Welcome to the NWKFHS Blog

Monday, 5 November 2018

NWKFHS Sevenoaks Branch Indoor Street Party on 8 November 8pm

'Street Party' to commemorate the end of WW1 

If you are free this Thursday evening 8 November at 8pm please join members of North West Kent Family History Society at their indoor street party. 

Just bring a small tea - plate size plate of food with you towards the group refreshments. No need to book. 

More info from sevenoaks@nwkfhs.org.uk 

Venue: Sevenoaks Community Centre, Cramptons Road, off Otford Road, Sevenoaks TN14 5DN Doors open 7.15pm, meeting starts 8pm. Finishes by 9.30pm. There is a large free car park.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Why do we study family history?

Dick Eastman’s Newsletter of 7 June 2018 asked the question ‘Why do we study genealogy?
Genealogy is defined as the direct descent of an individual or group from an ancestor.
It is a simpler question than ‘Why do we study family history’.
Family History I believe is to research not only our lines of descent but also the details of our family members, their occupations, the places they lived and the social influences that affected their lives. It is trying to understand what made them do what they did. One question that crops up as you discover more about them is why they survived to create the generations of our family. They endured war, disease, poverty and occupational injuries. Sometimes they were working with the law and sometimes they appeared on the opposite side or merely as witnesses. Every event creating a record of their existence.
So why do we study family history? It is because:-
  • It is curiosity.
  • It is the search.
  • It is the sense of knowing more about the family than other members of it know.
  • It is the discovery.
  • It is the puzzle as to where to look.
  • It is finding sources that add to the search.
  • It is the discovering characters that you like and wish you had known.
  • It is the discovering characters that you feel you would not have liked, but wish you had known.
  • It is the challenge of a ‘brick wall’ and the joy at demolishing it.
  • It is the history of the place that the family inhabited.
  • It is the history of the country that affected them.
  • It is the journeys they undertook and the reason why they traveled.
  • It is an addiction.
So why do you study family history?

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Fake Pedigrees

‘Genealogy and the medieval historian’ by Michael Maclagan from the paper presented at the 1978 English Genealogy Congress held at St Catherine College, Cambridge.

In a recent workshop at NWKFHS Society Library I explored errors, lies and other misinformation in records found in the commercial and government indexes online. There are also a number of fake pedigrees that are known within the genealogical community such as those written by Gustav Anjou between 1890 and 1942 [Online https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Fraudulent_Genealogies]. Michael Maclagan mentions a case of someone embellishing their Ancestry. Sir Walter de Norwich d 1329 became Chief Baron of the Exchequer and his son John Admiral North of the Thames became a peer in 1342. The pedigree compiled with supporting forged documents (Maclagan p12 quoting Bodleian MS Top. Gen.c.62 (formerly Phillips 3796)) claims to go back to a companion of William the Conqueror.

Pedigree Collapse

‘Genealogy and the medieval historian’ by Michael Maclagan from the paper presented at the 1978 English Genealogy Congress held at St Catherine College, Cambridge.

If you have any interest in pedigree collapse and that your ancestors may have been related by multiple descent lines, then you will find Michael Maclagan’s paper of interest. He stresses “the wide spread of family connections through the Middle Ages”.
He gives examples of marriages forbidden by canon law that took place either by a clandestine marriage or by papal dispensation. The marriage between relatives has continued since medieval ages as Michael admits to be a child of second cousins.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Bromley meeting 22nd September 2018 now 15th September

Due to an unfortunate sequence of events that were out of our hands, we have had to change the date of our September meeting from Saturday 22nd to Saturday 15th. The venue is the Methodist Church as usual. Meryl Catty will still able to visit us, but we have had to change the title of the talk, as Maureen Binks will be on holiday on the 15th. Meryl’s talk will be 'Our Newspaper Heritage': a light-hearted introduction to the history of the press enlivened with extracts from newspapers, humorous, tragic and macabre as well as the more mundane.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Insight into occupation records

Everyone of your ancestors had to earn a living to survive, no social services and little parish support. So if you want to learn more about occupational records then Jean Stirk's workshop on 21 March 2018 will help you.
Contact workshop@nwkfhs.org.uk. There are places available for members.
Sorry, due to lack of workshop space we cannot accept non-members booking applications at this time.

Friday, 9 March 2018

New Web site goes live

The new web site has gone live www.nwkfhs.org.uk. Its been a long time coming but I feel the content and new layout have been well worth while.
There is now a members area which adds to the experience for members. It contains data available only to members.
To access the members area you need to enter your membership number and surname in caps.
Then clicking forgot password and it will take you through the process of entering a new password that you can choose.
Enjoy the site.

