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Forum Home > Genealogy Researching. > Genealogy Research. A Few Tips.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

In response to several questions, the basis of which are, where to look backwards from the 1841 Census. There are quite a few area's worth exploring, when faced with the proverbial brick wall. Parish Records, where they still exist, are a must, if only to establish a Birth/Marriage/or Death. As an example, (and I know at least two of the names in my little list will be of interest) Rowley Regis Parish Records, although by no means complete, may fill in a few missing links. Record keeping, became compulsary during the reign of Henry VIII, and as the most educated amongst the population tended to be the Clergy, it fell to the Church to maintain the details. In Rowley, one of the earliest family names recorded, as being resident in the Parish was that of Danks. (1540)  This is followed Knight, (1550), the gap being down to incomplete records, some having been destroyed by fire, in 1913. Woodhouse, (1602) Williams, (1605) Guest (1623), Ruston, (1636) and Clarke, in 1658, following another gap. In between, we have Parkes, Slater, Darby, and Pitt.,The family of Rose, appear in 1670, and Dunn, in 1697. All you will note, well established, long before the Industrial revolution proper began. There are other Documents too, that will be useful. Land records, Wills, and Legal documents that may be found in the relevent County Archives, ( bearing in mind any boundry changes) and it's also worthwhile contacting the local authority archives for any relevent information. Not all Parish Records have survived, and those that have, arn't always online, as transcription takes a long time, and requires a great deal of dedication by the complier. Patience, as they say, is a virtue, and when researching a family tree, you may need a great deal of it.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 14, 2011 at 11:56 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Unicorn
Member
Posts: 46

Thank you for the useful information.

April 14, 2011 at 1:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

And here's a bit more. Never entirely believe all the family stories, that we all have lurking in the old cupboard. There may be a grain of truth in there somewhere, or it may all be a pile of tripe. Believe me, I know, Sadly, I have disproved most of mine, nearly all of them coming from imbiding a bit too much refreshment, or wild and fanciful speculation. Pity that really, I would love to be related to good Queen Bess, but it's not true. Take the case of a Black Countryman, who embelished a tale of heroics, after a mining disaster. Turns out he was never an actual miner, just a humble " Banksman " who emptied out the tubs, and counted how many men went down, and how many came up. ( He didn't get that right either ) Try to only include what the records support, speculation may inhance your standing, or your reputation, if thats what you are looking for, but beware, your sins will find you out. If these stories happen to be funny, put them in by all means, we all need a bit of a laugh, but do add notes. Keeping records is a must, not just on the back of a fag packet either, get a decent book and keep it up to date. If you want to keep your records online, back them up with a seperate disc, or storage facility. I have put a few more tips on Military research in another post, as it tends to be a bit more specialised. A few old Ordinance Survey Maps will prove useful, as you would be surprised at just how many place names have disappeared. They will also help you track your ancesters movements. Join a local group if there's one in your area, remember, many heads are better than one. I would always suggest getting on friendly terms with your local Librarian, I said would, because today, you can never be sure they will be there tomorrow. It's a fascinating hobby, Genealogy, but it can be very frustrating at times.  Prepare for the long haul, count your blessings when it goes right, and try not to tear out your hair when it doesn't.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 5, 2011 at 11:07 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Certificate's. There's really only way to get a look at a birth, marriage or death document. If a family member does't have one. you are going to have to buy one. Useful information on the forms, include a birth address, parents names, ( sometimes sadly, only one )  and the occupations. Witness'es will be included on marriage certificates, again, occupations, and address's are very helpful. Burial details are a commonly asked question, and once again, the death certificate can be a mine of information. Failing that, a visit to the Church may give you what you seek, in the form of a copy from the register. This can be more expensive than buying the document, but at least you will be in the right place to search for a headstone. Several Churches in the same area can be a just bit more time consuming, as it will require a visit to each one, and a lot of legwork. Mentioned already, Parish Records, and to date, more of these are being offered online. The big snag of course, is that most of them come in a Compact Disc format, and range from £13, to over £25, depending on how big the Parish is. Always try to remember, information is valuable stuff when it comes to Genealogy, it takes time to transcribe it, and in this day and age, time is money.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 8, 2011 at 2:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Some people are really confident about searching and organising a family tree. There are a whole lot more, like me, who started out before so much information became available online. One thing I quickly learned, those who claim to be " Experts ", are no such thing. It's really easy, to copy lists of family names, culled from copying Census documents. Documents I should say, that are covered by copywrite Laws, and to which the so called " expert  " has agreed should only be used for their own personel use. Any way, who wants their entire family details, plastered all over the Internet, for anyone to steal for use in crime and fraud. Avoid such people, they are mainly self promoting egotists, seek help from reputable organisations. We are lucky in the Midlands, The Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldy, ( bmsgh ) have an excellent reputation, and a website offering everything you may need. ( No, I am not a Member ) There is also a wide range of Books on the subject, some fairly poor, some good, and others, by people who know, and have properly researched the subject, excellent value for money. On my Bookshelf, I have a publication from 1989 that has, and still does, serve me well. The Authors, Jean A Cole, and Michael Armstrong, are well known in genealogy circles. The Book, Tracing Your Family Tree, is available, in an updated version, from Amazon, and other Book sellers. You may feel the need to join an online research site, they are all pretty good, and have various prices to suit your pocket. One advantage being that you can subscibe only to the extent your pocket dictates, Once again, join a local history group if there is one, if not, why not start your own, it's not that difficult, given a bit of confidence.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 14, 2011 at 11:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Unicorn
Member
Posts: 46

