Growing the Tree: Family History

MiffyMiffy Shipmate
Ok, so @Sandemaniac; here’s the thread as promised.

I’ve just picked up the family history baton after some years break, inspired by temporary access to to a certain family history site. Wow! It’s a virtual rabbit hole, isn’t it? I can see myself having to really hold back if it’s not to take over.

Anyway, I’m building on the foundations laid by my late father, who left us with a pile of old photos and a basic family tree going back at least 4 generations. I’m currently trying to verify that information and to begin to flesh out the human stories behind the info; half recalled from shreds of family gossip over the years. Between us, my brothers and I have various pieces of memorabilia: docs, diaries and prayer books etc.

I guess I’m looking for advice on how best to go about this; sharing of experience, pros and cons, that kind of thing. I’m already realising that the info unearthed is only as reliable as the person who recorded it; that even census’ can be inaccurate, and that’s it’s easy to imagine some shock horror story of yesteryear when chances are none exists.

As this is a public forum, it might be best to be wary of posting information that could be too identifying though.

I’ll kick off with a question. What first prompted you to delve back into your family history? For me, I feel it’s important to keep some kind of record for our children as the older generation dies out and links with those who have first hand memories of those generations die with them.

Over to you.
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  • Tree BeeTree Bee Shipmate
    My jumping off point was a four generations photo in which my Grandma was the baby. My mission was to put a name to each woman, which I’m pleased to have done. The photo was among research and memorabilia that my Grandad collected and was passed onto me. My Dad (the other side of the family) had also left me a family tree he drew up from memory. Like you, I started off by verifying all the information passed on. My main trees are now on Find My Past, with a minimal couple of trees on Ancestry which are connected to my DNA results. I’m doing quite well with it all, but like many I have an Irish brick wall.
  • I think I was gently nagged by my mother into it. She has a history of vicarious employment of me on such things. She and Dad talked to various aged rellies now long gone in the 1970s, and had some names going back into the early 19th century as a result, plus a family bible with names mysteriously crossed out (which turned out to be a bit of a non-story). Ironically I have no children, so I have no descendants to pass it on to.

    I got started with a medal that had to be family as the man named on it shared my paternal grandfather's names and, having unravelled that little mystery, I was hooked - and did an awful lot of it the old fashioned way on microfilm and fiche at record offices, and in original registers.

    I'd always loved history, and been turned off by the big people and politics taught at school. Family history gave me things happening to real people that I could relate to. I've found them at the birth of the submarine service, on the high seas, and all over the shop, frankly. I've turned up random distant relations - not so long ago on a ringing outing to Suffolk the tower captain at one church introduced himself as Mr Smith (names changed to protect the innocent), I asked where he was from, he named the village my ancestors with that name were from... you can guess the rest, we were about 4th cousins! More recently, a work colleauge got married in a little church in a fly-dirt on the map village in Suffolk that he said "Oh, you won't have heard of it" - well, I had, and my great grandparents were married there too!

    Today... well, my gast is still flabbered! Total googly. Out of nowhere I had an email from a distant cousin in Zimbabwe, of all places. A distant cousin on that side of the family "was still on Ben Nevis somewhere" (he wasn't, though the ravens didn't leave much by the time they found him - and I have a feeling that @North East Quine put me onto his track). I emailed a blog post about his loss annd the rescue effort to her, and forgot about it. Well, today I received a photo of him as a wee lad and who should be sat next to him but a sister I'd no idea existed! (My dear mother's response to a text about "Your cousin who died in the hills" was "Which one?" - as if we left the Highlands strewn with our dead!). So once supper is done, it will onto Scotland's people to see if I can find her birth and maybe a marriage? She might even be still alive - though must be nearly 80 - now that would be a coup! Though all my other "mystery sister" lines ran out of steam without anyone still living, so I guess I shouldn't be too excited. Humph.
  • Bawbags!

    I forgot the strictures on date of event until after I'd blown a whole £7.50 on credits - 100 years on births, 75 on marraiges, 50 on deaths. So I'm not going to find a lot... Though on the bright side I did find the index entry for her mother's death in 1991.

