Webinar – My Italian Surname Study

Italian ONS PresentationNext Tuesday, 21st August 2018 the Guild of One-Name Studies will be offering their latest webinar in their 7 Pillars series.

Michael Cassara, who runs the Cuono One-Name Study and myself who runs the Orlando One-Name Study, will be talking about our perspective Italian Surname research and why we think there is a real and positive benefit to a One-Name study if you are researching an Italian surname or indeed any particular surname, especially if your ancestors hailed from Europe.

You can register for the webinar HERE – the webinar will be broadcast live at 7pm London England time (GMT+1) and we do hope you can join us for what Michael and I believe will be an informative webinar.

Posted in Genealogy, One-Name Studies, Orlando, Pharos - Introduction to One-Name Studies course, Presentations, Sutera Sicily | 2 Comments

Favourite Book(s) #33 – How to Bullet Plan by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

51kvt1Nnm8LFor reasons I cannot explain this book has become a favourite. It is a shame that this likely first book about Bullet planning was published by someone who did not devise the concept, but such is life!

I spotted this in a magazine I think last year and ordered it from Amazon because I could always return it, but it became a favourite, probably because like many others I am fascinated by what people include in their planners, whether or not they bullet journal.

This book has a mixture of snippets from famous diarists, such as Samuel Pepys and includes some  ideas for what you might keep in your planner or notebook, anything from tracking how much water you drink to chores, from health and food, debriefs if you see a councillor or similar professional. There are lists of quotes, planner set ups, daily, weekly, monthly and even future year – this is useful if you start booking events and things before purchasing the next planner. Packing lists, books and TV series lists and an assortment of others.

Did I learn something from this book, well yes I did and I dare say you will too if you choose to purchase the book or even look at the preview on Amazon. We are limited by only our imagination and sometimes, our imagination is expanded by the unlikeliest of books or things. There is a book written by the man (Ryder Carroll) who designed the concept of Bullet planning which will be published October of this year. I have it on advance order, because I would be interested in reading what he says about this style of planning and notebook writing.

At the back of this book is a small bibliography, a list of the pens the author uses. I don’t use the pens the author uses and when I did try them found them not to my liking. My preferred pen is a series of coloured Uniball ones and whilst I always by the set of 8 from Amazon, the colours I use the most are green and blue. Do I need to use colour pens? No, but that goes back to my O-level days and I am a creature of habit.

My advice to anyone is this – any pen and notebook (and/or planner) will work great. Make it yours and change the way you write and what you record until you find a way that works for you. Like with anything, our ways are always evolving.

Posted in Archive - Imported from Blogger, Books, Favourite Book(s), Filofax, Journals & Notebooks | 4 Comments

Favourite Book(s) #32 – Sicily by John Julius Norwich

51uPSoGcJmLWhilst this book has hit my favourites list it almost did not. This is a not a substantial book in terms of pages, there are over 350, but in terms of contents and historical scope.

The book starts with the history of the island from the Greeks and continues through to the period just after the Second World War. As someone who is half Sicilian it is a great grounding for understanding the island through the historical trials, tribulations and more importantly perhaps, the habitation of other occupiers.

Whilst Sicily is part of Italy now, although with autonomy in it’s administration, that was not always the case and those early inhabitants left a variety of legacies, all of which have shaped the islands and the cultures of the islanders.

This is not a book which can be read over a few days, I have read this book several times over a period of a number of months, dipping into the chapters, needing time to digest and reflect on 2500 years of Sicilian history.


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Six Degrees of Separation from Atonement to….

I spotted the #6Degrees meme of Kate’s who blogs at Books are my Favourite and Best on the blog of Lisa who blogs at ANZ LitLovers and felt like playing along this month and think I might do next too!

AtonementIt has been a long time since I read Atonement by Ian McEwan, I pulled my copy off the shelf and the within a few pages of the first chapter could spot my books for this #6Degrees. Curiously, whilst I enjoyed it, I was not wowed by the book and I have commented recently that in my experience I have been often disappointed by the winners of literary prizes, so I was surprised that the book had survived several book culls (it might not next time!).

The MiniaturistWhen The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton was first published I really wanted to be able to get into the book. I had spotted it in the window of Waterstones, but there was something that just didn’t click for me. Then at Christmas the BBC released their three part series based on the book and I really enjoyed it. I decided to try again with the book and was not disappointed this time.

Coffee TraderThe Coffee Trader by David Liss is one of my favourite books and I probably read it every few years. I then went onto read other books written by Liss, including one called The Day of Atonement.

Having been to Amsterdam and visited  Anne Frank’s house which is a very powerful place to visit and well worth it, if you ever have opportunity I selected the next book because on that same trip I visited Delft and bought back a beautiful Delft mug for my late Mum which now resides in my Breakfast room.

