Found My Ancestors in the Newspapers!

I’m travelling back home today from a trip to a part of the country that some of my ancestors once lived in. On my visit I have been to Reading and Gloucestershire and seen the towns that various of my forebears lived.

While in my hotel room, however, I decided to take another look at the online British Newspaper Archive. I was really pleased to see that The Cheltenham Looker On is now available on The British Newspaper Archive up to 1920! This, they say, is rather like an historical Hello Magazine.  Imagine my delight to find that my Cheltenham based ancestors appeared in the comings and goings of this paper with several mentions of where and when they were leaving on a trip or returning to their house!

Talking of coming and going, I have to rush now to catch a train!

If you are interested to see if you can trace your own ancestors in the pages of historical British Newspapers then click the box below. The British Newspaper Archive have just added several more titles and are doing so all the time. You never know what you may find!



Disclosure:Compensated Affiliate Links used above.

Send to Kindle

Talking to Older Relations

I’ve not been able to do any family history this week because I had family to stay, in the form of my father, and then visits away to the family’s present home as well!

This, of course, gave me the chance to ask some questions about what he could remember about the generations that came immediately before him. Some of the information was complete news to me and I did wonder how it was that I had never been aware until then of certain points of interest.

I had started out our conversation over a meal and a drink by describing a visit that I had made to the town where many of the branch of our family had lived in the Victorian and Edwardian era and my delight in finding the house in which my 3x great grandparents, Henry and Ellen had lived.

Mentioning the name of the house sparked a memory for my father, but it was not about Henry and Ellen. It would seem that the very same house name had been used by one of his aunts for her house in a different town altogether. Is it plausible that she had fond memories of visiting her great grandparents and so used the name as a link to the past.

I have done something similar in that I named my house after my maternal grandparent’s house and in fact I can see the old place from my front window in the distance.

The practice of using family names as middle names, by parents when naming their children, can often be a huge help to us family historians in identifying our ancestors. This is especially the case when they use a mother’s maiden name as a middle name; or indeed a father’s name as a middle name when the child is illegitimate!

But the re-purposing of a house name and finding it on a census, a birth, marriage or death certificate, can also be a useful check point in tying down the correct individuals to enter into your family tree.Ancestors in Thorne Family tree

 

 

For more tips to get your family tree back before 1837 in England & Wales I would recommend that you buy my CD How To Get Back Before 1837 in England & Wales.

Help Me Get Back Before 1873 in My English Family Tree

Send to Kindle

Ancestor Research; Avoiding assumptions.

Ancestor's wedding certificateIn family history research it can often be tempting to add people to your family tree without checking the original documents, simply because their names seem correct and they are born in the right year and they live in the right place. This example, from my own ancestors, may show you why this is such a bad idea.

In the previous two articles, on this blog, I have referred to the marriage of Henry Thorn to Ellen Malser in Portsea back in 1859. I have still work to do on this couple, but in the process I have, naturally, decided to look for the bride’s family in the census collections to cover all the basic research that we do on each line in our family tree.

If I search for an Ellen Malser, born around 1833 and living in Portsea, I come across two girls that match my criteria in the 1851 data on one subscription website and no results on another! This outcome gives credence to the maxim that using more than one of the big subscription sites is preferable to relying on a sole platform for your family history research. My Tip is to go to a library or an archive where access to the websites is free to use, if cost is an issue.

One of the subjects of the census is the daughter of John Malser, who is a Master Mariner, while the other is a General Servant to an Excavating Contractor. When I first came across the former record I momentarily jumped to the conclusion that I had got my woman as I recalled that on the wedding certificate it said that her father was a Master Mariner. I’d assumed that as she ticked so many boxes that she was my direct ancestor. I am, however, more careful than that and so, as caution kicked in, I proceeded to check my results before entering the said Ellen into my tree.

Taking another look at the wedding certificate I now noticed that the father’s Christian name was James Malser and not John Malser. So in the 1851 census the result for John Malser, Master Mariner, and family was a red herring. If I had continued to trace this family grouping back and entered them into my family tree, then I would be populating it erroneously.

It now looks as if the Ellen Malser, living as General Servant may be my ancestor, or is she? Could there be more than two with the same year of birth? Where is the record for her father, James Malser also a Master Mariner?

Beware of seeing what you want to see and always check back to primary source material such as certificates or microfilm copies of parish records.

 

Send to Kindle