Category Archives: Genealogy

john doe logo for Locate My

Map Surnames with Locate My Name Website

john doe logo for Locate My

Locate My Name is a website that can give you a bunch of genealogical statistics about your first or last name. The site purports to offer first name information only as a curiosity and not for any professional purposes.

The surname search feature, however, can be used by historians to find valuable data about how peoples migrated from one area to another and where they settled.

A simple search option allows you to choose which country’s data you want to see, and clicking on your desired country leads to a new page containing a treasure trove of data.

The website allows you to see the recorded and estimated occurrences of your surname in your selected countries, a few other countries, and in the entire world. The site also gives etymological information for certain surnames.

When searching in a country, the tool will allow you to see in which parts of the country the name is most prevalent in.

Further still, the site gives you a list of Internet domain names which seem connected to the surname you searched for and another list for sub-domains and blogs. The last bit of information you’ll get is a list of first names that are commonly paired with your surname.

An interesting genealogical fact is that lots of families remain in the same area for generations, which means that surnames often have regional connotations. Of course, some surnames e.g. Brown or Smith are more common and are spread out more evenly than others, but such names are the exception rather than the norm.

Surnames that are imported into countries are usually clustered in port cities or huge metropolises. Where they appear in rural areas, they show that immigrants settled in particular villages.

The site also has translated sections in several other languages such as French, Italian, and many others.

So if you’ve been wondering where your ancestors originated from, give  Locate My Name a whirl, and you’ll gain a ton of information!

Why am I such a whimp?


Yesterday, we had a fabulous day in Cardiff attending the Graduation of our youngest son, Andrew.  The weather was incredibly kind to us, we had the odd shower but on the whole it was warm and dry.

Everything went to plan in terms of time, we found parking spaces at every venue we needed to visit, four in total and the only issue we had was a technical one that both our camera card was full and the Camcorder went onto auto saving power and died on me just at the very moment Andrew moved onto the stage to shake the principal’s hand!

To be fair, the camera got a few shots of him just walking on stage, hubby managed to video it on his phone and there’s always the official DVD to fall back on!

As you can imagine, we were incredibly proud and yet another fabulous set of memories to add to our already burgeoning family tree memoribilia.

And of course, whimp that I am, the tissues had to come out at varying intervals throughout the day.  I was the same at my eldest’s graduation.  In fact, I was exactly the same at my own graduation in 2000.

So, tissues aside, how am I going to go about getting all this detail down?

  1. Accumulate all the data, i.e. photos from all devices and camcorders etc. Pull everything together in one place on one device.
  2. Back up all media in more than one place i.e. on your hard drive, your Google drive or Dropbox or Mediafire and possibly on a DVD or CD too. Do this BEFORE you start resizing etc, so you have a MASTER file.
  3. Look for an online facility to create a photobook, there are lots out there and your choice is really determined by how much control you want over it. Simply Google it and you’ll get tons of listings. Use Powerpoint – it’s on most computers and if you want to know how to use that, don’t forget our online course at DigiScrapbooking Course
  4. Don’t forget to add the date and details in your database or paper records and then keep a folder with all of the memoribilia from the day. Label that folder and keep a note of what it’s called and where it’s stored in your paperwork.
  5. Enjoy reliving your moments.

If you have a family member that are graduating this Summer, make sure you spend some time accumulating everything and putting it together into a memento you can treasure.  Spend that little bit of extra time after the day to help keep those memories fresh.


Do you hate salesmen?


Do you get annoyed with door-to-door salesmen?  Or cold-callers?  We have a particularly pesky one at the moment who insists on keep ringing us and giving us the silent treatment.  We know who they are and loads of other people have problems with them too, if the online posts we found are anything to go by.  It’s even the same now when you open up your emails isn’t it?  Seems everyone is trying to sell you something.  I don’t mind people who add their link into their email, you can make your own mind up then but when the copy is all about sell, sell, sell and them, them, them, it makes my blood boil.

I want to run a company that has a bit more street cred than that.  That’s why I like to ASK people what they want, what they are struggling with and how I can help them.  And that’s why I’m writing this week to ask you if you’d answer a few questions for me so that I can a) help you by knowing what you’re struggling with b) only be sending you information that you are interested in.