Midnight BlueMidnight Blue is about the birth of Delft pottery and set in what is described as the “Dutch golden age” when Dutch trading ships were bring back discoveries and wares from the Far East. It is a lovely book and the cover is just “perfect”.

The Hungry EmpireAs the same time as the Dutch Empire was shaping and dominating parts of the world so too was the British Empire and here enters my next book, which has been brilliantly researched and is filled with examples of how the foods from parts of the Empire were used. There is an extensive bibliography and notes section.

Tea Planter's DaughterMy next book links in to the Empire and a significant commodity that was adapted and exported, drunk the world over and that is Tea. This is the first of a series, The Tea Planter’s Daughter. You can view the series HERE

Marigold HotelAnd the last book in the #6Degrees is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach. The BBC have recently in the last few years launched a series, The Real Marigold Hotel where they take a group of celebrities who are in their retirement years (65+) and take them to India to see if they would consider a retirement in India. The third series is currently being broadcast in the UK and you can see some details HERE on the BBC website.

I have just spent a lovely hour writing this post and reacquaint myself with the books here. I did not manage to leave the Amazon website without a purchase though! Thanks so much to Kate and Lisa.

Posted in #6Degrees Meme, Books | 3 Comments

Favourite Book(s) #31 – The Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter SeriesI was a late starter with the Harry Potter series.

I started with the first three films then whilst I was waiting for the next film began reading the fourth book. There is something about the series, both books and films that I really love and can be swept away in the magical world of witches and wizards, he who must not be named and Hagrid.

For me, who does not usually read this type of book it is escapism and just reading a book because you feel like it and no other purpose – magical!

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Book of Me Prompts – August 2018

Book of Me2018

© 2017 Julie Goucher

Welcome to the eighth set of prompts for the 2018 Series of the Book of Me. You can read when the prompts are published and about the few changes at my earlier post HERE

There are five prompts each month and you can undertake as many or as few as you wish to.

  • Who understands you? and are you related to them?
  • Who do you understand? and are you related to them?
  • What was the last thing you learnt?
  • Why are you doing this program? And what do you want to achieve?
  • What have you learnt about yourself?

If you have any questions or want to share thoughts or a blog link, if you decide to share via a blog (remember to, that you don’t have to share to take part in the series) then please leave a comment. Further discussion is also happening in the closed Facebook Group.

Posted in Book of Me, Book of Me - Series 3 Getting to Know You (2018) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Planners, Notebooks & How it Came to be…

I was educated in Surrey, where at the time the school system was three tiered – a primary school, middle school and then senior school. On day one of senior school I, along with my class mates was presented with a small book, measuring 8 cm x 15 cm on the front of it was “homework journal” Inside there was space for each day, Monday to Friday and a small section for notes. As I progressed through probably the first few years I found that the homework journal didn’t have enough space and by the time I was working towards O-Levels it certainly didn’t and I migrated into a notebook. At the time it seemed bizarre, none of my friends that went to other senior schools had those books of course, looking back it was a really useful thing to give a teenager so that they got use to the concept of planning and remembering when things were due

All the way through senior school, University, additional courses, working and decades of genealogical research I have kept both a planner and a notebook. I have always kept one planner; a page a day and use that to track appointments, my to do list, notes when I have called somewhere and what was said. In a working environment I used the same planner. I knew of colleagues who kept a work planner and private planner but I found because of the roles that I had that the day job would merge into the evenings and two planners would have been a nightmare.


Planner exampleThis is a page from my planner from last Friday. I had no appointments or timed specific matters, so the page has my to do list. If I had a timed appointment after I started the to do list I would have either written in a different colour or highlighted it so it was not missed. In some ways I use a bullet system, I number my tasks, a tick means I achieved the task and the > means I migrated the task to a different day, sometimes that is the next day and on other occasions it is a few days later.

This particular planner is the large hardback Moleskine page a day and has in my view a few unnecessary pages at the front of the book and has a bookmark built in. The best bit is the integral pocket at the back, where I can keep any bits of paper that I need to retain, usually post it note size, the other thing I especially like is that Saturday and Sunday have a page each, whereas most other page a day planners have the weekend days share a page. These planners are not cheap, and the 2019 is currently retailing at £22! I know, that is wow! and I have never paid that, I wait until a bit later in the year when the price drops!

NotebooksOn occasions I have lots of both appointments and items to do, in that case I write the additional few on a post it note and stick it in. I retain that post it note too and often use washi tape to fix it in.

