The New Year began with a new 4-part house history series on BBC2, led by presenter David Olusoga. Laura appeared with David in the opening episode of A House Through Time, filmed at Liverpool Central Library. She helped to research the lives of several past occupants of the 19th-century home at the heart of the programme. Her name also recently appeared in the credits for the Channel 4 documentary When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Romance, which focused on the Prince's new fiancée's ancestry revealed through original genealogical research.
Laura's article in the latest issue of Discover Your Ancestors periodical focuses on using naturalisation and denization records to research the lives of 'alien' ancestors who settled in Britain from overseas during the course of the last few centuries. The records, which can be searched on TheGenealogist.co.uk, provide useful leads to tracing your ancestor's roots in their country of origin. DYA periodical can be downloaded as a PDF for £2.49 from www.discoveryourancestors.co.uk/current-issue/. The current issue also features an article by Melvyn Jones about the reasons that some of our ancestors migrated, alongside Jill Morris's exploration of records charting the British settlement of New Zealand, Ruth Symes's analysis of our ancestors' lives during old age, a look at some artefacts from the Battle of Waterloo, and much more. A 12-month digital subscription to Discover Your Ancestors periodical is available for just £24.99 from www.discoveryourancestors.co.uk/subscribe/.
The Live show is on for three days this week from Thursday 16th April until Saturday 18th April at Birmingham NEC. As the show opened, Laura went live on air with BBC Hereford & Worcester and Radio Shropshire to talk about the joys of genealogy. You can catch her '20 Top Tips to Find Your Missing Ancestors' in this month's issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, which is offering special subscription deals at the Live show. Over 90 workshops and talks are being held over the course of the three days, and there's the chance to listen to some of the celebrities from the show speak and get one-to-one advice from professionals. Family history societies from across the country are there, as well as The National Archives and all the major family history websites. There's the opportunity to try out some of the best databases for free and bag loads of great deals. You can find out more and book tickets online at www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com.
Marking the start of a new seven-part drama series called Banished, the latest issue of Discover Your Ancestors features an article by Laura Berry about the first fleet of convicts transported to Australia in 1788. The feature looks at what life was really like during the early years of the Sydney Cove penal colony governed by Captain Arthur Phillip. Discover Your Ancestors is a monthly digital periodical sponsored by TheGenealogist.co.uk and can be downloaded as a PDF for £2.49 from www.discoveryourancestors.co.uk/current-issue/. Inside the March 2015 issue you'll also find features on the history of gardening, Griffith's Valuation of Irish property, English and Welsh tithe maps, the Marine Society, foundling institutions, horse-drawn transport and more. The first episode of Banished starts on BBC Two tonight at 9pm, and can be caught on catch-up via iPlayer for 30 days after broadcast.
Laura Berry's cover feature in the March 2015 edition of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine reveals eight documents that genealogists can turn to when ancestors go missing from the 1841-1911 census returns for England and Wales. Struggling to find relatives on the census is one of the biggest challenges genealogists face when trying to trace a family tree back through time - Laura's top tips suggest alternative places to look for information about your forebears' abodes, occupations and wealth. This issue the magazine also contains articles on the history of lifeboatmen, trade union members, railway engineers, brewers and publicans. Learn how to find your ancestors in London's 17th-century Hearth Tax Returns and in the Poor Law records kept by parish workhouses. Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine can be purchased in most supermarkets and newsagents, or can be downloaded online to a mobile or tablet device by following the link here.
Laura Berry has been assisting DNA-testing laboratory LGC with identifying the remains of men who fell during the First World War. The two-year LGC contract let on behalf of the Ministry of Defence Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) will assist work undertaken by the JCCC's Commemorations team in their efforts to positively identify the remains of British Service personnel recovered from battlefields, or other sites, arising from conflicts in the 20th century. This project follows LGC's ground-breaking work in identifying the remains of over 120 World War One soldiers who fell at the Battle of Fromelles on 19th July 1916.
Laura Berry's write-up and review of the carpentry workshop given by Surrey County Council's Historic Buildings Officer Martin Higgins will appear in the Domestic Buildings Research Group (DBRG) January 2015 Newsletter. Martin's hour-long talk on Saturday 24th January provided an informative overview of the medieval carpenter's work method and some of the most common joints found in historic timber-framed buildings. The DBRG studies and records traditional domestic architecture and holds regular workshops and events. For further info, go to www.dbrg.org.uk.
