ancestors magazine

ancestors magazine

15 March

Beginner’s Guide: Starting Out

Get going with your family history

Family history – genealogy – is one of the fastest growing hobbies in Britain. Countless people across the UK (and many more overseas) are now engaged in the search for their ancestors, and millions tune in to TV programmes like Who Do You Think You Are? It’s easy enough to start out by checking out your forbears online at home. And it could change your life.

Warm welcome

Family history is a hobby that you can pick up or put down when it suits you. After all your ancestors are not going to disappear. There is no pressure to trace everybody you are descended from – indeed it is nearly impossible. Most people only research one side of their family or a few ancestors who particularly interest them.

And if one individual proves elusive, well, there are plenty of others out there to find.

One of the great things is how friendly and helpful most family historians are. If you get stuck, the chance is that somebody will be only too pleased to point you in the right direction.

And you will receive a warm welcome at your local family history society meeting or adult education class.

Starting out

Begin by working out what you know already about your family and where they came from. Naturally the more information you have, the better. But if you know next to nothing, there’s no need to panic.

A good starting point is to talk to the oldest members of the family. Sadly most ancestor hunters find they are the oldest member of their families. It’s a common lament that: “I wish I had asked granny when she was still alive.”

Many families have a collection of heirlooms, which may well tell you about your immediate ancestors, and it’s always worth asking relations to see what they have. Family bibles are particularly useful, because they record the births (and perhaps marriages and deaths) of family members. If you’re very lucky it may go back centuries.

You’ve probably got an album or shoebox containing family snaps of family events and holidays.  Get them out and see whether they tell you anything. Don’t forget to ask relations whether they can put names to the faces.

What’s online

You’ve talked to the rellies and looked at the photographs. Now it is time to start the search in earnest.

Most of the major resources are now available online, generally for a fee. The two largest are and, but there are smaller lesser comprehensive sites like, and which may be more suitable for your needs.

However, much material is available for free if you know where to look. The largest is at which lists millions of births and marriages (but few burials) before 1837. The data is far from complete and it is not always accurate, but it is a useful starting place. The site also has a detailed index to the 1881 census.

Another great free site is FreeBMD ( which provides a detailed index to birth, marriage and death certificates from 1837.

All these sites are simple to use with lots of help available if you are not certain what the records are telling you.

Family history has given great pleasure to many hundreds of thousands of people. It’s difficult enough to be a challenge, but not so hard that it is impossible to crack. And who knows what will come up. You’re unlikely to be related to anybody rich or famous, but most researchers are just happy finding a poacher who was hung for sheep-stealing.

05 October
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The History and Evolution of SEO

So when did SEO start?  How has the art of search engine optimisation changed over the years?

In the early days around 1994, when Yahoo appeared on the block, it was search engine submissions that was the ticket to get your website ranked.  Along with a dollop of on page SEO. Yahoo then provided crawler based search results through a partnership with opentext.

Next up was Altavista that designed a search engine to dwarf all others so far which heralded the art of on page SEO –  now the main influential factor in ranking in the search engines. As a consequence search engine submissions were less important.

The mighty Google launched in 1998 along with DMOZ, which was a primary tactic for all SEO’s to get listed in. At this stage there were whisperings and theories written based on link citations in search algorithms.  Page rank and anchor text were becoming the main influential factors in search.  This caused a sweep of now black hat and other techniques for manipulating keyword placements. On page factors are still very important and the primary influential factor.

Further development of the Google search engine came text adverts with Google adwords. Much focus was still on organic search and importance of back links. Anchor text was now the main focus and the most effective method of search engine optimisation.

Post 2005, and the algo is getting more advanced.  Everyone talking about SEO is dead, as Google further develop and try to combat spam link building.   Relevance of back links is now becoming more important and results are seeing a big shift towards real link popularity.

Moving on the Penguin and Panda updates and now the hummingbird updates, SEO has become a  multi faceted set of tasks that requires traditional SEO, aswell as social media, content.  Anchor text is becoming less important, but as always there are the exceptions to the rule.





19 April

Rekindling the ancestral flames of Antique Fireplaces

If you research your Family tree, you might be surprised to learn that Antique Fireplaces that your ansestors used are still currently being used in this day and age. Perhaps you might even come accross a family heirloom as antique fireplaces can be a valuable antiquity.

