Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The transformation of family history research

A number of new information services that have came online in recent years have transformed the ease and ability to do family history research almost beyond recognition.

First of these was the arrival of the Irish censuses of 1901 and 1911 which make location of your family in those years a whole lot easier. As always, the more information that you have the better but even having just the name of the father and mother will let you identify your family from that time rather than a family that just happened to have a father with the same name as your grandfather. If you don’t already have a location for their house at that time, this will get you one along with the ages of them and all their children, plus the occupations of those working.

More recently, the General Records Office in Northern Ireland have allowed searches of records older than 75 years and that can get you well back with your family tree in very short order. With this you can search for births, marriages and deaths and get a copy of the certificates for £2 (searches are free and may be enough for you initially). Marriages are the best place to start as with just the name of the couple you can pick up the name of the father of each of them, their age and, of course, where the marriage took place. This in turn may belp you go back a generation using the name of the groom and his father along with his age (all on the marriage certificate). In principle, that can let you go back to an earlier marriage certificate and thereby another generation though you quickly hit the 1864 limit on registrations from where it’s off to the Public Records Office and their church records.

Sooner or later, you drop off the end of the online records as the church records have not, yet, been put online (due in part to objections from the churches) but they are available on microfiche in the Public Records Office and that should let you go back another generation relatively easily (to go back more with ease depends on how mobile your ancestors were).

Which is not to forget the previous mainstay of family history research (i.e. the Mormon site) but the above are more dependable.

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

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.

Changes in the traffic flow over the summer

In the midst of school terms, you can depend on traffic jams each day at 9am and from before 3pm through to around 4pm followed by a minor lull before the next traffic jam gets going around 5pm.

It’s radically different over the summer. Gone is that 9am traffic jam and, around here anyway, the jam kicks in around 30 minutes earlier and presumably is a bit worse as you’ve got the normal work traffic plus the people who’d have been on the road after dropping off the kids. Thankfully, the 3pm-4pm peak is gone though the latter jam also seems to be that much worse as the school pickup people are also on the road in the latter slot.

The plus point for me is that my earlier start means that the flexi time clocks up quite a bit over the summer which in turn means that I can take an extra couple of days off over that period. That’s if I stick to my normal school-run wake-up time and don’t start lying in, of course.


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

Open Farm Day in Northern Ireland

Actually, it’s Open Farm Weekend here and it’s on a different day. That’s kind of confusing as it means that when you look up the open farm day website, you find that Northern Ireland doesn’t have any farms open which I’m sure must drop the numbers attending somewhat.

Seeing as it was a lovely sunny day, we set off for Gordonall Farm near Greyabbey. which was open to schools on the 13th of June and to everybody on the 14th. It’s quite a mixed farm with some livestock (sheep and cows), some biomass plantations, cereals and even a guy demonstrating some country crafts. You don’t really appreciate the size of the farm ’til you go on their tractor ride which seems to go on forever and certainly much further than any we’ve paid for.

Sunday was another lovely day so it was off to Armagh Apple Farm which was quite a different experience. The farm itself seemed somewhat smaller though it’s hard to judge the scale of a farm as you don’t know where one ends and another begins. In their shed they’d a whole range of apple based products. This time of year, the apples themselves are tiny and there are apple festivals on later in the year around the time of the apple harvest.

Worth going to for sure but I’m not so sure we’d have enjoyed the days if the weather had been poor as most things are obviously outside.


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

Burns take AGES to heal!

John managed to have freshly prepared custard spilled over his hands last Monday and has ended up having to go to the doctors every day to get the dressing changed which is a bit of a nuisance.

Whilst plonking on cream and bandages seemed a sensible way to go initially, this far down the line it’s not so clear-cut as to whether or not it’s a good idea to continue. For instance, although he knows to be careful with that hand, little boys play and over the weekend he caught a ball with it which left it bleeding, unknowingly, under the bandages. Had it not been bandages up, we’d have known that it was bleeding right away instead of hours later.

Anyway, all being well, it’ll be healed up enough to leave the dressings off later this week.


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