Oh dear… the weeks seem to be flying by quite quickly now, I really must go back to my New Year’s Resolutions and have a laugh at what I thought I was going to achieve this year and see if there is any chance that I might complete some of them.
It has been quite a good week, with a good mix of family history activities. I deliberately sat down and added some more people to my database, and it felt really good. There were two distinct families, the KINGHORNs in Carlisle, Cumberland and the HEMSLEYs in Sussex. I seem to be getting drawn towards Carlisle again, at the back of my mind I still have the idea of visiting Carlisle and doing some research (once their new archive centre is open).
I managed to get quite a bit of organising, not of my family history (which I like to think is quite well organised already) but of all the other stuff in my life and in particular the stuff perched on my computer desk. It is a great weight off my mind, it gives me a bit more space and a bit less to worry about, plus a bit more money (I discovered a cheque that I had forgotten all about).
I have also spent some time looking at my to-do list. It is quite interesting to see how my focus has shifted over the months, and there are several things on the list that I could probably spend some time on now, and some that need to be more focused, but that is generally how it works. I think I will be doing a bit more of a thorough overhaul in the coming week, I am sure there will be a few things that I have forgotten to knock off.
I have a couple of other projects that seem to be nearing the stage where I actually need to start doing things rather than just scribbling notes and thinking about. Now is the time for action, or it should be but I will probably find some way to procrastinate for a few more weeks.
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.
It wasn’t a bad week for genealogy last week. I didn’t achieve a great deal, but I don’t feel bad about not doing much last week because my expectations were quite low.
I know at this rate I am not going to achieve a great deal with my family history, unless I start getting more organised and not just with my family history but with so many other aspects of my life.
Anyway back to genealogy. Almost all of my research was in relation to the BATEMANs of Australia, writing about the family has pushed me to find out more so I can fill in some details. It has been a really useful exercise, as more avenues of research present themselves as I review the evidence I have already (whether I will have the resources to explore them all is another matter).
The other piece of research was looking into the latest batch of Chelsea Pensioners records released by Findmypast. I knew there should be at least one relevant record in this latest batch, Francis Howlett GEERING (the son of my 5x great-uncle). His record was in there and it was quite an interesting record, which you will no doubt read about soon.
This week is going to be much the same. I am going to continue telling the story of William Joseph Henry BATEMAN, so I will be continuing to work on that family, but I need to extend my research beyond the BMD indexes on Ancestry.com.au and the digitised newspapers on the National Libraries of Australia website.
Specifically I want to try and pin down locations where the family lived, using family documents and electoral rolls. I am hoping this will enable me to dig down another level and explore some local family history websites, rather than just national or state level websites.
Anything else I achieve this week is going to be a bonus!
After the last few weeks I was beginning to wonder if I had lost my enthusiasm for family history, but I am pleased to say I have regained it at last. I feel like things have started moving in the right direction again.
It helped that I visited a couple of ancestral churches on my last section of the South Downs Way, but really I think it was down to forcing myself to actually sit down and do some research. I made progress on a couple of the projects that I had set myself last week, although I didn’t do any more on the Australian BATEMAN family.
Best of all I have a bundle of papers (mostly HEMSLEY marriages) that need sorting out, which should keep me busy for a couple of weeks, sorting out who is who and entering all the details into my database. I have also started a couple more projects, which was inevitable really, but I need to try not to get too bogged down, trying to juggle too many projects at the same time.
This week I am going make a start on that bundle of papers, and see where that leads me. Also I need to try and find out more about Arthur Leonard JESSOP, was there any connection with my grandfather?
I have been feeling the urge to write more about Sussex, the county I call home. For example, I have seen so many things on my recent walk along the South Downs Way that are worthy of more detailed descriptions. I don’t think I am going to be able to keep it genealogy related, so this may mean starting another blog. I really want to make a decision this week.
My organising is done, for the time being at least. There will be plenty more organising to do in the future, and that is the challenge, to keep this state of affairs in the future. I still have to go through and create a template for all my file and folder names, but that shouldn’t take long.
Last week the GASSON and GEERING surname folders were sorted out, and I started doing some preparation for GEERING research. I feel a little in limbo now, I have my entire family history at my fingertips, my research could head in any direction I want, but I am not sure where to go next.
The GEERINGs are a definite, but before I get back to Hailsham and the druggists, I have a couple of service records to sort out, downloaded during the recent findmypast.co.uk free for all. After sorting these out I need to get to the East Sussex Record Office and check some records before I decide if there is anything else I can do.
I need to do a quick bit of research about the MITCHELLs of Exton, Hampshire, I need to make sure I have all the place names and dates ready for when I visit Exton as part of my South Downs Way walk.
This week I need to decide what to do next, do I throw all my resources and concentration into one big project or do I just fill in gaps in my research covering as many different branches as possible. Perhaps I should concentrate on one particular area, or time period. I don’t really know, so this week I will see which way my research takes me.
Although most of last week was spent sorting out files and folders, I did manage to do quite a bit of new research as well. This is just what I needed, starting the transition from organising to researching.
Hopefully next week will see the bulk of my organising done. Of course it will never be completely done, as new material will be turning up all the time in need of processing and filing, but at least I have everything in place and a system that should make it easier in future to know where to filing things, and where to find them when I need them.
Most of the research was about the branch of BATEMAN family that grew up in Australia. The pursuit of the descendants of my 2x great-uncle William Joseph Henry BATEMAN is something I will be taking on in the forthcoming weeks. As part of this I want to try and write some posts about what I already know about the family.
In terms of organising, the GASSON surname folder is virtually sorted and that only leaves the GEERING folder to go. It is my intention to get both of those folders completed this week, and by the following week I want to have gone through all the surname folders and make sure everything is as it should be and I will produce a template that will enable me at a glance to see where new information fits into the system.
The amount of new BATEMAN research meant I didn’t get chance to start going through my database and start defining some goals, I would like to try and start that this week, although I don’t expect to complete it. I do however need to decide which projects I am going to be working on next.
One of those projects might involve the WRIGHT/SHORNDEN family of Alton, Hampshire. Having visited Alton last weekend I would like to find out more about their time in Alton. One long term goal is to find out how they came to be in Hampshire in the first place, when they were previously in Kent.
The Australian branch of the BATEMAN family seem to have found their way to the forefront of my family history and are demanding my attention.
A couple of days ago there was the postcard of the ship that my 2x great-grandmother Dorothy Isabella BATEMAN sailed to Australia on, I am trying to finish sorting out the BATEMAN surname folder and one of my goals for this year was to explore the Australian branch of the family further.
These last couple of days I have been doing some digging around online and have accumulated even more information to process and sort out. Now I have reached a stage where I need to decide what to do next? I am at the point of having to invest proper time and money before going much further.
Do I have the time to learn about a completely new country? Which sort of record types are available? Who holds what? What is online and what is not? There are some great websites I have already discovered, but I need to explore them further. Do I have the time and is now the right time to do it?
The answer is that I do want to do it, but first of all I need to get all my organising done. The more I think about it, the more this project seems like a good idea. It is a perfect compliment to some of my other more local projects, because I am sure it is going to be pretty much all done remotely, whereas something like my GEERING research is going to be mainly in local archives.
So my first step is to post a summary of what I already know on this blog, just in case their are any cousins already researching the family from the other side of the world. Then I need to check online trees to see if anyone else has posted any matching data. That should give me time to get my data sorted, define what I want to achieve, and learn where I need to be looking to achieve it.