number of counties available and currently the whole of England except for Cumberland, Westmorland, Northumberland, Durham and the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire are available. Wales has still to be added. To check on progress and find out about enhancements to the search facilities as they are added, read the blog at

A less well publicised launch was the addition of the civil registration indexes for Ireland which are available on the Familysearch Record Search pilot site at Irish civil registration indexes begin in 1845 for Protestant marriages. Civil registration indexes for births, deaths and all marriages begin in 1864. The available indexes cover all of Ireland from 1845/1864 to 1922 and the Republic of Ireland from 1923-1958. As the General Register Office for Northern Ireland has an online certificate ordering facility at and the General Register office for Ireland has downloadable order forms at ordering Irish certificates has now become much easier.


Meet the ancestors!

Meet George Calder who was born in Wick, Caithness in 1842.  He emigrated to the USA in 1870, when he was 28, and married and had a family there.

At the age of 80, he decided to return to Scotland to visit his family.  He sailed from New York to arrive in Plymouth on 6 July 1923.  Presumably he travelled up to Scotland from there as he sailed from Glasgow almost 8 weeks later to return to New York.
George was my first cousin, three times removed.  Does it make more sense if I say he was my grandfather’s first cousin, once removed?
This isn’t a family photo.  I discovered it when I found his 1923 US passport application on
Now meet his daughter Helen
She was born in Hartford, Connecticut in the USA in 1877.
She applied for her passport in 1919.
In addition to the photo, we also get a physical description.
She was 5 feet 10 3/4 inches tall, with grey-blue eyes, brown-grey hair and a light complexion.  Her face was long-oval with a straight nose, round chin and a medium mouth.
She was a missionary worker and was planning to travel to China, Japan, Ceylon [now Sri Lanka] and India to inspect missions.
Isn’t the internet wonderful!

Glasgow Police Museum to close

The Glasgow Police Museum which is based in the old District Court in St Andrew’s Square is due to close on 8 December.  The Scottish Courts Service is taking over the District Courts from Glasgow Council but does not want the old court building, so the museum has been given notice to quit.  The full story is on the Evening Times website at
The Glasgow Police were Britain’s oldest police force.
The first attempts to establish a police force for Glasgow were made as far back as 1779 but it wasn’t until the Glasgow Police Act was passed in 1800 that a permanent force was established.  The newly formed force, consisting of three sergeants, six police officers and 68 watchmen mustered for the first time in the Laigh Church, Trongate on 15 November 1800.
For the following 175 years the City of Glasgow Police served the city.
The force was finally disbanded on 15 May 1975 when it was amalgamated with other forces to form Strathclyde Police.
The Police Museum has a website at where you can read about the history of the force.

Online courses in November

There’s a week left to sign up to a GenClass genealogy course in November. Each course lasts for 4 weeks and costs US$34.50
The courses are:
Adoption investigative course
This class provides not only instructions of how to search, but addresses the emotional aspects that affect such a deeply personal and poignant endeavor.
Australian and New Zealand genealogy
How to research your family in Australian and New Zealand records. Learn how to use the online indexes and find the digitized records that can help overcome the “Tyranny of Distance”.
Native American genealogy
All areas for each of the different tribes in North American are covered from the Canadian First People to the various tribes in the United States.
Basic English research
Start researching your English ancestors using both paper-based and online resources. Learn how to find the “bones” of your family using birth, marriage and death records, the censuses, parish registers and wills.
Canadian research – part 3
After the census, the next most important series of records are more specific. Specific types, and ethnicities of persons and the records created about them. And, of course, immigration – which includes passenger lists – and Government records.
Eastern European genealogy – the basics
This class will show you how to begin researching your Central and Eastern European roots using both traditional and online sources.
Family Tree Maker 2009 – the basics
The program has been completely redone and has many new features that are available to you, if only you knew where they were. Learn your way around this new Family Tree Maker as well as learning how to enter your information including names, dates, media and sources.
Lost friends and family
Have you ever wanted to locate a lost love or missing relative? Reminisce with a military buddy or childhood friend? Don’t let another year pass without that special someone back in your life!
Salt Lake City – part 1
Using the Internet, access the largest genealogical library in the world located in Salt Lake City – without ever leaving your home! Perform searches, knowledgeably; and more importantly – understand what you’ve found.
Scottish genealogy
This extensive class will provide a detailed description of what you need to know to track your Scottish ancestry.
Write your family history step-by-step
You don’t have to be a prize-winning novelist to capture your family’s story on paper! This class will cover how to document your family’s story in simple manageable steps.
Each course begins on Saturday 1 November and ends on Friday 28 November.
What better way to spend cold November evenings!

