Sunday, December 1, 2013

Report on November 2013 activity

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Things have really been buzzing this end during the month. As a result of an entry on this newsletter the Folly Chapel War Memorial Windows that came from Harpenden have found a new home and will a feature in the First World War Exhibition at St Albans Museum next year. My answer to another question has suggested a possible provenance (including possible royal connections) for a valuable late 17th century mirror that came from Stocks, Aldbury, (previously owned by the Duncomb family) and which is now held in the Victoria and Museum. Bill, who is researching First World War Rifle Ranges, now knows where the Chalk Hill Range at St Albans was, thanks to help from the group researching the First World War in the St Albans Arch & Arch Society. As a result of messages from John, Linsay, Anthony and Sue I have a lot more information and pictures about Harpsfield Hall and its occupants, and now realise that I failed to spot that historically it was in the parish of St Peter's and not Hatfield. As a result the information page needs rewriting and this is a task being held over until December. There have also been very useful comments by Anthony (on the Newsletter) about the "missing patients" at Harpenden Hall LunaticAsylum - and the update of the main page is another pre-Christmas task. There were quite a few smaller family history activities - and in the case of the Horn Family of Handside Farm, Hatfield, I was one of the cousins who had an interest.

So what about progress in the 5 year plan? No work has been done on documenting material relating to William Brown, Estate Agent, of Tring and only a tiny amount of work has been done towards digitizing family records relevant to Sandridge900 (to appear online in a few days). However I have been thinking about the long term archiving of images on this web site and, as yet, have had no feedback on the post High definition images of old maps of Hertfordshire - perhaps no-one is interested and I should not waste my time. Clearly web sites such as Wikimedia provide  better support software for anyone wanting good quality images of maps, engravings, old photographs and post cards - and comments would be appreciated. Another possibility is that I might make high resolution images available to members of the Society of Genealogists (a charity I would wish to support) who are building a digital image archive.

My Current Selling List
Part of the plan was that I should be downsizing my library by selling some items on ebay,. In theory I said I should not buy anything for the site unless I have raised sufficient money in sales to pay for it. The problem is that having concentrated on buying items for use on this web site for years, paying out of my pension,  I can't stop myself. I am still very likely to bid for post cards and old photographs of Hertfordshire if they go for knock down prices and could form the basis of an interesting post - particularly if the message side makes an interesting family history style story.  Bearing in mind that I already have a major backlog I have just checked and discover to my horror that I have purchased about 50 post cards and carte de visite in November. Some have already been used - such as the post card of the Potters Bar Trade Fete of 1910, and a CDV by an interesting photographer, Laz Roberts, who may have developed a way of taking colour photographs at about the time he lived in St Albans - or perhaps it was all sales hype for hand-painted improvements. I am currently working on a page of post cards produced by the Alpha Trading Company of St Albans (see draft page) which was run by a genuine movie film making pioneer Arthur Melbourne-Cooper (another task I hope to finish in December). I can see a possible New Year's Resolution coming up.

Visitor activity in November has been satisfactory and the Newsletter recorded an average of about 220 page views a day, and there were 29 new posts. It has now passed the 125,000 page view mark.The main web site will reach the year's target of 250,000 visitors in a few days time, and there have already been more that 750,000 page views - an average of 3 per visit.

I have not yet acquired a new computer, and it may be that when I do (I may wait until the after Christmas sales) my genealogy activities will be the last applications to move. However I have started up a new correspondence folder which will make it easier to keep track of what I have been doing, where relevant information is held and what activities need a follow up. While it takes a little time it is already proving its worth - for instance in preparing this monthly report. I suspect some of you do not realise how much work is involved behind the scenes. It does not yet cover the whole of November's emails, newsletters from various organisations, routine work collecting and preparing material to go online, or yonks of ebay messages and post card images, but already it contains about 200 entries.

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This is the newsletter for the Genealogy in Hertfordshire Web site. Comments on this blog are moderated and may be transferred to the web site where appropriate. If you have a local or family history query you want answered you must use "Ask Chris" - See box in right hand column. Anonymous comments cannot be answered.