Part of the worldwide genealogy/family history community


FamNet eNewsletter September 2014

ISSN 2253-4040


Quote: In view of the Scottish referendum is seems appropriate to use a rather lovely Scottish quote: "Whit's fur ye'll no go past ye." basically means 'whatever is meant to happen to you, will happen to you"!


Editorial 2

From the Developer 3

What is the point of FamNet?   To Tell Your Story. 3

DNA Testing for Family History. 4

Part 7. Your Autosomal DNA test 4

Colleen’s Corner 8

Be alert (and other geneagoogle tips) 8

My Three Rs of Genealogy Research. 10

Useful Websites. 12

From Colleen. 13

From Sue. 13

Group News. 14

Whangarei Family History Computer Group. 14

News and Views. 14

Book Review.. 17

Community. 17

Ask an Expert 17

Help Offered. 17

Information Wanted etc. 18

Have Your Say – Letters to the Editor 18

In conclusion. 18

A Bit of Light Relief 18

Advertising with FamNet 18

To Unsubscribe. 18

Copyright (Waiver) 19



From Colleen Sherman-Williams

Blogs are a great way to tell your family story or keep followers on a twice weekly update on how your family research is progressing.  I don’t have a genealogy blog myself as I am not sure where to find genealogy blog sites but it is something I would like to do.  After I am gone future family researchers may find what I write of interest 

I found a plastic box of papers a week or so ago and this morning went through some of them.  It is full of stories given to me from family researchers. None of these stories are online, and writing a blog would be a great place to start transcribing these, as well as putting them on FamNet.  The stories are then there for all time.  I was glancing through a court case paper of the journey of the ship my gt grandfather came out on from England to New Zealand.  Forty six people died during this journey and most of the passengers signed a document demanding the ship’s doctor be investigated.  My gt grandfather was one of those who signed it. 

I also found a transcript written by the sexton of a church, it was typed up by a South African tourist who found it in a drawer at the church.  She got permission to transcribe the musings of the sexton of the church graveyard during the 1800s.  I would like to put this up online as some of the comments that the sexton made are hilarious.  Not so then, of course.  Digging graves can be quite a funny business, especially when you don’t pay monies due or the family plot is not where it is supposed to be. He comments on the various states of dress of the ladies which is quite interesting as he seems to be quite a strait laced gentleman.

I hope you all enjoy this month’s newsletter and with daylight saving starting this weekend, I will start wearing my eye mask so I am not awake at 5.00am.

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From the Developer

From Robert Barnes

image004What is the point of FamNet?   To Tell Your Story

FamNet can never hope to have as many records as major overseas sites like Ancestry or FindMyPast.  What it can be is the best place for kiwis to tell their story, combining the best features of a community genealogy site (upload GED databases, search by name, family trees with links to related records and duplicates, privacy management) with the ability to attach rich information to any record.  The value of this was dramatically emphasised to me when by brother died last month.

Our parents had been keen genealogists and had established the basis of our family history. Years ago I’d taken this over, entering their paper records into a family history database, and converting their typescript into Microsoft Word.  This was of course one of the first databases loaded into FamNet (then “NZGDB”), and an early feature built into FamNet was the ability to upload scrapbook items – pictures, documents, audio, etc.  After all, a family tree that is only names and dates is stupendously boring.  On one of my visits to my brother, Ted, I held forth on “Telling our story”.  “To me” I said “family history is all about the stories.  We should all tell our story.  That’s the whole point of FamNet”.   Well, Ted wrote his “Recollections”, and I attached it to his FamNet record, and then thought nothing more about it.

In the period of his death and funeral I remembered that it was there and circulated it around the family and his friends.  It was much more than something useful to help me prepare my eulogy: it gave everyone a good picture of his life, and the things that mattered to him.  Many of his friends commented that it was really great to have it to read.

I’m ashamed to say that this had been an example of “Do as I say, not as I do”, but Ted’s story inspired me to write my own version. Databases of remote ancestors are of only academic interest, the things that really matter to people are their immediate family.  For my children, these stories of their immediate relatives, particularly their parents, is the only part of genealogy that they are really interested in.  Who are you?  What are/were you interested in?  I found that writing my story was fun, even if it did take more time than I’d anticipated, and it was lovely to share it with my family.  Some of them are now starting their own stories.

