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Thread: Researching family history

  1. #1
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    Default Researching family history

    On Sunday night I had received an email from a relative asking me about the maiden name of my paternal grandmother for a family tree that she was compiling, and whether I knew the surname - I didn't know the answer to this myself, and so I signed up on the Find My Past and Ancestry.co.uk websites to find out, and was literally amazed. I took History for a GCSE subject at school, and I used to spend hours in the library looking at old electoral records and newspapers on microfilm not long after leaving school.

    So I went onto Find My Past - I have been familiar with TV programmes like Who Do You Think You Are? but always thought that searching for one's ancestry is very much like looking for a very small needle in a very large haystack. As recently as five years ago another relative had visited me at my old place and told me that I was about to go into some money (it was just a couple of pounds but never mind) - someone from a probate organisation had contacted her to say that a cousin of my father's had recently passed away without any offspring and needed to find the next of kin. Of course, when I knew about this, I let my siblings know and all that - fair enough, the money wasn't too much but it was such an interesting insight into family which I had never even given any thought about.

    The email from my relative had got me going on with researching my own family history as in my father's grandfather's father and so on, and I spend all of the early hours of Monday morning finding it out. I knew of my grandfather and so he was a starting point on there, so basically from marriage records and the Census, and found out who his father was, and he also had the same first name as myself. Furthermore, in just a few hours, I managed to go back three generations to find who my great, great, great grandfather was, was born in 1801 and was on the 1841 Census, and just like my great grandfather, all three of us had exactly the same name! It felt a bit weird typing my own name (which was also his) into the search box for a person who was alive in the early part of the 19th century! I thought that my grandfather came from Ireland, but he (or someone with the same at least) had a Birmingham connection which confused me.

    It was fascinating that although we were based in Nottingham in the past 100 years, the family ancestry had lived in areas like Tibshelf and Codnor in Derbyshire, and also the Census links, that one person was head of the household and one of the sons would be head himself in a future Census listing 20 years or so later. I didn't even know that my own name has been more traditional than I realised and that it goes back in the family for over 200 years - I had direct namesakes 150 and even 200 years ago! I would have liked to have gone further back in time than the start of the 19th century, but the archive only seem to start just before the beginning of the Victorian era - I would have gone into the 18th century and probably into the Middle Ages if I could.

    I did a direct "father to son" list which spans six generations which would lead to Yours Truly in the present day, and four out of the six were called George - I have to say that I do feel that I am very much the incumbent in the list, and that I am continuing this tradition, and I am the one person who has continued this tradition into the year 2000 and into the 21st century. My own family had had as many Georges in it as the Royal Family has, and this time yesterday it didn't even make me think about looking online for all this information until the receiving the email request from my relative - I feel that I have unearthed several time capsules at once.

    Find My Past is such a wonderful website to do research on, and I think that the only problems were that the website kept crashing ever so often, which is obviously frustrating, and also I had my work cut out finding a bit more about my great, great, great-grandfather who was born in 1801 and trying to trace the maiden name of the person that he married - I must have made a mistake or selected the wrong person as his wife must have been 14 years old when it happened - was that the legal age of marriage as young as that in 1820, or had I made a mistake, I wonder? I could only find one person of that same first name who could have married my ancestor in that time frame. The results I received are a bit flimsy as it is before the marriage and Census records of the 1830s began, and I know that we were very much in the "shoving boys up chimneys" territory back then.

    Have you done any research into family history and found out what your great, great, grandfather did in the 19th century? - did you do it in the Local Studies part of the main library where you live or did you a website like Find My Past or Ancestry.co.uk? It is so fascinating that I am continuing a 200 year old tradition almost without realising it! I am fascinated with all this, and it is brilliant that I have now got a list of the different generations of my own family! It is absolutely amazing to say the very least.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Researching family history

    How much did it cost to register with the two websites ??


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  3. #3

    Default Re: Researching family history

    I did my family research a few years back on think it was called Gene's reunited.It was free with only so much information.Only went back as far as my grandparents on both sides.If you have an unusual surname then it is a lot easier to track down births marriages and deaths.But if the surnames are Jones Smith etc it's like looking for a needle in a haystack

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Researching family history

    Quote Originally Posted by Zincubus View Post
    How much did it cost to register with the two websites ??
    Around 10, using my Credit Card - that is a ballpark figure.

    The website is www.findmypast.co.uk/ if you want to have a look for yourself. I think that Ancestry.co.uk is a similar amount - I was doing this as a favour for a relative of mine who is compiling her family tree.

    I am one of those people who would get put off if something is too expensive (I never do Premium Rate stuff), but in the log run, a tenner is good value to track down one's own family history back over two centuries.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Researching family history

    Quote Originally Posted by amethyst View Post
    I did my family research a few years back on think it was called Gene's reunited.It was free with only so much information.Only went back as far as my grandparents on both sides.If you have an unusual surname then it is a lot easier to track down births marriages and deaths.But if the surnames are Jones Smith etc it's like looking for a needle in a haystack
    I think it where we get the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" from.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Researching family history

    Quote Originally Posted by amethyst View Post
    I did my family research a few years back on think it was called Gene's reunited.
    Wasn't that connected to Friends Reunited?
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Researching family history

    Quote Originally Posted by George 1978 View Post
    Around 10, using my Credit Card - that is a ballpark figure.

    The website is www.findmypast.co.uk/ if you want to have a look for yourself. I think that Ancestry.co.uk is a similar amount - I was doing this as a favour for a relative of mine who is compiling her family tree.

    I am one of those people who would get put off if something is too expensive (I never do Premium Rate stuff), but in the log run, a tenner is good value to track down one's own family history back over two centuries.
    Was the tenner to cover both websites AND is it a one-off payment or is that for a week / month / year ??


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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Researching family history

    No, they are separate websites and I had to pay for both of them individually - I believe that it is a one off payment as I didn't see any mention of anything like weekly or monthly payments. There are options on Find Your Past depending on what you are searching for, and the cost may vary in that respect - I didn't choose the cheapest or the most expensive. Have a look on those websites yourself and you will find out a bit more about them.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Researching family history

    I have just posted an A4 envelope to Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock, enclosing 20 pages printed from the Find Your Past website that has details of my ancestors mentioned on 19th century Census forms and marriage records - I am not hoping for much but it will be interesting if they can help as my family had connections with Derbyshire (Tibshelf and Codnor area) in the mid 19th century.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Researching family history

    Quote Originally Posted by George 1978 View Post
    I think it where we get the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" from.
    More than likely lol

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