Monday, December 10, 2012

We shall watch them on the beaches

In the News

We shall watch them on the beaches; English Heritage bestow Grade II listing on important WWII relic on coast

Churchill, George VI, Eisenhower and Montgomery watched 1944 rehearsal Read More>>

Monday, November 12, 2012 remembers the fallen with New Military Records releases three new military datasets for the first time containing lists of more than 35,000 British and Dominion Officers who were killed or captured during the Great War. We are proud to have added the following to our website:

British Officers Prisoners of War 1914-1918

Officers Died in the Great War 1914-1919

The Bond of Sacrifice - A Biographical Record of British Officers Who Fell in the Great War

On Armistice Day the collection commemorates British military personnel who were taken prisoner, detailing their name, rank, regiment, camp location, date of capture and release date. Even those who escaped are included.

The Bond of Sacrifice collection presents 4,000 biographies of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, arranged alphabetically to provide an invaluable record of the contribution and achievements of those who served.

The collection lists a surprising number of Brigadier Generals including Hurdis Secundus Lalande Ravenshaw CMG who as a senior British Army officer during the First World War served at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and saw action on the North-West Frontier of India, in South Africa during the Second Boer War and in France and Greece during the First World War. In 1916 he was captured by an Austrian submarine with all his staff and held as a prisoner until the end of the war.

Another lists one of the war's most popular heroes Captain William Leefe Robinson VC of the Royal Flying Corp. who shot down the first German Zeppelin airship over London and transformed the battle in the air over Britain. Captain Robinson was later shot down by German fighter aircraft led by the “Red Baron” Lieutenant Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen and captured.

Reports that Robinson had been killed stunned the nation however a letter to his fiancée confirmed he was a prisoner. Although safe, his captors made his life unpleasant and he was poorly treated as he and his fellow prisoners had made several attempts to escape and was sentenced to a month of solitary confinement. He and others were sent to the underground fortress of Zorndorf much as hardened escapees were confined in Colditz Castle in World War II.

The records also tell us of those who lost their lives at sea when even hospital ships fell victim to enemy action. The nation lamented the loss of its largest ship the Britannic which was sunk in the Mediterranean. Mercifully of the 1,066 crew and wounded service personnel only 30 souls were lost. A huge contrast to its ill fated sister ship the Titanic when 1,523 were drowned out of the 2,228 on board.

The records were digitised and provided online for easier searching and are a useful resource when researching family military history. The collection now forms part of’s online military archives which number over 20 million records.

British Officers Prisoners of War 1914-1918

Officers Died in the Great War 1914-1919

The Bond of Sacrifice - A Biographical Record of British Officers Who Fell in the Great War

The collection is only a part of more than 850 million historic records available online to all members and visitors by way of an annual subscription for just £25 or €30 / US$40 at

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Familyrelatives ring new changes with the release of Telephone Directories from Africa and the Caribbean

Discovering Nuggets of Gold

Are telephone directories just about numbers or are they a window into the past? If we take a closer look they reveal so much that is interesting from a historical aspect.

Familyrelatives is delighted to add some truly unique records to our expanding collection and existing 850 million records. We have added over 200,000 records in a number of directories which are from our Rest of the World Collection providing some fascinating insights.

Among the famous names Lord Delamere one of the leaders of the white settler community and a certain Colonel Grogan – famous for walking from Cape to Cairo between 1898 and 1900, Lord Egerton of Njoro Kenya whose estates and name adorn the prestigious agricultural college.

Kenya made headlines during the Mau Mau campaign and was about to achieve independence. Two African politicians were at the forefront of the campaign for independence Tom Mboya a rising young man cruelly assassinated in a Nairobi Street and Jomo Kenyatta who went on to become Kenya’s first president. A further search among the burgeoning Indian and Ismaili community reveals Eboo Pirbhai already knighted by the Queen and H.R.H. The Aga Khan whose foundations and community stretched from India to Africa.

Equally in the European community were Sir Wilfred Havelock a key minister in the pre-independence colonial government and Michael Blundell who was considered to be leader of the white settlers.

So a telephone directory reflects the society it serves from Government House with the Queen’s representative at the head of the colonial administration to citizens of all races. With the railways playing a key role in the development of East Africa East African Railways and Harbours features prominently. East African Airways together with Telecommunications, the currency Board etc. remind us of a bold attempt to achieve a federation which with the independence of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika (now Tanzania and Zanzibar) soon succumbed to national pressure and were dissolved. These directories were a final glimpse at passing history.

