Author Topic: Why family history / genealogy?  (Read 1096 times)

Offline Braindead

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Why family history / genealogy?
« on: Friday 11 September 20 07:38 BST (UK) »
I'm interested in the reasons people enjoy family history and genealogy. This question was prompted by seeing people's trees on ancestry that have many tens of thousands of names. Gathering that many is a very different approach from me. I'd never say that one way is correct or better but it got me thinking about what people enjoy.
For me, it's got a lot to do with making connections. I'll research a branch to the nth degree if I feel in some way connected but if not I lose interest. Defining connected is harder though. It could be a close family line, it could be an interest in them as a person. It can change from generation to generation.
I was able to make great progress on one family line because they were agricultural workers who never moved but they don't interest me for some reason.
I will admit that I enjoy the detective work, despite all the frustrations it can bring and I like trying to flesh out the lives of ancestors - I have written many thousands of words in short biographies of relatives.
So what do you enjoy?
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Offline pharmaT

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Re: Why family history / genealogy?
« Reply #1 on: Friday 11 September 20 09:23 BST (UK) »
I grew up being called an interlouper.  That I didn't belong and wasn't wanted in society so my initial motivation was to find out where I belonged, if I belonged.  I soon became addicted to the search, the thrill when you find something and the satisfaction when I know I have methodically sorted out sources on a specific branch.  I have also come across individuals who fascinate me. 

I now have over 6000 people in my tree, not because I'm desperate to get as many people as possible but because I have been at this a while and have now been going through each direct ancestor one by one discovering their siblings, if their siblings married, children they may have had etc and given I have several families with more than 10 children (one with 18) it soon adds up. The details I have on people in my tree vary from just being names on a baptism record to a detailed biography.  I haven't been up to researching the past couple of weeks but I generally try and aim for an average of at least one piece of info a week.  This may be a new person but could be anything, eg a missing census entry, tax record, newspaper article etc relating to a branch.
Campbell, Dunn, Dickson, Fell, Forest, Norie, Pratt, Somerville, Thompson, Tyler among others

Offline Braindead

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Re: Why family history / genealogy?
« Reply #2 on: Friday 11 September 20 09:30 BST (UK) »
Thanks for the reply. I agree about the addiction of the search and thrill of discovery.
You mentioned about finding families of siblings of ancestors and discovering their families. Does there come a point when you think, "actually, this is just too remote from me, I'm not interested" or do you just keep going?
"Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk"


Offline pharmaT

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Re: Why family history / genealogy?
« Reply #3 on: Friday 11 September 20 09:45 BST (UK) »
Thanks for the reply. I agree about the addiction of the search and thrill of discovery.
You mentioned about finding families of siblings of ancestors and discovering their families. Does there come a point when you think, "actually, this is just too remote from me, I'm not interested" or do you just keep going?

Oh no! Sometimes I get exasperated with a line sometimes and put it to the side for a bit but never abandon a line completely.  One of the things I find particularly fascinating is how diverse the descendants of one couple can be.  I have one line back to a 16th cent farming couple and the diversity in their descendants in terms of both location and lifestyle is amazing with lots of interesting stories.

I see it as a lifetime hobby, something that can be put down and picked up again but never actually finished.  I plan to pass what I do have onto my daughters.

Edit: My ultimate aim would be to bring each line back down to the present day.  I will never achieve this with every line as not enough time to find that many people so siblings at each generation first.
Campbell, Dunn, Dickson, Fell, Forest, Norie, Pratt, Somerville, Thompson, Tyler among others

Offline clairec666

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Re: Why family history / genealogy?
« Reply #4 on: Friday 11 September 20 09:46 BST (UK) »
For me it's like doing a giant sudoku (which I also love), with the added bonus of knowing that what your ancestors did directly affected your own existence. Plus I love all the interesting names you discover along the way!
Transcribing Essex records for FreeREG.
Current parishes - Burnham, Purleigh, Steeple.
Get in touch if you have any interest in these places!

