Tuesday, 19 April 2011

LostCousins - Free Access for Easter

I have been using LostCousins for many years, it is a unique and great resource for discovering those cousins you didn't know existed!  This Easter they are giving free access to link with cousins you find through the LostCousins web site.  This is a resource that could be especially useful for genealogists in USA and Canada.

In the latest bi-weekly newsletter, which has become a must read, Peter Calver annouces free access.

Peter says:
"From now until Monday 2nd May it will be completely free to link with relatives you find through LostCousins! It's usual to have a free period at Easter, but with a Royal Wedding the following weekend I've decided to make this year extra special (even though my invitation to the wedding seems to have got lost in the post). Oh, and by the way, it's the 7th birthday of LostCousins on Sunday 1st May, so that's another reason to celebrate.

To take full advantage of this opportunity enter all the blood relatives you can find on the 1881 Census - no matter how distantly-related they may seem. Whilst it's important to enter your direct ancestors and their households (assuming they were recorded on the census), in practice it's the brothers, sisters, and cousins who had families of their own in 1881 who are most likely to link you to your living relatives - so make sure you enter them.

As a rule of thumb if you have 1000 relatives on your family tree, there should be between 150-200 entries from the 1881 Census on your My Ancestors page.

Of course, it's also a great time to invite the relatives you already know to join - remember that even 1st cousins only share half of your ancestors, so they can't rely on you to make all the connections. Do them a favour, and introduce them to LostCousins!"

As an added bonus, when you enter your census information into LostCousins it provides you with an excellent opportunity to check your census sources.

Happy 7th Birthday to LostCousins

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Favourite Genealogy Form - Certificate & Census

Everyone has a favourite genealogy form that they use.  Lots of genealogists love the Family Group Sheets, or the Census History Form, the Individual Worksheet or the Biographical Outline; the list goes on.  There are lots of worksheets and forms that do a great job, I use many of them.  However my favourite is one you will not find on any of the genealogy sites, I developed it myself following frustration with masses of paperwork.

As genealogist we "collect" anything and everything we can about our ancestors.  I often just want a quick reference guide of where I am up to on my research, mainly at a direct ancestor level; say one of my 2 x gt grandfathers.  The question's I ask myself are - do I have all the BMD certificates, parish records, and the Census forms for this ancestor.  I need a reminder, short and sweet.

I became fed up with the constant shuffling of paper, searching through computer files, folders, etc.   I wanted to know precisely what data I had and what was missing.  Basically what should I be working on.  Below is my Certificates and Census Worksheet, a quick reference guide to where I am up to with my direct line ancestors.

This worksheet tells me many things:
- Do I have a name for my ancestor
- When and where were they born or baptised
- When and where were they married (or not married)
- When and where did they die (burial or cremation)

Some annotations are:
- If it is in red then I have the certificate
- If there is a 'c' in front of the date, I have no poof it is a best guess
- If the date is in black without a 'c' then it has been seen in parish records
- A '?' after the place name means most likely
- There are date ranges e.g. 1841-51, this means it happened between census'
- A '+' after the date means the event happened later than this date

As you can see it is easy to annotate the base data with other relevant information.
    If you want to try my form then you can download it from here - Certificate and Census Template

    The Excel Workbook has 4 Worksheets (Tabs): Certificates, Census, All Data, and Relation Name Tester.  Note that the ancestors Name only needs to be entered once on the Certificates sheet, it will ripple through to the other sheets.  Don't enter any data on the All Data sheet.

    Couples in the 18/19th century often used a naming convention for their children.  The Relation Name Tester is a little App that I occasionally use to try and find the first names of a couples parents based on the names of their children.  It sometimes works!

    I hope you have found this post useful.  You may have something similar in your array of forms/sheets, let me know what your favourite form is and why.

    Saturday, 9 April 2011

    Surname Saturday : Timmins (WOR, STS, CHS); Hayes (CHS); Williams (FLN, CHS); Benyon (SAL, CHS)

    I’m concentrating this post on the surnames of my grandparents.  Timmins and Hayes are my paternal side, whilst Williams and Benyon are my maternal side.

    My aim (wishfull thinking!) is to find all my living cousins that descend from these lines.  So here goes with a list of my grandparents, their siblings and spouses; hoping that my cousins see this post at some time and get in contact.

    Children of Albert TIMMINS and Hannah Jones:
    Joseph Timmins (1883 – 1955); married 1907
    Mary Jones (1884 – 1957)
    Frances Timmins (1885 – 1942); married 1915
    Frank Tibbetts (  – 1966)
    Albert Charles Timmins (1887 – 1967); married 1910
    Ethel Maud Simmonds (1889 – 1975)
    William Timmins (1889 -  1971); married 1913
    Annie Hayes (1887 – 1958)

    My Timmins’ are mainly found in the Dudley and Wolverhampton area’s of the West Midlands (Worcestershire and Staffordshire).  My grandfather moved to Chester (Cheshire) around 1911.

