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Family history

(85 Posts)
Luckygirl Wed 29-Apr-20 14:27:03

A friend subscribes to Ancestry and has been looking up some of my family history for me, as it was suggested to me that we might have recent African ancestry because of my Gran's skin colour and black curly hair. This has proved not to be the case, turns out that I have unknown relatives just a few miles from here - next village but one.

I was brought up hundreds of miles from here, but have lived in this county since 1974 and feel it is my real home.

Twenty odd years ago, when DD2 married, she really wanted sweet peas for her wedding bouquet in May, but it was a bit early for them. I put something in the parish mag asking if there were any good gardeners out there who might find a way of doing this and received a phone call from an old man living nearby. He did indeed manage to fulfil her wish and we were thrilled - it now turns out that he is related to us!!!! He has since died, so we cannot tell him this but I will try and track down his descendants, who all live nearby.

Has anyone else ever used Ancestry? Is it complicated?

Callistemon Wed 29-Apr-20 14:47:35

What a coincidence. It is surprising what you find out.

I do subscribe but haven't used it for a while and, really, this is the time to do research.

If you do join I would advise keeping your tree private. It is wonderful to see connections in other people's trees, yes, but if it is private you could always message them to ask for access or further details. As with all sites, there are one or two odd bods to beware of.

It's not complicated and, if I can use it, I'm sure you'd be able to. smile
Rhey may be offering a free trial at the moment. You see if you like it or try a couple of others too eg FindmyPast

Callistemon Wed 29-Apr-20 14:48:10

They, not Rhey

fiorentina51 Wed 29-Apr-20 14:49:16

I've used it. It can be frustrating at times but if you enjoy doing a bit of detective work it can be quite illuminating.

As far as your possible African ancestry is concerned, DNA testing might be of use. I discovered I had North African DNA, not surprising really as my mother was Italian.
I also found out I had Scandinavian ancestry which was probably Danish, introduced into the family around the mid 17th century.
I took that information with a pinch of salt until further research on ancestry showed that I did indeed have Danish ancestors.
Good luck with your research.

EllanVannin Wed 29-Apr-20 14:50:03

My D in Oz does but I think I've told her more than she's found on the site as my late cousin tracked down loads before he died.
Much the same as many, we have relatives all over the world on mum's side. I only know snippets from my dad's past so hoping D gets on to that being as she's the one who's a member.
The DNA test which she had done through them didn't throw up much either other than it was mainly British with a smattering of Gaelic and European.

Daisymae Wed 29-Apr-20 14:52:36

I subscribe to Ancestry. I have found out lots of interesting information. I don't find it difficult, although I have been using it for a long time. It's an interesting hobby. I have photos of my uncles grave in Burma, which my mother would have loved to see. I have built a comprehensive family tree, from a base of very little knowledge. You can give it a try if you want, sometime you can get a free month.

Callistemon Wed 29-Apr-20 14:57:06

I think they're giving 14 days free at the moment.

You could do quite a lot in 14 days and it would still be there if you decide to join, or you could perhaps print some off.

Chestnut Wed 29-Apr-20 16:03:17

If you find Ancestry tricky at first then persevere, as with everything!

You can research your tree (births, marriages, deaths, census returns etc.) and also have a DNA test which will throw up your heritage. The two things do not always agree. The DNA test throws up dozens of relatives but you can't always match them to your own tree research because the DNA matches go back further in time than your research. When you write to people they don't always write back which is annoying if you know you're related.

Most important thing is not to blindly take information from other people's Ancestry trees because some of them are complete fairy tales. Write down what they say and then research it yourself. The information MAY be accurate and could prove helpful, but could just as easily be completely wrong.

GrannySomerset Wed 29-Apr-20 16:13:08

Luckygirl - when we moved to this part of the world some twenty five years ago I stood on the front doorstep and declared that I felt I had come home. Some ten years ago my son bought me an Ancestry subscription for Christmas and I soon discovered that my father’s family came from a village a few miles away. I had absolutely no idea that I had deep roots in rural Somerset but it explained my feeling of connection.

I also discovered a half sister who nobody knew about, my father’s wartime indiscretion. We correspond regularly and have a lot in common. So you never know where Ancestry will lead you, though not to fame or fortune since there are a lot of agricultural labourers in my past.

Luckygirl Wed 29-Apr-20 16:34:39

I may try it, as my maiden surname is that of a famous prime minister from the past and my paternal grandfather shared that name and was convinced that we were related. So - worth a look.

MattJo Wed 29-Apr-20 16:42:27

If you can find a free trial, do try it out - I think you will soon find it very absorbing. When I started some years ago, I subscribed to the UK records but it didn't take long before I upgraded to worldwide. I have also met (online) and compared /shared notes with two 2nd cousins. Very absorbing.