These directories are particularly interesting as they record numerous individuals, families and businesses of those who had settled and followed their daily lives under the flag.

Following independence, there was no great exodus however many expatriates chose to leave in the years following. In Uganda for example Idi Amin forcibly removed the Indian community who formed the middle class and owned many businesses. Southern Rhodesia was one of three colonies which formed the Central African Federation together with Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. With the break up of the Federation and a unilateral Declaration of Independence the directory of Southern Rhodesia in 1958 preceded the change to majority rule and shows the European population at its peak before Robert Mugabe began his policy of taking over white owned farms. In 1980 Rhodesia became the independent Republic of Zimbabwe.

East Africa

These are the lands of fame and fable – from Ernest Hemmingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” to Rider Haggard’s “King Solomon’s Mines. Are there many who have not seen at least one movie such as Out of Africa, Born Free, Mogambo, The African Queen, White Mischief or the Maneaters of Tsavo?

Society names and Big Game hunting are all in the telephone directory. White Hunters such as Kerr and Downey – the Muthaiga Club, Mount Kenya Safari Club or the famed Norfolk Hotel from where many safaris began and not least of all – Treetops Hotel faces towards Mount Kenya where Queen Elizabeth II learned of her accession following the death of King George VI.

As a collection these erstwhile colonial directories provide an eclectic mix of settlers, administration, justice, police and military together with businesses and in eastern Africa the importance of the railways (East African Railways and Harbours) which opened the three east African territories to trade, commerce and settlement.

Barbados – this directory is distinct from the others for this lovely island had gained its independence 3 years earlier but not much had changed in the way of its citizens who had deep roots in the country from way back. Besides it was an island thriving on its tourist industry as could be seen by its many hotels and guest houses.

Records now available online with Annual Subscription

Barbados Telephone Directory 1969-1970

Directory of Swiss Manufacturers and Producers 1937

Juta's Directory of Cape Town Suburbs & Simon's Town 1904

Southern Rhodesia Telephone Directory 1958

Telephone Directory Kenya, July 1962

Telephone Directory Tanganyika, March 1962

Telephone Directory Uganda, October 1962

The collection is only a part of more than 850 million historic records available online to all members and visitors by way of an annual subscription for just £25 or €30 / US$40 at

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 SUMMER SALE

Welcome to our Newsletter

This week sees the exciting re-launch of our upgraded and much improved Familyrelatives website - which is in Beta testing.

It is packed with many new features and information to help you discover even more about your family history. Our new ‘at a glance’ layout will enable you to find records easily, going back to the year 1538.

With over 850 million records from more than a dozen countries including Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, USA, and the Rest of the World (ROW), we are confident that you will find it useful for filling in those frustrating gaps.

Also remember that you have an enormous and fantastic number of FREE records at your disposal - over 90 million at the last count.

Buy a subscription now and view a range of records including Parish Records, Births, Marriages and Deaths, Military, Trade Directories and so much more being added regularly.

For those on a modest budget, Pay Per View allows members to search specific records and we suggest that you view the PPV tab at the top of the main search page to see the latest additions as well as view over 90 million records in the Free Tab.

To celebrate our improved website we’re offering you a great opportunity - Buy 12 Months Subscription for £20.00 and save 33% - that’s an exceptional saving of £10.00 (down from our usual price of £30.00) and matches our best ever discount.

We aim to inspire you to start your family history and for those who have already started, we aim to help you refine your research

• Access all records from over 12 different countries with one affordable subscription

• Receive 12 months Access and save 33% off our normal price

• Search 850 million records from over a dozen different countries


We are also launching our Social Genealogy suite of products in September. These Social Genealogy Features are uniquely and specifically designed for Familyrelatives and they include:

• Photos – Upload & Share albums at no cost

• Calendar – Create and event & never miss an important occasion

• Access your information – anywhere and anytime – its in the ‘CLOUD’

• Secure – Only share information you want

• Build Your Family Tree – Coming soon

Many changes are taking place on and we hope you will like them. The good news is there are many more changes on the way, so look out for these new changes online or in future newsletters.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Who do you think you are? New Series

