11 May 2016

Queen Elizabeth’s World War I Family Loss

Captain Fergus Bowes-Lyon, the maternal uncle of Queen Elizabeth II, fell at the Battle of Loos in northern France in 1915. Bowes-Lyon was 26 at his death, a Captain in the Black Watch who died “leading an attack on the German lines at the heavily fortified Hohenzollern Redoubt.” Queen Elizabeth’s World War I family loss is documented in this article in the Guardian about her visit to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
His death, followed by their inability to find out where his remains lay, hit the Queen Mother and her family hard. In 2011 Captain Bowes-Lyon’s grandson, James Joicey-Cecil, 59, with the help of his second cousin, the Prince of Wales, and historian Christopher Bailey, helped trace where he was buried in a mass grave in a quarry….

The Queen spoke of detective work to track down his suspected mass grave in 2011 as she met Ministry of Defence officials who help families find the bodies […]

4 May 2016

May 2016 Issue of First Friday Genealogy

The May 2016 Issue of First Friday Genealogy comes out on the sixth. My free newsletter is sent out (you guessed it) the first Friday of the month. It contains tips and tricks for your family history research from my perspective as an archivist and librarian.

The May issue is about finding published family histories. If you can identify the search results in the image at the top of this post, you already know one of the sources. But several others are available. Sign up below to start your free subscription with the May 2016 Issue of First Friday Genealogy.

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1 May 2016

Archives MayDay 2016

Today is Archives MayDay 2016 – the one day each year when the entire archives profession pays attention to emergency preparedness by writing, reviewing, and revising disaster preparedness plans.

At home, too often our emergency planning takes second place to more pressing demands. So I think it’s smart to take a leaf from the Society of American Archivists and take time today to review the emergency plans for your family history data. (I’m going to assume that everyone has already ensured their personal safety so that we can focus on data. But if you need to improve your personal safety measures, visit

A starting place for your data and papers:

Are you backing up your data?
If you are, could you grab that hard drive and go with only a few minutes’ warning?
Is that backup automated? Don’t depend on remembering once a month to make a backup. Let your […]

28 Apr 2016

Visiting Prussia for the Time-Traveling Genealogy Blog Party

Courtesy of Elizabeth O’Neal at LittleBytesofLife,
my entry is
Visiting Prussia for the Time-Traveling Genealogy Blog Party
Here’s this party’s theme:

You and The Doctor (of Doctor Who fame [who of course is David Tennant – hubba hubba]) have just finished saving the Earth from nasty, alien monsters. As your reward, The Doctor has offered to take you for a ride in his TARDIS to meet one of your ancestors!

Who is the ancestor you will meet?
I long to know Friedrich Wilhelm Alexander KIRSCHSTEIN, my great-great-grandfather, who has been my most persistent brick wall for lo these many many years. He married my great-great-grandmother, Florentine Mathilde BRAUN, on 20 Oct 1847 in Rawitsch, Posen, Prussia (now Poland). But before that he might as well have been a ghost for the past six years I’ve been looking for him and his parents. Until very recently, dundundun.*

What question(s) do you need him/her to answer?
When I meet him, I will heroically refrain from shaking him […]