Book of the Month - My Ancestors were Coal Miners

By David Tonks

Fifty years ago Britain was reliant on coal for its energy needs. Across the country, over a million Brits worked as miners, risking injury and often their lives to extract this “black gold” from the earth. These robust people were admired by many for their courage and physical durability, and though feared by some for their political strength, they helped shape the national identity for generations.  

This book by David Tonks, who was brought up in an East Durham colliery village, will help you discover the world in which your mining ancestors lived—a world that, perhaps, is more complex and fascinating that you might imagine. In addition to detailing the social history of the miners, the book establishes which records are available and how to access them.

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Census Substitutes - A half-Day Course on 4 March

Many of us get frustrated when we can’t find people on a census return. But there can be many reasons for people being missing. The question is,  are there any alternatives that we could use?  This lecture will look at the reasons for them being missing as well as exploring the pros and cons of the alternative options.

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Fraud, Forgery, Feuding: The Coming of Civil Registration - A One-Hour Lecture on 1 March

We will look at pre-1837 records in the light of the evidence presented to the 1833 Select Committee on Parochial Registration.  It covers the keeping of the records, the information included, the legal standing of Anglican & Dissenters' records, the difficulties of proving identity, descent and entitlement, opportunities for forgery and fraud, attitudes to change, who wanted it and why.  It argues that an understanding of how BMD records were collected and transmitted is helpful when faced with deficiencies in the GRO indexes.

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