International Museum Day 2018


image created by Julie Goucher using the International Museum Day Website.

As a child I always enjoyed visiting museums. Looking back, my favourite hobbies were old things, books and listening to my Great Aunts talk about the family. I guess my pathway was set from way back in my childhood.

Today is International Museum Day

As a genealogist, museums add context to the lives of our ancestors, whether we have researched back that far or not.

One of my favourite museums is the Underground Hospital on the Island of Jersey in the Channel Islands. None of my family lived on Jersey, yet there is something about the island that I love. Jersey was occupied by the Germans in the Second World War. Everywhere you go on the island is a reminder of that time in the island’s history and also a reminder of the resilience of the islander’s – it was not just Jersey that was occupied, the other islands were too, but Jersey seems to embrace this part of it’s history in a more obvious manner. All the islands honour the people who died there during this time, the islanders who took huge risks and the prisoners, many from Eastern Europe who were forced to work in dreadful conditions.

I have written previously about our visits to the island and to see some of those posts search Jersey in the search box and if I ever find the time I will finish off setting the posts in their category making them easy to find, and according to my notes there are still a few posts that I never got around to writing, so I might do that in the coming months.


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Italian Surname Series – Magro Malosso

Italian Surname SeriesThe enquiry that I received about two weeks ago was the catalyst for this series. The enquiry was about the surname of Magro Malosso.

My Great, Great, Great Grandmother was Maria Giuseppa Magro Malosso. She was born in Sutera, Sicily in 1838, married Pietro Orlando and died in Sutera in 1904, aged just 66.

My correspondent and I descend from two different Magro Malosso families in the same Sicilian town, but these two families were linked, of that I am absolutely sure. It was that message that I relayed in the reply, and I stressed the point that I was working on a hunch. I was so excited by the communication I have done little else, but live and breath the surname of Magro Malosso!

The second catalyst for this series was the results of a search of World Profiler:

Magro Malosso - World Profiler

Magro Malosso 2 - World Profiler

Long term readers of this site will have seen me refer to this site, which is a great surname distribution site. Here is the results for Magro Malosso:

Magro Malosso

Those results concur with the World Profiler map.

Variants: Magro Molosso and the dropping of the Malosso name completely and simply being recorded as Magro which I have confirmed by a document from Sutera and a passenger list for one of the Suteresi Magro Malosso’s.

To be completely honest, I am much in the dark about the origins of the surname as I was two weeks ago, although I am more sure than ever that the surname is very specific to Sutera. The surname deserves much more research and if you are indeed researching the surname Magro Malosso whether in Sutera or the United States, I would be very delighted to hear from you.

I wrote an article for the Journal of One-Name Studies in January 2018 and mentioned a Detto, which is not a nickname, it is more than that. A Detto is a name that is used in addition to the main surname, but is not hyphenated. Detto’s are used in official records which is not typical of nicknames and Detto’s are also used across more that one generation.

With that in mind I visited again and inserted separately Magro and Malosso into search box, those results are below:

I do have a hunch, but I am going to leave that for another day! but if you do have any thoughts or comments please do leave them below.

Posted in Genealogy, Italian Surname Series, One-Name Studies, One-Place Studies, Orlando, Pharos - Introduction to One-Name Studies course, Surnames, Sutera Sicily | 2 Comments

Launch of Italian Surname Series

Italian Surname SeriesI recently had some correspondence about one of my Italian surnames. In addition to responding to the correspondence I did some further research and that sat me thinking about the surnames that appear in my paternal line and what those surnames mean, how they have evolved and their distribution patterns.

As part of my research I visited one particular site and I noticed something in particular that I had not been aware of previously.

I therefore thought that I might commence an Italian Surname Series as I set about examining those surnames further and revisit some of the earlier gathered material. I don’t anticipate these to be daily posts, but perhaps every week or so, as time and research allow. If you are interested in Italian genealogy or Italian surnames then please subscribe.


