Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Lost hospitals of London

If a London hospital played a part in your ancestor's life, or death, you may find it's one of the many that have closed since the National Health Service came into being in 1948. Lost hospitals of London provides an alphabetical list of hospitals with a potted history for each, much the same for London hospitals as Peter Higgenbotham has done for workhouses.

There's also a timely section on military auxiliary hospitals of WW1
A new book, Hospitals of London by Veronika and Fred Chambers with Rob Higgins is due to appear next month.

One World One Family Conference

A reminder about the fifth annual One World One Family Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being held this year on August 23.
I had the privilege of attending and speaking last year and enjoyed it. Unfortunately there's a conflict with another conference I'll be attending this year.
Speakers include:
- Jim Ison, a manager at FamilySearch for the past eight years, currently serving as Northeast Area Manager for the Family History Department.
- Harry van Bommel, author of over 50 books and founder of the Canada 150: Canada's Untold Stories project.
The location is 10062 Bramalea Rd., Brampton, Ontario with proceedings getting underway at 9 a.m.
Further information at http://www.oneworldonefamily-theevent.com/

Monday, 21 July 2014

Identity and Identification

Professor A Jane Caplan introduces a series of four lectures from Gresham College

You may know who you are, but how do I know that you really are who you say you are?  How are you going to prove to me, a sceptical stranger or a suspicious official, that you are telling me the truth? How, in other words, can you be identified as an individual, and how are you going to prove this identity? The answer to these questions has a long history, and that history is the subject of this series of four lectures.  These days we are bombarded by information and warnings about identity documents and identity theft: scarcely a week goes past without some lurid story in the press or blogosphere. But these news stories are not so good at telling us why we should be more concerned now than we were in the past: they usually lack any historical perspective. In these lectures, I hope to persuade you that learning what identification meant and how it was recorded in the past will give you a better understanding of what it means in the present. And rest assured that I am not just going to tell you the history of the passport – even if some of us think that is quite interesting enough. No, I am going to talk to you about your name, your signature and your tattoos, and why they have mattered.
The lectures, available as video, audio and transcripts, are:
1.  Identity and Identification - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/identity-and-identification
2. What's in a Name? More than You Might Think - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/whats-in-a-name-more-than-you-might-think
3. Your Hand: Signatures and Handwriting - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/your-hand-signatures-and-handwriting
4. "Speaking Scars" - The Tattoo - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/speaking-scars-the-tattoo

Sunday, 20 July 2014

London in 3D

Recognize this building? Google now have 3D mapping of inner city London in Google Earth and on Google Maps (when you zoom right in.)  To access the view in Google Maps, click the “Earth” button on the bottom left, then click the tilt button below the compass on the right, to access the 3D view. via a Mapping London blog post.

You'll need to use your imagination if you want to see how the city looked when your ancestors lived there. Get inspiration from this video.

Improving family history searching

This posted was stimulated by the article What Do Researchers Need?  by Jody L. DeRidder and Kathryn G. Matheny in the July/August 2014 issue of D-Lib Magazine

Research using 11 faculty researchers from a variety of disciplines at the University of Alabama as subjects found, among many other conclusions, that "even experienced researchers now need training in searching." How well does this finding, and perhaps the others, apply to family history researchers?

Thinking about your use of the genealogy-focused websites Ancestry, FamilySearch and findmypast, please respond to the survey at https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/HJCNSi.

Thank you.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Gibraltar records

Nationalarchives.gi, the website of the Gibraltar National Archives, includes details of the registers of population (census) of Gibraltar going back to 1777.  Population lists and registers for 1777, 1791, 1814, 1816, 1817, 1834, 1868, 1871, 1878, 1881, 1891 1901, 1911 and 1914 are now online for free.
The later more detailed censuses show the name of each resident, their nationality, occupation and other relevant information. Images of originals are not online.
Browsing the surnames shows a mix of a majority Spanish and a large minority of English. Gibraltar has been formally part of the British Empire since the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. An embarrassingly large majority of the population have voted to reject Spanish claims to the territory; Spain apparently does not see any parallel with that country's enclaves of Cueta and Melilla in Morocco or Llívia in France.

via David Rajotte's Documentary Heritage News

Toronto History Lecture

A brief reminder about the fourth annual Toronto History Lecture which will take place on Wednesday 6 August at the City of Toronto Archives. The speaker is historian, author and York University professor Craig Heron on the topic of The Workers’ City: Lives of Toronto’s Working People.

Registration is now open.  More information at http://torontofamilyhistory.org/thl_2014/

Friday, 18 July 2014


I've been researching the burial of Thomas William Hardingham in Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery. He was born in my old home town of Great Yarmouth. The information on the gravestone is that his parents were Charles and Whippertie Hardingham.

It doesn't take long with Ancestry to establish that his parents were Charles Stephen Hardingham and Jane Dennis Hardingham nee Rackham. So where does the unusual name Whippertie come from?

Searching FreeBMD finds only one person with that name, first or last. Whippertie Maude Fowler's birth is registered in the 3rd quarter of 1906 in Mutford registration district, south of Great Yarmouth, and there's a marriage in the adjacent Lothingland district in the last quarter of 1935. I expected to find her in the 1911 census - no luck on Ancestry.

It's often helpful to look for siblings, FreeBMD is much better for this than Ancestry. There's a birth registration in the Mutford district for Dorothy Dennis Fowler, notice the same distinctive middle name as Jane, and two later Fowler births had the mother's maiden name as Rackham. Mother's maiden name is only given in the birth registration indexes starting in the 3rd quarter of 1911.

Going back to the Ancestry 1911 census and searching for Dorothy Dennis Fowler I found Whippertie had been transcribed as Whipperlie. Findmypast has the correct transcription but the error is understandable. I could also have found it using a wildcard in the Ancestry census search.

It turns out Whippertie Maude Fowler was the niece of Jane Dennis Hardingham and might well have been given the unusual nickname used by her aunt. But I still don't know how and why Jane got that nickname which was established enough to put on her son's gravestone.

In case the title makes you yearn for the song that inspired it here's an upbeat version of the original.