My Favourite Cornish Genealogy Websites (and They’re Free)...

While my own overseas research has taken a back seat for a little while, as I concentrate more on my Australian emigrants, and their families out here, I do have a strong connection to Cornwall with a number of my families hailing from there, as well as a few of Mr Lonetester’s gang too. As my Cornish roots are ones that I have traced reasonably extensively, I became familiar with a number of free websites that are useful for researching your Cornish ancestors. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, just someone who’s researching their family history and came across a bunch of websites that I found useful. Anyway  thought I’d share my favourite ones with you here. This did start out as being a “top 10 list”, but as you can see it grew, and grew as I went through all the sites I have bookmarked under Cornish Genealogy <grin>. For this post I have chosen to exclude commercial data websites such as findmypast.co.uk, www.ancestry.co.uk, and thegenealogist.co.uk all of which I have used at various times, but those listed below are all free. A2A (Access to Archives) http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/advanced-search.aspx?tab=1 The A2A website is a seriously awesome website. It is an amazing resource not just for Cornwall, but for the whole of the UK. Archives and repositories around the UK have indexed much of their holdings, much of what you won’t actually find online. Cornwall Family History Society http://www.cornwallfhs.com/index.php Since its beginning in the mid-170s, the Society has aimed to become a ‘centre of excellence’ by encouraging Cornish family history research. Along with publishing a quarterly Journal, the Society has co-ordinated the transcription and indexing of over 5 million original records so far, as well maintaining a...

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: A is for … A2A (Access to Archives)...

You might think hang on, what is she doing. Is she starting the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge again??  In short no, but let me explain. As I never actually did the letter A thanks to a lack of inspiration which lasted until about the letter J or so, and I really would like to complete the whole alphabet, I am doing it now. And I figured it was better to do it at the end, rather than right in the middle. So for my A post … A is for … A2A (Access to Archives) Some of you may have heard of the A2A website, others may not have. But for me it is one of the most amazing sites around. As part of the UK’s National Archives, the A2A database contains indexed listings of items and documents that archives throughout England hold. These records date from the eighth century to the present day. While it contains an impressive 10.3 million records relating to 9.45 million items held in 418 record offices and other repositories, the estimate is that this is still only about 30% of all records that the archive repositories hold. Even with only 10 million records (who am I kidding, 10 million records indexed is 10 million more than I would have known about had it not been for this site) this site is awesome. On the opening search screen, you can type in a keyword such as a name or a place, and see what comes up. However if you click on Advanced Search you can narrow it down to include “all these words”, choose a date range, choose a place, select a repository, or select a region. I nearly always just do...

Origins … Where Are You From?...

What are your origins? Where are you from? These are questions that are common amongst us genie-folk. And when asked, you know that they aren’t looking for the town where you grew up (well, not usually anyway), but rather where do your roots lie. My origins are mostly English, with a little Irish, a touch of European, and one branch from Finland … all of this heritage is what makes me, ME!! At our shop at work  (Gould Genealogy & History) we have had a big family tree chart of our family up on display. However since our move to a smaller shop in January this year it has remained rolled up, awaiting inspiration on just where we can actually fit it. Well this week, I moved some things around, and up went our family tree chart again. YAY! I must say that after not having seen the chart since January, it was very cool to see it again. And one thing that really struck me was the little map up the top which shows the “places of origin of our ancestors”, and noted just visually useful it is. So standing on a chair, I whipped out my trusty little Flip-Pal scanner (where  would I be without it?), and scanned the map so I could put it here, to show you just how cool adding family names to a map can make your family history. This chart (and map) were created by my dad quite a number of years ago, and while it doesn’t cover every line of my family (by a long way), it is still a great chart. In fact it mostly only follows a few lines on dad’s side of the family, so I’m thinking in all...

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: O is for … Online Parish Clerks (OPC’s)...

I found that coming up with something for the letter “O” of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge was a bit of a toughy, but finally found some inspiration, and would like to tell you about one of the websites that I’ve used a lot with my research. O is for ONLINE PARISH CLERKS (or OPCs as they’re more commonly known) Online Parish Clerks are a group of volunteers who transcribe parish records, and make them available online for free. The main Online Parish Clerks website makes the statement that OPCs “… are volunteers who collect genealogical information about a specific parish and answer email enquiries without charge”. Sound too good to be true? Well, it is 100% true. As genealogists we all know that parish records are fabulous records (and by that I mean MUST-HAVE records). I mean they include baptisms, marriages, marriage banns, and burials … so of course genie’s are gonna love them! But the OPCs go further than just the ‘core’  records. Depending on the county, you’ll also find histories of towns, old maps, monumental inscriptions, indexes of wills, as well as military records. The volunteers involved with the Online Parish Clerks Project are not only passionate about genealogy, but are also wanting to give something back, and do so by transcribing records, and answering queries, rather a variant form of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK). There are 11 individual OPC websites running at present, each covering a different English county: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Somerset, Sussex, Warwickshire, and Wiltshire. Fortunately Cornwall, Devon and Sussex are where my main research focus lies at present. Remember the ‘transcriptions on the OPC websites are all a ‘work-in-progress’, but between them, they’ve transcribed millions...