Tag Archives: christmas

Weekly Genealogy Preview (for week 50)

6 Dec

Not much actual research done last week, but I did clear a lot from my stuff to sort folder by scanning pages rather than actually going through them and deciding what to do with them. I didn’t get a lot done on the presentation of my chart for my Christmas Tree Project, so that will be carried over to this coming week as well.

  • Priority is to get as much research done as possible on my Christmas Tree Project, mostly in East Sussex and Kent, just filling in missing details for my ancestors.
  • Prepare for a trip to the London Family History Centre. This Saturday will be my last chance to get up there before Christmas and whilst I don’t particularly relish the idea of head up to London a couple of weeks before Christmas I need to make the most of the opportunity.
  • Work on the presentation of my chart. Create the headshot photos and work on the text scheme for the ancestor boxes.
  • Get rid of my stuff to sort folder. I think this week I will actually be able to finish sorting out my paperwork. I have only a few pages left, and most of that is scanning, so I think I will have it finished this week.
  • I should get a birth certificate this week for one of the younger children of Thomas and Rebecca BATEMAN (my 4x great-grandparents). This should give me Rebecca’s maiden name which I think is TOWNSEND, but need to be sure.

Apart from family history I need to start thinking seriously about Christmas, I might start writing cards this week, which if I do will be a record for me, usually it is a lot later than this (just in time for the last posting date).

My Christmas Tree Project

5 Oct

I have mentioned my goal of having a chart of all my ancestors back to my 4x great grandparents printed in time for Christmas several time recently, but I thought it would be a good idea to go into some detail about my why I want to do this and what I want to achieve.

I have decided to call it My Christmas Tree Project because it is my family tree and I want it to be ready for Christmas, but mainly because I needed something short and simple to call it when I write or talk about it.

The finished product will be a printed chart, showing all my direct ancestors up to and including my 4x great grandparents. I am not sure if it is all going to fit on one chart and still be readable, I may have to have it printed in two halves.

The choice of 4x great grandparents was purely because that seemed the most achievable. I could have chosen 3x great grandparents and printed it tomorrow, but that would have given me nothing to aim for. Instead I now have a challenge to work towards, as well as a deadline.

I want to be able to show the tree around at Christmas when families gather, or visit. It will be a talking point, and whilst I don’t expect anyone to be able to add anything else to earlier generations, I do hope that I will be able to draw out information, and possibly photos of more recent ancestors.

Naturally part of it is an ego trip for me, being able to show off what I have achieved and show that all the time spent in front of the computer or in the record office and library has achieved something tangible.

So far most of my research has been trapped on my PC and more recently with the purchase of a netbook I have been able to share it easier, but I think people will be able to relate better to a printed chart than a small computer screen.

Of course a printed chart will only be able to contain a fraction of my research, for starters it will only have my direct ancestors on it, and I won’t be able to go into much detail on each individual, and will miss out some of the more interesting characters I have come across in my extended family.

The process of researching and preparing my data will also force me to review my data and fill in a lot of gaps that I have either forgotten to finish, or just skipped over on the way to something which seemed more interesting.

Currently I have twelve of my 4x great grandparents still to find, and five 4x great grandmothers whose maiden names I do not know yet. This week I will be putting together a plan to identify each of these seventeen individuals.

Some will be quite straight forward, such as requiring the purchase of a child’s birth certificate to provide the mother’s maiden name, but some are going to be more tricky because they are before the start of civil registration and detailed census returns.

Over the next couple of months I won’t be working exclusively on this project, and in many cases it will necessary to wait for a certificate to arrive or to get chance to visit a record office, so some of my other projects will get a look in. Also I won’t just stop at my 4x great grandparents, whilst I am at an archive it makes sense to carry on and try and go back further if possible.

Ultimately if I don’t find all 64 of my 4x great grandparents I am just going to have to live with the fact that my tree won’t look perfect, but in nature trees seldom do, so I shouldn’t get too hung up if mine doesn’t either.

The fear of failure and finding my 4x great grandparents

3 Oct

I have been slowly working through my tree trying to identify all my 4x great grandparents, but I think I have reached a point now where there is very little I can do without a visit to a couple of archives, and spending a serious amount of time searching.

So far I have identified 52 out of 64 of my 4x great grandparents to a varying degree. Some of the women haven’t got a maiden name yet, some I have only the briefest of details for, but most have more than just a name. Some have more detail if they were alive during the census years.

