Author Topic: Stories to interest non genealogists  (Read 4545 times)

Offline brooksburns

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Stories to interest non genealogists
« Reply #27 on: Sunday 13 June 21 03:46 BST (UK) »
I've been thinking about how to make it interesting for children.  My idea (haven't tried it yet) is to only talk about the ancestors being children - not bring in any boring stuff about getting a job etc (though could mention parents' jobs from the child's perspective).  This would also probably be quite a good discipine when researching to make you imagine/inquire more about things you might have overlooked.

Luckily I discovered that my ancestor was 3 when there was a royal procession literally round the corner from their house - so that's my obvious starting point.

Other ideas (not necessarily for children):
- a snapshot in time - see what all your ancestors were up to in a particular year/decade, when of course they didn't know they had any connection to each other - this ties in nicely to using a map as well
- just follow the female line, or go male-female-male-female-, or anything that uses a "rule" to massively crop down the number of ancestors being considered - and making it "linear" like this (a single thread, no branching) can be good because it's more like a story
- tell a single person's life story through their eyes with maximum empathy - how they must have felt when their brother was born - why they might have chosen that job - that horrible decade when five close relatives died - etc
- if people feel disconnected because it's an unknown surname etc, present it as "this is YOUR mum's mum's dad" "this is your great-great-great-great-great-grandma", etc (none of this "five times great" business, give them what they came for!)
Co Durham BROOKS / Northumberland BURNS / Fogo ALCORN, DODDS / Whitby LINTON, STONEHOUSE, GRAHAM / Stirlingshire BROWN, MCLACHLAN, JOHNSTONE / Blackford (Perthshire) DAVIDSON, MURRAY / St Andrews KIRK, HAY / Leith, Orkney GROUNDWATER, EUNSON / Edinburgh HUTTON, WRIGHT, BLAIR, CHISHOLM, GREGOR

Offline brigidmac

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,101
  • Computer incompetent but stiil trying
    • View Profile
Re: Stories to interest non genealogists
« Reply #28 on: Sunday 13 June 21 14:22 BST (UK) »
Great ideas brooksburns

I have another idea inspired by a photo of a large family from 1907

Only the adults have been named

It would be fun to work out ages of the children and assign names to them using the census reports for each married sister applying detective work
Maths, common sense and guesswork to see how many children we can name ie the baby and toddler are easily distinguished
 but others would be from who they are standing with .their height & other clues

In fact im going to post an example of this on photo board to see if they can get better resolutions of some of the faces.


Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid smith jones,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson

Offline iluleah

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 3,013
  • Zeya who has a plastic bag fetish
    • View Profile
Re: Stories to interest non genealogists
« Reply #29 on: Sunday 13 June 21 15:20 BST (UK) »
Many moons ago I was employed as a local learning officer/community developement officer for several rural villages... in one particular village it had been flooded with 'town incomers' moving in, they commute, their children are driven to school so adults/children didn't interact they just wanted to buy a slice of village life and for it to remain the same 'village' but they didn't use the village school,  objected to rural smells and lack of 'convienient facilities', so there was little to no connection between villagers and 'incomers'...

So one of the things I did was set up a stand at the local village fete to 'tell a story' of the village its residents of the past and of the day....so old photographs/new photographs of the same view  using an 'incomer' photographer to take them, old school registers and taking some people in them and following their life up to date, one name in there was the schools care taker whose family were also long term villagers who was there to tell her own story, items loaned to me like a beautiful beaded bag, so a story about its life, who made it and the eldery lady who it belonged to who lived at the old post office..what I tried to do was connect incomers with villagers by opening up knowledge about each other and the village both 'sides' loved.
It worked very well people were attracted to the objects on loan and the story told by its owner, people learned about the incomers eg the photographer did school photos and village fete photos, an (incomer) events manager worked with the school/parish committee on new events to raise money to support the village, like organised summer caravan camping, setting up and printing rural walking/cycling maps (incomer printer/villager who knew the areas)
Many incomers became villagers which is exactly what was wanted/needed, active in their own community.
Leicestershire:Chamberlain, Dakin, Wilkinson, Moss, Cook, Welland, Dobson, Roper,Palfreman, Squires, Hames, Goddard, Topliss, Twells,Bacon.
Northamps:Sykes, Harris, Rice,Knowles.
Rutland:Clements, Dalby, Osbourne, Durance, Smith,Christian, Royce, Richardson,Oakham, Dewey,Newbold,Cox,Chamberlaine,Brow, Cooper, Bloodworth,Clarke
Durham/Yorks:Woodend, Watson,Parker, Dowser
Suffolk/Norfolk:Groom, Coleman, Kemp, Barnard, Alden,Blomfield,Smith,Howes,Knight,Kett,Fryston
Lincolnshire:Clements, Woodend