It’s amazing what you come across…

I was in the Hyde Park Family History Centre in London yesterday doing some research, and went for a walk to stretch my legs.
A few yards up the road I came across this

a plaque to the 1956 Hungarian Uprising in the wall of 55 Exhibition Road, just opposite Imperial College.

After a lot of digging I’ve discovered that it was sculpted by Frank Kovacs and was unveiled by Lord Birdwood on 13 March 1960 when the building was a Polish Club.

The building still houses a Polish club and restaurant but why the Polish club… anyone know?


Early female aviators

Isn’t it typical – I start this blog full of good intentions and then work gets in the way.
However, I have been playing with a new database at Ancestry – the Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificates.
The Royal Aero Club was founded in 1901 and from 1910 issued Aviators Certificates, internationally recognised under the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. The Club was, and still is, responsible for control of all private and sporting flying in the UK.
This database contains about 28,000 index cards and 34 photograph albums of aviators who were issued with their flying licences (certificates) by the Royal Aero Club from 1910-1950. These included the first military and naval personnel to become pilots. The original records are now held by the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, London.
As I was playing, I noticed one or two women’s names and started to wonder if any of these early female aviators were Scottish. It turns out that there were 16 of them:
  • Miss Elizabeth Ann Roche Anderson, born 1908 Aug 18 in Dullatur
  • Miss Winifred Joyce Drinkwater, born 1913 Apr 11 in Waterfoot
  • Isabel Clare Drummond, born 1915 Dec 12 in Ardrossan
  • Miss Ivy Barbara Mary Forsyth, born 1905 Apr 24 in Inverness
  • Mary Coutts Gordon, born 1906 Oct 13 in St Andrews
  • Sheila MacDonald Green, born 1901 Feb 15 in Elgin
  • Maie Hardie, born 1893 Jan 14 in Kirkaldy
  • Mrs Eleanor Amalie Harper-Gow, born 1894 Jun 21 in Cupar
  • Miss Janet Hendry, born 1906 Oct 23 in Ardrossan,
  • Marjorie Emily Meredith Hunter, born 1908 Jun 22 in Kilmalcolm
  • Dorothy Millicent Kay, born 1911 Jan 3 in Edinburgh
  • The Hon Miss Mildred Katherine Leith, born 1894 Mar 22 in St Andrews
  • Mrs Henrietta Learmont MacEwan, born 1897 Jun 21 in Hurlet
  • Mrs Margaret Helen Saunders, born 1901 Jun 30 in Montrose
  • Shaw Annie Gillespie 1904 May 28 Uddingston
  • Mrs Mora Morton Weir, born 1896 Jan 16 in Tayport, Fife
and there’s photos of 12 of them.
Frustratingly, not one of then has an entry in either the Dictionary of National Biography or in Who Was Who.

What’s this blog all about?

Like most professional genealogists I come across lots of interesting titbits which are unrelated to my current task but which are worth sharing. I couldn’t come up with a way of incorporating these into my main website and thought a blog was the best option.
Like all genealogists, I’m also incurably curious so you can expect to see snippets of research, photos and comments about various websites I’ve come across.