Filling in the gaps is going to be my goal for November, although I may start early. What is really worrying me is the missing 12 individuals, and the realisation that I might never find out who they all are.

There are some who I just need to get to the right archive. For instance the MITCHELLs and POCOCKs from Hampshire will probably require a visit to Winchester and the Hampshire Record Office, or maybe the London Family History Centre.

Then there are the parents of Ellen NICHOLLS who may or may not have married William GEERING. From the census I have a clue where she came from but without a marriage record giving me her father’s name it is going to be hard to say for certain that I have found the right person.

Many months ago I wrote about Henry WRIGHT and his wife (or partner possibly) Sarah Ann, who appear not to have married either. I have not looked at their data for a while, because it was doing my head in.

Part of me thinks that if I never find all these 12 people I will have failed, I will never know completely who my ancestors were and it is not worth continuing, so I should stop now.

I need to accept that whether it is this generation, the next one or four generations further back I will inevitably run into a dead end that is never going to be solved no matter how much time and money I throw at it.

But now is not time to give up, perhaps it is a time to focus on something else for a while, but I have given myself October to identify all my 4x great grandparents, so I still have time to complete it (ultimately I want to find all my ancestors back to my 4x great grandparents so I can produce a printed tree to share with the family at Christmas).

I have one weeks holiday coming up soon which will enable me to get out and get some research done. So the next step will be to draw up a research plan for each of these 12 individuals to make sure I make the most of my research time. With the other 52 I need to identify any obvious gaps, such as missing maiden names so I can fill in those as well whilst I am out researching.

Most of all I need to stop worrying and accept that one day I will have a brick wall that cannot be destroyed no matter how hard I try, and that I will not have failed when that does happen. It will just make my tree look a bit odd, with one branch shorter than the others!

The 1911 census coming to findmypast.com on subscription

20 Sep

From sometime in October 2009 the 1911 census will be available from findmypast.com on a yearly or six monthly subscription. Up until now it has only been available on a PayAsYouGo basis, but at last a more cost effective option is available.

The subscription will be on top of the normal findmypast Explorer subscription, although there will be a discount on the 1911 subscription for existing findmypast.com subscribers, and the 1911 census will still be available on PayAsYouGo at 1911census.co.uk.

The cost for a year will be £59.95 (without the discount) and for six months it will be £39.95. Further details can be found on findmypast.com and the 1911census.co.uk blog. The 1911 subscription can also be bought (or upgraded) along with the normal Explorer subscription.

The question now is do I need to buy a subscription, if I did there are lots of people in my family tree that I could look up, but I don’t think any of them are important to my research at the moment. I could just be generating myself a lot more work, and heaven knows I have plenty of that already, so I will probably stick with PayAsYouGo for the time being, but Christmas is not far around the corner and perhaps this might be on my wish list!

Planning my next big challenge

10 Sep

I have been looking ahead to a time when all my organising is complete and all my files are in order, and thinking about what I want to do next.

I know I have several more detailed projects already on the go, but what I would really like to do is have another intensive genealogy weekend like I did earlier in the year. This time I would like to try and identify all my 4x great grandparents.

I had a quick count up last night and found that I already have some details for half of them, so that only leaves me another 32 ancestors to go.

I realise that 32 ancestors in a weekend is probably not going to be achievable, especially as some of these individuals are going to require a trip to the record office or London Family History Centre.

So in the next few weeks, as I transition from organising to researching, I am going to start doing some groundwork, pick off some of the easy ancestors and identify some of the problem ones.

I also need to go through and make sure I have all the details for the earlier generations and make sure I have all the basic information for them, so that means birth, marriage, death (or baptism and burial) and census details for all available years. Fortunately I can run a query on Family Historian which will show me which data I have and what is missing.

And the reason why I want to do this? Well, by the end of the year I would like to have printed a family tree of all my ancestors. Not as a Christmas present for anyone in particular (other than me), but as a talking point for when the family gathers at that time of year, hopefully to stimulate a bit of interest in our ancestry.

So by the end of October I would like to have the majority of the research done, I can then spend November adding as many photos as possible and worrying about presentation and then in December I can get it printed, and perhaps a working copy to scribble on around the table after Christmas dinner.

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