22 December 2008

Year end interview with Else Churchill

As the Genealogist with the Society of Genealogists in London Else Churchill has her finger on the pulse of genealogy in England and Wales

Asked what has been the biggest advance in genealogy in Britain in 2008 she suggested, after some thought, the appearance online of nonconformist registers from TNA (RG 4 and 5) and Fleet marriages. I'd expected her to mention new databases from SOG, which she did, but indicated they are only just getting started -- much more to come next year.

The led into a question on 2009. Without hesitation she named the launch of the indexed 1911 UK census as the most anticipated event. It will be especially helpful for those struggling in the post 1901 census period where the mother's maiden name was not yet recorded in the birth indexes. Else mentioned a short term beta test of that census for the counties of London/Middlesex, Witshire and Warwickshire. See: http://betav3.1911census.co.uk

Else anticipates there will be a gradual rollout of counties to avoid the painful experience of database crashes experienced when 1901 was released.

SOG has a number of new publications in the series My Ancestor Was A ... to appear in 2009, including servants, firemen, shopkeepers, miners and taylors. Else also mentioned a new book on the UK census by Peter Christian and David Annal which she has reviewed.

2009 will be no less challenging a year for genealogy than for any other discretionary business in this period of economic upheaval. Companies will need strong financial backing to survive and some amalgamations and even failures might be expected. Else was too discrete to name names.

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