Monday, 29 December 2014

Your Family Tree Magazine issues for 99p/99c

Until the 1 January, all issues of Your Family Tree Magazine are only 99p (or 99c US or $1.99 AU) via iTunes or Google Play. YFT is a great magazine for amateur genealogists and hobbyists and this is a great way to stock up on back issues, or just try out the magazine if you have never read it before.

Full details are available at the YFT blog.

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine have a similar offer, but due to a "technical error" the reduced pricing isn't available on iTunes, only on Google Play. Both magazines are well worth a read - they offer practical advice and tips for those researching their UK ancestors. Both magazines also have helpful user forums on their websites where you can get help from other readers.


Sunday, 28 December 2014

My Golden Rules for Genealogy

In response to Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over: Golden Rules of Genealogy I present my take on the Golden Rules of Genealogy:

I don't have a lot of Golden Rules, because I believe the golden rule of golden rules is less is more. Keep the list of golden rules small and they become easier to understand and follow - too many rules just makes my eyes glaze over.

  1. Do not trust any one single source. Always try to find an alternate source for every piece of information. Also, be wary of falling into the trap of thinking two sources are distinct sources when they are in fact copies or deviates of one another. Case in point: Bishop's Transcripts are simply copies of the original parish registers. If you have a copy of the parish register, then the Bishop's Transcript is not a different source. Bishop's transcripts can be useful if the original parish registers cannot be found however.
  2. Listen to family stories, but do not believe them. Family stories can be a valuable tool in tracking down your ancestors' stories, but do not put 100% faith in the remembrances of your relatives. Use the stories to guide your research, but do not be deterred if your research turns up something different. A number of our family tales have been disproven by diligent research, but in most cases there was a grain of truth hidden amongst the stories. Sometimes the truth was much more interesting than the stories!
  3. Document your sources and where possible get copies of all relevant documents. Oh how I wish I had done this when I was starting out. I have a whole heap of documents that I simply have no clue where they came from. Parish registers, census sheets, birth, death and marriage certificates - some great information here, but I do not know where they came from. In some cases I have added events to my ancestors' entries in my tree but I cannot verify the data because I do not know what the source of that information was.
  4. Look beyond the individual you are currently searching for. If you find an entry in a parish register, scan a few pages either side of the one your ancestor appears on to see if there are any siblings or other relatives listed there too. When looking at census records, scan for other houses on the same street - you may just find other relatives living close by. This can be a useful technique to help break through brick walls.
  5. When you keep running into a brick wall, walk away. Not forever, just a brief break. Move on to another relative and come back to the brick wall at a later stage. Sometimes you get yourself into a bit of a rut and will keep running the same searches over and over again. Give it a bit of time and try to approach the search with a fresh mind. Also, keep coming back to your brick walls at a regular intervals - maybe more record sets have been transcribed/indexed which will reveal your ancestor, or maybe you will come up with a novel way of searching for them. Try searching for known relatives of theirs and scan the record sets in the general vicinity for a glimpse of your ancestor. Look for birth/baptism records of a sibling or cousin and then search the register pages near that person. Try looking at nearby parishes, even if you know the town your ancestor was born in - in one case with my family, the family church was being rebuilt so baptisms and funerals took place in a neighbouring parish. Come at your brick walls from a different angle with a fresh mind and you might just have some luck.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

For Aussie genealogists...

Ancestry Australia now offer the option to purchase transcripts of birth certificates at a "discounted" rate. The price appears to be $17.50 for "transcriptions of registry documents in PDF format". At the moment this seems to only cover NSW birth registrations from 1788-1922 but hopefully the service will expand to cover other states.


Friday, 26 December 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. In recent years Christmas-time has become a quieter affair. I now live with and look after my elderly father who, despite genealogical data saying otherwise, I am certain is descended from either the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge. Or possibly both. He is not a fan of Christmas trees or decorations, so the house always feels a little empty this time of year...

One thing we do have, however, is a massive feast for Christmas lunch. Roast turkey with cranberry sauce, roast vegetables galore, a leg of ham, and christmas pudding with brandy custard. After lunch we are both so full that nothing gets done other than sitting in our armchairs watching TV. I didn't do any genealogy, didn't play any games or read any books - Christmas afternoon is just a time to sit and relax. And snooze. ;^)

I did get a very nice present from my ISP - they gave all customers unmetered downloads for Christmas Day, so I made good use of that gift. I must have used over a month's worth of data, but not only is everything now up to date, but I have enough training videos, books, music, movies and games to keep me busy for a while.

At times like this I do wonder what my ancestors did for Christmas. Did they have large family gatherings and feasts like we used to when I was younger? Or was it a more solemn time of year? Or did they have to work through the holidays with little or no time off? What traditions did they have? What kind of gifts were given out and what food was on their Christmas table? I guess the exact answers to these questions may never be known, but it should be possible to find some contemporary accounts of Christmases from the time of my ancestors. I guess that's something to add to my to-do list...

Anyway, cheers and I hope you have happy holidays wherever you are.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Great Christmas gift from Ancestry.com.au

Ancestry Australia are offering free access to all UK records for three days over Christmas starting today! Time to jump online and start researching your UK ancestors! 8^)

Monday, 22 December 2014

So I'm a bit behind the times...

I've just finished reading Ancestry Insider's excellent series on Evidence Management. Quite a good read and it has certainly provided some food for thought. My own software will use a similar approach to Ancestry Insider's, though there are a couple of things I plan on doing that will no doubt raise a few eyebrows... ;^)

Anywho, if you haven't read that series I can highly recommend it - he outlines some sound evidence management practices and shows how Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org get it right and how they get it wrong. I learned quite a bit about those two sites in these articles.

One very interesting takeaway from this series for me was found in a comment. There is a nifty-looking web app called Lineascope in development that directly addresses evidence management and the Genealogical Proof Standard. I probably shouldn't be as surprised as I am that Kinescope is very similar to my own app, however I have taken a slightly different approach in one or two areas. (i.e., I am not strictly following the GPS for some very good reasons (IMHO) that I may explain at a later date.)

Monday, 15 December 2014

Where to?

Okay, so I've decided to (slightly) change focus and become more diligent with my sources. Source, or evidence, based genealogy is the way to go and I need to be more mindful of my sources and source citations. The genealogy software I have been using to date is not really suited to this changed focus - it is more suited to person-based genealogy and just doesn't have the tools required for deep source analysis, plus the citation ability is severely limited. Most traditional "family tree" software exhibits similar flaws, so I'm going to have to re-double my efforts with my custom tools.

