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How I got started

Discussion in 'How I got started in Family History' started by JennyF, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. JennyF

    JennyF LostCousins Member

    In 1975, I was studying hard for my A level exams and we were told that when the exams were over, there was about 3 weeks left of term before we officially left school and 2 weeks of that time would be filled with project work of our choosing. Bit different to today. Suggestions were made but I wasn't enthusiastic about any of them until one teacher inspired me by saying she had researched her family tree. That was it! It took a lot of planning as my parents were born in Lincolnshire, about 140 miles from where I was living. I couldn't drive and the internet didn't exist. My parents did some ground work when they visited, talking to as many relatives as possible for information. I wrote to the vicars of each parish church making appointments to look through the parish registers. A friend was coming with me - her project was going to be on churches. Dad drove us to stay with my maternal grandmother and returned 2 weeks later to take us home again. We borrowed bicycles and off we went. Everyone was so helpful and left us to trawl through the registers and tramp round churchyards. We found an amazing amount of information in such a short time.

    The internet renewed my interest and I have expanded my tree a lot further by visiting archives, more churchyards and purchasing tools such as census cds to aid my research. And now I have recently had my DNA tested! I'm often asked if I have finished my tree. I currently have about 4,500 names in my tree and tell them it will never be finished as there is always more to find. Not just names but putting 'flesh on the bones' to find out who they were, where they lived, what they did, what did they look like? Family history is like have an itch that won't go away!
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 6
    • Agree Agree x 5
  2. jojoy

    jojoy LostCousins Member

  3. jojoy

    jojoy LostCousins Member

    I agree!
    I too began about the same time....1974. My mother died of bowel cancer at age 70 that year.

    I was fortunate to have an uncle on my father's side, who gave me death information for his grandparents. I wrote to "Somerset House", obtained their death certificates a few weeks later, and have never stopped expanding my tree.
    A great aunt on my mother's side was happy to fill in any and all details of HER grandparents, so I was able to begin with my 2xgreat grandparents on one side, and great grandparents on the other.
    Joining several Family History societies was an excellent way to connect with others who were searching for ancestors with the same names, and introduced me to others and share results with them.
    Just having the correct surnames to work with was a huge help.
    Writing to elderly aunts in England also helped to fill in some blanks.

    Searching family history has connected me to relatives I never knew existed and made it possible for me to meet some of them from other countries, and to enjoy corresponding with others on a regular basis.
    I am blessed to have started my search, and continue to this day!
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 4

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