Thank you Gregor Mendel

Today is the 189th birthday of Gregor Mendel and Google has paid homage to him by creating their logo in a pea theme.

Gregor Mendel was the father of the science of genetics. He studied the inheritance of certain traits that were found in peas. He was an Augustinian Friar living in Austria when he started his study of the humble pea.

As with many great thinkers his research was not recognized until after his death. At the turn of the 20th century his research was rediscovered and this was the beginning of modern science of genetics.

The knowledge of genetics has helped many around the world including those interested in genealogy.

Serendipity and Amusing Research Discoveries

While I am a firm believer in using research techniques to find information on my family there is the ever present serendipity that shows up at the most opportune times.

I had found a reference to a possible marriage between Thomas Kelly and Mary Orford in the Marriage Licence Indexes at the National Archives of Ireland. The reference read:

Kelly, Thomas, Kildare, Gent, Mary Orford, Dublin, Sptr, 3 Aug 1767 St. Anne’s parish

I thought this was a great find for so early a record. Then in the 1980s I ordered some copies of “The Irish Ancestor” edited by Miss Rosemary ffolliott. There were nine journals to read and I was enjoying going through them all. In journal No. 2 from 1971 I came across an article called “Old Parochial Registers of Scotland: References to Parties from Ireland” extracted by Donald Whyte.

The first page described the project and the first few extractions were noted. When I turned the page the second extraction jumped out at me. It read:

“11th August 1767: Thomas Kelly from Kildare in Ireland and Mary Orford from Dublin being well attested as single persons & of good Character having got publication of Banns, were lawfully Married here this day”

This extract came from the OPR’s for Kirkcudbright. I ordered the film from the Family History Library to confirm the extraction. What they were doing in Kirkcudbright and why they married there is a mystery. The marriage licence is dated the 3rd of August and the marriage took place on the 11th of August. Since they had a marriage licence from Ireland it is possible that they only read the banns once. The distance from Kildare to Kirkcudbright is over 400 kilometers and travel in 1767 was not the swiftest.

If I had not decided to order some back copies and if there was not an extra copy of the 1971 journal then their actual place of marriage would not be known. Why they went to Scotland and how they actually got there remains a mystery which I hope one day to solve.

While doing a cluster research project in Cheshire in England I came across an interesting entry in the marriage register. Daniel Broadbent married Martha Cheetham by licence on 9 March 1780. Daniel signed his name and Martha signed her mark. “Behold!” in bold letters is written above the entry. There is a note by the minister who presided over the marriage:

“N.B. A peculiar Marriage! Daniel Broadbent was aged twenty three – Martha Cheetham aged eight three!”

The minister’s feelings may be the reason the marriage was done by licence and not banns. Maybe he refused to read the banns for a marriage with such an age difference. It would be nice to know why they decided they should get married.

While looking for the marriage of my Great Great Grandparents I came across the first marriage for my Great Great Grandfather Henry Thompson. In a round about way this also helped me find the marriage of his sister.

They were married at the same time. I would not have found this by ordering the marriage record from Ireland as they only provide you with the marriage record for the couple requested.

The Family History Library has microfilms for early civil registration records in Ireland and when you get a copy you get the full page of entries. This is how I found the marriage of Priscilla Thompson.

Henry married Hannah Fayle and Priscilla married George Richard Fayle. It is a case of siblings marrying siblings. George was a witness to Henry’s marriage and Henry to George’s. William Thompson was a witness to both and is Henry and Priscilla’s brother.

I had not known of Henry’s first marriage. My Great Great Grandmother was his second wife. He lost his first wife and child within six months of each other just over a year after the marriage.

Have you come across interesting entries in parish registers or other records? Has serendipity found its way into your family history research? Please tell me your stories in the comments below.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

Girl Guides – World Thinking Day

February 22nd is World Thinking Day which began in 1926 as a time when girls in Guiding throughout the world would think of each other and give thanks. The date itself is the shared birthday of Lord Robert Baden Powell and his wife Olive. Lord Baden Powell started the Scouting movement and Olive Baden Powell was the World Chief Guide.

