Saturday, April 16, 2016

N is for Newspapers (and Navy Records Society and Nancy Dawson)

N is for Newspapers (and Navy Records Society and Nancy Dawson)

Regular readers of my blog will know how much my family history research has benefited from digitised newspapers on Trove and overseas newspapers accessed through my National Library of Australia card (free to Australian residents) using their e-resources such as the 19th Century British Newspapers - one of the British Library Newspapers collections - or The Times Digital Archive.  I have been able to trace ship movements and find fascinating stories about my naval ancestors' families.  

I visited the National Library of Australia this week in Canberra.  It was a fleeting visit but, as always, the staff never failed to impress me with their professionalism and above all, care.  

From the security guard who approached me diplomatically about my enormous handbag and giving me thoughtful instructions on how to best access the lockers downstairs, to the staff who handled our enquiry about donating personal papers, we were made to feel welcome.  I decided to put my money where my mouth was this morning and made a modest donation to the NLA.  

Whilst looking for inspiration in my father's Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea last night, I discovered reference to the Navy Records Society.  It was founded in 1893 and publishes annually materials relating to British Naval History.  There are two sorts of membership - one gets you the online magazine, the other gives you access to 150 digital volumes plus a copy of every volume published during membership (about 1 volume per year and they retail from anywhere between £25 and £40 so it's probably pretty good value).  I haven't joined yet but I have signed up to their mailing list, am following them on Twitter and have liked their Facebook page. Various libraries in Australia hold their publications according to WorldCat e.g. the Vaughan Evans Library at the Australian National Maritime Museum, State Library of NSW, University of Queensland and the National Library to name a few.  Naval Songs and Ballads selected and edited by CH Firth in 1908 could be an amusing reference for example.

Speaking of songs Nancy Dawson was a popular ditty in the 18th century apparently and was sung/played when the daily ration of grog was distributed in the British Navy (Oxford Companion to Ships and Sailing, 1976, p. 571) I liked this instrumental version the best from those I found on YouTube.  I thought it sounded the most authentic.  There is this very interesting post too with the music and lyrics and a bit of history about Nancy Dawson.

All the best with your A-Z challenge if you are participating.  If not, I hope you have found something of use in today's post - particularly if you are researching naval ancestors.


Lori said...

Glad you stopped by Thoughts While Walking the Dog. It looks as though you are doing a thorough research on your family. How fun for you. It seems exhausting but fulfilling. I'll be back.

Kathleen Valentine said...

I really love doing research especially if it has family connections. There's so much to learn and I always seem to find little unexpected gifts.

Meet My Imaginary Friends

Wendy said...

"Nancy Dawson" sounds like a very danceable little tune.

Suzanne McClendon said...

The story about Nancy Dawson was interesting. I like that you have so many research sources in your posts! You give me lots of opportunities to get lost in the stories out there. :)

Have a blessed weekend!

crgalvin said...

Neat inclusion of the nicety of the NLA for your N post :) Now where did you get the Tinycat widget? I can find my catalogue and other LT widgets but not that one.

Alex Daw said...

I found it via Geniaus GAGs post - you can set yours up from this page.

Alex Daw said...

Actually the widget is under Help once you've set it up here

crgalvin said...

Thanks Alex.

Dianne said...

My grampa was in the Black Watch and he could belt out a song or two, while my granny played the piano. I loved when they came to our house because I knew there would be a singing night!

Anonymous said...

Snap! I had N for Newspapers too. I know that song, though I didn't know it under the name Nancy Dawson. I am sure there must be a version by one of the British folk greats out there somewhere but I hunted around on YouTube and Spotify and couldn't find one. Maybe the song just has too many titles - I knew it as "I'll go no more a'roving" or just "A'roving".

Sarah Zama said...

We're living in an incredible time, don't you think? So much information is available to so many people.
I'm researching the American Roaring Twenties from Europe and I certainly woulnd't be able to if not for the internet :-)

The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Once again I'm wishing for Royal Navy, not merchant navy. You are putting together a great suite of posts Alex.