Tag Archives: ancestors

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!

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.

Introducing “My Ancestors” page

16 Jan

Those of you who are reading my blog posts through Google Reader or some other feed reader my have missed the fact that I have added a new page to my blog.

This new static page is entitled My Ancestors and can be accessed from the link at the top of my blog. It list the names of 120 of my direct ancestors, those of my great-grandparents, my 2x great-grandparents, my 3x great-grandparents and my 4x great-grandparents.

I have been meaning to put up this page for a while (admittedly it has been available for several weeks already), partly to get the names of all my direct ancestors out on the internet, but also to act as an index to my various Ancestral Profile posts.

You will notice that the majority of my ancestors don’t have dates associated with them yet and that is my next job, to add some more detailed information to each person, at least dates but hopefully also places.

I am fortunate that many of the surnames in my family tree are quite unusual and most of them are from Sussex, but it still needs a little more detail to make it easier to find out if we are related.

Your Family History: A new family history magazine for the UK

22 Apr

Your Family Tree Today I picked up the first edition (May 2010) of a new UK family history magazine Your Family History. It is published by Wharncliffe Publishing Ltd and is an unofficial successor to the discontinued Ancestors magazine (it also has the same cover price of £3.99).

At first glance it is very similar in appearance to Ancestors and has all the features you would expect from a family history magazine, such as news, internet news, reviews, lists of events and courses.

There are some interesting articles in this first edition. Of topical interest is an article on the genealogy of the three main candidates in the 2010 Election. On the practical side there is a beginner’s guide to making a video biography.

I was intrigued by the article on the supposed failed German invasion on the Suffolk coast (Shingle Street) in 1940. It certainly made me interested in reading more about the story and will check my local library for some of the material mentioned in the article.

This first issue has a Spotlight on Sussex which I was naturally drawn to. It contains details of the three main archives in Sussex, the West Sussex Record Office, the East Sussex Record Office and the Brighton History Centre. There is also an article on the private archives of Hatfield House, Hertfordshire.

The theme of archives continues in The Last Word, where Nick Barratt (Editor-in-Chief) reminds us that our archives and local study centres are in danger of closure and cuts, and need our support to ensure their survival.

It is an encouraging first issue, a worthy successor to Ancestors. There is a good selection of experts (who we are introduced to in this first issue) writing on a wide range of subjects and answering readers queries

You can find out more about the first issue, learn about the experts, subscribe to the magazine, sign up to the newsletter and submit your stories on their website.

Ancestors Magazine to close

5 Mar

It was with sadness that I read Simon Fowler’s post this morning, announcing that the April 2010 edition of Ancestors Magazine would be the last.

The magazine, published by The National Archives and Wharncliffe Publishing Ltd, will finish just short of it’s 100th edition.

During it’s time the magazine has provided a wealth of news and information for British (although mainly English) family historians, many of the articles drawing from the collections of The National Archives (and other archives) and from the expertise of the staff there as well as other experts in the field.

As an example of the variety of content found in the magazine, the March 2010 edition included articles on body snatchers, Court of Chancery records, wages and currency conversion, highway surveyors and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It would be hard not to find something of interest amongst it’s pages.

UPDATE (09/03/10): According to The National Archives website, there is the possiblity of a replacement for Ancestors in the works, “We are currently discussing plans to launch a new magazine from The National Archives in the autumn. This work is being led by Simon Fowler, the current editor of ‘Ancestors’, and his team.

Magazine Watch: Ancestors (Issue 92: London Special 2010)

27 Jan

The latest edition of Ancestors magazine from The National Archives is a special edition focusing on the city of London. As the editor Simon Fowler says "Many of our ancestors were drawn to the capital for work, education and pleasure – even if they just passed through the city. No other place in Britain had the same irresistible attraction."

There is a great selection of articles in this issue, covering a wide variety of subjects including features on resources at the Society of Genealogists and the Bishopsgate Institute.

It would be hard to pick out my favourite article from this issue, there really are so many fascinating articles. The interview with novelist Lee Jackson has introduced me to a wonderful resource, the Dictionary of Victorian London which was a result of the background research for his historical novels.

My favourite article (and it was a tough choice) has to be the one by the editor Simon Fowler entitled Drunk and Disorderly, which describes the life of Jane Cakebread who "over a 15 year period, received nearly 300 sentences" for being found drunk and disorderly.

Although she became a well-known figure through the media of the time and despite the best efforts of one or two individuals, she ended her time in a pauper asylum, with only one person attending her funeral.

The most helpful article is probably Peter Christian’s Mapping the Metropolis which is an excellent summary of the maps of London which are available online. It is going to take some time to explore all the sources mentioned, although one worth highlighting is the Crace Collection of Maps of London at the British Library.

This has to be one of the best issues of the magazine I have seen for a long time, it is packed with interesting and informative articles concerning the city that plays a key part in so many of our ancestor’s lives.

How far do you go?

19 Jan

As I have been trying to go through my files and tidy up my database I have run into the old question that has bugged me on and off for many years. Just how far do I go with my research?

Really what I am talking about is how much research to I do on a family that is only linked by marriage to one of my relations. One example is the family of Herbert Ebenezer BARRETT.

My 2x great-aunt Ethel Mary TROWER married Herbert Ebenezer BARRETT in 1925 and they had one child. Now I am happy researching the lives of both Ethel and Herbert and their child (and any descendants from that child), but how far do I go back the other way.

It goes without saying that I should trace the TROWER family, because that is the line that I am descended from, but what about the BARRETT family?

I can’t see any justification for going back beyond Herbert’s parents, unless there is something someone particularly wants to know, for instance if I was to make contact with a descendant of Herbert and Ethel and they asked me to find out more about the other side of the family.

Whilst I can see some justification in researching the parents and siblings of Herbert, I can’t see any point in adding all their details to my database. I could quite easily add another nine names to my family tree (two parents and seven siblings) but that is just making more work and leaving more loose ends that need tying up.

So I have decided (yes, I made a decision for once in my life!) I need to get some discipline into my tree and cut down the amount of work I have to do, so from now on I am going to include only the spouse as an actual individual in my family tree, unless there is very good reason, and the only examples I can think of are:

  1. A famous or noteworthy sibling or parent (purely for bragging rights)
  2. Where there was some recorded interaction between the siblings or parents (possibly other relations) after marriage (such as living with them during the census).
  3. Where another sibling of the spouse married another of my relations (for instance if Herbert’s sister had married one of Ethel’s brothers), where adding parents and siblings to my tree will show the relationship between the two couples clearer.

All the other information that I gather as a result of my research into the spouse of my relation (such as who his siblings were and where his parent’s lived and what they did for a living) will be recorded as a note with the spouse in my database, should I ever need to go back to it and follow it up.

By defining some ground rules and sticking to them (examples one and two above are vague enough to allow some flexibility) should reduce the amount of work and save me worrying too much about how much work I should be doing.

My questions to you are: What rules do you use when deciding who to research? Can you see any potential flaws in my rules? Let me know in the comments section below.

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