Family tree....

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Family tree....

Postby slimpersoninside » May 6th, 2019, 12:08 pm

....where do I start?

I have decided to try and trace the paternal side of my family tree. I know very little about this side of my family, even my dads generation.

I have no idea where to start and how to progress. I know some here are/have been tracing their family tree so could you point me in the right direction please, books websites etc.

Thank you.
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Re: Family tree....

Postby earthmaiden » May 6th, 2019, 1:07 pm

There are people on here who are really experienced so they will tell you all I expect. The first big thing is to write down what you do know and if possible, quiz any living older relatives for information or anecdotes. Try to remember anything you were told when younger as well. It's surprising how much you might know or think you know.

A good place to start after that is your local library. Ours has a genealogy section with access to sites on their computers for a smaller fee than you would pay to do it at home and a lot of assistance from staff and a club. Well worth joining.

After that, start searching on websites ... this is quite helpful - http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/familyhist ... h_01.shtml. In the early days I found quite a lot of information from free sites. If your family is from most of the UK, especially if they come from the same area, it can be relatively easy unless they have a common surname and each generation has been given the same first names! Always keep any info you find, you can always discard it later if it is found not to be related at all. I eventually joined Genes Reunited and later Ancestry.com. There is so much information in one place. Formal records in England go back to 1841, after that you have to delve into Parish records etc which gets a bit more tricky but good fun. On the way you'll probably find that all those family rumours had a degree of truth or were not true at all, but don't always quite tally with what you actually find! You do have to be careful not to pick the wrong 'John Smith from Devon' and go barking up the wrong tree so keep them all until you find something to verify yours!

It is so interesting and very tempting to rush like a bull at a gate to get further and further back. At some point you'll need to make a proper record with backed up evidence such as birth, marriage and death certificates (fascinating but expensive so you may want to be selective about what you order) though so keep it all in order from the start. If you join something like Ancestry.com, consider how you are going to store the information so that future generations can benefit. You pay an annual subscription and they may not be able to access in future without paying or having the access information (I'd be interested to know what others have to say about this). Also, be very careful about privacy settings and are sure they are set as you want them to be. Once you go onto a public site, you can set it so that interested parties can contact you (without knowing who you are as living people's names are not divulged) and if you want to communicate with them you can. I have found a couple of distant relatives that way who I didn't really know much about before but who have shared memories and it has been nice.

Once you have the bug, beware, it is mesmerising and time consuming! I have started trying to put together a social history of my family for GD describing what the people I knew were like, what their houses and everyday lives were like, what I had heard about earlier generations and collecting pictures of life at those times in the relevant towns to create more of a social history and where they fitted in it. It is soooo interesting to stop and think about those things.

You'll love it!
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Re: Family tree....

Postby scullion » May 6th, 2019, 1:27 pm

be prepared for the flip side - a friend who was researching their family found a new aunt, the result of a grandparent's affair, the knowledge of whom and a subsequent meeting has caused a split, from the rest of the family, of another aunt who refuses to acknowledge the new relative and thinks that the other siblings should have no contact, in a me (and my family) or her situation.
the result of an affair of the other grandparent was always accepted.
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Ratatouille » May 6th, 2019, 1:33 pm

Hi. Note ems final paragraph :lol: :lol: She has given some very good advice

Mr R was a porfessional genealogist for some years, is still madly keen and spends a considerable time most days persuing both of our families.

I know his first piece of advice would be
1) Write down all you know already
2)Ask any remaining relatives you have about your family and what they know, if they have birth marriage and death certificates and write these facts down and start to arrange it into a tree.
He's just said that, after he's solved today's problem - on my side - he'll send some advice re books, websites and some suggestions as to what to avoid. He also wonders if you would care to share the family name and where they are from. So will be in touch again soon!
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Re: Family tree....

Postby earthmaiden » May 6th, 2019, 2:56 pm

Rats - how does Mr R. recommend
storing the reams of info so it can be accessed by future generations? In a digital way seems best but systems become obsolete relatively quickly (think floppy disks and cassette tapes!).
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Ratatouille » May 6th, 2019, 6:23 pm

Here is his reply to the first question>

When starting, your friend needs to spend some money unfortunately.

If she has money to spare I suggest she joins 'Ancestry UK' because it has free access to the 1939 National Register which is like a census and a good starting-point when hunting grandparents. She may also find people who have already traced their FT in her line but don't trust their work unless it seems well-documented. It also has all UK censuses 1841 - 1911 inclusive, well indexed, and the 1837 - 2007 indexes for Births Marriages and Deaths. Also original parish records for London / Middlesex, Norfolk, Wiltshire and several other counties. Less complete records for many counties however.

Another site like Ancestry is FindMyPast at https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ They have a simple but excellent set of records including some county parishes not on Ancestry. They'll give a free trial to new users.

To hunt for B M and D's a 'must' is also FreeBMD which will lead her to the correct references when she needs to write off for certificates for B M and D's 1837 - the 1970s. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/ . then further back in time try FreeREG at https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ which gives free access to many but by no means all parish registers, indexed 1538 - 1900 or so. Very good for Norfolk, not so for Suffolk!

