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Family History 4 All

 Learn how to trace YOUR family tree.

Newsletter No. 20 - July 2008.



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I hope this message finds you all in good health. 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 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.

1. Our welcome message.

2. Featured Article – Several Ways to Search Ship Manifests for your Family's History By: Paul Duxbury and Kevin Cook

3. Latest news from www.Ancestry.co.uk

4. Next month’s article.  The Hoccoms of Wolverhampton By: Jay Brookes

A very interesting story...Don't miss it!


1. Hi all,

WELL what a month! We're still plagued by builders and kitchen fitters etc. and we just had to get away for a couple of weeks. We spent the first week visiting our daughter and family at their old apartment in Felixstowe (they have now moved to Doncaster) and the second week was spent on a break to Blackpool and some researching in Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Hence there was no newsletter for June 08! However it has given me time to catch up on a few things and also helped me to get the July newsletter out before the end of the month.

I have found a brilliant article for this month...I hope you enjoy it...

2. Featured Article:

Several Ways to Search Ship Manifests for your Family's History

By: Paul Duxbury and Kevin Cook

 Before the days of airplane travel, emigrants typically left their countries of origin on ships and braved long and difficult journeys across the ocean. Finding evidence of an ancestor's journey to a new world through passenger lists and ship manifests can be a thrilling experience for anyone who is interested in their family history. Such valuable documents, kept by most shipping companies across the world, can be incredibly difficult to search, however, leading genealogists to spend countless hours in fruitless inquiry. Many of the lists, for instance, have not been put into indexes and lay mouldering in some obscure or unreachable archive. At other times, even when genealogists do find their ancestors on a ship manifest, only their name and country of departure are listed; no other exciting information, such as birth date, country of origin, or occupation, is included. Such warnings aside, however, there are ways genealogists can increase their chance of success in finding their ancestors on passenger lists.

First, remember that your ancestors may have been included on a number of lists, not just the ones made upon arrival in their new country. Lists were made when they first got on the ship and whenever they stopped along the way. Newspapers and organizations that may have paid for their journey, such as aid societies, would also have kept lists. Even passport applications and naturalization papers can provide valuable clues to your ancestor's journey.

After becoming aware of the variety of places in which you can look for your ancestors, try and keep the time period in which they arrived in consideration. Passenger lists made for immigrants arriving in America before 1820, for example, are particularly difficult to search for because they were not standardized or carefully preserved and either do not exist anymore or are extremely difficult to find. The search for immigrants arriving between 1820 and 1891 is slightly less difficult but information is still limited. Finally, in 1891, the Immigration and Naturalization Service came into existence in the United States, and passenger lists were greatly improved, becoming more reliable, informative and well-preserved.

Before you begin searching passenger lists, you need to know your ancestor's complete and original name, the date of his arrival in America, and the port at which he arrived. It is also helpful to know his age; the port from which he departed; his country of origin; his ultimate destination in the United States; and the names of his ship or of any fellow travellers. You can find this information through a piece memorabilia, such as a letter or ticket; through previously researched family history; through census records, which are available on the internet and on purchasable computer programs; through naturalization records, which are actually more informative than passenger lists for immigrants arriving after 1906; and through passport records, if your ancestor applied for one to visit his country of origin.

If you discover that your ancestor arrived before 1820, there is no centralized place to search for passenger lists. Many ships did keep lists, which they left at the ports of arrival, but since the government did not require these lists to be kept or saved, they were lost, destroyed, or scattered in different libraries or private collections. Many of the surviving lists have been published on the web or in books, so these are the best places to search. Newspapers from the time which have been microfilmed are also valuable resources. Finally, the government does have records in the national archives for arrivals in New York from 1789 to 1919, in New Orleans from 1813 to 1819, and in Philadelphia from 1800 to 1819.

If your ancestor arrived after 1820, then your main job will be in consulting the variety of resources available. Customs Passenger Lists, compiled by ship captains from 1820 to around 1891 and indexes for these lists can be found at the National Archives; in libraries, including the comprehensive genealogical archives of the Church of Latter Day Saints; online in images, transcripts, and indexes; on purchasable CD-ROMs; and in books. The archives and other resources contain notable gaps in information and errors, so it is best to search in a variety of indexes.

Beginning around 1891, Immigration Passenger Lists replaced Customs Passenger Lists due to the flood of immigrants to the United States and the establishment of a Superintendent of Immigration. Immigration Passenger Lists are much more detailed and two pages long by 1906. They can be found in the National Archives, in the Latter Day Saints library, on the Ellis Island on-line database, and on other on-line sites. Once again, errors were made in microfilming lists and a variety of resources should be consulted. In the end, genealogy is like a scavenger hunt where you must use the clues provided to you and search in a variety of places before you find what you are looking for.

