Saturday 30 March 2013

Shopping Saturday - Marks in Time

Marks and Spencer is close to the heart of many a Brit, or at least close to their skin - or in their underwear drawer.  Marks in Time is the website of the M&S company Archives, and it recently celebrated its first anniversary. The archive itself is housed in the University of Leeds, and the website is well worth a visit, whether you are a serious student of retail history or you just like looking at old pictures. The site makes very good use of the company's extensive collection of images - photographs of buildings and people, and packaging and merchandise. For the Baby Boomer generation, that iconic 1970's fashion statement platform shoes will take you right back! You can do simple or advanced searches of the catalogue, with an option to select only items with images, and you can choose from a drop-down menu of subjects such as 'wartime', 'food and home', 'children' and so on. When I searched for all items with images in the category 'women', I found, as expected, lots of clothing items, but also wine labels and bars of chocolate. Makes sense, I suppose.

As well as the archive catalogue, there is a history of the company since its famous start as a Penny Bazaar in Leeds Market, complete with a timeline, biographies and memories. There is also a fine collection of resources for schools, including a game where you match the fashion to the decade. I have already spent more time than I intended to exploring - well, it's cold outside! Feel free to do the same.


Friday 29 March 2013

Kent newspaper online - South Eastern Gazette 1852-1912

I was following the pre-launch news about this online newspaper resource, and it actually went online a week ago, while I was in Salt Lake City and rather preoccupied with Rootstech. Now I am back I have been able to explore it a little. Earlier reports had suggested it would be free to UK residents, but chargeable if you are overseas. It is part of ukpressonline and you have to register to use the site. When you have done a free search and try to view the full page you are told that your subscription does not cover it, so you have to 'buy' a year's access for £0.00. From here in the UK I can;t see what the arrangements are, if any, for overseas users.

Maidstone, where the South Eastern Gazette was published
I tried out a few searches, and the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) works moderately well, although I got a few results where the highlighted text bore no relation to my search term, and in the advanced search an 'exact phrase' brought some results where the words appear quite separately on the page. The search results also include a short extract of text, which is generally less helpful than you will find on other sites like the London Gazette or the British Newspaper Archive  and sometimes there is no text extract at all. On the whole, the site is easy to use and the quality of the PDF page images is good. I was able to clip and save the items I was interested in. Results are returned in that old favourite 'Relevance' order, but you can re-sort them into date order, and display them as thumbnail, list or gallery view. You can see preview pages, view or save PDFs to your computer, or save them to your own bookshelf within the site. I was pleased to see that you can browse, as well as search. If you choose the PDF view, the text is highlighted, a very helpful feature with these large pages, but a mouse click on the page removes it, so you can get a nice un-highlighted copy.

An early cylinder press
There are other useful resources on the site, mostly 20th century, which you do have to pay for, and subscriptions are available for educational institutions and libraries. Have fun.


Thursday 28 March 2013

What I got out of Rootstech

First the free stuff - badges, blogger beads and more.
This is just a selection of the goodies I acquired during Rootstech 2013, to add to a fair old existing collection - you can hear me coming, even if I'm not talking (it can happen!) with the clanking of the beads and badges I have accumulated over the last few years.

The blogger beads attract quite a bit of attention, and it has become a custom for members of the Geneabloggers community to get a new set of beads, courtesy of blogging royalty Thomas MacEntee and Dear Myrtle. The Rootstech 2013 beads were from Dear Myrtle, and they are the tasteful black and silver/grey ones with a 'Dear Myrtle' luggage tag. The sparkly pink, purple and silver ones are not strictly blogger beads, they were the required adornments for guests at Thomas's birthday party on Friday night (great party, Thomas!).

Badges can be more functional, especially the conference ID badge, marked with the events you had pre-booked. As it turned out, the events on the badges bore little relation to the sessions actually booked, but it didn't matter at all because the Rootstech door stewards had paper lists. I got badges from My Heritage, 'I Tweet' from the Society of Genealogists and another British badge from The Rude Genealogist - follow that link at your own risk! I also got a rather attractive enamelled pin for doing some FamilySearch indexing which is edging ever closer to the 1 billion mark.

The magic target wasn't quite reached during Rootstech, but it should be any time now... I have done quite a bit of indexing before, intermittently, and it's quite good fun. Well, it usually is - I consider myself a fairly experienced interpreter and transcriber, but the batch I did in public in the Expo Hall had the worst handwriting I have seen in a very long time (New Zealand passenger lists, since you ask). Ireally earned that badge!