I’ve made my FamNet record public in spite of the fact that, last time I checked, I was still alive, so that you can all see how I’ve set this up in FamNet.  If any FamNet readers find my story interesting that’s a bonus, but my family did and that’s all that really matters.

I hope you will create your stories too.  The sort of stories that exist in Ted’s and my bio’s don’t exist anywhere else, and are the most important things that your descendents want to hear from you.  FamNet exists to give you a framework to save these stories, protecting them for the future.  Ted and I have written our stories as life narratives from our earliest memories to today. You might prefer to talk about one or two incidents or periods. That’s fine, there are no rules except “DO IT NOW”. You might prefer to use video rather than write something. That’s OK too. As long as you do it!  We all have a story to tell, and each of us has a life that matters.  Don’t let your story be lost!

You don’t have to get it right first time, and it doesn’t have to be “completed” before you put it on FamNet.  In fact let’s hope we all get to make many revisions.  There’s nothing wrong with writing a page or two and putting this into FamNet, then a week later adding a bit more and uploading a revised version.  Actually, this is the best way to do it.  One of my favourite sayings is “The best is enemy of the good”.  So often we work on something but don’t let anyone see it until its “finished”, but for one reason or another we’re never satisfied and so nobody ever sees it.  Effectively we’ve produced nothing because we were striving too hard for “the best”.  Better to have done something good – perhaps only a couple of pages – than nothing.  Also, the sooner that you start sharing it with your family the sooner they will jog your memory about other things, and suggest corrections when your memory was faulty.  By attaching it to your record it will remain private and only your family and friends will be able to see it.

Once you have written your own story, what about recollections of your parents and grandparents?  Here’s an example.  Again, you don’t have to write a full life narrative, a few brief comments or an account of one specific incident are also useful.  In my view these notes are more valuable than the traditional genealogy information of names and dates.  Names, dates, relationships are all things that are discoverable from records, and if you don’t enter them somebody else can discover the records and enter them later.  But only you have your memories, and if you don’t record them they will be lost for ever.

In the next FamNet newsletters I’ll write some articles about “How?”  How to create the story?  What technology to use?  How to store them on FamNet?  How to create a FamNet database as a framework to save the story?  And so on.  But don’t let this confuse you. The main thing: just start – with a pencil and paper if necessary – and ask for help if you need it. 

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DNA Testing for Family History

© Gail Riddell 2014

Part 7. Your Autosomal DNA test

This is the 7th in a series of 12 articles by Gail Riddell (a popular and renowned DNA presenter in New Zealand) on the subject of DNA testing for genealogy purposes.  For further information, please contact her directly at

 In the 6th article for this newsletter, I finished off by stating I would write about autosomal testing.  So here we go!  (As in keeping with my previous articles, this is aimed at the non versed tester and not to the scientific community, thus I am attempting to use layman’s wording and examples, wherever possible, in spite of the shortcomings of same).

All human beings carry autosomes – these are chromosomes 1 to 22 inherited from their parents.   (The X chromosome will be excluded from this article because this is a whole separate study – it does not behave like the chromosomes 1-22).  The X does not combine in the same way as do the other chromosomes 1-22, meaning females inherit two X chromosomes – one from mother and one from father – and males inherit just one X which comes from their mother.  This means a male will never inherit an X chromosome from his father nor from his DIRECT paternal ancestors.  This also means that the X does not recombine in the male.  Because the female gets one from each of her parents in the same way as she inherits a strand of autosomes from each of her parents, then it will recombine in her. 

This graphic gives an exceedingly simple and well drawn example as to who inherits what and from whom.

Your father will give you about 50% of his autosomes – as will your mother.  BUT these autosomes then combine in you (during gestation) to make you who you are – genetically speaking.  These therefore consist of segments from every one of your parents, your grandparents, your great grandparents and so on back through each generation.  So by the time that muddled up and mixed up recombined set of segments arrives in tiny little you, your GGGGG grandmother (or GGGGG grandfather) on any of those lines may be so small that such a segment may not easily be detectable as having come from your GGGGG grandparent.  And remember, at this level, you have 64 individuals on your mother’s side and 64 on your father’s side.  Additionally, remember that every single set of their children and their children’s children and their children’s children children etc. will carry aspects of the same segments that you are carrying.  Please do not underestimate just how large the number of people becomes who will carry a genetic connection with you.  (This is an important principal to understand when it comes time to compare your matches.)

