Advantages very interesting and you get a buzz when you find the ancestor you are looking for
Disadvantages time consuming
For a number of years we have thought about tracing our family tree and havent done much about it.With another generation arriving in the family we decided that now was the time to do it.
I would like to tell you how we did it and some of the "mistakes" we made just incase you are thinking of doing your family tree.We decided to do the male side of my Husbands family. So although I have a 97 year old Mum in Law she didn't have all the details so we basically started from scratch.
The first thing to know is that the census' run from 1841 to 1911 although 1911 is not quite complete. These census' are on the internet. Type in Google.co.uk free census and it will come up with them whether they are free or you have to pay.This was our first mistake - paying. I bought £6.75 worth of credits. For most searches you need 3 which works out to about 75p. you can get it cheaper.
So easy we thought. Well we were lucky in the fact that Johns (husband) Dad was born before 1911 so therefore we could look him up although we did not have his birthdate or year only roughly.What to do next
When you go to the census it will ask you things like name, surname, date of birth and birthplace. Birthplace does seem to be the most important. For birthdate you can put it from - or + 1 to 10 years.
This will come up with a lot of suitables and where the money goes as if you are not sure you might have to pay to see if they are the right ones.
The 1881 census is free.By typing in the name, age roughly and the birthplace you can then doing it this way go right back to 1841.
When you get to before 1837 this all dries up on the internet and no more birth certificates. So it is then necessary to go another route.Here you start going through the Parish records. I can only tell you how I did ours. We knew our furthest back ancestor came from Leigh in Wiltshire. Here I go off thread a little and tell you that when we got married Johns family said we were taking his surname to another county (Glos) miles from any others. So what did we find? The furthest back one lived about 8 miles from us!!! Back to where I was. We then telephoned Swindon, Wiltshire to see if they could send us a birth certificate from 1806. This is how we found out they dont do them and you get on to the parish records. The woman there was so helpful and gave me the number in Chippenham to ring.
I would advise against going to the Parish where they were born to search the registers as most do charge but the council hq should hold all the records and you can search them for free.We telephoned and just gave the name, birthplace, year 1806 and she said wait while I look on our records. Literally 2 minutes later she came back she had a copy could send us for £5 posting it with a bill, and there was the names of his Mum and Dad so we had gone back another generation.
When this certificate comes we are thinking there will be their dates of birth on it as we think they came from Ireland. If they did we have to go back from over there.What else did we learn.
On Thursday we went to the Archives in Kew thinking we would get a lot of information but we did not get any more than we did on the internet.We also found an American site where you can trace your English ancestors and would you believe that it is better than our census ones and it is free. We went on here to find our if the Mum and dad of the 1806 family were on there as they were not on our English sites and would you believe that they were and it listed all 14 of their children.
The American site is http://www.familysearch.org.- better than any of our sites and free.I enjoyed tracing back and hoping to go back even further.
I must admit when you try and trace children and see them young in one census and no trace of them 10 years later you do find it upsetting.I do hope that this has been of some help to someone.
Thank you for reading.
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