    Hadna been there five minutes and bang went saxpence! Harrumph.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    So how does this credit thing work then?
  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    I became interested aged about ten. My maternal grandfather died when I was eight, and we had family trips to his grave. My grandmother pointed out the gravestone of her great grandparents, who had died aged 84 in 1906 and 86 in 1911 respectively.

    I was fascinated! My grandmother had been born in 1902 and could remember her great grandmother clearly. Unfortunately, although I wrote down her description of her great grandmother, my notes got lost at some point. By the time I started secondary school I had created as good a tree as possible by asking questions.

    By my mid teens I was using the microfiches



    in the local library, and when I went to university I joined the local Family History Society. People who know my membership number tend to assume I am a lot older than I actually am.
  • Miffy wrote: »
    So how does this credit thing work then?

    That gets you 30 credits, and you pay 6 per image downloaded, so get 5 images - roughly (I'm sure there's more to it than that, but that's the basics).

    So.... I've used my local library ID to go into Ancestry. I've chased the new member's parents around in the electoral registers, and I've discovered that her mother made it to 1991. I've got them both resident in Embra in 1966, and I have her birth in the index for 1943 so I have a year and an area (Embra..., not hugely helpful). Beyond that I'm stuffed. Bright ideas welcomed!

    I think I was about 25 when I started my research, up to about five years ago I was still in the lower age bracket of people I saw doing this sort of thing... I don't think I've actually seen anyone else since, mind.
  • Mrs Claypool had a head start in that her mother and aunt had spent years in the 70s & 80s researching their family history, going regularly to Somerset House to chase down records.

    I was interested in trying to find out more about the woman who adopted my mother (we have a suspicion that she was in some way related to the unknown man who put my grandmother "in the family way") and to see if I could find out anything about my mum's birth mother. I also had some vague clues about my dad's side of the family and wanted to find out more.

    Highlights so far:
    • Finding that my mum had a half-brother and as a result that I had four first cousins (I've never had cousins before)
    • Discovering that my dad had far more first cousins than he ever revealed, and that most of them lived fairly close to us
    • Realising that one of my dad's uncles actually lived round the corner from us when I was a kid - and we never heard about him
    • Finding out that one of my dad's first cousins was actually an RC priest accused of a number of paedophile offences, who had been hidden away by the RC hierachy until his death last year
    • Unearthing the Canadian WW1 war records of my grandfather.
    • Discovering the ship on which my grandmother sailed to Canada to join up with my grandfather. And that she married him a day after arriving in Canada.

    There have been a number of dead ends (I can't go back earlier than the mid 1800s on my paternal grandfather's line) but also some utterly unexpected surprises. Most recently, I've been using the addresses in census and electoral register records to track exactly where some members of my family were living. I've found a great website with old street maps from the late 1800s and early 1900s, which help me to track down some locations that no longer exist.
  • TelfordTelford Deckhand, Styx
    I actually met one grandfather, one grandmother , both born in 1901 and one great grandmother born about 1880. My fathers name was David. His father Joseph was born in 1885 and he died before I was born as did his wife. His father was name David and I assume he was born about 1965. All of these people lived and died in The Black Country. the father of my mother's father, was born in a small Welsh town south of Snowdonia in the 1870s approx. His wife appears to have died young. I believe he was a slate worker who came to the Black Country to work in the mines where he died just before WW1.

    I could go the the churchyard in this Welsh town but I suspect there would be a fair few Owens

  • Telford wrote: »

    I could go the the churchyard in this Welsh town but I suspect there would be a fair few Owens

    Mrs Claypool has the same problem. Try working out which Mary Jones, living somewhere in South Wales, is the one you want.
  • There is a danger with researching your family tree - especially if you do the DNA test - of finding unpleasant truths.

    A friend of mine did a DNA test, along with a number of others in the wider family. They found that a first cousin, who had been part of the family all his life, wasn't actually the son of the uncle after all. Although my friend didn't care, some members of the family cut this person off as a result.

    In my case, researching the family history has revealed just how much my grandfather seems to have cut himself off from his siblings. It's far too late to find out what happened, unfortunately.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    edited March 2021
    I'm lucky to have three serious genealogists in the family, one based in Australia. They are interested in verified records of dates to do with births, marriages and deaths, and happily let me look at closed websites of family trees. I'm more interested in micro-histories, how people moved around, their work, their relationship with place: in the last decade considerable historical information has been digitalised across South Africa and former British colonies, so that I can look up all kinds of information about slave histories and the inventories of the Cape Orphan Chambers listing house contents (armoires, hunting rifles, tables, chamber pots) and valued properties like slaves, wagons, livestock.

