Filling in some gaps in the family history with the general record office

There’s an awful lot of information out there which should be online but isn’t yet so my family history research is often dictated by the timing of information appearing online.

For instance, whilst contemplating an extended trip to the General Records Office some years ago, I found out that there were plans afoot to make their information available over the internet. That time has now arrived and their online search has speeded up considerably what was proving to be a very time consuming and unfruitful search involving trips to various local registry offices.

Why it was unfruitful is because I’d taken the information written in an 1850s era family bible to be correct. Certainly one thing that I knew to be correct was the place of marriage of the guy whose family bible it was. After all, he’d written that and obviously he would have known where he was married. Turns out that he was wrong and whilst the family bible says (in his handwriting) that he was married in Ballymoney, he was actually married in the Ballymena registry office.

Getting back to him was a breeze with the new service. I had the rough date of marriage of my grandparents and a matter of minutes later I was looking at a copy of their marriage certificate. Going back to his parents’ marriage certificates was another few minutes as was the next generation (the guy who owned the family bible). I can’t go back any further as registration only stated in 1845 but I have a definite location to check with the church records now.

My grandmother’s side is a little more complicated as her dad came from Scotland. It’s still a bit confusing as the family is in Belfast on the 1911 census, but not on the 1901 census yet she was born in Belfast in 1897. Tracking down her parents marriage took 20 minutes or so as I only had the rough date of birth of her dad and you can only search the records in five year slots but I’ve got that now. That in itself changes things somewhat as he was in Belfast much earlier than I’d thought. It gets more difficult from this point as his birth was somewhere in Scotland and his name isn’t overly rare so I will need to think about how to identify him now without knowing the names of any of his family.


Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Weird marketing terms

The way that some marketing terms arise is quite peculiar, isn’t it.

For instance, Cyber Monday, the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday, came from a marketing campaign that ran five years ago which was picked up by many of the other online retailers. Nowadays, it’s become a day (or, in some countries, a week) of major discounting for online retailers. Crazy as it may seem to do a week of major discounting, I’m sure that consumers don’t complain about it as an early Christmas shopping day.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

A dose of romance in your life

I do not believe the cynics who claim that there is no romance around anymore. Don’t agree? Just take a trip to the cities of Paris, Venice or Rome and you will see that romance is well and truly still alive. Maybe it is the times we live in and the non-stop rush of everyday living that drags us down and makes us forget not just what, but WHO, is the most important thing in our life. I hold the opinion that the Europeans hold the key to this, and if you don’t believe me then pay a visit to Paris, or one of those other cities mentioned above. Everywhere you go you will see couples together; holding hands, kissing or just being together and talking between themselves. Oblivious to everything and everyone else around them…what more proof do you need?.

We all have our romantic ‘ideal’ and whether or not we ever get to experience it in reality it is still nice to have it in our hearts…just in case the opportunity ever arises. But when you think about it, romance can happen anywhere or anytime as long as you are with the right person, just like in the romance novels. You don’t always need the Eiffel Tower, or the Trevi Fountain or to be gliding along on a Venecian gondola being serenaded by some sweet voice. True romance is found where ever you are at your happiest together. You can be just walking on a beach, sitting in a park or enjoying a nice meal and you will know when that ‘moment’ strikes. Because you will both feel it at the same time.

The thing that is so nice about ‘romance’ is that it is the ‘glue’ in a relationship; use plenty of it and it keeps you stuck together. Just like in a Mills & Boon novel, where the happy ending you have always dreamed about is yours for the taking, and can never be taken from you.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Dublin on the cheap

We’re toying with the idea of a trip to Dublin for St Patrick’s Day next year and therefore on the lookout for cheap accommodation of which the obvious choice is arguably hostels.

The name hostel probably puts most people off right away but it’s something of a misnomer for the sites that fall under the banner of “hostel listings sites” in that they have become such good sources of reservations for the accommodation listed on them that you get everything from true hostels through to five star hotels these days. For example, there’s Glen Guesthouse and Jackson Court Hotel both available from EUR 25 per person.