If you have a problem it may be because we have a small teething problem with email addresses because there are instances of two members having the same email address. Its mainly family members who for convenience have the same email address noted by the Society. So please can you change it so both family members have different email addresses.
Please let the membership@nwkfhs.org.uk, webmaster@nwkfhs.org.uk or me president@nwkfhs.org.uk know of the changed email address with your membership number in a private email. Please do not add it as a comment. Thanks

Friday, 2 March 2018

Find a spouse only 6 miles from home

The Daily Mail today (2nd March 2018) in an article by Victor Allen (science correspondent) reported a study that the 'baby boomer' generation of post WW2 typically married someone who lived six miles away. This was compared to Europe where they married 18 miles from home and in America it is 60 miles from home. The study published in the journal 'Science' co-authored by Dr Yaniv Erlich from Columbia University whose researchers trawled genealogy web sites to create a large scientific family tree of data.  The family tree is 11 generations deep covering the period 1650 to 1950.
Why the British travel less is put down to better local economic opportunities, social norms and being a small island country with closer towns and hamlets than in Europe and America.
The article mentions that before 1850 marrying into the family was common to someone who on average was a fourth cousin.
The advent of rail travel; 1820-1875; enabled people to marry partners from further afield. As did other forms of transport such as the bicycle and motor car. The study also found that women in Europe and America have migrated more than men, but men travelled further on average.
Think only of your ancestors that went to the British colonies or hunted diamonds in South Africa or gold in Australia and America.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Transcriptions volunteers

The data backbone of Family History Societies is the transcribing and indexing of original documents. Eric Jackson in his report for the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) general meeting (2018) mentions the transcribers' comradery of the Lancashire ‘Crew Lists Project’ volunteers. The same atmosphere is enjoyed by NWKFHS volunteers. In addition to the transcribing activities there is also a team of volunteers creating a catalogue of the books, photographs, fiche and old documents held in the Society Library. At these sessions the comradery is created by the supply of tea, coffee and biscuits with lots of ready banter among the team. The advantage the Society has is having a room in which to work with the tools of atlases, magnifying glasses and guidance references and adjacent kitchen facilities.

Members are very welcome to join the transcription and cataloguing teams by offering their services at the regular monthly branch meetings or at the Library on any Wednesday.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Metropolitan Police History

Ken Chamberlain at Dartford on Saturday talked about the history of the Metropolitan police force and during the presentation gave hints on researching your police ancestors. The first was to contact the metropolitan police historical collection www.metpolicehistory.co.uk and the second was the guidance notes at the TNA. The TNA under the MEPO piece number MEPO4 has a number of registers that have been digitised and are FREE to view on line. You can in 'Discovery' enter the ancestors name and  then view the actual register entry online at no cost. I managed to see the registers that gave the date of recruitment, date of leaving, warrant number and the division of members of my family who served in the police. One of these men served not in London but at Chatham Dockyard.
A good talk that surprised me in providing information that has lead to four new pieces of family history. Thanks Ken.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Society Photographic Albums

The Society photographic albums are in two areas. The albums in the store includes  donations from the families of deceased members, informal recording by Society officers and members, and events over the last forty years. The albums on the open shelves are photographs and postcards reproduced in a standard size to suit the album. The originals that do not suit the albums are in store.
 The albums can be browsed during the Wednesday  sessions of the Society Library and resource centre. Some of the Society event photos are better labelled than others. Please pop in and see if you can add names! All of the photographs on the open shelves are fully labelled and most dated.

Friday, 19 January 2018

County boundaries and mapping your ancestors' locations

At the mapping workshop on Wednesday 17th January 2018 one of the queries raised was to do with a brickmaker in 1911 at Kilsyth, Stirlingshire. Checking the Brickmakers Index there were two entries for sources that refer to Kilsyth. The first was Gartshore Brickworks at Kilsyth, Dunbartonshire. The second was for Gartshore Brickworks at Kiltsyth Stirlingshire. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland publication 'Brick Tile and Fireclay Industries in Scotland' has a diagram G3 distribution map of sites in Clackmannanshire, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Stirlingshire. There is a small area between Stirlingshire and Lanarkshire that is unlabelled. This area is East Dunbartonshire. where this publication lists Gartshore Brickworks, Kilsyth as in the NGR location NS706743. It was thought there could have been two brickworks. However the 1956 OS map supplied from the National Library of Scotland web site [http://maps.nls.uk//view/91578896] of old maps shows a single brickworks on the north of the B8048 road and south of the railway spur that joins the Glasgow to Stirling main line at about Drumgrew Bridge. This was one of the colliery brickworks taken over by the NCB (National Coal Board) when they took over the mining collieries in 1946/47.
It just shows that places and parishes need to be checked. I good guide for England and Wales is Philimore's Atlas and Index. As an example in Bedfordshire Kensworth was previously in Hertfordshire and Swineshead was in Huntingdonshire.
Good luck with mapping your ancestors and I hope it helps you breakdown barriers.