    Both the Dutch East Indies Company and British kept precise records to do with shipping, military records and property transactions. Because of that, I could trace back through generations of my mother's family to a slave woman purchased on the Angolan coast in the 1650s and taken in the hold of a ship to the Cape Colony. Her descendants would run away to establish the freed slave community in Swellendam: they would marry Batavian soldiers, French Huguenot settlers, Irish stone masons and tubercular Scottish farmers. The family would join the rush to the diamond fields of Kimberley, go up as pioneers to then Southern Rhodesia and then 'go native' by marrying into mixed Shona and Portuguese families on the borders of Mozambique -- two of my great-aunts would return to live in the port of Luanda in Angola, coming full circle.

    My paternal Scottish family led more predictable lives in Lanarkshire and Edinburgh, suddenly becoming precariously middle class in the early 1900s.

    Two things in family reserach surprised me. My g-g-grandmother was Jewish (a suppressed history), from the Lithuanian Pale, and was thrown out of the family home in the Waterberg after being raped and made pregnant by a black wagon driver. His family took her in and she lived to see two of her sons hung by the British as Afrikaner patriots outside a prison in Vryburg during the Anglo-Boer war. Her daughter, my great-grandmother, died after being trampled to death by other settlers in the laager at Bulawayo during an Ndebele attack in 1896.

    The other aspect I came across was the staggering prevalence of intergenerational alcoholism in both sides of the family. Almost nobody dodged this bullet and it is recorded in all kinds of documents from criminal records to death probate notices: they fell down drunk in the street at 9am and had convulsions; they died drunk in prison; they were arrested and sent to dry out; they fell off horses while drunk, were murdered in bar brawls, one g-g-uncle fell into the Great Hole in Kimberley and drowned after consuming three bottles of cheap brandy. They went to fight in Delville Wood or the Somme in France, were given military awards for bravery and came home to drink themselves to death. There were bankruptcies, threats to disinherit, beaten wives laying charges, suicides and incarceration in colonial lunatic asylums for 'wet brain'. Even the more uptight family genealogist commented that the family seemed to have a genetic predisposition to abuse the bottle.
  • Fairly easy on the paternal side. Copies of birth certificates, family bibles, military and church records had all been kept, and an uncle had done work on filling in gaps. As a consequence we have a pretty full tree going back to 1462, the gaps owing to the destruction of monastic records and nasty little habit of not including full details of females.

    The maternal tree has been much harder, I suspect because someone was illegitimate, plus records in Ireland being pretty haphazard. The result is a good tree back to c1798 but before that nothing reliable.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    There is a danger with researching your family tree - especially if you do the DNA test - of finding unpleasant truths.

    A friend of mine did a DNA test, along with a number of others in the wider family. They found that a first cousin, who had been part of the family all his life, wasn't actually the son of the uncle after all. Although my friend didn't care, some members of the family cut this person off as a result.

    In my case, researching the family history has revealed just how much my grandfather seems to have cut himself off from his siblings. It's far too late to find out what happened, unfortunately.

    Agreed on your first point. Although in our cases, family lore already has it that the parentage of a much-loved great aunt, may not be all it was officially made out to be. We’ve long since speculated that she was probably brought up by our paternal grandfather’s family as their own. The puzzle with that one is that nowhere can we find a mention of her during childhood, bar birth records citing her birth year and location. She appears not to be mentioned in the census of 1901, when she’s have only been 8 or so year’s old and we only come across her otherwise in official records elsewhere at her supposed place of work (another story behind that), at age 16. Strange.

    Unless they called her by another name, and she’s the 6 year old listed in the 1901 census whom we’ve never heard of until now.* That leads to another question: can people be listed under nicknames, diminutives or any other variation on their given names on census’s?

    *and try as I might, I can’t yet find any mention of this child hereafter either. There was supposed to be a little sister, (again not found), who died of scarlet fever or some such, but she was probably only three or four years old .