Conference attendees can usually pick up a selection of adhesive ribbons to stick to the bottom of their  ID badges, and I was quite restrained this time, I just got Ancestry and Findmypast membership ribbons, plus 'I love British Newspapers' and 'I flip over Flip-Pal'. This year's complimentary lanyard was from Mocavo. I was also one of the lucky recipients of a voucher worth a 6-month subscription to My Heritage, a site that I have to confess I don't know very well, so I look forward to giving it a good try-out. And of course I can always find a use for a ScotlandsPeople voucher! Not a bad haul, I think.

What I didn't get...

Josh Taylor says 'sorry' and I forgive him!
The demand for Findmypast's 'Kiss me, my ancestors were...' badges greatly outstripped supply, and by the time I got anywhere near the stand they were long gone. But we have been promised further supplies at future events - put me down for Scottish and Irish, please.

Enough of the freebies, maybe next time I'll write something more serious and thoughtful.


Monday 25 March 2013

Rootstech - some pictures from Day Two

Shipley Munson  (aka Tenor 13) opens proceedings
Keynote speaker Jyl Pattee
Tim Sullivan on Ancestry family trees!...
....which is also true
Announcing a major collaboration with FamilySearch
Michael Leclerc of Mocavo, in the Backblaze Demo Theatre
Craig Miller of FamilySearch with keynote speaker Jyl Pattee
Tony Beardshaw of My History with Darris Williams of FamilySearch
In the Media Hub, blogging power trio Jill Ball, Randy Seaver and Dear Myrtle
Randy Seaver doing some Genea-Musing
My geni-mate Jill Ball (aka) Geniaus


Saturday 23 March 2013

Rootstech - What's in your gadget bag?

Day one of Rootstech had its range of live-streamed sessions, including the International Panel 'What's in your gadget bag?' led by my genie-mate Jill Ball aka Geniaus. She and the rest of the panel, Marie Dougan, AC Ivory and Heather Rojo, did a great job. Jill asked the panel (and herself) what they had in their gadget bag in a number of situations, such as a visit to a record office, a family reunion, and so on.

I was reassured to find that I had made the same choices as he panel in many cases. The Flip-Pal scanner scored very highly, as did the iPad, except with Jill, rugged individualist that she is, who is a big fan of the Samsung Galaxy tablet. But I think that the principle is that tablet devices of various types and sizes have become indispensable tools for many genealogists. Marie also struck a chord with me when she said that she was more comfortable with a keyboard than a pencil and paper! I'm not a great typist, but when I need to write something by hand I have been known to draft it on a keyboard first.

The panel set me thinking about my own gadget-bag choices. I also think of this every time I go through airport security, and have to decant half of the contents of my carry-on luggage into those plastic trays. There seems to be more of it every time I travel. For quite a long time I have taken a laptop with me almost everywhere, for research, for giving presentations, accessing the Internet and emails and so on. I also have a camera with me all the time; I have several other devices that can take pictures, but I really like to have a proper camera, with all its capabilities. If I were as capable as my new camera, we'd be doing just fine. I used to have an MP3 player, but when I switched to an iPod Touch and discovered all the other things it could do, then that became another indispensable gadget - it's my clock, calendar, notebook, address book and calculator, and even holds my family tree information. The screen is a bit small, so when the iPad was introduced in 2010, I bought one, and now I can't bear to be parted from that either. I particularly like this for the apps that allow me to take my up to date family tree with me, and for Evernote and Dropbox which I use all the time. I am comfortable with its on-screen keyboard, so I have been able to write magazine articles and book chapters on it.

As you can see, Apple is gradually enticing me towards the Dark Side, but this got as fas as it is going to get when I bought a 13 inch MacBook Air, which took a little getting used to for a long-time PC user, but I like it a lot. This is what I travel with because it is so light and portable, and my PC is a large desktop-replacement model. I like to have a foot in both camps, with both Apple and Windows devices, and I have an Android phone. I don't use the phone very much for voice calls, but I love having the internet in my pocket when out of range of a free wi-fi signal, and I can use it as a wi-fi hotspot to get online with one of my larger-screen devices. This works fine in the UK, but international data roaming charges are so high that I wouldn't even consider it in the USA.