Our survey only takes a few minutes to complete, really easy questions and next week, I’ll announce the winner of completely free access to the whole of our “Creating Your Legacy” course.  A whole five week’s worth of training covering research, recording, preserving and presenting your family history.

Here’s the link

Thanks very much.

Let’s hope next week is better as this week I’ve been struggling with a nasty little virus that I’ve now managed to rid myself of (well, my computer I should say, not me personally).  Must have downloaded something that then set up an exclusion for a foreign ip address that was somehow sending me plugin disablers so that my office suite wouldn’t work, my internet wouldn’t load.  Glad I have a super awesome techy son who spotted it for me after our computer man sent it back scratching his head, knowing there was something wrong but not knowing what.

Anyone know of any techy jobs going as he’s currently on the lookout for one?  I’m serious!  Last Friday was his birthday and we all went out to see him handling owls, one of his major loves in life.  He really likes wildlife and birds of prey.  It was a bit of a drive over to the animal sanctuary but the weather held out for us and we managed to get some pictures and video of him flying a barn owl, his second favourite and a hawk, as well handling an eight-week old Bengal owl, I think it was.  I’ll try and sort out the pictures but with the computer being flakey all week, I haven’t had much chance.  Add it to my ever-growing list of “what mum’s do”.

Have a super awesome week and keep finding just a little bit of time each week to do your family tree, it really helps rather than leaving it and having a mega fest every so often.  I think it’s called Binge FTing – lol, bit like Facebook for family tree – LOL.

Till next week; don’t forget that survey, here’s the link again

with your chance to win a spot on our “Creating Your Legacy” course for free.

If you don’t win and you’re interested in finding out how to organise and manage your family tree paperwork and memoribilia and create something that will be treasured and passed down through the generations, then check out our the first module of our course HERE.  That module is free, but if you want to take a look over what you get for the whole course, check it out HERE.  It’s brand new, so I’m very open to constructive criticism.


Yvonne Richards holding John Allan's Freedom of the City of London

Did I steal this? Should I give it back?

Yvonne Richards holding John Allan's Freedom of the City of London

Yvonne Richards holding John Allan’s Freedom of the City of London

Did I steal this? Should I give it back?

Over 25 years ago, my husband and myself were avid antique collectors, we already had an impressive collection of coins and stamps and other bits of memoribilia, mainly family tree that had picqued our interest in all things old. We didn’t have children, seemingly had no intention of having any and were happy working and living our own lives. We regularly attended antiques fairs and began collecting pearl handled cutlery, Mah Jong tiles, land deeds and wooden items, which we both loved. On one such occasion at an antique fair in Stafford, we spotted a beautiful picture frame. We both spotted it at the same time, and both fell in love with it, the added bonus was what it contained.

The Freedom of the City of London, granted to one John Allan, a Spectacle maker in 1898.

This ticked both boxes for us, history and wood and the deal was done. The said picture was brought home and has sat on the same bit of wall on our hall, stairs and landing since then and has been lovingly dusted each week.

Recently, however, we felt the need to re-organise and re-structure all of the family memorabilia that we had and to clean our existing RootsMagic databases. During that process, we have wished many times that relatives had not given things away or sold them or even dumped them in skips or landfills.

And so, our attention turned to our Spectacle maker and his Freedom of the City.

“Many people assume that the Freedom of the City of London is purely an honorary award, presented only to the great and the good, or for particular bravery, for example. However, this is true of only a very small number of City Freemen. The Honorary Freedom of the City of London is indeed the highest honour that the City can bestow, but it is granted very rarely. The vast majority of City Freemen were, and are, admitted by other means, and represent a very broad cross-section of the population. Over the last 300 years, about 300,000 ordinary people have been made Free of the City of London. Even today, many men and women continue to be admitted to the City Freedom, although most of the privileges and practical reasons for doing so have now disappeared.Before the mid-19th century, the Freedom of the City of London was a practical necessity for those who plied a trade or made their living in the City of London. Indeed, certain groups of people were compelled, on pain of prosecution, to be Free of the City, including:” To read the rest of this article, originally published by London Metropolitan Archives go HERE

To put your mind at rest, no I didn’t actually steal it, I bought it quite legimately for about £30, if I recall. However, I feel like I’ve stolen a piece of this family’s history. Both of us were astonished that a family could actually put this on the market for sale, but then you never know people’s circumstances. Still, we would ultimately like it to be returned to its rightful family. We have done some research on it so we have a fair idea of its provenance but are drawing a blank on finding a family connection on Ancestry as none of the family names seem to tie up.

