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December Questions and Answers


Published on 20 Dec 2011 11:37 : anthony adolph : 8 comments : 1775 views

As we approach Christmas, my December question and answer session on Genes Reunited is noticeably less busy than other months. Perhaps it is because so many people are out at Christmas parties, or busy with their Christmas cards or - I don't know what they're all up to, but the December session is always quiet.

But interest in genealogy is alive and well. In the weeks before Christmas, I get loads of telephone calls and e-mails enquiring about my service, with the inevitable question - "err... how long does it take". Some people want their whole family trees traced in days, to present as a splendid, last minute Christmas present - something I politely tell them is impossible. More reasonable people ask for what I'd offer anyway - which is for me to make a start, or even just give them a letter for their relative, announcing that research had been commissioned, and the results will be on their way during the New Year.

The two subjects go so well together, Christmas and genealogy. It's partly that Christmas inevitably involves thinking back to Christmases past - remembering grandparents no longer with us - that is what I do, at any rate. But when I underwent what amounted to a mini-marathon of carol services last weekend, and thought about what I was singing, it occurred to me that these genealogical stirrings of ours go rather deeper.

Carols are all about looking back, two thousand years back, into the past. "Of the father's heart begotten", for example, contains the resonant lines "By His word was all created/ He commanded and 'twas done;/ Earth and sky and boundless ocean,/ Universe of three in one". Now, I'm not remotely religious, and I don't believe that was how things started at all. But when singing carols we're allowed to suspend our disbelief and enjoy that sense of wonder the carol-writers wanted to convey - and do convey so successfully and think - in this case - about the start of the world.

A wonderful sense of the rolling on of the ages is in "It came upon the Midnight clear" - "Yet with the woes of sin and strife/ The world has suffered long;/ Beneath the angel-strain have rolled/ Two thousand years of wrong". Those are actually quite grim words, but when singing them you just have that wonderful sense of the stately passage of large amounts of time.

So when we spend so much time thinking back to two thousand years ago - or to the beginning of the world, it's not surprising that we start thinking of our own lines of ancestors rolling back towards 1 AD, and wondering who they really were.

At this time of year, a lot of genealogists and genealogy websites tend to say "make your New Year's resolution to trace your family history". I'm not going to say that, because you're doing that already. Please make your resolution to visit an archive, or lots of archives. We've got to keep them open, as they're under awful pressure from government cuts and, dare I say it here, digitised records - and the more of us who go and make it clear we want our archives to remain, and stay open, the more the authorities are likely to do the right thing.

Merry Christmas!

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by Patricia C on 20 Dec 2011 15:18 :
Ever since I renewed my Membership in September, I cannot get into my tree. I paid for an extra year at that time, so this is definitely not right. Also cannot read messages from others.
Patricia McNamee, nee Patriciia Carole Peirson, born 1941 Redcar, N Yorkshire,
PLEASE reply and ASSIST!
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by yozzer on 24 Jan 2012 05:43 :
I HAVE BEEN A MEMBER FOR QUITE A NUMBER OF YEARS AND AM DISAPOINTED WITH GENES I HAVE PUT EVERYONE OF MY FAMILY IN BIRTHS NOT ONE HIT DONT BELIEVE HOLD THE AMOUNT OF RECORDS THEY SAY AM THINKING OF UNSUBSCRIBING BILL HUGHES
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by yozzer on 24 Jan 2012 05:44 :
HOW O WE CONTACT GENES THEY GIVE NO ADDRESSES OUT?YOZZER
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by Peter on 29 Jan 2012 14:49 :
I cannot print out my family tree in order it is on computer so that i can show an elederly relative. Can anyone suggest anything?
thanks TABY
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by Peter on 29 Jan 2012 15:00 :
I cannot print out my family tree in order it is on computer so that i can show an elederly relative. Can anyone suggest anything?
thanks TABY
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by walvert on 31 Jan 2012 14:59 :
Isn't it time that Genes Reunited introduced a degree of technical competence into it's operation?
I can hardly remember a visit when the system did not freeze up or tell me that someone I had previously found could not be found or, as is happening right now, cannot handle simple typing.
I use Ancestry, 192.com, Irish Times, Isle of Wight and Fermanagh FHS, NIRWGW, Military Genealogy and a few others. THEY ARE ALL TECHNICALLY SUPERIOR TO GENES REUNITED.
Get with it Genes disunited! Walter Calvert
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by walvert on 31 Jan 2012 14:59 :
Isn't it time that Genes Reunited introduced a degree of technical competence into it's operation?
I can hardly remember a visit when the system did not freeze up or tell me that someone I had previously found could not be found or, as is happening right now, cannot handle simple typing.
I use Ancestry, 192.com, Irish Times, Isle of Wight and Fermanagh FHS, NIRWGW, Military Genealogy and a few others. THEY ARE ALL TECHNICALLY SUPERIOR TO GENES REUNITED.
Get with it Genes disunited! Walter Calvert
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by Banjofred on 12 Feb 2012 12:49 :
I have not seen such an amateur effort at programming since the Sinclair Spectrum in the 1980s. this thing fails to save text and phots, crashes at the drop of a hat, freezes, and is generally I think a pretend at a pro site with accompanying charges, but in fact it is crap.

I wish I had chosen another site, but will have to wait until my sub expires, then i am off .........