What does this mean for me? Well, I have a custom tool I have been developing, but my investigations over the past few weeks have revealed flaws in my thinking. I need more of a focus on source citations and I need to revisit my data model. I find it amazing that GEDCOM a is still the go-to standard for genealogical data, despite its age and weaknesses. Other data models have been proposed, but none of them seem to have got off the drawing board and most have been stalled, in some cases for up to 15 years or more! No credible alternative has appeared on the scene. Which is disheartening. I am definitely not going to be basing my tool(s) on GEDCOM. I will use GEDCOM for data transfer, but that's it - I have seen too many genealogical tools that have obviously been written with GEDCOM a at their core, and all are too tied to GEDCOM and all its flaws.

So what does my tool look like and how will it work? The tool is a source analysis tool that allows the user to extract all pertinent facts (or allegations) from a source and then guide the user to collate facts from many sources into a coherent person. It does a bit more than that, with tools to help interpret disparate facts by using date ranges and locality where appropriate. Once facts have been collated and persons identified, the tool can export data (yes, in GEDCOM format - I will use GEDCOM, but it won't drive the design of the tools) where it can be imported into "traditional" genealogical packages.

The more I think about it, the more I am leaning towards not one, but a series of interconnected tools, each managing a different aspect of the process. I have been studying the Genealogical Proof Standard and several of the proposed genealogical data models and these have given me a lot of food for thought as to how I might make my tools better. But the first priority is to properly document my sources and citations - something I have been lax in doing up until now...

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The not fun part about genealogy...

My uncle Graham lost his (all too short) battle with cancer last night. Melanoma of the brain. We were told a couple of days ago that his doctors had given him 48 hours to live - the bastards were right. 8^(

Monday, 8 December 2014

Books! Books! Books!

I am up to my eyeballs in books at the moment! Well, not literally of course - they're mostly on my iPad so they don't take up much space at all. And not even figuratively to be honest - just a small handful of books that I am studying.

First there's Genealogy Standards: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition from the Board for Certification of Genealogists - That's a bit bland and light on content. But it does provide a good (if brief) overview of the genealogical standards - I just wish there was more to it, but thankfully there are other books that expand on these standards.

The next book in my (virtual) reading pile is Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W Jones. I haven't got far into this one yet, but it appear to provide a sound introduction to using and applying the Genealogical Proof Standard (as described in the book Genealogy Standards) complete with worked examples and exercises to attempt. I'm going to be in and out of this book quite a bit I expect...

Next up is a book I borrowed from the library - Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills. While this is a bit old now and has been superseded by the next book in my list, I still think it is an excellent primer to proper source analysis and citation. It is a short book, split in two parts. The first part is a good explanation of the fundamentals of source analysis and citation, while the second part consists of a series of tables with clear examples of different source citations. I cannot find an electronic copy of this so I may have to purchase a hardcopy at some stage.

Evidence Explained:Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace 2nd Edition by Elizabeth Shown Mills is on my wishlist. Written after Evidence! a delving much deeper into the topic, this book is the standard for source analysis and citation. It is also quite a hefty book coming in at 885 pages! An electronic version is available via the author's website Evidence Explained.

The next book doesn't really appear to fit with the theme of the previous four, but Genealogy - Family Tree Research Made Easy by Poppy Sure is a worthwhile guide to the beginner genealogist. Not just a "how to genealogy" book, Poppy covers important areas such as maintaining research logs, sources vs evidence, standards, citation and more. I was quite surprised at how much Poppy covers in what is ostensibly a beginner's book.

Finally, because it's where my family is from, Tracing Your Lancashire Ancestors by Sue Wilks is on the list. This book covers a brief history of Lancashire and also has a good list of research materials and locations for researchers tracing their Lancashire roots. Sadly this one is way down on my reading list, but hopefully when I get back to the task of tracing my family I will be able to turn to this book for some inspiration and direction.

Does anyone have any suggestions for good genealogical books that I should add to my library?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A couple of the mistakes I have made. (So far...)

Okay, I have realised that I have made a few mistakes to date in my genealogical wanderings. Not that this was unexpected - I would be a fool if I thought I was going to get things perfect the first time out. So in the interests of full disclosure, here are two of the mistakes I have identified and what I propose to do about them.

1) Not adequately documenting my sources: I have far too many images (scans of census pages, parish registers, birth certificates, etc) that simply do not have any citation information attached. In other words, I do not know where they came from. For most of them I could hazard a guess (most of them I got from AncestryLibrary) but I couldn't tell you what census district, what parish register, where or when these documents were produced. Then there are some odds and ends that I simply have no clue where they came from.

What can I do about this? I'm not going to simply throw out all these documents. Instead, when I get around to restarting the rebuild of my tree I will be searching all the likely repositories and this time I will record the correct citations for the material I use. I had already planned to redo my searches to make sure I haven't missed something out or misinterpreted some material, so this won't be a huge imposition. I just need to make sure I am more disciplined. Part of this will require me to learn more about citing my sources properly and the first step has already been taken - I have a copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills' book Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian and will shortly be obtaining a copy of her follow-up book Evidence Explained. I have also been scouring the interwebs for information on genealogical citation and have found a wealth of material on various genealogy blogs which I need to absorb and understand.

2) Not being discriminating enough with my source selection: I thought I was doing the right thing, honestly I did. But it turns out I was collecting too many duplicate sources. Well, maybe not too many duplicates, but I was not being discerning enough when analysing my sources. The problem here is that I was scouring various repositories for every reference to an ancestor and attaching all those sources to that ancestor's events. In part I was doing the right thing - the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) was a genealogist should conduct a reasonably exhaustive search, but maybe I was being too exhaustive?

As an example, when searching on FamilySearch it is not uncommon to turn up multiple copies of the same information. Much of the information in FamilySearch comes from microfilmed copies of parish registers and census documents that the LDS church has collected over the years. These microfilms have been indexed and transcribed by different projects and sometimes the same source documents may have been filmed and/or indexed and transcribed multiple times. Each of these copies has been entered into FamilySearch's databases and as a result there are sometimes several copies of the same data that get returned by a search. These are not separate sources, but copies of the same source and as such should not always be given equal weight when determining the validity of the data.

