Favourite Book(s) #3 – Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self by Julia Cameron

I came across this book some time ago and recently bought the 2016 anniversary edition. The book was originally released in 2006.

If you read the reviews on Amazon they are quite mixed, some feel it is too religious, others say it is about right. My view is that the messages within the book are worthwhile reading whether you are very religious and devout or not. You need to look beyond those details, undertake the tasks and think.

The book runs over twelve weeks and comprises of text to read, quotes, tasks to undertake and something called Artist’s dates, which are essentially doing something alone that you would not normally do and to embrace the experience.

We are also introduced to Morning Pages whereby you sit and write three pages of notes without any conscious focus on things. I use this as a brain dump, I write all my frustrations, moments of anger, irritations etc. I have done this pretty much every morning for 10 years. I described my processes in this post.

For me this is about my creative self and renewing that.

Posted in Books, Favourite Book(s) | 1 Comment

Genealogy and Google Calendars

Today I received, like I do most days an email from Google reminding me of tasks and appointments that are coming up. I rarely use Google calendar in this way, so mostly the emails say I have nothing scheduled. I prefer pen and paper!

Today however, it reminded me that I have an eye test next week. I glanced at the date and checked, because yes I do as it happens have an appointment next week, on a different day, with a different optician  and in a different part of the country.

So, someone with my exact name has an appointment with an optician in the heart of Goucher territory, which is Derbyshire. I rang the number on the Google alert and they confirmed that yes there was an appointment and confirmed the email address which happens to be mine.

I left a message for this person inviting her to email me because it is rather curious that they should reside in county in which my husband’s ancestors hailed from. Of course the bigger question is, how safe are Google calendars?

Posted in Goacher/Goucher, Miscellaneous 2018, Surnames | Leave a comment

Introduction to One-Name Studies starts 13 February 2018

Anglers Rest


The next Introduction to One-Name Studies course at Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd starts on 13 February 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_head  Those 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; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week.

Course Length: 5 weeks
Start Date: 22 Aug 2017
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…

View original post 18 more words

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Favourite Book(s) #2 – Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

The moment I heard of this book I put it on advance order at Amazon and then waited for the release date. The book arrived on the release date and I immediately delved in.

The book is made up of a collection of stories all written on his collection of typewriters. Which is refreshing in this modern age of laptops & tablets. As an actor Tom Hanks is very versatile and I wondered how his writing would pan out.

I was not disappointed. I could “hear” Tom Hanks reading it as my eyes moved across the page and I digested the words. Because the stories are not linked it is an easy book to dip and out of and re-read favourite stories. I do hope we hear more from Tom Hanks as an author and whilst I rarely listen to audio books, this is one that I would like to hear especially if read by Tom Hanks.

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17 in 2017

Courtesy of Pixabay

The idea for 17 from 2017 comes from Christopher Allen who has a presence on both YouTube and Instagram. In this post I am going to share the 17 things that I have enjoyed through 2017. There is a mixture of Books, Podcasts, Video’s, Magazines, Presentations, Societies and a couple of other pieces. They mainly reflect both my genealogical and reading interests and I hope you will enjoy these; they are in no particular order.

  1. YouTube Channel – Christopher Allen I stumbled across Christopher’s channel in the early weeks of January 2017 whilst looking for something that I cannot recall, but related to Filofaxes. The channel and the attitude of Christopher is very refreshing and the underlying message is kindness. I recommend checking out Christopher’s channel.
  2. I have been following this YouTube Channel for several years now and it belongs to Jen Ross of Pretty Neat Living
  3. I discovered my third option in the summer of 2017, it is the In The Moment Magazine which is published here in the UK and is available to people everywhere! It is rare these days that I take out subscriptions, but I have done so to this magazine. The image here is the January 2018 edition which arrived with me a day or so ago.
  4. Presentation which was delivered by genealogist Tessa Keough to the Southern California Genealogical Society at their Jamboree in June 2017. This was one of the sessions that was streamed and available to watch for a week or so after the event. The title of the presentation was Famine to Plenty and was a fascinating presentation to hear. I watched it

    Copyright Tessa Keough

    live and was also able to take opportunity to listen again during the free access period. It was one of the top five presentations that I heard for 2017.