  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    That leads to another question: can people be listed under nicknames, diminutives or any other variation on their given names on census’s?

    I've seen lots of name variations on census returns, but it's usually been the obvious Margaret / Maggie, Elizabeth / Lizzie, Jessie / Janet, Peter / Patrick type of thing.

    In Gaelic speaking areas, names had to be recorded in English. This meant that the family had to remember how they translated the name the last time they had to record it. That creates a lot of variations. We have one woman whose name varies between Elspet, Elizabeth and Eliza. and another whose name varies between Lizzie, Louise and Lucy. Both women are recorded as monoglot Gaelic speakers on the census.

    I'm working on a tree just now where an Ann Isabella appears as Annabella in the 1871 census, for no obvious reason.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    That’s useful to know, thanks. I’ll bear it in mind whenever I get round to checking the Scottish contingent. At the moment, the English lot seem to be dominating the agenda! My poor mother’s family are barely getting a look in.
  • I had a large Welsh family Bible in my bedroom when Iwas in my teens. It had family details in the middle, and one wt day, I sat down and worked out the family tree back to 1812. I very proudly showed it to my mother, who said “don’t show it to your father, it’s not his family!”.
    After Dad died, I tried to find out more- my cousin told me that her mother told her that Granny Kelly - her grandmother, Dad’s adoptive mother - had brought a baby - Dad - home one day. My stepmother told me that DaD had told her that his mother had gone to Hereford and married a farmer.
    I sent off for Dad’s birth certificate and found his mother’s name, and ended up writing to our local paper to see if anyone knew her (not putting that she was my grandmother).
    Ultimately I traced my uncle, my father’s half brother, who didn’t know of Dad’s existence. Whilst Uncle Peter acknowledged me as his niece, his brother didn’t want to know.
    Since then, I have managed to trace my mother’s family back to the late 1600’s in Frome, and Dad’s family to the early 1700’s in Herefordshire (via his mother’s family).
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    edited March 2021
    I was actually quite surprised at how low-scandal my lot mostly were. There were a few wrong-side of the blanket offspring, and two lines that both lead back to relations of well-known Essex bad boy Dick Turpin, plus someone who lived in a shed and turned up dead in a pond (as an ex-soldier I suspect that drink may have been involved, but inquest reports from that period don't seem to have survived).

    I was quite amused when the same couple turned up in two different generations, especially as this was in Suffolk! I can't remember quite how that worked now, I think it was a big brood (possibly the one of 21 in that side), and an early child married, that's one generation, and then a much later child married - someone else, you'll be pleased to hear - by which time that was another generation.

    My grandmother Didn't Approve of Such Things, and would often tell me her husband had said that we shouldn't pry too far in case someone had been hung for sheep stealing. Well, apart from the aforementioned Dick, his family were fairly dull, though his mother's family upped sticks from Surrey to Essex circa 1830 for unknown reasons.

    Granny's lot on the other hand were far more interesting. Her father, who she was so tightlipped about that I'd assumed he'd picked up something dodgy in a foreign port and died of that, turned out to have died of TB. His father may have indulged in a bit of light wife beating (it's difficult to know how to take granny's tales, as she could be a right pharisee). On top of that, Granny's brother had a child with a woman he never legally married, married another one, and wife no 3 appeared at his funeral! His daughter claims he may have been involved in SOE in WW2 (he's certainly mysterious enough...) and one of the few facts we do have is that went to Romania in the 1930s as valet to author Hector Bolitho who was, as far as I can see, sucking up to the Romanian royal family. That was about the limit of the trouble there - until yesterday when the new cousin turned up!

    Granny's Mum's family all worked for the same Big Family for close on a century and the first member to do so, as the children's nurse, had an illegitimate child *probably* whilst working for them in the 1850s. That child grew up, worked for the BF and her children likewise. As did some of the next two generations! About ten years ago, I met up with some members of the BF's descendants, and I was so pleased when one of them suggested that they knew where the bodies were buried, because I was wondering exactly the same, and wasn't sure I could say it! In the meantime, there was a sister who fell completely off the radar - annoyingly, no living descendants so I doubt I'll ever find out why - and a brother who cut all ties after WW1, and I didn't find out what happened to him until 2001.

