Friday, 22 April 2016

SOGNET - a very special database

A hidden resource available at the Society of Genealogists (SoG), in London is SOGNET.

The entire SOGNET database contains 2,859 separate records. Within those records are many single level documents.  A two page article written in the Genealogists' Magazine by Neville Taylor, (a long time volunteer at SoG) explains the research process.

This is my summary:
Search on the Society catalogue, choosing SOGNET as the location and type in a geographic place name as the Subject. For example, typing in Yorkshire retrieves 16 results of unique records. Then you will need to contact the SoG to ask about getting a copy of the record you need. If you are a member, you will receive a discount for research. Or make a visit to Charterhouse Buildings in London to do the search on the computers in the Lower Library.

This database is only available onsite at the SoG library. The agreement between SoG and the person who donated the collection was to ensure that the material be made available only in the library.

However, don't let that tiny roadblock prevent you from investigating the resources available. Considering the amount of indexing and transcribing taking place at the Society, this is good value for your money!

Another database which is available from your home computer, is SOGDataOnline, a database especially strong in Monumental Inscriptions from counties around the UK. Login to SOGDataOnline on the website with your account details.

For help with any of this material, please contact the Society of Genealogists:
020 7251 8799
Email enquiries via the Society's website:

Taylor, Neville. "SOGNET - What is it and how do I use it?" p.28-29. Genealogists' Magazine, Journal of the Society of Genealogists. Vol. 32, No. 1, March 2016.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Poole Dorset to Newfoundland

On holiday recently in Dorset I found a surprising connection between Poole, Dorset and Newfoundland. Many families emigrated from Poole to Newfoundland in the 1700s and 1800s and it all has to do with cod.

According to the information in one of the galleries at the Poole Museum, over 20% of Newfoundlanders claim their ancestors came from Poole. This harbour town receives many visitors from Newfoundland who are researching their ancestors. They are very proud of the connection to Newfoundland, and they have named two streets as Newfoundland Drive and Labrador Drive. 

The Poole Museum, , which houses the tourist information centre, has displays describing the area's geographical history, archaeological discoveries, as well as modern day Poole. An important artefact is the famous Iron Age Poole log boat displayed on the main floor. They also have a small gallery that explains the connection between the Newfoundland cod trade and Poole.  @PooleMuseum 

The museum has also created a website that hosts photographs and stories about the people and buildings in Poole. There is a 'People Finder' search option and they are keen to gather more material from visitors.

A few of the men who became 'cod' wealthy were Samuel White, Benjamin Lester, John Slade. Amy, daughter of Benjamin Slade, married George Garland. 

The history centre provides an enquiry service, not only for genealogists, but for those searching for history of the area and fishing industry :

The Dorset Archives Service in Dorchester has a large collection of family history material which also covers Poole. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

WDYTYALive! 2016 Caribbean Family History

Fabulous to see representation of the Caribbean community at the WDYTYA show. Certainly under-represented.

Caribbean Family History Group of Solihull and Birmingham. 

From their blog they report they are building a collection of Caribbean resources at the Solihull Library. 

Solihull Library Blog: 

Some genealogy resources:
- 398 records catalogued under the term West Indies at the Society of Genealogists 
- also at the Society of Genealogists is research donated by Mrs. Verona Smith, her research relates to families in Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Nevis, St. Kitts, Carolina and Virginia

Caribbean Genealogy Library, Virgin Islands -
A BBC History article on searching Caribbean ancestors by Guy Grannum -

Contact the Solihull Caribbean Family History Group -

Monday, 18 April 2016

WDYTYALive! 2016 Military Checkpoint

The Military Checkpoint at WDYTYA Live 2016 is sponsored by Ogilby Trust.

These men, some of whom are ex-military, provide help to genealogists in identifying uniforms from photos, medals, and providing details about regiment histories. They are a hard working group and have attended WDYTYA for the past 4 years that I am aware of. I always enjoy meeting up with them to discuss military and archive news.

