Hello everyone. What a crackerjack month October was! Not only did we add another 1,600 people to our database, finishing very close to 160,000, but I went to two different genealogy events and came away with stories from both.
The Circus comes to Town
Early in the month, the Guild of One-Name Studies held a seminar just outside Newcastle-under-Lyme in the West Midlands of England. The final speaker of the day was local man, Andrew Van Buren, a circus and variety show performer. For years he has been leading an effort to get his local town to recognize the historical importance of another local man, Philip Astley, the founder of the modern circus. Given that he said he was an escapologist, and magician, I went up to him and asked him about the two British circus families in our database. Amazingly, he knew both of them. He told me a couple of stories about both. One will have to wait, but the other is a fascinating tale of provenance of a magic trick that once belonged to Harry Houdini. To see it, go to the record of Carleete, the escapologist and magician, here: https://howesfamilies.com/getperson.php ... ee=Onename. I thoroughly recommend it.
And here is a lovely youtube clip of lion tamer, Captain Sidney Howes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... KiSOBAJvyY
I spent four days at the RootsTech exhibition at the ExCel centre in East London. Day 1 was set up for the Guild stand. The cost of hiring a stand was very high and we had to squeeze 3 PCs, two printers and a large volume of books into a small space. I was amazed that it all went in!
We were right opposite the Ministry of Defence stand. They had noted in the press that they had been working on a three-hour delivery system for Army and RAF service records and that it would be debuted at the show. I was their first customer. I'd always been put off by the fact that their leaflets said it could take several months for a service record to arrive, but to get the same thing in three hours? Suddenly the cost of £30 seemed a lot more reasonable!
So, what happened? They delivered in 90 minutes! Amazing. My dad's RAF record consisted of only two pages with quite a lot of initials (jargon) on it Fortunately, they had an RAF records expert there to help me interpret it. Then I did two separate interviews for the MoD about how effective the service was!
I ended up giving three presentations, not the one I expected, one on each day. The first two were only for 15 minutes about the Guild generally and the third was about this study, the reason why I had stayed on in the UK for so long this year. I'm very pleased to report that after each one, one person went immediately to the Guild stand and signed up for a study into their name! Only the customers can really tell you how well I did but from the feedback I have received, many people got a lot of value from it. If this month's newsletter wasn't so busy, I would paste the overheads. Next month, maybe.
In addition to working on the Guild stand, I also helped on the FamilySearch "DNA basics" stand for an hour each day. That was a LOT of fun, I can assure you. Our purpose was merely to answer questions, not to sell anything. That's a very free-ing atmosphere within which to work. An LDS church member had rigged up an apparatus with 8 different coloured and flavoured jelly beans, each representing a different great-grandparent at the top of a putatve family tree. One would press a button at the bottom and watch how the number of jelly beans of a different colour varied immensely. People who couldn't see how DNA recombines each generation suddenly understood how it works, and why one might get a whole lot of DNA from one grandparent and very little from another.
So, huge admission: the only class I went to was mine! Probably no surprise there! I'm looking forward to catching up on the few lectures and the plenary sessions that were recorded. You can find them here: https://www.rootstech.org/video-archive. Those of my friends who did attend classes told me that the quality of presenters is one of the distinguishing factors of RootsTech. Hope you do too.
I did two other things worthy of note:
1 - I managed to find time to interview Drew Smith. I've met Drew on many occasions, mostly at RootsTech conferences, and he is a very interesting character. He is one-half of the Genealogy Guys podcast team with over 400 podcasts to their name. Catch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZIYHCs7wnU. He's a broadcast pro, isn't he?!
I do recommend listening to their podcasts either from their website: http://genealogyguys.com/ or by subscribing through your smart phone
2 - when things were quiet I slipped away from the Guild stand to a small group of PCs set up as if they are in a Family History Library. Ever been to the familysearch.org website and clicked on an image, and then received a message saying that you can only see the original image at a Family History Library? You don't get that message at RootsTech! In just a couple of hours I managed to get close to 200 images of marriage register entries, mainly for Hampshire and Bedfordshire. I just snapped them on my digital camera and will then transcribe them at my leisure.
Did I talk about meeting old friends and new friends? Oh, I should mention that I met with three correspondents. One, Jenny, told me that her mother had passed away just a couple of weeks earlier. Her mother was Mabel Ena Howes, whom we had featured in this newsletter in August when she reached her centenary. Of course, I passed on our condolences. Another, Richard, the winner of our drawing for a free three-day pass, presented me with a disk containing records on 1,704 people! It's going to take quite a while to work through all that lot!
Maybe I will write a little more next month. Please do note that there will be another ticket giveaway from me for RootsTech in Salt Lake City. So if you think you might win at least note the date: Feb 26-29, 2020!
And in other news
An Olympian Howes
Correspondent Stephen Howes wrote in to share this amazing newsreel footage from over 72 years ago when Henry Howes won the British speed skating championships at Bury Fen in Huntingdonshire, by smashing the national record. He then went on to represent his country at St Moritz the following year. Catch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZQ9qYeLXLg. Henry's record in our file is here: https://howesfamilies.com/getperson.php ... ee=Onename
A Howze politician
Overall, I'm a little surprised by how few major politicians we have had in our study.
Edward Howes was a member of the British Parliament (1859-1868) for Norfolk and John Ford House a member of the US House of Representatives for Tennessee from 1875-1883. One of our correspondents nudged me to notice that there is a man named Howze standing for election to the California House. Catch him at https://tedhowze.com/.
Long distance runners
Finally, I just wanted to note that our Gibraltarian Howes clan member has been at it again, this time with his wife! They both finished a 70Km (about 42miles) run, as they had three previous, similarly long runs.
https://www.chronicle.gi/athletics-the- ... e-circuit/. Well done, both of you. I don't know how you do it, though some people feel genealogy is a challenge!
Thanks for your continued support, folks.
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