Tag Archives: 5x great-grandparents

Time to pull myself out of a genealogy slump

9 May

The last couple of weeks have been pretty quiet for my family history research. Apart from doing a little bit of filing, which took far longer than it should have, I haven’t really done my family history work.

I have done quite a bit of reading and an awful lot ofworrying about what I should be doing, but not actually getting down to actually doing any research. It hasn’t helped that there have been plenty of distractions this last couple of months.

I have been working longer hours recently, the weather has been fantastic enabling me to get out and do some walking (with lots of bank holidays providing me the opportunity to get out and about). On top of that we have entered lawn mowing season and several hours a week have been spent cutting my parent’s grass.

So I haven’t been sitting around doing nothing but I am starting to miss the pleasure of family history research. I am missing the excitement of waiting for a certificate to arrive, the sense of discovery in following a previously unexplored line or the challenge of overcoming a brick wall.

I need to try to get back into a routine again, of doing some family history research every evening after work. There are plenty of projects I could be working on at home, without having to get out to an archive. I am still supposed to be trying to find all my 5x great-grandparents and although I am going to be more reliant on visiting archives for this, there is still a lot I can do at home.

This week I am going to try to get a birth certificate ordered for one of the children of Thomas and Mary WELLER of Twineham, Sussex. This should give me Mary’s maiden name and give me the confidence to explore this branch of my family tree with some certainty.

Whilst I am waiting for the certificate to arrive I need to get back into my DRAPPER/NICHOLLS research, if only in preparation for a visit to an archive. I know that visit probably won’t be soon, but at least I can be ready for it when the time does come.

The other thing I want to work on is the Gun Inn/Farm in Blackboys, Sussex. Whilst organising my notes a couple of weeks ago I went through my notes from the license registers and need to tie all these together with newspaper reports and other census and directory information to create a history of the inn (technically it was actually a beerhouse).

I have a couple of other non-genealogy tasks to complete this week, but once I get them out of the way I am going to get stuck back in again!

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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Why so many of my 5x great-grandparents are missing

22 Feb

I have started in my attempt to find all my 5x great-grandparents with a review of the existing data, the work needed and possible problems. I didn’t get very far before I realised that there was a good reason why I hadn’t identified these direct ancestors yet.

It is not going to be an easy project (if it was that easy then I would probably have found them already) for a number of reasons, there are a few specific issues like illegitimacy but several common issues, largely due to the dates I am talking about.

Specifically I am talking about a time before civil registration began in 1837 and before the first detailed census in 1841. So there is now marriage certificate to give me a father’s name, no birth certificates with a mother’s maiden name and no age or place of birth information from the census.

Although these obstacles are not uncommon and not insurmountable, when they are coupled with missing parish registers, illegitimacy and even a bit of migration within the country it can all add up to a major challenge.

In some cases it is going to mean a bit of guess-work to narrow down the choices to several likely parents and then work forwards trying to find evidence for children (and grandchildren) perhaps in a will or as an informant in a later birth or death certificate, hopefully building up enough evidence to prove a connection.

Fortunately most of these people lived locally (in Sussex, Kent and Hampshire) with only a few slightly further afield (Cumberland, Gloucestershire and possibly Somerset) which will be a bit harder to research, but not impossible.

My Ancestral Profile post a couple of days ago was the result of my first review of information. Since then I think I have found out what happened to Ann’s daughter (also called Ann) and where she was born (Heathfield, Sussex) but still need to prove it. Checking my dates it is quite possible that Ann was the daughter of Francis HOWLETT but I just don’t have the hard evidence to back it up yet.

Setting myself another challenge

19 Feb

My research has been pretty much without direction for several months, I have been jumping from person to person and from place to place without any real idea of what I was hoping to achieve.

It is about time I introduced some focus back into my research, but the problem has always been too much choice. There are just so many lines to pursue and relatives to chase that I have struggled to make a decision, until now.

Over a year ago now I undertook what I called my “Christmas Tree Project”, trying to identify all my 4x great-grandparents. In the end I fell short by three ancestors, but the project was very worthwhile and gave some focus to my research.

The next logical step is to move back a generation and focus on my 5x great-grandparents, all 128 of them! The good news is that I already have some details for 69 out of the 128 ancestors, but the big obstacle will be the three ancestors that it missed last time, I need to work again on identifying them before I can find their parents.

There will be two big differences this time, first I am going to give myself more time, in fact I think it might be an open-ended exercise or until I run out of ideas or enthusiasm. The second difference will be that I am probably not going to be able to print a physical copy of a family tree including all these generations, so I will have to think about putting all the details into an online tree.

I am hoping that this project will help bring back some focus to my research, I realise it will still mean a bit of jumping about from person to person and place to place, but at least there will be some method to my madness.

At the same time I shall carry on with all the other projects that I have been working on, there are still lots of things on my to-do lists that need working on, but then it seems that family historians are never happy unless their plates are overflowing with work to do.

Where now for My Christmas Tree Project?

22 Dec

Now my Christmas Tree Project is complete, or as complete as it is going to be for the time being, it is time to think about what I am going to do next with it, apart from stop calling it the Christmas Tree Project.

I like having a visual representation of my ancestry, so I think I will probably carry on and try to fill in the next row of ancestors. These are my 5 x great-grandparents, and I already have 69 out of 128 identified with varying degrees of detail.

There are of course many details still to fill in, some of the details I have are quite sparse, and there are more ancestors still alive at the time of the 1911 census to be found than I previously thought.

Three of my 4x great-grandparents are still missing, and one wife still has no maiden name, so finding those are a priority.

Finding my 5x great-grandparents however is not going to be top priority, I will probably be focusing more on specific branches and families in specific locations next year, rather than trying to find all of that generation.

Now I know how to get a chart printed, and how straight-forward it is, I will try and get it updated on a regular basis, perhaps every couple of months, tweaking and fiddling with the text in the boxes and fine tuning the layout as I go along.

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