Cumbria's Museum of Military Life

The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment
Lancashire Infantry Museum

IWM North

King's Own Royal Regiment Museum
-they have a Facebook page

Mercian Regiment Museum

The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum
Salisbury, Wiltshire

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers' Museum
(6th Foot Royal Warwickshire)

The Staffordshire Regiment Museum
Lichfield, Staffordshire

Hope they will be at WDYTYA Live 2017!
I am keen to promote the hard work of #military #archives and #libraries.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Maritime Libraries in the UK - Shipwreck and Marine Ltd.

Another post from The Maritime Information book.
The title is:
Maritime Information : a guide to libraries and sources of information in the United Kingdom. by Fenton, Briody and Macdonald. 2004. 1901703452

Keep an eye out for future posts that highlight various archives around the UK.
At the end are links to other Maritime Information.
Disclaimer: as this material was published in 2004, I have tried to update the websites (2016), but internet addresses often change.

Shipwreck and Marine Ltd.
Special Collections:
Comprehensive collections of all UK shipwreck standard reference books, plus extensive archive of documents relating to shipwrecks around the UK and Ireland. Extensive archive of documents relating to wrecked ships around UK and Ireland. 'Lloyd's Lists' 1741-1826; 'Admiralty Wreck Returns' 1816-1854; 'Board of Trade Wreck Returns' 1855-1919; 'Lloyd's Casualty Returns' 1894-date; Complete set of Admiralty charts for UK and Ireland. The late Bill Butland's shipwreck card index, research collection, correspondence and library of shipping companies' histories.

Please fill in the contact form on the website in regards to queries about these titles.
Thank you for mentioning the reference from this blog article.

Richard Larn and his wife Bridget wrote 'Shipwreck Index of the British Isles'(Vol's 1-6) a monumental work with details of 45,000 ships. Along with Alan Jones, they manage the website:

See also:
Maritime Libraries in the UK :

Aberdeen,  Cumbria,  East India Company,  Liverpool,  ShipwrecksWales

“Reproduced by kind permission of the Maritime Information Association”

Voyage to America

This is an interesting research project for a friend of the family.

Their ancestor, John Walker, was a minister in Leicestershire who kept a sporadic diary of his visits to parishes in Redford, Willoughby, Whysall and Ratcliff, amongst others from 1807-1812. 

In 1835 he travelled with his family from Ibstock, Leicestershire for Manchester and subsequently Liverpool, leaving in Sept. 1835 for America. They left Manchester on the Queen Adelaide on Sept. 27, 1835 arriving in New York Nov. 7, 1835. Unfortunately, he does not name any of his fellow passengers, but in various entries he mentions : 

'There are about 22 passengers in the other end of the vessel, chiefly the poor Irish.' He also says 'There are about one hundred of us on board and some from almost all parts, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Derbyshire, &tc.'

What is particularly interesting is his record of 'Expenses to America', listed here. It gives a clear picture of what he paid for preparations for the voyage including the passage.

Sept. 17, 1835

Coach fare to Manchester
Bread, cheese and ale


Railway fare to Liverpool

Kenworthy for goods from Derby to Liverpool
Butcher for meat & c.
Baker for bread
Groceries, & c.
Porter, & c., spirits
Byrnes for flour, meal, eggs & c.
D. for Langhorn

D. for passage for 4-1/2 adults at 3£
Hostable money each 4/6
Mrs. Barnes, lodgings, tea, bed, breakfast and dinner
At D. & coach fare

Barnes for Tea, Bed and Breakfast

Travelling Box

Bread and Meat


Not sure what D. means, my assumption would be 'Ditto'. 
Using the National Archives converting tool, the total amount would be £1,791.56 in 2005. 
From the conversion suggests £3,573.00 in 2015.

A substantial bit of money to spend on a voyage to America which I am certain Walker obtained from the sale of land and a home in Leicestershire.

On to more research of this interesting individual!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Maritime Libraries in the UK - Liverpool

Here is another post from The Maritime Information book.
The title is:
Maritime Information : a guide to libraries and sources of information in the United Kingdom. by Fenton, Briody and Macdonald. 2004. 1901703452

Keep an eye out for future posts that highlight various archives around the UK.
Disclaimer: as this material was published in 2004, I have tried to update the websites (2016), but internet addresses often change.

