Friday, 9 July 2010

Follow Friday or why I think Genes Reunited is essential for family history research

Again, I am taking inspiration for this blog post from @geneablogger.

For Follow Friday you 'create a post in which you recommend another genealogy blogger, specific blog post, a genealogy website or a genealogy resource.'

There is only one resource that I always refer to, and always maintain my subscription to (all £19.90 of it per year), and that is Genes Reunited.

In case you are new to family history research, or are not aware of Genes Reunited, here is the link -

Now, Genes Reunited have added a few features in recent years such as searching records and, I think, they have a community board but I have never used these features. I probably do not use Genes Reunited as it was, and is, intended.

You are also able to build your family tree in Genes Reunited. Again, I don't use it properly and I barely have 10% of my tree in it. This is rather lazy of me and it is good job the rest of the members of Genes Reunited don't take the same approach, otherwise I would not have had so much success with it. It is the family trees that makes Genes Reunited THE most value resource (IMO) for finding Living Relatives.

Anytime, I am faced with a new name, new branch of the family or am helping someone with their research I start off with a search of the family trees within Genes Reunited.

I have just reviewed my contacts list and I have found at least 16 living relatives over 11 branches of my family in the time I have been with Genes Reunited (my first message was sent in October 2007). I have not attempted to count the number of living relatives I have found for friends when I have helped them with their research. So for me Genes Reunited is an essential tool for researching family history as it is gives you the easiest access to living relatives.

There is only one thing that I find frustrating with Genes Reunited and that is sometimes you know there is connection with another member of Genes Reunited but you do not get a reply from them. I suspect that non family historians add their family details to Genes Reunited and then forget about it, change email address and then it is almost impossible to make contact. I am on the trail of one such case now but I'll leave that for another post.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday

Inspiration for this blog post came from @geneablogger and their Treasure Chest Thursday. You are supposed to write about 'a family treasure, an heirloom or even an every-day item important to your family'.

Unfortunately, we don't have any family treasures or heirlooms in our branch of our family. We should have though, and would have, had it not been for my Great Uncle.

My Great Grandmother's children traveled all over the world and as you might expect wrote letters home. I remember the mirror in my Great Grandmother's house being decorated with the latest airmail envelopes. These letters, and the many photographs that I know would have existed, would have been the greatest family treasure and I would dearly have loved to have them. They would have contained so much information about the family, their overseas adventures and perhaps information about the wider family.

But it was not to be the case.

The story goes that when my Great Grandmother died her son wanted to find a letter that he had sent to his mother that he did not want anyone else to read. I guess because of the large number of letters, photographs and documents that would have been in the house he had difficulties finding it. His solution was to take every document, letter and photograph that he could get his hands on into the garden and set fire to them. So the greatest family treasure that we could have had, in our branch of the family, was gone. Although, to be fair some of the photo's survived although a couple are burnt.

The ironic thing is that I learned, recently, that the letter he was looking for is the only letter to have survived. It is currently held by his sister who refuses to reveal the contents to me.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Disorganised Journey

I have always loved research. Loved chasing after ancestors and tracking them down. What I never managed to crack was writing down what I had discovered, documenting it so that it made sense to other people. Twenty-five years have now past by and there is a LOT to do.

Genealogy is a faithful hobby which you can pick up and put down (for years even) and it is still there and enjoyable when you come back to it. Over those past 25 years, some years were very intense where I worked almost full time on family history research. I attended a college which just happened to be almost next door to the library so like a good student I spent every second I could there, (on the 6th floor in the genealogy section). Then for a few too many years, when I first had my children, family history research was firmly put on the back burner with only rare snatches of research achieved.

By then the internet had really come on with primary documents being available online instead of just the transcripts and one is able to dip very easily into research with a spare half hour here and there. As result, it is fairly easy to build up lots and lots data in a fairly short amount of time but I still fail to document it so that it is useful to others.

I have always felt that I should have kept a diary of my research so that I could remember what I have looked at and what my conclusions/evidence was but I was never disciplined enough. I am hoping that by having blog I will make the effort to keep a diary of my genealogical journey. Now I just need to make some time for some new research (or perhaps I need to start wadding through the mountains of scribbled notes and hastily drawn family trees...)