In other words, at every generation, if each set of grandparents has 8 living and healthy children who all marry and reproduce their own children, this can, if they too have 8 healthy and reproductive children, can mushroom out to 512 distant cousins who also carry your autosomes.  They and their spouses may well have each had 8 healthy living children who also each reproduced 8 children.  So, just one generation closer to you, there will be 4,096 men and women carrying segments of your autosomes.  You will NOT know their surnames.  How could you possibly know them all? 

Nevertheless, your autosomal DNA tells the story.

So, if you have tested and contact another person said to be matching you PLEASE do not state (nor accept someone else stating the same to you) that since you cannot find the person concerned in your tree, you are not a member of their family.  I bring this up because too often I have people coming to me stating that the testing firm MUST have got their results wrong – simply because they have contacted (or been contacted by) a 3rd or a 4th cousin and they cannot find that surname in their tree. 

What do surnames mean? 

They are only an effort towards identification.  The surname means very little.  It frequently changes.  But because the person receiving your enquiry does not recognise the surname, the common response is “I have a very large tree and because your name is not on it, you have got it wrong”! 

No.  The recipient has got it wrong.  He or she is misunderstanding the power of DNA to reach across the families around the world.  Meaning he or she has little idea as to how the recombination of autosomes works.

The autosomal test is all encompassing – cutting right across the paternal line and the maternal line, but the outcome of the size of the segments frequently misses a generation.  Merely as an example, I was fortunate to get a very distant cousin to test and I was amazed to learn my son had a closer match than I did with that very distant cousin.  Luckily, I had already proven the result via Y-DNA matching.  So the lesson here was, do NOT rely on one test of your family alone – seek further afield as far as your pocket will allow.  Additionally, if you are going to get involved with autosomal testing you will need your siblings’ results to aid you.  In this way, you can increase your chances of finding those cousins simply because of the totally unpredictable way in which those pesky chromosomes recombine.

Another example:  A brother of mine has many more matches than I have.  Our sister has the least of the three of us.  And all three of us have matches that the other does NOT have, yet we are most definitely full siblings.

Here is a simple graphic presentation of how just the autosomes work.  It is over-simplified.



Place yourself in the bottom square (whether you are male or female).  In the left hand circles, we see your paternal line and in the right hand squares we see your maternal line.  The colour bars are indicative of how the chromosomes shown are passed down to you.  According to this, you have nothing of the orange from your maternal grandmother but about the same amount of green as your mother received from her.  (This, of course is not actual, it is merely to give you an indication).  Neither does there appear to be anything of your paternal grandfather to have reached you, in spite of your father having received segments.  But plenty have come through to you from his wife. 

But this is not possible.  You will have segments from your paternal grandfather.  It is just because they have become too small or have been overwhelmed by others that they are not reported to you.  But believe me, they are there.  (If you are struggling with this, please contact me).

The outcome of any autosomal test will be a little like a lottery.  Therefore, to increase your odds, you also need to ask your siblings to test. 

Here is yet another graphic – more sophisticated – showing all the chromosomes in their pairs – with grateful thanks to Angela Cone, a fellow Administrator of FTDNA. 

This first one is a male child

Now look at the differences between the first and his sister.

And yet another sibling – this one also male.  More differences!

Note that the 23rd chromosome on the far right hand side has an X and a Y for the males, but the middle graphic is that of a female - 2  X chromosomes are displayed.

Every one of these siblings has inherited something different from each of their parents.  And as each sibling reproduces, everything in that next generation of children is again mixed and muddled.  These differences are normal – even identical twins have differences.  And these differences become invaluable to those of us researching our families.  But we have to learn how to “read” the language of autosomal DNA tests.  Luckily (and sensibly), FTDNA does it to a reasonably high level for us – even to the point of enabling us to look at each match on each chromosome.  From here we can see the start and end segments of those with whom we compare ourselves.  (This is not the end of the story, but it is where I am ending this article).

