News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Awaken Your Ancestors – Launched today

    Our sister organisation The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (IHGS) is excited to announce the launch of Awaken your Ancestors, their brand new correspondence course.

    Awaken your Ancestors, is an introduction to Family History – leading the student through the major record sources of the 19th century; civil registration and census records, and providing the platform on which to extend research back into the 18/17th centuries using the records of the parish.   Internet searches, the use of indexes and finding aids and how to draw a family tree are also included.

    The course is designed to help those who are new to family history, those who have already started but need guidance on how to do things properly and those who are looking for inspiration on how to break down that brick wall.   The course is the first of three that we will introduce over the coming year; courses that will take students on an ancestral journey that will lead to the IHGS Advanced Level in Genealogy.

    The course will be officially launched at Who Do You Think You Are? Live, at the NEC, Birmingham, on the 6th April.  The course can be ordered in advance at the special event price of £115, a saving of £20.   To take advantage of the special offer click to purchase the AWAKEN correspondence course now.   Course documentation will be released on Monday the 3rd April.

  6. Who Do You Think You Are? Sunetra Sarker

    Tonight actress Sunetra Sarker traces her Indian and Bangladesh roots, finding along the way that her family were champions of education for both men and women. She also learns about their experience during the war of independence in Bangladesh in 1971.

  7. Who Do You Think You Are? Warwick Davies

    On BBC1 tomorrow [15th February] at 8pm the 8th episode of the series features the family History of Warwick Davies.  “Actor Warwick Davis owes his big break aged 11 to his paternal grandmother Edith, who heard a radio ad ‘looking for short people to appear in Return of the Jedi’. Warwick takes a non-judgemental approach as he researches the family line stretching back from Edith, finding humanity and humour in some uncomfortable stories. On his maternal side, Warwick is equally open-minded when he finds out about his three-times-great-grandfather – a postman who lived a double life”.

  8. Family Reunions

    Many family historians like to plan large family reunions, getting together people descended from different branches of the same family.  Yesterday the BBC reported on a gathering of over 500 people who got together for the Ren family reunion in Shishe, China. A photograph can be seen on the BBC website of all 500 taken by Zhang Liangzong. He told the BBC that the Ren family, which originates from the village, can be traced back 851 years, but their family tree had not been updated for more than eight decades. Village elders recently began updating the family tree records and managed to track down at least 2,000 living descendants spanning seven generations. More on this story can be found on the BBC’s website.

  9. Rugby Union 6 Nations

    The 6 Nations championship kicks off on Saturday. The origins date back to 1871, when teams from England and Scotland played in the first-ever rugby union international match. In 1879, the Calcutta Cup was created as a prize for the winner of occasional matches played between teams from these two countries. In 1883 the Home International Championship, with teams from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, was created.

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    France officially joined in 1910 and it became known as the 5 Nations, although they were dropped between 1932-1946. with Italy joining in 2000 it became the 6 nations. So aside from a break caused by the First and Second World Wars, the championship in some form has been played for over a 134 years.

    Whilst your ancestors may have played Rugby Union it was not until 1995 that it turned professional, so none could have made their living from playing. However, mention of your ancestors sporting life might be found in University alumni, school registers and of course newspapers.

  10. Who Do You Think You Are? Ian McKellen

    The new series continued last night and, if you have not seen it, do catch the repeat or watch it on BBC I Player. Last night’s episode was one of the best in the series so far and Ian Mckellen was a charming guide leading us through the story of his family history. Maybe only he can make reading newspaper clippings, a favourite devise in the series,  so enjoyable. Sir Ian discovered that he shared a passion for acting and campaigning with two of his ancestors. Finding along the way that his ancestor Robert Lowes made a vital contribution to the campaign for a half day Saturday that started in Manchester and spread to the rest of  the country. And it is because of that campaign that many of us now enjoy weekends without work.

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