Crouch Valley

Family History Group notes 2019

A brief look at the Family History Group’s activities in 2019
January
To kick off the year we had a look at the subject of Sources and Citations. The question we asked ourselves was do amateur family historians need to use the same citation method as a professional genealogist? It may not be the most desirable part of doing Family History, but it is important for the sake of credibility of our research. We looked at various methods and the conclusion was that we must make sure that we do use the method that suits us best and not neglect this.

February
From time to time the Lost Cousins newsletter has been brought to our notice. Peter Calver who runs the web site makes quite a claim.
“LostCousins is quite unique - out of more than 250,000 genealogy websites it's the only one that offers 100% accurate automatic matching between researchers who share the same ancestors - and it does without anyone else seeing your data!”
So we examined this web sites features and how it can help us. Peter Calver of Lost Cousins has written a ‘Masterclass’ on DNA that he recommends to be read before you take the test

March
We are hearing more about how DNA can help family historians.
Jim Tidmarsh gave us an interesting talk on some of his ancestors. Two bigamists and a talented musical member of his family.
It is remarkable how Jim got some of his information through a match in his DNA from cousins in America.

April
We had another look at how to follow the female line.
The obvious starting point is the marriage certificates which list both the groom's surname and the bride's maiden surname. When exploring marriage resources, there are also associated records like licenses, announcements, banns, bonds and even divorce records. If there are witnesses’ names on the Church record or civil certificate, they could be a close family members.
We covered where to find the records and to keep in mind the permitted age of marrying at varying times in history.

May
John Acklaw gave a slide talk on his research of his father who life was sadly ended in World War 11 when John was just a young boy. The talk was a great example of what we can do to bring the stories of our ancestors to life.

June
Sometimes it takes years to puzzle out mysteries of some of our ancestors records. As new resources become available over those years, the ‘mystery’ can become clearer or even resolved.
We heard how you can challenge the GRO if you thing a record is wrong, and contacting an obscure religious denomination.
Have you ever wished you had some information about your family tree on a USB stick? This can be handy if you were visiting relatives or record centres. We looked at a free simple family history program which fits the job.

July
We all use similar resources such as freebmd, the GRO index, Family Search, the census and many others to plot our Family History. Most use some sort of program to enter our results and several of us use Family Tree Maker. We then come to the question ‘what do you do with the results of your considerable hours of searching and this is where we go our separate ways.
Our member Mike Hawker did most of his research the ‘old way’ many years ago, and published his work in a hard back book. We may not reach this lofty height but we may still be able to help each other as we do ’our own thing’ with tips and ideas.
At the meeting we discussed various options to enhance our Family History.

August
Thank you to the twelve members who were able to make the August meeting. For well over an hour we were all able to share our journeys in Family History and our hopes for future research. Members also gave ideas for future presentations.
Many of us use the software Family Tree Maker, one of the top programs for keeping tabs on your ancestors. FTM can now be synced to Family Search and Ancestry. Some of us do and other don’t like the idea and some like me are a little confused to the benefits of syncing. So we need to have a session on this valuable resource. I will be consulting and putting together a presentation perhaps for the January meeting.
Other proposals for future meeting will be Newspapers. The British Newspaper Archive has continued to grow and can be invaluable. We did have a look at this a while ago but need to review this again in order to get the best out of this archive.
Many members also admit that they should do a better job with keeping their records, bring them up to date. Should they be stored on media or paper? How should they be stored and indexed. Many question to think about on this subject for another meeting.

September
We learnt about different DNA tests and covered Autosomal DNA -Y-DNA test and mtDNA test.
Although millions of people have been tested there are many variable results. Some get very little out of it and others get value for money.
It does seem (although not guaranteed) the best results and matches come from those who share their information and are willing to communicate.
DNA is another tool in the armoury of Family Historians and have been hearing a lot about it this year.

October
Our member Jan Talikowski gave a talk on her Family’s History. Jan has been doing family history for many years but like most of us never finds enough time to do everything she wants to do.
At our main U3A meeting on the 22nd the Family History Group showcased examples of what our Group does

November
This month member Diana Quorn gave her talk on the London Pubs her ancestors were associated with, there was also a light hearted quiz incorporated in the talk.
As this was the last meeting of the year we finished off with mince pies and nibbles.
A big thank to all of the Group members who come to these meetings when they can, as we share and learn together.

Group Contact
Colin Martin.