    Children of Edward HAYES and Jane Smith:
    George Edward Hayes (1879 – 1943); married 1905
    Charlotte Fish (1883 – 1959)
    William Hayes (1881 -  ); married 1909
    Edith Basnett (1883 – 1950)
    James Hayes (1884 -  )
    Mary Jane Hayes (1886 -  ); married 1907
    John William Cobb (  -  )
    Annie Hayes (1887 – 1958); married 1913
    William Timmins  (1889 – 1971)
    Joseph Hayes (1889 – 1950); married 1927
    Ada Cox (  -  )
    Elizabeth Hayes (1890 – 1890)
    Thomas Hayes (1892 – 1917)
    Sarah Hayes (1894 -  ); married 1920
    Robert Hancock
    John Hayes (1896 -  ); married 1923
    Alice Goodwin

    My Hayes clan are all found in and around the Chester area (Cheshire) from the end of the 18th century.

    Children of William WILLIAMS and Mary Ann Thomas:
    Emma Williams (1874 -  )
    John Henry Williams (1875 – 1925); married 1897
    Martha Benyon (1876 – 1954)
    Mary Jane Williams (1879 -  ); married 1899
    George Tattum (1879 -  )
    Isaac Williams (1880 -  )
    William Owen Williams (1883 -  ); married 1918
    Elizabeth Humphries (1886 -  )
    Margaret Ann Williams (1886 -  ); married 1904
    William Thomas Smith (1878 -  )
    Llewelyn Williams (1889 -  ); married 1912
    Ruth Ellen Morgan (1889 -  )
    Robert Thomas Williams (1891 -  ); married 1909
    Mary Elizabeth Parry (1890 -  )
    Alice Ann Williams (1894 -  ); married 1915
    James Thomas Henry Blythin (1888 -   )
    Sarah Elizabeth Williams (1897 -  ); married 1919
    Francis Thomas Hughes (1890 -  )

    My Williams’ are centred around the Holywell area of Flintshire.  My grandfather moved his family to Chester (Cheshire) about 1900.

    Children of Robert BENYON and Mary Fennah:
    Thomas Benyon (1868 -  1936); married 1892
    Alice Amelia Povey (1870 – 1952)
    John Benyon (1870 -  ); married 1892
    Mary Jane Vickers ( - )
    William Benyon (1874 -  ); married
    Martha Evans (1880 -  )
    Martha Benyon (1876 – 1954); married 1897
    John Henry Williams (1875 – 1925)
    Robert Henry Benyon (1879 – 1934); married 1903
    Alice Underhill (1879 – 1937)
    George Benyon (1882 – 1884)
    Joseph Benyon (1884 – 1916); married 1905
    Lorna Grace Harris
    Sarah Ann Benyon (1886 – 1947); married 1921
    Charles Bent
    Mary Benyon (1890 -  ); married 1919
    Philip Woollam Baker (1892 -  )
                   Florence Benyon (1893 – 1893)

    My Benyon ancestors originally came from the Wem and Ruyton-IX-Towns area’s in Shropshire.  My 2xgt grandfather moved his family to Chester via Birmingham in the middle of the 19th century.

    I wish that more descendents of my ancestors would use LostCousins it would save me all this Blogging!

    Wednesday, 6 April 2011

    Not So - Wordless Wednesday - John Henry Williams 1875 - 1925


    My Maternal Grandfather
    John Henry WILLIAMS (aka Jack)
    Born Holywell North Wales 25 March 1875

    My Grandfather (right) with his eldest son John (also called Jack)

    Jack jnr was born 31 Jan 1898 in Leigh Lancashire

    In 1900 the family moved to Hoole in Chester

    These two photographs were taken during the First World War.  They illustrate the effect that the war had on people.  If you look at the first photo this shows a proud man in his new uniform ready to serve his country.  The second shows a dejected, weary, thin man a couple of years later.

    To date I have been unable to find the war records of either my grandfather or uncle, so I don't know what they did, or where they served?  From their uniforms I surmise that they were in the Royal Artillery - Clarification and help welcomed.

    Family remember that JH signed up for the army to keep an eye out for his 16 year old son who had run away to join up.  JH would be about 40.  They both 'survived' the war.

    My grandfather died in 1925 - aged 50.  On his death certificate it states he died from Tuberculosis.  His wife and children doubted this, they thought he actually died from the results of coming into contact with mustard gas.

    Following the war JH had joined the fire service in Sandycroft near Chester.  During his service it is believed he "visited" the munitions factory where mustard gas bombs were being dismantled.