Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Ruminating, in an orderly fashion...

Well, it has been two months since I updated this. My holiday seems like a million years ago now, and the routine of work and stuff has just taken over again.

But, I have been doing things, and ruminating about blog topics or content. I just haven’t managed to devote any specific time to it.

I’ve been to a couple of genealogy workshops, and I have completed an online course in genealogy as well which was great fun. All of these things have refreshed my mind, honed techniques I was familiar with and given me new strategies to use in my search. It was enjoyable to spend time with like-minded people, even if the housework and other things suffered at that expense.

Even better, at one workshop I bumped into a 4th cousin who I have only met once a few years ago.  We had corresponded with each other extensively about our respective family connections, but even that had ceased over the last few years. Since moving to Auckland though, I have often wondered how she was but not actually done too much more than that. Our chance meeting has rekindled interest and the topic of one workshop session motivated me to look at new records – where I found something about our elusive relative. An extra bonus for a weekend away from housework and tv.

The workshops and the study course both reinforced the need to be organised in your research, and to make a plan, so that you covered all options, and didn’t research the same things over and over, and to be better at recording sources. By using a technique (which I had always used but hadn’t really thought of as a technique before) since my studies and the Family History Expo workshops, I have found whole new families which I had completely missed before.

What was the technique ? Revisiting sources that you have already used to check if there have been new additions in their databases, or whether other people are searching the same families so that there is potential to collaborate.

I knew I did this, I just thought it was part of my haphazard plan. My approach probably has been haphazard in the past. Now though I am consciously using this approach. In the past month or so I have discovered two whole families I had overlooked previously.

One by not properly looking at the information in front of me, and the other by being able to search new records which weren’t available on previous occasions when I had been searching.

I could be forgiven then for completely missing one family, until the baptisms and marriages became available. The spelling of the surname on other records will have led me to overlooking them in the past on census documents – but church records have definitely linked them on the tree. Interestingly we already had the parents names in our tree, but no information going forward to show any children or other life events.

The other family I found, and members of which I am sure there may be more to find, came to light when I was looking at a census record. It suddenly struck me that there was a member of the household who I didn’t know, and who wasn’t recorded on my tree. Who was this mystery girl ? Of course it had to be the 1841 UK census, which doesn’t show relationships. Everyone else matched with my tree; head of the household, his wife, their children…and then this older girl. On studying my tree more closely I noticed that the head of the household had been married twice, and that I had no children attached to his first marriage. This mystery girl fitted age wise as a possible child of that marriage. How many siblings did she have ? Anyway, I have her now, and for a few generations going forward from there as well. Cousins everywhere.

Speaking of cousins everywhere, isn’t Genealogical Genetics a fascinating science ?

Maybe that can be the topic of my next post.