11 Dec 2010

Module One: My Genealogical Experience

Ok so this was my first assignment. We were asked
  • How long have you been researching?
  • What kind of ancestors are we looking for?
  • How far back have we got?
  • What types of records have you used?
  • What are your biggest frustrations?
  • Have you ever used the internet? What do you like / dislike about the net?
  • Have you researched at a Family History Centre?
  • Have you been successful?
And here's my submission:

I've been researching my family for about five years, ever since I broke my wrist at the gym. I'd always had an interest but never seemed to be able to find the time, with six weeks off work and my arm in cast I started my journey. Initially I just wanted to know where I came from, how my family ended up where they are, doing what they do and why we don't speak Welsh. As my search backwards progressed I now want to know more about how they lived.

I was very lucky in that I knew three of my four Great Grandmothers and because they had lived to decent ages they had passed on what they remembered to their children; my Grandparents were a great starting point, even if now five years down the line, they are still coming up with new information they swore they had told me! The majority of my ancestors are Welsh, but there are also English ones in there too. 

The furthest my ancestry goes back at the moment is to c. 1150 and Hamo DE PULESTON (my 25 x Great Grandfather) who came over with the Conquests, however they married into my family (my 4 x Great Mother was a PULESTON) but this side doesn't really interest me. I'm not interested in connecting my family to Royalty or the Noble classes, I'm more interested in the Agricultural Labourers, Tin Plate Workers, Colliers, Blacksmiths and Cotton Spinners.

I use the Census returns; the GRO index for births, marriages and deaths; the certificates themselves to validate and prove my relationships; parish registers for baptisms, marriages and burials; grave stones; the probate index; military records; parish transcripts; newspapers and any other reliable sources I can get my hands on. Trips back to my parents often end in me spending days at the local library or the County Record Office. When I'm at home in London I get my lists together and go down to the LDS Centre in Hyde Park to view the microfilms or to use their free access to the 1911 Census and other subscription services. I myself have a sub with Ancestry but sometimes there are things they do not have that I need. I also use the internet extensively in my research and find the online forums especially helpful. What I don't like about the internet based genealogy is that you're information, that you have painstakingly researched and sourced is "stolen" from online trees, attached to others and the information is then changed to match their tree. It doesn't happen very often but when it does it is highly irritating.

My biggest frustration at the moment is trying to research such a common surname in Wales; DAVIES. It is extremely difficult to ensure that you have the correct family. I also find illegitimate children frustrating simply because it means I cannot go any further with my research and I feel like I'm missing part of the story. I don't like that!

So far I've been successful in establishing that my Welsh family has English blood in my great grandfather and that we were essentially miners who rolled down the hill from the village to the town following the coal. I'd like to think I have not moved far from these working class roots and that the dedication and work ethics of my ancestors are still alive in my approach to my life and my work.