Good usefull advice once again Alaska.

July 14, 2011 at 3:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now someone asked me when the Cenus's for each year were taken. I have compiled a little list, which you may find useful, as you could say for certain, that a relative was at least alive on that day.


Census, 1841.............. 7th June.

     "       , 1851............... 3rd March.

     "       , 1861............... 7th April.

     "       , 1871............... 2nd April.

     "       , 1881............... 3rd April.

     "       , 1891............... 5th April.

     "       , 1901............... 31st March.


Some later Census's were taken in June, and a quick look in the archives will tell you when. The other question, of when they started is easy, the year was 1801, and they were compiled from returns sent in by Parish'es, Church's, and the Poor Law Regulators. Non of these records, since distroyed, contained the names of individuals, that only came about with the 1841 Census. There are some returns from these records though, as can be seen in the 1801 Census page I posted. Just click on it. The 1831 Census by the way, was used to define the area's, for the 1832 Poor Law Unions. These area's later became the Urban Districts we so frequently come across in researching. Did you know for instance, that Staffordshire had 2,233 Public House's in 1831, or that, despite the amount of Coal burnt, only 62 Chimny Sweeps, in the whole county.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 9, 2011 at 11:21 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now here's a little tip that I should have included earlier, but, believing that most people would do this as a matter of course, I didn't bother. No matter which website you subscribe to or join, always, and I do mean always, print off, or record seperately what you have found. I purchased a family tree builder programme, and transfered it all to a disc. I also purchased an external memory device that updates all the info and programmes on my computer. There are many things that go wrong along the way, but losing all your records, is about the most frustrating thing of all. Remember this, if your choosen site goes down, so does your hard work. If you switch sites, or cancel your membership, make plans beforehand, to download what you have, as your page will revert back to the state of a free registration. ( Basic family stuff, but no access to any records other than the 1881 Census details, and not all site's even offer this.) I did post earlier, that you should always study carefully, the fine print before signing up, wise advice that's been around for many years.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 19, 2011 at 9:42 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Following several enquiries, concerning Parish Records, as I said before, there are very few online. One that is, and one that I assumed most people knew about, apears to be not so well used as I thought. To make it easy, I have put the details on my Links Page.  It's 430 pages long, and you can either read it online, download it, or use the search facility of it's index. Just type in the surname of interest, and the results will appear as orange blobs on a line below. A click on the blob, and the page, with the name highlighted will appear onscreen. The period, covered, bap/mar/bur, is from 1685 - 1772.  Parish records for Bloxwich/Walsall, ( bap 1721- 1791, and bur 1733-1791 )  Wednesfield, ( 1751-1837 ) Rushall and Pelsall, ( 1660-1734, and 1763-1812 ) Cradley, Worcestershire, ( now Saint Peters, 1735-1839 ) are available. All these items, except for the Rowley one, are available via BMSGH, the cost is very reasonable, the details of which again,can be found on the Links Page.  There is a Parish Register for Saint Edmunds, Dudley, which was published back in 1961, by Dudley Central Library, and is now out of print, although you may wish to contact the archive service. A great many Parish documents, for Wolverhampton, Penkridge,  and other places, are held in The William Salt Library, which is situated in Stafford. It's well worth contacting the archive service in Wolverhampton as well, very polite, and very helpful people. Finally, for the good folk of Halesowen, some transcribed records of Saint John the Baptist, from 1717 - 1729, are availiable on the excellent Halesowenroots website. I have included details on the Links Page.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 25, 2011 at 11:34 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

