Sep 012014

Albert Henry Day was born on 29 April 1866 of William and Sarah (nee Taylor, sometimes Tayler) Day of Raleigh Place, Enfield. He was the couple’s fifth child but William’s eleventh of fourteen!

B1866 J AlbertHenry Day

The family remained at Raleigh Place for several decades. Albert was recorded as a scholar in 1871 and a coach painter in 1881. He married Elizabeth Caroline Fielder on 1 June 1890 at St Andrews Church, Enfield, the daughter of a pianoforte maker:

M1890 J DAY AlbertHenry FIELDER ElizabethCaroline

Recently, I looked back through an old family photograph album which we were given by a great-aunt many years ago and found this photograph marked ‘Albert and Lily on their wedding day‘:


Amazing to think that this picture of my great-great-grandparents was taken in 1890 – nearly 125 years ago! Albert and Lily had five children – one son and four daughters – living initially in the Hackney and Willesden areas of Middlesex.

Albert came from a large family – as Lily did – and was recorded on most documents with the occupation of ‘coach painter‘ with occasional references to ‘decorator’. It was his daughter, Winifred Lilian (born in 1907), who passed on the album to my mother in the 1990s.

The National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) records Albert’s death on Valentine’s Day in 1932 and I recall that his death certificate stated that he died of a ‘prostatectomy’ or similar. One can only wonder why he had part or all of his prostate removed….


[Returning to the usual schedule next weekend - #52Ancestors will be back on Sunday!]

Aug 312014

StratchIn yesterday’s blog, I promised to feedback on the Symposium at the end of WDYTYA discussing The Future of Professional Genealogy. I was invited to attend by Dr Bruce Durie of the University of Strathclyde, along with other professional genealogists, interested people and organisations, to discuss the potential need for a framework for genealogical education, licencing and/or regulation.

Chaired by Phil Astley, an Aberdeen City Archivist, an introduction to the symposium was provided by a rather horse (I know it’s supposed to be hoarse!) Bruce, with regard to Pros, Cons and Contingencies of Regulation and Registration. He raised a few interesting points including the fact that we do not have a unified professional body, contrary to most professions. In fact, we are also one of just a handful of occupations which you can perform without having to prove that you are capable of doing it! (I was reliably informed by a business colleague recently that estate agents are the same but let’s not link ourselves with them….)

The next speaker was the Director of Professional Services for CILIP, Simon Edwards. It took me a while to work out what CILIP was and how what he was talking about was relevant to the symposium but he explained how the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals works and the difference between charitable and chartered status and the cost of each. I am guessing this is considered a possible route for the future of professional genealogy?

Rosemary Morgan and Carol Baxter followed with their whirlwind tour of existing certification and qualification schemes, from AGRA, ASGRA, Strathclyde, Dundee and IHGS to BCG, APG and others. A tall order in just 20 minutes and I was grateful to find out that the recording of the meeting will be made available (in due course) on the University of Strathclyde website as there is no chance I could write down all the pros and cons of each body, scheme, university, course etc. Like other attendees though, I was surprised to find out that there are only 15 members of ASGRA and 100 of AGRA…. one wonders why? Do individuals not want to be members of these organisations? Or do they not make the grade?

I was rather amused during the meeting to find out that the word symposium actually means ‘a drinking party or convivial discussion‘ alongside being the term used for ‘a conference or meeting to discuss a particular subject’. Although no alcohol was provided or consumed, a convivial discussion followed the presentations, ably moderated by Dr Ian Macdonald with the microphone support of Tahitia McCabe (Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies). Many people expressed their views about the need for education and/or some kind of formal accreditation in order to be pronounced as a professional genealogist and some attendees quite clearly felt that without an ‘education’ in genealogy (from one of the various bodies), people should not be allowed to call themselves professional. Others – including myself – were strongly opposed and voiced the need for regulation and standards in our profession but not accreditation. I would recommend viewing the recording when it becomes available.

Although at times the discussion went a little ‘off track’ to include people’s careers prior to genealogy and genealogical researchers desire for a logo on their website, the debate continued even after the Chair’s summary and the close of the symposium. I am sure that conversations will rattle on in private/public and on social networking channels in weeks and months to come. A survey is being carried out to ‘determine the way forward. It is a private exercise and not produced by any educational, professional or commercial body … .The overall summary of results may be shared and published but individuals will not be identified.’