My other big tech buy in 2010 was the Flip-Pal scanner, which I don't take on every trip, but it is very portable, so it comes with me if I am going to the Family History Library, or visiting relatives who might have documents or picture I want to scan. For a long flight I pack my own headphones for the movies or to listen to my own iPod.

Everything except the camera!

So my gadget bag contains:

It all fits in here

  • MacBook Air
  • Cordless mouse
  • iPad
  • iPod Touch
  • Flip-Pal scanner
  • Android phone
  • Little bag full of headphones, leads and adaptors
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Camera

Not forgetting back-up kit in the form of the phone charger, a battery-charger to keep the camera and the Flip-Pal running, and UK to US adaptors so I can plug them in. I don't need this for the Mac, which I bought in the US, but when I arrived in Australia with all my gadgets, including a UK-Australia adaptor I realised that I also needed a US-Australia adaptor, so that was the first thing I bought at Sydney airport, even before my meat pie! Finally, there is a very low-tech piece of kit that I bring on trips to the Family History Library - magnets to mark the drawers my films came from.  

What's in your gadget bag?


Thursday 21 March 2013

Rootstech - the first day dawns

Strictly speaking it hasn't dawned yet, but the sun might be up by the time I finish typing this. the weather in Salt Lake City at this time of the year is unpredictable, and as far as I can gather it's unpredictable all year round. It's a source of great amusement to a Brit when the locals keep apologising for their weather - you do realise where I've come from, don't you?

Rootstech 2013 conference bag and some of its contents
Registration opened yesterday, and while it's a good idea to pick up your registration pack the day before the conference, I'm told that it was incredibly busy when registration opened at 4pm. Hardly surprising when there are 6,800 pre-registered attendees!  When I got there a couple of hours later I didn't have to stand in line at all to pick up my Rootstech bag and all-important conference badge and lanyard. This year's name badges are a departure from paper tickets is plastic badge holders I am used to from other conferences. This time there are plastic credit-card style badges colour-coded to show whether you have full admission or have only signed up for a single day or the Beginners' stream, for example. If you have pre-booked any of the lunches workshops or evening events this is also indicated, instead of having a bunch of small (and easily lost) paper tickets. This is a great idea, and if the events listed on my badge were the ones I had actually booked, it would be even better! I'm sure it will be sorted out.

There are some leaflets in the conference bag, but not as many as in previous years - we haven't achieved the paperless conference yet, but we are getting there. There is still a paper Conference Guide, but it is smaller that before - in European terms it is A5 as opposed to A4 last year. The flier I shall look after very carefully is the prize draw card that needs to be signed at several of the sponsors' stands go into the draw for a iPad and other (as yet undisclosed) prizes. At the first Rootstech I did this so that I could get a free Rootstech T-shirt, and I genuinely forgot that there were prizes too. I won a 7-night stay at the Salt Lake Plaza!

Having collected my Rootstech bag, the first thing I did was take it to my room and leave it there. It's a very nice bag, and I will use it, but absolutely NOT here, where there will be literally thousands of identical ones. Really nice conference bags are for taking home and showing off. That's my conference tip, as well as the 'wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers' one.

For the speakers, exhibitors, official bloggers and FamilySearch everything is about to kick off, and they are bracing themselves for a very busy three days. By contrast, I can start to relax, because I gave my pre-conference talk for the Family History Library yesterday; in fact I gave two, because two of my fellow Brits, Else Churchill and Alec Tritton, were badly delayed en route and couldn't get here in time to give their scheduled talks so I gave an extra one to help fill the gap. That was a much busier morning than I had been expecting! Now, although I have a pretty full dance card for the next few days, I just have to turn up, I don't need to prepare or perform. Having recently had three very busy days at WDYTYA - Live!, I can really enjoy the fact that I am not working at this event, just attending. I'm sure it's going to be great.

Well, the sun isn't up yet, and I have leave now, to collect my Geneabloggers bead from my Genie-godmother, Dear Myrtle, and get a pre-show tour round the Expo Hall. Good luck everyone, see you at the show, or online. If you can't be here, you can follow proceedings on Facebook or Twitter #rootstech and view live-steamed events through the Rootstech site.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Ready for Rootstech

'Digital Dude' from Rootstech 2012
I've been uncharacteristically well-organised so far, left in PLENTY of time for the airport, after missing the plane last year due to horrendous traffic. So far the only thing I may have forgotten is a pair of gloves, left in the wrong coat pockets, I think. I can live with that.

My dance card is filling up quite nicely, with a combination of pre-booked lunches, breakfast invitations, informal dining arrangements with friends and a couple of meetings. I hope I still have time to attend the conference sessions! You can tell that you're spending a lot of time with Americans when you have two conflicting invitations, and they are before 8am! Perhaps if I think of them in terms of GMT (ie before 2pm) it will be easier to cope.

Unless you have seen a Rootstech keynote session, the audience numbers are hard to imagine. At the first two Rootstech conferences, and the NGS conference in the same venue in 2010, thousands of people gathered in the main auditorium to hear them, and I see that this year an even bigger hall is being used. It was quite a culture shock the first time, with all the 'lights, camera, action!' going on, with the the main speakers being introduced like rock stars  by a booming disembodied voice, accompanied by appropriately loud music. It was definitely something different, and not your usual genealogy conference.

I have heard a few people say that Rootstech isn't for them, because they are not technically minded, but it isn't just for nerds, geeks, techies or whatever else you might want to call them (us?). You don t have to be a mechanic or a petrolhead to be interested in getting the most out of you car, and genie-tech is a bit like that. There are people who are good at fiddling about with hardware and software, and at their best they can make life easier for those of us who just want to use neat stuff that just works, and makes our lives easier. The more that users and developers get to talk to each other the better the results will be. So bring it on, the technology that I think I understand, and the stuff that leaves me utterly baffled, but which impresses me just the same. Rootstech 2013 here I come!


Monday 18 March 2013

For St Paddy's Day: your Irish ancestors in The National Archives - in England!

Tracing your Irish ancestry isn't easy, but it might not be as hard as you think. Sometimes you need to look in places where you might not have thought of looking, and one of those places is in England, In The National Archives at Kew, to be precise. Although probate, census and vital records will be held in Ireland (when they survive) for many other purposes Ireland was part of the United Kingdom until less than a century ago. This means that there is lots of information on Irish people in records that were created on a UK-wide basis.

Soldiers, sailors and more

Many Irishmen served in the British Army, and a lot of records are now online, on for the First World War, and on for earlier records, back to the 18th century. Many others were in the Royal Navy or the Royal Marines and their service records have also been digitised, and you will find them on The National Archives website among the Online collections. There are several guides on how to research men (and women) in all of the armed services on the Looking for a person page.

Other services

Apart from the armed forces you might find your Irish ancestor serving in the merchant navy, Coastguard or Customs and Excise. You won't find detailed service records like those you might hope to find for the armed forces, but you can still piece together details of their lives and trace their movements, which can point you in the direction of more clues. Tracing merchant seaman can be tricky, but it has become a lot easier since some records have been put online by  There are no online records for customs and excise officers, but there are some coastguard records on Digital Microfilm You still have to look through the microfilm to find what you want, but instead of putting a roll of film on a reader, you can download it as a PDF file and click your way through.

Irish records

Perhaps surprisingly, there are several collections that relate specifically to Ireland, notably the records of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Some of these are on microfilm, and should eventually be digitised and put online. There is also an interesting set of records for the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund in record series T 91. The fund provided loans at interest to the industrious poor, who had to provide some form of security for the loan. Some of these records have been digitised and indexed and can be downloaded free of charge from Moving Here. They consist of the Returns to the Clerk of the Peace for the counties of Cork, Galway, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon and Tipperary.

CO 762/48 Application of JohnScanlon 

There is a surprising amount of material from the early 20th Century, although most can only be consulted as original documents. Applications to the Irish Grants Committee from people who had claims against either the British or Irish governments are indexed by name and place in record series CO 762. There is a collection of passport applications - only a single box, unfortunately - from 1921, some with photographs. These are part of the major collection known as the Dublin Castle Records in CO 904, dealing with the British administration in Ireland from 1795, and there are similar records in CO 906.

Those are just a few highlights, and there are plenty more, mostly under-explored. But just to give you an idea of what you might find, I know exactly where and when one of my Irish ancestors, William Charlton was born - in 1785, before the start of parish records there - through the records of his service in the British Army.

Happy St Paddy's Day, and happy hunting. I hope that the luck of the Irish comes your way.  


