Sunday, July 22, 2007

Climbing trees

Too old at 79? Don't you believe it. Though I must
confess that this is not the sort of tree climbing that I have lately been engaged in.

Mine has been a virtual ascent of the genealogical tree of my husband's forbears. When I realised that we didn't even know the name of my husband's paternal grandmother - (that is to say, one of the only two grandmothers that he had, was unknown to him!) - I thought I should attempt to do something about it.



A friend told me about the website http://www.familysearch.org/, where you can access the International Genealogical Index, and by filling in boxes with such information as you have about an ancestor, can search for him or her in this vast collection of data. It does not provide conclusive evidence, only clues to follow, and it is necessary to get access to original sources, such as parish registers etc, in order to establish the facts.

But it is a fascinating and compulsive pastime chasing back through the generations, and finding links, and filling in gaps. Only sometimes you find that you have followed a false trail, and, as I did for instance, put together a man and a woman as husband and wife, only to find the man would have been only 13 on the date of his marriage! So back you go and start again.

In the end I found it too difficult, and have sent off the data that I have to the appropriate County Records Office, with a request for them to do the research for me. Is it worth spending money to satisfy one's curiousity, I ask myself, but I know that having started the search, I could not let it go now. I'm stuck up the tree, and I need help to get down again!

4 comments:

Lee said...

It can be a fascinating pastime.

A particular subset of Australians likes to find links back to early convicts. And, worse, tell you about it. (I usually say we are descendants of the early prison guards and that kills that conversation dead in its tracks.)

Paul @ The Elders Tribune said...

there are so many products in genealogy only, but many of them only gives you ballpark information. I'd love to know anything that's actually specific and easy to use too.

kenju said...

Judith, I've found you through the ageless project, but I now recall seeing your comments at Ronni's and a few others.

My husband has been doing his family geneaology for at least 6-7 years now, and he is at the point where he has hit a brick wall - unless he goes to the region of Italy where they were born/lived. It sems an expensive way to do it (for those of us not in Europe), but such fun it would be!!

Avus said...

Genealogy is fun and compulsive, what?

I use ancestry.co.uk and can get both sides of my family back to 1837, where the records cease.