I have been asked many times, why I don't offer any look-up or research help on the website, apart from advice and the Links Page. Well, there are a few reasons for this. One is that I didn't set up the site for that, History was the object, and History it will remain. Another reason, is that while the majority of questions that come in, are from people who are genuinely stuck, ( and I do what I can to help ) there are a few who abuse the good nature of others. Pretending to be a total novice, or not very computer literate, and then getting others to do all their research, ( on the cheap as well, I should add )  is a very nasty thing to do.  Never the less, it's one way of getting to where you want to be, without the hassle of traveling from Church to Church, searching through old files. If thats the way you choose to go, and you manage to get away with it, without being rumbled, good luck to you. Just remember to write it all down before the balloon goes up, and you get barred from the site you picked on. As I said before, there are a lot of charlatons about, on both sides of the genealogy debate, so beware.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 28, 2012 at 10:56 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

I've been asked about the pro's and con's of whether to open a Family tree to the public gaze, or to keep it strictly private. The more people who see your tree, the more responses you will get. On the other hand, this leaves them free, to download the information you have so painstakingly collected. ( Including Photographs )  On most sites, you can allow close family and friends access to the tree, and still keep it private, but you will not get so many contacts. Mind you, the ones you do get, will be mostly genuine. Beware though, requests to view your tree, accompanied by what seems to be reliable information, isn't always what it seems. Being a bit "green", when I first put on my tree, I allowed a woman, who claimed to be related, access. She repaid this kindness, by downloading over 115 family records, and adding them to her own ( I discovered later) scant few records. She also added some other information, which has taken me three years to get corrected. On the whole, and I don't suppose my experience is unique, I have no future plans to change the trees status, it will stay private. One other area you don't often see mentioned, is the posting of someones qualifications either. They offer all manner of help, but seem to be rather shy about any training Certificates, Degrees, or Diplomas. As I've already said, anyone can set themselves up as a Genealogist. They could be crooks, thieves, or even some sad individaul who has nothing better to do with his life, than wait for the requests for help to come in, so he/she can boost their own ego's. Before you take the plunge, consult some ot the organisations on the links page, or log on the British-Genealogy website, which has an excellent biginners section, and over 40,000 members, World Wide.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 2, 2012 at 11:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now here's a little fact that may cheer you up a little in your search. Confucius, the famouse Chinese Philosopher and Teacher, who was born in 514BC, and died in 479BC, has the largest extant family tree in the World. The level of dedication in adding to, and maintaining this tree, is truly astonishing. There are no gaps, and it goes back over 2,500 years. All done of course, without the use of modern technology. There are, as would be expected, a few people around, who claim they have traced their family back to Adam and Eve, or Noah, he of the Ark fame. Claims, or should I say "fairy tales", which should be swallowed  with a very large dose of salt, unless of course you do believe in fairies.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 4, 2012 at 3:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

