iwiKiwi

A Kiwi in search of her Irish, English & Scottish tribes

Tag: GOONS

The Travelling Genie

It’s been over a month since we arrived back from a family trip to the UK, where I managed to squeeze in a few genealogy-related activities.

While our main reason for visiting was to see family and friends, the timing of our visit was so I could attend the award ceremony for my Advanced Diploma in Local History at the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education, 2019 Award Ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education, 2019 Award Ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre

I would absolutely recommend the course – just be prepared to give up your life while you’re doing it!  There was a lot of reading. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. You’d start off on one book or article and then disappear down a rabbit hole of footnotes and references until your eyes weeped from tiredness. The assignments were evenly spaced throughout the year, though there was also the unit homework to complete as well (did anyone ever finish it all?), and the weekly online tutorial chats to attend. These were relatively informal, but just like with the online course forum, I suffered a little from imposter syndrome and was reticent about posting much.  Which was all very daft, as the students and tutors were welcoming and generous. It was often a struggle fitting in studying with holding down a day job combined with family responsibilities, but oh, the joy in learning and having my eyes opened! And the opportunity to combine my love of history with a love of data wrangling and analysis. It was definitely the most intense and challenging course I have ever undertaken.


After Oxford, it was on to Leicester – where the Guild of One-Name Studies was celebrating its 40th birthday as part of its annual conference, and happily the dates coincided with our travels. The conference organisers had arranged an optional tour of the Richard III visitors’ centre and nearby cathedral, and it was a great chance to peer down into the spot where Richard’s body had been discovered, and also to see his impressive final resting place.

The tomb of Richard III, Leicester Cathedral

The tomb of Richard III, Leicester Cathedral

The conference itself was a combination of socialising and learning, with some fantastic presentations, including one from Simon Wills on ancestral travels by sea, Voyages from the Past. I’ve now since bought his book of the same name. (A fuller review of the conference appears in July’s Guild Journal.)


Before my trip, I had decided I would focus my research on my 3 x great grandfather, John Clark(e), and I spent a couple of days at The National Archives at Kew and three days in Belfast, chasing him up in muster rolls, pension payment records, and parish registers.  Which John Clark was he – Thing 1 or Thing 2??

John Clark (1) and (2) in the muster rolls for 74th Regiment of Foot

John Clark (1) and (2), 74th Regiment of Foot muster roll, 1 Jul – 30 Sep 1846, WO 12/8099, National Archives (UK)

I had been to Belfast several times before, but never visited the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). On my first morning in the city I stopped in at the Ulster Historical Foundation to see about booking a research consultation. Fortunately there was a researcher available right then and there, and Gillian Hunt was a huge help in reviewing what I’d already found and suggesting ways forward in my research, as well as finding a baptism I hadn’t come across.  I’d really recommend doing this, especially if it’s your first time in Belfast, though at busier times you’d need to book an appointment in advance.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Belfast

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Belfast

The facilities at PRONI are fabulous and the staff incredibly helpful.  It’s located in the Titanic Quarter, not far from the Titanic museum, and I opted to stay in the city centre, about a 30 minute walk away. The Hop-on Hop-off City Sightseeing bus travels through the area regularly, and on my last afternoon I hopped on and took a tour around the city before heading to the airport.


The last genealogical event I attended was Family Tree LIVE at Alexandra Palace in London at the end of April.  After a dearth of similar events last year due to the closure of WDYTYA? Live, suddenly there’s a whole heap of genie treats this year, and I was thrilled to sneak this in to our trip.

Queuing up to get in to Family Tree Live, Alexandra Palace, London

Family Tree LIVE, Alexandra Palace, London

The venue was fantastic, and although there were few nearby eating and sleeping options, there was parking available plus shuttle buses from Wood Green underground station.  I thought the atmosphere was wonderful, and it was lovely to catch up with many genie friends and put faces to Twitter handles. The range of talks was excellent – highlights for me were Pam Smith’s presentation on her one-place study of Rillington, and Jonny Perl’s chromosome mapping with his DNA Painter tool.


Back on this side of the planet now and there’s lots to look forward to!  My father is celebrating his 80th birthday and the launch of his family history book this month. August is Family History month in Australasia, and I’m heading to Auckland for the Family History Expo there, and have also booked for the DNA Down Under three day event in Sydney at the end of August.

My Genealogy Year 2014 ~ Accentuate the Positive!

Once again Jill Ball aka GeniAUS has encouraged everyone to celebrate their positives of the last year with her geneameme Accentuate the Positive, instead of focussing on all those things that didn’t quite happen.

