Ok, my second assignment of the module was to complete a Pedigree Chart as far back as we could using only the records and information that was available to us when we started all this madness. It was five years ago; I have trouble remembering what I did last week but I gave it my best shot. Here it is for your enjoyment / amusement;
As I have mentioned previously I was lucky in having three my four great grandmother’s alive during my lifetime so going back four generations was pretty straight forward.
I started by speaking to my parents. I asked them for the key dates; birthdays, wedding anniversaries, years of funerals and how old people were when they died. When they couldn’t remember I’d ask if they were older or younger than they are. I asked them for the names of cousins, aunties, uncles, and any grandparents they remembered. I used simple questions to jog their memories and found this worked really well.
After I’d driven my parents nuts asking lots of questions I went and did the same to my grandparents. I encouraged them to tell me stories and anecdotes about when they were growing up as well as asking the nitty gritty who, where, when and why questions. However I get more information from the stories than asking about the “hard facts”.
Although I knew my great grandmother’s I didn’t get bitten by the genealogy bug until after they’d died so I was unable to ask them the same sorts of questions. However they did leave behind some documents relating to their lives; birth, marriage and death certificates; newspaper cuttings; letters to solicitors; birthday postcards and a few photographs.
The collective information I received from this I put into my Pedigree Tree. I managed to get back 5 generations thanks to the marriage certificates in my possession. All that was left was me to start using external resources to get even further back and to put some meat on the bones of my ancestors.
I remember being very surprised that I was able to get so far back (to the 1900s) in 4 generations and just that little bit further with the fifth. However I still felt as though I didn’t really "know" anything about them. They were still just names.