Another example is the difference between a parish register and what are known as Bishop's Transcripts. During the 18th and 19th centuries, local parishes recorded baptisms, marriages and burials and on a regular basis copy of the parish register was made for the Bishop's Transcript. In some cases only the Bishop's Transcript remains, in others only the parish register is available, but in many cases both copies still exist. In my tree I have many ancestors for whom both original parish register and the Bishops Transcripts exist. Given that the Bishop's Transcript is a copy of the parish register, they should probably be considered a derivative source and less weight should apply to them. Where the transcript differs from the parish register, the register most likely is the more accurate data. That doesn't mean I should ignore the transcripts, I just need to be more aware of the provenance of the data contained in them.

Finally, I have been getting my source information from multiple sources - AncestryLibrary, FamilySearch, The Lancashire Online Parish Clerk project, etc. In many cases these have all come from the same original source (or microfilms of the original, via the LDS) and as such, they really aren't different sources, just copies of the same source again. Now each of these repositories may have different transcriptions - some better, some worse - which may aid in finding the information I am looking for, but if i can get an image of the original source, I probably don't need to be continuing my search on different repositories for the same information. If I do search multiple locations, I should not be applying the same weight to each result - instead I should probably make an annotation to the effect that this refers to the same original.

What can I do about this? I can spend a little more time analysing the provenance of the source and be mindful of the possibility that the information I am looking at is from the same source as information I already have. Use multiple repositories to find my sources, but don't treat them all as independent sources - accept (and make note of) the fact that the original source material may be the same, or that I may be viewing a derivative of the source. where possible try to get as close to the original source as I can. I won't discard sources I have used, but I won't treat all sources as being of equal value.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Standing at a crossroad...

I feel like I am standing at a crossroad, choosing which path to take. I can continue with my family tree rebuild the way I have been or I can stop (yet again) and study up on proper source citation, the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) and other such weighty matters. It would be easy to just keep going on my merry way, but I now realise that I have been somewhat lax in recording the proper source citation details for much of the detail in my tree.

Way back when I was in university, I only ever had to write one "serious" essay for an economics course. None of the other courses I studied required essays, and as such I never really had to learn how to cite sources properly. In fact, the one essay I did write (which I got a B for - yay me!) only had a small handful of sources and the lecturer was more interested in our reasoning and justification for the stance we took on the topic than in the citation style. At the time I thought I had dodged a bullet by avoiding essays, but now I'm not so sure...

I guess now that I am revisiting my family tree I might as well do it right this time. (Why am I always creating so much extra work for myself?!) Of course this introduces a couple of new problems into the mix - not only will I have to (finally) learn how to cite sources correctly, but the software I have been using to date (MacFamilyTree) appears to be somewhat deficient in its source handling. Oh yeah, then there's the genealogy tool I have been writing - that will need some serious rework to correctly handle citations and while I'm doing that, I might as well try to factor in the GPS.

I like the idea of the GPS and understand the need to proper source citations. I could just keep going and pay attention to citations and GPS from now, but part of me is screaming that that just wouldn't do. If I'm going to do something, I might as well do it right.

So I guess my to-do list looks something like this:

  • Learn proper source citation techniques for genealogical sources
  • Work out how to use and apply the GPS to my research
  • Find a better genealogy package that has robust source support
  • Re-engineer my genealogy tool

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Some semi-random musings on evidence-based vs conclusion-based genealogy...

So I guess I am now taking a bit of a "study break" while I (try to) learn a bit more about genealogical standards and best practices, specifically "evidence-based genealogy". My early forays into this field have been quite interesting.

Apparently there seems to be two main approach with genealogy, known as Evidence-based genealogy and Conclusion-based genealogy. Most well-known genealogical software is conclusion-based - users enter facts/events with associated sources proving these "conclusions" and usually only one fact exists for each event in the person's life. For example, a person in a genealogy database will (usually) only have one birth date listed and sources supporting this date will be referenced. If conflicting evidence should arise, the date for the event might be adjusted, and sources added/removed, but the working premise is that there is "one true date" (or date range) for the date of birth and that is that.

Evidence-based genealogy takes a different approach. An evidence-based genealogists will locate as many sources for an event and will list conflicting versions separately. So a person might have several different birth dates - one sourced from a parish register, one (or more) from census data, one from a death certificate, and so on. Studying the various sources and their assertions, one date might be favoured over the others and labelled as a preferred date, but the other dates are all recorded for that person. Of course the preferred date isn't just plucked out randomly, it must be supported by the evidence and a well-reasoned argument is used to support this claim. While it is possible to use "traditional" genealogy software to record these extra dates, they can be a bit cumbersome when used this way.

As a side note: Maybe my understanding of these terms is flawed, but I don't think they have been appropriately named. To my way of thinking, the monikers "Evidence-based" and "Conclusion-based" should be referring to the same thing - using various pieces of evidence to form a reasoned conclusion. I personally don't like the name "Conclusion-based genealogy" - it just doesn't seem to fit, but I will continue to use it until a better name comes up.

My approach to date has been a mishmash of these two methodologies. I have been searching for all the sources I can lay my hands on and attaching them to the relevant events for the people in my family tree. Where sources contradict one another, I have tried my best to understand, explain and resolve these conflicts and have included notes explaining my conclusions. But I have felt constrained by the software I have used, or to put it another way, coerced into a certain way of thinking which just doesn't feel right.

One of my issues with "conclusion-based" software is what happens when you discover a source (or group of sources) relates to a different person. I have encountered this many times and it has been a pain to correct in every genealogy tool I have used to date.

All traditional genealogy packages are (in my mind at least) too closely coupled to the GEDCOM standard. Now I am all for standards - they help make interoperability easier and can allow for easy data migration from one tool to another - but GEDCOM is nearly 20 years old and hasn't adapted to well over the years. GEDCOM is based around the concepts of Person, Event, and Source. There is also very rudimentary support for the concept of a Location and a Family, which is a collection or Persons, comprising of two parents and zero or more children. Basically it boils a family tree down to Persons, Events and Sources and that is how most genealogy programs are structured.

