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Family history

(86 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, but.......it 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?

Chestnut Thu 30-Apr-20 17:49:57

Registration of births, marriages and deaths started in 1837, so before that you have to search church registers. It is very easy to make a mistake especially with clusters of families with the same surname in the same area and forenames repeated. The child's date of birth is often not shown in church registers. It's sometimes not possible to identify births for certain, so I'm always a bit dubious when people say they've gone back hundreds of years. The chances of making an error is very high.

CaroleLM16 Thu 30-Apr-20 19:56:32

That’s amazing! I started a Family history Fb page for my Dad’s side of the family two weeks ago and it’s been wonderful. I am now in touch with relatives I haven’t seen since I was a child or have never met. They are in the UK, Holland, The US and Australia. We’ve all been sharing photos and I saw the first ever photo of my late grandmother who died before I was born. I had done some family history research on findmypast.com,which I highly recommend, so I’ve been sharing that. Your story is absolutely brilliant.

yellowcanary Thu 30-Apr-20 21:56:01

I believe there is free access to Ancestry and Find my Past in most Welsh libraries, also accessible through libraries online even in this lockdown. I am a member of both now but have used them in the library before joining, and find it fascinating. Another member of the family has gone back to at least 1638.

I knew I had 4 cousins in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe but as my mother who used to be the writer to their mother had passed away we lost track of them - I found one of them on a message board on Ancestry as it happened just before they were coming over to the UK to visit their son, which enabled my father and the rest of us to be able to meet up with them which was marvellous. We are still in touch now - and have also met one of her sisters when she came over a few years ago.

Jillybird Fri 01-May-20 15:56:14

Yes, I'm on Ancestry too. I had been searching for a very long time for my mother's side of the family. She believed she was illegitimate and that her father came to the hospital and said that if she had been a boy, he'd have owned her, but since she was a girl he didn't want her as he already had two daughters...

For her 70th birthday I went to the family records office as I don't believe Ancestry was operating in those days. I found her parents' marriage certificate. So then mum worried about what had happened to the other two daughters and why she hadn't been allowed to meet them...
Now, via Ancestry and DNA testing I have found not only the two daughters of my grandfather's first marriage, but another SIX from his third marriage! My mum is sadly long dead but I have actually met up with one of what must be my "half-aunt"s and a half-cousin, both of whom welcomed me with open arms and who live only 30 mins from me. I now count them as family! I was so touched when we discussed having an excellent sense of smell! My aunt was telling me what an acute sense of smell she had. I said, "So have I!" "Of course, you have," she replied, "You're practically my sister"!!! I loved that!

How my mother would have loved to know she had in total eight sisters!

Grammaretto Fri 01-May-20 16:37:07

The Scottish records are not on Ancestry (although I know that the huge company is desperate to get their hands on all the Scottish records) so if you need to do much hunting here or in Ireland, then that is another consideration.
Incidentally Scottish BMD statutory records are very much better than English ones but they didn't begin until 1855.

Tracing ones family can be an absorbing hobby and very worthwhile.
I have met lots of great friends and family online.
Last year an American cousin wrote to me out of the blue and we met at our ancestors' village in Ireland where we spent a wonderful few days exploring and imagining their lives.

Grammaretto Fri 01-May-20 16:50:30

Jillybird what an amazing story that is. How sad that your mother never knew half her family though presumably she was happy without this strange man in her life!

We have found and confirmed with DNA testing some illegitimacy covered up, in one case the baby was adopted by the girl's parents so was like her little brother and in another case, my DGF fathered a child but didn't marry the girl. I thus discovered quite recently that my DF had a halfsister . Did he know? (he died long before I could ask him) We met her daughter by chance and have since been able to share our stories but she still harbours some resentment on behalf of her mother and grandmother after over 100 years.

Callistemon Fri 01-May-20 18:19:23

Jillybird that's amazing and a story with a happy ending.

I have found a lot of mysteries on all sides of our family - some I solved and others remain mysteries!

Pittcity Mon 04-May-20 08:25:03

Ancestry's UK records are FREE this week (4-10 May) to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day.🇬🇧

Chestnut Tue 05-May-20 09:33:47

Thanks for that Pittcity 👍
I will look up a few things but don't want a subscription as I've done 99.9% of my family history!

Luckygirl Tue 05-May-20 10:31:46

Thanks for that info!