Pleasant new year, everyone. We had several house guests over the holidays and I set aside a lot of material to look at once they'd gone. However, website activity peaked over the two or three days either side of the New Year, postponing my ability to catch up! It seems that a lot more people decided to revisit their own family history and discovered or re-acquainted themselves with the website.
Since then, four major things have happened:
First: in the last few days the UK's Family Tree Magazine appeared on newsstands containing an article I'd written about our site. It's generated much favourable comment and a lot of extra website traffic. Sadly, I have to say that copyright restrictions prevent my copying the article to the website for a few weeks, but it will happen.
Second: at the end of December I was contacted by a gentleman who has been researching the House families in Dorset with a group of others. They opened their huge files to us and we have gradually been plugging away at adding to our data from them.
Third: we've received details of close to 200 marriages across England from other members of the Guild of One-Name Studies.
Fourth: two weeks ago, while back in my home town of Norwich in England, I was startled to find a new (to me) series of microfilms. Over a 57-year period starting in 1904, the Registrar's Dept of the City Council copied out all the major details from the birth certificates issued over the previous week and sent the results to the Sanitation (think: Health) Dept! Every single entry is the equivalent of a birth certificate costing £9.25. So far, after eight days of solid work, I've finished going through three rolls of film up to 1917 and have copied out the birth records for almost 300 people, born to a man or woman named Howes. So if you have ancestors in Norwich born from 1904 to 1912, please do take a look again at their records on the site. The next 44 years and the equivalent for death registers will have to wait for future trips! I don't know the original reason for these records but presumably records of births were passed across so that the Health officials could ensure children were vaccinated. Anyway, if you're in the UK, you might want to check whether your local authority made similar extracts from their local registers.
The fruits of all of this are that we have added a record 30 members this month as well as almost 1,900 new people to our files and an additional 15,000 facts. Sometimes even I am surprised! And we still have a large number of “things to do”, including probate and war death facts to add in.
Who Do You Think You Are? Live
The WDYTYA format is now on TV on both sides of the Atlantic. In London, they have extended the brand to a regular exhibition at Olympia for three days at the end of February. If you're interested, follow the links on the front page of our website. Yours truly is speaking there on the Saturday afternoon and I will be on the stand of the Guild of One-Name Studies for much of the Saturday and Sunday. If you will be there, please stop by and say Hello. It would be lovely to put faces to names. Ooops: I'd better start writing the presentation!
Another TV link
Earlier this month, two correspondents wrote to me saying that during a TV program on Great Railway Journeys of the UK, there had been a still shot of a gravestone in St Nicholas churchyard in Great Yarmouth and that the name etched upon it was . . . . . .William Howes, who died age 2. I found a copy of the TV program and nearly missed the shot, even though I was looking for it! We're still trying to track down the William concerned. The most likely one is on the site already but according to the tree sent in by an early member, he went on to sire his own children! More to follow
Notable Howes anniversary
Arthur and Rose Howes from Newport in Shropshire, England celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this month! I don't know these folks (although they are in the database now!) but wish them all the best. That's quite an achievement in any time, but especially in the modern era. More about them is online here: http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2012 ... niversary/ .
One of our members recently suggested that we celebrate other smaller scale achievements by people named House, Hows, Howse or Howes. What do you think? Do you have any other examples?
Keep an eye out for the release of the 1940 US census in April. It looks like access will be free for all on at least two sites.
And, to close, a small warning about marriages from the FamilySearch website. Some apparent marriages on that site are actually records of the reading of banns, which can take place in up to three churches, depending upon the residence of the parties relative to the church where the wedding actually took place. We use that site as a good secondary source, but please do remember that it is suspect until you or we see the original record.
Happy hunting, everybody.
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