No matter how much care you take to protect your family tree from intrusion, there are times when it doesn't always work. Finding all your uncles, aunts and cousins on a site that you never previously visited, can be a bit of shock. It's even more of shock when you discover that the data was submitted by someone unconnected to your family, and not, as you expected, a distant relative. To be fair, some people researching their own tree, get a bit over-enthusiastic, and follow a trail way beyond what they set out to do. Ancestry.com started off a " World Wide Tree " some years ago, to help connect people who had long ago left their birth Country. A good idea for those interested, who contributed their own details. The idea spread, and a few thought it would be a good idea to try and connect families in their own local areas. Fine, as long as others were prepared to contribute to link all the names together. But what would happen, when the number of those researching their own tree's, dried up, and the links were left incomplete. The solution was simple, well it was for them, they would search for those missing links themselves, and keep on adding them to what they already had. The computer world calls this "Phishing ", or words to that effect. In response to a complaint, one of these site owners said that they trawl websites like Find my Past, Ancestry, and many others, looking for names for inclusion. They also include any family details they find, which, in case you didn't know it, they have no right to do, That information is yours, and by including it, they have stolen your Intellectural Rights and Copyright. This is in direct breach of the Terms of Use they have agreed to, and signed, with the Server/Host they have chosen to put their website online. Most will respond to a polite request, to delete information that could lead to someone still living being identified, but what happens when they won't. Now every website has a Host, and every one has a Domain name, but not everyone displays who the Host server is. If you see something like this displayed, in the sites own Terms and Conditions, it's a way of deflecting your concerns and complaint. " There is no point in contacting php regarding the contents of this website, your e-mail will be ignored ".  And indeed it will, " php " are a perfectly respectable Internet Format supplier, and do not Host the site, nor have any interest in what the site owner allows to be posted onto his/her site. It could be a clear indication, that the owner knows full well, that material which rightly belongs to someone else, will appear on the site. Not having on the site, or in any contact e-mail address, the name of the Host Company, is a way of trying to evade responsibilty for the sites contents, and gives the impression the complainant has no further rights and redress in the matter. This is not so, and it's really easy to find out the Websites Host Company.


If you would care to search, via anyone of the many search engines online the answer will be found in a few minutes.

www.whoishostingthis.com   will. when you type in the url or e-mail address of the website, quickley come up with both the Host Company, and the ip location number of the owners computer. You can do the same with  www.who-hosts.com and then go to the Hosts webpage and put in your concerns, with the details of the complaint, via the companies Contact Us page. As I said, most websites I have come across, will happily delete offensive, mis-leading, and invasions of privacy posts, but there are some, where they don't even acknowledge receipt of your concern, and are quite happy to tell you to " go forth and multiple ". Don't let these idiots get away with it, Complain.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 16, 2012 at 10:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

On the subject again of Certificates. There are a great many sites offering to supply you with these. One or two actually look like the official site, beware, they aren't. If you find it more convient to order through a Genealogy site you use, fine, as long as you understand it will cost you more than the official site. The charge levied by the General Register Office is currently £9.25p per Certificate, which include's all postage costs. Their website will be found on my Links page, although you should be aware, that if you get the name, or the person wrong, you will not get a refund.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

January 10, 2013 at 3:21 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

There are some disturbing trends about at the moment, especially as most internet users become a bit more savvy about giving out information. Now to buy a Family Tree format costs a bit of money, there are a few free ones around so you need to have a good look. The thing to watch out for, is a website which offers you the chance to use their facilities, as the base for your research. They will supply you with a format, free of charge, over which, when you have put information on, you will have no control over who see's, or uses that information. Take some advice before even registering on such a site, never mind giving them your family secrets, chances are it's only after your information to enable someone to sell you stuff you don't want, or to pass on your contact details, and of course the information about yourself and your relatives. Remember, if you can't control it, and you can't  select who see's your family tree, don't use it, avoid the site and plan something else.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 30, 2013 at 4:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now as I have said before, "Old King Hal", ( Henry VIII ) put his signature to a document that decreed the registration of all Births Marriages and Deaths in the Kingdom. ( they must have agonised a bit about his own record in this field.) This decree was amended in 1836, and it became compulsary on 1st September,1837. It had a great many other uses than just as a record of BMDs, enabling, for the first time, Government to actually record what folks died of, and to identify areas of epidemic's. Reports were made after the end of each quarter, when it could be clearly seen, if the average number of births and deaths had seen any increases, and if any one cause of deaths were a problem. Smallpox was a big killer of the young, and when Edward Jenner proved that his vacinations worked, a Law was established that all children should receive the vaccine. Some Towns and Parishes refused to do this, citing the cost, but as Jenner pointed out, supplying a Coffin was more expensive than the vaccine. Now if you have been researching your family, and found loads of relative in the 1841 Census, but can't find them in the 1851 document, it's likely to be because the Country suffered some above average death rates in the years between. 1845 was one such, and I will put on a post elsewhere, complete with details from some Blackcountry Towns. I hope it will be of some use.

See, Black Country Winter, 1845, in the Living and Working Conditions Topic.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 5, 2013 at 11:17 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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