I have used and evaluated a number of different genealogy programs and just about every program starts with a person, to which you attach a series of events (both, baptism, death, etc) and for each event you attach one or more sources. The way these programs are designed, it encourages the user to start with a person and create events for that person and then attach sources to the events. I find this to be somewhat backwards. I start with a person and an event such as their date of birth for sure, then I locate sources, but the sources really drive the process for me. I locate all the relevant sources and try to extract as much information as I can from them. A birth certificate for example relates to more than a single person - you will also have the parents listed on the birth certificate and possibly other siblings will be named too. You are also likely to get an address or location for the family's residence along with the occupations of one or both parents and possibly even ages for the parents and siblings. So one source can provide details of multiple events for multiple people. And that to me seems to be the key difference between the two genealogical approaches.

I have only just now realised that better terms to use would be "Source-based genealogy" and "Person-based genealogy"? The "Evidence-based" people start with sources, extract a number of events (or facts or assertions - whatever you want to call them), then collate the events into a person. Meanwhile the "Conclusion-based" people start with a person, then create events and then locate and add sources to affirm those events. Rightly or wrongly I am going to use "Source-based" and "Person-based" from now on.

So most traditional software is "Person-based" where my natural instinct has been to operate in a "Source-based" manner. This is why I started to create my own tools some time back where I could start with the sources, extract the facts and then collate the facts to find my people. An interesting thing happened while I was researching the "Evidence-based vs Conclusion-based" argument - I discovered a small number of tools that have been designed to operate in an "Evidence-based" (or as I now think it should be called, "Source-based") manner. Had I realised these tools existed I probably wouldn't have started creating my own. However I have started on my own tools and will continue, but with a slight change of focus informed by my current research into these methodologies.


Note: Part of this diversion into "Evidence-based" vs "Conclusion-based" genealogy was triggered by a series of blog posts, starting with “Evidence-based” and “Conclusion-based” software use by Michael Hait on his Planting the Seeds blog.

Monday, 24 November 2014

I got some learnin' to do...

So I am now on a mission to learn as much as I can about evidence-based genealogy, the Genealogical Proof Standard and the proper citation of sources. I should probably start with citation...

Much of what I have done to date has been guided by what feels right. The more I think about where I am and how I got here, the more I realise that I need some rigour in my research efforts. While I have endeavoured to locate as many sources for each person and event in my tree, I haven't always been so thorough in documenting where those sources came from. I realise now that citation is more important than I had first thought, so that should be my first step on the path to my edumacation. Properly documenting where the source material came from using whatever citation standard the genealogical world uses should become a priority for me. Once I get that sorted, I can start to dig into the GPS and evidence-based genealogy.

So, does anyone have any good resources for source citation?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Am I researching a family tree, a family history or am I doing genealogy?

The past several weeks I have been giving some serious thought o just what it is I am doing. Am I researching a family tree, a family history or am I starting to do some serious genealogy? Of course the three subjects are not mutually exclusive, but what is my real focus here?

Am I just collecting names and dates to put into a family tree? I don't think so - I am definitely doing too much work if that was my real aim. I have been digging into other sources to "flesh out" my family tree - newspapers, court records, books, family anecdotes and so on - which makes me think I am edging towards more of a family history than a simple family tree.

Looking closely at what I have been doing, I realise that I am leaning towards more rigorous genealogical research however. I have been digging through as many sources as possible to verify the facts I add to my tree and doing my best to satisfy myself that the information I gather is as accurate as possible. I am not happy simply accepting the names, dates and places that other people have placed in their family trees and have been seeking source material to confirm their conclusions. It appears that I may have stumbled on to something called "evidence based genealogy".

I like the stories I have been finding about the relatives in my tree. I recently had an article published in Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine about one such story - that of Amos Bannister, a wheelwright in Stretford, who was crushed by a wagon. Several other Bannister family trees attributed this story to a direct-line ancestor, but I wasn't satisfied so I dug around until I found enough sources to be able to rule out this ancestor. It wasn't easy, but it was a very satisfying experience digging through old newspapers and other sources looking for clues. Showing some relatives the article and telling them the story was certainly rewarding and I have been encouraged to write more of these stories. This is something I would like to do, but there is part of me that insists that I get all the facts right before I share my stories with anyone.

Browsing some genealogy sites recently I have been learning about evidence based genealogy and the Genealogical Proof Standard. Do I want to go this far in my research? Is this something I might already be doing in my own ham-fisted way? I think this is something I need to spend some more time contemplating...

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

FindMyPast fraud - update

As an update to the fraudulent charges from FindMyPast.com.au, after first trying to blame me for cancelling my free trial too late (I foolishly thought that if you cancelled before the free trial expired (which I did) AND that if you receive an email stating "you will not be charged", that I would not be charged - how foolish of me!) they "graciously" offered to reverse the charges. It is a relief that I won't have to go through my bank's fraud process, but I am seriously considering lodging a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission because a 14-day free trial should a) last 14 days; b) be free; and c) when you are told you will not be charged for a service you have cancelled, then you shouldn't be bloody well charged.

My advice to anyone considering checking out any of the commercial genealogy sites is to avoid FindMyPast like the plague - stick with reputable sites like Ancestry, Genes ReunitedThe Genealogist or even the completely free Family Search. FindMypast claim to offer unique record sets, but most of what they have can be found elsewhere. And don't be sucked in by their newspaper archives - you can access the same newspapers directly on the British Newspaper Archive for about the same as a FMP monthly subscription (even cheaper if you use a coupon code, which are regularly available) but with a much better user interface and infinitely better search capabilities.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Wow! I can't believe this just happened!

I had signed up for a "free" 14 day trial on FindMyPast.com.au and while the site has some interesting data sets, I decided that it wasn't right for me. So I cancelled my trial and received an email that started:

Your free trial has been cancelled...
Dear Amos,
We're sorry that you have decided not to continue with your subscription on findmypast. As requested we have cancelled your free trial and you will not be charged.
...

"That was easy," I thought, but how wrong was I? Nit 10 minutes later I received another email from them:

Payment confirmation
Dear Amos,
Thank you for renewing your 1 Month World Subscription. Your payment has been processed.
Your payment details are as follows:

Payment summary
Package:1 Month World Subscription
Reference:<<a reference number>>
Amount:$19.95 AUD
...
So 10 minutes after you cancel a free trial, FindMyPast will charge you for a full month, despite confirming your cancellation and stating that will not be charged. There's a word for behaviour like this - FRAUD.

