Friday, January 27, 2012

It never rains...

but it pours - the microfilm of the Wing marriages for the initial period I am going to transcribe has arrived as well. While I should be able to head over to the library this weekend and take a look, I'm going to be too busy at work (i.e. my real job with real deadlines that involve real extra hours to be put in) to have much time to work on either this or the valuation book project over the next fortnight. Still, they ARE both jobs that break down into individual pages, so a little bit here and there might be manageable...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Back in business

I'm back! And you didn't even know I was slacking off, did you? My computer has been ever-so-slightly not-at-all functional so has just spent several days at the hospital - hence no genealogy time for me.

It's back now though, and the images for the 1910 valuation books project have arrived. There's also some other Wing-related emails I didn't get to respond to before everything went kaput, along with some followup emails (anyone else out there with BONHAM or FOUNTAINE connections?). And if that wasn't enough to keep me more than occupied this weekend, a brand new one place study has emailed me asking to be listed on the One Place Study website - and it's in a brand new country which makes it a 1-hour job not a 5 minute one to update that website, but I'm not complaining as it's so great to hear of new studies!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wing As It Was vol 2

If anyone would like a copy of this out-of-print book, there is one currently for sale on Ebay via Buy Now:
I'm not affiliated with the seller in any way.

This book contains various postcards and photos of Wing in the late 19th century. I have an index of names included on the website:

Monday, January 09, 2012

Good intentions

You will no doubt remember that I have spent the last week creating my project list for 2012. You may also remember that I wasn't supposed to do anything that wasn't on that list.

Downloading the 1851 eccesiastical census returns for the Leighton Buzzard registration district (free from The National Archives digital films section) and getting excited because the original returns have slightly more information than the summary I'd previously seen - not on that list.

So that's about 24 hours I lasted, then.

(I'm also downloading the letter books of the Leviathan for 1837 to 1839 - our pal William ADAMS was on that convict hulk from late 1838!)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The moving target - other targets

There's some other, non-Wing genealogical goals I have this year:

Version 5 of Family Historian is due out next month. I plan to upgrade to this version. Furthermore, I plan to actually read the manual and work through any suggested tutorial material. The mailing list for this software inevitably makes me feel like a complete newbie as I simply haven't explored diagrams, queries and the like in any logical manner, and there's no point having top-class software if you aren't using it properly. 2012 is the year!

Another good idea would be to work through and update Family Historian by family so that sources and the like are consistently recorded. I have a bad habit of getting underway, then putting things to one side and returning three months later only to have no idea which family I was working on and where I might have been up to. For some reason I seem to have a mental block as far as getting a good system going for tracking that sort of thing.

I'd like to write some more articles for the One Place Studies website. While maintaining the index section of this website doesn't take too much time, I didn't add as much new content as I'd like in 2011. 

I should also do some actual family history work on my own actual family tree. Poor neglected thing. I think I should just pick a couple of surnames that I haven't really worked on much (both on my Dad's side, as I 've already written up mini-books for Mum's side) and get stuck in revisiting the information I have, updating Family Historian, then expanding their stories. WILLSON of Lincolnshire and Islington, and PACKER of Sandford, Devon, step on up!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The moving target - step away from the computer

The final goal for my moving target list of projects for the Wing One Place Study for 2012 is offline.

I fear that the plastic supports on the creaking in-tray of doom are permanently bowed. Time to clean out the Wing section (it's only 2 inches thick), work out what projects are actually lurking in there, make a list (ready for 2013?) then file the paperwork away with the rest of my Wing records.

Unfortunately that'll lead me to part two of this goal - I also fear that my Wing "library" might need some reorganisation. Like the in-tray of doom, it seems to have outgrown its current accommodations, so I'll need to have a bit of a reshuffle.

I think that concludes the moving target list. There's a good mix of projects on it - different physical locations to work in, different types and sizes of projects, a clear focus on getting existing projects completed (and with room for some slight deviation if something pops up that's relevant to the farms project, the biggest task), and most importantly the list is more than achievable. It does mean that you might not see an update to the website every month. But you know what? That's okay. I'll have done enough for a Mallowpuff, as we say down here.

52 weeks of abundant genealogy - week 1

I have no idea how Chris Paton does it (check his profile to see what a busy boy he is) but his British GENES blog highlights pretty much everything you need to know or might be interested in as far as the UK genealogy world is concerned. It's essential blog reading - I don't always have time to keep up with everything (who does?) but I know it'll all be there in his blog. Thanks, Chris!

This blogpost is part of the 52 Weeeks of Abundant Genealogy series from Amy Coffin and

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The moving target - 1798 inclosure map

Last year my superstar genealogy friend Paul took photos of Wing's inclosure map for me. Inclosure took place in 1798, so the map and its key as to who was given what land-wise is pretty useful. I'm about a quarter of the way through transcribing the key, and as it will be pertinent information for the farms project I would like to get the inclosure map transcription done before resuming work on the farms. It's making the Moving Target list!

I will certainly be able to get this done this month. For those keeping track at home, I'm now expecting to be gainfully occupied for at least three-quarters of 2012 - what else might make the list?

