Geoffs Genealogy Update 3 February 2013

Sunday February 3rd, 2013 | Geoff

January has been an interesting month for me.

Firstly it was the month when my term as Editor of the Shropshire Family History Society came to an end, and my joint successors in the post started work on the next issue, due out in March. I am really looking forward to seeing the results of all their work, after years of knowing in advance what was in the journal!

As I’ve mentioned a number of times over the years, I’ve really enjoyed my eleven years as editor, and already miss the involvement. I’ve made many friends in the role, and worked with some great people in what is a first class family history society. If you are not a member of a family history society I urge you to join at the earliest opportunity. You will surely benefit from your membership in many ways.

Secondly, I began to step up the preparatory work for the second Reunion of Descendants of John Bankes, Citizen & Haberdasher of London (c1650-1719). There is now only four months to the big day – 8th June, so if you are a Bankes descendant I urge you to book your place at what should be a thoroughly enjoyable day. See the Geoffs Genealogy website for brief details, and information about the previous event.

Thirdly, as some of you may have noticed, during January I have made a few additions and amendments to the Hunt & Stephens section of the Geoffs Genealogy website.

I have prepared and launched a new page entitled Mary Ann Archer & John Brown Smith. This page deals with Mary Ann, daughter of Mary Ann Archer & Nathan Archer, and her husband. In so doing it also relates what we know of John’s parents, and in particular his father – James Bayly Smith. Both John and his father served as Excise officers, and as there are extensive staff records of the Excise Department on microfilm at The National Archives at Kew we have been able to learn a lot about these two men and their careers.

In the course of linking this new page into the website I realised that when I uploaded the page on Mary Ann Stephens and Nathan Archer I omitted to add the references. A serious omission in my book, and one which I was anxious to correct. I have now added these  references, but in the process of compiling them I had occasion to read through the page about Mary Ann Stephens and Nathan Archer. Inevitably, as some time had passed since I updated this page, I found a few areas in which the information on the page did not reflect our most recent research. I therefore updated a couple of areas on this page, as well.

As you may imagine, all this work has taken me some considerable time, but hopefully the information on the website about these people is now up to date. Now on to the next task. Let me see …..

Last month I mentioned that I was reading a recently published book –  Marriage Law for Genealogists, by Professor Rebecca Probert,  published by Takeaway Publishing (2012).

I have now read this book, and can say that I found it most interesting in many respects. It is written in a very accessible style, and is very informative in disproving a number of the myths and misconceptions about marriage in days gone by that abound  in family histoy circles. This is a short book, and well worth a read. Also, it will make a very handy reference book for future research.

Before closing this entry I’ll just mention a couple of websites that I find interesting and / or useful, in case you may also want to use them:

Bomb Sight is a fairly new website that maps the bombs that fell on London in World War Two. If, like me, your family members lived in London during WW2 you cannot fail to find this remarkable website interesting.

Family historians often fail to “kill off” their ancestors for a variety of reasons, and it can be quite difficult to trace that relevant burial entry. The Deceased Online website my help. It is a project to create a central UK database of burial and cremation entries. Very much a work in progress, but I’ve already found some entries relevant to my research in it, and hopefully you may, as well.

London Lives is a fascinating website if you are interested in life in the capital in the eighteenth century, funded by the ESRC, and implemented by the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield and the Higher Education Digitisation Service at the University of Hertfordshire. To quote the Home page this site offers  “A fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.”





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