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2020 Articles

Educational Records may reveal your ancestor's unusual achievements 4th December 2020

The most satisfying result from researching an ancestor’s life is where you have managed to discover some of the interesting things or surprising accomplishments that they achieved. While it is important to gather the dates of their birth, marriage and death, together with where they lived and what their occupations had been, a rich family narrative about a person needs to include some additional substance in the form of a record of their acts and deeds.

R.A.F. Operations Record Books that tell a storyteller’s story 20th November 2020

It can often be a bit of a surprise to discover that famous people, as well as our own family members, did extraordinary things in the Second World War. Some of them may have told their tales, while others remained silent. When it is a member of the Royal Air Force from WW2 that you are researching, the Operations Record Books (ORBs), which are being released in batches on TheGenealogist, are essential reading in order to follow the person in the squadron's day to day activity.

A haven for the troops and the birthplace of a V.C. hero 6th November 2020

When the soldiers, sailors and airmen returned to England, on leave from the fighting, it was often to spend the night in Lambeth, before they could travel on to their homes across the U.K. For this reason a very special place was situated in Lambeth's streets, that many men would have sought out.

Liz Carr 28th October 2020

The only thing that Liz knows about her paternal side of the family is that they had come from Ireland. On her maternal line Liz knows that her mother's father died when her mum was just seven or eight. This means that she has no sense of who her grandfather was. Liz feels that she has "a bit of the wanderlust" and so she is hoping to find out if there were adventurers amongst her ancestors.

Ruth Jones 21st October 2020

Ruth goes to see her mum who still lives in the family home in Porthcawl. Ruth is seen to reflect on her hometown’s similarities to Barry Island, the seaside resort which serves as where Nessa in Gavin & Stacey lives. She is keen to find out more about her Grandpa Lyn, her mum’s father. His name was Griffith Llewellyn Jenkin, but he was always known as Lyn, and he died at the age of 39 due to heart complications when Ruth’s mum was just two years old.

David Walliams 13th October 2020

David Walliams is an actor, comedian, talent-show judge and best-selling children's author. Many of David's children's books have family relationships as a theme, but David feels he knows very little about his own family history and so he relishes the chance to find out more with the help of the Who Do You Think You Are? programme on BBC television.

Jodie Whittaker 6th October 2020

Jodie Whittaker is an actor who has made her name in some of Britain's best loved dramas including playing Beth Latimer in Broadchurch. She came to prominence in her 2006 feature film debut Venus, for which she received British Independent Film Award and Satellite Award nominations. It is for her latest role as the Doctor in BBC1's Doctor Who that she is now so well recognised.

Who Do You Think You Are? Series 17 2nd October 2020

Returning to our television screens, the series will have shocking revelations, laughter, tears and emotions like never before as the celebrities explore their remarkable histories. The following four celebrities have been announced: Jodie Whittaker, David Walliams, Liz Carr and Ruth Jones.

Air Force Lists and Records find Paddy Finucane the Spitfire Ace 24th September 2020

Paddy Finucane was an Irishman born in Dublin in October 1920, though he moved to England with his parents in 1936. His mother was English, originally from Leicester, but his father was Irish having fought the British in the 1916 Easter Rising. Paddy was a nickname given to the young pilot by his colleagues. As he grew up he wanted to fly, so he applied to join the RAF and in August 1938 he was accepted for flight training as a pilot.

Tithe records on the Map Explorer reveal more about the places our ancestors lived and worked 4th September 2020

Tithe records and maps on TheGenealogist's Map Explorer™ can be an absorbing way to find out more about where your ancestors lived and worked. Some of the occupiers may only have had a small plot, as we can see on the page of the apportionment book for the castle. Above the extensive listings for Joseph Willis is one for George Ridout whose Garden is listed as being just 10 rods in size. That is 30¼ square yards. It is not just large landholders who appear in these fascinating records.

Poll Books and Electoral Rolls used to locate ancestors address 21st August 2020

Not all of our ancestors would have been able to vote in the past as universal suffrage was not the norm in England and Wales with wealth and property qualifications deciding who could cast their ballot. It was not until the end of the First World War that all adult men were enfranchised by the Representation of the People Act 1918.

Hounslow property records discover snapshot of owners and occupiers from Edwardian past 7th August 2020

During the 19th century Chiswick House fell into decline, and was rented out by the Cavendish family. It was at this time that the government of Lloyd George instituted the property survey in which we find that the copyholder is Dr Thomas Seymour Tuke, the licensee of a private "lunatic asylum" (mental hospital). In 1929, the 9th Duke of Devonshire sold Chiswick House to Middlesex County Council, and it then became a fire station for a while during the Second World War. The villa suffered some damage during that war, and in 1944 a V-2 rocket damaged one of the two wings. The wings of the house were then demolished in 1956 and we can see this change by using the Map Explorer™ to view the footprint of Chiswick House.

