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July 2007

I have just completed a rather serious set of updates of the site. I started the quarter by adding in all the Irish Hamiltons I could find any details of; this is not yet finished. In the process of trying to improve the quality of this information I found that Free BMD was really a very good resource so did a major update from that. Finally I have been giving a long overdue rework to the files of lines of descent from sundry medieval families.

The Irish Hamiltons is part of a serious project to refurbish the vault for Rev Hans Hamilton Pastor of Dunlop, Ayrshire from 1563 to 1606. This vault is an fact a side chapel that is called The Picture House, possibly because it was originally painted with pictures. This site refers. The Picture House is in a sad state of a repair and an appeal is to be raised to fund the necessary. It is thought that many contributors will be his descendants and so I am trying to put together a list of all his known descendants at least until the end of the nineteenth century.

My core finding aids for this work are a book written around 1867 from manuscripts of James Hamilton, eldset son of Hans and later first viscount Clandeboye. The other finding aid is Burke's Irish Landed Gentry published in 1937 and in 1958. It must be remembered that Hans six sons all migrated to Ireland and almost all fathered significant synasties there so there so the early descendants must be found from Irish records. To these I am adding any information I can find from reputable sources, such as English birth, marriage and death information and The Complete Peerage.

This takes me to a diversion, that of the English BMD information. In the course of entering the Hamiltons I tried to validate any dates and rapidly realised that FreeBMD was almost complete for the rest of the nineteenth century after 1837 when registration started in England. I am vastly impressed with FreeBMD as its indexing makes it so easy to find people. Tasks of thumbing through many heavy volumes at the Family Record Centre at Middleton Street are now no more. Even weary downloading of many pages of scanned copies of the index sheets is now no more. Just enter the name and the range of years of the event and with luck you will get the index details in a list before you. I hope to write an account of lessons I have learnt from using FreeBMD.

So I have taken the opportunity and wrestled to find birth marriage and death entries for any many as possible in the range from 1837 to 1915 or so, the latter being as far as FreeBMD has currently got. This has been the first delay in completing my Hamilton project.

The second delay has been the three monthly (or so) update to my site. For the main genealogical tables this does not take more than a day as most of it is automated now. But I decided also to respond to some complaints that my tables of descents from notable medieval families was getting a little out of date. I had not done this for a little over two years though a year ago I had started on a revision but never finished it. Additionally I had, a year ago, written a little BASIC program to tidy up the slightly chaotic lists that came directly from Reunion, my genealogy program. This program now showed itself to actually display some bugs that I had not originally found but knew were possible; perhaps two or three days were taken with debugging this, no longer a favourite activity. The program itself meant that some transformation that took several weeks by hand could be done in half a day on the computer, a significant time saver. But overall it took about two weeks to update these tables so the warning is that it may be a little time before they are done again.

Finally I remain a little unhappy with Reunion 9. A couple of months back the database got completely corrupted with not a single person showing. Fortunately, and kindly, Reunion's owner's, Leister Productions Inc, managed to unscramble this. Then two days ago I found that a couple of people were being classified as ancestors when they certainly weren't; eventually I managed to prevent this but only by recreating the two people and totally deleting the original family cards. This is the first time since starting to use Reunion in 1997 that I have found any serious database corruption.

I must now return to updating the Hamiltons.

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