EVERY FAMILY has its stories, perhaps that a distant ancestor owned a vast estate or that Great Granny was a Gypsy (very common, that one). Once these little legends were difficult to check but the internet and the digitising of personal records have simplified research.
Census records for England and Wales from 1841 to 1911 and registers of births, marriages and deaths are available via the net. Yet it’s not that easy, and not just because the companies that put the details on line now charge the people who might have thought they owned the information — the taxpaying public — but because the commercial websites can be difficult to operate.
To the rescue comes Hackney council. Its archives experts will hold a free advice session at the CLR James Library on Sat15 Sep 2012 at 2pm on tracing family history. Hackney archives cares for local historical material and makes items available to the public for research. It offers library members free access to ancestry.com and other costly-to-use databases, including The Times. Joining is free.
Good luck with claiming that vast country estate.
David Altheer 070912
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.
* The main picture, at top, shows four people, the woman at left staring intently, as if trying to peer into the future. This and the other pictures of these impeccable dressers are from an album of postcard-size photographs taken probably in the Edwardian era. They illustrate what looks like a trip by young people to the English seaside. If anyone recognises any buildings, or even faces from old family photos, please email Loving Dalston.