Academic libraries may have access to exclusive digital collections
It’s easy to think that records are either digitised and online, or hard copies residing in archives. However, there is a middle ground that family historians are not always aware of. Many records and newspapers have been digitised, making them searchable, but are only available to subscribing (usually academic) libraries, for example African newspapers and East India Company records. See page 63.
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If, like me, you’ve taken a DNA test, you will have noticed lots of ‘cousin matches’ among your results. However, all those names of 3rd and 4th cousins with no obvious connection to your tree can be overwhelming, and it’s tempting to ignore the lot of them. Who in this long list is worth following up? How do you even go about it, if they haven’t uploaded a family tree? We asked DNA guru Debbie Kennett those very questions and she shares her tips, starting on page 17. Mapping out ancestors on your genome might be tricky, but placing where they lived using Victorian maps has become a whole lot easier now that the National Library of Scotland has freely shared its map collection online (see page 26). It’s interesting to see companies like TheGenealogist also making use of these maps to help users connect records to places (see page 9).
Finally, as we went to press with this issue, the last embers of the great fire of Notre Dame were being extinguished. It made me think about what we treasure and how we look after it. We all have things we value, like the letters kept in a toffee tin by Bridget’s grandmother (see page 30). Perhaps now is a good time for us to think about how we care for our family archives so that they can be passed on to the next generation. Happy hunting!
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Debbie Kennett Not only does Debbie share some of her expertise in DNA testing on page 17 but her Twitter feed also gets a mention this month on page 51 in our article about bloggers.
Chris Paton Chris is a well-respected genealogy blogger (see page 49) and this month reveals his tips to get more from free online maps (page 26) and Scottish freemen records (page 54).
Emma Jolly After discovering family in India, Emma has written extensively on the subject, including her book Tracing Your British Indian Ancestors. On page 63 she explores British Empire resources.