A couple of months ago I decided to start looking into my family history. I had wanted to do this for some time, but just never got around to it. The trouble is I have very few living relatives to ask about such things and those I know about proved to be problematic.
My mother and father divorced when I was a toddler and I had no contact with him since, then mum died when I was nine, so as far as knowing about my fathers side, I only knew his name from my birth certificate. Both my maternal grandparents died in 2000, so I could no longer ask them about their families, also my grandfather was adopted so I knew that would be an issue.
But, not to be beaten I phoned my aunt (mum’s sister) in Spain to see what she knew. When I put her on the spot, she could only think of a few people, but did have some interesting information. One thing was that although my grandfather was adopted, all the brothers and sisters I knew he had were blood siblings and not adopted siblings, so we had something to go on there. She also had my grandmothers birth certificate which gave her parents names etc. My aunt said she would contact a couple of other relatives she knew and see what they could come up with.
About a week later I received an email from her with a list of siblings for both grandparents along with other useful information such as their partners and children. So finally I started to look into my family. She also told me that my father had a London accent, which put me on the right track in finding his family. Anyway, to cut a long story short I have managed to go back to the 1770′s for my family, which considering I didn’t have much to go on at first is pretty good.
One thing that is apparent is that many people used their middle name as their everyday name and this led to some confusion when, for example, searching for a Rose who was actually a Mary Rose. I have also realized that in the past people had little imagination for names. By this I mean a William marries a Mary and they have children called William and Mary amongst others, they in turn have children with their names and so on…
I have now started to look into Chris’s family and have managed to get back to the 1830′s so far.
This family tree business is completely and utterly addictive. It can also be expensive as you really need to join certain websites etc in order to research the information. I have also had to buy some birth, marriage and death certificates to get the info I need. But all in all I am really pleased with what I have achieved so far. Who knows where I will end up….