Article Source: http://www.familyhistoryarticles.com

About the Authors Paul Duxbury and Kevin Cook own www.amateur-genealogist.com and www.our-family-trees.co.uk two of the leading Genealogy Websites. In addition Paul owns a wide range of exciting websites which can be viewed at www.our-family-trees.co.uk

3. Latest news from www.Ancestry.co.uk

Dear James,

We have today released the Royal Aero Club Certificates, 1910 - 1950 on Ancestry.co.uk.

About the records.

What are they?

The Royal Aero Club members’ index cards, 1910-1950, and associated photographs are original documents that are stored on behalf of the Royal Aero Club Trust at the Royal Air Force Museum Archive at Hendon.

This collection is unique and represents the pioneer aviators of the early 20th Century, many of whom were instrumental in the founding of the Royal Flying Corps and its successor the Royal Air Force which was founded in April 1918.

The collection is in good order although album no. 4 is missing. The Royal Aero Club Trust is hoping to fill this gap from the index cards when all are digitised.

What do they contain? How many records are there in the collection?

The collection contains an estimated 28,000 index cards with information on the front of each card. There is information for one pilot per card and roughly 40% have an associated photograph on the back of the card. There are also 34 albums organised by certificate number containing 13,000 photographs of pilots. These photographs are arranged four to a page. The collection therefore comprises of approximately 61,000 images, counting the front and back of the index cards separately.

How can the records be searched?

They can be searched by forename, surname, date or place of birth or by the certificate number.

How can I find them?

Subscribers to UKI, UK Deluxe and World Deluxe can access the database in the UK Directories and membership.

Which areas do the records cover?

The majority of the people in the records are British but there are many different nationalities from all over the world including Poland, Russia, United States, Egypt and France.

Are there any famous or notorious people in the records?

There are many famous pioneer aviators, both men and women, as well as many different nationalities listed in the collection. For example;

John Theodore Cuthbert Moore-Brabazon, pioneer aviator and motorist who contributed to the development of aerial photography while serving with the Royal Flying Corps during WW1. In 1909 Brabazon made the first authenticated powered flight by a Briton in Britain. He also made the first live cargo flight at Muswell Manor, tying a bucket under his aeroplane and putting a live pig inside it. Subsequently he was given pilot’s licence No. 1.

Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls Royce and The Royal Aero Club. He was the second person to be licensed by the club. In 1903 he received the Gordon Bennett Gold Medal for the longest single flight time and in 1910 he made the fastest non-stop double crossing of the English Channel in 95 minutes. Later that year he became the first Briton to be killed in an air crash when the tail broke off his Wright Flyer at Bournemouth.

Sir Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith, pioneering aviator and celebrated yachtsman. In 1910 Sopwith won a £4,000 prize for making the longest flight from England to the Continent in a British-built aircraft, achieving 169 miles in 3 hours and 40 minutes. In June 1912 he set up The Sopwith Aviation Company which was responsible for key WW1 aircraft such as the Sopwith Camel. Knighted in 1953, his 100th birthday was marked by a fly-pass of military aircraft over his home. Sopwith died January 27 1989 aged 101.


Ancestry.com. Royal Aero Club Certificates, 1910 – 1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2008. Original data: The Royal Aero Club Trust, in the care of the Royal Air Force Museum Archive, Hendon, England.


Date range of the records: 1910 - 1950

Geography of records: Worldwide but predominantly UK.

Total number of images: 61,000

Total number of records: 28,504

Search them now!


Andrew Burch

This month's featured Ancestry member:

David Whitmarsh discovered an amazing family story featuring floods, epic journeys and a world war - this is his story.

In 1862, David's Great, Great Grandfather, Thomas Reay left County Durham and ended up in Nebraska, USA.

David's Grandfather Charlie was born in 1896 and then in 1912 his father decided to move to Bashaw in Canada. The journey took 96 days and covered 1,490 miles. On the way, in Montana, they had to cross the Powder River in full flood. Charlie and his sister Jane (pictured on the right) helped to tie logs to the wagons and lead them across the swirling waters whilst their family members looked on speechless with fear.

Charlie joined the Canadian army during WW1 and was wounded at Passchendaele. He was then sent to England where he met and married David's Grandmother, starting a new British family - but that's another story.

4. Next month's article:

The Hoccoms of Wolverhampton By: Jay Brookes

A very interesting story...Don't miss it!

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Got your own site? I started using this a few weeks ago and it really works: http://www.freewebtraffic.co.uk/

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That’s all for this month folks…I hope you enjoyed this months newsletter. And in case you forgot earlier - Please sign the  Guestbook. See you next month.

Jim. Editor

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

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