British Royal Marines Records Available Online

The service registers of about 110,000 seamen who joined the Royal Marines between 1842 and 1936 are now available to search (free) and download (for a fee) at the British National Archives website.

You may search under:

  • Surname
  • Given name
  • Register number
  • And date of enlistment

The researcher may find the names of ships and shore stations served on, details of conduct, medal entitlement and a lot more.

I searched on the surname, Canfield, and found two documents, both for the same fellow. Clicking on one of the two links, I got the following screen, with enough information that I was able to make a decision as to whether I wanted to go ahead and spend the 3.50 (£) for the document.

Pharos and the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History Announce New Online Courses

The following was written by Pharos staff:

September 6, 2008; The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH) and Pharos Teaching and Tutoring, a British company, have teamed up to offer quality online courses to those researching their roots in the British Isles.

ISBGFH has presented the British Institute in Salt Lake City since 2001 and wants to expand its educational opportunities to those who cannot travel to the class room sessions each year, a factor that is increasingly important as fuel costs rise. Pharos has extensive experience with distance learning and offers a selection of programs in British and Irish research. One of the Pharos instructors, Sherry Irvine, taught for five years at the British Institute.

Under the new arrangement, courses are open to everyone, whether or not they are members of ISBGFH. Currently, three courses are available: US Immigration and Naturalization, taught by George G. Morgan; England, Scotland and Wales Online: Transfer Your Skills taught by Sherry Irvine; and, British Isles Research – Solving Problems, Planning Strategies taught by Sherry Irvine. These courses will be offered successively between October and next September.

Details on the contents of each course, length, cost, and how online learning works can be found on the website of each organization.
• Pharos

Gordon Gray, President of ISBGFH, said: “We are excited about our new partnership with Pharos and offering high quality online courses to people researching their ancestors in the British Isles. It creates the opportunity for people to take courses on their own schedule, at a reasonable cost, in small groups and with the guidance of well-known instructors.”

Sherry Irvine, Course Director for Pharos, said: “This is a good fit. It was stimulating and rewarding to teach at the British Institute and I now look forward to continuing educational efforts with ISBGFH. Online courses are the best way for genealogists to expand their research skills and records knowledge, not only because of flexibility but because the Web helps research in so many ways – history, geography, catalogues, records guidance as well as data.”

Courtesy of Pharos

World Vital Records Launches Scottish Death Records 1747-1868

Over 13,000 geo-coded Scots deaths records have been posted at the new website. This unique set of Scottish Death Records was extracted from parish records of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Specific parishes include Cockpen, Midlothian; Cranston; Crichton; Dalkeith; Dunfermline, Fife; Edinburgh; Fala; Gladsmuir; Heriot; Humbie; Newbattle; Pencaitland, Midlothian; Prestonpans, East Lothian; Salton; Shotts; Tranent, and East Lothian. The folks at World Vital Records continue to launch new data, almost on a daily basis.

The New Church of England (Anglican) Genealogy Website

The following is an excerpt from a news release from the new Church of England (Anglican) website. Having realized the need by genealogists for information about records, the Anglican Church has created a new website, with which to guide researchers in the right direction. Although the site has no indexes or digitized records itself, it does give instruction as to where to find the data.

“The Church of England has launched a new area on its website to assist the thousands of people currently trying to trace the branches of their family tree.

“The move reflects the huge popularity of research into family history: when the 1901 Census was placed online in 2002 it soon became one of the most visited sites on the web, and more than 829,000 people have visited The National Archive’s Family Records Centres in London and Kew in the last three years. The Church’s dedicated web area brings together links to a range of sources for tracing family histories – including the Lambeth Palace Library – and provides contact points for archives and repositories.”


Paul Milner Joining Sheila Benedict as a NGS Britain and Ireland Forum Co-Leader

“The National Genealogical Society (NGS) is very pleased to announce that Paul Milner is joining the NGS Britain and Ireland Forum as co-leader. Paul will join Sheila Benedict, CG, in leading the Britain and Ireland Forum, an NGS members-only Forum established to assist members with their research in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.”

The Domesday Book Goes Online at the British National Archives

In the winter of 1085, William the Conqueror commissioned a great survey to discover the resources and taxable values of all the boroughs and manors in England. If he was going to do a thorough job of taxation, he needed to know what there was to be taxed, and who owned it. As King, he knew that to collect what he figured was owed him, he had to have a record. That record survives today in the form of the Domesday Book.

