Genealogy news roundup: Ancestry DNA tests uncover unexpected results in Cotswold village

By Rosemary Collins, 17 August 2017 - 1:18pm

Plus: Antique centre appeals for help finding owner of wedding gift; Archivist nominated for award after 40-year career; Mark Rylance condemns plans to dredge Godwin Sands

Bledington residents took part in a DNA study

Residents of the Cotswold village of Bledington have discovered unexpected family connections and international ancestry through a DNA testing project.

Almost 120 residents provided saliva samples for a DNA study by family history company Ancestry.

Out of those taking part, over half (61) discovered they had previously unknown near or distant cousins in the village.

The tests also revealed that the average resident of the village was just 42% Great British, with 18 separate global regions identified overall.


Antique centre appeals for help finding owner of wedding gift

A Stratford antique centre is appealing for help finding the descendants of the recipient of a 19th century wedding gift.

Sims Vintage Antique Centre in Wootton Wawen posted a picture on its Facebook page of a black leather book that was found in its storage.

The book’s cover reads “Wedding Gift Presented to C. Pilcher by a Few Friends on the Occasion of His Marriage, Jan 8th 1894”. Inside is a handwritten list of names, presumably the friends who presented the gift.

Sims Vintage said: “We would love to get this back to the descendant family of C Pilcher so we ask for everyone’s help to share this all over Facebook, all over the world in an attempt to locate current family so that we can return it!”

Thanks to Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine reader Kelly Rowe for bringing our attention to the post.               


Archivist nominated for award after 40-year career 

An archivist who worked in York for nearly 40 years has been shortlisted for a community award.

Rita Freedman (74) worked as city archivist at York library from 1969 until she retired in 2008.

After her retirement, she took on the job of honorary archivist at York Merchant Adventurers’ Hall.

She is now a finalist in the ‘Public Sector Hero’ category for the Community Pride Awards, organised by the York Press newspaper.


Mark Rylance condemns plans to dredge Godwin Sands

Actor Mark Rylance has joined criticism of plans to dredge Godwin Sands in Kent, calling it disrespectful to the dead of the Second World War.

The sands, six miles off Deal, are the last resting place of around 80 British, Polish and German pilots who crashed during the Battle of Britain. Their exact resting place is unknown and they have probably moved, as the sands shift every year.

Dover Harbour Board (DHB) has applied to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO0 for permission to extract 2.5 million cubic metres of sand and gravel from the sands to use in its Western Docks development. The proposals are currently subject to consultation.

Rylance, who starred in the recent film Dunkirk as well as the BBC drama Wolf Hall, compared the idea to dredging Dunkirk sands in France, telling the Daily Mail newspaper: “What is the problem with us, that we are so disrespectful of these honourable souls who perished in the English Channel defending the rest of us from fascism?”

A local group, Save Our Sands, is petitioning the MMO to reject the application.


Plymouth council promises £3.5 million for Mayflower anniversary heritage trails

Plymouth City Council has approved £3.5 million in capital funding for three new heritage trails as part of planned celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage in 2020.

The three physical and digital trails will links historic locations around the city. One, around the historic Barbican and Sutton Harbour area, will focus on the 16th and 17th centuries. The second will run from the Barbican to the Box – a reopened Plymouth History Centre which will act as the flagship for the commemorations – while the third will trace the journey along the Hoe, looking out towards Plymouth Sound.

There will also be improvements to Plymouth’s historic buildings, including the Mayflower Steps and Mayflower Museum, Sir John Hawkins Square and the Elizabethan Prysten House.

The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth to America on 6 September 1620, transporting around 130 Puritans to America. A national network of trails will open around the country to commemorate the anniversary.


Findmypast adds new grave records

Family history website Findmypast has added nearly 3 million records to its Billion Graves Cemetery Index.

The index includes details such as the person’s name and birth and death dates and the name and location of the cemetery. However, it also includes a link to Billion Graves, where the information, along with an image of the grave, is often already available for free.

Among the records added were 2.2 million graves from the USA, 76,151 from England, 114,794 from Scotland, 16,038 from Ireland and 5,761 from Wales.

Findmypast also added 6,159 burial records from Sidcup Cemetery, formerly in Kent, now in the London Borough of Bexley.

Genealogy news roundup: FreeCEN website undergoes revamp
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Genealogy news roundup: FreeCEN website undergoes revamp
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How to order a Scottish birth, marriage or death record
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