So we are appealing to the social media network and hoping that this post will go viral in the hopes that we will be able to reunite such a fabulous piece of family history with John Allan’s rightful descendents. There is no doubt that we should give it back, though it will be with a very heavy heart and its long-held place on our wall will never be quite the same without it. Suffice to say, that should we not find its rightful owner, we will continue to keep it as safe as anyone can keep their possessions in this day and age until such time as it can hang on the wall of his proud family once more.


Transcript: John Allan, Citizen and Spectacle Maker of London was admitted into the Freedom aforesaid and made the Declaration required by Law in the Mayoralty of Sir John Voce Moore, Mayor and Sir William James Richmond Cotton, Knt Chamberlain and is entered in the book signed with the Letter K1 relating to the Purchasing of Freedoms and the Admission of Freedom (to wit) the 22nd Day of December in the 62nd Year of the reign of Queen VICTORIA and in the Year of our Lord 1898. In Witness whereof the Seal of the Office of Chamberlain of the said City is hereunto affixed. Dated in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the same City the day and Year abovesaid.

What do you think?  Should I be trying to reunite this with its rightful owners or am I just wasting my time?  The family sold it once, do they really want it back?  Let me know what you think on our Facebook page.

Don’t forget to sign up for our Newsletter HERE.






Ever wanted to do more in less time?

Ever wanted to do more in less time?  Tell me about it.

Here are 15 apps and/or online tools to help you with your genealogical research.

Listen to this post here



Pin old family photographs of a known area on to an interactive map and search for thousands of images uploaded by museums and archives. Great for comparing changes to the places where your ancestors lived or worked, as it overlays historical scenes on to Google Street View. Browse by date or location to find images and stories behind them.


All family tree researchers need a good filing system and One Note is proving a credible competitor to the popular Evernote app. Incorporate digital photographs of old letters, clippings from genealogy websites, videos and audio interviews into your searchable notes, share them with relatives and sync with all your devices.


Build easy family trees that you can view on or offline with its easy function to connect and create a family tree fast by harvesting relative’s details from Facebook.

You will need to subscribe at the TheGenealogist website if you want to view historical documents etc.


Tool for creating and editing your tree, incorporating photographs and a basic search facility but requires a subscription to view results.  It is renowned for its worldwide genealogy community, helping you link to overseas family (incorporates 32 languages).


Links with Dropbox and iTunes so that you can view trees and research logs created with RootsMagic desktop software. Gedcom files can also be converted from other genealogy software companies for viewing as RootsMagic files while you are out and about. Contains tools, including a date calculator, perpetual calendar, and relationship calculator.


An add-on for the family tree building software programme, Reunion.

Easy to use and with detailed but simple layouts. Only for those who have the full software packaged installed on a Mac.


Who Do You Think You Are? magazine is the UK’s leading family history monthly. This forum app gives access to a rapidly growing genealogy community online.

Somewhere for newbies to ask for friendly pointers and for experienced hands to share advice. It is also a good place to pick up birth, marriage and death certificates.


Start building your family tree and find your ancestors in billions of historic records. This works best when used with a monthly subscription to the Ancestry website. Individual family records can be bought by non-subscribers for a small fee, which is useful, but an annual membership is more cost-effective.


Interviewing your family is the best place to begin. This voice recording app offers clear sound, good basic functionality and the option to tag audio files that you have saved.

If you want to keep the interviews for posterity, using a plug-in microphone with your smartphone or tablet will improve the quality further still.


Add photographs of headstones and transcribe memorial inscriptions to build up the database. Also lets you post a request for local volunteers to search for your ancestor’s headstone in a cemetery.

To maximise the results, use Find A Grave in combination with Billiongraves, another great app that’s suitable for Android and iOS.


Online rememberance site that is free to create a memorial but you need to upgrade to add more detailed information.  Be aware that all online memorial sites are only available whilst we have clouds, internet, power etc.  Should anything happen to our internet infrastructure, all that could be lost.


This is completely free and, like most other online sites, sits on a cloud to give access to everyone and pass on to future generations.

There are no costs and no opportunity to upgrade.


This is free and gives quite a lot of features but if you want to create more in-depth tributes there is a monthly and a lifetime fee.


