Welcome to the Family Grows on Trees’ Blog

Find all the latest genealogy developments, get free hints and tips on how to search for your ancestors, special offers, and the latest news especially for our fellow family tree researchers. Please see below for the latest update:

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2021 Census: on-line only

The next census of England and Wales is likely to be taken online following advice from the ONS.

While based on the traditional paper survey, it has been advised that households should instead complete the 2021 census on the web.

Only those unable to use the internet would be issued with paper forms, with enumerators also making home visits to fill in the gaps.


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Help future genealogists

Help future genealogists and sign this petition. This latest (and very important petition) asks that historic birth marriage & death registers are opened to public inspection at county record offices or the National Archives.

Until 1973 registers of BMD held at superintendent registrar’s offices were open to public inspection. Today’s technology available allows the registers to be digitized and made available as facsimile copies protecting the original from damage.

Sign here.

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Most popular first names for 2012

2012 saw Harry and Amelia as the most popular first names for babies in England and Wales in 2012. Both names are at the top of the list for the second time in a row.

Riley was a new addition to the top ten names for boys, while Muhammad was a favourite name for boys in London.

In total, more than 28,000 different boys’ names and over 36,000 different girls’ names were registered in 2012.

There were seven new entries into the top 100 boys’ names for England and Wales – Hugo, Sonny, Seth, Elliott, Theodore, Rory and Ellis.

They knocked Joel, Hayden, John, Ashton, Jackson, Ben and Reece out of the top 100.

Six new names entered the top 100 for girls – Mollie, Ivy, Darcey, Tilly, Sara and Violet. Slipping down to make way for them were Lexie, Lauren, Rebecca, Tia, Nicole and Kayla.

Thanks to BBC news, more information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23663337

Posted in names | 76 Comments

Icons of England – a recommended book

Researching an English family tree is often made easier by understanding the background of England’s society and culture. As such, very occasionally, we’ll recommend a book or two for fellow genealogists to help them with this background.

Here’s one such book, that we have recently finished reading ourselves. It is edited by the famous author, Bill Bryson, and is called: Icons of England. This fascinating book is full of contributions from many famous people discussing their favourite icons of England. Each chapter provides a great background to the history and culture of this fine country. Genealogists should check it out now by taking a look here.

Some of the highlights of the book include:

  • rural rides of England
  • country churchyards
  • fossils
  • the weather
  • the seaside
  • piers
  • the corner shop
  • Lands End
  • postboxes
  • telephone boxes
  • and so many more

PS, if you decide to purchase the book, all royalties go to the CPRE – the Campaign to Protect Rural England. A very good and important campaign. Visit their website.

Posted in 17th Century, 18th Century, 19th century, 20th Century, books, UK | 10 Comments

The Queen’s Ancestry & King Richard III

After the exciting news earlier this week on the discovery of Richard III, we have had a lot of questions on how the Queen is related to Richard III. The simple answer is that Richard III is the Queen’s 14th Great-Grand Uncle, but what about the others?

Here’s a very handy list with all the information on how the Queen is related to each of the past kings and queens of England, and then the UK:
Relation to Elizabeth II:

William I of England: 22nd Great-Grandfather
William II of England: 21st Great-Granduncle
Henry I of England: 21st Great-Grandfather
Stephen of England: 20th Great-Grandfather
Empress Matilda: 20th Great-Grandmother
Henry II of England: 19th Great-Grandfather
Richard I of England: 18th Great-Granduncle
John of England: 18th Great-Grandfather
Henry III of England: 19th Great-Grandfather
Edward I of England: 18th Great-Grandfather
Edward II of England:18th Great-Grandfather
Edward III of England: 17th Great-Grandfather
Richard II of England: ½ 16th Great-Granduncle
Henry IV of England: 17th Great-Grandfather
Henry V of England: 16th Great-Granduncle
Henry VI of England: ½-14th Great-Granduncle
Edward IV of England: 14th Great-Grandfather
Edward V of England: 13th Great-Granduncle
Richard III of England: 14th Great-Granduncle
Henry VII of England: 13th Great-Grandfather
Henry VIII of England: 12th Great-Granduncle
Edward VI of England: 1st Cousin, 12 times Removed
Jane of England: 10th Great-Grandaunt
Mary I of England: 1st Cousin 13 times Removed
Elizabeth I of England: 1st Cousin 13 times Removed
James I of England: 9th Great-Grandfather
Charles I of England: 8th Great-Granduncle
Charles II of England: 1st Cousin 9 times Removed
James II of England: 1st Cousin 9 times Removed
William III of England: 1st Cousin 9 times Removed
Mary II of England: 2nd Cousin 8 times Removed
Anne, Queen of Great Britain: 2nd Cousin 8 times Removed
George I of Great Britain: 6th Great-Grandfather
George II of Great Britain: 5th Great-Grandfather
George III of the United Kingdom: 3rd Great-Grandfather
George IV of the United Kingdom: 2nd Great-Granduncle
William IV of the United Kingdom: 2nd Great-Granduncle
Victoria of the United Kingdom: 2nd Great-Grandmother
Edward VII of the United Kingdom: Great-Grandfather
George V of the United Kingdom: Grandfather
Edward VIII of the United Kingdom: Uncle
George VI of the United Kingdom: Father
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