I now have no option but to discourage everyone I know from dealing with this site. This kind of behaviour is inexcusable. I guess a trip to the bank to dispute this fraudulent charge is in order. >_<


Sunday, 26 October 2014

File organisation - the folder structure

A key part of my file organisation scheme has to do with the folder hierarchy I use. With this folder hierarchy, I know where to place each file I download or generate. A place for every file and every file in its place. ;^)
The very top level of my Family History folder[1]
The very first level of my folder hierarchy is quite simply a single folder for my current project. At the moment that project is called simply Bannisters of Stretford. So in my Family History folder, I have created a folder called Bannisters of Stretford - nice and simple. 8^)
My family project folder
Drilling down into my Bannisters of Stretford folder reveals the real start of this structure. In this folder I have created folders for the People, Places and Sources in my family tree, along with some extra folders to store pictures and books that do not belong in the Sources folder.

Let's look at each of the folders in turn...
Books (Non source) folder
The Books (Non source) folder at this level is for "non source" books - i.e., books that are not used as sources for the family tree. This includes books that I create using the data in my tree and a scanned copy of the book that my cousin created for our family reunion several years ago.
People folder
The People folder is where I create folders for family groups. Within these folders I create a folder for each person and in the individual's folder I create aliases (or links) to source documents and pictures for that person - I will describe this process in detail in a future post. The folders at this level are for each surname in my family tree. (I have only recently started rebuilding my tree, so this is a bit sparse at the moment.) If I do not know the surname of a person they will be placed in the zz UNKNOWN[2] folder. I will go into much more detail about this folder's structure in a future post.
Pictures folder
The Pictures folder should need no real explanation - it is where I will store pictures of the people and places in my family tree. At the moment it is empty because I have not yet moved over my pictures.
Places folder
The Places folder contains sub-folders for each place in my family tree. I will go into more detail about the layout of this folder in a later post.
Sources folder
Finally we get to the last folder at this level - Sources. The Sources folder is where I store the original files for all my sources. As you can see the source documents are broken down by source type:

  • BMD - All sources related to births, marriages and deaths. These include parish registers, BMD registers and certificates, and other related documents such as baptism cards and funeral service and memorial documents.
  • Books - Contains all books that are used as sources. This mainly includes town histories and books written by local historical societies.
  • Censuses - All census related documents.
  • Education Documents - School reports, school registers, copies of any certificates earned.
  • Electoral Rolls - Copies of electoral rolls and poll books.
  • Legal Documents - Any legal documents and court cases that my ancestors might have been involved in. This includes wills and probate documents[3] and divorce proceedings[4].
  • Maps - Just what it says on the tin - maps.
  • Military Documents - Draft cards, service papers, medals and honors.
  • Newspapers - Any newspaper articles that have been used as sources.
  • Other Documents - anything else that doesn't easily fit into one of the other categories.
Many of these should be self explanatory, but the next post in this series will be exploring the Sources folder in more detail. Some of the sources sub-folders have further sub-folders which will need some explaining before I finally get to the actual files themselves.


[1] Note that I have a few other folders in my Family History folder. These are where I store the data files used by the genealogy app I use (MacFamilyTree), resources downloaded from various magazines I subscribe to and a couple of working folders where I store files waiting to be processed.
[2] I use the "zz" prefix to force the Unknown folder to sort at the bottom of the list.
[3] Probate proceedings may be initiated years (or even decades!) after the person's death, so I thought it made sense to store them here under Legal Documents rather than BMD.
[4] No real reason for divorces to be placed here - they could probably live under BMD, but I have a legal folder, why not use it?

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Will of Steven Raingill, Esquire

As mentioned in my last post, I suspected that the court case I had discovered might have been due to something in the will of Steven Raingill, who had died on 28th April, 1874. After some further research, I had determined that the people named as plaintiffs in the case were all of the descendants of Amos and Matilda BANNISTER, Steven RAINGILL's widow, Matilda, and Steven and Matilda's son, Parker RAINGILL. This seemed promising, so I went off to hunt for Steven's will in order to see if anything there might shed some light on the matter. I discovered a copy of the will on FindMyPast.com.au, downloaded it and set about transcribing it. (You can find a pdf of the will embedded at the end of this post...)

