We didn't go out after all 'cos it was hammering down with rain and we'd planned on taking a picnic with us...so we'll go tomorrow instead.

But my new book came this morning so I've been driving Himself quite crackers with reading bits out...it's called How our ancestors died and is extremely well-written and thoroughly researched into the commonest causes of death among all age groups going back to the 1600's when it tended towards smallpox and plague...the remedies are alarming...plants and substances we now know to be extremely poisonous were doled out as a matter of routine and I daresay killed most sick people off before their original ailment had time to.

The author covers the various wars which one's ancestor may have fought in...including the Opium Wars which I'd heard of vaguely...Britain went to war with China twice...1839-42 and again in 1856-60 because the Chinese wanted to restrict the use of opium among it's people and Britain was more concerned about the opium trade they'd established between India...then under British rule of course...and China. The British won and forced China to accept Indian opium imports again.

He includes many web sites to find out more information about all the chapters he covers in the book...locating soldiers graves for instance and finding Workhouse and Lunatic Asylum records...there is a site which specialises in the offences for which sailors were lashed or made to walk the gang plank in the 1700's...you need to have an idea of your unfortunate ancestors name for that site though.

It's very interesting, and I shall probably continue to bore you to tears with snippets I find for quite a while to come.

I can't put a finger on why the handsome James died at the age of 44 so I'm going to splash out and order his death cert. He was an ag lab so might well have met with an accident...

While looking for an ancestor who emigrated to Australia earlier this afternoon I found he'd died of the drink and the Coroners report gave other inquests he'd presided over...one poor man had been kicked in the head by a horse...another chap had fallen from a ladder...and three people from the same family were murdered...the murderer was in custody awaiting trial apparently...they are records from 1902 which were carefully recorded and obviously well kept and stored.

Australian records...like the ones from America...are detailed and frequent. It's possible to trace a persons arrival in the 1800's to their eventual demise in the 1930's with every detail of their work, marriages and children with very little effort on the part of the searcher. Most of the passenger lists for the ships also include who the emigree was going to live with once they arrived and the name of the ship they sailed on...some ships even have photos. It is the Irish people who emigrated who never seemed to include the county they hailed from...so it is simply Ireland, as the place of birth, which is no help whatsoever.

It's still raining.