Laura is thrilled to have received a Postgraduate Certificate in Architectural History, passing with distinction at the University of Oxford. Her study of medieval timber-framed buildings in Surrey was warmly received by course leader Dr Paul Barnwell. Laura's thesis explored patterns in the adaptation of medieval plan forms for early-modern living, focusing on the insertion of chimneys into hall houses that were formerly open to the roof with an unenclosed fire in the centre of the house. Her findings for Surrey were compared to existing research for Hampshire, Sussex and Kent, and builds on published work by the DBRG Surrey.
In an extended programme on BBC One at 6.30pm this evening, Countryfile explores Word War One's lasting legacy on the landscape of the western front and the part played by those on the home front in winning the war. Laura Berry assisted with research for the special episode, which will see Matt Baker learn about the role played by mule-men like his great grandfather, and Tom Heap go on a very personal investigation to the start of trench warfare. You can catch-up with the episode at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04ph5v9.
This coming Saturday 8th November 2014 Laura Berry will be joining 5 other speakers in a live Findmypast webinar to mark this year’s special Remembrance Weekend. The first ever Findmypast live broadcast will be hosted by Joshua Taylor between 3pm-6.30pm, and includes tips on getting started with your family history, researching military ancestors and overseas records. Laura's presentation at 4pm will give an introduction to the online British and Irish newspaper collection. To find out more and for instructions on how to tune in, see the Findmypast blog.
It's been a busy week - last night Laura appeared on The One Show couch with Twiggy (pictured) and Who Do You Think You Are? creator Alex Graham to celebrate the show's 100th episode, which aired on BBC1 at 9pm. Laura also featured in Twiggy's programme, which is available on BBC iPlayer until 7th November 2014. Read Laura's top tips for starting your own family history research on The One Show's Facebook page. Today, Laura will be heading over to the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine forum between 2pm-3pm to answer readers' questions about criminal ancestors. Join the thread here.
The 11th series of Who Do You Think You Are? is back on our screens, exploring the family history of actress Julie Walters; comedian and actor Billy Connolly; star of British Bake Off Mary Berry; acting legend Brian Blessed; actress Sheridan Smith; the man behind the hugely successful Mrs Brown’s Boys, Brendan O’Carroll; actress Tamzin Outhwaite; presenter and DJ Reggie Yates; actor Martin Shaw; and model and actress Twiggy. This series includes the show's 100th episode, and Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine has asked lead genealogist Laura Berry to share her tips on how the team uncovers all those fascinating stories. Read her guide to getting started at www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/getting-started/starting-your-family-history
Congratulations to Ewan Armstrong from Sheffield, who has been announced as the winner of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine's competition to win a day at The National Archives with genealogist Laura Berry. Laura will be looking into Ewan's family history to see how the records stored at Kew can help him to further his research. The National Archives provide free online access to digital family history collections, but also hold plenty of original documents about our ancestors' lives, including military records, Secret Service files, Assize court records and much more. In addition to spending a day discovering records at Kew, Ewan has also won a year's subscription to FindMyPast.co.uk
Laura Berry's investigation into the history of Mollstone Wood in Surrey found that this Arts and Crafts inspired home was commissioned by the celebrated cellist Beatrice Harrison in 1934. Beatrice shot to fame in the 1920s when she was broadcast on BBC radio playing her cello in accompaniment with a nightingale in her garden, close to where she later built Mollstone Wood. Laura's book charting its 80-year history was created on behalf of the House Detectives team, and has been warmly received by the home owners who have requested extra hardbound copies for family members.
Portsmouth City Council have given full planning consent to Ben Ainslie Racing's America's Cup Facilities Building on the Camber, which is the city's historic port area. Laura Berry assisted RMA Heritage in researching and preparing the Heritage Significance Statement. Her colleague Richard MacCullagh undertook a visual impact assessment of the proposal by HGP Architects, which will undoubtedly become a waterfront landmark. We wish Sir Ben Ainslie and team every success with this project moving forward!
Updates about the projects that Laura Berry & Co have been working on recently