• Sources of UK Records

    Most of the records hat we have had to access in tracing our ancestors have come from England, Scotland and ireland. 
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    The Secrets under grandma's bed

    Family documents are an important source of information.  They may be well filed and organised, or you may come across them in shoeboxes, in cases on top of wardrobes or buried in old chests of drawers.
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    Bringing old photos back to life

    Old photographs are delicate objects. If they haven't been preserved properly, it is likely that they will have incurred some damage between the time they were taken and now.
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    Network of family members

    Use a Family and Home Information Sources Checklist as a guide to sources of information you might find in your home or the home of a relative.
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  • Scottish Records

    If you’ve got Scottish ancestors then you’re in luck because Scotland is a world-leader in providing family history information online.
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    Irish records

    If your ancestors are Irish, you might need to become a good detective.  Better still, if you can, talk to your Granny! She'll start you off in the right place.
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    Family History for Beginners

    DIY for you to trace your own family history.
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    Locate your first primary source

    The most important sources are eye-witness and official documents.  The best first Primary Source is your grandparent's death certificate. It's a Gold Mine!!
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  • How to trace your ancestors

    Getting started is the biggest hurdle. Here's an easy guide to get you going.
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    Collecting evidence

    The best place to start collecting evidence is with the family. Especially the elders.
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    Bigger than you think

    Be warned. Once you start you'll be hooked forever! I had to learn to eat the elephant one toenail at a time.
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    Record keeping

    It's important to have some sort of order and indexing method for keeping your family records.  If not, you'll never be able to out the pieces of the puzzle together.
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Family History is exactly that, the story of a family through history.

Family historians want to know WHO their ancestors were, WHERE, WHEN and HOW they lived, WHAT they did and WHY they did it. They look a name on their family tree and wonder what that person was like, were they respected, was he/she an ordinary person or someone special. If a convict, what was their crime, but more importantly, why did they turn to crime? After their time in jail was up, did they live a lawful life? How? With whom? We're a nosy lot!

Why do we do this? For most of us, it is a desire to know where we came from; how we came to be the person that we are. We want to know the people who passed on to us their genes, appearance, personality and values. If we know where we have come from, we know better where we are going.

What is the difference between Genealogy and Family History?

Genealogy is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “A line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor.”  Traditionally Genealogists use vital records and sound documentary evidence to trace back from a single individual to their earliest recorded ancestor in a direct line.  The usual recording device is a Family Tree. The emphasis is often on how many generations there are on the tree; how high it has grown, and how many branches there are; how wide it is spread. Names and dates are the focus.

Family Historians on the other hand focus on the people, the fruit of the tree.  They are interested in who their ancestors are, where they lived, how they lived and why they made their life choices.  They are looking for the answers to what has made us the people we are today.  It is the driving force behind “Who do you think you are?”  

Trees are not the predominant interest, it’s the fruit on the tree that’s important. 

Neither of these approaches can stand alone. Family Historians need to practice good genealogical research.  They need to follow the basic principles of genealogy in order to find the fruit and examine it.  Family History brings another dimension to genealogy. It enriches it.

As we set off in a search of the family members who lived in the past, we need to turn first to the Basic Principles of Genealogical Research. Along the way, we can take pride in our ancestors’ achievements and ensure that those who come after us know their heritage and why we, as a family, are the way we are.

News Flash

Convict Ancestors Case Study now available.

Edmund (Ned) Collins 1817-1862

There is a purpose to our research

    "You are our living link to the past. Tell your grandchildren the story of the struggles waged, at home and abroad. Of sacrifices made for freedom's sake. And tell them your own story as well — because[everybody] has a story to tell." George H.W. Bush
In a complex, mobile society like ours, life's tapestry gets shredded. The continuity of our lives is ripped by transience and fragmentation. Community is fragile, torn, scattered. Our need to examine and to share our stories is vital--for our own mental health, for our relationships and our cohesiveness in community, and for the good of a future that can learn from our past.Dolly Bertholot

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