Sunday, November 11, 2012

A lecture, or four

I couldn't pass up the opportunity the hear a world-class researcher deliver four lectures in the course of the day. The Genealogical Society of Victoria organised the event, Michael Gandy was the guest. Michael is editor of the Genealogist (the magazine of the UK Society of Genealogists), author, researcher and member of AGRA (Association of Genealogists and Researchers), and, as we discovered, raconteur.

It was a brilliant day. Michael talked about 18th century English records for the conformists and non-conformists, the Irish, the poor, the Catholics. Here are some of the things I learned or was reminded about:

  • a lot of Irish records are in England
  • be flexible about religion, ethnicity and spelling of surnames
  • a third of the British army soldiers were Irish, Scottish or Catholics.
  • being really poor may have been a temporary status due to illness, age, number of children to support, work availability
  • Settlement certificates were extremely important in Anglican parishes but not in Catholic parishes or in Ireland or Scotland.
  • the importance of proving the facts on your family tree, not just relying on family stories, old publications, local histories and old genealogies
  • 'of this parish' and 'of full age' on marriage records are unreliable
  • not to be judgmental about my ancestors' attitudes, actions and beliefs
  • don't assume stereotypes re class, mobility, disciple, religion
  • and much, much more
Michael's talks have provided me with ideas for future research and a timely reminder to be exact and accurate.

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