Acclaimed as the greatest British document of all time, the Domesday book has now been digitized, indexed, and even translated. It is available at the British National Archives Website. See: Searches may be done by place, people and folio.

Search Indexes of the Barnsley UK Register Office

The Barnsley Indexing Project enables internet users to search indexes held by Barnsley Register Office, select a birth, marriage or death record they are interested in and download an application form.

The register office staff will send a certificate containing the record of interest. There is no fee to use the online facility, but a charge of £7 is made for each certificate.

The online resource can be accessed directly at

(Note: In March of 2009, I tried to access this index, and it seems to have disappeared from the site.)

Scottish Documents Online

I had a similar experience….kinda, sorta. Went to where a new and goodly bunch of names/indexes to early wills are posted….found what looked to be a likely one….easily ordered it via their instructions…once payment was received, they sent a password that enabled me to download and access that 1650 will….which I, very excitedly, did……and could not read a word of it except the name. Let me tell you, “english” in Scotland in the year 1650 is not what it is today! Or was in 1750 or 1850. I’m not complaining, didn’t expect it to be easy, but just something to be aware of.

Definitely Scots-Irish

In Bill’s post earlier today, he noted that he would:
“…now comply with this politically correctness, but only because I know that it is unwise to have a Scots-Irishman mad at you (for any reason).”
I’m very pleased that he came down on this side of the issue, because I know a Scot or two who would certainly take him to task if he hadn’t!

Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish?

My article for Heritage Quest Magazine 109, “Locating Colonial Wagon Roads on a Modern Map,” points out that the Scotch-Irish arriving in America during the Colonial period were the ones who contributed the most to the development of wagon roads into wilderness areas. Because of some modern issues relating to the naming of this group of people, I decided to deal with that subject in a sidebar to the article, which follows:

In his classic book, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a Cultural History), (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), Harvard historian David Hackett Fischer discusses in great detail the people who came to America from the Irish Province of Ulster and the borderlands of England and Scotland, from about 1717 to 1775. In his first reference to this group of people, he said, “Many scholars call these people Scotch-Irish. That expression is an Americanism, rarely used in Britain and much resented by the people to whom it was attached.”

Fischer also threw in a quote, “We’re no Eerish bot Scoatch, one of them was heard to say in Pennsylvania,” which came from Wayland Dunaway’s, Scotch-Irish in Colonial Pennsylvania (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., reprinted 2002) considered by many as the best history of these people. The Scots/Scotch-Irishman who made this comment was not objecting to the “Scotch” reference to himself, but the “Irish” reference, because he didn’t think of himself as Irish, even though he (or his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents) may have lived in Northern Ireland for over 100 years prior to his arrival in Philadelphia.

In any case, the term “Scotch-Irish” is an American description of these people, particularly by the earliest histories describing them. But, after his first mention of the “Scotch-Irish,” even Fischer began using the term “Scots-Irish,” but suggested a better description of them might be “Ulster Scots,” except that he admitted that would not describe the entire group. Many of these people never went to Ireland, but went directly to America from the border counties of both Scotland and England. So, to describe the roots of these people, Fischer ended up calling them “Borderers.” One thing is sure. Whether English, Scottish, or Scots-Irish, these folks were all originally part of the border clans on either side of the Scottish-English border. They all spoke English, and had the same “New Light” religious beliefs; and wore the same type of clothing, ate the same kinds of foods, and danced the same folk dances. Americans have always called them “Scotch-Irish,” until sometime in the last twenty years or so, when someone decided that “Scotch” was not correct, and should be replaced with “Scots.”

But, the fact still remains that native Scots use the term “Scotch” to describe their whiskey and to describe themselves. Even today, it comes out “Skoatch” in the native tongue more often than “Scots,” or “Scotch.” And, you will still hear it spoken this way in any pub located in Dumfries County, Scotland or one across the border in Cumberland County, England. But regardless, in America, it is now politically incorrect to refer to the people as “Scotch.” One must refer to them as “Scots.” I will now comply with this politically correctness, but only because I know that it is unwise to have a Scots-Irishman mad at you (for any reason).