This is an educational site, run by a retired academic, and the aim is to introduce people who are researching their family history to a range of records and techniques. While the site is strictly limited to Hertfordshire the techniques, and many of the sources, are equally applicable to other parts of England.
The site started as a bulletin board in 1998, with people posting queries, and with me posting answers. This format was unable to support integrated help and information pages and after technical difficulties it was launched as a web site in April 2001. There is now a separate newsletter, in the form of a blog which you can track for automatic news of updates. There are 20-30 news updates a month, reporting the main additions to the web site, and other news such as details of coming events.
The site has grown like topsy. There is now a web page (or group of pages) for every historic town and parish, and many hamlets and some larger houses are also covered. Details of over 600 books relating to the county are given, and there are a range of help files and several history talks and research notes are included. The first part of a tutorial following a family found in an old bible is provided - but rapid advances on other parts of the web, means that it needs updating. There are also many hundred links to other web sites of interest to the Hertfordshire researcher. In the first five years the site expanded from less than 200 to over 2000 pages, and by the end of 2012 it had reached 4200 indexed pages (plus other unindexed supporting pages, such as the frames and menus). There are also about 10,000 picture images. In addition I have built up a useful offline reference library to supplement the nearby public library in answering visitors' questions.
This success has caused difficulties as my enthusiasm to provide a friendly service has exceeded the amount of time I have available. As a result there are too many pages which are left with "to be completed" messages on them, a number of the help pages are out of date, and the subject index needs to be greatly extended. If you come across an incomplete page, or can provide more information on any topic, please tell be - so I can add to the site and make it more useful to everybody. There are a number of other ways you can help to improve the site and the newsletter.
Future Plans - 2013-2018
I am now 75 and in August 2013 I posted a note on the Newsletter: The Future of this web site - Thinking ahead 2013-2018, on the realisation that I cannot go on running for ever. As a result over the next year the site will be kept running but I will be concentrating on several activities as follows:
Documenting material relating to William Brown, Estate Agent, of Tring, prior to depositing the material in a suitable archive.
Documenting unique Hertfordshire material from family (such as my recent postings on the Aldenham Harriers and First World War remounts) and other sources, and finding a suitable archive where appropriate.
Making material available from notes for a book I had planned to write on the history of Bernards Heath available in time for the Sandridge 900 events.
Preparations for the August 1914 anniversary of the First World War. I hope to get all the relevant information I have online and restructure the Military section of the web site. I will be concentration on the troops stationed here for training, those who went to hospitals in the county, and the photographers who took pictures of them, and their activities, but concentrating on the area covered by my book The London Gunners come to Town (approximately the modern boroughs of Dacorum, St Albans and Watford).
I will continue to answer questions as before, but possibly in smaller numbers, but additions to the "place" pages will be limited. If you want news of activities such as meetings, new book publications, etc., mentioned in the Newsletter the onus will be on you to let me know, as I will have less time to monitor all the web sites and blogs that might contain relevant news.
On all pages text in blue provides a link to a further page. The link darkens when it is a page you have already visited.
All recently updated pages have a pictorial button box at the top of the page providing links to key relevant pages on the web site, and to the home page. On older pages there is simply a link back to an appropriate parent page in blue at the top of the page, and a home link at the bottom..
Warning, With some browsers and some setting, you computer will remember the "old" pages it has read - and unless you clean the system of such old references you may see the old pages rather than the updated pages.
See also Policy Issues (which includes copyright issues)
Page updated October 2013