When applying for certificates go online and register at the General Register Office's website https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/cert ... /Login.asp . This is excellent and contains helpful references for 19th century births and deaths that none of the other sites have, eg maiden name of mother which only started in 1911 in the publicly available indexes of births. For early years they provide PDF certificates which are cheaper than the paper ones.

County record offices have lots of online information, so once she's sure of her county origins she must google her county or city record office to see what they have.

WILLS; for wills from 1538 onwards you must go to https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate for wills at a tenner a go.

NEWSPAPERS a huge archive is now online and growing at the British Newspaper Archive, https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ - again, you get a free trial. Best for 19th and early 20th century family events, accidents, crimes, etc.

x
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Ratatouille » May 6th, 2019, 6:25 pm

em he says soft ware: Family Tree for Windows

I just hope the kids understand it all!!
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Re: Family tree....

Postby slimpersoninside » May 6th, 2019, 6:54 pm

Thank you Rats, Mr Rats and EM. Lots of info there for me to get my head around.

As I said I know very little about my dads family, even his and my own generations. I know of only one of his siblings but he had others. Luckily I'm meeting up with my sisters at the weekend (it's very rare for us all to get together) they are older than me and know much more about the family, I must take a notebook!

I shall have to fire up the laptop for this. I usually use a tablet but this will need the big gun.

I'm looking forward to getting started and having something to keep the grey matter interested.

ETA. I like your idea of the social history aspect EM, it must really bring it to life and your GD will find it fascinating when she's old enough to appreciate it.
Last edited by slimpersoninside on May 6th, 2019, 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Family tree....

Postby earthmaiden » May 6th, 2019, 6:55 pm

Thank you.
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Re: Family tree....

Postby StokeySue » May 6th, 2019, 6:57 pm

I’ve done a bit and want to do more

One thing I didn’t appreciate was that you look at the census and various lists, but you always have to send off for (and pay for) the actual birth marriage and death certificates to get the full details. This makes it quite stop and start, and expensive

My feeling I’d that Ancestry, My Heritage etc gloss over this a bit, implying you can do it all through what’s on their supite
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Herbidacious » May 6th, 2019, 9:04 pm

You have a lot of advice re how to start. Here are some resources (at the risk of overwhelming you?) Apolgies if I am repeating some of what others have already said:

Ancestry, as mentioned. It's been a bit pants lately - software glitches - but still worth using and I am sure will improve. I prefer it for its online family tree making facility but FMP is cathcing up a bit. FMP inlcudes newspaper sources, but I prefer to use the British Newspaper Archive. You can link Ancestry to Family Tree Maker software.

Free sites include
Family Search: https://www.familysearch.org/en/
Freereg https://www.freereg.org.uk/
Free BMD and GRO as mentioned by Rats. The GRO is invaluable for finding out the maiden name of mothers - although FMP is including this in its civil birth records too now.
Ancestry and FMP may be available free in local libraries.
Ancestry and FMP also often have free to use weekends.

Local history societies often have records. Some areas are better than others. Lancashire has the amazing Lancashire Parish Clerks site. Sheffield has a great site - Sheffield Indexers, South Bradford SBLHA - is very good. And there are others too. Some sell transcriptions of parish records. If you know what areas you are interested in, I might be able to help. My ancestors were all over the place. Indeed I have subscriptions to all the main genealogy sites so if you need any look ups or help, just let me know. I have been reseaching for 20 years now, so kind of know my way around things.

Find A Grave - a growing resource, where people upload photos and transcriptions of graves all over the world.
https://www.findagrave.com/
Deceased Online (subscription and PAYG) - burial records. These ofter refer to parents or spouse of the deceased, and have their address.
https://www.deceasedonline.com/
If you have Scottish or Irish Ancestry there are other places to look. Scotland's People is a ppv site.
https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/
Irish genealogy is trickier, but this site is free: https://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/


There are also lots of Facebook groups for general genealogy and more specific geographical areas etc. People are very helpful, but be prepared for a bit of competetive genealogy if you try to help others ;)

Sue, births and deaths can be ordered as pdfs for a bit less money than the paper ones. If you are lucky, though, there are parish records which mean you don't strickly need these. Depends on the area. Some are better than others.

As a general point, as Rats says, never order BMDs (birth, marriage and death certificates) off any site other than the government/GRO one. Other sites charge the earth and take a lot longer. Utter rip off.

General advice: never assume hints or other poeple's research are correct. Do use them as hints and just that. You need evidence.
If you find someone with the right name and roughly the right place also don't assume that it's the right person. There may be records that are not yet online/available. Plus people were pretty unimaginative with naming at times...! People also moved around more than you might think even before trains.

Take family oral legend with a pinch of salt. But there is often a grain of truth in it.

It's actually really easy to get quite a way back very quickly with ancestors. As you go further back it slows down as records are less detailed.

I find genealogy quite therapeutic. It requires a bit of brain power, and problem solving, but not usually a huge amount, so it's a good distraction. It's also quite addictive :)
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Re: Family tree....