  5. Next up is a piece of software, called The Next Generation or TNG which is a way of displaying the GEDCOM files produced by our genealogical software.
  6. Facebook Groups are a great way of connecting with others who are interested in the same things as we are. I have been a member of a number of genealogical groups on Facebook for years and especially those that represent researching in Italy & Sicily. Just recently I connected with someone who is researching the same family as I, although her direct line left Sutera and went to the United States. Isn’t the internet wonderful!
  7. Families in British India Society (FIBIS) is a great organisation and I think I have been a member for about 13 years. I have several lines that spent decades in India working for the Honourable East India Company and FIBIS have a great members area and numerous indexes to view.
  8. The Guild of One-Name Studies also features on my list. I have been a member since 2002 and am a current Trustee. What is special about the Guild is the ethos of members assisting members and that is refreshing in this modern age.
  9. The Italian American Podcast has fast become a favourite and I have been listening since the beginning. Whilst I am not in the US I do have Italian ancestors that went to the US and love this podcast. Episodes are released on Sunday’s.
  10.  Linking in nicely with the next favourite is Antenati which has made available lots and lots of Italian records. Not all are online, but it does mean that those of us with Italian ancestors can begin our research. Use this site in tandem with FamilySearch and it is much easier to research.
  11. And that links further to GetLinks which is a Portugese site which makes it much easier to download the records, en-mass
  12. The next four are all books, The Writing Diet by Julia Cameron
  13. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead which I was introduced to by Christopher Allen
  14. The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  15. Seeking Sicily by John Keahey
  16. A lovely broach cast in Silver and was a present from my
  17. husband. You can see a picture of it HERE
  18. This lovely Candle from the Royal
    Horticultural Society Collections  in a lovely gentle rose fragrance.



That is it for the favourites for the last year. Depending on feedback I might do an 18 in 2018, but you will have to wait & see!

Disclaimer – Links to those mentioned are purely for information and I do not financially benefit.


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Favourite Book(s) #1 – Home the Story of everyone who ever lived in our house by Julie Myerson

Julie Myerson did not set out to research her Victorian home in South East London. She was actually researching for a nineteenth Century novel and stumbled across the 1881 Census return for her home.

She discovered that her home at the time of the census was occupied by an author, his wife and their three children who were the same ages as her own.

I heard this on BBC Radio 4 and knew it was one of those books that I had to have. When it arrived I devoured it in about three days. The author set out to write a fictional novel to be side tracked by discovering the people who lived in her home 100 years previously. Her journey begins though with what led her to purchase this house from the previous owner sometime in the early 1980’s.

One of the poignant statements in the book comes from Julie Myerson’s daughter “….it’s not really our house at all, is it, Mummy?” Asked Chloe soon after I’d started on my project. “It’s like we’re just the top layer. And one day there’ll be another layer right on top of us, squashing us down”…….

When I think about it, I think Chloe’s statement is right, we are, in addition to being owners & residents, caretakers in a historical vessel.

Posted in Books, Favourite Book(s) | 2 Comments

You Are What You Read – Favourite Book(s)

You've Got Mail

Image courtesy of Amazon

I have always loved this quote which I think I first heard in the Rom-Com film, You’ve Got Mail staring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, released in 1998. It is probably one of my favourite films and I am not much a TV fan, books are more my thing. I wish I could place though the actual quote though because I am sure it is not from the film, but even Google failed me 😦 If you know the original source of the quote please leave a comment.

I sat at the end of last year to devise a plan of a regular blog posts because even though I am busy, I have missed it. Sometimes you just need to sit and write and share.


Castle Bookshop Hay on Wye – the famous outside bookshelves! Julie Goucher 2006


Over the coming weeks I am going to share my favourite books, or books that I have especially enjoyed and I hope you enjoy them too. Some may have featured here before, others will be new to the blog. Some a recently published, others old favourites, some are non-fiction, others are genealogical or historical.

First will be published tomorrow. They won’t be up on a regular day, instead they will be random across the week for the whole of 2018.

Happy reading!

Posted in Books, Favourite Book(s) | 3 Comments

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2017

Jill who blogs at GeniAus has once again encouraged us to blog our genealogical positives for 2017, so here goes:

An elusive ancestor I found was:

My paternal Great Grandmother, Calogeria Virciglio in Sutera Sicily.

A geneajourney I took was:

In early January 2017 I attended the funeral of the man who was the husband of the evacuee my Grandmother had with her during the Second World War. At that moment the relationship that had existed between that family and mine that had begun in 1942 or thereabout ended, some 75 years later. It was fascinating to hear from his family of his early life and I was deeply saddened at his passing. The poignant thing in this is that out of the tragic event of war something lovely and positive can exist.

Before making the journey home we drove across Surrey to meet with the lady who had been a school friend of my late Mum’s. She was able to tell me some stories of their childhood antics, before and after Mum had Polio.

Despite the day being tinged with sadness, it was a day to remember.

An important record I found was:

My paternal Grandmother was the youngest of four; a son and two other daughters. The eldest daughter married in Sutera and had her two children there. Her husband migrated to the United States and when settled called for Rosanna Licata, his wife to join him with their daughters. Rosanna did and was accompanied by her sister, Concetta. On the passenger list, it stated that Rosanna was joining her husband and Concetta was joining her brother.

