This image is an extract from a property deed dated 1769. Can you read this word?
Some letters are familiar, so start with them. Which letters can you make out? My guess is p, a and s are easy enough.
Maybe you can see the g as well.
There is an e in there, but it isn’t quite the same as we write nowadays.
The two remaining letters are different forms of the same letter. You have already read a third form of the letter. The letter is s. See it now?
I will be exhibiting this deed at the Cambridgeshire Family and Local History Fair this Saturday (22 October 2016) at Girton Glebe Primary School, Girton, Cambridge, CB3 0PN from 10am to 4pm. Come along and find out more about reading old handwriting.
Last week, the 5th of October was #AskAnArchivist day. I posed this question to 9 archive Twitter accounts from Britain and Ireland:
What proportion of your holdings are in your online catalogue?
I thank them all for responding and openly sharing. One failed to answer the question and another doesn’t have an online catalogue. The rest ranged between 10% and 98%.
Now think about the implications for genealogists and family historians.
You may need to ask whether there are un-catalogued, but relevant, holdings at a particular archive.
In the current climate of austerity, it is fabulous that some archives have managed to catalogue a high proportion of holdings online. However, some archives are very badly under-resourced, so it would be unfair to berate those who have not yet achieved excellence.
I specifically asked about online catalogues, because these are accessible to researchers everywhere. Several respondents commented on upgrading paper and card catalogues, and finding aids being a priority. Partial catalogue listing of collections or fonds is helpful, but researchers really want each item to be described.
For anyone who wants to follow me on Twitter, my handle is @sue_familyfolk .
Over the last few weeks I’ve reminded you that the Suffolk Family History Fair will come to The Suffolk University, Waterfront Building Neptune Quay, Ipswich IP4 1QJ on 24 September 2016.
Family Folk will be there. The 3 items shown above are connected to the theme of this year’s exhibit: Old Handwriting Deciphered. Come along and find out what the connections are.
The Human Genome Project completed mapping the DNA sequence that contains all the information needed to build a human body in 2003. Since then, DNA testing has come within the reach of family historians, requiring just a sample of body cells.
The DNA molecule is made up of two strands of complimentary base pairs that fit together like a zip. DNA is replicated by unzipping its two strands and making a new partner strand for each original strand, producing an indentical copy. The instructions contained in the sequence of base pairs are copied much like carbon paper can replicate a list of names. Mutations happened when the copying process is not perfect.
DNA is not kept as a simple string within our cells. It is packaged up into chromosomes and each package keeps a selection of instructions together, a bit like binding the pages of a book.
When ordinary body cells divide to produce 2 new cells, two sets of complete chromosomes are copied to each cell, a process called mitosis. The book analogy is that each cell gets a complete book with identical pages.
Making a new person is a little more complicated than growing and dividing ordinary cells. When egg and sperm cells are created, through a process called meiosis, only half of the DNA goes to each cell. The process is complicated further, with mixing of parts of the DNA. Each human embryo, made by combining an egg and sperm, gets half of it’s DNA from each parent, in a unique mix. Using the book analogy again pages are swapped between books.
Understanding these processes is critical to interpreting DNA test results. Dr Maurice Gleeson will explain how DNA test results can assist family history research at the Suffolk Family History Fair on 24 September. See you there?
My gran taught me to crochet when I was a teenager. While wielding her crochet hook, she talked about her youth, siblings, growing up in Birmingham between the 1910s and 1930s, and the courtship on a tandem that lead to her marrying grandad. That started the growth of my family history roots. This year the Suffolk Family History Fair theme is Grow Your Roots. See you in Ipswich on 24 September 2016?
Family Folk will return to Ipswich for the Suffolk Family History Fair on 24 September. Hold the date, and watch this space for further annoucements. In the meantime, this image is a teaser for what Family Folk will be up to.
Last month I presented a talk entitled ‘How maps were made and why it matters to family historians’ at the Bury St Edmunds group of the Suffolk Family History Society. Online maps are becoming ever more common as technology makes the process easier. A map is only as good as the data it draws on, so beware.
The example discussed in Lost in 1939 – The Misleading Map contains both good and bad data in FindMyPast’s maps linked to the 1939 Register. The difference between where roads in the QBEZ enumeration district actually are and where FindMyPast puts them is show in this Google Map:
© Sue Adams 2016