Here’s how 2014 panned out for me…

An elusive ancestor I found was Elizabeth Barber, my 3 x great grandmother. Well, I knew of her, but I had only circumstantial evidence (albeit very strong) to tie her with a particular Barber family from Brighton. Thanks to the efforts of my (now confirmed!) fourth cousin once removed and some DNA testing, we have established proof of who her family was. And I can now trace my Barber family back to the 1500s in Kent!

An ancestor’s grave I found was that of my 5 x great grandfather Nathaniel Phillip in Cockshutt, Shropshire, and it was a pretty impressive one. It’s even listed!

Grave of Nathaniel Phillips (1768-1842), St Simon & St Jude's church, Cockshutt, Shropshire

Grave of Nathaniel Phillips (1768-1842), St Simon & St Jude’s church, Cockshutt, Shropshire

An important vital record I found was the will of Nathaniel’s daughter, my 4 x great grandmother Louisa (Phillips) Tunnicliffe – not technically a vital record but definitely vital to my research!

My 2014 blog post that I was particularly proud of was my contribution to the 2014 Trans-Tasman Anzac Day Blog Challenge: Edward G Tunnicliff ~ an ANZAC all the same.

My 2014 blog post that received the largest number of hits was Who Do You Think You Are? Live, London.

A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was Facebook. This year I joined a number of genealogy-focused groups, and they have been a fantastic source of information and news.

A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was every one that I attended! I joined the Guild of One Name Studies (GOONS) February, and enjoyed their annual conference in April and one day seminar in November. I took three very inspiring Pharos courses in 2014: One-Place Studies, Introduction to One-Name Studies, and Maps and Surveys. I also became a huge fan of Marian Pierre-Louis’s The Genealogy Professional podcasts, and attended two of her webinars.

A genealogy book that taught me something new was Colin Nicholson’s Strangers to England: Immigration to England 1100-1945.

A great repository/archive/library I visited was the Lichfield Record office in Staffordshire. The staff were extremely helpful, and very accommodating of my three children, so I was able to research for nearly two hours instead of the half hour I had envisioned. [The record office at Lichfield sadly closed in December 2017, with collections moved to Stafford.]

A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was a genealogical crime mystery – Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s The Lost Ancestor, the second book in his Forensic Genealogy fiction series.

It was exciting to finally meet GeniAUS herself, Jill Ball, at a one day GOONS seminar in November. I was so thrilled to meet my geneablogging hero!

A geneadventure I enjoyed was a trip to York in November with my fellow IHGS students, organised by the wonderful Pam Smith. We got a tour of the Borthwick Archives, a ghost tour of the town, and I had time to chase up some East Yorkshire ancestors, plus have a wee look at some ancestral villages. Not forgetting much mirth and merriment with some great genie friends.

On the ghost tour, in foggy York

On the ghost tour, in foggy York

Another positive I would like to share is I submitted five (yes, FIVE) sets of assignments this year towards my IHGS Higher Certificate, and am now over halfway through the course.

Thanks again to Jill for the opportunity to share the genealogical highlights of my year. You can read about the 2014 highlights of other geneabloggers through her GeniAUS website.

The Next Stage ~ GOONS seminar

Alas, my poor neglected blog! I have been racing around the last few months doing all manner of research, attending seminars and tutorials, and yes, even writing and submitting some IHGS assignments. Sadly, this has left little time for posting.

But today I was reminded how much I missed blogging, when I met one of my geneablogging heroes, GeniAus (aka Jill Ball), at a Guild of One-Name Studies event in Burgess Hill, West Sussex.

The Next Stage GOONS seminar (image: Alan Moorhouse)

The Next Stage GOONS seminar (image: Alan Moorhouse)

The seminar was entitled “The Next Stage” and the presentations were focused on taking your one-name study past the data collection stage to the analysis and publishing stages. I haven’t registered a surname with the Guild yet, but I have two in mind – for when I get a bit of spare time. So I’m still in the ‘information-gathering’ stage.

You can check out the full programme on the Guild website, and there will be videos of all presentations available online soon for Guild members. I found Sherry Irvine’s talk Context and Your Study: Threads of Reference very thought-provoking, and Dr Eilidh Garrett’s How can Demography Help your Study? presentation made me want to be a demographer! It’s perhaps a bit unfair to single those two out, as all the talks were very good. Overall, a great day and well-organised.

The Guild’s next seminar is to be held in London on 7 February 2015 and is all about Medical and Healthcare records. You don’t have to be a member to attend. And who knows who you might bump into there!

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