Tag Archives: research

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 47

21 Nov

I am quite pleased with what I achieved last week, despite being away from home for a large part of it. I have got rid of a whole load of photocopies because they are now scanned and transcribed, plus I have worked through a few older ones that I have been hanging on to for too long.

This time last year I was in the middle of my Christmas Tree Project, trying to find all my ancestors back to my 4x great-grandparents and getting a chart printed before Christmas. This year in the run up to Christmas I will be taking things a lot easier, partly because I don’t have the time to do all the rushing about.

In the coming weeks I intend to focus on sorting out the last remaining bits of paper I have hanging around, doing a quick scan through my hard drive just to make sure everything is still in order and then settling down to do some housekeeping on my database.

I envisage the housekeeping part of this to consist of checking each individual in my database for the key bits of information: birth, baptism, marriage, death, burial, census, military service, probate. A lot of new records have been released online this year and I need to spend some time bringing everyone up to date.

Some of this information I can update straight away, like the census, but others will need to be put on my to-do list for the next time I visit a particular archive or record office. I am not sure if this is an achievable task within the next few weeks, but it doesn’t really matter if it isn’t because it can carry on into next year.

Apart from that, I need to start casting my eyes towards Carlisle again and the KINGHORN family. I had planned to visit the Carlisle Record Office this year, but it closed earlier in the year whilst it was being relocated. It is due to re-open in January 2011 and I hope to get up there for a few days when it does. I have no idea if it is going according to schedule, but for my part I need to start thinking about what research I want to do when I finally get there.

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.

Six reasons why postcard collecting is like family history research

28 Sep

As I sat on the train making my way to the postcard fair at Woking last Saturday I started considering the similarities between postcard collecting and family history research. I came to the conclusion that there is some common ground between them which probably explains why I love doing them both.

1. The thrill of the chase is as important as the end result – If someone handed you a neatly bound, fully sourced copy of your complete family history you would probably be interested, but not as interested as if you had put in all the effort and done the research yourself. In the same respect if someone handed you an album of postcards you would be pleased, but you would be lacking the experiences and feelings that go with the whole process of searching and discovering.

2. It can take a long time to find what you want – Patience is a virtue they say, and never more so than when it comes to family history research and postcard collecting. There may be some short cuts (and the internet has made things easier), but in both cases it might take a long time to find what you are looking for, that is if you find it at all.

3. The thrill of discovery is a huge part of the experience – Nothing beats the feeling of finding the answer to a particularly difficult question, or locating a missing ancestor who has been hiding for years. Well, the same feeling of euphoria is experienced when you discover a particularly unusual, unexpected or long sought after postcard.

4. Each discovery leads to more questions – Every record you discover seems to lead to more questions, finding a missing individual is just the start of a longer process of find out more about the individual. Discovering a new postcard can also be the start of a longer research process, so many more questions are raised such as who is on the postcard? What does it look like now? Who published it? When was it published? Who was it sent to? What does the message tell you?

5. You never know quite what you are going find – A good example is the WW1 British Army Service Records, you may not be certain that someone served with the army during WW1, and until you actually look you don’t know whether the record survived. With postcards there is very rarely any way of knowing what postcards were actually published and how many examples (if any) have survived.

6. The internet has made both of them a lot easier – It may not be the complete solution and of course not everything is on the internet, but it has become a lot easier to find you ancestors and postcards online these days. The postcard collecting community hasn’t embraced the internet as whole-heartedly as the family history community (but it is getting there) and sites like eBay make adding postcards to your collection far too easy!

Do you share my passion for postcards? Do you think there are other similarities between family history research and postcard collecting? What do you think makes them different? Let me know in the comments below…

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 36

5 Sep

Last week was quite a good week for genealogy. I have been finding plenty of things to keep me occupied. There has been very little structure or logic, just picking off records or individuals as the mood takes me. This is certainly not a very efficient way of work (sometimes meaning I am going over old ground again) but it seems to be working for me at the moment.

I must be careful not to fall into the trap of doing nothing whilst waiting for things to arrive. I have orders out for copies of wills and a marriage licence allegation, and the danger is that I will use the fact that I am waiting for them to arrive as an excuse not to do any work.

I have discovered a batch of Framfield marriages which I had transferred to my spreadsheet, but I have not added all the details to my database. Most of these are HEMSLEYs and I have several marriages where the HEMSLEY is not on my database. There were lots of HEMSLEYs in Framfield, Sussex and I would imagine that all of them are relations, it is just that they haven’t been connected yet. That is one job for this week, connect them all up, in particular the ancestors and descendants of Trayton HEMSLEY.

