I’ve been dabbling with my family tree on and off for years, but this year I want to start having a proper go at it.
I’m Scottish, now living in England, however my ancestors on both sides are originally from Ireland. Growing up, my holidays were always spent in Donegal, southern Ireland. We also have a branch of the family that emigrated to the U.S., with living relatives currently in New Jersey.
I used to use MacFamilyTree by Synium Software which I’d highly recommend for its reports and mapping features; though in the last year I migrated my information to Ancestry.co.uk for the convenience of being web-based and the potential to collaborate with other people. Plus Ancestry provide easy access to many of the main records databases like FamilySearch and Birth, Marriage, Death Indexes. The latest update brought a nice LifeStory feature that gives a timeline of a person’s life combined with historical events and facts to give context.
In my current Tree, I have a lot of names and some dates, that I obtained from my father and, before she passed, my maternal grandmother. However I have very few sources to verify my information and little in the way of anecdotes to add colour to my ancestors lives.
Genealogy is all about cold hard facts which I sorely need to chase down. This week I’ve started a free course with Future Learn: an online platform for taster courses delivered by university lecturers. Having followed one of their courses before the format is very well put together, with videos, captions and transcriptions. The content of this course seems promising. I’m hoping to learn some methodologies to structure my research and insights into understanding and evaluating different sources.
Later this year, I want to get the word out that I’m doing this. It’s very early days, but my hope is that my relations may be inspired to share any information, stories or photos they may have. I’m going up to see my parents in a couple of weeks so I plan to rescan many of our photographs and certificates (and to hunt down that embarrassing picture of my sister: all rosy cheeks and curls! 😉 )
My lofty lifetime goal is to turn our family history into a coffee table book for future generations. Keep you posted!
Happy St Patrick’s Day!
Do you have an Irish connection or story? Who’s the budding genealogist in your family?