You walk into the scan room thinking that you’re a happy mum in her second trimester. A fortnight later you find yourself standing in the unmarked section of a silent cemetery, staring at a little wooded glade where your baby’s ashes have been scattered. The shift is so abrupt, so unheralded, that you can spend years trying to catch up with it all.… Read the rest
Imagine you’re at an art gallery, looking at a picture that’s caught your attention. But instead of seeing the entire masterpiece, you’re standing so close that your nose is practically touching the canvas.… Read the rest
We’re only a few days into the year: chances are that you have already given up on that New Year’s resolution you made last week. If so, then you’re in good company: a 2018 YouGov poll of the UK population suggested that less than a quarter of people who make resolutions actually keep them.… Read the rest
In this short tutorial, we’re going to walk through the process of using Microsoft Excel to make plots for Record Clustering Analysis, or RCA for short. Even if you don’t have a Microsoft subscription, these instructions should work on the free, online-access Excel version included in Microsoft Office for the Web.… Read the rest
NOTE: The methods in this article are designed for use with 19th and 20th century genealogical research in the UK, particularly England and Wales. Record Clustering Analysis is readily adaptable to other eras and jurisdictions though, so watch out for a follow-up article in 2021!
Pull up a chair, put the kettle on and let’s sit down for a think.… Read the rest
How do you feel when your genealogy research hits a brick wall: frustrated, demoralised, perhaps downright bewildered? Sometimes what you need is a fresh perspective on your family history to kickstart your research process.… Read the rest
The best stories always start with a map. Whether I was in Narnia or the Hundred Acre Wood, Middle-Earth or Treasure Island, the books of my childhood were ever the richer for having a map at the front, ready to help me navigate those magical worlds.
For me, the maps fascination has never subsided, and I know I’m not alone in this.… Read the rest
Today, we’re going to talk about the elephant in every genealogist’s research room. It’s one we’ve all spent some time with, whether we realise it or not. And what’s more, this particular elephant tends to divert our research when it shouldn’t. At its worst, it can stampede us right off course.… Read the rest
Picture this scene: you absolutely love chocolate cake and have decided to bake your own. You’ve even bought a cake tin especially for the purpose. You’re thrilled. You can’t wait to get started. Whenever you look at the tin, you think, “that’s the chocolate cake tin”. It’s become so fixed in your mind as the chocolate cake tin that it doesn’t once occur to you to use it to make other flavours of cake: lemon, coffee, blueberry, vanilla…and so there’s a whole load of things you end up missing out on.… Read the rest
For the past few months, the UK National Archives (TNA) has made its digital downloads free of charge until more normal operation resumes. Perhaps inevitably, the keen response in genealogical circles (including in popular magazines such as Who Do You Think You Are?) has focused on some of the main sources used in genealogy research – whether that’s military records, wills and probate documents, or poor law records.… Read the rest