The transcription was certainly an interesting exercise. The will covered four and a half pages and the scanned images were not ideal - some of the text was hard to read due to the contrast of the image and tweaking it with some image tools helped slightly. The handwriting was reasonably easy to read, but some of the words and phrases did cause some consternation. I think I have managed to do a reasonable job of the transcription which I present below. Please note, I have tried to keep capitalisation as it was in the original, which is to say random at best. The language was quite flowery in parts and it appears our forebears were allergic to punctuation, so this will take some re-reading and deciphering in order for it to make sense...
This is the last Will and testament of me Steven Raingill of Penley House Penley in the County of Flint Esquire. I direct that all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses be paid and discharged by my Executors as soon as conveniently may be after my decease. I give and bequeathe to my affectionate wife Matilda Raingill the legacy or sum of two hundred pounds which I direct shall be paid to her immediately after my decease I give and devise all my freehold estate chief rents heriditaments and premises which I shall die seized or possessed of unto my Nephews Herbert Bannister of Stretford in the County of Lancaster Timber Merchant and Henry Stephenson of the City of Manchester Solicitor and their heirs Upon the trusts herinafter mentioned and declared that is to say Upon trust that my said Wife shall receive thereout during her life an annuity or yearly rent charge of two hundred pounds to be paid to her by quarterly payments the first of such payments to be made at the expiration of three calendar months after my decease and the intent and purpose of this my Will is that if the said annuity or rent charge or any part thereof shall be in arrear or unpaid for the space of twenty one days next after any of the said days appointed for payment thereof then and in such case and so often as the same shall happen my said Wife shall have the same remedy by distress upon the hereditaments and premises hereby charged with the said annuity or rent charge or any of them for recovering the same and also all costs charges and expenses occasioned by reason of the nonpayment thereof as Lessors have by law for the recovery of rent in arrear And that in case the said annuity or rent charge or any part thereof shall be in arrear and unpaid for thirty days next after any of the said days appointed for payment thereof Then that my said Wife shall have power to enter into and upon the said hereditaments and permises hereby devised as aforesaid or upon any part thereof and receive and take the rents and profits thereof and the said chief rents or any part thereof until all arrears of the said annuity or said charge together with the payments to accrue during such possessions and all costs charges and expenses occasioned by the nonpayment thereof shall be fully paid and satisfied and subject to the said legacy and annuity or rent charge given to my said Wife and the powers and remedies for informing the payment of the said annuity or rent charge hereby given upon trust for the use and benefit of my Son Parker Raingill during his life but so and in such manner that he shall not have power to charge incumber or anticipate by debts mortgage or otherwise the said life interest hereby given to him or the income thereof And from and after the decease of my said Son Upon trust for and every the lawfully begotten children of my said Son who shall be living at his decease and the issue of such of them as shall be then dead such issue taking his or her personal or parents share only and their heirs and assigns as tenants in common and not as joint tenants in equal shares and if there shall be but one such child then for the use and benefit of such child his or her heirs or assigns and in case of my said Son departing this life without leaving any lawful children or child or issue of such children or child Then I give and devise all and every my said freehold estate chief rents heriditaments and premises unto and to the use of my said Nephew Herbert Bannister his heirs and assigns But subject and charged nevertheless with the payments of the several annuities and legacies next hereinafter given that is to say an annuity or yearly rent charge of fifty pounds yearly to be paid and payable out of the said estate chief rents hereditaments and premises to each of my nieces Alice Jones Widow Matilda Louisa Bannister Spinster Julia Bannister Spinster Eliza Ellen the Wife of James White Stenhouse Sarah Elizabeth the Wife of William Dorning and my Nephew George Amos Bannister such several and respective annuities to be payable to the several Annuitants quarterly and I direct that the said several annuitants shall respectively have the like powers and remedies for the recovery and payment of the said annuities is hereinbefore given to my said Wife And from and after the decease of each of the said Annuitants lastly hereinafter named I give and bequeath to the children of the said annuitant so defining as aforesaid the legacy or sum of one thousand pounds to be paid to and equally divided between and amongst such last named children equally share and share alike and if there shall be but one child of the said annuitant so defining as aforesaid then the said legacy of one thousand pounds shall go to and be paid to such one child I also give and bequeath to Laura Bannister Raingill Parker Bannister and Amos Stewart Bannister the children of my late Nephew Parker Bannister deceased the sum of one thousand pounds to be equally divided between them share and share alike as and when the shall respectively attain the age of twenty one years but nevertheless contingent upon my Son Parker dying without children And I hereby declare that in case my said Son Parker Raingill shall depart this life leaving children or child or issue of children or child who shall not have attained the age of twenty one years at the time of the death of my said Son my said trustees or the survivor of them or the executors or administrators of such survivor shall during the minority of the said children or child or their his or her issue manage the said estate hereditaments and premises or the share belonging to such minors or minor and receive the rents and profits thereof and out of the same pay in the first place the expenses attending the management thereof and all other outgoings and expenses affecting the same and shall in their or his discretion in the next place apply the said estate hereditaments and premises or the share or shares as aforesaid or such parts or part thereof as they or he may think fit for or towards the maintenance support and education or for the preferment or advancement or otherwise for the benefit of such minors or minor with liberty for the said trustees or trustee for the time being of this my Will to pay the same to the guardian or any of the guardians of such minors or minor for the purposes aforesaid without being liable to see the application thereof And I declare that the said trustees or trustee for the time being of this my Will shall have a power of sale or exchange exerciseable over the said estate chief rents hereditaments and premises or any part thereof during the minority of any persons or person for the time being entitled thereto or any share thereof provided that the consent in writing of any persons or person entitled thereto who shall be of age be first obtained to such sale or exchange I give and bequeath all my household furniture paintings plate linen china carriages horses cows farming stock and all monies and securities for money which I shall die possessed of and the rest residue and remainder of my personal estate unto my Son the said Parker Raingill absolutely I give and devise unto my said trustees or the survivor of them or the trustees or trustee for the time being of this my Will all estates vested in me as trustee or mortgagee subject nevertheless to the trusts and equities affecting the same but the monies which may be secured by any mortgage shall form part of my personal estate And I do hereby declare that if the trustees hereby appointed or either of them or any future trustees or trustee of this my Will shall die or desire to retire therefrom or shall refuse or become incapable to act in the trusts of this my Will before the same shall be fully performed then and in every such case it shall be lawful for the continuing trustees or trustee for the time being of this my Will or if there shall be no continuing trustee then for the retiring trustee or the executors or administrators of the last acting trustee to appoint any other person or persons to be a trustee or trustees in the place of the trustee or trustees so dying or desiurous to retire or refusing or becoming incapable to act as aforesaid And upon every such appointment the trust premises shall be so conveyed and transferred that the same may become vested in the new trustee or trustees jointly with the continuing trustee or trustees or solely as the case may require and every such new trustee or trustees (as well before as after the trust premises shall have become vested in him or them) shall have all the powers and authorities of the trustee or trustees in whose place he or they shall be substituted And I direct that the trustee or trustees for the time being of this my Will shall be at liberty to retain and pay to themselves or himself out of the said trust premises all costs charges and expenses which they or he shall pay expend or be put unto in or about the execution of the trusts of this my Will And that they or he shall be acocuntable only for such sums of money and premises as shall come into their of his hands And shall not be responsible for any Banker Broker or other person to whom any such trust moneys and premises shall be entrusted for safe custody I appoint the said Herbert Bannister and Henry Stephenson Executors of this my Will In witness whereof I have to this my last Will and testament set my hand the twenty third day of October one thousand eight hundred and seventy three __ Steven Raingill __ Signed by the said Steven Raingill as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time who in the presence of the said testator at his request and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses __ Thos Rymer Sol Wrexham __ Ro: Lloyd Sol Wrexham.
This is a Codicil to my last Will and Testament Whereas I have by my said Will given to my Wife Matilda Raingill an annuity or rent charge of two hundred pounds during her life and I am desirous of encreasing the same Now therefore I do hereby give and grant to my said Wife during her life an annuity or rent charge of two hundred and fifty pounds to be payable quarterly in lieu and [xxx] instead of the annuity of two hundred pounds given to her in my said Will And I direct that my said Wife shall have all the powers for receiving and recovering the annuity given to her by this Codicil as I have given to her in my said Will for [xxx] recovery of the annuity thereby given I bequeath to my Executors Herbert Bannister and Henry Stevenson (in my said Will spelled Stephenson) the sum of fifty pounds each as some remuneration for their trouble in carryin out the trusts of my Will And in all other respects I confirm my said Will As witness my hand the twenty fourth day of April one thousand eight hundred and seventy four __ Steven Raingill __ Signed by the said testator Steven Raingill as a Codicil to his last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time who in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses __ Thos Rymer Sol Wrexham __ Ellen Griffiths Servant to Mr Raingill.
Proved at Chester with a Codicil the 4th day of June 1874 by the oath of Robert Bannister the Nephew one of the Executors named in the Will to whom Administration was granted. Henry Stevenson the Nephew the other Executor named in the Will having duly performed the probate and execution of the will and Codicil
The Testator Steven Raingill was formerly of Penley House Penley in the County of Flint but late of the City of Chester Esquire and died on the 28th day of April 1874 at the City of Chester aforesaid.
Under £1200. No Leaseholds   }  Charles T W Parry
Thos Rymer Solicitor Wrecham }  District Registrar


Friday, 24 October 2014

A mystery - as yet unsolved.