I shall attempt to cover more on this aspect in the 10th article called “Understanding your Autosomal Results”.  The 8th article will be on “Understanding your Paternal Results”.  The 9th article is planned to be about “Understanding your Maternal Results”. 

I originally planned the 11th article as “Hints and Tips” with the final article being about “Websites and Blogs and Forums for DNA”.  But perhaps there are some special requests or specific questions which could take the place of these?   Just email me at 

Colleen’s Corner

From Colleen

Be alert (and other geneagoogle tips)

I’m guessing you use Google in your genealogy research. But are there any new tricks to help you search for your family history? Here are some ideas.

Do you use Google Alerts? They’re easy to set up, but you’ll need a Google account, which most people already have. Here’s a quick how-to if you’d like to get your own alerts.

Log into your Google account. Go to or click (I’m guessing you’re online if you’re reading this). You’ll see a box like this:

Type in what you’d like Google to search the web for and select show options to customise what information you want delivered, how often and where to:

 … And create your alert.

This one will keep you updated on anything on the web with the words ‘worldwide’ and ‘genealogy’ in it; if you just want news about the exact phrase "worldwide genealogy" use double quotes (like I did there) as you would with any Google exact phrase search.

I expect there are much more sophisticated things you can do with alerts, but this suits me fine. I haven’t tried any other Google search tricks with it.

But in case you need a reminder, here are the search symbols (there’s probably a better geeky term for them) which I find useful for my own geneagoogling:

  • To search for an exact phrase: use double quotes at the beginning and end
    "worldwide genealogy"
  • For two or more words which must turn up in the results, but not necessarily in that order, use AND
    genealogy AND worldwide
  • To search for two words or terms at the same time, use OR (this will find family history and family tree)
    family history OR tree
  • To exclude a word which might fill your search with unwanted results, use a minus sign (I used this to find my ‘ghostly’ 3xgreat-grandmother)
    sarah marshall" -finding
  • To search one specific website, use site:
    convicts site:
  • To search within a range of numbers – now this could have been invented for us! – use two dots
    births London 1850..1865
  • To find a phrase where you can’t remember some of the words, use the asterisk wildcard
    who * you think * are

What First Names Say About Someone

It turns out that you can tell a lot by a person's first name.  Last names rarely change, but parents often put a considerable amount of thought into a first name.  The end result reflects the parents' level of education, social background (class) and cultural preferences.  You can use this to your advantage when searching for your ancestors.  What First Names Say About Someone

This is What a Great Blog Should Look Like

I found this blog interesting and thought the readers might too.  Quote “ sketch artists of yesteryear produced pretty good likenesses - a recent blog posting compared an artist's sketch of the champion angler William Watson, found in the British Newspaper Archive, with photographs from the family archives.” What do you think?


My Three Rs of Genealogy Research

Reprinted from My three Rs of Genealogy Research

As family historians we need the traditional three Rs of reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic, after all how else to locate our families’ records, write their stories and calculate and cross-check their ages, dates of births, deaths and shot-gun marriages. But today I’m going to propose that another three Rs are also needed for our family history research.


Traditional wisdom suggests we maintain a research register/spreadsheet which documents every record set and document we’ve checked in the course of our research, either online or offline. This practice, or some variation of it, is certainly helpful to ensure we don’t waste valuable research time searching the same records again and again.

However, I’d argue there’s a benefit to visiting at least some of the records more than once. Certainly we should revisit those documents we’ve stored in our files, databases or trees.


Because I firmly believe that research findings, and our perception and understanding of them, are not static. The documents themselves will not change but the research “glasses” we’re wearing will certainly change how we see the detail on them.

What we know of our history changes over time, either incrementally or in large leaps forward. Things we haven’t noticed about a record will suddenly leap out at us as having a new or additional meaning. The significance of names will become clearer as in the interim we’ve learned of family connections. If we only look at the record the first time we find it, and don’t squeeze it for every single drop, we run the risk of missing the key to a brick-wall breakthrough.

And then there’s the one-time search of a particular record set, especially online. I’m sure we’ve all had searches that we’ve rejected as unsuccessful on one occasion, only to revisit the search and see, with those new glasses on, something important that turns it into a relevant record for our research.

