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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

TheGenealogist’s New Releases

Good news for family historians seeking information on ancestors who served in the world wars: at the recent Who Do You Think You Are Live! show, launched two new datasets to aid your search: War Memorial and Casualty Lists.
The War Memorial database, which includes images of memorials like this one for Islington Borough Council staff (right), has links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Each transcript for a memorial includes links to Google Maps with Streetview so that you can see exactly where the memorial to your relative is located.
Initially the Casualty Lists database will cover the War Office’s ‘Weekly Casualty Lists’ from 1917-18 and will later be expanded to include the daily casualty lists from September 1914 to the final reports of 1919. has also launched its Naturalization and Denization collection, which includes Huguenots, and you can see an example of a naturalization record for Stephen Romilly (left), showing his parents’ names and birthplace.

And if you have Lancashire ancestors, theGenealogist has just added thousands more parish records including some for Farnworth with Kearsley, Little Bolton, East Crompton, Gorton St James and Turton.   Happy hunting!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Lancashire’s Civil War

The loyalties of Lancashire families were torn apart during the bloody turmoil of the Civil Wars in England from 1642–1651.  For example, Parliamentarian Thomas Standish of Duxbury died for the cause, but his father and younger brothers were Royalists. Thomas was shot by a sniper during the Royalist siege of Manchester in 1642.
Preston and Lancaster were strongly Royalist, but in south-east Lancashire, with some exceptions such as Salford, most towns supported the ‘Roundheads’. Bolton and Manchester folk were fierce supporters of the Parliamentarian cause.  Ralph Assheton of Middleton and Alexander Rigby of Wigan, both MPs, were important Roundhead leaders.
The king’s commander in the county was James Stanley, Lord Strange (1606-1651), who became seventh earl of Derby in the autumn of 1642. One of the most famous episodes of the civil war in Lancashire was his wife Charlotte de la Tremoille’s heroic defence of Lathom House during the siege by Parliamentarians in 1644. 
The Roundheads believed that the earl was responsible for a dreadful massacre in the town of Bolton in 1644, and after his capture they exacted a terrible revenge.  The earl was tried at Chester and executed at Bolton on 15 October 1651.
The Civil War meant that many parish registers were not maintained, so genealogists must turn to sources such as the Royalist Composition Papers at The National Archives, which list the fines paid by Royalists for their part in the war.  Of course, you can find out more about sources before civil registration in Tracing Your Lancashire Ancestors.

Images: Execution of James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby at Bolton on 15 October 1651. Pictorial History of the County of Lancashire, 1844.
Knowsley Hall, Liverpool. Seat of the Earls of Derby.  Engraved by W. Taylor from a drawing by G. Pickering. People’s Gallery of Engravings Vol.2 (Fisher, Son & Co., 1845).  Author’s collection.