Genealogy and Family History
7 January 2019
People are born, live, possibly get married, and die.
But they are not forgotten. Our ancestors leave tracks and traces and memories, sometimes good sometimes bad but even those bad things don't seem so bad with the passage of time. They become historical events.
I observe a tinge of excitement when fellow family historians detect a wrong-un amongst their ancestors. It is one of life's paradoxes that the terrible things that people do to each other also form entertainment - just think of all those films and tv programmes that deal with death and destruction. How many of those gently presented Agatha Christie tales recall details of not just one murder but several or even a dozen. It is the stuff of life and death. And then of course there are war films; computer games that simulate horrific violence. I don't understand why we are like this but we are. We disclaim misdeeds and then later embrace them.
Authors turn these events into fiction to sanitise them. I remember a statement made by a writer, I think it was Lynda la Plante; "..the real thing is always much worse..". Her point was that things need to be sanitised to be acceptable.
Each of the members of this group will have different reasons for looking for dead people. That's the genealogical bit. Family history is about bringing people back to life by understanding how they lived and why they made the decisions they did. What events influenced their lives. It is this aspect of family history that draws me in and holds my interest. There are so many stories within and around our ancestors lives I now rarely read fiction.
On a practical note the group meets most Wednesday mornings in Halstead Library from 10 am until noon. Just turn up. If it is your first time you need to know that the library is closed to the public and entry is by the back door - press the bell if the door is closed. There is a charge for each meeting to cover the cost of renting space in the library and for refreshment of £2.00 per session.
Meetings are a mixture of collaborative sessions. topic based sessions, and once a month a meeting dedicated to genetic genealogy (DNA). That will be for those people who have taken a DNA test or are thinking of doing so. In the latter case it's important to have a reason for taking a test, what you will learn from it and which type of test to take. The genetic genealogy meeting will be on the last Wednesday of each month.
Once a month we have lunch in one of the local eateries - most recently The White Hart. This is usually the last Wednesday.
A thank you to all members of the group who have each contributed enthusiastically. And, special thanks to Karen for opening the library when I could not and for making sure we have been suitably refreshed with tea, coffee and cakes - and her infectious enthusiasm.
- Military records
- Medical records - and records of medical staff and institutions
- Court records
- Manorial records
- Using major genealogical databases - Ancestry, FindMyPast, FamilySearch, My Heritage
- Genealogy in context - what events surrounded your ancestors' lives?
- Planning and problem solving - overcoming brick walls
- Using Family Tree Maker to record your research
- Old Bailey Trials
- Genetic genealogy
- Records held by Metropolitan Archives
- The National Archives
- Charles Booths London Poverty Maps
- Using the changing General Register Office to search and order vital records
- Irish records
- Scottish records
- Migration in the 19th century (learn how history is repeating itself).
- Overseas records - especially Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada.