Treasures Tuesday - A Passport from 1855

Not many families have original passports used by their ancestors in the 1800s. The main reason is that before the First World War a British citizen didn't need a passport to travel to other countries or to be allowed to return to Britain. However, merchants travelling and diplomats usually held them. It was a way of introducing themselves to important people in other countries. It’s possible that you have found evidence that your ancestor had a passport. The irritating thing is that you probably haven't found the actual document and you would like to know what one looked like. One of our treasures here at the SoG is a passport for the Reverend John Cholmeley, issued in London on August 11, 1853. It shows us what passports were like in the mid-1800s.

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The Family History Show at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey on Sunday 24th September 2017

We'll be at The Family History Show

Do come over for a chat with us, if you're at the Show. The Society of Genealogists is looking forward to attending The Family History Show at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey on Sunday 24th September 2017. 

Bring your questions and give us a challenge. Our experienced genealogists are really good at thinking of new avenues to explore to find that missing ancestor or a piece of information that you know should be available. Our society is the National Family History Centre and we are the UK-wide repository for family history documents and records. So, we have documents and items in our library that you might not expect to find. 

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Your ‘lost’ ancestor might have been a WW1 Anzac

The least remembered men that fought in WW1 could be the British born recruits who joined up in New Zealand or Australia. They became part of the ‘Anzacs’, a term we all use to describe the Australian and New Zealand soldiers that fought in Gallipoli and on the Western Front. It’s true that most of the men were recruited in Australia or New Zealand. But that doesn’t mean they were actually New Zealanders or Australians.

For family historians in the UK, looking for a long lost relative, one of these Anzacs could be the man you’re looking for. I’ve spent two years researching the New Zealanders’ experiences in WW1. The stories of newly arrived immigrants to New Zealand, joining up to fight for their home country and their new country, are the saddest stories of all.

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