    Meanwhile their father was also illegitimate, may have been over-fond of the bottle (again, how true? Granny wouldn't even sniff the cork), and mysteriously falls off the radar until his death in 1930. The 1911 census for the parish he was probably in has been badly damaged, and there's no sign of him anywhere else. He remarried after wife 1's death, but again no living descendants to help me out. Will the 1921 census help me out, I wonder?

    Apart from that they were pretty dull...

    Miffy, do your homework before you start the scots, if you haven't already, because the records are very different!
  • The 1921 census is going to be a big deal for a lot of people. For me, it will hopefully clear up details about where certain family members were at the time.

    I found the 1939 War Register to be extremely helpful, especially bearing in mind that there won't be a 1931 census (lost in the war, I understand), nor one for 1941 (not done).
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    The 1921 census is going to be a big deal for a lot of people. For me, it will hopefully clear up details about where certain family members were at the time.

    I found the 1939 War Register to be extremely helpful, especially bearing in mind that there won't be a 1931 census (lost in the war, I understand), nor one for 1941 (not done).

    Ah, right. That’s helpful to know.

  • My paternal uncle was determined to research his family as their parents had both died young. Helpfully his desire coincided with both retirement and the arrival of computers- for-all .

    Question:
    Do you have all your information only online?
    Or in paper form too?
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    A mix of both at the moment. My father did a lot of the donkey work initially traipsing round checking records and locations, not pre computers, but for him, pre internet. One of my brothers has a few documents, I think, and all three of us have copies of the original tree listing that he made out from his research.
  • I was hoping to use lockdown as the opportunity to get stuck into the 1939 register but, annoyingly, I can get access to Ancestry through my library card but the register is on FindMyPast, who have not done so. I've looked at a couple of people on it in the library in the past but the connection is so slow that your 30 minutes really don't go very far. Maybe I should get a month's sub and just steam into it one week? Anyone know whether the redactions get updated as people are assumed to have fallen off their perches?

    I do have the page with Dad on it - only he and one sister are not redacted, despite only two of them still being alive at the time I downloaded it. At the time there was an experimental camp next door for treating wayward adolescents, which is there on the register. A shade over 40 years later, I went to a school founded by one of the camps' board - it is entirely possible they passed on the road *Twilight Zone theme*.

    In answer to a point further upthread, how people were named on the census depends on many things. As far as I am aware, up to 1901 forms were sent to houses with the expectation that they would be filled in by the householder, and collected by the enumerator who would then copy them into the official form (I'm sure I'll be collected if this is wrong). In practice, especially for the earlier ones, the enumerator would often have to fill in the forms himself (mostly male...), and so would be relying on being told what the name was, and making their best guess as to how it was spelt (one year one set of my ancestors were recorded as "Hardon" - you try googling that!).

    If you want an idea of how prevalent this was, take a look at the rubric in the enumerator's book for the 1871 census where, at least in England, they were asked to record how many forms out of the total they had had to fill in. It's the only year this was asked. Interestingly in my village of main interest the book containing the centre of the village has the enumerator filling in a much greater proportion of the forms compared to the one containing the outlying farms, where you might expect the head of household to be literate, or afford to have their children educated (universal education only arrived in 1870 IIRC).

    If he got a book back filled in he would have to decipher as best he could the handwriting and spelling - I spent some time deciphering an ancestor's undertaking business records, and he finally only got the Reverend Eustace's name spelt correctly when he had to put a plate on the bloke's lid! Then you have to assume that he could spell, didn't slip up as he was trying to meet his deadline... etc etc etc!

    This all changed in 1911, when the forms themselves were retained.

  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    That could quite well explain the lack of info on great-aunt, then; she and the unknown 6 year old could be one and the same, (albeit with a discrepancy in year of birth), given that the handwriting of either head of household or the enumerator may not have been clear.
  • I suspect a lot of people didn't have a particularly accurate idea of their age - I recall one ancestor didn't age at all between two censuses, but aged 20 years before the next one!

