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A boring reason to start

Discussion in 'How I got started in Family History' started by EAnne, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. EAnne

    EAnne Member

    In comparison to other people's fascinating reasons for beginning family history, mine was very boring: about 20 years ago I got a part time job as an archives assistant and felt completely unable to help anyone. As I'd never looked into family history, I didn't understand basic things like the difference between a birth certificate and a baptism record. I thought that if I tried doing my own family tree that might give me a better idea. In those days there was nothing online except IGI, so I used microfiche GRO indexes at work, and my husband nobly searched censuses for me at the Family Records Centre after his meetings in London. I have been at it on and mostly off since then, but am stuck in a time warp, with no online tree and all my research in 4 fat folders! Keep wondering whether a DNA test might solve the mystery of my GGgrandmother, who was born ~1840 in Nottinghamshire but lived near Dublin from (probably) the mid 1860s till her death in 1909, but feel overwhelmed by all the work this would need.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    Hi EAnne, welcome to the forum, we have all had to start somewhere, the main thing is to start. I, like you started my research way before computers etc and didn't know much about my family history, now research is much easier. Do you have any ancestors on the 1881 census? if so may I suggest entering them on the Lost Cousins site .this is a great way to start getting things going.
  3. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    I likewise started researching back in the dark ages, and still have stacks of paper and boxes of data fiches alongside my computer and associated paraphernalia.

    I did a DNA test with Ancestry over two years ago and am glad I did. It has solved a few mysteries for me and also helped to confirm my paper research. I've had my own online tree for many years but also created a basic tree at Ancestry to link to my DNA test.

    You can create an Ancestry tree from a gedcom, if you already have your research in a family history program. In the end I created mine manually, and being only a basic tree, it didn't take that long - it filled in the time while I was waiting for my DNA results to appear.
  4. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Star

    Welcome EAnne, I don't think your reason for starting family history is boring - sounds a very practical idea, and hopefully you have enjoyed dipping into this fascinating hobby over the years. Building up 4 fat folders of paperwork is quite an achievement, and no bad thing to have hard copies of the documentation (thus avoiding problems with crashing computers etc.!), though you need a good index system to find anything (same is true of computer records of course, though family history programs are great at organising things).

    I agree with Pauline, a DNA test with Ancestry is definitely worthwhile (they have frequent '25% off' offers so look out for one of those). Even if it doesn't enable you to trace your gg-grandmother (I still haven't found my Irish gg-grandfather!) the other DNA matches would almost certainly be useful to support your paper-based research and help you make further discoveries.

    I uploaded my and my husband's trees to Ancestry via gedcoms, but it is simple enough to create a basic 'direct ancestors' tree there using the information you have (going back 4 generations, or more if you can), which you can then link to your DNA results.

    And as Heather says, make sure you enter any of your relatives in the 1881 census into the Lost Cousins site, to increase your chances of finding living cousins. You never know, one of them may have solved the mystery of your elusive ancestor!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. EAnne

    EAnne Member

    Thank you, Heather, Pauline and Helen7 for your replies. I've entered 69 ancestors on the 1881 census, and have a total of 261 ancestors, which produced 2 cousins, but neither replied.
    Presumably I would need personal membership of Ancestry to create a tree there. I normally use Ancestry and FMP for free at the archives (still work as I enjoy the job so much, but have reduced my hours to 7 a week, and generally do one day as a volunteer cataloguing). It was encouraging to hear that I would only need a basic direct ancestors' tree, as by and large I have restricted myself to the 4 direct lines, but I was worried that I would have to do a lot more researching to make DNA worthwhile - see what a dinosaur I am!
  6. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Star

    You need an Ancestry account but you don't need to subscribe to put your tree there. My husband is a member but not a subscriber (i.e. he has a free account), and he has a tree linked to his DNA results, and can see his matches.
  7. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    Yes but that can be from your DNA test. You do not need a subscription. I access Ancestry remotely via my local library and do not have a personal subscription. I have created a public tree at Ancestry which contains just direct ancestors - over 200 of them, so your existing knowledge should be enough to allow 'easy' determination of Most Recent Common Ancestors (MRCAs) by interested relatives, except perhaps distant cousins.
  8. EAnne

    EAnne Member

    Thanks, Helen7 and Bryman - your replies were very helpful. Think I will have a go the next timer there's a good offer.

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