Saturday 16 March 2013

Shopping Saturday - 'Death in the pot'

There has been a lot in the news lately about horse meat being found in processed meat products. There is absolutely no excuse for this, and while I have no great problem with eating horse, I object to being sold (cheap) horse meat at (expensive) beef prices, and labelled as beef. A great fuss has been made, quite rightly, and the food industry is making a great show of smartening up its act. Good. But compared to some of the food scandals of the past, the horse meat episode pales to insignificance. A few years ago I attended a summer school run by the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education at Rewley House, on the social history of food. The subject I chose to write about for my course work essay was Adulteration of food in Britain in the 19th Century and I'm getting some extra mileage out of it by repeating it here:

‘…the preparation of food has been gradually banished from the cottage and the kitchen to the shop and the contractor’
H W Rumsey, in ‘Essays on State Medicine’ 1856

For as long as food has been processed in any way, there has been the potential for adulteration, either accidentally or deliberately. It is human nature to hark back to a perceived Golden Age when food was pure, wholesome, tasty and plentiful, but which never existed.

In 19th Century Britain there was a great deal of concern about the adulteration of food, drink and medicines. Much was written in the press, there were official reports, and eventually Acts of Parliament. The practice was by no means new, but excited particular public interest in that century. Rumsey’s quote above makes the point that no-one will knowingly contaminate their own food supply, but when an intermediary is involved both the means and the motive for adulteration can appear. The greater the distance between producer and consumer, the less control the latter has over the food they consume, and this is often accompanied by a decrease in knowledge of what good wholesome food should be. Even those who bought most of their food from shops in a small community were less likely to suffer at the hands of someone who was a neighbour, and who had a reputation to lose. A large and faceless manufacturer selling to a distant customer base, through one or more intermediaries, was in a different position altogether. The increasing industrialization and urbanization of British society meant that more and more people were in no position to produce even part of their own food, and by 1851 the urban population was now the majority. Another feature was the development of food processing on an industrial scale, partly because the technical means existed, and partly because of the size of the market where the products could be sold.

The Victorian age was also one that became increasingly preoccupied with gathering statistics, especially in the matter of public health. This was not the reason for the establishment of the General Register Office in 1836, but under George Graham and his deputy Dr William Farr from the 1840s to 1870s this became one of its major functions.  At around the same time Edwin Chadwick took up the cause of sanitary reform, and a number of public and semi-public bodies commissioned inquiries into aspects of public health.

One of the first investigators to conduct a detailed study into the adulteration of food and drink was the chemist Friedrich Accum, who published ‘A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons Exhibiting the Fraudulent Sophistications of Bread, Beer, Wine, Spiritous Liquors, Tea, Coffee, Cream, Confectionery, Vinegar, Mustard, Pepper, Cheese, Olive Oil, Pickles, and Other Articles Employed in Domestic Economy and methods of detecting them’ in 1820. As the length of the title suggests, he was nothing if not thorough. The frontispiece rather dramatically featured an illustration with the biblical quotation ‘There is Death in the Pot, and the book sold out in a month. Accum described in detail the systematic adulteration of many commodities included staples such as bread and milk. Some of the abuses were relatively harmless, such as the addition of chicory, which was cheap, to coffee, which was expensive. This was dishonest, but not a danger to health, even when the chicory itself was further adulterated with even cheaper roasted carrots or turnips and burnt sugar. Some people even preferred a coffee and chicory mixture to the real thing. Much more serious was the practice of using toxic lead, copper or mercury salts to make sweets and jellies more colourful to attract children. It was also common practice to add equally poisonous vegetable substances such as quassia and nux vomica to beer and porter to impart a bitter taste. These and others were actually recommended in ‘Every Man His Own Brewer’ published in 1790, although the sale of these poisons was illegal by the time Accum was writing, but the law was hard to enforce owing to the absence of reliable means of testing for them until the 1820s.