I need to get down to some scanning this week, mostly postcards, but a few other family history bits and pieces. I am going to have to think of a way of getting more postcards on this blog, also I am still thinking about creating a database of my postcards, partly for my own reference and partly to enable them to be shared easier. This is the problem with going to the Picture Postcard Show, it fills me with all sorts of ideas, which I don’t have the time to carry out.

I might also restart the research I was doing on one of the local postcard photographers. I also want to start compiling a guide for dating British postcards, mainly for my own reference because I have yet to find a comprehensive guide to the many features of postcards that allow the approximate date to be worked out.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 34

22 Aug

I don’t know quite what happened last week, I didn’t really achieve a great deal, in fact I am struggling to remember what I did achieve this week. I guess I have been a bit lazy this week, I have had opportunities to do family history but have been distracted by other things.

I did get started on capturing details from the National Probate Calendar, but I didn’t get far. One entry I did look at was the entry for Thomas DRIVER (my 3x great-grandfather) and this illustrated one of the problems of these entries. The names of the two executors, his daughter and son-in-law, lead to tracing them and their children. It is a good problem to have, but it makes it all very time consuming.

One positive thing that I did do last week was join Surrey libraries. My week means that I have the opportunity to visit Horley library during my lunch break and after work, in fact it will probably be easier to visit Horley library than my local library at Horsham. The main benefit of library membership is access to their online library including the Times Digital Archive and Nineteenth Century Newspapers websites.

I need to try and get focused again this week, I suppose I have been spending more time writing about family history than actually doing any research. I guess it boils down once again to being more organised.

I need to order the copies of wills that I said I was going to last week, and I need to process the two BATEMAN certificates that I didn’t get around to working on last week. Apart from that I will probably just work on capturing more probate entries.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 33

15 Aug

There was one big distraction this week, fortunately it was a genealogical distraction. I spent much longer than I had anticipated looking at the newly released National Probate Calendars on Ancestry.co.uk.

So far my searching has been very unstructured, just checking out my surnames to see if there was anyone I recognised. You know what it is like when you get your hands on a new database, all pretences of order go out the window as you just dive in. So far I haven’t actually recorded any of the data, but have found some interesting entries, but I now need to start being more methodical and start capturing the data.

As a result of my searches I will probably be ordering a couple of wills this week. More out of curiosity than anything else, as they will probably not actually move my research forward, but should be interesting to read.

The two certificates that ordered last week arrived this weekend, so I will be processing those this week and probably writing about them. As I expected there were no real surprises contained in them, but they help tie down some details about the BATEMAN family and their time in Brighton, Sussex. They also give me more work to do next time I am at the Brighton History Centre and East Sussex Record Office.

I haven’t forgotten the Australian BATEMANs, I need to carry on sorting out their data and seeing what else I can find out. Is there an equivalent to the National Probate Calendars for Australia? Where can I find a copy of William Joseph Henry BATEMANs will?

I have picked up a copy of Tracing Your Naval Ancestors from my local library and will go through that and put together a list of records I need to check next time I am up at The National Archives. The aim being to try and fill in some more details on William Joseph Henry BATEMAN’s naval service.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 32

8 Aug

Time is still proving to be an issue, there are just not enough hours in the day to do all the genealogy I would like. I am still working on reducing the number of distractions in my life, such as the number of emails I get each day (I am glad not to have Twitter or Facebook to worry about).

I can also see that my research has become much more focused, normally I would be switching from family to family on an almost daily basis, but this week I have been focused on the Australian BATEMANs. I didn’t actually do much new research this week, but I did find a newspaper announcement of the death of Annie Clark BATEMAN, which interestingly lists all her brothers and sisters and her husband, but not her children.

I have done some work on their addresses, and I am currently pulling together addresses from various sources (mainly Electoral Rolls) and updating the details on Family Historian. This is throwing up the age old problem of how do I record the place names from the Australian Electoral Rolls, how much detail do I record in the place name field and how much in the source citations?

My lack of knowledge of all things Australian is starting to become obvious, I need to do some background reading on Australian genealogy and perhaps even get hold of some old maps. I keep trying to relate things back to English genealogy, but I have no idea how similar the records are or whether the process is similar or not.

This week I am going to focus on places, decide how I am going to record all the information. For now I just need to make sure I have all the information recorded somewhere, whether I keep it in the same format or not in the future is a different question.

I also want to try and fill in some gaps in the English side of William Joseph Henry BATEMAN’s life. The first step will be to get copies of his parent’s marriage certificate and his birth certificate. Both of these should be in Brighton, Sussex so that will give me some more local information to follow up. I also need to see if I can untangle WJH’s naval career and find out what further information I might be able to discover, I probably need to get hold of a copy of a guide to naval ancestors from the library.

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