Thousands arrived at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2017 between Thursday 6 April and Saturday 8 April. Today, we are reviewing a few of the family history stories revealed during the show and we will share 5 of the top search tips discussed during the event.
The event welcomed family historians and genealogists from across the country to come together to discuss their research and to find out more about the latest products and services. The British Newspaper Archive was present on Findmypast’s stand, our sister website. For days, we had customers visiting us to give the website a try, ask for search advice, and to find out more about the latest changes to the BNA.
We had some excellent family revelations through newspaper accounts of court cases, obituaries, and marriage notices. One member of our team spoke to representatives from the Jeyes Heritage & Pharmacy Museum dedicated to the Jeyes Chemist of Earls Barton. They were able to find the death notice for Philadelphus Jeyes, one of the founders of the Jeyes pharmacy, in the Northampton Mercury. The notice also mentioned that Philadelphus’ brother John Jeyes, owned the patent of the famous Jeyes Disinfecting Fluid. The group were delighted with discovering this record.
For another customer, the newspapers revealed the truth behind a long-told family story. The Birmingham family believed that their ancestor, a young boy, was washed into a canal and drowned due to the weather conditions. However, the newspaper report disclosed that the boy and his two friends had stolen a boat and took it for a trip on the river. It was during their trip, that the boy fell into the water and drowned. The paper had brought to light an entirely new narrative for the family.
A descendant of Signor Vangucci, visited the British Newspaper Archive stand during Who Do You Think You Are? Live. The man had a photo of Vangucci in a uniform and wanted to find out what military regiment he was a part of. After a short search of the archive, we discovered that Vangucci was not in the military but instead, he was a musician. The photo was of Vangucci in his band uniform. We found twelve articles about his role as the leader of the Royal Italian Band. One article, in particular, mentioned that the ladies of Bournemouth presented Vangucci with ‘an ivory baton, mounted with silver, in a handsome case. As a mark of their great appreciation of his mutual talent and his ability as conductor of the Royal Italian Band’. It would seem that the Italian band was a favourite with the ladies.
Overall, the three days were exciting, rewarding, and exhausting. The team enjoyed explaining the website to newbies and hearing about the research and work of veteran users.