Seems like yesterday but it is around nine years since I last visited The National Archives (UK) in Kew. I have been to the UK on a few occasions since but because Mr Geniaus isn't too keen on genealogy research I haven't made it to Kew again. By hook or by crook I was determined to get to Kew on my forthcoming trip.
When Mr Geniaus indicated that he'd like to attend the cricket at Lords some time I planned our London visit to coincide with a cricket test match -that's him sorted.As our ancestors are English, Scottish and Irish The National Archives holds quite a few resources of interest to me. Mr Geniaus is always interested in what I find - he just doesn't enjoy the hunt.
Next step was accommodation - I have booked a hotel that is only a few minutes drive from TNA.
Now I must plan to maximise the time I spend at the archives. I have already read their excellent guides on the Visit Us Page and noted the various rules and regulations so that I do not blot my copybook. I've downloaded a copy of their guide and map to help you find your way around onto my netbook and tablet. I see that I cannot use a scanner in the Archives so am leaving my Flip-Pal in Australia and will rely on my digital camera and the camera stands provided by the archives to take images of resources. I have the required forms of identification ready for my Reader's Ticket application. My pencils are packed and I have a copy of my database on FamilyBee on my Android tablet, TMG on my netbook and my Geniaus Family site - I should be able to access my tree from the Archives!
I have drawn up a list of my direct convict ancestors and the names of the ships on which they journeyed to Australia. The high spot of my last visit to the Archives was holding in my gloved hands the original surgeon's journal from Patrick Curry's trip to Australia on the Hooghley. I got goosebumps when I read the entries noting his problems with scurvy. I was so overcome that I didn't take good notes that day. As well as taking another look at this document I will try to get access to the other 6 surgeons' journals that I have found in the TNA Catalogue for my 12 convicts. Similarly I need to make a list of the immigrant ships of our free settler ancestors to see if I can find any records of their journeys.
Mr Geniaus' ancestor, James Ball, was a deserter from HMS Forte before he made his way to join his family in Australia. Another of today's jobs is to see if I can identify some records that may have information on James' Navy service. I'll also try my luck with "Places, prominent people & subjects" searches for .ncestral villages and ancestors' names. The fantastic "Looking for a Person" page gives me with lots of memory joggers for places where I might find pertinent info on the ancestors. By the end of this week I hope to be armed with details of more documents to consult than I will be able to see during my two (maybe I can stretch it to three) days at the Archives.
As well as seeking ancestors I will be meeting up with a living treasuere at the Archives. I am having a break for a cuppa with Audrey Collins, Family History Records Specialist at the Archives. I met the bright, bubbly and knowledgeable Audrey at Rootstech 2011 and look forward to seeing her there in 2012.
If you've been to Kew lately and have any tips for a fruitful visit I'd love to hear them.