During my initial forays into the world of family history research, I came across an interesting tidbit. If I recall correctly, I had just discovered the UK National Archives, and had managed to locate and download a copy of my gggg-uncle George BANNISTER's will and, excited to see if I could find any other wills of interest, I started plugging various names from my family tree into the search box.[1] When I entered my gg-grandfather's name into the search box, a curious result was returned.

The document returned was titled Cause number: 1875 G30. Short title: Glegg v Raingill. Documents: Bill, interrogatories,... and listed a host of names, the majority of which appeared to be from one branch of my family tree. Among the defendants listed was my gg-grandfather George Amos BANNISTER and my great-grandfather, Amos Parker BANNISTER. The plaintiff listed was a Mr Edward Holt GLEGG - a name which meant nothing to me at the time. Not being located in the UK, a visit to the National Archives in Kew was out of the question, so I did the next best thing - I clicked the button to order a copy of the document. I filled in the form and waited for a quote of the estimated cost to digitise the documents. Unfortunately the estimate was much, much higher than I was expecting (from memory it was around £370!) so I let the matter lie for the time being.

Fast forward several years and I discovered the Gazette and was again searching for any references to wills or probate cases relating to my family. In the July 11, 1876 issue I found a notice referring to the court case above. The notice was directed at my gg-grandfather and requested he respond to the notice by the 20th July. Further copies of this notice were found in other issues of the Gazette and several other newspapers around the same time, but no details could be found regarding the nature of the case. Again I shelved this line of research and moved on to other areas of my tree.

Recently I was digging up some information about another interesting story in my family history for a magazine article and once more I stumbled on these articles about the Glegg v Rainfall case. In frustration I reached out to the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine Forum community. Thanks to a few suggestions in the forum, I learned that the Chancery Division of the High Court handled probate and estate cases, so I started to look for any deaths that occurred prior to the filing of the case in 1875. One name looked promising, Steven RAINGILL had died in 1874 and he was the brother of Matilda BANNISTER (nee RAINGILL) who happened to be my ggg-grandmother. A little more research of Steven and Matilda's family revealed that all the plaintiffs in this case were the descendants of Matilda and Steven, along with Steven's wife, also named Matilda. This was looking promising.

At this point, my thinking was that there must have been some problem with Steven RAINGILL's will which resulted in a court case. Further research revealed that Edward Holt GLEGG was the High Sheriff of Chester - the county where Steven died and was buried. The pieces were starting to come together, so for the next step I needed to locate Steven's will so I could try to understand what might have gone wrong...


[1] This was my research methodology at the time - plug random names into search engines and see what pops out!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

My file organisation scheme

Over the years I have collected a lot of files related to my family history efforts. A LOT of files. We're talking thousands of files, totalling a LOT of gigabytes. As you can imagine, having so many files it can be difficult finding the files you are after and it is inevitable that there will be some duplication mixed in there too.

As part of my reboot of my family tree, I want to try to restructure my digital file storage. I am doing this with several aims in mind:
  • Improve findability: By creating a logical folder hierarchy I hope to make it easier to find files. Every type of file will have a very clear place in the structure and the file names will be created using a simple set of rules. Together, these two steps will help make it easy to locate files relating to specific people, events or locations. When I get a new file to add to my collection, I will know what filename to give the file and where to store the original.
  • Reduce duplication: Source files will be kept in a single folder structure and each file will have a single canonical location within this structure. By using filesystem aliases, virtual copies of the files can be placed in various locations. So while the file may appear in several locations, only one copy will be stored in a single, easily locatable folder.
  • Reduce storage requirements on my mobile devices: My family tree in MacFamilyTree is over 1.25GB in size. That is quite a large chunk of the space available on my iPad and iPhone, so I want to reduce the file size as much as possible. One way I am planning on doing this is by storing two copies of each source file. One copy will be the original, unmodified file, while the second will be a normalised image, resized to make it more appropriate for mobile devices.[1]
Okay, so they're my stated goals - make files easier to find, reduce duplication of files, and reduce the storage requirements of my family tree - now how to turn that into practice? My next few blog posts will spell out the details, including the file naming scheme I have adopted, the folder structure I am using and my preferred file formats for mobile devices.


[1] Yes, I know I said I wanted to reduce duplication, but the space savings on my mobile devices will be worth it. Some of the source images I have are ridiculously detailed - 1200dpi or higher in many cases - so I can safely resize them to a smaller dpi while retaining readability.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Focus and discipline

Two of the (many) skills that are required when researching family history are focus and discipline - and it appears I have neither! >_<

I get sidetracked too easily at times. For my restarted family tree I was planning on starting with my grandfather nd working slowly, methodically back as far as I can along the male line. A good idea in theory, but other factors got in the way. While browsing the WDYTYA? magazine forums I saw a call from the editor for Eureka Moment stories - stories of when you finally broke through a brick wall. This got me thinking about a story from my family history so I contacted the editor, told her my story and went back through my research related to that story.

Digging back through that story, lead me to the British Newspaper Archive so I could re-locate one of the sources I used. Naturally, once I was back in the BNA I started looking for other relatives and that search turned up another story which I have never been able to get to the bottom of. That sent me off to several other sites - The Gazette, Find My Past and the UK National Archives. I still haven't solved this problem, but I feel I am definitely getting closer to understanding this case...