And what of looking at adjoining pages to see who’s living nearby? We used to do this automatically when searching offline but the downside of an online search is that it takes us straight to our ancestor’s document and tempts us just to exit to the next search without checking out the broader context.


Each of us has our own way of recording our family history. Most will keep at least key information in family history programs or trees, either online or offline. Others have their own family websites. Others again will publish the family’s story in a book.  It’s probably a fair bet that some are writing their family history online i.e. writing a genealogy blog. I’ve noticed that when we say “blog” people sometimes conclude we’re just playing around on the internet, telling others what we had for breakfast etc. Some time ago I wrote a post suggesting that we should start reframing how we refer to our blogs, by “telling it how it is” and saying we write our family history online.

Blogging is a great option for recording our family’s history and revealing the grassroots of history by contextualising it within the broader framework of traditional history.

I feel sure that the centenary of World War I will produce many micro-stories of the impact of war on families and communities as well as the contributions made by individuals on both sides of the military fence. This reveals a more nuanced tapestry of history than the big-picture, important-people version that we all learnt at school. It also exposes the sheer scale of war’s impact at the grassroots level. We can do the same for so many aspects of our family history by revealing more about a community, which in turn might lead to a One Place Study.

Blogging also provides a less threatening way of starting to document a family history rather than the daunting prospect of writing a book. From a personal perspective blogging suits my approach to a narrative recording my family’s history and allows me to add new information to the family history I’ve published. Of course to a large extent I’m preaching to the converted on this topic.

Note from Robert:  Of course we’d prefer you to record all of this in FamNet, which has been designed to make this sort of thing easy.  Unlike a normal blog, FamNet will manage privacy, and provide easy indexing so that you (and others) can later come back to items of interest.


Having identified and documented your research findings, do you look at what you’ve actually written or recorded? Do you check you’ve not leapt to conclusions and blipped over an assumption you’ve made? You know what they say about assumptions…

I recently wrote a story on my blog about my research into the Callaghan family of Courtown near Gorey in Wexford. In my research I’d looked at the 1901 and 1911 census records from the National Archives of Ireland online. The family comprised head of house, David Callaghan, son David, daughter Bridget, daughter-in-law Kate and grandson, another David. Even though it was staring me in the face, I made a stupid mistake and jumped to the conclusion that Kate was son David’s wife whereas it was very clear she was a widow. If I hadn’t gone back to revisit the document, and review what I’d written, I’d have left myself following an incorrect research trail and potentially led others astray as well. A really stupid beginner’s error despite years of experience. You might be interested in my post about the success, the surprise and the assumptions stupidity.  

I certainly hope I’m not the only one to make such a silly mistake which is why the revisit, record, revise steps are so important. We need to do them in a cool moment not while we’re in the thrill of the hunt for more data and excited by each new discovery.


Of course with so many records coming online it’s tempting to just keep searching for new and fascinating titbits about our families. Still we’d be wise to stop every now and then, and revisit what we’ve written or recorded in our family trees. 

Revisit those documents we have stored, look again at that photo we’ve been mystified by, and assess whether there are certificates we need to purchase,  microfilms to be ordered in or another avenue of research to be explored

Record each new discovery and assess what its impact is on the discoveries we’ve made before. 

Revise our assumptions and family links. There is a constant flow between revisiting, recording and revision. 


Twenty Tips On What Makes A Good Blog. Blogs are the cornerstone of any online community. Some blogs are excellent, others are very good and some need work. This 20-point list applies to all types of blogs, not just genealogy blogs. This list is also meant for people who read blogs. Informed blog readers are an important factor in helping to promote best blog practices. This article contains an incredibly funny video that you won't want to miss.  See Twenty Tips on What Makes a Good Blog

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Useful Websites

If you know of websites that you think may be helpful to others please email The Editor

To find FamNet’s Useful Websites page: either

·         Click the [Community] tab on FamNet’s home page. Click the button [Useful Web Sites]. Or

·         Click the [General Resource Databases] tab on FamNet’s home page. Locate “Useful Web Sites” in the list of “Other Tables” and click this link.

From Colleen

Privacy: A new site,, makes it easy to understand and change the privacy settings for most social media websites.

