Learn how to read old handwriting with our new palaeography course

Palaeography pic

Learn the art of palaeography, the reading of old handwriting, at Derbyshire Record Office.

Using archives from the record office’s collections, these five practical sessions, designed for beginners, will introduce the skills needed to read old hand writing from 16th to 18th centuries.

You will learn how to read different types of handwriting, including the most commonly used hand – Secretary Hand, and also Italic and Cursive styles and discover how to date documents and recognise the standard form particular to certain documents.

The first session, the introduction, will cover the practical skills of palaeography including spelling, transcribing, letter forms, dating documents, and abbreviations and more. Over the following four sessions we will take you through a different style of hand, working through copies of records held at the record office, the original documents will be on show for you to see. As Secretary Hand is the most common style used for formal documents we’ll have two sessions on this but each session will feature different types of sources.

We will work through a selection of the most popular types of documents such as parish registers, probate records, manorial and estate records.

Each participant will receive a course pack to take away containing examples of alphabets, common abbreviations, hints and tips on successful transcribing. This will set participants on the right track for successful transcribing throughout the course and beyond.

Refreshments are not included but participants are welcome to use the drinks machine in our break room (all hot drinks cost £1).

We are offering all five sessions at the reduced price of £45 or £10 for each individual session. In order to benefit fully we recommend participants attend all five sessions.

Tuesday 27th October: Introduction – practical skills and where to start

Tuesday 3rd November: Secretary Hand (part 1)

Tuesday 10th November: Secretary Hand (part 2)

Tuesday 17th November: Cursive Hand

Tuesday 24th November: Italic Hand

All sessions run 2.00pm-4.00pm

You can sign up online on the palaeography course’s Eventbrite page.

This course coincides with Explore Your Archive week, co-ordinated by The National Archives.

A day out at the Palace (Hotel)

Buxton_U3A_event_pic

On Sunday 20th September Becky and I attended the Buxton U3A Family History Conference at The Palace Hotel in Buxton.  Over 200 budding family historians attended the event.  We were just one of many exhibitors, being joined by family history societies from neighbouring counties.

We were particularly interested to see so many ‘out of county’ people there, those who lived outside of Derbyshire but had links to the county through their family history.

It was the second time we have attended the annual conference and it was a great day.  We enjoyed talking to everyone about their research and about what they could find at the record office.   From the positive response we received we know we shall see many people again when they visit the office to use our resources.

“I’ve been to Matlock, its tremendous what you have, its fantastic” (member of the public)

“If you don’t use Derbyshire Record Office, you should!” (speaker during talk on Non Conformist records)

For information on Buxton U3A see their website http://www.u3asites.org.uk/buxton

Absent voters list for Ilkeston in 1918 now online

Hello everyone.  I have just this minute updated the catalogue with copies of the absent voters list for the parliamentary constituency of Ilkeston in 1918.  The names you can find inside are those of people who were still enrolled in the armed forces at the end of the war. You can find all three absent voters lists on our catalogue – the others cover Western Derbyshire and Chesterfield.  Click on the one you want to use, and this should open up a catalogue entry with sections of the volume shown as downloadable pdf files.  And that’s it!  No other absent voters lists survive, as far as we know.  (Please let us know if you have heard different.)

Treasure 29: Bryan Donkin’s day book

This treasure has been nominated by Maureen Greenland, on behalf of the Bryan Donkin Archive Trust, of which she is Secretary.  Maureen writes:

The many letters, diaries and records held in the Donkin Collection (D1851) throw light on both the personal and the working life of the brilliant engineer Bryan Donkin. Born in 1768, he started his career in London in the early years of the nineteenth century, bringing to perfection the first successful machine for producing paper. His firm moved to Chesterfield a century later, providing work for the town from 1902 for over a hundred years. Continue reading

School admission records now online – including the mighty Steve Bloomer!

Have you ever wondered where your ancestors went to school?  If so, now might be a good time to emit a chirrup of joy, because Derbyshire’s contribution has been added to the ever-growing mass of information in the National School Admission Registers and Log-books dataset on http://www.findmypast.co.uk.  I had a tinker with it a few days ago and managed to find the admission record of Derby County legend Steve Bloomer.  Before he earned any of his 23 England caps, or scored any of his 297 league goals for the club, he was a pupil at Peartree Boys School in Derby.  His entry in the admission register is at the very bottom of this image: you can see he was born in Cradley Heath, and was the son of Caleb Bloomer, a smith.