Further reading:

Posted in Queen Elizabeth II | 36 Comments

King Richard III and how genealogy helped to find him

This has been a very exciting day for historians and the British people, following an announcement from the University of Leicester that the remains of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England have been found. The body was discovered during an archaeological dig in August 2012 by a team from the University of Leicester. This dig was started after an immense amount of work and support by the Richard III Society (we are members) and others. More details, here.

One of the methods used to determine whether the body was Richard III was through genealogy. This part of the research was led by Professor Schürer at the University of Leicester who needed to trace two female only lines and one male only line, which would enable him to prove conclusively that it was Richard III.

Schürer found descendants from Richard III’s great grandfather Edward III (male line through Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort), and from descendents of Anne of York (Richard’s sister and a female line all the way to present day).

These descendents then kindly provided their DNA so that the experts could compare with the body. The DNA matched the body found in Leicester, and has therefore proved conclusively that it is indeed King Richard III.

These are indeed exciting times for historians and for genealogists too. Congratulations to the University of Leicester for all their work.

Here are some links to more information about this fascinating discovery:

Posted in 15th Century, family trees, news | 650 Comments

Battle of Trafalgar

Ancestor research is always more fascinating when we can go beyond the boundaries of 1837 (when Births, Marriages and Deaths were first state registered) and find our ancestors in other places. The National Archives in the UK has masses of information on various areas of life (see: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk). One area we particularly found of great interest was their free searchable register of those who served in the Battle of Trafalgar (on the British side!).

The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a naval engagement fought by the British Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition (August–December 1805) of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).

The battle was the most decisive British naval victory of the war. Twenty-seven British ships of the line led by Admiral Lord Nelson aboard HMS Victory defeated thirty-three French and Spanish ships of the line under French Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve off the south-west coast of Spain, just west of Cape Trafalgar. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships, without a single British vessel being lost.

Were you ancestors involved? Please let us know below..

Each entry includes their service histories and any biographical details (though these are by no mean complete).

Why not have a look today by viewing here.

Posted in 19th century, books, navy | 526 Comments

First World War – a recommended book

Most people with UK ancestors will have an ancestor who took part in World War 1, and once you research this area, a lot of sadness can be found. We recently discovered a client’s family lost four brothers in the First World War.

As we discovered at school, our ancestors were part of a war that stretched throughout Europe and beyond.

We at Family Grows on Trees believe that it is very important to understand everything about this terrible war. As such, we would like to highly recommend a book that we always dip in and out of when researching this period. It’s called The First World War by John Keegan, who is a really excellent historian and author.

The First World War was a truly awful tragedy, and should never ever have happened. This book looks at all the causes, the after effects and then the different fields of war – East; Africa; Gallipoli and then the Western Front.

If you want a good introduction with lots of detail – here is the book for you.

Click on the above link for more information.

Posted in world war 1 | 10 Comments

Why genealogy is important…

Family Grows on Trees are very sorry that we have not updated our blog for a while, but we have been very busy with client work. We are now starting to see a light at the end of the genealogical tunnel, so a larger blog will go up soon. Meanwhile, consider the words of a great historian on the poetry of history – and thus genealogy:

“The poetry of history lies in the quasi-miraculous fact that once, on this earth, once, on this familiar spot of ground, walked other men and women, as actual as we are today, thinking their own thoughts, swayed by their own passions, but now all gone, one generation vanishing into another….The Dead were, and are not. Their place knows them no more, and is ours today. Yet they were once as real as we, and we shall tomorrow be shadows like them.” GM Trevelyan

How right he is; and how important it is to learn more about these fascinating people….

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60 Years of Queen Elizabeth II

2012 is a momentous year for the United Kingdom, because we have just celebrated sixty years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Family Grows on Trees have some beautiful playing cards from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations to give away. To be in with a chance of winning these, simply be a member of our Facebook group, and we’ll pick 5 winners on 10 June. Please invite all your friends and family! View here.

To celebrate, the Queen’s official website has outlined sixty facts about the Queen, see here.

Posted in Queen Elizabeth II | 90 Comments