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Quietly Enigmatic • View topic - Researching Family History
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Researching Family History

PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 5:10 pm
by Lynnedean
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Researching your family history is a fascinating hobby, but anyone on the board who does it will know how frustrating it can be. For example, it seems that, way back when, parents had the irritating habit of naming their offspring after themselves and other members of their families. It was obviously a tradition - unless they just didn't have any blinkin' imagination! - but it has resulted in the same first names cropping up over and over again, making it very difficult to figure out which person belonged to which family. Talk about needles and haystacks!

One of the most frustrating things is to reach a point in a main family line and realise that you don't have enough information about that particular person to go any further. Sometimes, the naming tradition is actually a help here, because you can guess at what fathers and mothers may have been called, and it can produce satisfying results, but many times you're just stuck with no idea where to go. :puzzled:

I'm making a plea for help ... if you're into family research, do you have any tips as to what can be tried when you hit a wall in your tree (yes, hitting a wall in your tree does sound rather odd, but you know what I mean). I'm on Ancestry, and often look for clues in the family trees that other members researching the same names have made public, but those members are often stuck at the same points that I am, so any ideas would be gratefully received. :smile:

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:06 pm
by hazeleyes57
I'm doing my family tree and I'm on Ancestry with a worldwide membership. One of the biggest helps and hindrances is the tradition of keeping names in the family. My dad is John, and apart from his father (Leonard), every other male line son has been John or James. The Johns would names their eldest son James, and his brother James would name his eldest son John, There were more John and James than I could shake a stick at, complicated further by the fact that they often lived in the same street or road!! Often family members would be lodging with relatives (to spread the financial load) so the Ancestry transcribers (who do sterling work, believe me) occasionally added children to another part of the family, or took them away!!

One of the most helpful things family pride often did was to add the maternal maiden name to one or more of the children as a middle name in order to keep the name running (especially if all the original children were girls who would lose the family name upon marriage). Occasionally the maiden name would come from a grandparent rather than the mother, but it is still helpful.

WWI records have been released and they have been helpful with DOB and wives maiden names and where the marriage took place.
The Latter Day Saints have a duty to record all parish records wherever they go for their two-year missions, and there are free websites that you can search for this information.
It's worth checking alternate religious records, or even the nonconformist or non-parochial records for couples who have run away to be together. Bigamy was more common than you think, because divorce was almost unheard of, and prohibitively expensive. Far cheaper to move to another county and start again. This is often why names variations happened - we had a 'Marsh' change to 'March' to avoid debt, and occasionally I would find that a name had been misspelled because the enumerator has misheard a local accent (Cabble was written for Cable, Portch for Porch) and often family 'pet' names were written (Millie instead of Amelia), or a second name would be used if mother and daughter shared the same name.
Sometimes I have had to search by location, and just find the street someone lived in and go back and forth on the 'previous' and 'next' options to find other family members. It's useful if they have out of the ordinary occupations too. I found the railway employer's records for my 3x great-grandfather who was a train driver/shunter.
As a general rule, I look at other Tree info for guidance, not actual connection, as I found quite early on that other people are often so keen to 'get' info that they don't always check it properly, but it's fine for clues. The 1911 census has the most info, as it includes the number of children born, living and who have died, so you have a window to narrow searches.

I simply love the detective work, and I can get lost in the Tree for hours at a time :lol:

If you want to tell me (here or via PM) where you're stuck, I'm happy to help if I can.

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:12 pm
by Lynette

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:56 pm
by Sunshine
Hi Lynne. Are there any genealogy organizations in your area? That's usually a good place to start; the members share lots of resources. :thumbsup:

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:40 pm
by hazeleyes57

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:19 am
by Lynette
Sadly, no. Madeline Elma.

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:35 am
by Lynnedean
Hazeleyes, ta muchly for all the info. I'm aware of a number of the points, but others are now making me "think outside the box" (don't like that phrase, but it fits here :smile: ).

Something you don't mention is the ability to search through old newspapers for articles and announcements related to family members. So far, I've found two items, one being a coroner's report of my paternal grandfather's death, and the other a report of his gr-grandfather's death - the first chap fell off a ladder and the second fell off a boat. A touch accident prone, my family! :-?

Sunshine, there used to be a community genealogy group around here, but by the time I thought about joining it, it had disappeared. I should check now to see if another has popped up. Thanks for reminding me. :smile:

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:25 pm
by Englishfan

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:39 pm
by Lynnedean

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:57 pm
by Englishfan

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:22 am
by Wolesley
I've been enjoying the U.S. PBS series Finding Your Roots, where well-known people have their family histories researched by the host, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Each episode features three people. There have been some amazing family stories presented. As the guests are mostly American, there is often an interesting Civil War era ancestor, or even a Revolutionary War ancestor. It is also very interesting when they trace the origins of an African-American guest, or a Jewish guest. Very moving.
There is also a DNA tracing done, showing the guest's "global admixture," which is an analysis of the percentages of their origins, such as 96.3% European, 3.5% Sub-Saharan African, etc. And there is also information on the "haplogroup," which is an indicator of where in the world the guest's ancestral DNA group originated from (if I understand correctly).

Lesley

P.S.
My uncle on my Dad's side researched and put together our family tree, tracing our arrival in North America to two brothers who sailed from England and settled in New Brunswick in 1583! Our earliest known ancestor was a chap who fought with Boadicea against the Romans, apparently. Killed a soldier, stole his helmet and ran away. Smart man. :cool:

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:31 am
by Lynnedean

Re: Researching Family History

PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:24 pm
by Englishfan