Offline brigidmac

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,101
  • Computer incompetent but stiil trying
    • View Profile
Re: Stories to interest non genealogists
« Reply #30 on: Sunday 13 June 21 16:06 BST (UK) »
What a lovely idea ilu
Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid smith jones,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson

Offline Rena

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,126
  • Crown Copyright: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Stories to interest non genealogists
« Reply #31 on: Sunday 13 June 21 19:15 BST (UK) »
 From the start, I have always researched and written an account of direct ancestors' backgrounds. Where possible I've also found and saved images of their homes, whether it be a terraced miner's cottage; a forge (smithy); a farmhouse; or a windmill/watermill, even though it is now a pile of rubble in a desolate panorama.

In the early days I sent my aunt (b1913) her family tree with notes and she was really surprised when she learnt her mother had travelled to London when she was small to visit her father in 1915 who had been gassed in WWI.  The hospital Almoner had organised and paid for her to stay in a local lodging house for a week.  My aunt's gt. grandfather had been a miller in the British ruled Kingdom of Hanover on the European mainland. One of the crops was flax, where the seeds were used for oil, one use being in lamps to light buildings during the hours of darkness and the stalks were used to make linen cloth for clothing, etc.  Quite a lot o lives were lost in the countryside due to accidents.  One such accident was in the windmill where one lady's dress got caught in the in the mechanism and she was dragged towards the large, heavy grinding wheel.  A male worker tried to pull her back from danger, but his clothing got caught in the mechanism too and both workers were dragged to their very paiinful death.

I could probably interest boys of a certain age with tales of how 17th and 18th century owners of sailing ships protected their passengers and cargo from pirates/buccaneers with cannon guns.  Human urine and feces are now contaminated with chemicals but further back in time I think children would turn up their noses at the knowledge of how the dry soilman would bring his horse and cart during the hours of darkness to empty the one urinal allocated to about six houses.  The urine would be sold to cure leather hides which would be used to make shoes, etc. and the poo/faeces/excrement from our bowels which would be used as fertilizer.   

There was a period after extremely bad winters and bad summers that both arable and pastural farmers suffered.  Wool became so scarce that people who were emigrating abroad were banned from taking blankets out of the country and each ship was examined to make sure nobody broke the law.  Soldiers going abroad were allowed one blanket each.  I have a late 1700s Aberdeen newspaper item that describes how an ancestor's lodging house was burgled by two men who tried to steal bed coverings and the bed curtains from the four poster beds.  The old English spelling and phrasing would make any child titter.   From the same newspaper are accounts of annual evening gatherings in the local Masonic Hall where prizes were handed to worthy winners of best vegetables, flowers, etc.  Surprisingly amongst the many "Mr A, Gardener to Lord X" winners; several of the winners were actually the barons and other gentry themselves.  As I have a Farrier as an ancestor, I think my best discovery was finding online an old oil painting of dragoon guards that included the figure of a Farrier with his official extremely large axe

I haven't looked at my gedcom for a long time but last month one of my sons asked me to send him his ancestral tree.  As many lines go back to late 1600s and early 1700s, I was expecting a thick wad of pages to be printed showing names, dates and backgrounds but only a few pages emerged from my copying machine.   After a desperate search in the computer gubbins I realised I didn't have any background information left - I'd put at the back of my mind and thus had forgotten that a few years ago a GEDCOM programme update had asked a few questions, which I'd answered and then (too late) discovered I'd ticked "do not save comments, etc".
Aberdeen: Findlay-Shirras,McCarthy: MidLothian: Mason,Telford,Darling,Cruikshanks,Bennett,Sime, Bell: Lanarks:Crum, Brown, MacKenzie,Cameron, Glen, Millar; Ross: Urray:Mackenzie:  Moray: Findlay; Marshall/Marischell: Perthshire: Brown Ferguson: Wales: McCarthy, Thomas: England: Almond, Askin, Dodson, Well(es). Harrison, Maw, McCarthy, Munford, Pye, Shearing, Smith, Smythe, Speight, Strike, Wallis/Wallace, Ward, Wells;Germany: Flamme,Ehlers, Bielstein, Germer, Mohlm, Reupke