The death records in Sutera show a page and a half about the death of Rosanna a year later in 1922. From reading the record is perhaps suggested that she had died in Sutera. Was she visiting? Had things not worked out in the United States? Where was her husband?

I did a search for Rosanna’s husband in the United States; the chances were, if she had died with two children he would remarry. By doing this search I could also confirm if the husband had returned to Sicily also. I found the Naturalisation record for Rosanna’s husband, naming his second wife, his two children by Rosanna and a son from his second marriage. Also noted was the statement that Rosanna had died in New York. I checked the New York death indexes and sure enough found the death for Rosanna. I went back to the Sutera record to see if I had misread the record, but no. It did not definitively say she had died in the US, although it did confirm where she had lived. So I put this down to the parish priest simply keeping track of his former flock!

A newly found family member shared:

A chance posting in an Italian Facebook Group led to a conversation with someone who resides in France but has connections to Sutera. We relied very heavily on Google translator, but it was suggested that I message someone who was researching the same surname in Sutera as me. I reached out them and 4 hours later heard back, they were indeed researching the same surname in the same place as me, and also researching the same family.

A new piece of technology I mastered was:

TNG. In the early part of 2017 I joined the Members Website Project (MWP) for my One-Name Studies. The MWP exists for those members with a registered study. The site is on the Guild servers and in the event that I am no longer able to continue with the study the site will be preserved and passed along should anyone want to register the surname in the future. I had always loved the look of TNG sites, in fact this one is one of my favourites http://www.howesfamilies.com – The site for the Howes One-Name Study which has over 125,000 individuals with the surname Howes & House which is a registered variant.

I would not say that I have mastered TNG, but I am getting more familiar with it as time goes on.

A genealogy event from which I learnt something new was:

Actually there was quite a few, but I am going to chat about two. Firstly in April I attended the Guild of One-Name conference. The key speaker was from P & O Archives and the senior curator gave a fascinating talk on the heritage collection. Then in July, Tessa Keough attended and presented at Southern California Genealogical Society, Jamboree. One of her presentations was recorded and I was delighted to be able to hear that.

Even if when we attend sessions where we learn nothing specifically relevant to our own research we can hear, listen and reflect on the presentations and that can often trigger an idea for our own research. In Tessa’s talk for example she talked about Nebraska Land Grant’s I don’t have any ancestors in Nebraska, but it did prompt me to consider about land and property to the Italian families that left Sutera and settled in Alabama and Louisiana. I thoroughly enjoyed Tessa’s presentation, so much so I heard it again the following day and added a few more thoughts to my notebook.

I taught a genimate how to:

I wrote an article about a year ago for the Journal of One-Name Studies in which I talked about Facebook groups and pages, the differences between the two and why have them for a One-Name study. As a result of that article I had emails from about six Guild members who wanted some assistance.

A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was

The Family Guide to DNA Testing  & Genetic Genealogy by Blaine Bettinger



I am excited for 2018 because:

I am still here and the fact that I almost was not, has had a profound effect on me and my outlook on life.

I have a huge amount of work to achieve in 2018 and I look forward to crossing those things off on my to do list and sharing in posts in the future.

Another positive I would like to share is …

Whatever specific projects we consider to undertake, such as a DNA study or a One-Name (Surname) Study or One-Place Study just do it! We only live once. So whatever you are considering doing, undertaking a larger & wider project, exploring DNA, researching in a country where English is not the native language just go for it.

The genealogical community is a collaborative, helpful, friendly and knowledgeable one. Help is only one email or comment away.

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Book of Me Prompts – January 2018

© 2017 Julie Goucher

Welcome to the first set of prompts for the 2018 Series of the Book of Me. You can read when the prompts are published and about the few changes at my earlier post HERE

There are five prompts each month and you can undertake as many or as few as you wish to.

  • Who Am I? List 20 things that describe you
  • What do you look like?
  • What do you enjoy?
  • Who inspires you?
  • What do you want to be doing that you are currently not?

If you only do one of these prompts, do the first one. If you did an earlier series you may well has answered this question previously. Has there been any changes? If you haven’t done an earlier series then this prompt will repeat later,towards the end of the series and it is always interesting to see any changes. Remember, how we feel about ourselves is as important and perhaps more so than how others see us!

If you have any questions or want to share thoughts or a blog link, if you decide to share via a blog (remember to, that you don’t have to share to take part in the series) then please leave a comment. Further discussion is also happening in the closed Facebook Group.

Posted in Book of Me, Book of Me - Series 3 Getting to Know You (2018) | Tagged | 12 Comments

Happy New Year! – Welcome 2018!

I can say Happy New Year no better than Abba! Enjoy this classic.


I will back a little later today, with some plans for the forthcoming year.

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