    I've just twigged that he date I gave earlier for universal education was for England - doubtless NEQ will put me to rights on the date for Scotland, and deservedly wig me for being so anglocentric.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    edited March 2021
    Miffy - would your great aunt's parents have been alive in 1911? I think that year householders were asked how many children they had and how many were still alive, that might give some light on the mystery daughter? Feel free to tell me where to stuff it if you've already checked this.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    No, it’s ok. I know that the 1911 census shows that the couple whose name she used were alive then. The question I’m unsure of is - were those her actually her real parents or her aunt and uncle? There’s always been some speculation in the family that she was the illegitimate daughter of someone else entirely.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    Though yes, apparently there was another daughter who died in infancy.
  • Have you found any people who were up the tree in your tree? In one branch, we've got a succession of failed farmers who kept moving west in the USA over 4 generations until they "got religion" and became missionaries to the "heathen Chinese" (shudder the racism) who were building railways in British Columbia. Sister has traced a line of severe mental illness through 5 generations which all seems attached to religious guilt, with a side order of promiscuity and repression. I don't think it is required to combine religion and guilt to become mentally ill, but it certainly works for one branch in my family.
  • One other thing to bear in mind is that the people who did the transcribing in preparing the census records for the computer didn't always get it right. For example, one census has a family called "Baslen" which is actually "Bailey" - but you have to look closely at the actual census records to see this. Equally, a number of my family are listed as being born in "Sevenham" in Surrey (which doesn't exist). When I looked at the census itself, it was clearly "Farnham" (which does exist and what I knew to be true, anyway).

    With regards to the blocked records in the 1939 register - I am not aware that they are being opened up once the person concerned is deceased. Maybe this will be done every 5 years or so?
  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    I've just twigged that he date I gave earlier for universal education was for England - doubtless NEQ will put me to rights on the date for Scotland, and deservedly wig me for being so anglocentric.

    Education Act (Scotland) 1872, which came into effect in 1873. Virtually every child in Scotland was already in education at that point, but some started late, some left early, some took lengthy periods off to help with e.g. farm work.

    You can tell how close each place was to having universal education prior to 1872 by how many schools they had to build when education became compulsory. Edinburgh already had sufficient places, although many were substandard. Aberdeen was much the same, though with a higher number of overcrowded and substandard places. Glasgow had to build more schools, but initially made the starting age 6 instead of 5, because they had enough places for all 6-12 year olds, even if they couldn't accommodate all 5-12 year olds.

    But Dundee! It was meaningless to say that education was "compulsory" in Dundee in 1873 because of the lack of school places. Dundee had the problem that it was one of the poorest cities and was facing the highest bills for school building. The wealthiest areas, which already had good school provision prior to the 1872 Act, also faced the lowest costs in implementing the Act.

  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    edited March 2021
    One other thing to bear in mind is that the people who did the transcribing in preparing the census records for the computer didn't always get it right.

    Good point, especially for the 1881 census, which was available as a transcription via the LDS for many years. Some of the transcription is very, very wide of the mark - always check the original if you can (assuming that the indexing is close enough to find the person you are after...).

    Thank you, NEQ, much appreciated. My lot were in Dundee (well, Broughty Ferry), though I suspect that only my 2gt granny would have been educated there by then. I suspect she'd have had a better chance as the daughter of the nurse of the mill owner's daughter (that was complicated!) than most of the mill workers children.
  • I was hoping to use lockdown as the opportunity to get stuck into the 1939 register but, annoyingly, I can get access to Ancestry through my library card but the register is on FindMyPast, who have not done so. I've looked at a couple of people on it in the library in the past but the connection is so slow that your 30 minutes really don't go very far. Maybe I should get a month's sub and just steam into it one week? Anyone know whether the redactions get updated as people are assumed to have fallen off their perches?

    Ancestry does have the 1939 Register, but I think the search may be different to Find my Past. Name and location will give you sight of the relevant section of the Register on Ancestry.

    I've been messing with mine (or mine and my wife's) for 10-15 years, exclusively online (hangs head in shame amongst proper genealogists). Originally I accepted loads of existing family trees and then spent loads of time either proving them wrong or getting real records to confirm them. It can be a real rabbit hole... I have a truly idiotic 9000 names in my tree but I think I can justify over half of them. Of course, my information may be wrong, connecting the wrong people on church records and so on, so I'm not planning to claim any inheritance from it!