However, If you are thinking about having antique fireplaces installed in your home there are a number of benefits to spending a little extra for an authentic look. The most common misconception is that because they are so old they may not last as long as you want them to. Because they are hand crafted pieces a lot of work and detail has gone into creating them. This makes them more durable and longer lasting than modern fireplaces which are factory-made. It is true that older varieties may need a little extra care but the performance of a hand-finished is unrivalled and guaranteed to bring you many years of pleasure and enjoyment.

If you have seen something that has caught your eye you need to be really selective when it comes to who you choose to install it. The fragility of antique fireplaces needs to be considered most during transportation and installation and you need to ensure you find someone who is really skilled and careful. The fireplace needs to be well packaged during transportation so that no damage occurs during transit.

Once it has been installed you should find out how best to care for and maintain it. Buying antique fireplaces is a long term investment in your home so it is really important that you look after it to preserve its historical value and to keep it in good working order. It is a permanent fixture in your home and will increase its market value.

If you have a larger space or space for two fireplaces you also need to try and find a set that works well together. Original antique pieces are often sold in pairs but some designs may only have one piece remaining. If you cannot get two identical pieces consider matching two similar one from the same period to get a symmetrical look in your home.

23 October

The Stunning History of 3D Movies & 3D TV

Movies made in 3D continue to rise in popularity. From the early release of movies of this type in the theaters during the 1950s, people have continued to demand more of the experience. For many people, wearing green and red cardboard glasses at the movie theater actually added to their entire experience. This accessory also gave them a sense of nostalgia when they began to use them in the theaters again a few decades later.

Fast forward to the 1980s and 90s as that era saw the critically acclaimed format show up in IMAX theaters across the country. During the new millennium, 3D movies increased in popularity until the stunning release, and runaway success, of Avatar in movie theaters in late 2009 and early 2010. It was only a matter of time before the home viewing public demanded the ability to see their favorite 3D movies in their living rooms as well.

There have been a variety of different methods used to deliver 3D technology to the living rooms of the  adoring fans over the years. These have involved the use of various projectors, screens, and glasses. While they have all been successful in their own way, such elaborate systems for viewing these types of movies at home have made it difficult for the average person to be able to enjoy the experience.

While there are many people who hold fond memories of using 3D glasses to view their favorite movies in the theaters, for a significant number of people that enthusiasm did not transfer to their use during home viewing. The home movie viewing public was looking for a less obtrusive alternative. Until recently, however, there has been little choice in the matter. With the recent release of autostereoscopic tvs, this has all changed.

Many of the major 3D TV manufacturers are coming out with, or will soon come out with, televisions that deliver the stunning and realistic graphics that 3D technology is known for so that even the average living room viewer can enjoy their favorite flick in the comfort of their own home. The demand of these televisions, that do not require the use of any type of 3D glasses, has been almost overwhelming. In turn, this development has lead movie producers to make plans to release even more of their movies on 3D. There has never been a better time to be a first class movie aficionado as there is now.

Keep up to date with 3DTVWatch for the latest TV reviews and technology news relating to innovations in 3D TVs.


02 June
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Victorian Beds

My mother left in her will a beautiful antique bed from the Victorian times. Undoubtedly it was an era of innovative style and cultural influences from asia and the middle east countries.  Designs in these times were regarded has been freighted with indulgence of ornateness and hand crafted artistic touches.

Although there wasn’t really one over bearing dominant style in this period, the prevalence of gothic and revival styles were some of the most common to be found in the Victorian bedroom (as well as the chastity department)

Another item she left was a copper pan bed warmer – my children have  fond memories of  seeing grandma tucked up in bed in the winter  - woollen socks ‘an all’

Modern and contemporary beds in our  world of efficiency and prescence of space saving furniture, have advanced in many areas with for ever improving technology, but sometimes you just cant beat a good old fashioned wooden bed to sleep on.

Today’s bed store stocks modern  bedroom furniture beds with tempur mattresses and are undoubtedly way more comfortable and are designed with ergonomics in mind. Another example of a modern bed for comparison is the silent night bed range.



