Sunday, October 16, 2011

Working at The National Archives, The Royal Albert Hall and Jabs and Plasters


Dear Family and Friends,

Working at The National Archives is a bit different from working in our family history centre in the Hyde Park building. imageWe do have some of the same patrons but there are more that we have never seen before. The help desks at TNA frequently send patrons to us that need help that they can’t give. TNA computers only have documents on their computers of records that they hold and don’t have all of the web sites that we have.  Also, patrons are able to download images from our computers and  to go on the internet. We are also able to give more individual help.


The staff at TNA has been so kind and helpful. We share a back office with one of the groups that work there. There are about 600 employees that work in the building. We are the ones in the blue shirts with the FamilySearch logos.



One morning on the train coming to Kew there was a group of American students. We learned that they were on a semester abroad from Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. One of the students saw Ken’s missionary badge and remarked that her previous boyfriend was now on a mission. None of the students were LDS but were interested in what we were doing on our mission. We explained that we help people search out their family history. One of the students said that she knew family history was important to members of our church. Ken answered that it is important for everyone to know of those family members who went before. As Ken was speaking, I noticed a gentleman, listening to our conversation, shake his head to say he didn’t agree at all. He saw that I observed his gesture and when we got off the train he hurried ahead of us. I saw him enter TNA and later I saw him stroll up to our area with a book he had picked up from a shelf and pretend to read the book as he looked us over.

Last week a lady walked up to the desk, smiled and reminded me that we had talked a few weeks ago on a bus. She had asked where I was from and what I was doing in London. I had explained to her about our family history work and told her that our Centre was now located out at The National Archives. She had told me  about a mystery concerning her grandfather who went to the US in 1870, leaving his young wife and 2 small children in England and was never heard from again. I had invited her out to Kew to see if she could find out any additional information and she came.

Although we couldn’t track down her grandfather in the US as he had a fairly common name, we were able to trace the young family he had left in England. As we looked at this family on the census records, she was delighted to see their names and learn more about their circumstances.

A lady came to us and said that it had been recommended by the British Library, that she come and see us. She was searching for the marriage, in India, of her great grandparents and was told that we might have microfilms of those records. I showed her the data bases in FamilySearch where she could look. She found a film and was able to locate the marriage. Ken did a scan of the record for her. She was so excited because it had been a family ‘legend’ that the couple had never married because no record had ever been  found.

We love helping these people!

image  image


The Royal Albert Hall

Ever since we saw the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much, we have wanted to see the Royal Albert Hall which was featured in the movie. We were able to go on a tour and learn a little about its history and the history of South Kensington.

The Royal Albert Hall was the vision of Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. A tract of land was developed to create a cultural and educational district in London.Today three museums,the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), Natural History Museum and the Science Museum all are found in south-west London at South Kensington. Just north of the museums are Imperial College London(the MIT of England) and the Royal College of Photograph of Queen Victoria, 1882Music. Beyond these is the Royal Albert Hall, one of the main concert halls in London.

Because Albert died of typhoid before the concert hall was completed, Queen Victoria named it the Royal Albert Hall after her late husband. She also had a memorial to Albert constructed across the street from the Royal Albert Hall in Hyde Park.

Victoria then went into mourning for the rest of her life and disappeared from the public view. 

As a side note, the Hyde Park Chapel is next to the V&A and directly across the street from the Science museum.

We arranged to go on a tour of the Royal Albert Hall on our P day this past week. A guide led us through parts of the building and we were able to see the Queen’s box and private reception room as well as the various levels inside the auditorium.

It was interesting that one of the others on the tour, an American tourist, asked the guide, “Where is the parking for the people who come to concerts here?”  She answered, “This is London, there is no parking”. I guess that we are familiar enough with London now to know it was a really silly question.

We had tickets to see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and it was an amazing experience.


Jabs and Plasters

We got our flu shots this week. The National Archives was giving them to all the employees. The nurse asked Ken it he wanted a plaster and he was really puzzled. She laughed and asked if plaster was a British thing. A plaster is a bandage. They call shots, jabs. So we got jabs and plasters.

We have come a long way towards settling in, living in England, but there are always new things to learn.

Our love to all!
Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)

PS  On one of our messages from home this week Drew asked, “Grandpa, do you miss me?” The answer is, “Yes, Drew, we miss all of you very much.”


  1. Hi Cheryl and Ken, Your digs at the National Archives look great! I did not yet see the Royal Albert Hall, so I have to get back to England one of these days. Plus, the canal boats look like lots of fun!

  2. Hey Sister & Ken. Wow just found this. Pretty Neat. I'm well. My email Take care...