Offline Top-of-the-hill

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Re: Why family history / genealogy?
« Reply #5 on: Friday 11 September 20 21:21 BST (UK) »
  I began, like most people probably, tracking down my ancestors, and in some cases their siblings. Then some years ago, I set myself a project to trace all the descendants of one of my Kentish 3xgreat grandfathers up to 1911, which considering the size of 19th century families was quite a task. Since then, I have written a separate chapter on each of his children and their families, some more interesting than others, and one or two abandoned as too boring to write up. Sorry! On the whole we are not an exciting family.
    My tree, not on line, has 2362 people on it, but that also includes my husband's family and now my daughter-in-law's.
   It has a lot to do with the chase and the detective work, and not only with family, but also local history. I have researched and written up several local people and families, and the research is just as exciting!
    Quote from the OP - "Does there come a point when you think, "actually, this is just too remote from me, I'm not interested" or do you just keep going?" I have to say, I do reach that point at times.
Pay, Kent
Codham/Coltham, Kent
Kent, Felton, Essex
Staples, Wiltshire

Offline brigidmac

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Re: Why family history / genealogy?
« Reply #6 on: Friday 11 September 20 22:12 BST (UK) »
My maternal grandmother was adopted and initially I set out finding if there were any living cousins of my mother either from birth parents or adoptive family

Then expanded thinking most of my.grandfathers siblings emigrated so.there may be cousins he didnt know about

Combined with a project my sister had done about family traits of  maternal grandfathers 7 siblings
She expanded it to grandads  half siblings and the 1930s had  big cousins reunions where family stories were discussed.

They were interested in my grandmas story she was a well loved auntie

So  I persuaded my mother to do dna ...her cousin in Australia had had a test for her 80th birthday 
And the search became detective work ..it was necesary to go back another two generations to understand matches

Accidently went bacl to 1800 on some lines but mostly concentrating on finding descendants of my own and my mothers great  aunts and uncles.

Particularly enjoy detective work helping children or grandchildren of adoptees
Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid MCDERMID McDiarmid Gardner Jones ,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson ,McKay

Offline andrewalston

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Re: Why family history / genealogy?
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 12 September 20 10:01 BST (UK) »
I started off at my mum's prompting with the aim of trying to prove one of the family stories she had been told as a child.

I've still not proved or disproved it; appropriate records are few and far between.

I found that I liked the problem solving. Working out which of the three possible people with that name it could be, for instance. I remember clearly the thrill of, having worked out where and when an ancestor was born, going to the fiche in the record office and finding his baptism at the church I'd predicted, in the year I'd predicted.

Sometimes it's a bit like a logic puzzle. Not quite sudoku, because the clues are of different types. Half the fun is working out where the clues are likely to be.

I particularly enjoy working out families where multiple marriages are involved. A couple of trees I've worked, neither being a blood relative, had multiple marriages galore, and one had a chap who used two surnames - neither being the one he was born and grew up with.

I'll also follow up on people I find "interesting" - an unusual name or occupation.
Looking at ALSTON in south Ribble area, ALSTEAD and DONBAVAND/DUNBABIN etc. everywhere, HOWCROFT and MARSH in Bolton and Westhoughton, PICKERING in the Whitehaven area.

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Offline oldfashionedgirl

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Re: Why family history / genealogy?
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 12 September 20 10:17 BST (UK) »
On marriage I took my husbands surname. Once the children were older and I had time to think I realised I knew nothing about the family whose name I’d taken.

My in-laws had died before I met my OH and he had no surviving Uncles or Aunts.

When I was thinking of enrolling in a genealogy class my brother in law gave me an old brown leather suitcase full of photos, documents, letters, medals etc. An amazing treasure trove so I had a huge kick start in piecing it all together. Coupled with the fact I live in Edinburgh I could take myself of the Scotland’s People centre and ‘loose’ myself for many an hour.

Those early days were addictive, thrilling and gave me such a high I couldn’t shut up about it.
After many dinner times with eye rolling from my kids I used to go and talk to the friend who first encouraged me to start just so I could ‘offload’ and share the thrill.

I was never particularly interested in History at school but realised later it was social history I was interested in, I loved hearing my Nans stories of life when she was a girl.

I feel I know my ancestors and I have a picture of them in my head like characters in a book.

Little did I know that once those heady days of it coming thick and fast are over it can be very frustrating and brain scrambling, makes the prize all the sweeter though :D