Postby aero280 » May 6th, 2019, 9:54 pm

Beware! My wife has got genealogy! I rarely see her these days... :o
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Herbidacious » May 6th, 2019, 10:26 pm

It got me through the husband in Germany years...

I have made friends and met new relatives through it too!
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Ratatouille » May 7th, 2019, 8:28 am

Just to pile on further information, Once you know the region in which you are looking there will probably be a family history society. The meetings are helpful and informative and there are always folk to give advice abd help. Even if you can't get to emmtings they have regular journaals where you can share information. Mr R was a founder memebr of the Northumberland and Durham THS, editd the journal and was made a life member when we came here. He still contributes articles
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Herbidacious » May 7th, 2019, 10:56 am

I am a member of umpteen FHS's... :oops: can't keep track of them. They are usually very cheap to join.
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Re: Family tree....

Postby slimpersoninside » May 7th, 2019, 6:48 pm

Thank you all very much.

I haven't had time to look through all this information yet, work get's in the way of so many things :lol: . I have a holiday (time off work) coming up soon and as long as we don't have a last minute break I shall spend time starting to get my head around who, what, where and how etc.

My first step will definately be to get details of the recent family history from my sisters, I think without any idea it would be difficult to make a start.
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Re: Family tree....

Postby earthmaiden » May 7th, 2019, 7:06 pm

My mother wrote down snippets of information about family going way back on the back of a envelope when she was spending her final days in a nursing home. Info I had never heard before. When I started researching, none of it was quite true - but it contained enough small leads to enable me to recognise the truth many times when I was stuck. Get every bit of anecdotal information you can from your sisters!
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Herbidacious » May 7th, 2019, 7:29 pm

My grandma wrote stuff on an envelope too. Including 'xxx murdered his wife and then killed himself'. Turned out to be true :o
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Re: Family tree....

Postby StokeySue » May 7th, 2019, 8:33 pm

I have always bee told I got my name because all 4 of my great grandmothers were Susan

So far, I’ve uncovered a Margaret but as most of that part of the family don’t use their first names, could still turn out ok!
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Re: Family tree....

Postby earthmaiden » May 7th, 2019, 8:54 pm

I spent a long time trying to find my grandmother in the 1901 census to no avail (a common surname didn't help). Her name was Maud but at 9 years old as almost the baby of the family she was known and entered as 'Maudie'. Who'd have thought that searches couldn't deal with that - I have tried in latter years now that I have more experience but she is still hard to find. I can only get there by using names of other family members at the same address. It's amazing how many people are known by names which they were not given at birth or weird abbreviations of given names.

Wow Herbi!
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Amber » May 7th, 2019, 9:59 pm

My (my husband’s) advice is to check everything, check once, check twice and check three times. And do not trust anyone else’s shared family tree.
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Seatallan » May 8th, 2019, 8:39 am

Herbidacious wrote:Including 'xxx murdered his wife and then killed himself'. Turned out to be true :o


Herbi, we need the back story..... :)
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Ratatouille » May 8th, 2019, 8:43 am

Mine would say exatly the same Amber :tu:

We have a rather arrogant expat living near here who is a real "know it all" and says that tracing you ancestors is easy these days because of computers and the internet. He managed to get back to the Norman Conquest with a few hours of research :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Family tree....

Postby earthmaiden » May 8th, 2019, 9:06 am

Well, if you strike lucky and find you're related to royalty early on it might be possible! :lol:
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Herbidacious » May 8th, 2019, 9:52 am

I suppose the checking applies to any sort of research?

I have an ancestor whom someone else has researched and thinks is the grandson of a Scottish laird. I actually trust this person's work, but I am still not owning the results without access to primary sources myself.

I have some resources for finding missing families, if you know their first names... usually it's when the problem is this way round that it's most tricky.

Seatallan I don't really know the backstory but the tragic results were in the newspapers. The son of this person is someone I knew well growing up. Of course I had no idea. I don't know if my father knew. Probably if my grandmother could jot it down so causally (along with info about the suicides and drug/alcohol addicted person who died...) The murdered woman was his step mother. It will be interesting to see where he was in 1921, when the next census comes out, but he would have been old enough to be living independently. His daughter is still alive, but I don't want to mention it to her really. She almost certainly knows, but it's a bit delicate...?
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Seatallan » May 8th, 2019, 12:28 pm

Yes, a bit too recent for it not to be sensitive isn't it? I see the problem....All very sad but it would be fascinating to know more about the circumstances..
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Re: Family tree....

Postby aero280 » May 8th, 2019, 6:59 pm

My wife was lost in a vision of ecstasy when she found an old family bible in my mother’s house in which my ancestors had filled In all the names and dates of birth of the previous four or five generations!!!
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Re: Family tree....

Postby Herbidacious » May 9th, 2019, 8:57 am

I had a similar experience when I discovered an ancient Sainsbury's shopping bag full of photos, many labelled, and diaries about 4 years ago. Ecstatic, but sad knowing this would be the last of the photos. They must have been scooped out of grandma's bureau when she died.

Last exciting find was the will of my great grandfather (which I probably could have got online but nice to have the original.) I shall have to be very careful when the time comes to emptying my mother's house. I know other people will be keen fro a quick clearance.
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