Change of name

I have, after much thought, decided to change the name of the website. While the name James Ford Ancestors reflected my initial research my study has now expanded well past James Ford and his family. Cumbrae was a small island situated in the middle of the Firth of Clyde in Scotland which witnessed the increasing volume of sea traffic that sailed forth beyond the estuary and over the horizon taking people and goods to parts of the world which had only been discovered a few decades earlier.

As a result my own investigations have undergone something similar. Not that I have discovered any new continent, rather, I found that the lives of my ancestors hold more than simply names that can be attached to family tree. Their lives are far more interesting and in this respect, far more challenging for the researcher. What propelled them to buy a ticket for a four month voyage to a far away land on a sailing ship that had every chance of not reaching its destination? One such list identified 775 shipwrecks on the Australian run. What possessed my ancestors to undertake such a perilous undertaking? And, once arriving in Australia, what then? There was no social security system in place, little in the way of medical care, and the land was roamed by gangs of ex-convicts preying on the weak and vulnerable.

My research has therefore expanded as my interest rose. It has therefore seem good to reconsider the name of the website in relation to my renewed interest.

As I only recently changed the name to The Wright Inheritance why change again to A Community of Feuars.

When Samuel Ford married Margaret Wright on the island of Cumbrea it seems that the marriage not only bought some security and prestige to the family, the union also linked the family with a community of like minded people, the feuars. And it was this community of feuars that forms a narrative thread that runs through the generations down to the present day.

I have also found that in the process of writing and publishing my own book on the ancestry of Samuel Ford I needed to register an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). In order to obtain an ISBN I then had to register the name thinking that the title A Community of Feuars: Heritage of Samuel Ford best reflected my research at that time. In the interim it appears that Google Books has found my registration and published the information on their Books website again proving how quick the internet can retrieve information.

However, in order to circumvent enthusiastic search engines and their algorithms the title of the forthcoming book will remain In Company of Feuars: Heritage of Samuel Ford.  A preview of the cover appears below.

Australia Day, Captain Cook and Australian ‘Invasion’

With Australia Day (January 26) fast approaching there is the distinct probability that any number of anti-European activities will take place.  It seems that the day celebrating the First Fleet landing in New South Wales and the beginnings of what was to become Australia has become the battleground over the ideological meaning of the event.

These events now bring into question meanings about the discovery of Australia and the immigrants that made Australia the place it is today.

The unfortunate aspect is that most Australians do not know the history of their own country and apparently gleefully grab at anything that appears in the media as truth and fact.  In writing about my own family, who arrived in Australia during 1850 to 1860 as did some seven million other immigrants, problematic.  Were my ancestors ‘settlers’, ‘explorers’, or, as popular opinion suggests, ‘invaders’?

For some reason Captain James Cook gets caught up in this battle concerning facts and fiction.  For this reason I am following up on something I had written previously which seems timely. which can be found here.

Genealogy without Ancestry

Genealogy without Ancestry is about how I managed to find my ancestors and document their lives without the assistance of commercial ancestry websites.

It is apparent reading any number of facebook posts that many ancestry searchers are frustrated with using commercial ancestry sites.  While there are any number of websites advising how to do this for free, and some of these sites are not without merit, there is the aspect that the dedicated researcher will have to branch out on their own at some point.

So I begin a series of posts about my own personal experience in researching my family’s history.   Not everything about one’s family is contain in the BDM files.  At some point the researcher will have to leave the safe haven of state archives and spread their wings in order to join the dots together.  But how to make sense of all this additional material that is not closeted away?  For instance, just what makes evidence reliable?  How to differentiate between the possible and the probable?



Some worrying trends for Genealogists

There are some worrying trends that should alert not just those who wish to trace their ancestors, but everyone.

In an age where we, the general public, are continually advise to guard our privacy there is a concerted effort by statutory authorities and aggressive internet companies to snare your data.  The popular internet site Ancestry is the just the first to feel the effect by police who want your information, particularly your DNA.

Techcrunch.dom has this to say;

DNA profiling company has narrowly avoided complying with a search warrant in Pennsylvania after a search warrant was rejected on technical grounds, a move that is likely to help law enforcement refine their efforts to obtain user information despite the company’s efforts to keep the data private.

Little is known about the demands of the search warrant, only that a court in Pennsylvania approved law enforcement to “seek access” to Utah-based’s database of more than 15 million DNA profiles.

The full text can be found here.

Of course this is just the start, other ancestry site will be targeted in future.

One has to acknowledge that this ‘seek access’ claim will be modified as the matter progresses and any number of court cases will no doubt follow.  Regardless of the outcome of any legal battle, the result will lead inevitable to the DNA testing of every new born baby, the profile to kept by some police department.

The general response by police and legislators to any objection to the collection of DNA will be ‘if you have nothing to hide where’s the problem’?  It all sounds rather familiar.

For those who pop into this site you may be assured that I have not undergone any DNA testing, well at lest not to my knowledge.

Then there is this from the New York Times back in 2007;

On November 26, 2007, the FBI served a National Security Letter (NSL) on the Internet Archive, a digital library. The letter sought personal information about one of the Archive’s users, including the individual’s name, address, and any electronic communication transactional records pertaining to the user. The NSL also included a gag order, prohibiting the Archive and its counsel from revealing the existence of the letter.

There is an activity on the internet which bears the generic term ‘open access text archive’ which is essentially the digitising all textual material like books and research papers which have, until recently been freely available on the web.  The site Internet Archive may be found here.

The object of the Internet Archive is to preserve books that have hitherto been freely available on the web but many of which have now be grabbed by Google, and other like minded profit generating companies, and can only be accessed through their ancillary sites and then only on their term and conditions.  The Internet Archives makes all book freely available and downloadable.  Authors and writers are encouraged to up load their materials to them website where it is made available to public, unrestricted and with no change involved.

This perhaps is scary stuff for governments and their interested parties as noted in the article by the NY Times.

The point of interest is the general trend that allows governments to know more and more about us while hiding behind a barrage of secrecy and protection themselves.