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Family tree(27 Posts)
I’m really interested in doing a family tree and finding out about my ancestors. Has anyone used or still use any family tree websites? How exactly do they work?
Ancestry is an excellent tool. Do try to get as much information as you can before you start.
Ancestry is great, so is find my past. They have slightly different records so it's good to have access to both - your local library may have free access to ancestry.
Rootschat is a very helpful forum if you have any questions. FreeBMD is also helpful for finding references for birth, marriage and death certificates.
Try and get as much info from your family as possible, use your local history library to look at old maps, baptism records etc.
The most important thing I would say is to make sure you research as thoroughly as possible, try to find several sources to verify who someone is and don't just lift large chunks of people's trees from ancestry based on dates and names matching - it's possible they've made mistakes and you can end up researching a family with no connection to you!
Work systematically. So lets say you find records for your grandparents. That might give you their siblings and parents. Now do you want to know all about the siblings and their children and work forwards? Or do you want to go back another generation?
Establish what you want to know about each person. So eg siblings og my ancestors I try to find records for births, marriage and deaths, plus census for the years they were alive. I do the same for their spouses. I dont add their children.
If your family is rural it can be worth browsing a parish register. Some of mine in the 1700s lived in a tiny village in norfolk so one year of births marriages and deaths fills one page. So I went back a few pages and found older siblings (including twins born in december called Joseph and Mary) and their parents' marriage.
Oh yes, dont think that because someone else has written it on the net it must be true.
Agree wholeheartedly with everything posted good luck
I would recommend signing up for Future Learn - there's a free course on there about researching your family tree which will walk you through the basics.
Thankyou so much everyone for your replies. I think I will sign up for future learn and try and learn about researching my family tree first as I have absolutely no idea about it all.
How far back have you all got with your family history?
Everything NannyR says. Ancestry is great but verifying the info as best you can is key, don't rely on other people's trees on the site or the suggestions the site makes for you. In my experience Ancestry is the best of the bunch, it's not cheap though. Gather all the info you can before you start/sign up for any paid for sites. If you don't have a really unusual bunch of surnames in the family you'll be amazed how many people have the same names so any info you can find out about middle names, DOBs, maiden names, locations will be really helpful to correctly identify the family members. We go one side back to 1700s, the other back to 1500s but still lots of gaps. Good luck!
Some branches back to the start of the 1700s. Others cant get back further than 1850.
For some people though it's not about the genealogy aspect - the births, deaths, marriages, getting back as far as you can.
I'm more interested in the family history side, digging deeper into the lives of interesting characters, finding out where they lived, what sort of jobs they had, what events they lived through.
There's no right and wrong way to do things though, it's whatever interests you most.
Ancestry is good.
If you are researching any Scottish relatives the Scotland's People is amazing
I started in the 80s because my aunt had certificates, bibles, photos etc of my great grandparents and a lot of verbal history. Since on-line resources have become available I've spotted errors in census and other transcriptions so it is important to verify information via other sources as pp have said. Since having children in the late 90s I became fascinated with just the maternal side but can't go further back than 1880, the marriage of my ggm. So annoying as I have loads of photos of her and her letters. But can't prove her birth! Very frustrating. I find Ancestry helpful to set up trees and it uses information in your own trees to point you to other references where a similar named/aged person is mentioned.
Start with your oldest living relatives for information. They might have original certificates or memorabilia of their parents or grandparents.
Family Tree magazine used to be good, don't know if it's still going though.
I found the census records most helpful especially 1880. Lots of sibling information on here.
Good luck, you'll feel like Miss Marple!
To add I got back to the early 1700s with a number of branches.
Unfortunately many lines took me to Ireland which meant I got stuck because so many records were lost in the civil war.
I've got back to the 1700s on one line, but only because they had wills and land. The rest early 1800s, and I'm unlikely to get back any further due to a lack of records. The Irish brick walls.
It has been absolutely fascinating, and I've connected with a lot of distance and not so distant relatives.
I use free BMD index, my family search (is free) and a mixture of ancestry and genes reunited.
Loads of great advice here.
I did the Future Learn course and highly recommend it for beginners.
Always Start with yourself and work backwards.
Work systematically, do not get sidetracked by interesting facts etc. And if you work out how to do this, tell me how!
Go backwards and forwards. Go backwards with your direct ancestors and then go forwards, fill in their siblings and their siblings descendants. These are people who may have photos and information, so don't discount them!
Your ancestors will lie sometimes. Mine were the worst out of all the trees I've done. I often see those "My ancestor was..." books and am considering adding "My ancestor was a massive fibber" to their line.
Consider joining a family history society. They are usually cheap to join and you will have access to specialised support and advice. For example, I am part Jewish and have found the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain are absolutely fantastic.
There is SO much advice I could give you. I would recommend getting a family history beginners book from the library or buy one.
I'm the same as @PineappleDanish - I like to dig deeper and research the places they lived, the churches they were married or buried at - even visiting these. Learning about the jobs they did or what the area was like around them at the time.
If you have any Lancashire family, this site is great
And I second Rootschat if you get stuck.
Okay so I know absolutely nothing about this. I’ve just tried using a free search website and have only managed to find my nans parents. It was a record of their births apparently. I don’t know anyone else’s names beyond this so how do I keep searching further? I try to find marriage records but it doesn’t say who they are married too? If I use a paid one (like ancestry) are the records more detailed? I don’t understand how this works
When you start looking at your family tree it's best to start with the most recent facts and work backwards from there.
Are you using freeBMD? If so, start by looking for your mum's birth registration, this will give you your grandmother's maiden name. You can then find the registration for your grandparents marriage. You can use this information to send off for this marriage certificate, which will (hopefully, but not always!) have their father's names on it and their ages when they married (so you can work back and get a good idea of when they were born).
If you know your grandparents dates and place of birth, you may be able to find their birth registration on freebmd, (more unusual names are easier to find) you can then get their mother's maiden name, and from those two surnames you could try to find the marriage registration for your great grandparents.
That’s where I’ve managed to get too using FreeBMD but now I’m stuck because I can’t find anything further from these? I’m able to find my great great grandparents and their birth registrration but it doesn’t have any other names (their mother or father) so I’m unsure how I can carry on? If that makes sense. Or if I sign up to ancestry etc do they have other records? Ones that would show parents names on birth records?
The only way you would find the parents names in full is by ordering a birth certificate. Baptism records might be useful too. If your great grandparents/great great grandparents were born before 1911 you should be able to trace them through the censuses, hopefully they would be living with their parents, so you can trace the next generation back.
Ancestry has some baptism records and census records from 1841-1911. They usually have a two week free trial and you can do plenty of research in that time.
Also have you used Family Search?
Really good resource.
@nonamemummy Ancestry would definitely help you progress. If you want me to have a quick look for you to see if they're easy to find on there and worth you paying I'm happy to help, I have an active subscription. Just drop me a DM.
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