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My top-ten surnames updated (or not as the case may be)

31 Mar

On two previous occasions I have produced a list of the top-ten surnames in my family tree (in February 2010 and May 2011) and I decided it would be interesting to see if much had changed since the last time.

The results were quite interesting (for me at least) and illustrated just how little work I did on my family tree last year.

  1. TROWER (152)
  2. GASSON (133)
  3. MITCHELL (92)
  4. HEMSLEY (75)
  5. BOXALL (52)
  6. KINGHORN (49)
  7. FAIRS (45)
  8. GEERING (39)
  9. HAYBITTLE (36)
  10. WREN (31)

None of the positions have changed since last year and the actual number of entries had changed very little. Only the number of Trowers and Gassons have increased and somewhat worryingly the number of Mitchells and Boxalls had decreased.

I remember removing a family of Mitchells who I haven’t been able to link into my family tree yet, but I am not sure why I have lost a Boxall. I think it might have been the result of a merger.

I know it is not really about the numbers, but it would be nice to see them increasing a bit more.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Confessions of a Bus Geek

24 Mar

The Urban Dictionary defines a bus geek as “someone who rides Public Transportation for purposes of entertainment”. Apart from the American term public transportation (we have public transport in the UK) this pretty much defines how I spent my Saturday.

There was no logical reason for my friend Chris and I spending just over five hours sitting on buses today, it just seemed like a fun idea. It was a coincidence that I was able to visit and photograph one of the places on my genealogy hit list along the way (more about that in a future post).

In fact the whole journey was a bit like a family history tour, passing through so many places in my family tree. Unfortunately we didn’t actually spend time off the bus anywhere other than Tunbridge Wells, but it was good to be travelling through the landscape of my relatives none the less.

The journey itself was a round trip (otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting at home writing this) of about 90 miles, mainly through East and West Sussex, but also crossing into Kent and Surrey.

For the fellow bus geeks reading this the bus routes were:

  1. Horsham to Brighton (17, Stagecoach)
  2. Brighton to Tunbridge Wells (29, Brighton and Hove)
  3. Tunbridge Wells to Crawley (291, Metrobus)
  4. Crawley to Horsham (23, Metrobus)

I have travelled on these routes before, but never the complete routes. I don’t think I have ever been to Tunbridge Wells before, by any mode of transport, but I will definitely be heading back there again. Not least because of the famous Hall’s Bookshop.

I was delighted to find a memorial below to Air Chief Marshall Dowding in Calverley Grounds (the park where we sat and enjoyed a sandwich in the sunshine). This was a perfect piece of genealogical synchronicity because he was born in Moffat, Scotland, the same town as my 3x great-grandfather Thomas Kinghorn.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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Happy New Year 2012

1 Jan

The Ancestor’s Geneameme

16 Oct

Time for another question and answer session courtesy of Geniaus, this time it is The Ancestors’ Geneameme. Time to test my knowledge of my ancestors and see how much I actually know. I am sure you know the text formating by now, but just in case:

Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

  1.  Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents
  2.  Can name over 50 direct ancestors
  3.  Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents
  4.  Have an ancestor who was married more than three times
  5.  Have an ancestor who was a bigamist
  6.  Met all four of my grandparents
  7.  Met one or more of my great-grandparents
  8.  Named a child after an ancestor
  9.  Bear an ancestor’s given name/s
  10.  Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland
  11.  Have an ancestor from Asia
  12.  Have an ancestor from Continental Europe
  13.  Have an ancestor from Africa
  14.  Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer
  15.  Have an ancestor who had large land holdings
  16.  Have an ancestor who was a holy man – minister, priest, rabbi
  17.  Have an ancestor who was a midwife
  18.  Have an ancestor who was an author
  19.  Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones
  20.  Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21.  Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  22.  Have an ancestor with a forename beginning with Z
  23.  Have an ancestor born on 25th December
  24.  Have an ancestor born on New Year’s Day
  25.  Have blue blood in your family lines
  26.  Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  27.  Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  28.  Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century
  29.  Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier
  30.  Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents
  31.  Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X
  32.  Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university
  33.  Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence
  34.  Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime
  35.  Have shared an ancestor’s story online or in a magazine (on this blog)
  36.  Have published a family history online or in print
  37.  Have visited an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries
  38.  Still have an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family
  39.  Have a family bible from the 19th Century
  40.  Have a pre-19th century family bible

I think the results reflect my ordinary run of the mill ancestors quite well, they never travelled far or owned great amounts of money/property or aspired to high office, just normal everyday folk. Just like me in fact!

The Tech Savvy Genealogists’ Meme

20 Sep

On the day they opened up Google+ to all and sundry (but I still can’t be bothered to join) I decided it was about time I completed The Tech Savvy Genealogists’ Meme (thanks Geniaus), if only to show what a luddite I am (or that you can live without Facebook and Twitter).

I am sure you know how the list works by now, but just in case:

Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

You will see there is lots of plain type, but no italics, the reason for that probably being that if I had wanted to do it I probably would have done it by now. Anyway here goes:

  1. Own an Android or Windows tablet or an iPad
  2. Use a tablet or iPad for genealogy related purposes
  3. Have used Skype for genealogy purposes
  4. Have used a camera to capture images in a library/archives/ancestor’s home [have you seen the cost of photocopies these days?]
  5. Use a genealogy software program on your computer to manage your family tree
  6. Have a Twitter account
  7. Tweet daily
  8. Have a genealogy blog [I think so]
  9. Have more than one genealogy blog
  10. Have lectured/presented to a genealogy group on a technology topic
  11. Currently an active member of Genealogy Wise
  12. Have a Facebook Account
  13. Have connected with genealogists via Facebook
  14. Maintain a genealogy related Facebook Page
  15. Maintain a blog or website for a genealogy society
  16. Have submitted text corrections online to Ancestry, Trove or a similar site
  17. Have registered a domain name [several over the years]
  18. Post regularly to Google+
  19. Have a blog listed on Geneabloggers
  20. Have transcribed/indexed records for FamilySearch or a similar project
  21. Own a Flip-Pal or hand-held scanner [it is difficult scanning sections of 4' x 3' maps without a hand-held scanner]
  22. Can code a webpage in .html [but haven't done so in years]
  23. Own a smartphone
  24. Have a personal subscription to one or more paid genealogy databases
  25. Use a digital voice recorder to record genealogy lectures
  26. Have contributed to a genealogy blog carnival [I really miss the Festival of Postcards]
  27. Use Chrome as a Browser
  28. Have participated in a genealogy webinar
  29. Have taken a DNA test for genealogy purposes
  30. Have a personal genealogy website
  31. Have found mention of an ancestor in an online newspaper archive
  32. Have tweeted during a genealogy lecture
  33. Have scanned your hardcopy genealogy files [ditch the paper, it wastes too much space]
  34. Use an RSS Reader to follow genealogy news and blogs
  35. Have uploaded a gedcom file to a site like Geni, MyHeritage or Ancestry
  36. Own a netbook
  37. Use a computer/tablet/smartphone to take genealogy lecture notes
  38. Have a profile on LinkedIn that mentions your genealogy habit
  39. Have developed a genealogy software program, app or widget
  40. Have listened to a genealogy podcast online
  41. Have downloaded genealogy podcasts for later listening [something to do on my way to work]
  42. Backup your files to a portable hard drive
  43. Have a copy of your genealogy files stored offsite [several copies in fact]
  44. Know about Rootstech [just because I know about it doesn't mean I am interested in it]
  45. Have listened to a Blogtalk radio session about genealogy [not listened live, see No. 41]
  46. Use Dropbox, SugarSync or other service to save documents in the cloud [don't trust clouds, they often bring rain with them]
  47. Schedule regular email backups [do it manually, but anything important is copied elsewhere anyway]
  48. Have contributed to the Familysearch Wiki
  49. Have scanned and tagged your genealogy photographs [scanned them, but not felt the need to tag them yet]
  50. Have published a genealogy book in an online/digital format

So there you go, 18 out of 50 and proud of it, especially not being on Facebook, Twitter, Genealogy Wise or Google+. In fact it is a little but higher than I expected. I do however resent getting a point for knowing about Rootstech, when I would be quite happy not knowing about it, but I cannot un-know about it now.

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