Notebooks are an essential part of my schedule and working life. I note everything. I am and always have been a prolific note taker. My preferred notebook is from Leuchtturm1917. These notebooks are not cheap and they come in a range of colours and in a lined, plain and dot grid which is what most of the “true bullet” journal folk use. These books come with two page markers, the pocket at the back, which is the same as the Moleskine range of planners and notebooks. They also come with the pages numbered already and two pages marked ready to index the pages. Some of the large grocery stores do their own brand of these books, with the pocket at the back and they are cheaper, if I purchase one of those then I leave a few pages at the front for the index and number each page myself. I also date every page.

I tend to use lined and my notebooks incorporate a number of things. Scoping out presentations, proposals and articles, research notes, writing notes from a website & reading etc, all with citations. I have a page for books I want to read and websites that I come across when I am reading. I draw out trees when I research as that helps me think and I often do a page for ancestors or people in my study where I want to track them.  Here are a few examples:

Notebook Example 2

So this page is where I was working on a branch of my Italian family – the page on the left is where I was following Concetta Bellantoni whose mother’s maiden name was Licata, sister of my paternal Grandmother. Concetta migrated to the United States along with her Mother, Sister and Aunt; her father had already travelled to the US and settled. Her Aunt, also called Concetta was according to the passenger list going to meet her brother who had already migrated. On the right is the print out from Gens.info where I was looking at the distribution for the surname of Virciglio which is the surname of my paternal Great Grandmother.

Notebook Example 1

This is the page where I was working on the Licata family and you can see Concetta who migrated to the United States and was Aunt to Concetta Bellantoni. My Grandmother is the youngest in this family, Maria, who was the only one of her family to remain in Sutera, Sicily. You can see on this page the washi tape, that appears on every page with a tree.

The reason I draw this out like this is two fold – it helps me think! and it helps me identify who sits where, especially with Italian families where names often repeat. Italian certificates provide the full names of the parents; women retain their birth surname even after marriage.

I do transcribe and add this into my genealogical programme, which is Roots Magic – I always work this way for my own family. For individuals in my study it varies. When I work on a particular individual, family or group of people, then I do work in a similar fashion as I reconstruct their family. Sometimes, this is a partial note a list of the Census years and a tick for when I have located them on a Census & downloaded a copy, I note the place they are living and the occupation. As I work through the data for any individual or family I record where I found what and what I didn’t find, children on one Census but missing from the next is an example.

I also scope out blog posts in this notebook – especially if I am planning a series and when I will scheduled them; as they are scheduled they receive a tick. I have just planned out a series for this blog for October and I did one during April this year. I have the material for my DNA results and I am currently scoping our a DNA series for this blog. I am no expert on DNA, but things I have observed on my own results, about my DNA surname projects etc. On occasions someone will ask a question on this site and I answer the question, but perhaps it eventually generates into a post of it’s own. I have a list from the April 2018 series, which I won’t show you, otherwise it will spoil the surprise!

I am busy planning a trip to Sicily for next year and purchased a specific notebook, in lime green, but opted for the plain version because I know I am likely to stick bits in. That will contain all the notes in the planning stage of the trip and material once we get there – some of the usual holiday things  – what we do and when as well as research material, by that I mean notes taken whilst researching on the trip and the Italian bit of my to do list. The rest of the material will all be on my website – even if the One-Name Study of the material is not completely up to date, my personal line will be so that I can use the website instead of carrying paper around. Material on the website that relates to living people is hidden, but I will be able to see it, as long as I am logged in.

I use both Evernote and One Note and I use them for different things. I might have an idea and want to record that, so a one line pondering which I might scope out later and sometimes, much later.  I much prefer pen and paper, even though I love the technical abilities we now have. The Evernote web clipper is fabulous and a real help to archive material. I used One Note to scope out a project which I have just about completed, all 50,000 words of it. I chose One Note in 2014 when I started the project and whilst I have some of the notes I took as I researched that project in previous notebooks, the basic idea and the scope is in One Note. I will at some point archive the material electronically, because I never discard anything, even if I never used the material in that particular project – once I research I retain the information as sometimes it contains a gem which I use for something else.

Sorry this has been such a long post and I hope those Guild of One-Name Studies members who were interested found it helpful and if you have a comment or there are any questions, ask away…….


Posted in Filofax, Journals & Notebooks, Genealogy | 15 Comments

Favourite Book(s) #30 – The Button Box Lifting the Lid on Women’s Lives by Lynn Knight

The Button BoxI inherited a pile of buttons from my Grandmother and late Mum. I also had a pile of buttons that came as extra’s with clothes bought over the years. They had gathered in my sewing box and filled all the sections in a completely unorganised manner. I realised that I now had three generations of buttons and that I should put them all together in an attempt to be reasonably organised and of course, they may actually come in handy.

