View Full Version : Filling out the person
12-05-2011, 1:06 PM
Hi I was just wondering after find the basic records for someone in your tree, how do you fill out there lifes do you search local papers? or other means of getting a more indepth look into your family?
12-05-2011, 1:17 PM
I would strongly recommend a trip to the library to borrow a book on genealogy. Try Ancestral Trails. The Dewey Decimal reference for genealogy is 929.1
12-05-2011, 1:32 PM
12-05-2011, 3:18 PM
I find reading local and social histories about the locations and times my ancestors lived in to be very rewarding. Among other things, you can learn about political issues of the day, disease outbreaks, notable weather events, etc... Also, any information on their occupations can give you insight into how they spent their days making a living - e.g., would they have owned their own tools, could they have worked from home, would other family members have played a role, and the like. You may not find much (or anything) that mentions your ancestors by name, but these types of resources can tell you a good deal about the world they lived in.
Hope this helps -
12-05-2011, 3:23 PM
I personally find period dramas on the TV very interesting, particularly the ones about more "normal" families like "Lark Rise to Candleford". I know critics said that particular programme was inaccurate to a year or 2 about when events happened and so on, but I found it invaluable to give me a sense of how my ancestors at that time would have lived.
13-05-2011, 7:37 PM
I can relate to your desire to "fill out the lives" of your ancestors .... I've been there. I've been writing stories (on and off) for about 2years now.
Before delving into where you can find information, I would sort out in you own mind "who is my audience?" . For example - are you doing this for your immediate family, for an extended one-name family group, for a local history audience, or just for the pleasure of writing. All are valid reasons, but I found it really helps to put yourself in the shoes of your intended audience.
I was trying to record stories about ancestors that would be of interest to present and future generations of my family .... not just names, but what their lives must have been like.
My first stories were based on photographs my grandmother had kept, and my own memories of where and how they lived. I'm not a "writer", and I found it much easier to get started with a few photos. a birth or marriage certificate, some census information .... and then let your mind wonder about how your grandparents met, their friends and the day-to-day experiences they must have had.
Eventually I used a website as a way of sharing the stories. But the first step is to get some words and photos/illustrations on a sheet of paper or a computer screen - whatever works for you.
My website is called mylookbackintime - just put www. in front and .com behind, and you'll get to the homepage.
The story Clarence R. Gambrill - "Manager, Domestic Madman"? is what got me going.
Keep in touch, and good luck.
05-06-2011, 4:53 PM
I find that studying how my ancestors lived is good and when I written personal bios on them I do get a bit carried away lol by adding maps of where they lived and even an overview map highlighting where they were born and where they ended up such as one of my Oxfordshire ancestors who ended up in London. Adding images of census records, certs, parish records and poor law records can help spruce it up. I have not published any online because I am worried about copyright laws as there are some when it comes to census and civil reg certs. I write the bios for private home use. I keep them down the side of my bedside drawer so I can read them any time I like. I must have 40 odd so far. Shows how addictive genealogy is. Better than an addiction to smoking which I almost got into years ago.
16-08-2011, 5:55 AM
Love writing the stories. Have found it helpful to plot a timeline which traces the major events, the family whereabouts and occupations at the time of these events. One thing always leads to another so the more you delve into the history of where they lived the more comes to light. Wonderful also to come up against a mystery and I've come up against more than a few - the skeleton in the cupboard, a disinherited son, a curious epitaph. And then of course you can speculate. All grist to the mill.
Benny I love your idea of adding maps and images of the records. Great idea.
16-08-2011, 10:50 PM
I would contact the local library and record office to where your family/person has come from, they maybe able to direct you in the right direction.
I have found quiet alot of interesting things in the Newspapers, it takes some time if you only have a year (much easier if you have a month) obituaries are very interesting if they have written something about the person as it tells you something about their character and what their local area felt about them (sometimes). I have also found marriages and births and this does save on the pennies for dates etc.. Other things found/looked are, sporting activities, arrests, court action, property, farms and inquests. And it doesn't cost very much to print the document either.
Other things you could try are voting registers (this does depend on what situation they where in and what time you are looking at, the record office should be able to tell you this.) It helped me work out when a particular family member moved.
School records (haven't had much luck with these)
A book about the area, which might have pictures etc... Also do a search on the area where your family member is from on the internet as they might have a historical website. (Most of the time I have only found this for villages, but very interesting)
Last thing I can think of, most area's do that Local A5 News booklet. Might be worth looking in them or putting a looking for information?? (but obviously it does depend on how far back you are going.
Hope this helps and enjoy filling your relations out!!
P.S Contact your local Family history society, they will also be able to help as well.
02-09-2011, 4:50 PM
I find filling out the lives the best bit! Libraries and local records offices are a good start for specifics on your family. Things like electoral rolls, apprentice records, wills, rent books etc are all useful. As are trade directories and county directories. Reading through old newspapers can be useful too. You may not always find your ancestors but you can get a feel for the times they lived in, which can often be quite surprising and not always how you expect.
02-03-2012, 9:38 PM
I have used newspapers to research London properties and workhouses my ancestors live or spent time in (workhouses).
02-03-2012, 10:58 PM
Have you tried 'googling' their name? You never know what may turn up and I have had some success...
Military records are another good source.
19-05-2012, 9:36 AM
Lots of useful information above to add to that I found investigating relatives quite useful, I recently found out that my GGG Grandfather who was made chief warder of a gaol in 1875 had a cousin of the same name who was executed for murder in his gaol in that year. At first I thought that the name must have been just a curious coincidence but investigation has revealed a family connection. How must it feel to preside over the execution of a family member? And how would the rest of the family feel? Cousins, Aunts, uncles etc can help to give a broader picture to the lives of ancestors.
Powered by vBulletin™ Version 4.1.3 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.