[For background to The Moving Target series of posts, see the story so far]

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Bookshelf: World War II London Blitz Diary by Ruby Thompson

I recently read a book that you, my dear readers, may also be interested in so I'm interrupting my Moving Target series to bring you my review from Goodreads:

World War II London Blitz Diary: A Woman's Revelations Enduring War and MarriageWorld War II London Blitz Diary: A Woman's Revelations Enduring War and Marriage by Ruby Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This diary is a very illuminating look at what life during the London Blitz was like. Life-long diarist Ruby talks about both the external events of WWII and her personal experiences on a day-to-day basis living through the Blitz, as well as general family and society events and opinions. Being able to read something that was being written each day, without the benefit of hindsight as to what was historically significant, was very refreshing. The sheer repetitiveness with which the various air alerts each day are recorded gives you a real sense of what it might have been like - without going through the lack of sleep and shattered nerves, of course!

Ruby makes particular comment about how she fully intends her children to read the diaries some day so that they know a bit more about who she really was - the impact of various societal constraints meant she felt unable to truly be herself. This also gives the reader permission to experience her sometimes harsh comments about life and her husband without feeling that you are intruding.

The diaries have been edited by Ruby's great-granddaughter. She has let the content stand as is, and accordingly some comments will likely make modern readers cringe a bit, but thankfully there has been no editing to make the diary more dramatic, as a novelised version might have been. The copyediting could definitely be improved, for example there are a couple of sentences in two entries that were duplicates of other entries, and there are apostrophes where there shouldn't be. While Ruby's family members are listed at the beginning of the book, I felt it would have been more useful to the narrative to add these as footnotes or editorial parentheses as each new person (or place/issue of significance) was mentioned, to explain who they are and their significance in Ruby's life.

The content itself and the fact the diaries survive is a true gift to Ruby's descendants, and now to us as well. This is volume 1 of an intended 4-volume WWII set.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The moving target - farms

In 2011 I started work on the farms project. This is a series of pages with information about the farms and farmers of Wing, organised by property into regions/hamlets of Wing. I think this is going to be one of the more significant and globally useful projects within the one-place study.

So far I've completed the hamlets of Ascott and Burcott. Still to come are Crafton, Cottesloe, and "other". For these, I have roughly collated the basic information from census records and directories. The real work is in fleshing these out with additional information, attempting to work out the location of the farm, looking for any family connections between farms, and writing each farm up into a cohesive and interesting passage. I also have to complete a summary page about the agricultural industry in Wing as a whole and what working life would have been like for our farmer/ag lab ancestors.

I've learned that these farm pages actually take a lot longer than I would have expected. It will also get more problematic from here on in as fewer of the farms are actually named. However leaving this project half-finished will make me feel guilty every time I think about it, so I definitely want to get it done. Using my estimate of 4 hours a week being the time I can commmit to the one-place study, it'll probably take me a couple of months to finish each page. Allowing a month for the valuation books project, and another month for a stint of work on marriages from the parish registers, that means it'll likely be the end of August before it's done.

Long-term, I'll be able to expand these pages as more information comes to light. I also want to incorporate much better mapping of the farms - ideally identify the fields that encompassed each individual farm over time ("time" realistically being only 1798 onwards), and overlay these onto a modern map. Even if I've been able to achieve an accurate identification of a particular farm using various historical maps and records, I don't have the technical skill to realise my vision of the final map on the website. I suspect that's another huge learning curve - and huge learning curves take time!

[For background to The Moving Target series of posts, see the story so far]

Monday, January 02, 2012

The moving target - valuation books

[For background to The Moving Target series of posts, see the story so far]

A project I've already committed is the 1910 valuation books project being undertaken by the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society. They are taking digital photos of the valuation books, which give information about physical buildings, and members of the BGS are transcribing them. I've volunteered for Wing and it looks like the images might be available in a month or so, so this will have top priority once they arrive.

As I'm doing this as part of the wider BGS effort which will be available for sale down the track, I won't be able to publish the Wing data on the website. However I will have that information available offline to incorporate into other Wing OPS projects where relevant. I'm hoping that these valuation books will provide some timely information about the farmhouses of Wing - more about that tomorrow!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The moving target - parish registers

[For background to The Moving Target series of posts, see the story so far]

I've always found parish registers fascinating - they're an interesting read, irrespective of the individual families involved.

Wing's parish registers for the period 1546 to 1812 were transcribed in the early 1900s by local historian A. Vere Woodman and published by the Bucks Parish Register Society in 1914. I have a copy of this, and so far I have found them to be pretty reliable. Doing my own transcription of this period, particularly the earlier, more unreadable years (which likely would have been in better condition when Woodman looked at them a century or so back) would be nice but wouldn't advance the one-place study much. This means my focus should be on the 1813+ period.

I've already transcribed the burials register up until 1909, the latest date that has been filmed by the LDS and thus the latest date accessible to me in NZ. I won't be able to progress this until any subsequent images are available.

The marriages are the key area which does feel like it is currently a bit of a gap in the study. It would be nice to do these consecutively from 1813, but the extra information provided on marriage entries from 1837 makes that later period much more valuable in establishing family lines. The marriages to 1881 have been extracted in the IGI but this doesn't contain all the information recorded, and if it's anything like the baptisms there may well be omissions.

Speaking of baptisms, I have already covered off the 1813 to 1870 period. It would be lovely to extend this up to at least 1911 in the first instance, but I don't think this would add quite as much as the marriages would.

I'd worked out  the number of entries involved in each register on previous times that I have ordered the various films. It looks like the marriages average out about 10 a year, less than I had expected - and while each one takes a while to transcribe, the good thing is that I can just complete and upload individual years if I wanted to, rather than completing the whole register. So I think I will go ahead and order in the LDS film of the marriages starting in 1837 and see how I go.

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