I decided to have them as a visual decoration. I had a small clear vase that I had purchased years ago and used that. IMG_0135The vase, filled with buttons from three generations of my maternal family sits on my bookcase and every now and again I sort through them and see if I can recall what item of clothes they came from. In many cases the item of clothes is no more, but the buttons remain as a tribute to the past.

Whilst sitting in a hospital bed this book caught my eye and purchased it. I asked my husband if he could collect it and bring it in when he next visited and could he bring me a bookmark from home. He arrived one afternoon clutching the book, a bookmark and a fresh pile of washing for me. He handed over the book and said how long would it last me? I had no idea, but started the book that day. I had my iPad with me and plenty of books on there, but sometimes there are books that simply have to be read, in your hand as opposed to via a device – why this book was one of those I have no idea, perhaps it was the link to family memories or something else, but in the two years since I have had this book I have read it about four times; yes it is one of those books!

Lynn Knight has selected buttons from her family stash and has then explored the general lives of women during the period the button would have featured on an item of clothing. It reveals a fascinating insight to social history, the role women played and what they could and could not do.

As I was reading a few things occurred to me one of which was that when my maternal Grandmother was born (in 1912) there was no vote for women, my Grandmother lived as a small child through the First World War and yet I never, not once asked her if she remembered anything of that time. I always knew when my Grandmother was born, her parents, siblings, where she lived and the job her father did and later her brothers, but I had never, made the obvious connection as I have described here and that is infuriating.

My Grandmother and I were very close and we talked about many things which gave me insight into her and her family life and yet I never made this connection until I read this book about the First World War. I could have created a timeline for her as I have with other ancestors, one of whom I will show as an example in a future post here, that ancestor lived between 1720-1787 and yet someone who was so very much an important part of my life has never featured in a timeline…until now.

For me the sign of a good book is one that encourages in an non obvious way the link between what we are reading and perhaps our own life or that of earlier generations as this book did. One of the reasons I have read the book so many times is that I went through each chapter and established which of my maternal female ancestors were living in the time periods inspired by the author’s buttons. I then went back and explored their lives in more depth and created their timelines which explores what they were doing at specific times, during a Census for example, when they had their children, where they were living, any occupation outside the home and when they died.

Mary Elizabeth Elstone aged approx 18

Mary Elizabeth Matthews nee Elstone (1880-1937) – personal collection of Julie Goucher

I then aligned that personal timeline to historical events and identified if they were personally impacted by those historical events – I will never know if my Grandmother saw the effect of women gaining the vote on her mother, my Great Grandmother for example whose picture is here when she was just 18. The photograph is just as it was when I inherited it and was dreadfully creased and had been taped up at some point. I never knew this Great Grandmother (I did my other maternal Great Grandmother) but I do own her grave which she shares with her husband, John Matthews (1875-1931).




Posted in Books, Favourite Book(s), Genealogy, Matthews | Leave a comment

Guild of One-Name Studies Webinar – Six Months In with a New Study – Karen Heenan-Davies

Six month in with a new study - Guild webinar July

The latest Guild of One-Name Studies webinars is now available for everyone to view.

When we did the initial planning of the series we approached Melanie Caldicott and Karen Heenan-Davies and asked if they would be prepared to share their experiences. Both Mel and Karen took the Introduction to One-Name Studies course with me earlier in the year, they were a delight to spend time with and for me to answer their questions and share genealogical experiences with.

Karen joined me live on 17 July and you can view both Mel’s AND Karen’s presentations HERE and they will be available until 31st July to EVERYONE then from 1st August will become a Guild member’s benefit.

I hope you enjoy listening to them, I certainly did. If you have Heenan’s in your family be sure to connect with Karen

What I promised everyone, was that I would share the links that were mentioned during the presentations and these are below:

Posted in One-Name Studies, Pharos - Introduction to One-Name Studies course | 1 Comment

Guild of One-Name Studies Webinar – Six Months In with a New Study – Melanie Caldicott

Six month in with a new study - Guild webinar July

The latest Guild of One-Name Studies webinar is now available for everyone to view.

When we did the initial planning of the series we approached Melanie Caldicott and Karen Heenan-Davies and asked if they would be prepared to share their experiences. Both Mel and Karen took the Introduction to One-Name Studies course with me earlier in the year, they were a delight to spend time with and for me to answer their questions and share genealogical experiences with.

Mel was unable to join us live on 17 July, so we pre-recorded the event and what an event it was, so much so that we have released them both separately and therefore for July you get two for the price of one! – Karen’s episode will be available a little later this week and I will post when it is available. You can view Mel’s presentation HERE and it will be available until 31st July to EVERYONE then from 1st August will become a Guild member’s benefit.

I hope you enjoy listening to it, I certainly did. If you have Caldicott’s in your family be sure to connect with Mel

Posted in One-Name Studies, Pharos - Introduction to One-Name Studies course | Leave a comment