SBloomer

School log books are also included in the project.  Now, anyone who has tried combing through a log book looking for references to their forebears as pupils will know that the odds are not so good.  But that is what makes the ease of searching by name so attractive – a quick check is all it takes, because the names that are mentioned in the log books have been indexed.  If one of your ancestors ever worked as a teacher, or a monitor, or as a pupil-teacher, the references can be quite illuminating – one headteacher writes: “Winifred Roberts and Edith Yates have been appointed monitors at £6 per annum from 1 Dec 1899.  If they can pass the Government Examination they will be paid as a 1st year Pupil Teacher from 1 Jan 1900”. (Don’t worry, they passed the exam – I checked.) And have a look at this list of Object Lessons from 1899.

Lessons

You see, quite apart from their genealogical value, log books are a window on another world.  (If you can think of a less clichéd way of putting that, do let me know.)  In particular, this is the world of the headteacher of that era: browse for a minute or two and you will vicariously experience the joy of winning praise from the school inspectors, the despair of having 150 pupils absent because of a measles outbreak, and the irritation of having junior teachers who don’t do anything quite as well as you did when you were a junior teacher.

If you would like to have a look at what is available, come over to your local library or right here to the record office, and log on to one of the computers.  This resource, which FindMyPast subscribers normally pay for, will be yours to play around with for free.  Here are a couple of sample pages.

Log2

Log

Preservation volunteers are go!

Back in May I mentioned that we were looking for preservation volunteers to help us clean and package the Calke Abbey archive – I’m happy to report that we now have two very dedicated volunteers who come in every Thursday afternoon.

 

Our volunteers in action

Our volunteers in action

Linda recently retired and was looking for a volunteering opportunity that would suit her interests, when Derby Local Studies Library suggested us. The fact that our current project deals with the archive of Calke Abbey is an added bonus for her, as she lives near the house and knows it well. Jennifer joined in order to learn new skills and because she has a passion for history and genealogy; she’s very pleased she can now help preserve the past.

We’re extremely grateful to both for all the work they’ve already done and will do in the months (even years!) to come. As you can see, there’s enough room for two more volunteers to join the project, so if you think this is something you might be interested in, you can find more details here.

 

Women Workers and the Trade Unions

Talk poster

Derbyshire Record Office will shortly be starting a two year project to catalogue the archive of a major local trade union.  If you’re interested in trade unions and/or women workers, then head to the Nottingham Mechanics Institute on Saturday 3 October at 2pm for what looks like a fascinating talk.  And watch this space for more news about our upcoming project – we’ll be giving out more information in the next couple of months…

Introducing the record office at Chesterfield Museum

Ever wondered what the archive and local studies staff get up to at Derbyshire Record Office but can’t make it over to Matlock to find out?…..Then pop along to Chesterfield Museum this Thursday for our talk Introduction to the Record Office.  I’ll be there to talk about the work we do at the record office, the collections we hold and the services we provide.

The talk starts at 11.30am.  To book a place contact Chesterfield Museum.  I hope to see you there.

http://www.chesterfieldmuseum.co.uk

Tel: 01246 345345

50 Treasures: Over to you…

I just thought I would re-blog this post from June. We would still like to hear any suggestions you may have for Treasures 29 through to 50!

Derbyshire Record Office

We are half-way through our tour through Derbyshire Record Office’s 50 Treasures, which we started publicising in 2012, to mark our fiftieth anniversary.  Treasures 24 and 25 have been selected by a former staff member and a researcher respectively, and we would like to take this opportunity to appeal for suggestions from other people who either use Derbyshire Record Office (in person or from afar) or used to work here.  Is there any document in our local studies or archives collections that particularly stands out for you?  The item you choose could be a “treasure” because of something intrinsic to the document itself – its appearance, its content, the themes it covers; or it could be precious to you because of your experience of it – something that would be invisible to others, perhaps some startling discovery that you made with it.  Or perhaps you are the person/organisation that gave us your nominate…

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