A new series of the popular TV family history show starts tomorrow on BBC One at 9:00 pm starting with Samantha Womack the Eastenders actress. Episode 1 of 10, Who Do You Think You Are?, Series 9 Duration: 1 hour Classic genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? returns for its ninth series, delving into the ancestry of some of the UK's best-known faces. The new series sees ten celebrities embark on intense personal journeys to discover their families' pasts. 2012's series witnesses fascinating tales of infidelity, tragedy and adventure. Covering over 400 years of history, the programmes unearth secret telegrams and rare and previously undiscovered documents that bring our celebrities' ancestors to life. The series takes us on an historical rollercoaster of trials and triumphs, political intrigue, guilt, and treasonous plotting. First up is actress Samantha Womack, best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders. Sam's parents separated when she was young, and she grew up with only a fractured sense of her family history. Sam starts her journey by looking into the military career of her great grandfather, Alexander Cunningham Ryan, to discover whether the rumour that he was gassed during the First World War is true. However, the story quickly takes an astonishing turn as Sam discovers a puzzling discrepancy in Alexander's military record. As Sam investigates further, she uncovers the shocking truth and finds out how her great grandfather destroyed his military career. More information Who do you think you are? Criminal past of Samantha Womack's Great Grandfather

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Queen to unveil memorial to RAF Bomber Command

The Queen is due to unveil the memorial to the men and women who lost their lives in RAF Bomber Command today June 28, 2012. A major public Memorial to commemorate the tragic loss of 55,573 young Bomber Command airmen in the Second World War will be unveiled at a ceremony in Green Park, London, at 12 noon on 28 June 2012. The event will bring together thousands of Bomber Command veterans, widows and family members from all over the world, to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of their lost relatives and comrades. The Memorial also commemorates the people of all nations who lost their lives in the bombing campaigns of 1939-1945, with an inscription remembering that loss. During the 30-minute ceremony, Her Majesty the Queen will unveil a nine foot high bronze sculpture depicting seven Bomber Command aircrew. A Bomber Command veteran will read an exhortation before the act of remembrance. The ceremony will end with a flypast by five RAF GR4 Tornado bomber aircraft crewed by today’s Royal Air Force. This will be followed by a flypast by the RAF’s last flying Lancaster Bomber, which will drop poppies over Green Park as a message of remembrance for the 55,573 Bomber aircrew lost. More>> In the press>> Heroines of Bomber Command has an entire collection dedicated to the RAF of the Second World War which is searchable online

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 Website Update

JUNE 12, 2012 WEBSITE UPDATE NOTICE: will be updating many sections of the website and interruptions to the site may occur, these updates will take place over the next few days. Please bear with us as these changes take place, which we hope, will provide you with an improved visitor experience. apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. JUNE 28, 2012 WEBSITE UPDATE NOTICE: is updating many of the website sections and you will begin to notice many of the search pages have a new look. Other areas including My Account, admin, album, messaging and other areas are currently being updated. The site is operational although interruptions may occur as new features are added.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Titanic 100 years Anniversary

Titanic 100 year Anniversary - the sinking of the unsinkable ship.

Many stories and dramatic reconstructions have appeared recently regarding the history of the Titanic from its construction, the maiden voyage and the personal stories whose passengers included some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as over a thousand emigrants.

Here are a few links that maybe of interest;

Titanic Hero - Jack Phillips - chief wireless telegraphist

Thomas Ismay - founder of the White Star Line

Titanic - Faces of the crew

You can search, view and comment on names you have found in our databases at

Friday, March 23, 2012

Missing Link

The Spanish link in cracking the Enigma code. A pair of rare Enigma machines used in the Spanish Civil War have been given to the head of GCHQ, Britain's communications intelligence agency. More>>

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

London cafes

London cafes: the surprising history of London's lost coffeehouses

Centuries ago, London cafes were politically provocative, intellectually charged dens Read more>>

If you have an interest in 19th century trades and family history please visit our trade directory collection at, these are equivalent to todays telephone directory or yellow pages for locating ancestors.

Friday, March 16, 2012

RAF Servicemen laid to rest after 60 years

Eight British servicemen killed when Royal Air Force plane crashed deep in the Malaysian jungle more than 60 years ago are finally laid to rest.

UK forces were dispatched to the country to fight against Communist insurgents in a conflict known as the Malayan Emergency between 1948 and 1960 Read more

Friday, March 2, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

HMS Victory 'set to be recovered' from seabed

The remains of a 300-year-old warship are to be raised from the sea bed, according to reports. The wreck of HMS Victory, a predecessor of Nelson's famous flagship, was found near the Channel Islands in 2008.

The British warship, which went down in a storm in 1744 killing more than 1,000 sailors, could contain gold coins worth an estimated £500m More >>

If you are interested in Navy Records visit our online collection at