Interesting times ahead.

Aug 302014

Having spent an exceedingly enjoyable evening with over thirty professional genealogists last night in Glasgow City Centre, the walk to the SECC from the Ibis this morning – laden down with the laptop, books and other research material – was a little chillier than I had hoped. Travelling to Glasgow, I decided to pack for every eventuality from lovely summer sun to cold winter breezes and the weather has graced us with more of the latter than the former. To be honest though, when you are in an exhibition centre for most of the day, the climate outside is fairly irrelevant!its-not-what-you-know-its-who-you-know

The Ask the Experts tables were booked up very early in the day and for me, today has been – for a large part – a day of trying to educate the genealogical public that names aren’t always written in a particular way. Many visitors to the Guild stand and Ask the Experts table have been utterly convinced that the way their ancestor’s names were spelt on the marriage certificate [or other document] was THE ONLY WAY. Thank to FamilySearch, Ancestry or FindmyPast, it’s easy to swiftly prove them wrong.

Barbados marriages, South African deaths, baptisms in Lancashire and tracing back a few generations of a Scottish family …. just a few examples of some of the advice given today, including passing on email addresses of researchers across the globe who can assist further. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!

And shortly, I will be heading to the Symposium on The Future of Professional Genealogy, having been invited to attend the discussion regarding the potential need for a framework for genealogical education, licensing and/or regulation. Watch this space – I’ll report back soon!

What a shame that today is the end of the event! I am sure that Immediate Media made a rash decision cancelling Sunday, but I guess we’ll never know how successful the three-day event would have been, so they will be raving about how fantastic it has been over two days.

Aug 292014

Today’s blog is a little later than usual, for obvious reasons. I am not in the office but I have been ‘working’ all day at the SECC in Glasgow. Who Do You Think You Are? Live has gone ‘north of the border’ for the first time – in terms of the exhibition show – and for a change, I have ‘just been me’! As I had not committed myself as a volunteer on any of the stands, I had hoped to have the opportunity to wander around and meet people, see some of the lectures, pick other genealogist’s brains and generally mingle.


How wrong I was! Two and half hours on Ask The Experts - advising interested members of the public about how to break down their brick walls – was a fascinating time. Some amazing missions …. a lady wanting to find out what possibilities there were for finding her father’s parents, having been deposited at a boarding house or church establishment nearly one hundred years ago …. numerous attempts to find individuals who had been erroneously transcribed in censuses in various parts of the United Kingdom …. and a gentleman who had not begun his family history journey yet, at 80 years of age, and just popped in to the event, to ‘find out more’. And that is just the highlights!

So, having planned just to do a lecture, I have passed on many gems of knowledge, some which I would consider rather minor and not very valuable ones seem to have been received as if they were diamonds. Tomorrow will undoubtedly be another hectic day at ‘the office’ and I have already been tapped up for another stint on Ask The Experts. Sadly, Sunday is no longer part of the WDYTYA plan, so the word count for the book will be damaged further by a whole day, in the Ibis, with no distractions…. yeah right!

Aug 282014

Map…. and I am pleased to say that I chose the quick route. Currently, if I was driving, it would apparently take me 6 hours and 20 minutes. No thank you!

Instead, I am sitting people watching at Bristol Airport awaiting my short hop via aeroplane. Only the second time I have ever crossed the border I think and my first ever visit to Glasgow. Exciting….

Tomorrow is the first day of the Who Do You Think You Are? Live Show at the SECC and I am delighted to be lecturing on Women at War in Scotland Theatre 1. Sadly, the event has been cut short and is now only running on Friday and Saturday so my second lecture will not be aired on Sunday – well I guess it could be, but to my empty hotel room! The highlight of the weekend will be catching up with lots of current ‘genie-friends’ – fellow family, local and social historians from across the globe – and meeting many new faces who, to date, I have only be in touch with via social networks.

Looking forward to boarding the plane and joining you all up there in Bonny Scotland for the weekend. See you soon!

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