Anywho, details on these two stories will be forthcoming and I will definitely get back on track explaining my methodology and rebuilding my tree shortly. Unless something else shiny pops up somewhere... ;^)

Friday, 26 September 2014

British Newspaper Archive

You'll have to be quick, but the British Newspaper Archive has a special deal at the moment. If you enter the code "SEPT14" you can get a month's access for only £1. The British Newspaper Archive is a fantastic resource - you can access scanned newspapers from all over Britain dating back over 200 years. I have managed to make some fantastic discoveries about my ancestors, dredging up stories that really help to flesh out their lives. I don't know how long the promotion will last, but going off the code I would expect it to be only available until the end of the month, so you better be quick if you want to take advantage of this.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Rebuilding my tree. Again.

With a family tree containing over 200 people, over 400 sources and nearly 500 images, why would anyone be foolish enough to start over? Well the answer is simple - the 400 sources and 500 images.

While I was much more diligent with my sources in compiling this tree than I was the first time around, I was not always diligent enough. I have at times revisited people in my tree only to discover that I had not always recorded the actual source of some of the documents I had gathered. There have been occasions when I have found myself asking certain questions: Did this scanned image come from Ancestry? Familysearch? Or some other site? What was the URL/URI for this source? Even what query parameters did I use to find the information? As a result I have decided it would be a good time to go back and (re-)confirm my sources and update the information where I can.

Another significant factor in this rebuild is the sheer number of documents I have been collecting. I have nearly 500 images stored with my family tree - documents ranging from birth, death and marriage certificates, parish registers, newspaper articles, scanned historical texts, photos and more. The size of these documents is becoming unweildy - my family tree database is nearly 1.5GB in size. While this size is not an issue on my desktop, it is becoming a problem on my iPhone and iPad.

I use MacFamilyTree on my Mac and MobileFailyTree on my iOS devices. The two apps work together and share the database, so all my work on my desktop is available on my iPhone and iPad. while this works great the size of the images and pdf files is becoming a problem, so I would like to resize the images where possible to provide a more streamlined experience.

Rebuilding my tree will allow me to resize images and documents to a more manageable size, reducing the storage required on my iOS devices and speeding up transfer times when I update the database. I will naturally be keeping the original images in folders on my desktop and only using resized images in the apps. This will also give me an opportunity to find and remove duplicate documents, which will also help reduce the storage space required on my devices.

As part of this process I will be implementing a new (digital) filing system to help aid discovery of documents and reduce file duplication. I have already devised the new filing system and will be writing a post explaining it shortly.

Maybe I am just creating more work for myself, but I am actually looking forward to rebuilding my tree. Who knows, by revisiting each ancestor and reverifying sources I might even break through some of the brick walls that stymied my research efforts in the past?

Monday, 22 September 2014

How I got hooked on researching my family history...

I came to start researching my family history via a rather circuitous route. It wasn't due to an interest in family history, rather it was football that started the ball rolling. But not due to any family ties to football as I'll soon explain.

Around 2011, I was deeply involved in football (real football - Australian Rules Football, aka AFL) and I regularly kept up to date with several fan forums. In one of the forums someone posted a link to an archive of old Football Record magazines dating back to 1912 which had been scanned by the State Library of Victoria. The Football Record is a match-day magazine that contains football news and articles along with team lists for games being played each weekend. As a fan of Australian Rules Football I was interested in seeing what some of these old magazines were like and what stories they may contain. Normally my interest might have petered out here, but I showed my father the archives and he mentioned that Les Lobb, the father of a friend of his, once played for the Collingwood Football Club. My interest reignited, I set out to see if I could find any issues of the Football Record that mentioned Les.

It didn't take me long to discover the games that Les played and the associated Football Records, which I duly copied and gave to my father to show Arthur. The Football Records had very brief mentions of Les (who only played a handful of games in the 1920 season) so I wondered if I might find some more details elsewhere. A short bit of Googling later and I had stumbled onto a veritable treasure trove of scanned newspapers at the appropriately named Trove website run by the National Library of Australia. Here I found old newspapers that had been scanned and I soon discovered issues with match reports for the games Les Lobb played in, all of which Arthur was most grateful to read.

Now having found the newspaper archives, I started to wonder if I could find any mention of my family in the papers. The first search I did was for "Amos Bannister", which is not only my name, but that of my grandfather and great grandfather. Lo and behold, this first search returned an article describing the theft of a pony and cart from Amos Parker Bannister of Burnell Street, West Brunswick - the very house my grandfather and great grandfather lived in. Given the date of the article (1924) this had to be my great grandfather. I was interested to note that three other results listed related to the estate of a George Amos Bannister and were dated 1882. I showed my findings to my father and he told me that George Amos was my great, great grandfather.

This was all it took, I was now hooked. I started doing more searches, trying to find more articles about my ancestors and before long I had a nice collection of newspaper articles that told the story of my family in Melbourne. Around this time I remembered a book my cousin James had compiled containing a family history which he presented to members of the family at a family reunion back in 2004. I dug out my copy of the book and started to go through the names and searching for any references in the newspapers. I had no clear direction with this, I was just bouncing from one relative to the next, plugging random names and places into the Trove search engine to see what I could find.

Over time I started to look at producing my own family tree and started looking into genealogy software and websites. My first attempts at a family tree were somewhat rudimentary and lacking in any real rigour. I was just collecting names and dates and plugging them into some software and it took me a while to realise I had been going about things the wrong way. So I threw away most of what I had done and started to more thoroughly research my family tree by taking care to (attempt to) verify and document my sources as I went the second time around.

After a few false starts I sought out some advice from various genealogy websites and magazines and I think I almost know what I am doing now. I have managed to trace the Bannister line back to the early 18th century and for some bizarre reason have decided to start over again. I won't be throwing away my research to date, but I want to revisit each person in the tree I have built up and re-verify sources to make sure I haven't accidentally cross-linked someone. I will try to document my progress and the reasoning behind some of my decisions in this blog as I go along.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Rebooting

This blog was lying fallow so I guess it's time for a reboot... I've been working on some software to help my genealogical meanderings, but it is still a long way from being ready for public consumption. Heck, it's a long way from private consumption! In the interim I have decided to start over with my family tree (again!) and have been working on a new file management system to make keeping track of my (digital) files and folders easier. (I will make a blog post about my file structure over the next few days.)

Anywho, I've decided to start fresh with not just my family tree but this blog too. Hopefully this time around I will remember to post on a more regular basis. ;^)