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Starting family history research - please add tips

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Nyx Report 4 Jul 2010 00:00

A lot of us only started to think about researching a family tree after there are few people left to ask... sit for a while and think of all the memories you can drag up from childhood...maybe who came for Christmas, whether when you visited aunts and uncles you travelled and to where...keep a note book handy, you will be surprised at the snippets of information that you didn't think you knew, that suddenly pop into your head from long ago.

A name you remember now might not 'mean' anything to you ...but you might find it in records somewhere down the line and it will slot into place!

Make as much use of free sites as you possibly can, and always Google! Names of people, places, can give you an amazing amount ( for example googling several locations and wading through the pages found background details of my gt grandfather and a gt gt gt from the pages of old books on the areas)


TootyFruity Report 3 Jul 2010 23:50

Start with what you know and work back.

Ask relatives for as much information as possible but don't take it as gospel as sometimes the information they have been given is wrong to protect past secrets.

Prove each step as you go and only use other trees as a guide. They may have made a mistake and you could end up going down the wrong path.

Attach sources as you get them to each person. It saves going back later with a large batch.

If using a computer to store information back up regularly just in case it crashes so you don't lose everything.

Accept that you will make mistakes and it isn't the end of the world. It just means you have eliminated something.

But most important of all have fun


JoyDean Report 3 Jul 2010 22:45

Thank you, Nicky.
I had posted a long thread a few years ago, hoping it would be of help but the site's glitch deleted it and, on that occasion, I had not kept a copy! -


Nickydownsouth Report 3 Jul 2010 22:30

One useful tip is when you are doing a general search in a town/parish, make a note of all people with your ancestors surname, or similar allowing for poor/mistrancscribed spelling.....

You may not think these people are connected at the time, but some time later { maybe even years down the line} you will often find these people fit in to your tree., and oh how glad you`ll be that you made a note of them....

Good idea Joy......



JoyDean Report 3 Jul 2010 22:20

Anyone like to add their thoughts? before I continue.


JoyDean Report 1 Jul 2010 22:24

There are no hard and fast rules; different people do things in different ways, and there is no one right way nor one wrong way. What suits one person may not suit another. I can give tips on what to do from a personal perspective, and hope that others will, too.

Ways and methods have changed from when I started actively researching my ancestral family, only about 11 years ago. For instance, my journeys to the Family Records Centre in London, when I used to pore over the large, heavy books that contained the indexes of civil registration, from 1837, and search the 1841 to 1901 census on film, often asking the helpful staff for their assistance, had to cease when it closed two years ago.

I have found some useful reference books very helpful to keep on the bookshelf and refer to now and then, for instance we first borrowed from the library and then bought George Pelling's Beginning Your Family History and Colin Roger's Family Tree Detective both of which I find very useful; also, First Steps in Family History by Eve McLaughlin. There are other books which I am sure others can recommend.

One word of caution - although there are many useful websites, and search engines, ie google, dogpile, AltaVista, and many interesting discoveries can be made from surfing the internet, not everything can be found that way. Family history research can be fun, rewarding, and even frustrating at times, and it is a detective trail upon which once one has started, one wishes to find out more. Some call it family history, some call it genealogy; there are differences. What I like to discover are not just names and dates and places, yes, I want to know their names, when they were "hatched, matched and dispatched", but also I want to find out about the places where they lived, where they fit in geographically in the country or in the world, about transport in the times that they lived, the fashions, the social customs of their times; and, if at all possible, I love "treading in their footsteps".

To go back to the beginning -
Where to start? and how?
Start with "me", without "me", one cannot go anywhere in ancestral researching.

So, what do you know about yourself? You may know quite a lot, you may know very little.

... to be continued in due course.
NB copy kept this time.


JoyDean Report 1 Jul 2010 22:23

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