Family History an introduction
Have you done any research into your family tree? I loved both History and Geography at school and it was a hard choice deciding which of these subjects I would take forward to do at O level. (GCSE's weren't invented then!) I decided in the end to do Geography as our History teacher was a spinster that spoke in one tone of voice and we nicknamed Noddy as she could send us off to sleep! (She subsequently noticed what an avid reader I was and lent me all her books of the classics of Jane Austin and the Brontes - for which I will always be grateful.)
|My great great Aunt's Wedding in 1910|
In my mid-teens staying with my sister for a weekend my brother-in-law had a client over from America who wanted to trace his roots and he offered to help him. My sister and myself went along too, it was a cold day in October and we both stood cold and bored as we searched in vain for some gravestones in a damp deserted churchyard. Move forward in time 30 years to another churchyard and what do you see? Yes, I have to admit it is me searching for my roots too!
That first experience must have stayed in the back of my mind, so when in the 1990's my Dad started to research our family tree I was the keenest one in the family to find out what he had learnt. In those days the information was not so accessible so he would visit record offices and spend hours pouring over old microfiche. He discovered that both his side of the family and my mother's had originally lived by the sea in Essex and Devon. (In my subsequent research I have discovered that both similar interests and jobs seem to pass through the generations - I'm sure this is not unique to us.)
|The ship my great, great grandfather sailed in as Captain.|
I took up the mantle in the early years of this century as family history on the internet became more available. My brother also discovered new generations and stories a few years ago after he had an accident and was off work for several months.
Has the quest been worth it? Yes, I have found it so interesting and what fascinates me more than anything is to discover how my ancestors lived and how different it was to our lives today. I have been lucky to have found wills, photographs, newspaper stories to give me this unique insight. We have also found, so to speak, - a few skeletons in the cupboard too. (I will tell you some of these tales one day!)
If you have done any family history I would love to know what sparked your interest in the first place, and if you haven't and are interested below are a few sites that you may find useful. I also regret not asking more questions to the older generation while they were still around.
http://www.freebmd.org.uk/ - information on births,marriages and deaths in England and Wales (not fully complete.)
https://familysearch.org/ international site run by Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints
bbc family history getting started
There are some good paid sites too Ancestry and Find my past. You can usually get good deals on Amazon when you buy Family Tree Maker which also gives you 6 months membership free on Ancestry.
I also regret not asking more questions to the older members of the family while they were still alive.
A word of warning researching your family tree can get quite addictive!
I have discovered that many of my distant family have emigrated and lived all over the world including Canada and Australia and it is lovely to have made some many friends from overseas through blogging.
Finally a big welcome to my new followers Anne, Kathy, Susy Cottage, Michelle and Flo and Stan also Jennifer came back with her blog name. Thank you as always for all your lovely comments, hope you are having a good week too!