Australian Records Online to find your ancestors 24th July 2020

Many researchers will find ancestors that in Colonial times were intrepid travellers who set out from the U.K. to make a new life for themselves in far away parts of the British Empire. Some were forced to leave Britain by order of a court having been sentenced to be transported to the penal colonies in Australia. Most of these people usually stayed on in Australia, once their sentences were over, to begin a new life down under as there was no paid return trip to England after they received a pardon. Other ancestors saw opportunity and went out to the colonies of their own volition to seek out their fortune.

Ace in a Day 10th July 2020

On the 10th July this year Britain marks the 80th anniversary of the start of The Battle of Britain which was fought over Southern England by the pilots of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force. This period in the Second World War (10 July 1940 - 31 October 1940), when Britain had yet to be joined in the fight by the United States, gained its name from a speech given by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the House of Commons on 18 June 1940 when he said: "What General Weygand called the 'Battle of France' is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin."

Worcestershire parish records trace family events back through the centuries 3rd July 2020

Sarah Bellamy was only a 15 year old girl from Worcestershire when she was sentenced to seven years' transportation beyond the seas. It was almost two years later, however, that she actually left the shores of Britain as a convict on one of the ships of the First Fleet to Australia.

Headstone Collection reveals the family history of the owners and staff of one of the most famous house and gardens in England 18th June 2020

In the Wiltshire Parish of St Peter, Stourton we are able to find examples of both the owners of Stourhead, the banking family who founded Hoares Bank, as well as the Stourton family (sometimes written as Stowrton) who had from the mid-fifteenth century been previous landowners of the manor having lived in a long demolished country house replaced by the Hoares in the 18th century.

Medical ancestors from before the NHS began 5th June 2020

The National Health Service, that has been shown to be held in such special affection by the current UK population, did not exist for most of our ancestors. The NHS was set up to provide healthcare that was free at the point of delivery when, before then, people would do their utmost to stay away from doctors if they could because of cost.

AIR 27 Operations Record Books capture airmen from fighter and bomber squadrons during WW2 22nd May 2020

The recent release of TheGenealogist's AIR 27 Operations Record Books (ORBs) includes some fascinating records for air force squadrons of WW2. These documents chronicle the wartime aircrew who served in units of the RAF as well as some of the dominion and Allied Air Force squadrons under British Command. Fighter squadrons as well as those from Bomber Command are to be found in this collection and because they are fully searchable by name on TheGenealogist we can use the ORBs to follow the missions that our aircrew ancestors flew.

Tithe Records on Map Explorer 7th May 2020

If you are researching where your ancestors lived in the early part of Queen Victoria's reign then the National Tithe Record Collection on TheGenealogist is a tremendous resource that you can use. This massive Victorian land survey allows researchers to view the plots where ancestors had lived, or worked, on tithe maps which are linked to fully searchable apportionment books with details of the landholding whether large and small.

Property records find ancestors homes and business in Kingston upon Thames 24th April 2020

From ships tied up in docks, where animals once grazed, to an Olympic Games venue, exhibitions and now a pop-up hospital – how our ancestors' land has changed...

How to start your family history 9th April 2020

Starting to research your ancestors could be just the project to keep you occupied while staying at home under the present circumstances. TheGenealogist has put together a beginner's First Steps access which is completely free for the next three months.

Essex Tithe Maps reveal ever-changing landscape 27th March 2020

From ships tied up in docks, where animals once grazed, to an Olympic Games venue, exhibitions and now a pop-up hospital – how our ancestors' land has changed...

Greenwich property records reveal the lost past 28th February 2020

One of my favourite attractions to visit is the marvelously restored Cutty Sark at Greenwich. I first went as a young boy in the 1970s and then again several times in the last few years. Today the famous tea-cutter is displayed in a drydock created specially for her which, as she is raised up by 3 metres, allows the visitor to not only go onboard but to also walk under the hull.

RAF Operations books build a picture of WWII aircrew ancestors' action 6th February 2020

A gripping collection of Second World War Air Ministry operations record books (ORBs) for various Royal Air Force, dominion and Allied Air Force squadrons that came under British Command, are now available. These allow us a fascinating insight into a number of wartime RAF units.

Do you really know who you are? 24th January 2020

What was a town or village like when your ancestors lived in it? If they were to jump into a time machine and come forward to today, would they still be able to navigate their way around their area, or would it be so different that they would be lost? Let's take a look at the Filton area north of Bristol, where the Family History Show is being held on the 8th February (UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre, Filton). Any time travelling ancestor is likely to be bemused by the changes.

Norfolk Parish Registers finds the records of the millers at Docking Windmill 17th January 2020

The parish records for Norfolk on TheGenealogist have enabled us to see that the millers from the Windmill at Docking took on the mill after serving as grocers, butchers and farmers in their village community.

Every year the popular BBC series Who Do You Think You Are? brings us a host of new and exciting stories. We have taken a look at each celebrity as they journey into their family history, and you can read about their discoveries in our articles.


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