A UK charity that is completely free with a lot of features.  You are allocated 100MB of space free and asked to pay a small charge for each additional 50MB of space you require.


An online story site where you can record details by email, voice recordings and images and the beauty of this is that you can then have a book printed so that you have the best of both worlds; online availability and a physical memento.

Want a pdf of the above post? 15 Apps & Websites – PDF

Do you have a favourite app or online website that I haven’t mentioned above?  If so, let us know in the comments below or at our Facebook page

Hope this helps you gain a bit more time in your genealogy day, but if you’re anything like me then it you will probably spend more of your day ‘playing’ with the apps – LOL.

Have a great week anyway.



Getting the family under control…

Do you have a handle on where every piece of paper is that belongs to your family?

After 40+ years of digging and delving into my ancestral line, my paperwork was in complete and utter disarray.  I have used a software program, RootsMagic for over 10 years and not even that was cleaned and cited correctly.  I was drowning in a sea of papers, not to mention a plethora of old photographs and memorabilia and I could weep at the 20+ years-worth of photographs and video clips that were neither catergorised or filed, just copied into numerous locations so that we eventually ended up with four copies of most things we owned.

Does this sound like you?

Twelve months ago, I made myself a promise, that I would not renew my Ancestry subscription until I had cleaned my RootsMagic database and my paperwork and memorabilia had been subjected to a radical overhaul.  I still don’t have that subscription, I make myself visit the local Archives and use their subscription purely and simply because it focuses me on simply getting the citations I need for the information I already hold.

How did I get in this mess?  Easy, I never did it properly in the first place.

Now, I have a super-duper new filing system where every generational family have their own file, it’s colour-coded and so simple to use.  It instantly highlights the important citable documents that I am missing, such as birth, marriage and death certificates and instantly provides me with copies of the census pertaining to the family’s residences.

Within the famiy files are separate pockets for each family member where I can add their certificates, if I have them, and easily keep all of my working papers for them together.  I could even extend the system to include an inventory of that person’s photographs or memorabilia if I decide to.

You can create a colour-coded filing system too in eight easy steps.

 Slide38  Slide39


Want a step-b-step video of how to do this, head over and watch the first Module of our Creating Your Legacy course for free.

What’s your biggest challenge in taming your family tree?  Let us know in the comments.

Here’s this week’s Tweetable:


Remembering Lilian Bowen


This happy family shot was taken on the 11th September, 1943 but the bridesmaid just to the right of the bride, her sister, Lilian Bowen was just 23 in this picture.

Today, she would have celebrated her 95th birthday.  A stroke marred her later years in life and whilst I only personally met her once, she struck me as a very kind and caring and funny lady.  She reminded me very much of my own mum.  She was down-to-earth and would help anyone.  So let’s raise a glass to Lil today.

Happy Birthday, Auntie Lil, may your day be filled with love, laughter and happiness as all your days were to those who knew you when you were alive.

Happy 95th!!

Do you have any photographs and memoribilia of your family?  If so, share them with us on our Facebook page HERE and if you want to preserve the photographs and memoribilia of those you care for (and cared for) then take a look at our Creating Your Legacy course where you can watch the first module for free.

Or take a look around our Youtube Channel at our Memory Box Videos that share stories of my family, but also give you hints and tips on how to care for your memoribilia.

MemoryBox Monday 13th April

Welcome to our new series of MemoryBox videos.  Each Monday, we’ll be sharing a video with you of our family memoribilia together with hints and tips on how to care for and preserve the items.

This week, we’re looking at a Victorian Gated Purse that belonged to my Great Grandmother Ann Maria Drew.  She was born in 1856 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire and was a Grocer on the 1891 Census.

Learn more about her, her beautiful purse and how to care for your leather items.

Oral Histories…

Learn how to take an oral history.  Record the memories of your living relatives to pass down the generations.

Are you a jumbled genealogist?

Need more structure in your paperwork?

Never have time to do more than record what you’ve found?

Let us help you overcome the jumble of paperwork and memoribilia that you have.

Let us help you create a system whereby everything is at your fingertips and you, and more importantly, other members of your family, will know EXACTLY what everything is, the significance of it, who it belonged to and who they were.

Sound good?

Head over to our Creating Your Legacy Training Course at KajabiNext and watch the first module for FREE.