Your Digital Legacy. States grapple with protecting our data after we die.  Who is allowed to read through your e-mails — or update your Facebook page — when you die? In many states across the U.S., there are no clear answers to such basic legal questions.  Read  for this interesting article.  I don’t know if any policies have been put in place here in New Zealand.

I, myself am going to write down all my usernames and passwords in a book for my children to delete these accounts, except for genealogy of course.  Read the article, it is most interesting. Sue has also added some useful information further on in the newsletter.

From Sue

Amazing English & Welsh Maps at the National Library of Scotland.

For some time the National Library of Scotland has offered access to historic ordnance survey maps for England & Wales, but now they've gone further - you can overlap 19th century maps with modern maps or Google aerial photographs. It's a great opportunity to see where your ancestors lived in relation to modern maps - and, if you're lucky, to be able to visit their homes. The maps are free to search and view - just follow this link. Please note that you can also view maps side by side if you prefer.


Irish Merchant Seamen 1918-1921

This website has details of over 23,000 Irish born and 1000 Canadian born merchant seamen and their voyages contained in the CR10 series of central index cards held in the Southampton Civic Archives.  The CR10 Archive holds 300,000 cards covering the multinational workforce of the British Merchant Marine from early September 1918 and the closing two months of the Great War until December 1921. It only includes men working from British ports. All ranks are covered from master to cabin boy.

A unique feature of the CR10 cards is that they usually contain a good passport style photograph of the seaman. They also contain personal and voyage start details. I have used Microsoft Access to produce relational databases from this information.

These cards cover a time of great change for the British shipping industry. They were introduced just before the end of the war and some men were killed within days of being photographed. Others were recruited into the industry by a shipping boom in 1919 and 1920 and pushed out with the slump at the end of 1920.

Limerick Archives

Limerick Archives provides for the collection and preservation of archives relating to Limerick and makes archives available to the public.  Archives are the raw material of history and the archives service is committed to preserving and documenting the past to ensure that the history of Limerick is accessible to its citizens.  Limerick Archives has a large collection of material relating to its parent body - Limerick City and County Council and it has also collected archive material relating to older administrations including Limerick Union, Limerick Rural District Council, Cemetery Records, private papers and collections relating to the commercial and cultural aspects of life in Limerick.

Guild of One-Name Studies

The Guild of One-Name Studies is the worldwide centre of excellence in one-name studies and promotes the interests of both the individuals and groups who are engaged in them. Established in 1979 and registered as a charity in 1989, the Guild provides its members with the means to share, exchange and publish information about one-name studies as well as encouraging and assisting all those interested in one-name studies by means of conference, seminars, projects and other activities.


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Group News

Whangarei Family History Computer Group

image001 Contacts: 

 Gloria: (022) 635 4161

 Wayne: (09) 437 2881

 Pat: (09) 437 0692


Thursday evening venue is 6 Augusta Place, Whau Valley. Call Wayne, Gloria or me or;

email me at, if you need directions. **NB new Thursday venue

Saturday meetings are held in the SeniorNet rooms in James Street.

The rooms are upstairs in the Arcade leading to Orr’s Pharmacy and Tiffany’s Café, Start time 9.30 til finished before 1.30pm.

Here is a link to WFHCG’s recent newsletter.  The September meetings are already past, but it contains some useful detail on some web sites.


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News and Views

LDS CD’s. (Sue Greene)

How many of you have stored away in a cupboard CD’s that were produced by the LDS? Example, the British Vital Records. I recently emailed the LDS to find out if the information on CD’s produced by them is now online. Below is a copy of their email.

Thank you for contacting FamilySearch.  You asked if the information on the British CD's was available online as well as any other CD's.  The answer is, yes, the information is online and no longer supported by FamilySearch in CD format.  The information is not in the IGI records but in the record collections of the specific area you are searching.

I have not checked to see if all information from the CD’s is online but did receive an email from a member stating that she had checked the "Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950" to see if all her information was online. She found only three out of the twelve children she knew about are online, so what happened to the rest of the children? You would think if the twelve were on the CD they would also be online. So before you decide to get rid of your CD’s it may pay to hold onto them just in case information is missing.