Liverpool Athenaeum
Special Collections: Some manuscript material on voyages; Log of a nautical club, 1776-1781; Holden's Tide Tables; Richard Piper, master of brig Henricus (italics) - business papers, 1807-10 and 1815-20.

Liverpool and Glasgow Salvage Association
(LGSA Marine)
Subject Coverage: Minute books for cases involving marine salvage prior to 1968.

Liverpool John Moore's University
Special Collections: Archive material on nautical education, including that from the Liverpool Nautical College from 1895

Liverpool Nautical Research Society
Special Collections: The Liverpool Nautical Research Society's archives are held at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Liverpool Record Office
Special Collections:
Records of Booth Steamship Co., 1866-1971; Indefatigable and National Sea Training School for boys, 1860s-1980s; Inman Steamship Company, late 19th century; Papers of Captain John Peacock, (1805-1883), 1798-1958; Crew lists; Accounts of the Enterprise (italics) (slave ship including crew list).

University of Liverpool Library - Special Collections and Archives
Subject Coverage:  University archives: some research papers relating to maritime history; Cunard archives; Cunard-related deposits.

National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside (NMGM)
Maritime Archives and Library
Special Collections: Titanic  (italics) collection - material relating to the building and sinking of the ship; Luisitania  (italics)  collection - material relating to the building and sinking of the ship; Slavery records - anti-slavery material; papers of slave trade merchants; 'Lloyds Register' from 1764; 'Lloyd's List' from 1741-1974 (microfilm); National set of Customs Bills of Entry series for the major ports of Great Britain and Ireland, including complete set for Liverpool, 1820-1939; Liverpool registers of merchant ships; Photographs, maps and charts.

See also:
Maritime Libraries in the UK :

Aberdeen,  Cumbria,  East India Company,  Liverpool,  ShipwrecksWales

“Reproduced by kind permission of the Maritime Information Association”

Monday, 4 April 2016


John D. Reid reports on his blog that the Alberta Genealogy Society is partnering with Saskatchewan and Manitoba Genealogy Society to produce special editions of their family history journals that will focus on 'Families of the NWMP'.

The North West Mounted Police (NWMP) were the 'territorial' force of the Northwest Territories of Western Canada that was later renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  This area later was divided into the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Today the Northwest Territories is a separate province in northern Canada.

Alberta Genealogy: "We will publish articles about the NWMP families in all three journals and then distribute each of them electronically to all members of the three associations." This author hopes there will be a chance to purchase these issues separately as the information will no doubt provide lots of food for thought for those whose ancestors policed the wilds of Canada.

More information is provided on the Call For Papers page of the Alberta Genealogy website. 


Deadline: June 1, 2016 for publication in the August 2016 issue.

Also see my post about the book, Red Serge and Polar Bear Pants - the biography of Harry Smallworthy, from Gloucestershire who joined the RNWMP in 1914. 

Pen & Sword Books

Pen & Sword Books are really helpful reference tools. The Family History series are well written and provide some unusual aspects to genealogy.

Some of the more unusual ones that I've noticed:
- Family Matters : A history of Genealogy Michael Sharpe ISBN: 9781848845596
- Fishing and Fishermen : a guide for Family Historians by Martin Wilcox ISBN: 9781844159888
- Tracing Your Ancestor's Childhood by Sue Wilkes ISBN: 9781781591666
- Tracing Your Secret Service Ancestors by Phil Tomaselli ISBN: 9781844159871
- Women's Lives : Researching Women's Social History 1800-1939 by Jennifer Newby ISBN: 9781848843684

The most recent one that is gathering a lot of steam is the Family History Web Directory, the author was a journalist, searching the internet for research about the story lines he was following.

The Family History Web Directory : The Genealogical Websites You Can't Do Without by Jonathan Scott ISBN: 9781473837997

Another one to add via John D. Reid's Blog:

Historical Research Using British Newspapers by Denise Bates ISBN: 9781473859005
- pre-order for £10.50!

Some titles are available for download to your Kindle or e-Reader, but I'm such a Luddite, as I prefer a book in my hands! I am looking forward to seeing them at WDYTYA Live in Birmingham, as they often offer good deals on their stand. As well, it's just lovely to see all the covers laid out together in one big happy family!