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Showing posts from October, 2013

Remembering our ancestors during Hallowe'en

When I was sixteen, only one family in my neighbourhood conspicuously celebrated Hallowe'en. This was an American family who, it seemed to me, were having more fun at this time of year than everyone else. Every day in the week leading up to the 31st October I noticed new ghoulish decorations attached to the front of their house and increasingly excited children returning home. Today, I see carved pumpkins in almost every other window. Trick-or-treating is more popular in Britain than ever, and more of us are adopting US-style costumes and make-up for the night.

But beyond the orange decorations and spooky costumes lies a serious tradition. Hallowe'en - or All Hallows' Even(ing) - held great meaning for many of our ancestors. Different regions had unique ways of counting the hours until the Christian feast of All Saints' Day (All Hallows or Hallowmas) on the 1st November.

The origins of the festival appear to be non-Christian, coming from the ancient Celtic night of Samh…

New Search Facilities on Website

This week, Deceased Online uploads the remaining parts of the Redcar and Cleveland dataset. I also look at a selection of new features on the website which make collection easier to search and provide more flexibility - and at the bottom of the page, part 2 of the competition to win a copy of my new book.
Records for the remaining four cemeteries from Redcar and Cleveland are now available:

Loftus                                                  opened 1875   8,651 records
Redcar                                                             1874   16,936 records
Saltburn (or Saltburn and Marske-by-the-Sea)    1899    4,516 records
Skelton                                                            1875    9,739 records.

Like the areas featured in the previous blog, the life and economy of Loftus was dominated by ironstone mining. Its coastal location was also home to many seamen.

Redcar has over 8 miles of sands and became a seaside resort after the Middlesborough to Redcar railway line opened…

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

We're really excited about this week's addition of cemetery records from North Yorkshire

This week over half of the burial records for Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council will be added to the Deceased Online database. This is the first area for us from North Yorkshire, and the second Yorkshire council (after Wakefield, West Yorkshire) on the website.

Redcar and Cleveland is located on the beautiful north east coastline. Although largely rural, the area has a strong mining history. Other historical highlights of the area are the ruined Augustinian Gisborough Priory, Kirkleatham Museum, Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum, Winkies Castle, the bronze age Eston Nab hill fort, and the Georgian mansion and home to the Pennyman family, Ormesby Hall.

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council manages eight cemeteries completely. We uploaded four of these this week:

Boosbeck                      opened 1931      2,600 burials
 Brotton                          1936                   2,753

TNA Records of Burial Ground Removals + Book Competition

Burials and Censuses

To link with Deceased Online's forthcoming competition to win one of five copies of my new book, Tracing Your Ancestors Using the Census (Pen & Sword, 2013), this week's post examines the use of burial records and censuses in family history research. 

Besides records of birth/baptism, marriage and death/burial, census records are some of the most commonly used in genealogy. Once you have found a burial record on the Deceased Online database, you may want to look further into the life of the deceased person. Using the details on the burial record alongside those in censuses will help to give you a more rounded picture of your ancestor and his or her life.
Most family historians use the Victorian and Edwardian censuses of 1841-1911. These were taken every ten years and have been digitized on a number of databases. The original records are held at The National Archives. The 1841 census was the first to name each individual (as opposed to just heads of household) and to record…