Family history

What’s in a will?

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Once upon a time, the location of wills was such an arcane subject that books were written on the subject.  So before ordering a copy of a will, you had to find out where it was, track down the will you wanted to order and work out how to order it.  Things have become a […]

Family history

Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief

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How much detail you will be able to find about your ancestors in any generation does very much depend upon the type of family or person they are.  Although it seems unfair, the ordinary worker who isn’t very rich and isn’t very poor, will be the most difficult to find detail about.  Once you go […]

Family history

Lincolnshire family history

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Lincolnshire is my adopted county.  I’ve been living in Lincolnshire for four years, and I love it, although I don’t think I will live here long enough to be considered a local!  I have several Lincolnshire ancestors myself, the most annoying of which is Charles Markham, an Ostler, who told the census enumerator he was […]

Family history

What is a “gateway ancestor”?

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Once upon a time, when the internet was still a way for scientists to talk to each other, a “gateway ancestor” was someone in your family tree who linked you to known genealogies, or the aristocracy, and enabled you to add a great deal of information.  Almost invariably, a gateway ancestor would be from a […]

DNA

What can DNA and ethnicity measurements tell me?

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Most of the online genealogy sites now offer a different way to find out about your family – DNA tests.  Often, they will come back with an estimation of your ethnicity to tell you where your far-distant ancestors hailed from.  But how accurate are they, and what can they tell you about your family history? […]

Family history

Quaker family history

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I am a Quaker, and have been since 1996, about a year after I first went to a Quaker meeting.  There aren’t that many Quakers in the UK, around 20,000 is the number of Quakers registered as members, although many more attend meetings every week without registering their membership.  The proper name for the organization […]

Family history

What to do when stuck on your family history

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Whatever resources you have at your disposal, however good your research skills, there are going to be times when you come up against a brickwall and can’t get beyond it.  Maybe you have an ancestor with a common name, and 500 Mary Jones to distinguish one from another.  Maybe you can’t find out where you […]

Family history

Using Census returns to fill in family history

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Once you have managed to piece your family tree together back to 1911, in the UK the most useful tools for progressing your family history are the UK Censuses.  These are available online, and were held every ten years from 1841 onwards, although only the returns up to 1911 are available to researchers.  What makes […]