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Is it normal to become quite obsessed with your ancestors?

(64 Posts)
WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 10:55:22

Asking for a friend. But it is quite normal isn’t it?

WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 14:17:34

Are you on ancestry or any of the other sites?

UrbaneSprawl Wed 24-Oct-18 14:30:39

I think what Seneca says about stories being repeated down the generations is what makes it so compelling. My son’s great grandfather came to the UK as a refugee from the Basque Country, less than a month after the bombing of Gernika - we’ve been into my son’s school to tell this story, and the kids made their own links between his story and child refugees coming to their school from war zones today.

IsTheRainEverComingBack Wed 24-Oct-18 15:27:12

How are people finding these more detailed stories, personal letters etc? Ancestry only has the obvious records and not sure how to branch out from there

powercutie Wed 24-Oct-18 15:31:32

Second the question about where you're all finding the information? Fascinating!

SenecaFalls Wed 24-Oct-18 15:34:33

I did a lot of research on ancestry.com. But I had a head start because my father had a lot of information about his Scottish ancestors that have been handed down in the family. I wrote down everything that he told me, and through research found that all of it was true.

Ships' manifests, many of which have survived through the years, can also offer a lot of information about immigration in families.

Another good thing about ancestry.com is that you can connect with other people who have done research into your family. This is how my husband, who is also of Scottish ancestry, discovered a branch of his family in Australia.

SenecaFalls Wed 24-Oct-18 15:35:32

Wow. That link to ancestry.com magically appeared.

WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 15:45:25

I’m in absolute love with ancestry although it does lead me in the wrong direction sometimes! Massively grateful to paternal ancestors for coming from a family with so much written about them and for the most part getting there so early so lots is publicly known about them.

Having a much harder time with my maternal side, so desperately want to find her dad but they all seem so much more ??? diffuse? German and Scots-Irish mostly but just hardly anything recorded anywhere

Windgate Wed 24-Oct-18 16:32:08

I'm not sure obsessed is quite the right word for me but researching my family tree has helped me understand my roots. Found some very sad facts along the way including tragic deaths, suicide and abandoned children.
DF and I worked on the tree together until he died, I've carried on and found great comfort.

WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 18:22:32

That’s so moving Windgate, all those layers of personal meaning.

AornisHades Wed 24-Oct-18 18:25:21

Perfectly normal blush

WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 18:29:27

One of the many very best parts is when people ask ‘where are you from’ and your reply leads to ‘noooo I mean where are you from originally’ you can go into way more detail than they could possibly handle 😀

LittleCandle Wed 24-Oct-18 18:38:30

I started looking to find out how my grandfather ended up with a wooden leg, as I didn't ask my DM when she was alive and none of her cousins or mine know. I still don't know (I assume WWI but who can say?) but have found out a huge amount about both sides of the family. I have connected with a distant cousin who provided me with a photo of my great-grandfather, which was amazing. I discovered that a great great aunt murdered one of her own children. I am loving the journey.

BaldricksCoffee Wed 24-Oct-18 19:49:16

Haha, reading this thread and an ad has just popped up on the side of the screen for the British Newspaper Archive grin

WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 19:58:02

Haha! Oh god yes look what we’ve done!

WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 20:10:03

I’d kind of like to know the story behind the wooden leg myself now 🤔 some mysteries should remain unresolved though. I was So Excited when I uploaded my raw dna thing to some of the research sites and matched with various Lost Colony dna projects but 1. of all the lines of enquiry dna seems the least useful and 2. It’s so much more romantic not knowing.

Except I walk through woodland a lot which I still love but now I feel creeped out and wonder wtf might happen 🙄

IsTheRainEverComingBack Wed 24-Oct-18 20:12:41

I’ve got ‘marriage records online’ at the top!

I definitely want to delve a bit further into the details of some of this stuff. I’ve discovered a family member wasn’t born in Ireland as everyone else thought - pretty conclusive, I’ve got the birth certificate and everything - but it’s made me want to find some more good detail to make up for everyone else feeling let down!

HuguenotJo Wed 24-Oct-18 20:23:16

Yes. Perfectly normal. grin

MarmiteTermite Wed 24-Oct-18 20:26:16

I’m obsessed at the moment but because I was adopted as a baby and I have managed to use Ancestry DNA to identify members of my birth family!

WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 20:46:24

That’s so amazing Marmite! I’m really happy for you.

I thought I didn’t care much about my biological origins and was so unprepared for the rollercoaster of it all, now there’s just a kind of deep peace, having that confirmation and the connection. (Except am still on a quest to identify my mum’s dad.)

MarmiteTermite Wed 24-Oct-18 21:01:01

Thank you. Unfortunately my birth mother does not appear to want contact sad. I’ve found two siblings (possibly half, possibly full) on social media and just debating what to do...

LittleBittyKitty Wed 24-Oct-18 21:03:07

I might have found my people! 
I started using Ancestry and ScotlandsPeople a few years ago and became completely hooked really quickly. I found it absolutely fascinating and traced one branch of my tree back to the 16th century. For various reasons I stopped having the time to do it and left it for a couple of years and only recently have gone back to it and am completely hooked once again, but not in a 'sitting up till 2am' kinda way any more.

Loving all your stories.

WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 21:42:38

💐 marmite I’m sorry to hear your mum doesn’t want contact 💔 how long have you been deliberating over whether or not to approach your siblings?

WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 21:46:43

I haven’t heard of ScotlandsPeople, will check it out. Have got almost nowhere looking for my Scottish ancestors and would really like some specific places or regions to visit!

Rubberduckies Wed 24-Oct-18 23:14:27

Yep it's normal...! I first started around age 10 I reckon and every year or so I get super into it and delve into particular lines of the family. I lose hours and hours.

Don't get the ancestry phone app if you have an obsessive personality.....speaking from personal experience.

I don't tend to stay on my main family line. I like looking at whole families and what sort of families their spouses came from and who left who what in their Will. I got quite cross with a family once who had servants and loving in expensive areas London while their sister was dying in a workhouse with 2 small children. Why didn't they just help her out lol!?

I found that one of my ancestors had a baby with his wives sister. The sister died and his wife ended up bringing up this child with all her other children!!! His name was on the birth certificate as if he were her husband!

WhyDidIEatThat Wed 24-Oct-18 23:47:27

Oh god I have the phone app! It’s amazing, in minutes (maybe an hour) can build massive hypothetical trees (mostly using info from trees of dna matches) placing various candidates in role of my maternal grandpa then assess the likely strength of my relationship to the match - not very scientific but one day something will fit? People are so helpful and share their private trees and photos and anecdotes. Photos are great, I’m no face ninja but even I can see a resemblance between my mum and some of those people.

That’s heartbreaking about the workhouse, whatever the moral standards of the day it’s very hard to understand that.

Loving ScotlandsPeople! Must not buy all the things I find there.

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