    As for finding black sheep, I have still not recovered from my shock discovery. I have always thought both sides of my family were largely Irish with some more recent Welsh input. That's only partly true, as there are also lots of... English, many of whom came from Somerset and Devon to work in the docks or in the coalfields. This has done nothing for my proud Celtic identity - although it has highly amused my English wife - and I may even need to learn the words of 'Sweet Chariot'. (Shouldn't take too long!)
  • Oooh, thank you, RPM! Guess where I've been.... I've downloaded all I can find of one village of interest thus far and, shock horro, I've actually got a sighting of Granny's mysterious brother, complete with new middle name!

    What's a bit odd is that the evacuees seem to be recorded seperately as almost all of the last two pages are redacted - though one of the lines that isn't is a house I've seen elsewhere in the book already (home of the Dagenham Girl Pipers, fact fans).
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    Another question: What was the normal interval between birth and baptism at the turn of the 19/20th century? I notice that the aforementioned great- aunt was ‘done’ nearly two years after her birth, whereas for her younger brother (or cousin, if family lore is indeed true), it was more like two months.
  • Might depend on where you lived, and the availability of clergy.
  • One can pick up info from odd places. I have an ancestor who was from a London theatre family in the late 1700s; she was a dancer. As such the family paid into a benevolent fund which paid out in case of illness and death and the records are available. Unfortunately I have the feeling the family adopted a new family name (at least I can find no one else with the name, Stageldoir) so going back further is a bit of a dead end. Nor am I sure whether she and the father of her 8 children were ever formally married. The father was from a Scottish merchant family but does not seem to have lived a sedate life. His father who outlived him did provide for some of the children in his will.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    Might depend on where you lived, and the availability of clergy.

    I wonder. I just checked a copy of the church registers; the same church in both cases. With Gt-Aunt, all the children (except for said aunt), baptised April through October of that year are only a few months old. From October through mid November 1896, there are a couple aged nearly a year, plus one child born in 1893!

    There are two clergy sharing the load, both there throughout that time period, (vicar and curate, perhaps?). So I guess we can rule out an interregnum between personnel as a reason for the discrepancy.

    I’ll have to check as to location, though I’d have thought that the city would have been chock full of churches back then. I’m hoping that the delay might be more due to family reasons, but we’ll see.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    One can pick up info from odd places. I have an ancestor who was from a London theatre family in the late 1700s; she was a dancer. As such the family paid into a benevolent fund which paid out in case of illness and death and the records are available. Unfortunately I have the feeling the family adopted a new family name (at least I can find no one else with the name, Stageldoir) so going back further is a bit of a dead end. Nor am I sure whether she and the father of her 8 children were ever formally married. The father was from a Scottish merchant family but does not seem to have lived a sedate life. His father who outlived him did provide for some of the children in his will.

    Yes, there’s one male relative of ours who looks to have put it about a bit. I’ve long since stopped believing in ‘the good old days!’🙄

  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    edited March 2021
    wrote:
    "Ethne Alba;c-402609"Question:
    Do you have all your information only online?
    Or in paper form too?

    Mine is chaotic. I started long before I had access to a computer. In the early 1990s I typed up the bare bones into four volumes, which I had bound. These are now heavily annotated.

    I have a tree, using Family Tree Maker, on my computer but it's just names and dates. I have a Dropbox folder of photos. I have pages of notes on Word. I have four box files of handwritten notes (dating back to the 1980s), newspaper cuttings, and correspondence, plus a couple of boxes of stuff like my grandmother's autograph book, and family papers. I can navigate round this, but I don't think anyone else could.

    In the fullness of time I expect to inherit photos and paperwork from my parents.

    My children are interested in complete stories, but not in the mechanism of putting those stories together. I think that if I died, they would be at loss as to what to do with the boxes.

    If I won the lottery I think I would pay someone to enter all the assorted information onto my FamilyTreeMaker tree.

  • I can sympathise with that! My file is huge, it started out in the '90s on record cards and is ow on its second FH program (which really ought to be updated...). I dread to think how much of my life was spent on putting stuff on the computer. I'd actually chased all the loose stuff I had lying around down and entered it... until Monday! Now I have three villages worth of the 1939 register, plus a bunch of Scottish electoral rolls, which I will have to re-find on Ancestry as the headers aren't saved when you save the image....

