Ian Melville - An Appreciation

Ian Melville, who extracted and compiled the Jewish Chronicle Naturalisation Database, died of cancer on 15th October 2003 after a short illness. He was 68. Ian was born in Suffolk and spent much of his childhood in south London, but his family was of Scottish origin, and from an early age he took an interest in tracing his Scottish roots, later becoming a member of the Scottish Genealogy Society. His interest in Jewish genealogy came about through his wife and fellow genealogist Beverly Bergman - she helped with his Scottish research whilst he helped with her Jewish research.

Ian was quick to see the advantages of computer technology in genealogy, and by the end of the 1980s he had already abandoned his manual card index in favour of an electronic database.  He developed a technique for drawing family trees on a spreadsheet which, despite the later advent of dedicated genealogical software, he continued to favour although the original Lotus Symphony spreadsheets later gave way to Microsoft Excel.

The request for volunteers for the 1881 census transcribing project led him to broaden his genealogical activities into the world of transcribing, and he was happy to volunteer for any such initiatives. In recent years, he had transcribed some of the Sunderland burial records for JCR-UK, and at the time of his death he was working on a piece for the 1891 London census project.

Most of Ian's career was spent in the medical field, first as a dispenser (pharmacy technician) and later as a medical supplies specialist. However in 1982 he took early retirement to become a full-time house-husband and to pursue his hobbies and interests. As well as genealogy, Ian was a man of many interests and talents. He was a keen philatelist, and was also interested in photography, DIY and home brewing as well as, of course, computers. He was an avid reader, and both he and Beverly had travelled widely.

Ian will be much missed, both within the genealogical community and by his family and friends.

Copyright by Sherry Landa & British-Jewry. All rights reserved.
This document last modified Sunday, 08-Feb-2015 22:59:57 GMT