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Each issue is packed full of entertaining stories, case studies, social history articles and research advice – great for anyone starting out in family history research, for experienced researchers needing help overcoming stumbling blocks, and for those with a general interest in how our ancestors lived their lives.
In the mid to late 1860s in Britain, food, eating habits and problems related to the female body all became hot topics. Young women workers in Lancashire starved as a result of the crisis in the cotton supplies during and after the American Civil War; and the royal doctor Sir William Gull was engaged in studying and describing what we know now as anorexia. It was also an age of a new, revisionary attitudes (from some quarters at least) resulting from the great discoveries of Darwin relating to evolution.
I was recently browsing through a log book and a visitors book, both of which had once been kept on a sailing boat that belonged to my family in the 1980s. Flicking through the leaves I came across a voyage that I remembered from July 1980 when I was part of the crew for a trip along the south-east coast of England with my dad and two others. I was 22 at the time and the youngest by far of the four crew that set off in the 40-foot sailing ketch. The oldest crew member, as I recalled from seeing his name signed in the guest book, was a gentleman of 68 years. As we assembled on the yacht at Ipswich, this had been the first time that I had ever met him. He had been brought along by one of the other crew members, a friend of the family. I remember how, as we prepared the boat for sea, I was quite in awe of René Kitchen for the simple reason that he was the first Spitfire pilot that I had ever met.
It was 120 years ago this month that the celebrated and distinguished author George Orwell was born in 1903. Famous for writing books such as Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, he secured a special place in literary history in the UK and throughout the world. </p> <p>The use of social media and the internet was decades in the future during Orwell’s life, as would be the widespread presence of CCTV cameras, despite his warnings of a surveillance society. In Britain, recent concerns about excessive police powers strengthen Orwell’s arguments and political resolve.
Last month DYA reported that data website TheGenealogist had released new, higher resolution scans for the 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses for England and Wales, adding to an upgraded set already available for 1891. These original page images are a major resource for family historians and we wanted to know more about the technology behind it all.
TheGenealogist has added more than 125,000 copies of records from certain local authorities and the Church Commissioners that relate to the removal of graves and tombstones in burial grounds. These records are held by The National Archives and are now incorporated in TheGenealogist’s Headstone Collection.
In this popular royal park, many promenading figures are arrayed in high-fashion middle-class or more formal courtly apparel. The best-dressed ladies still wear the stately ‘open’ mantua gown featuring heavily boned bodice, decorative front ‘petticoat’ and stylised back drapery extending into a train. Their tall fontage or frelange headdress with long lappets tilts forward, a modest black hood-like scarf draped over and secured in front. Accessories also include elbow-length gloves, fans and black masks to protect complexions from the sun.
One day Ian Marchant, acclaimed author of books on music, railways and pubs, decided to have a dig around his family history. Surprisingly quickly, a web search informed him that his seven-times-great great-grandfather, Thomas Marchant had left a detailed diary from 1714 to 1728.
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