I was involved in the Guiding movement starting as a Brownie and went on to Guides, Rangers, Junior Leader and Tawny Owl and finished my career as a Brown Owl which is a leader of a Brownie troop.

On the Sunday before the 22nd all the local members of Guiding and Scouting went to a church service and gave thanks. We marched down the aisle and presented our colours and then after the service we picked up our colours and marched out.

When I was in the movement it was called Thinking Day but at the 30th World Conference held in Ireland in 1999 they decided to make it World Thinking Day to show the global aspect of the movement.

My mother was in Guiding as a young girl. When I became a Brownie my mother volunteered as a leader and eventually was the Commissioner of our district. My paternal grandmother was active in Guiding and was a leader. She met my grandfather at a gathering of Guides and Scouts in Glasgow. My father was involved in Scouting.

Two of my grandfather’s cousins were so active in Guiding that they were awarded a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen for their service to Guiding. The Queen herself was active in Guiding.

It is sad that the next generation in my family has not continued on with the tradition of Guiding and Scouting. I found the experience was fantastic for learning new things and testing my abilities in a safe and supportive environment. I can pitch a tent and light a fire with the best of them. I learned to cook over an open fire and how to keep the pots from turning permanently black from the fire. There was home nursing where I learned how to change a bed with someone in it and how to care for people at home.

It was the goal of many to collect as many badges as possible. You had to fulfill certain criteria and have someone sign off on the fact that you completed the requirements. There are badges available that reflect all the concerns and interests of people today. The badges introduce the girls to different ideas and may create a spark for a future career. They provide them with the skills they will need to care for and support themselves. Today you can get a badge for family heritage.

Younger girls are being welcomed into the movement with a group called Sparks.

In 1975 I was part of an event called Guiding on the Move which was part of our 65th Anniversary celebrations. It was a National Girl Guide project that allowed over 1000 girls to travel across Canada and exposed them to the different ways of life to be found throughout Canada. The group I was with included Guides from around Ontario and the Northwest Territories. We all gathered at our district camp site and went to Hamilton and stayed on the Navel base and toured the city. Then a larger group gathered for a special day celebrating Guiding at the Canadian National Exhibition. I remember marching into the stadium with all my new friends who were part of Guiding from around the country.

Of course there was the cookie sale held every year. We would go to every door in the neighbourhood twice, the first time picking up orders and the second time delivering them. There were only two flavours, chocolate and vanilla. This year Cookie Day will be held at Sears but I have yet to find a specific date for it.

Last year the Girl Guides celebrated their 100th Anniversary.

The Girl Guides motto is “Be Prepared” and their slogan is “Empowering girls will change our world.”

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

Keeping up with Genealogy News

It is really important to keep up with all the new advancements, latest releases and general news in genealogy. Keeping up with the news will help you advance your own family history. You never know when an announcement regarding the release of records will provide you with the record to break down that brick wall you have been battling against for ages.

Generally I follow over fifty different blogs and can have up to thirty new blog posts to read everyday. The majority of them are genealogy blogs but several can be considered connected to genealogy such as writing and history blogs. A few are related to my other interests. If there is a new innovation or records are released in the world of genealogy you can count on multiple blog posts to respond. Information travels quickly in the world of instant news reports.

Genealogy blogs help me to keep up to date with the news as well as providing the opportunity of learning something new everyday. I follow the well known blogs such as Dick Eastman as well as some lesser known blogs. It is amazing the information that is flowing freely through the community.

I also love the family stories that are shared throughout the genealogy blogging world. “Write it up” has been a phrase used quite often throughout the genealogical community and the blog has provided us with a fun and relatively easy way to do so.

Blogs are just a small part of how I keep up to date with information. I read about five genealogy magazines a month. My reading material also consists of six genealogy journals that come out quarterly. The reading material comes from Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland and the United States. This way I can keep abreast of everything new in the countries where I conduct research.

I have an IPod but where most people have music on their IPods I listen to genealogical and historical podcasts. This is another way of catching up with what is going on in the world of genealogy. I am learning about record groups that might assist me with my research as well as the time periods in history that my ancestors lived through. I talked about podcasts in a previous blog entry.

While all this new and abundant information is fantastic, I have to schedule in time to keep up to date with it all.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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