News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. A sad entry found.

    The following poignant entry was discovered whilst indexing our collection of Monumental Inscriptions. St Mary’s Church Doddington “Mary wife of John Richards died 30 June 1771 on her wedding day before she left the church”

  2. The meaning of a Badger

    Names can have many origins and meanings. One example of this is a Badger.

    “Badgers” was a term used in Tudor times to refer to a licensed beggar. It is thought that the origin of the surname Badger derived from this occupation or from those whose who made bags.

    Another possible origin of the surname was as a habitation name taken from a  small parish in Shropshire.

    So if you are a Badger one of your earliest ancestors were either a peddle, a bag maker or from Shopshire. What is certain was they were not named after the animal!

    Just to complicate things further part of the Old Poor Law Settlement Act of 1697 required those receiving poor relief to wear a badge on their right shoulder bearing the letter “P” and as a results paupers became know as “badgers”. However this was long after surnames were established. This act stayed in force until 1810.

    The term badger was not used for the animal until the 16th Century. The earliest recorded use was in 1523. Before that, it was called a “brock” or “bauson”. National Badger day is the 6th October every year.

     

  3. More unusual occupational terms

    Finding out the meaning of an ancestors occupation can give you an insight into how they lived and lead to other sources for your genealogical research. Many occupations simply no longer exists. For example, a Higgler was an itinerant trader who bought and sold goods such as butter, cheese, poultry eggs and fish. Higglers and other travelling salesmen, such as peddlers and badgers (those who sold corn and grain), needed a licence. Licences were issued by the Justices of the Peace at the Quarter Sessions and the surviving records are held in local archives. Searching these records can add detail to your family tree and enhance your understanding of your ancestry.

  4. Old Occupational Terms

    As you study your family history you may come across terms that we no longer use. This is especially true of occupations where trades are no longer practised or the terms has fallen out of use. For instance a Fellmonger. This was a dealer in hides, most commonly sheep skins. They would also prepare the hides for tanning. The word comes from from the Old English ‘fell’ meaning skins and ‘monger’ meaning dealer. A good reference source for genealogists to find out the meaning of  archaic words and phrases is The Oxford English Dictionary.

  5. Vice Chair of AGRA appointed

    Congratulations to the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies [IHGS], Director of Education, Les Mitchinson, who has recently been appointed as the Vice Chair to the Council of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA).

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  6. Discovery of Archbishop’s Tomb at Lambeth.

    Many of use struggle to find the burial place of all our ancestors but you would expect that this would not be true for those in positions of power and influence. The front page of the Sunday Telegraph has a story on the accidental discovery of tombs belonging to five former archbishops of Canterbury by builders carrying out refurbishment work near Lambeth Palace.

    A hidden chamber at St Mary-at-Lambeth church contained 30 lead coffins piled on top of each other, with an archbishop’s mitre resting on one of them. Closer inspection revealed metal plates bearing the names of five former archbishops of Canterbury, dating back to the early 17th Century.

  7. WDYTYA? Live at the NEC 2017

    We had great time at Who Do You Think You are? Live catching up with students and tutors on the IHGS Correspondence Course in Genealogy and the latest genealogical news. Advances in DNA testing dominated the show but it was nice to see so many Family History Societies attending.

    Our sister company, IHGS The School of Family History launched their brand new course, Awaken Your Ancestors. For more details go to their website.

    Before the doors open

    Before the doors open

    Les Mitchinson and Richard Baker manning the stall.

    Les Mitchinson and Richard Baker manning the stall.

  8. DNA Testing and Genetic Ancestry

    For those in the South East Region ITV Meridian are showing a feature on ancestral DNA testing. The second part of this special will be broadcast tonight, in which Fred Dinenage and Sangeeta Bhabra will have their DNA tested to reveal their genetic roots. Last night the reporter Derek Johnson discussed how many in Kent had Scandinavian roots. His own DNA revealed 10% unknown, 38% Great British, 33% West European [Anglo Saxon], 6% Irish [Celtic] 2% non European [Caucasus] and 11% Scandinavian. Whilst DNA testing is no substitute for family history research it gives a different insight into a persons roots.

  9. WDYTYA? Live at the NEC 2017

    Alongside our sister company, The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, we are all busy getting ready for the event next week. If you are interested in any aspect of family history, then a visit to Who Do You Think You Are? Live at the NEC s not to be missed.  It is on between Thursday 6th and Saturday 8th April this year, and includes talks and workshops on all kinds of genealogical subjects.

    And don’t forget to come and say hello to us at Stand number 71.

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