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Happy New Year!

1 Jan

As we enter another new year I would like to take this opportunity to wish a Happy New Year to all my readers around the globe.

Wordless Wednesday: The Honourable Rank of Researcher

17 Nov

Statistically speaking… "a huge great chunk of Sussex"

8 Oct

I am proud of the fact that my ancestral roots run deep in Sussex, but just how much of my ancestry stems from Sussex. Just to satisfy my own curiosity I decided I would try and analyse where my roots come from.

Using the place of birth or baptism for my 4x great-grandparents, I summarised the English counties that they came from (to the best of my knowledge none of them were born outside of England). Then using Microsoft Excel I came up with a simple pie chart that would illustrate the figures, the resulting chart shows quite clearly where my roots lie.

Pie Chart It is only a very simple chart, I could probably have spent ages tweaking it, but it is only meant to give a basic idea, and I think it does that quite well with it’s huge great chunk of Sussex ancestors. Approximately two-thirds of my 4x great-grandparents were from Sussex. If I took this further and grouped together the southern counties of Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent you would find almost 80% of my 4x great-grandparents.

So what does this prove, not a lot really, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I have inherited any of the traits of my Sussex ancestors, any more than those of my Gloucestershire ancestors. I does show that I haven’t strayed far from the homes of most of my ancestors, and they themselves didn’t stray far either. Of course there is still the annoying ‘unknown’ segment, there is possibly one Scottish ancestor within there, and I am sure as I go further back I will eventually find some foreign blood.

All these statistics are based on the best information currently available. If I wanted to be more sophisticated I could probably further refine it by using an earlier generation where known (so one 5x great-grandparent would equal 1/128 of my roots) and eliminate the unknowns by using a more recent generation. However, I think I probably have better things to do with my time than playing with numbers and pie charts.

Playing with Google Image Search

26 Jul

Last Saturday Alex of the Winging It blog wrote about the new format image search on I thought it would be a bit of fun to try out the new search on my blog name.

Google Image search

The results were a little surprising, there sitting almost in the middle is Alex, or rather her avatar. How on earth did you get in there Alex? At least my picture got into the results first, although slightly more worrying is the fact that my old walking boots came before my profile picture (assuming the results are displayed left to right, top to bottom).

It was quite nice looking at the rest of the results, they brought back memories of some of my wanderings (including Dorking, Buxted, Blackboys and Lewes) and there is a decent selection of some of the postcards I have blogged about, although the one in the bottom-right is not one of mine.

Bizarrely once you get beyond the first page the accuracy disappears, most are not my images but when I think about them most of them are in some way connected with things I have written about or blogs I am linked to.

Does a Google Image Search of your blog title throw up any unusual or unexpected results?

Ancestor Approved Award

12 Apr

I have often wondered what my ancestors would make of my efforts to trace their lives and document it on this blog. I don’t think they would have been so keen having their dirty laundry aired in public, and I am sure they would probably be surprised that I had so much spare time on my hands.

Anyway I digress. According to three of my fellow bloggers, Jenny at Blame Grandma, Evelyn at A Canadian Family and Marian at Climbing My Family Tree my blog is Ancestor Approved. Thank you all for the honour.


Now I am supposed to list ten things I have learned about any of my ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlightened me, and also pass the award to ten other bloggers who I feel are doing their ancestors proud.

Rather than duplicate the award, I won’t be passing it on, most (if not all) of the blogs I follow have already received the award anyway. It goes without saying that anyone who blogs about their ancestors is doing their ancestors proud.

To be honest I am finding it hard to list ten things that have surprised, humbled or enlightened about specific ancestors, so I have gone for a generic answer instead.

Surprised – that my ancestors actually had interesting lives. When I started researching I never thought I would find anything interesting that happened in my family tree. Sometimes I am right and it is the apparent normality that is interesting, but normally they have done something that has been interesting, it just takes some time to find out what it was.

Humbled – that my ancestors put me to shame with what they had to live through and cope with (such as two World Wars, high infant mortality and disease) and what they lived without (such as electricity, mains water and the National Health Service). I know it is a cliché but we really don’t know we are born.

Enlightened – by the lives of all my ancestors. Family history research is more than just names, dates and places. It is about what happened to your ancestors, what they did for a living, the battles they fought, and everything else that they experienced. My ancestors have lead me into learning about all sorts of subjects that I would never encountered without them.

Picture Postcard Parade: Easter Greetings

4 Apr

Easter Greetings

However you choose to celebrate Easter, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Easter. I have resisted the temptation of cracking any egg related puns, well almost!

I am a Web Hedgehog

15 Mar

Just for a bit of fun I took the Web Behaviour Test on the BBC website (part of The Virtual Revolution series). You have to register with the site and it takes about 20 minutes to answer all the questions and complete the games.

The web behaviour test looks at three different aspects of your web usage:

  • Adaptable or specialised?
  • Fast-moving or slow-moving?
  • Social or solitary?

and compares this to eight different types of animal:

  • Bear
  • Elephant
  • Fox
  • Hedgehog
  • Leopard
  • Elk
  • Octopus
  • Ostrich

Based on my answers and performance in the games I am a web hedgehog, and I would have to say that I agree with that analysis. The three traits which make me a hedgehog are:

1) Slow-moving"careful internet users, taking their time to find the right information." 

Essential for family history research I would think. You need to take your time to assess the information that you find, rather than just accept the first answer you come up with.

2) Solitary"prefer to go it alone, rarely relying on information on social networks or other sites whose content is created by its users." 

A controversial one this, it is accurate in that I very rarely use information from online family trees and I don’t tweet or have a Facebook account, but I would imagine that I am probably in a minority among online genealogists.

3) Specialised"best suited to concentrating on one thing at a time rather than attempting to multitask."

Very much related to the first trait, taking the time to focus on one thing at a time, rather than trying to do lots of things at the same time. I don’t know about you, but when I am online I like to give my family history (or anything else for that matter) my full attention.

If you take the test let me know in the comments what sort of web animal you are? You can even publicise your animal type on Facebook, unless of course you are a solitary animal like me without a Facebook account!

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