Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Farewell 2013 ... Welcome 2014

Looking back on 2013 the site has continued to attract a large number of visitors - totaling over 268,000 visits to the main web site, with an average for three pages viewed per visit. The number of page views on the Newsletter is over 200 per days and there have been new 399 posts. The big disappointment is that in a year when the need is greater than ever the money collected for the mentally ill in Hertfordshire is significantly lower than in 2012 - and has only got as high as it did (£537 when the target was £1200) because of a small number of generous donations. 

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In addition to straight genealogy questions some historical topics have proved of great interest to visitors, or to me. The location of the Chalk Hill Rifle Range, near St Albans, has now been identified. The Missing Lunatics of Harpenden Hall have now been identified. I was delighted to help the Victoria & Albert Museum with a possible provenance for a mirror. There was an outrageous coincidence when I purchased the picture of an unknown soldier to find the background view was the rear of my Grandfather's surgery. Other pictures have been identified such as the last Under-Bailiff of Hemel Hempstead, and the Chaplin of Watford Union Workhouse. My work on the Customer Account book of William Brown has turned up some interesting stories including information to the history of Tring Grove. My search for humorous cards by Karaktus, published in St Albans circa 1909 has continued to be successful, but I still do not know who he is. I have posted information on many other photographers and/or post card publishers. I have also been trying to find out more about the arbele trees sold in the Tring area about 150 years ago. Another case (among many) where the British Newspaper Archives has been useful involved the history of the Kimich family of German clock and watch makers. As a result of a post from Richard I now know more about a railway worker who was killed at the start of the Second Maori War in New Zealand. My most interesting Rural Relaxation picture was taken on a visit to College Lake where I photographedan Avocet standing next to a Black-tailed Godwit! Finally the most popular post of the year was the Japanese Garden in Hertfordshire  with many visitors immediately after a BBC program on the subject.

At the end of the year I took a break to relax over Christmas which went well - including an unplanned trip to collect a visitor whose train was not running on Christmas Eve - when the journey included driving through the flood waters of the River Mole. I also planned to spend some time sorting out some other matters, including switching at least some of my computer work onto a laptop running under Windows 8.  This has gone slower than expected. Part of the problem is my age, which means that I am not as fast as I was. However the real problem is that I have been spending too much time on the genealogy web site/newsletter - and on ebay - and a number of the tasks (such as organising household paperwork so that I can find it) have become more complex because of neglect. 

So my New Year's Resolution is simple. I have decided that for the time being Genealogy in Hertfordshire will have to take a back seat, but the site will not be abandoned but just "work" in a more sedate fashion.. 

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The plan is to update the main web site and the newsletter once a week (normally on a Friday). I will continue to answer questions, add new material, and fill in some of the gaps - but at a slower rate. I will be even more appreciative than ever if you can help by making comments on what is already on the site, and letting me know of new historical Hertfordshire publications. See Why is your local history society or museum missing? for one way in which you can help. And I want no crocodile tears from those of you who have used the site regularly for years, and asked me questions, but have never made a donation. With such a low pound collected  per hour expended rate you have no ground to complain ...

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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.