There’s a couple of things to watch if this is your venture into the hostel booking sites which can easily catch you out if you’re not careful.

First, private room means essentially a normal hotel room whereas shared room usually means dorm style accommodation.

Second, the prices are per person whereas the hotels listing on the site usually set their prices per room which can lead to confusion over prices. For example, you will normally see a range of room types listed for each property so you could have EUR 15 for a 4 bed room, EUR 25 for a 2 bed room. This actually means that the 4 bed room is for four people and costs EUR 60 whilst the 2 bed room is for two people and costs EUR 50; you can’t book 2 people into the 4 bed room and just pay EUR 30 as you might think.

Finally, although it might say, for example, double bed room it doesn’t mean that. What it means is that it’s a room for two people and you need to read the room description to see if it has one bed or two.

Still, if you’re careful about the differences in terminology, you can find some great bargains on the hostels sites.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

A cheap day-trip to Glasgow

Stenaline extended their £10 return day-trips to Glasgow throughout the summer and indeed the closing date quoted is now well into November so we were able to get the day-trip with the kids last week.

As with all day-trips involving any kind of boat or plane, there’s an early start. In this case, you’ve to be there no later than 7am and, of course, allowing for parking and whatnot that really means more like 6.45am. The ship doesn’t depart ’til 7.30 but the cheap trips over the holiday period are very popular so there was quite a line to checkin and it was quite a crowded trip. Arrival in Cairnryan is a little before 10am.

The ship is the quite nice Superfast, although with the trip taking almost 2.5 hours, it doesn’t seem that fast. Food in the restaurant isn’t cheap but the prices aren’t too over the top and the portions are ample (the childrens’ ones were fine for me). It’s best to grab a seat as soon as you get on as the available seats are taken up really quickly on the more crowded crossings. There’s the usual arcade games and small cinema (aimed mainly at the kids) with a spa along with assorted treatments for the adults. They’ve a small number of suites (for up to five people) which, at £25, are worth it after a tiring day though, of course, you only have use of it for a couple of hours.

The coaches set off not much after 10 with arrival in Glasgow scheduled for noon. However, in practice, we didn’t arrive at the Buchanan Street bus station until 12.30 which means that we only got four hours in Glasgow. The bus station is quite central though getting around Glasgow takes longer than you’d expect i.e. don’t try to be too ambitious if you’re intending to use public transport to get around.

What’s to see? It’s very much a Victorian era port city so there’s a focus on things along the docks although there are a number of things dotted around the city of course. All of these are covered in sufficient detail in the What to See and Do guide although the guide covers everything and for a day-trip is just too much.

Highlights suitable for a day-trip include:

  • The Science Centre, accessible from the Cessnock stop on the underground (allow 40 minutes each way for travel as you’ve to walk to the Buchanan Street stop and have a 15 minute walk from Cessnock). Mainly aimed at 7-14 year olds; it seems to include almost all the science gimics that you’re ever heard of. Quite expensive and very overpriced for adults considering that they’re mainly just accompanying their children.
  • Glasgow Police Museum is merely one of a range of museums covering different aspects of life in the city. Choose one that you’re interested as you won’t have time to do justice to more than that.
  • And, of course, the shopping of which the Buchanan Street area is well served.

The fledgling underground covers the city but allow for long walks to and from the stations as they are none too plentiful at the moment. There’s the usual open-top bus which takes about two hours to get around the city so you can’t really use it to get from A to B on a day-trip.

Is it worth it? I have to say, “no”, basically because four hours in Glasgow just isn’t enough and especially so as you spend eight hours travelling there and back. If the time there were a couple of hours longer, it would make an enjoyable day but with only the four hours, it’s all to easy to feel that it’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of trip. So, lots of stuff to see, but ruined by being there just too little time.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.