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Family History 4 All

 Learn how to trace YOUR family tree.

Newsletter No.4 – January 2007.

Tony Robinson and Ancestry.co.uk

Dear Subscriber,

Welcome to our newsletter from www.familyhistory4all.co.uk  Click here to read online: http://familyhistory4all.co.uk/jannews07.htm

Carol; myself (Jim) and the team here at Family History For All, hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and a great start to 2007.


1.       Our welcome message.

2.       Featured Article – Learn how to save those precious family memories, by writing family history stories.

3.       Great news about the 1911 Census!

4.       Next month’s article.

1. I hope this message finds you all in good health. To our new subscribers a big welcome and we hope you enjoy our newsletter. And to all our subscribers – if you have an article or amusing story to share with us then please don’t be afraid to send it for publication…you can remain anonymous if you prefer but we want you all to feel you can contribute if you want to. Just send an email to publish2002ukATyahoo.co.uk with the words ‘Newsletter item’ in the subject box. And we will include it at the first opportunity, subject to editing, if necessary of course.

If you really do enjoy our newsletters then please tell all your friends and/or relatives who may be interested in family history. Forward this newsletter by all means with our blessing or ask them to sign up for their own copy! But if for any reason you don’t like some part of the newsletter, then please tell us! That way we can improve the newsletter and improve your enjoyment!

Here's the link to the archives so you can refer to previous issues: Newsletter Archive

2. Learn how to save those precious family memories by writing family history stories.

We’ve all heard the advice, once you start researching your family history, “Write a book about what you know?” If not, give it some thought – don’t the very best stories often come from life? So, what’s stopping you from writing your own story about your family history?

Memoirs are superior alternatives and valuable additions to scrapbooks and photo histories. They also tend to be easier to digest than complex genealogy charts. Don’t let the scope of a memoir scare you off.  Look at the ideas below, to help you through that first tough chapter with the following memoir-writing tips:

  • Set goals in terms of length and deadlines. If you lack free time, set aside at least ten minutes each day. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the finished pages will pile up.
  • Ask others to help with the project. Share what you’re doing with friends and family and see if they can, in some way, contribute. If nothing else, their collective excitement will feed your own enthusiasm. As with all research always double-check your information.

  • Don’t expect to create a best seller. Few of us are capable of writing a great novel. But that’s not what you’re trying to do. You may be limited by capability, but your history is important – don’t let a lack of skill keep you from setting down your history on paper.

  • Begin by picking a focus for your memoir. Do you want to write about one person or several generations? Do you want to spill into the present, or stick mostly to the past?

  • The next step is to choose an appropriate format. Do you want a lengthy narrative, or something short and simple?

Collect Your Information.

Supplement your information by talking to relatives. Ask them questions about homes, neighbours, family traditions, education, employment and life events – anything that will lead to a story. Be sure to document all your sources for future reference.

Fill in the gaps with history – especially if you’ve chosen the novel format. Giving your story an historical context will add richness to your memoir. Try to find books at your local library about the era you are writing and glean useful tips of how your ancestor lived.  This will add realism to your story.

Organize Your Information

Once you’ve completed your research, organize your notes into an outline - by chronology of life events, marriages, employment, etc. This outline will serve as the skeleton of your story.

Similar to an outline is a timeline. A timeline is helpful when working with dates, historical facts, and specific life events. Organize your timeline like an outline, just include the actual dates – and be sure to keep those dates in order. Refer back to your timeline to ensure you don’t get events out of sequence.

Write It All Up

Develop your own style. Don’t try to copy anyone else.

Keep some essentials handy – namely a dictionary, thesaurus, atlas and the Internet. A book on ‘Old Handwriting’ will help when reading old documents.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a second pair of eyes. Choose someone you trust to give you honest feedback. Someone with a background in writing is a plus.

If you are using a computer or word processor, then use the spell-check facility – you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make mistakes when you are deep in thought. (I sometimes make mistakes and/or errors when compiling this newsletter! So I know how easy it is.)

Before you publish, ask someone to proof-read your story (all writers have their books proof-read prior to publication. You can’t alter it after publication without avoiding paying twice!)

