Tuesday, January 16, 2018

General Register Office PDF Pilot

Have you been ordering birth and death certificates online from England and Wales via the General Register Office (GRO)?  It has just been confirmed that the latest pilot scheme to deliver PDF copies of birth and death records has been a success and will be extended.

Over 79,600 PDF applications had been processed in the three months from the introduction of the pilot on 12 October 2017.  The GRO previously conducted a three-phase PDF pilot between November 2016 and April 2017, but has yet to establish a permanent PDF scheme.  As a result of this popularity and positive feedback, the pilot scheme has now been extended past the minimum three month period.  The scheme applies to births from 1837 to 1916 and deaths from 1837 to 1957, but (sadly) excludes marriage records.

By allowing family historians to order digital copies of records at £6 each with a 5-working day delivery period, it provides a cheaper and quicker alternative to ordering print copies, which cost £9.25 each or £23.40 for priority deliveries.

Personally, I have been taking advantage of this new service quite a bit over the past several months and have had a very positive experience.  All certificates have arrive quickly, and all but one have been correct.  For the one that wasn't right, I simply emailed the GRO pointing out the error (they had supplied the wrong certificate) and the correct certificate arrived within a few days, at no extra cost.  I'll be ordering a few more certificates shortly, and am hoping they will extend the pilot to include marriage certificates soon.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Chruch of Ireland Gazette goes online

Almost 70 years of editions of the Church of Ireland Gazette, the Church of Ireland’s weekly newspaper, have been published online for free by the Representative Church Body Library.
The editions date from March 1856, when the paper first appeared, to December 1923, after the Irish Free State was declared, and cover both modern Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Historian Dr Miriam Moffitt said: “The Gazette is wonderful because it provides not only an outline of the events that impacted on the Church over the last 150 years, but also because it gives us an insight into the attitudes of its readership.”
The Gazette ran birth, marriage and death notices relating to clergymen and their families, as well as news stories, columns and advertisements.  Maybe you can find out more about events in your family's parish or other interesting snippets about their lives.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Week 2 - Favourite Photo - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Genealogist Amy Johnson Crow has started a genealogy challenge for 2018. "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" is a series of weekly prompts to encourage us to share some of the information about our ancestors that we have accumulated.  This week's prompt is "Favourite Photo", and it has led me to look back through the collection of family photos I have accumulated - both in printed and digital formats - and pick out a few that stand out for me and think about the stories behind them. 

This is the wedding photo of my maternal great-grandparents, James Nicholas Clark and Pricilla Veronica Mulholland.  James worked as a contractor and eventually as an overseer for Brighton City Council.  They married on the 3rd August 1898 in Brighton, Melbourne.  It was James's second marriage.  His first, to Eliza Hawley, ended in divorce, which was fairly rare at the time.
The divorce was reported in the Brighton Southern Cross on 14 August 1897, which I found thanks to Trove.  James and Eliza had two children, whom Eliza also left when she deserted James.  He remarried just under a year later, and he and Pricilla had a further 12 children.  My Grandmother, Gladys Daisy Clark, was their 5th child.

This photo is one of the first I borrowed from my grandmother and had copied back when I first started my family history research, and when I purchased my first scanner it was also promptly digitised.  When my grandmother passed away in 1995 I was fortunate enough to obtain the original, an old sepia photo on cardboard that I keep carefully stored away and a copy on display.  I have very few photos of this generation of my family, and even less originals, so I find this one quite special.