JuliaM Wed 29-Apr-20 16:56:28

Our Daughter has traced back my husbands side of the family back for several centuries. A lot of his side of the family are dark skinned with Blue-Black hair, and tan very easily, where as she’s Fair haired but still has the Dark skin tone. She discovered that her paternal Great Grandfather moved to Derbyshire to find work in the Cotton mills, having left the rest of his family behind in the small Cheshire mill town where several generations had lived and worked for many years. She also discovered some Irish ancestors, and a link to the troubled times of the invasion by the Spanish Armada, and the rape and abuse of some of the local womenfolk by the sailors it brought in, bringing the Dark Skin and Blue Black hair in the illegitimate children born from these Sailors to some of their victims. Hence the trait of the Skin tone and Dark Hair that can still be seen in some family members today.

My own Family roots are not half as varied as my Husbands are, Landlords and Farmers around the same Derbyshire Area for eight generations that l know of, and probably more!
My 92year old Dad still lives in the same village that the Family farm his Great Great Grandfather owned, and probably more generations before him, and most Married into other local families and kept up the Farming and food production traditions.

Chardy Wed 29-Apr-20 17:05:22

I love Ancestry. I've used it for years. They seem to be constantly adding new files to investigate. Honestly I've found it very easy to use.
Look at too
I keep my family tree on Family Tree Maker (which I bought cheaply for about £20 because there was a newer version available), not on Ancestry

JuliaM Wed 29-Apr-20 17:07:23

Luckygirl, my Husband’s Mother had a name connection to Prime minister Lloyd George. She was born on the day he came into power, and to celebrate the Government gave a Golden Guinea (21shillings) to every baby given his name that was born that day. Being a girl though, her mother changed it to Georgina Lloyd, and claimed the Golden Guinea for herself, which was a substantial amount of money back then!

Callistemon Wed 29-Apr-20 17:38:17

I agree with Chestnut - beware of information in other people's trees as some are complete fantasies. They obviously do not check and double check their facts.

If you message them to query anything some are pleased but some become very defensive. One has my granny in her tree and I know full well she has the wrong person (same name) but a whole family of different ancestors.
It can be frustrating particularly when their tree is public.

Callistemon Wed 29-Apr-20 17:40:22

If you have an unusual surname it makes it all so much easier!

Bossyrossy Wed 29-Apr-20 18:10:35

I have been using Ancestry for ten years. It is expensive in comparison with other sites but is definitely the best. I agree with those who say be wary of copying information from other trees, so many are wrong. Having a public tree will benefit you and you will get messages from others who share your ancestry. Living people can only be seen by the owner of the tree. I have found out family secrets and through DNA made contact with 2nd cousins. An absorbing hobby.

grumppa Wed 29-Apr-20 18:13:07

I find Ancestry easy to use, But an unusual surname helps, On my father's side I gave up in the mid-nineteenth century - just to many people with the same name.

Better progress on my mother's, and some hilarity when one tree I looked at took me back to Uther Pendragon!

Fennel Wed 29-Apr-20 18:22:31

I don't belong to Ancestry but have looked into the origins of our unusual family name. It's thought to be derived from that of a notorious Viking family!
Also many seafarers from my father's side, trading in the Baltic. Which pleases me because I've always had an affinity with the sea, I grew up on the NE coast.

Curlywhirly Wed 29-Apr-20 19:15:51

Love the Ancestry site, researching my family tree is one of my favourite hobbies. I have dipped in and out of the site for the last 6/7 years. I have also done research for a few friends - one friend in particular had a really scandalous relative (bigamy, poisoning of family members), it was quite exciting unearthing her history! Once you get going, it is not difficult to use and it is quite addictive.

Chestnut Wed 29-Apr-20 23:30:12

Callistemon - when you have worked hard on your tree, and studied your ancestors' lives you get to know them as people. You know your tree is accurate because you've ordered all the certificates and cross-referenced everything to be sure. Then to find them in someone's tree with the wrong details is infuriating, especially when it's some random person who is barely related! I've had people who just scurry around adding anyone to their tree whether related or not, including in-laws' families which is ridiculous. And they don't check things properly which is why their tree is so wrong.

Pittcity Thu 30-Apr-20 07:46:19

I have used Ancestry for years. I always leave a gap between renewals and usually get an email offering a discounted price to lure me back.
I have a public tree ( details of living people are kept private) which has helped relatives find me. I found a cousin when all we knew was that her grandmother had married a Welshman named Jones!

Oopsadaisy3 Thu 30-Apr-20 07:54:07

I have been on Ancestry for a very long time and agree that it’s very absorbing, lots of new information, with some information, family stories really, found to be totally wrong.
But I have family members with Smith as a surname and the Welsh side named Davies and its becoming a challenge as I go further back.
Why ever did a father named Charles , proceed to have a several sons, who all had a son that they named Charles? as they usually stayed in the same village it can make it so difficult to untangle them, plus if the child died young they often reused the name.......

LullyDully Thu 30-Apr-20 08:04:42

We have had luck on the English side but have found the Welsh side much harder with Evans, Jenkins etc being so common as a surname.

My husband's Welsh ancestry is easy for him as they were posher than my lot and were always in the local paper. Not so my ancestors who were miners and sheep farmers.

Chardy Thu 30-Apr-20 09:54:56

As regards other people's trees, I put them onto my computer file with a ? next to it. I then check with public records that this is my relative. If they have a precise date or an exact address on their tree, I'm pretty confident that this is factually correct.