Twelve Months of Genealogy

Twelve Months of Genealogy – September

September is the month when students return to school so let’s look at records for education.

The first week of September we will examine resources that are available to help you with your research in England. The National Archives website has a section on the History of Education. You will find a list of information held at the archives.

On the right hand side of the webpage you will find a list of guides to help you with researching elementary, secondary, special services, teachers and technical and further education. You will find a section with useful links and relevant repositories. At the end of the page is a bibliography of further reading.

The Family History Library Catalogue (FHLC) is another place to look for information. Using the place search and the term England you get ten options for schools but none for education.

Colin R Chapman and Pauline M Litton wrote a book called “Using Education Records” in 1999 that may provide some assistance in researching English education records.

The second week we will look at the education records for Scotland. The National Archives of Scotland has a guide to explain education records and where to find them. They provide further reading suggestions.

The place search for Scotland in the FHLC has three options for schools.

Let’s examine Irish school records in the third week of September. The National Archives of Ireland provide a guide to sources on National Education. These records range from 1832 to 1924.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland provides a brief outline of the types of records they hold with regards to education. The description suggests it is a very large record source.

Under the “Local History Series” leaflets you can download a PDF called “No. 5 – National School Records” which describes what is available.

The FHLC place search for Ireland has seven options for schools. You can order a microfilm called “Index of teachers qualifying at training college giving subjects in which qualified, 1893-1907 and of teachers competent to teach Irish, 1895-1912.”

When researching Irish school records do not forget about the Hedge Schools, there is a book written by Patrick John Dowling called “The hedge schools of Ireland” that may be able to help. You can find out more about them here.

The last week of September we will look at resources that are available to help you with your search in Canada. In Canada each province and territory is responsible for the education of their citizens.

Library and Archives Canada has a brief description of what is available there and they provide links to provinces and territories for more information.

Marian Press has written a book entitled “Education and Ontario Family History” that examines the records available for teachers and students in the Province of Ontario. The records range from 1785 to the early twentieth century. Marian looks at records available in both traditional and electronic repositories.

The FHLC has three options under Canada relating to schools.

Now that the kids are going back to school take a little time for yourself and research the education records of your ancestors.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Twelve Months of Genealogy – August

This month we are going to research the lives of our female ancestors.

In the first week we are going to look at the different occupations that our female ancestors may have done. I had a 3X Great Grandmother who was a midwife in the mid 1800s in Scotland. The University of Manchester has a website entitled “UK Centre for the History of Nursing and Midwifery.” Here you can find information and recommended reading on the subject.

If your ancestor was a governess you can find a bibliography at The Victorian Web. Did you know that women worked in the mines? You can find out more information on women’s involvement in the Industrial Revolution here.

You could find women working on the farm, the fisheries, textile mills and many other places outside the home.

In week two we will examine how women took care of their families without the basic services we take for granted today. Many women lived out in the middle of nowhere and had no neighbours to run to for assistance. Doctors were few and far between and money was scarce. So what did they do to take care of their family?

Home doctoring was a common practice. Today we might call it homeopathy. Women knew the basic herbs and other natural substances that would help heal their family of minor ailments. If things were more serious all they could do was try to make their patient more comfortable. If a doctor was available sometimes they would take items from the farm as payment, a few chickens, eggs or vegetables.

Home teaching was prevalent during this time as schools were either too far away or non-existent. Women may also be the preacher on Sunday instilling the values and teachings of the Bible to their family.

Women would do the family chores and then help their husbands on the farm if no farm labour was available or they could not afford it. You can find out about life on a Victorian farm in England here.

Let’s look at how single women coped during week three. The only occupations opened to single women of the middle or upper classes were nurse, teacher, nun and governess. These were considered respectable jobs for middle and upper class women. Single women from the lower classes were found working in the field, in domestic service, in the mines, in the factory and anywhere else they could find work to support themselves and their families.

Middle and upper class women were not encouraged to go out and find work. If they were single it was felt they were needed at home to care for aging parents and any siblings that may still be at home. You sometimes find single women moving in with siblings to help when a spouse has died.

Lower class women went out and earned money. It was not their own to do with as they pleased because it was expected that the money would be put into the family coffers. The money these women brought in for their family meant the difference of having a roof over their head or a meal or not being able to provide those simple necessities. Domestic service was preferred for single women of the lower class as they could get board and meals and then send the money home to their family. It meant one less mouth to be fed in the family home.

In the fourth week of August we will examine the roll of women in the First World War. This was a time when women experienced a new freedom that had not been felt before. The men were at war and the women had to make sure the industries kept running and supplies kept going to the front to support the men.

The class system seemed to blur for a while and women were working in all kinds of occupations. There were organized groups such as the Women’s Legion that taught women to drive, be mechanics, cooks and many other things. These women worked on the home front but some of them found themselves at the front driving ambulances and working in field hospitals. You can find our more about women taking the place of men at work here and more about the role of women from 1900-1945 here.

If you are finding it too hot to go outside or you are having a staycation this year why not spend some time finding out more about your female ancestors and how they lived their lives.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Twelve Months of Genealogy – July

July is the month that Canadians and Americans celebrate the birth of their nations. Canada’s birthday is July 1st and the United States is July 4th. Canada will be 144 and the United States will be 235 this year.

There has been a long relationship between the two countries. Many of our ancestors have crossed over the borders in each direction and some of them several times.

The first week we will look at places to find out more about the history of Canada. You can find links to some of the more well known parts of Canadian history at Canada Online.

The name Canada first showed up on a map in 1547 and referred to the land that was located north of the St. Lawrence River. Did you know that other names for Canada could have been Victorialand, Cabotia, Superior and Tuponia which stands for The United Provinces of North America.

The second week let’s look at the history of the United States. You can find a lot of information on Wikipedia. There are many different topics and historic moments discussed on this website.

The National Archives have a website that provides information on the history of the Constitution. You can find out more about their online exhibits here.

During the third week we will look at the history between the two countries. You can find a historical timeline of the history of the two countries here. There is a history about the boundaries of the United States that you can find here.

The last week of July let’s look at how to find information on the border crossings between the two countries. There are no official Canadian records until 1908 when the Canadian government officially started to record immigrants coming into the country. You can find the Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935 at Ancestry. Ancestry has the Canadian Border Crossing Collection which dates from 1895 to 1956 and contains information on those crossing from Canada into the United States. You can find the Detroit Border Crossings and Passenger and Crew Lists, 1905-1957 on Ancestry.

Enjoy all the family gatherings, picnics, historic events and fireworks this holiday weekend. If you are in New York or Ontario why not drop by and enjoy the Friendship Festival where both countries share and enjoy their birthdays. If you are in the area of the Peace Bridge on July 3rd there is “Hands Across the Border” so why not join in.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved