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Personal Genealogy Update: Week 46

14 Nov

I didn’t achieve a great deal of what I had set out to do last week, instead I ended up spending most of my time working on the BOXALL war memorial blog posts. I did do a few bits of transcribing here and there, but it was mostly war memorial work.

I guess I wasn’t quite as well prepared for writing the posts as I had thought, and once I had started writing I realised that there was so much more that I would like to have found out if I had more time. In a way this has proved to me the value of blogging, in helping to identify what I know and what I don’t know.

I need to decide whether I am going to continue working on some or all of these BOXALLs, there are a lot more sources that I could check, for example I should go through the local newspaper for mentions of them and consult the actual medal rolls to check battalion details and look for previous battalions.

My current thinking is that it would probably be worth my while searching the local newspaper anyway, regardless of whether it is just for the BOXALLs, there are probably many other interesting stories waiting to be discovered in West Dean. Next time I am down at the West Sussex Record Office I will probably make a start on that even though it may a couple of visits.

I think I will try and find out more about the service of the two BOXALLs that are my closest relations, Leonard Arthur and Walter Henry. I will however also put the others on my list of things to do for the next time I visit The National Archives.

I still can’t get away from the idea of a One-Place Study on West Dean. I know it is foolish to even think I have the time for it, but I feel it would be beneficial for me to carry out. Probably I will just start one, but not tell anyone about it, just so I can see if I do have time for it, then I won’t feel I have let anyone down if I don’t complete it, there is nothing worse than a half-finished abandoned website.

This week I think I will and get back to some sorting out, starting with updating all the material that I have gathered during my work on the West Dean war memorial (and updating my to-do list), but it is time I had a general tidy up around my computer desk, get rid of all the newspaper photocopies that are now scanned, and generally have a bit of a sort out.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 45

7 Nov

Last week was a good week, for once I think I accomplished pretty much everything that I had set out to achieve. Admittedly I had set my goals pretty low, but if that is what it takes then so be it.

It was mostly a week of scanning. At long last the four wills that I received several weeks ago have been scanned, along with all the newspaper articles from last weekend and the weekend before. I am really pleased to have got them all captured digitally at last.

I haven’t thrown away the originals of the newspaper articles yet, because I haven’t quite finished transcribing them all, but this week I will get them finished and bin the paper copies. Then I can make a start on transcribing the wills, but because I paid good money for those I won’t be getting rid of the paper copies any time soon. I didn’t attempt to scan any bits of the large Ordnance Survey maps that I bought from the West Sussex Record Office, but I might give that a try this week.

I am not sure what else I am going to do this week, I think I might have a bit of a look around and see what other pieces of paper I have that need scanning and transcribing. I also need to have a look in my “current projects” folder, most of the projects are no longer current, they still need completing but I don’t know when I will get around to it, so I might as well have a bit of a purge and see what I need to keep and what I can throw away.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 44

31 Oct

Last week was quite a good week, with the high point being yesterday’s visit to Brighton History Centre and coming home with lots of photocopies of newspaper articles. Of course that means more work, as I need to get the copies scanned, transcribed and the details included in my database.

Two of the newspaper articles concern a very distant pair of relations, but it was such an interesting story that I needed to follow it up. This means even more work as I need to put all the details for these distant relations into my tree to make the connection with my ancestors and me. On top of that the story needs more work done on it, there are still lots of loose ends to tie up.

Last week I did more work on the 27 children of James and Caroline BOXALL. I spent some time having a detailed look at the baptisms, births, deaths and burials for West Dean, Sussex trying to discover whether I am ever likely to find all 27 children. The are probably three or four death certificates that I need to order, but even if they are all James and Caroline’s children I am still some way from finding all 27 children. This makes me wonder whether it is worth the effort (and money) when I am never going to find all of the children.

I did get last weeks newspaper articles scanned and transcribed, but I never got around to scanning and transcribing the wills. They have been sitting on my desk now for at least three weeks, and nothing is going to happen to them unless I start the process and get them scanned. At least once they are scanned I know they will be backed up and easily accessible whether at home or on the move, so that I can work on them wherever and whenever I have the time.

So this week is going to be mainly a scanning week, there are a couple of postcards that I need to do, but it is going to be mostly photocopies of newspaper articles. I might even try some “spot” scanning of my maps, they are rather large (3½ft x 2½ft) so I can only scan small parts of them and even that is going to be a bit of a juggling act.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 43

24 Oct

I didn’t really get a great deal achieved last week. Of course there was the trip down to Chichester yesterday, but I spent most of my free time thinking about this blog and the way forward, essentially trying to streamline things and make more time for actual family history research.

I have scanned my latest batch of postcards, like I was planning to, but I never got around to scanning the four wills, let alone start transcribing them. I must at least get them scanned this week and try to make a start on transcribing them. I also need to scan the two newspaper articles that I copied down at Chichester, and transcribe them as well.

I have done more work on the BOXALLs of West Dean, Sussex and I think I have achieved my original goal of identifying the six BOXALLs on the war memorial at West Dean. I am still a little unsure about one of the men, and there may also be one other who is not recorded on the memorial. This week I need to start pulling everything together, but also there is so much more work that I could be doing on the BOXALLs, there are so many of them that I could keep going for ages.

So this week is going to be mostly organising and sorting out, a bit of scanning and possibly some transcribing. I will be really interested to see if my blogging plans actually help free up my time for family history. Also I need to try and decide what I am going to do with the bundle of maps that I bought yesterday.

Overcoming my blogging challenges – Part 2

22 Oct

I must confess to being quite excited about my new plans for this blog, not that there is going to be any major changes, just that I am going to try and be a little bit more organised so that I am blogging more efficiently, thus making more time for actual research.

There will be some new daily blogging themes, although they are not really new, more a case that I haven’t used them on a regular basis before. The intention is that I will know what sort of post I am supposed to be writing on each day, but there is lots of scope within each theme for plenty of variety.

There is also plenty of scope to allow me to make a whole week’s posts based on a particular subject, such as a place or a person. Also I will occasionally do away with the themes altogether for "special occasions", like genealogy conferences or Remembrance Day.

In essence what I am saying is that although I am setting myself some guidelines, they are not hard and fast rules, so expect things to change. That is assuming of course that I can stick to my plans, which is by no means guaranteed, and it goes without saying that I will probably have switched everything round within a couple of weeks anyway.

Now the only thing I have to sort out is the crazy idea that I should turn my current obsession with the parish of West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex into a one-place study. One part of me says "go for it, it would be a great subject for a one-place study", but the more practical part of me says "when are you ever going to find time to fit that in as well?"

I just can’t get the idea out of my head at the moment and I am already mentally making plans, but I know it is just not practical at the moment, but more ideas still keep coming, the more I try and suppress them the more they demand to be brought to life. I need to be strong for now and not give in to them, but I think I will have to eventually.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 42

17 Oct

Last week was a good week. I managed to get quite a bit of work done, discovered a couple of other stories to follow up and best of all, the four will copies arrived in the post on Thursday.

Having written about the delays with the issuing of copies of wills, the four wills I had ordered towards the end of August have arrived. I haven’t studied them in great detail yet, but like I suspected there doesn’t appear to be any major revelations contained within them. This week I have to get them scanned and transcribed and see what information I can extract from them.

Most of my work has has been focused on the BOXALL family of West Dean, and I have made good progress on tracing the six BOXALLs on the West Dean war memorial, although two of them are proving rather tricky to track down. The other four are definitely related to me, but this week I need to try and pin down the final two.

I now also want to investigate the story that James and Caroline BOXALL, my 2x great-grandparents, had 27 children. I only have details of 12 children and the 1911 census records that they had 13 "Children Born Alive", but four had died. I am going to have to do some careful analysis of some baptism and burial records and birth and death registration indexes, to see if I can identify any of the missing children.

I need to spend some time looking in local newspapers, possibly for birth announcements, but more likely for obituaries of James and Caroline and also for their wedding anniversaries. I also need to check the local newspapers for a mention of the six BOXALLs on the war memorial, and of course any mention of the dedication of the war memorial itself.

My hope is to visit Chichester next weekend and spend several hours on a microfilm reader and in the archives. So this week I need to create a list of dates and subjects to look up in preparation for my visit. I also want get the four wills scanned, although I don’t think I will have time to get them all transcribed during the week, whilst I am scanning them I need to scan the latest batch of postcards as well.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 41

10 Oct

Last week got off to a slow start, or rather it got off to a very quick start and before I knew it I was half-way through the week and hadn’t really achieved much. This spurred me into action and although I didn’t really achieve a great deal I did come to a decision about yet another new project that I want to start.

My recent visit to West Dean, Sussex has brought the project into focus, but it was something that I had been meaning to start for a long time. I had been intending to write a series of blog posts about the BOXALLs of West Dean remembered on the parish war memorial, the plan was for this to be in time for Remembrance Day this year.

There are six BOXALLs mentioned on the war memorial and at least four of them are related to me. My plan is to fill in some details on my family tree and hopefully identify my relationship to all six of the men, and provide some details on them and their service. So I am going to kill two birds with one stone, fill in some details on my family tree and generate some material for a few blog posts.

I have no doubt that I will still find other things to distract me whilst carrying out the research on this particular project, hopefully this focus will encourage me to get on with some research and I am already planning to visit the West Sussex Records Office and Chichester Library in the next couple of weeks. There is much I can do online as well, and there is a lot that I need to do before I go the WSRO.

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