    Amusingly, having found the mysterious and elusive great uncle with my very first search for him as hit number one, I cannot find his sister, who never went *anywhere*. I wonder if she has been wrongly redacted, as her mother's household has a couple of lines in it that have been, and I can't see why.
  • I note on baptism that not all groups believe in infant baptism and Quakers (and I have a fair number of Quaker ancestors) don't believe in it at all. A change in religious views might cause a family to baptize children not previously baptized (or an adult to get baptized).






  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    I note on baptism that not all groups believe in infant baptism and Quakers (and I have a fair number of Quaker ancestors) don't believe in it at all. A change in religious views might cause a family to baptize children not previously baptized (or an adult to get baptized).








    Yes, that’s worth taking into consideration. It’s unlikely to apply in this instance, though I had wondered whether it might be of relevance to another branch of the family.

    There were a few very late baptisms, (20 years in one case!) noted on the register of baptisms round about the time my grandfather was done, though, so yes, a change of religious views might well apply. Perhaps in order to be eligible to marry in that church?!

  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited March 2021
    @North East Quine thank you for this.

    I think a chat with Next Generations Down will be my next move..
  • When will the 1921 census be available?
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    I’m wondering that too.
  • Tree BeeTree Bee Shipmate
    Priscilla wrote: »
    When will the 1921 census be available?
    Next year, I’ve heard.
  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    The Scottish 1921 census is due out later this year - how much later I don't know.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    Lots of the Scottish Kirk Session and Presbytery records just went up online at Scotland's People - very handy for genealogists.
  • Tree Bee wrote: »
    Priscilla wrote: »
    When will the 1921 census be available?
    Next year, I’ve heard.

    That's my understanding as well.
  • I haven't done one of these 23 and Me / Ancestry.com types of genetic tests, but it would be interesting, because some of my relatives have done genealogical research, but I don't have most of their work. My mom was doing some for a while, and she ran into some interesting things - mostly, a strong suspicion that her great-grandmother completely made up the story that she was Native American. As I heard the story from my grandmother, her grandma said that her father was French Canadian, and her mother Native American; but her mother contracted TB from moving indoors, and died. So her dad put her in an orphanage, where she developed a hatred for the nuns and by extension the Catholic church (which her father would've been part of), and determined to marry a Protestant. She did marry a Protestant, but none of the rest seems to be true. She's listed among the middle children in the census, although her birthday is listed as precisely one year off from another sibling (to the day). Also, one of the genealogists my mom talked to happened to be a distant cousin living across the Detroit River (in Windsor) who was descended from one of the other siblings (not the one claiming to be Native) and she simply said, "She wasn't adopted."

    But I have had a different kind of genetic test - I submitted a spit sample for a research project through the University of Michigan, and they offered to give you a really basic ancestry summary. Really basic. It came back telling me that I'm 100% European (and that's all the detail it gave - no surprise, really, as I'm very, very white), with the slight exception that there's some part of my DNA sequence that's generally seen among people of Middle Eastern/Northern African descent. Assuming that means Semitic descent, it would make sense to suppose maybe my German grandfather (his family were all German descent as far as we know, but had been in Ohio for a few generations) had an ancestor way, way back in Germany who was Jewish. But all of this is highly speculative. Unfortunately, I mentioned this all to my mom, because it seems to put some closure to the great-great grandmother's story. But, <sigh> my mom is overly enamored with all things Jewish like only a Christian Zionist can be, so she latched on to that little strand of DNA. I can't know where it comes from, but my German grandfather was my dad's dad. But she says when she and my (now late) dad would go to Friends of Israel functions, people would say he looked like their rabbi. Now that's even less convincing evidence than 23 and Me or a family tree would be.

    I've had people ask me (all of these were single occasions) if I'm Italian, Russian, or in one particularly odd case, Chinese. But no, my ancestors were from areas known today as Germany, France, England, Switzerland, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, as far as I know. They wound up in Detroit via Nova Scotia, Ontario (Windsor), New Orleans, and Cleveland. That's pretty much all I know. I also know they've left me with bipolar, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, and a few other ailments, more probably to come; but more importantly, with humor and resilience and resourcefulness.
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