Author Topic: What do you wish you'd know about family history research before you started?  (Read 655 times)

Offline Stanwix England

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Apologies if this already exists in another format somewhere, but I was just doing some research and thinking about what I wish I'd done/known when I started family history research.

I wish that I'd made a note explaining why I'd come to a conclusion about each significant date and event in my tree. For example, I was just looking at the birth date of a relative and was unsure why I had decided on that date, as I don't currently have a baptism or census record for that person. I started to doubt why I'd come to that conclusion.

After about ten minutes of looking through my stuff, I realised that I'd done so on the basis of an age at death given on a grave stone, which was from a photograph provided by someone else.

I wish I'd noted that down under my relatives birth date. It would have saved me a bit of stress.
Primary interest - The Wheldale Family - Globally

Offline Ruskie

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I wish I’d found my gggrandfather’s obituary. That contained enough information to set me on the right path from the very beginning rather than stumbling around as I initially did. On the bright side, at least it confirmed that what I had found via other means was correct.  :)

Offline brigidmac

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I wish I'd learnt to use free family Search earlier
Still don't use it often enough because I find it hard to transfer findings onto my family tree on ancestry

Also I wish I'd printed out documents such as school records and newspaper articles from Genes Reunited before my subs ran out ...they are now unaccessible
Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid smith jones,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson


Offline Enumerated

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That's a good point about adding source notes, and good advice for anyone just starting out.
I also wish I had photocopied more documents at County Record Offices instead of just transcribing the details.
I wish I had thought to ask someone where my grandfather is buried before my father and his generation had all died. I know when and where he died, but it is only since joining findagrave that I have realised the importance of knowing where people are buried.

Offline lydiaann

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All of the above...and I wish someone had explained to me just how addictive it can be, particularly when something 'interesting' turns up, such as bigamy, transportation to Oz, 'famous' connections, etc.
Cravens of Wakefield, Alnwick, Banchory-Ternan
Houghtons and Harrises of Melbourne, Derbyshire
Taylors of Chadderton/Oldham, Lancashire
MacGillivrays of Mull
Macdonalds of Dundee

Offline coombs

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I wish I had done some research on the system of the civil reg indexes before I went to the FRC in Clerkenwell. I heard that it had indexes of England and Wales births, marriages and deaths from 1837 onwards. I went there over 20 years ago hoping the indexes would give the dates of birth at least. I went there and looked for the birth registration of a family member born 1895. I saw the entry, and it was in the Jul, Aug, Sep quarter 1895, Oxford, first name and surname, and vol and page number. I thought "Where is the date of birth?". I asked a lady beside me and she said you have to buy the certificate to get the full details.

My uncle was born in September 1944, and I looked in the huge ledger book under the relevant surname for births registered in July, Aug and September 1944, as I knew his names and mothers maiden name. Could not find his birth, and I thought "Strange".

I tried births registered in October, Nov and Dec 1944 and found it. I thought, well if he was born mid September, why was it registered during Oct, Nov or Dec? Was he slightly younger than thought? Did he even know his actual birthday? I then found out you were given 6 weeks to register a birth, and sometimes it was registered later than that. So if born mid September 1944, his birth was probably registered in October 1944, so therefore would appear in the births registered in October, Nov and Dec 1944, which is usually not the day of the actual event.

So if anyone said they were born in mid Dec 1944 and could not find their birth in the indexes for births registered in October, Nov and Dec 1944 then if their birth was registered in January 1945, it would be under births registered in Jan, Feb, Mar 1945. If they looked further and found their birth in the next quarter, which was first quarter of 1945, and were unaware of the time given to register  a birth, they may have thought they were actually slightly younger than believed to be, until they asked at the desk and were told a 6 week period was given to register a birth.
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

Offline Zaphod99

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At some point a few vague interests lead to more, and now I've 1,000 ancestors, but I wish someone had told me the importance of recording citations for my earlier findings.

And to talk to living relatives before it was too late. I realise how little the extended family know about me.

Zaph

Offline Maggsie

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Hi,  .........brigidmac says..........so here is a tip.
"I find it hard to transfer findings onto my family tree on ancestry"
Whatever you see, document or photo..... highlight it, press control and C then open a word page and control and V.
This will paste anything, then edit what you don't want, save as .....give it a title, then highlight Control C and Control V into you tree which ever system you use.
Try it a few times.
I sat with my parents in the 1970's and had all the names of both families and a few dates, now on line I have correct dates and shocks!
Maggsie

Offline coombs

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My nan had a good memory even for her husband (my grandad's family). She knew his mother was a Taylor, and her mother before her was a Wallaker. And her own mum died on her 50th birthday. I wish i had asked my other gran's sister more about the family before I found it out myself.
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Budery
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain