This is Moonfleet’s suggestions for some interesting resources as well as useful advice on how to get started. The internet is a wonderful resource of information and provides easy access to a vast wealth of information. It’s one drawback though is that incorrect information can easily be promulgated. So, if you find anything on this site that you think is inaccurate or incorrect, please let me know. Details on the contact page.
Tracing your family history – where do you start?
First of all get all the information together that you already have access to. Write down what you already know and ask other family members what they can remember. It’s vital to organise the information so that whatever you learn is recorded. Get family trees organised for each branch of your family you are planning to research.
Starting Family History Research
This is when it really starts to get interesting. One of the best online resource is Ancestry.co.uk . This now lists all the English census returns that are available, that is for 1901, 1891, 1881, 1871, 1861, 1851 and 1841. Our timeline will give you an idea of what was happening when each census was taken.
Ancestry.co.uk also provides information on births, deaths and marriages from 1837 as well as several other resources that are useful once the basic work has been done.
Numbers of Ancestors
A generation is usually taken as being 33.3 years, which means that it takes 24 generations to get back to the twelfth century. The number of ancestors doubles each generation so that means we should each have nearly 17 million ancestors who were alive in the 1300’s. But the population of England was only two million at that time! The only way this apparent paradox can be reconciled is by intermarriage. Many of our ancestors are duplicated so that we are actually descended from a particular relative through more than one line. The corollary of this is that many of us must be related to each other, at least distantly.
Tracing your Family Tree is Addictive
Beware, once you start looking at census records then time seems to just disappear. Unless you are happy for your researches to take over your life, organising a timetable is a good idea and limit your researches each day.
Happy researching and may all your ancestors be interesting!