Posted in Genealogy, Italian Surname Series, One-Name Studies, One-Place Studies, Orlando, Pharos - Introduction to One-Name Studies course, Sutera Sicily | Leave a comment

Family History Week #FHWeek 2018 – What ideas do you think will get younger people involved in family history?

What ideas do you think will get younger people involved in family history?

My-Family-History-Week-logo-300x226My view is that we, as genealogists, need to be where younger people are.

Now I would have said that was Facebook, but that appears to have been overtaken with other sites, such as Instagram and SnapChat

If you are doing a One-Name or One-Place study you can easily set up a Facebook Group which focuses on that name or place and encourages dialogue between members. I do use Instagram, but am certainly not a regular poster on that site.

Each post that I write here is posted to Dropbox and my Face book page and I do re-tweet and that is the way into the hearts and minds of younger generations. If you have other ideas and suggestions, please do leave a comment.

You can the read the discussion at the Facebook Family Tree Academy group and on Twitter using the #FHWeek

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Family History Week #FHWeek 2018 – What about you – leaving a trail for your descendants?

What about you – leaving a trail for your descendants?

My-Family-History-Week-logo-300x226I would like to think that I have left a trail for future generations.

In my family history programme I have recorded where I was, what my occupation was and my age for each of the census’ since my birth. That includes the one census that I was in fact in another Country.

A couple of years after my return I got married in another foreign country so actually there will be a genealogical puzzle for future historians unless they access my papers. In 1991 I was in Australia, in 1994 I got married in Kenya and took my husband’s surname. Therefore it will simply be that I am to be found in the 1981 Census, missing from the 1991 UK Census and then appear on the 2001 Census with my married name. Will historian be able to find me in the future if they don’t have access to my files etc?  Sadly I will never know!

I have kept a diary & journal/notebook since I was about 12. I always have a planner which records appointments and my to do list each day. I keep a journal/notebook to plan blog posts, notes on research and other thoughts etc. Each page is numbered and I always date the page. I still have all those diaries, notebooks and journals.

It started when I was at senior school when we were given a week on a page diary which was meant for our homework etc. Overtime I added notes and my to do list to each page. When I went off to university I made the change to a diary and a separate journal/notebook.  I tend to use Moleskine because they have that useful little pocket at the back and my other favourite is Leuchtturm 1917. Some of the supermarkets here in the UK do produce similar notebooks with the pocket at the back and I have a few of those.

I have other memorabilia from my maternal Grandfather during his military time during the second world war, when he embroidered his place and date into a piece of fabric. I have the piece professionally cleaned and framed and it now hangs in my office where I see it each day. His medals too are in a matching frame, which shows his name and military number.

You can the read the discussion at the Facebook Family Tree Academy group and on Twitter using the #FHWeek

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Family History Week #FHWeek 2018 – Do you have a DNA dilemma?

Do you have a DNA dilemma?

My-Family-History-Week-logo-300x226I would not say a dilemma as such. I wish more people with Italian blood tested. Over the coming weeks I am going to share where I have tested and where I have uploaded my results.

The Orlando DNA study was created in November 2007. Between then and February 2016 I managed to gather 6 people interested in the surname.

I then wrote a small piece for Family Tree Magazine (UK), which was an Orlando case study. Somehow, I managed to go from 6 to 12 members in the space of the last 18 months. I have repeatedly said, members of the Guild of One-Name Studies need to work their studies. Talk about them, explain how you achieved your current status and gradually, overtime, people will become aware and either reach out directly to you or will alert someone else who might be connected to the study.

My advice is, and I am no DNA expert, set up a DNA project for your name and the Guild has an DNA adviser who can help members in this regard. Invest some time to work on the DNA page for the project. Expand the Guild profile page for your study, share the information of your DNA page and encourage people to join the project.

You can the read the discussion at the Facebook Family Tree Academy group and on Twitter using the #FHWeek

Posted in #FHWeek 2018, Family History Week, Genealogy | 1 Comment

Introduction to One-Name Study Course


The next Introduction to One-Name Studies course at Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd starts on 15 May 2018 The course is taught online and welcomes students across the globe.

