Tag Archives: family historian

My top-ten surnames

2 Feb

I was fiddling around with Family Historian last night and then in Excel, producing a list of the top-ten surnames in my family tree.

I thought this was going to be a mostly pointless exercise, purely for fun and curiosity, but it has highlighted an imbalance in my research, which I now wonder whether I should try and put right.

The top-ten surnames (really top-eleven surnames), with the number of individuals in my family tree, are as follows:

1.  TROWER (127)
2.  GASSON (104)
3.  MITCHELL (84)
4.  FAIRS (45)
5.  BOXALL (38)
6.  KINGHORN (28)
6.  VINALL (28)
8.  BATEMAN (27)
9.  GEERING (26)
10.  DRIVER (25)
10.  HEMSLEY (25)

The first three names are no surprise, after all they are the surnames of three of my grandparents, the surprising thing is that my fourth grandparent’s name is HEMSLEY, right down at the bottom of the list.

I don’t know quite why I feel that this imbalance is wrong, but I certainly feel I should invest some more time on it so that it moves up the chart. It wouldn’t be difficult to add lots more HEMSLEYs to my tree, but it needs to be done with purpose rather than just adding everyone I can find.

I am going to add the task of reviewing my HEMSLEY line to my to-do list, seeing what meaningful work I can do on the family. I am sure there are some interesting people and stories waiting to be discovered in Framfield, Sussex.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 5)

31 Jan

Last week was again spent sorting through more digital files, it seems to be taking a lot longer than I had originally anticipated.

All the information from my last visit to the West Sussex Record Office is now on spreadsheets, and most of it is entered onto my database, I just have the Framfield burials to enter into Family Historian, but that is going to be a major job so I haven’t started on that.

Working through my hard drive is taking a long time, mainly because I keep getting side-tracked into other areas I wasn’t planning to. I have been working on this for several weeks know and am still only on the As and Bs in my surname list.

I have started digging a bit deeper on the BATEMAN surname, hopefully in preparation for a visit to Gloucestershire Record Office to fill in some gaps, I will probably spend some more time on the BATEMANs this week

So this week will be much the same as last week, no substantial new research, just working with what I already have.

  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • Create a research plan for Mercy TROWER. Consisting of a summary of what I already know, decide what I want to find out and what steps I need to take to achieve it.
  • As it is a new month tomorrow I shall probably order another set of birth, marriage and death certificates, so I need to decide which individuals I want to find out more about.
  • Continue work on the BATEMAN family, trying to identify what happened to the siblings of Henry BATEMAN my 2x great-grandfather, from Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 4)

24 Jan

Last week was spent engaged in sorting and organising digital files, and I must admit it has been quite rewarding. I did say I wasn’t going to do any new research, but of course that was impossible for me to achieve.

I have found the process of going through my files very helpful, I have so much information that I haven’t added to my database, some recent (like the 1911 census) and some which had been languishing on my hard drive for months.

As I entered the data it was hard not to try and fill in more details, so some more online searching was done (more 1911 census and recent GRO BMD indexes). Anything that couldn’t be answered quickly was put in a text file, which is quickly growing into a basic to-do list.

This week will probably be much the same as last week, no substantial new research, just working with what I already have.

  • Add all the information that I acquired at the West Sussex Record Office on Saturday to my spreadsheet and database.
  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • Create a research plan for Mercy TROWER. Consisting of a summary of what I already know, decide what I want to find out and what steps I need to take to achieve it.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 3)

17 Jan

I have the feeling that I am achieving very little with my family history at the moment, and I am not really sure why. It could be because a large part of my time is spent looking for work, but I think there is another reason.

I am feeling rather unorganised at the moment. I don’t seem to have a clear idea of what I want to do with my genealogy, well that is not exactly true, I know what I want to achieve and know what I need to do to achieve it. The problem seems to be knowing where to start first.

It seems that everything I do creates more and more potential work for me, I knew a detailed look at the 1911 census would raise more questions, but the recently arrived birth, marriage and death certificates have also provided more questions than answers.

This week I need to sit down and get myself organised. I need to decide what are my main priorities and what I need to do to get as many loose ends tied up as possible, even if that just means recording what I want to do next and creating a big to do list.

  • I need to try and stop researching for a week and just focus on what I already have.
  • Create a simple to-do list and record everything I need or want to do for all my ancestors who are currently shouting for my attention.
  • Start working on my digital files, making sure everything is organised and entered into my Family Historian software.
  • Decide what my priorities are for my research and make sure nothing else is going to get in my way from achieving them.

Unless anyone releases any new databases online I should be able to avoid the distractions this week. The only other thing that might get in the way is a copy of the will of Mercy TROWER, that might arrive this week.

2010 to do list – create a proper to-do list

30 Dec

Between now and the new year I will be writing about some of the things I want to achieve with my family history in 2010.

I have attempted in the past to create an all encompassing to-do list, most of these attempts have either been far too simplistic or far too complicated.

The simple ones don’t hold enough detail, so for example they don’t make it easy for me to find all the things I have to find at a particular archive. The complex ones just take too long to update, so they generally don’t get updated often enough. What I need is something that is going to capture everything, quickly and easily.

I did have the idea of borrowing some ideas from David Allen’s Getting Things Done, where I would set a goal for each individual in my database, and deciding what the next step would be on the road to achieving that, and where I would need to be to carry out that step.

I thought this may be too complicated to track, but I did wonder if I might actually be able to create custom tags in my database which would hold the information within Family Historian itself. With a few reports I might be able to create a report of what to do at various archives or for a specific family name. It may however be simpler to keep this data in a separate spreadsheet, which could be filtered in many different ways.

At the moment I have gone back to a simple text file to capture everything (rather than risk losing the thing I have to do), which is much more portable than a spreadsheet or database, but not so easy to search. It is clearly something I am going to have to think about carefully before implementing any major changes.

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