Accum’s writing provided actual evidence of practices that many people had long suspected, and demonstrated that abuse was also more widespread than they previously thought. Unfortunately, this did not lead to immediate action for a variety of reasons. Accum lost public support when he was accused of mutilating books in his care in the Library of the Royal Institution. He returned to his native Germany under a cloud of suspicion, and it was not until ten years later that a campaign was started by Thomas Wakley, editor of The Lancet when he commissioned an article on the poisons in coloured sweets, which had become even worse since Accum’s investigation. However the next really significant contribution was the work of Arthur Hill Hassall, whose research in the 1850s continued what Accum had begun, starting with an examination of coffee samples. He also showed that the microscope was a serious research tool, particularly useful in identifying foreign vegetable matter, and insects, living and dead. Where Accum had published the names of vendors who were prosecuted for selling adulterated goods, Hassall went one stage further and published the names of everyone from whom he had bought samples, and whether or not they proved to be contaminated. It is interesting to note that none of the offenders succeeded in suing him. 

As a result of Hassall’s work, a Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry was set up and the first Food Adulteration Act was passed in 1860. This was revised and greatly strengthened by a further Act in 1872. However, like Accum before him, Hassall did not have universal support; the publishers of ‘Enquire Within Upon Everything’ accused him of exaggerating and scaremongering, for example. Others agreed, and pointed out that most adulterants were not actually harmful in themselves, such as water and flour in milk. This is true enough, but the consequences could still be devastating if it was fed to babies. In 1856 Chambers’ Journal pointed out that some of the responsibility must lie with the consumer who demanded cheap and varied food, with no questions asked. In general, however, the tide of opinion was with him, and food became somewhat safer as a result. One of the best illustrations of this is that manufacturers began to appeal to the public desire for pure and wholesome food through their advertisements. Many claimed that their products were endorsed by Dr Hassall, which may or may not have been true, and emphasised the virtues of their uniform production and packaging, of the ‘None genuine without this signature’ variety. The Aerated Bread Company promoted their highly mechanized method of production by emphasizing its hygienic nature.

There was (and is) a long way to go to recreate the hypothetical Golden Age. There is the continual cycle of improvements and additives that subsequently turn out to be harmful, for one thing. In fairness to food manufacturers, they often believed that additives actually improved the quality of the food, and well as their profits, and did not realise that they might be harmful. They were probably telling the truth at least some of the time. Research by men like Accum and Hassall also showed up contamination that was accidental, ranging from ignorance or carelessness to gross negligence, such as lead leaking into the water supply from pipes, or into olive oil from the plates used to press the fruit. Not that it takes an analytical chemist to work out that it you leave dry goods uncovered in your shop or factory they will soon be augmented with insects, mouse droppings and the like.

Awareness of food adulteration increased in the 19th Century because of improved scientific methods, matched by concern about it and other public health issues. There was certainly a great deal to be concerned about, mainly as a result of industrialization and urbanization. Ironically, however, once public opinion was alerted to the dangers market forces proved effective in improving the situation. The power of advertising indeed.

There is an interesting, and much more scholarly, article on the Royal Society of Chemistry site.


Much more recently, I came across an intriguing story while on a open-top bus tour of Chicago; it was claimed that the cause of food safety owes a debt to none other than Al Capone! The story goes that a member of his family became ill after drinking milk that was past its best, and he used his power and influence in Chicago to enforce the use of 'sell-by' dates. I have seen this story, and variants of it, in a number of places, but I haven't been able to verify it. I do hope it's true, though.  


Wednesday 13 March 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - scenes from Who Do You Think You Are? - Live

Better late than never...
Sarah Williams, editor of WDYTYA Magazine with her star columnist and blogger Dr Alan Crosby
Alan Crosby, looking as though he is about to deliver a sermon

Here comes the judge...

Myko and Ian from FindmyPast representing the forces of law and order

Caught! The Family Recorder gets her collar felt

PC Myko with his hand in the sweetie jar when he thinks no-one is looking

Chris Paton aka British GENES demonstrating how he would deal with a sweetie thief

The Rosenbergs dining in style...

...taking a break from their strategically-place stand

Ian and Sharon Hartas of the excellent UKBMD and related sites

Else Churchill can't compete with Jackie Depelle in the hat department, but she's really going for it with the badges!

Mistress Agnes and a gentleman friend (aka Janet Braund Few, who blogs as The History Interpreter, and Chris Braund)

John Wood of The National Archives learning that he has been designated Employee of the Month, and his prize is a night out with The Family Recorder. Cheer up John, it could have been the second prize, two nights out... 

From The National Archives, Roger Kershaw, head of military, maritime, transport and family history teams with Mark Pearsall, family history specialist

William Roache, featured in the last series of WDYTYA, best known as an original cast member of Coronation Street, and still going strong after more than 50 years