Offline brigidmac

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,101
  • Computer incompetent but stiil trying
    • View Profile
Re: Stories to interest non genealogists
« Reply #32 on: Sunday 13 June 21 20:17 BST (UK) »
People do like their recent history too
One of my best finds was a record of my grandmother travelling to Malta to join her husband with 3 year old daughter and "baby macdermid" I didn't realise that my father had spent first year of his life in Malta and what a hard journey that had be

I told a friend I could find ships sometimes. his mother was from Poland ...I found her but the ship was from India ..he confirmed it was her with siblings and they'd made a very long circuitous journey .

Also as a child loved museum where they had a;50s style living room compared to a 70s one
 Seeing how parents lived .
now both living rooms are "historic "

I've seen the house where my own father lodged in 1948 .it's been preserved in 50s / 60s style and national trust organises visits. Because  a famous person lived there!
Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid smith jones,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson

Offline brigidmac

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,101
  • Computer incompetent but stiil trying
    • View Profile
Re: Stories to interest non genealogists
« Reply #33 on: Sunday 13 June 21 21:42 BST (UK) »
Here's link to the  photo made into a game someone suggested i find pics of the children as grandparents and
Trying to match them up :

https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=849885.0

*Weve started to identify 2 of the family groups and i found out more about who married who .
Its not a family that i have researched myself .so most information taken from
Existing trees . one of the sets of twins turns out to be one boy whod been listed under his middle name on some records (so trees have 2 boys )

Its a fun game & turning out to be a learning experience
Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid smith jones,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson

Offline Rena

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,126
  • Crown Copyright: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Stories to interest non genealogists
« Reply #34 on: Monday 14 June 21 03:17 BST (UK) »
Here's link to the  photo made into a game someone suggested i find pics of the children as grandparents and
Trying to match them up :

https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=849885.0

What a lovely historical record to have!

One census asked how many children women had and I've got one record where there were 18 children born to a couple where the husband was a patentee of a paint factory in County Durham.  Unfortunately I've only got one photo with a group of six men of that family, (all wearing city suits) taken at the patentee's retirement farm in the county of Suffolk called "The Croft".   I do wish somebody had written the name of the country lane it was on such as A46, etc. because as usual new owners had obviously changed the name and I found no record of its whereabouts even in old directories.

I usually concentrate on our direct lines so I'm pleased I didn't have to sort out the children of those 18 siblings, as I'm sure they must all have named their oldest son William after William the patentee with the surname "Ward".   A nightmare surname when surfing due to most results showing Political "wards held by X party", or hospital wards, and parts of names and other nouns such as "Howard", "coward", "forward" etc., etc.
Aberdeen: Findlay-Shirras,McCarthy: MidLothian: Mason,Telford,Darling,Cruikshanks,Bennett,Sime, Bell: Lanarks:Crum, Brown, MacKenzie,Cameron, Glen, Millar; Ross: Urray:Mackenzie:  Moray: Findlay; Marshall/Marischell: Perthshire: Brown Ferguson: Wales: McCarthy, Thomas: England: Almond, Askin, Dodson, Well(es). Harrison, Maw, McCarthy, Munford, Pye, Shearing, Smith, Smythe, Speight, Strike, Wallis/Wallace, Ward, Wells;Germany: Flamme,Ehlers, Bielstein, Germer, Mohlm, Reupke

Offline brigidmac

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,101
  • Computer incompetent but stiil trying
    • View Profile
Re: Stories to interest non genealogists
« Reply #35 on: Monday 14 June 21 08:31 BST (UK) »
It might be worth posing tnat photo on Durham board ...someone else may have a photo of workers at the company with their bosses festured and named .

One of my JONES distant connections had a photo of his grandmother's mother ( brought up by father)
It took us a long time to work out dna connection then someone whose grandmother had been adopted saw the picture on my tree and had the exact same one in her grandmother (adopted) s collection
 she was a  half sister of the other grandma and the photo proved that both half sisters  stayed in touch with birth mothers side of family
Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid smith jones,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson