Friday, April 13, 2012

I reply to a complete beginner's query.

This site aims to provide a specialist help service for people who are seriously researching their ancestors and have hit a brick wall. It is not possible for me to spend time telling complete beginners things which they could find in minutes in any elementary online guide or book on the subject. Normally I send a simple email briefly suggesting that they could find their ancestors in minutes by looking them up on the census. I have just had a request for help where, because of technical difficulties on this site, I do not have an email address for the reply. The following is my reply, in the hope the sender will see it and recognise that it refers to them. 

Thank you for your query - which suggests that you are very confused about how to research your ancestors. I strongly recommend reading a book (or online guide) on the subject - or join a local family history society. Family history can be great fun if you take it seriously - and spend some time learning how to do it properly!

The "Birth certificate" from 1869 that you say you have is not a birth certificate but rather a marriage certificate dated 1889. It gives the name of the groom and his age as 26 and if you use this information with a package such as or you will be able to find in minutes that he was still in England in 1911 and that as a child in 1871 he was living at Babb's Green with his parents. The 1871 information is sufficient to allow you to find Thomas's grandparents. You may well be equally successful in following up the bride's family. Findmypast can also tell you that he sailed from Liverpool in 1913. On the way you will find a lot of other facts about the family, their occupations, and where they lived.

I hope that helps

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This is the newsletter for the Genealogy in Hertfordshire Web site. Comments on this blog are moderated and may be transferred to the web site where appropriate. If you have a local or family history query you want answered you must use "Ask Chris" - See box in right hand column. Anonymous comments cannot be answered.