Here are the Lesson Headings:

  • About One-Name Studies
  • Surnames and their History
  • Core Records you will need and Information gathering
  • Analysing and making sense of your data
  • Practical aspects of running your own One-Name Study

banner_page_headThose who sign up for the course and are not already members of the members Guild of One-Name Studies will get FREE Guild Membership for the remainder of the financial year.

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; and a minimum of a 1 one-hour chat session per week.

Course Length: 5 weeks
Start Date: 15 May 2018
Cost: £49.99

To book your place on the course, please visit the Pharos Website


Whilst it is not recommended reading for the course, obtaining a copy of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom – The Art of One-Name Studies would be very useful to those undertaking a One-Name or Surname Research.


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Favourite Book(s) #19 – The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Underground RailroadI don’t subscribe to a huge amount of YouTube video’s but one that I always watch is, Christopher Allen who at some point last year recommended this book, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. There are a number of video’s on YouTube reviewing this book and there are several interviews with the author.

The cynic in me, and I have said this numerous times about a number of different books, that those that tend to be winners of various awards are not, in my view great. This is my exception.

I watched Christopher talk about the book and immediately added it to my Amazon wish list for the paperback version to be available in the UK. I have searched Christopher’s channel and cannot find exactly where he mentioned it, but the video below is his 2017 favourites and you can hear what he says at about it at 10:43 in if you don’t want to watch the entire video. If I can find the initial review from Christopher I will leave the link below.

This was a wonderfully written book is written as a fictional account. There are some scathing reviews on Amazon and a subject such as this was always going to have a mix of reviews. For me it made me think and consider the subject further.

I remember a news report here in England, when the Sky News US Correspondent spoke with former President Obama as he wished an elderly black lady happy birthday. She was so over joyed not only that the president was talking to her, but that he was black and just how far the US had come. The final comment was poignant, “but it still is not far enough“.

The one thing about history is that we cannot forget what has happened, but we should be able to learn from those events, sadly on occasions, we do not appear to do so.

Have any of you read the book? If you have, do leave a comment about your thoughts on the book.

Posted in Books, Favourite Book(s) | 5 Comments

Family History Week #FHWeek 2018 – Do you put your Family History online?

Do you put your family history online?

My-Family-History-Week-logo-300x226Yes and No! I have a very out of date tree on Ancestry that is private and I placed there for my benefit when I was travelling about five year ago. I also have the same out of date tree online at Genes Reunited.

In terms of putting my material online, then yes I am in the process of uploading. I have two registered surnames with the Guild of One-Name Studies, both of those surnames have websites as part of the Members’ Website Project (MWP). I plan on uploading the various photographs and documents to website, providing the source citation. I will also be adding, in the case of photographs, who own the copyright.

I have just sent off my Ancestry DNA test and in order for that to work properly I am going to need to open up my Ancestry Tree or at lease provide some tree. I do have a DNA project that goes along side my Orlando One-Name Study and I am particularly interested in connecting with people on that line. I plan to write a series in the coming months about my DNA results, and the tests, so stay tuned for that!

You can the read the discussion at the Facebook Family Tree Academy group and on Twitter using the #FHWeek

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Family History Week #FHWeek 2018 – How do you look after your family’s old documents & photos?

How do you look after your family’s old documents & photos?

My-Family-History-Week-logo-300x226I have quite a collection of old photographs. Some are not in great shape and others are in a reasonable condition for their age.

Firstly I scanned every photograph and named them as best I was able. I also catalogued them so that I could easily find them again. I did the same with the documents. Those that were larger than my scanner I took to Staples and asked them to scan them. Those digital copies are then archived on a digital drive, a USB stick and with a variety of family members. A good many of them have appeared on this blog and some that relate to my One-Name Studies will also be uploaded to the website.

I keep the originals in archive quality boxes, each photograph in a archive quality sleeve and along with it the name of who is on the photograph.

You can the read the discussion at the Facebook Family Tree Academy group and on Twitter using the #FHWeek

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