Share Your Story

Once you’ve finished your memoir, be sure to show it off.

Publish it yourself. If you can afford to, you may want to pay a company to print your family’s history for you. Or, just go to a copy shop and have them print and bind your memoir like a book.

Tip: If you are only publishing a few copies, you can purchase a comb binding machine; a pack of binding combs; a ream of paper; some coloured plastic fronts and a pack of A4 card for around £25 or less at your local discount stationers.

Use your family’s resources to distribute your memoir. Publish your memoir in a family newsletter. You can also publish it serial-style on your family’s website. See the online version for a link to a brilliant FrontPage™ tutor. http://www.actden.com/fp2000/java/index.htm

Finally! Send us your finished article and we’ll publish it (Edited if needed) in a future newsletter, to share with our readers.

Good Luck with your memoirs!

3. Great news about the 1911 Census!

Press Release 13 December 2006

The National Archives receives information commissioner’s report on 1911 census

The National Archives (England and Wales) has received a Decision Notice from the Information Commissioner to address a Freedom of Information request to see an entry from the 1911 Census.

The effect of the Information Commissioner’s decision is that The National Archives will seek to supply specific information from the 1911 Census in response to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. However, the Information Commissioner’s ruling also means that to protect personally sensitive information the 1911 Census must remain closed as a whole document until 2012. The Government is concerned that it should maintain its long-standing commitment to keeping census records closed for 100 years following their creation, on the grounds that this closure period strikes an appropriate balance between the right of census respondents to have information they provide kept confidential, and the access interests of family historians. Information collected during 1921 and in later censuses will be treated in line with this commitment.

The 1911 Census is a huge document; only one copy of it exists, on paper, in the handwriting of those who completed the census. The National Archives has already made significant plans to digitise the 1911 census for the first working day of 2012 and as a result of the Information Commissioner’s decision; The National Archives is seeking to fast-track this process. A partner will be selected, and the contract awarded in the spring 2007, to develop an online census that is searchable by address and name. This process is not quick, as the whole census needs to be digitised, and searchable indices created.

The National Archives hopes to start to offer a searchable service in early 2009, with key sensitive information withheld until 2012. This service will enable most researchers to find the information that they want, through a simple search.

The National Archives recognises that the Information Commissioner’s decision means it needs to respond to requests that arrive before 2009. A special FOI service to deal with requests for information contained in the 1911 census before the online service commences, is expected to be launched on 17 January 2007. As the 1911 census is currently only on paper, searching it is not simple, so The National Archives has to limit searches to those where the address of the individual is known. (The 1911 census does not have a name index.)

Researchers using this service will currently be charged a non-refundable research fee of £45 that will cover the costs of each search. For more information on the 1911 Census FOI research service please visit: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/1911census.

Natalie Ceeney, Chief Executive of The National Archives, said: ‘Having received the Information Commissioner’s decision, The National Archives has worked hard to find the best way to allow people to get the information that they want, whilst protecting key confidential information as advised by the Information Commissioner. We recognise the popularity of family history and census data and will digitise the 1911 census as quickly as we can, once a partner for the digitisation has been selected and the contract awarded. We will start to offer a searchable online service in 2009; the 1911 census will be fully available in 2012.

Meanwhile, our new 1911 FOI research service will deliver, from 17 January 2007, the decisions made by the Information Commissioner.’

For more information, please contact:

            Nicole Hambridge or Séverine Gould on 020 8392 5277 or email: press@nationalarchives.gov.uk

We hope you find the above information useful

4. Next month’s article:

Will focus on certificates – Births; Marriages and Deaths. Also Parish records. You will learn what information you can glean from certificates, how to obtain them and where to find parish records.

If you have an idea for a future issue, please tell us and if possible we will include it.

That’s all for this month folks…see you soon.

 Jim. Editor


 Email: publish2002ukATyahoo.co.uk

 Or: jimATfamilyhistory4all.co.uk

 Jim Ackroyd. Address: 12 Avondale Road. Doncaster. UK. DN2 6DE


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