09 May
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Tracing Family History

The act or practice of tracing one’s family history is known as researching genealogy. When someone begins the process of tracing their genealogy they take on an adventure of discovering all sorts of family members, making new memories while remembering past memories, while also getting a sense of who they are and where they came from.

In order to determine the legitimacy of a genealogy, a genealogist will use several deciding factors: oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other such records regarding the family to verify the relationship and pedigree of the members seeking answers and connections. Once the information has been gathered it can be written down in a narrative form or beautifully displayed in a chart or family tree type format.

There are several factors that can play a part in one pursuing his or her genealogy. For some it’s just the thrill and excitement of looking into their past that motivates them to start down the road of looking at their genealogy; but for others the reason can be much more personal. Preservation and responsibility are two of the more common reasons that lead a person into researching their genealogy.

With every passing generation less information regarding heritage and traditions are passed down. As the world advances and people strive to advance alongside it fewer take time to think about where they were, but choose to focus on where they are headed. There are those though who desire to shape a place for their family in a historical setting and pursue doing so through a genealogy study; others desire to preserve their family’s past for future generations and this is a worth-while endeavor.

09 May
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The Web in the Family Tree: Genealogies Online

Legacy and heritage are two very important things to pass down from generation to generation. Heritage being where one comes from and legacy reflecting the mark a person or people group has left on this world. As children grow and mature they desire to see these two aspects passed down from their great-grandparents to their grand-parents and even to their father or mother. Though one may not realize it at the time, the legacy and heritage left or passed down to them truly affects the person they are today to some degree and can even directly affect the legacy and heritage they personally pass down to their children or grandchildren.

There is power in knowing ones heritage; a genealogy can help a person establish their roots and connect on some level with their past. Those who may or may not feel a sense of belonging can truly find comfort by researching their genealogy. Researching genealogies online are gaining popularity due to the vast information available online and the internet’s accessibility.

One interested in learning more about their lineage can research their genealogy several different ways. Over the years numerous websites have been developed for assisting people with learning more about their genealogy; these sites often charge a small membership fee, but once the fee has been paid countless amounts information and documents are at their disposal. Hiring a private investigator is another avenue some choose to take when looking for a specific family connection. One can even purchase computer software to help in the genealogy quest.

Researching genealogies online is an enriching experience and a fun hobby. History buffs tend to find great excitement in uncovering their family’s past; you never know what secrets you’ll find when you grab a hold of the web and shake the family tree.

09 May
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Lost and Then Found: Genealogies and Belonging

Most people at one time in their life have had a feeling of being lost or dis-connected. A person can be in the middle of a crowd surrounded by family while still feeling like they have no one in their life that understands them or has anything in common with them. This feeling or thought process can be one of many that lead a person into the field or hobby of researching his or her genealogy.

Researching genealogies is a hobby that some find exciting. Digging up hidden secrets or past family members is fun detective work that can bring a person a sense of belonging and understanding. To look into the past lives of those who came before can help shine light on how a family line has ended up where they are today in their current social and economic standing.

Through a genealogy you can study stories and information about our past family relatives or ancestors and can help current family members get a sense of who they are and why they view life the way they do. Recessive genes can be discovered through a genealogy, and the family member that feels so dis-connected and different might find a sense of resolve through a genealogy study.

Genealogy studies can be done through a myriad of different ways; some choose to research their genealogy online through a paid program that can offer the researcher several documents and information, others can choose to go through a private investigator or hire someone who studies genealogies professionally to get their desired answers.  Whichever avenue taken will still lead the searcher into an exciting world of information regarding his or her past and heritage that will hopefully assist with accomplishing feelings of belonging and connection.

05 May
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Genealogy can reveal valuable family antiquities and air looms

We’re researching our family tree over the past few months using various online genealogy, family trees and data archive services. We’ve found a long lost ancestor living within a short distance of us in the UK. We visited our relative ancestor’s siblings and spoke to them and they were surprised that we found them using an online ancestor’s portal service.

As we dug deeper they mentioned a family air loom inn an old rented house that was still in the family, so we organised a hasty visit and soon found ourselves crawling around in the loft looking for the Victorian antique mirrors.

After dusting sown the mirror we found that it had a high value in the antiques trade.

Maybe your family history could reveal valuable antiquities that are locked away increasing in value day by day. Why not that you take a deeper look into the genealogy of your family, who knows what you might find.