The forgotten Belgians

According to this BBC News article a quarter of a million Belgian refugees came to the UK during World War 1, but amazingly little trace remains of them today. By the end of 1919 over 90% of them had returned home - although a few married Britons and were assimilated into the population.  It is thought that Agatha Christie based Hercule Poirot, the most famous Belgian of all, on a refugee she encountered in Torquay, her home town - his first appearance in print was in 1920.

From the Archives England

Begin Your Journey of Discovery

We've launched a new version of Discovery, which now enables you to search, browse and tag millions of record descriptions for archives across the UK, as well as our collection. Start your journey of exploration now!

How to Backup Your Photos and Never Lose them Again The Ask Leo Newsletter

Digital photography has changed the landscape dramatically. Everyone with a smartphone has a camera, and they're using it right and left to snap photos and videos like crazy. Add to that numerous digital cameras from inexpensive to professional and you've got a lot of digital media being created every day. And a lot of it isn't getting backed up.  Let's remember the goal: never have only a single copy of your photographs.  If there's only a single copy, it's not backed up. Continue Reading: How to Backup Your Photos and Never Lose them Again  And of course your treasured family photos should be put on FamNet – Ed.

Why Spammers Love ZIP Files and How You Need to Stay Safe I suppose most folks will be getting unsolicited spam to try to get your details. I'm getting financial questions and attachments with a .zip extension. What is .zip?  The ZIP file is the spammer's – or rather the phisher's – best friend. ZIP files are everywhere, and have a lot of very valid uses. Unfortunately with that ubiquity comes the potential for abuse.  And that's exactly what spammers like to do. Continue Reading: Why Spammers Love ZIP Files and How You Need to Stay Safe

Lost Manuscript Found After 45 Years. "A Village of the Moor", written by writer and naturalist Hope Bourne, and previously thought lost, has turned up in the archives of the Exmoor Society. At the time it was written it was rejected as "too contemporaneous", but almost half a century later it is a window into a rural community at a time of change. According to this BBC news article it will be published next year.

Dorset Couple Celebrate Their 80th Wedding Anniversary! Nowadays we're used to marriages breaking up - if couples get married at all - so it was heart-warming to read this story about a Dorset couple who have just celebrated their 80th anniversary.

They courted for 4 years before tying the knot, having met in 1929, the year of the Great Crash. Aged 101 and 102 they still live independently, and according to their son Larry, their secret is setting themselves targets. That's good news for family historians - we're always trying to knock down 'brick walls'!

What Happens To My Email Accounts When I Die? This topic came up in a conversation I was having with a friend. I was not sure so we had a look online to find out.

An article is provided by Everplans, who claim to be the web's leading resource for dealing with death. A complete overview on how to manage email accounts after a death, covering all the major providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft Hotmail and Outlook, Aol, iCloud).

It's almost always in the Terms of Service of every digital company (Google, Yahoo, Aol, Microsoft, Apple) to never share your account information with anyone other than you. For those unfamiliar with "Terms of Service," it's that endless scroll of legalese you must agree to when using a service. Not many people have the time or inclination to read this because it's often confusing, quite boring and very long.

Our view: What you do with your digital account is your business. If you want to have your friends or family go into your account and delete it after you die, it's your call. (Just be sure and create a digital estate first!) If you want to abide by the TOS and have your friends or family go through the required channels to close an account, that's your call too.

Let's say you don't want to share your account name and password with anyone. This means your family or friends will be going the official route. Keep this in mind: Not all email accounts are created equal. Some companies like Google and Microsoft, outline their policies really well. Apple's iCloud, on the other hand, not so much.

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Book Review

Te Papa Press Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


Holding on to Home: New Zealand Stories and  Objects of the First World War

ISBN: 978-0-9876688-5-1

Authors: Kate Hunter and Kirstie Ross

NZ RRP (incl. GST): $49.99

Extent: 328pp Format: Hardback


A crumpled theatre ticket, an engraved cigarette case, a crucifix made from rifle cartridges – the things that survived the Great War bring it back within our reach.

Working outwards from objects, historians Kate Hunter and Kirstie Ross have created a stunningly illustrated social history that brings a fresh perspective on New Zealanders in wartime.



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In conclusion

A Bit of Light Relief


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