Your Family Tree Magazine Features Channel Islands

 

Your Family Tree Magazine

 

Hooray! This month’s Your Family Tree Magazine ( May 2013 Issue 129) has a feature on uncovering your Channel Island kin and it is very good.

Naturally, as a local – I am a Jersey-born resident of this most southerly point in the British Isles – I was immediately attracted to this article. I flicked through to page 34, as soon as I opened my copy.

You may have noticed that I say above “I am Jersey-born” and not that “I am a Jerseyman”. This is because, when you live here, you become aware of certain linguistic conventions that we islanders abide by.

To be regarded as a proper Jerseyman I would need to have not only been born here, but to have come from a line of Jerseymen and women that have roots here stretching back several generations. It is also best that those roots can be traced to nearby Normandy and that your name has a French origin to it. My roots and name just do not qualify!

I am the son of incomers, my father is English, and my Norman blood is courtesy of an ancestor called de la Haye who emigrated to Scotland from Normandy, around the 12th century, established the Clan Hay and has filtered down to me here.

I can, however, and do claim to be a local.

 

Within this blog I have several pages written by guest contributor James McLaren of the Channel Islands Family History Society that will complement the YFT magazine’s feature. Take a look at Jersey Family History for tips on researching in Jersey.

For the record, here in Jersey is how we refer to what goes on within our island. Locals may wince if you refer to “researching  your family history on Jersey”. We are, after all, a separate legislative jurisdiction.

We do owe allegiance to the English Crown – the successor to the Dukedom of Normandy and are British. We do not owe allegiance to England, nor are we part of the United Kingdom. We are a Crown Peculiar. So to avoid annoying Channel Islanders, do not insinuate that we are loyal to England, and then you will find that we are a friendly and welcoming bunch.

When I was a schoolboy, here in Jersey, I learnt  a splendid repost to someone from the Mainland asking: “So how long have the islands belonged to England?”

The answer always was: “I think you will find that we conquered you in 1066.”

The logic behind this is that the Channel Islands are the last remaining part of the Duchy of Normandy that remains loyal to our Duke, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. That as Normans we conquered the English with Duke William. Simple!

 

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Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by Your Family Tree Magazine should you sign up for their subscription.

 

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Very Helpful Details On How To Access Death Records

Many people often wonder about their family genealogies or about what may have happened to certain people who they were once close to. However, they rarely do anything to find out that information. In some cases, public death records may hold the answers that people are looking for and this article can tell you all about them.

Gaining access to someone’s death certificate may provide you with the information that is required for making a family tree. Additionally, these records can provide you with information that can help you understand what happened to someone who you were close to.

Today, these records can hold a wealth of information about the person who has passed on. You can find out what their recorded cause of death was, who they were married to, and when they were married. You can also find out if they had any children, who the next of kin is, and what they did for a living.

It is possible to get these records by contacting the appropriate state department. However, getting an answer can take a long time and they may only have access to their records, rather than the records for the whole country. It may be better to use an online service instead.

Prior to using a Web service, you should research it to find out how accurate their results are. Unfortunately, all services have not been created equally, so it is important to not spend any money until you’re sure that you’ll be getting the information you require.

To find out which online USA death records service is best for you, you should look for online reviews and specifically search for complaints or class actions that were filed against the company. If you find that a Web service has tons of complaints, you should avoid it.

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Secrets to Avoid Barking Up the Wrong Family Tree

Anyone who does research will testify to how frustrating it is to follow leads up blind alleys. In terms of genealogy, this could mean following wrong family lines. Anyone who has had a go at genealogy will undoubtedly be familiar with this scenario. It could be that you have been given a bad lead or perhaps misread some information that you have found. Either way, it mounts up to a lot of wasted time.

So how can this pitfall be avoided? Far from giving you a clever answer, I don’t believe that there are any, there are some general tips that I can give that might help you with your genealogy research. In fact the general principles could be applied to any type of research.

The first thing you should always do is keep a track of all of your resources, every book, every article and every web site. And get detailed information too. If your source was a book for example, get all the detail down to the ISBN number. If your research is by word of mouth, write down names, times and dates. Genealogy is all about information, so backing up your facts is critical.

Following a similar theme, you need to organise yourself and your research. File everything and file things where you know how to locate them. You will find yourself back tracking continuously, so make that side of genealogy as painless as possible.

Check your facts. Not just the literal snippets of information that you pick up, but also the logical order of things. Do the facts that you have collected make sense? Apply common sense to all of your findings and question them.

Do not accept carte blanche research from sources you don’t know. What I mean by this is really the types of research that one often sees advertised, offering to write up your family tree for a fee. Beware of these types of offers. The type of research upon which these tress are founded are often questionable. Save your money and do the research yourself. That is after all, part of the fun of genealogy!

If your family has spread it’s wings across borders, be very careful when collecting facts. As one example, dates can be written differently depending on where in the world you are at the time. Easy mistakes can be made under these circumstances. The date 05/04/75 means something different to people in the USA than it does to people in the UK.

Do not make assumptions about any piece of information that you might come across. Stick with the facts that you yourself have collected. One small assumption can lead you in all sorts of directions that you didn’t really want to go down. Remember that we refer to things differently now than we did in years gone by, so when something is taken from letters 100 years ago, it might not mean the same thing to you as it did to your forefathers.

Join up with web sites that have expertise in genealogy. Talk with like minded people and get the benefit of their experience. Not only will they have tips of their own to share to help you, they will have access to sources you might never have thought of. It is well worth your time talking to other genealogists.


Get an extensive look at one of the most remarkable Genealogy Reference Books there is available on the market today. Discover what going on in genealogy today!

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Am I really sure about that ancestor?

Family Tree on a computer

In my ancestor research I have to admit that I’ve been guilty of narrow thinking sometimes. Have you?

What I’m talking about here is the occasions when I’ve focused too strictly on what I am sure are the correct facts about a forebear.  I may have been sure that I knew that his or her name had been spelt in a particular way, or that they came from a particular place. Now here is the warning I am guilty of ignoring: Am I really so sure I know the facts?

When we, as family historians, ignore this question then we can so easily cause ourselves unnecessary grief and so much wasted time. Perhaps we were searching in the right place, but were we guilty of searching in the wrong way? What we need to do is to open up our minds to researching in a smarter fashion and often we will be rewarded by finding that record that we were looking for.

Just think how your on-line research could possibly improve if you were always to:

  • keep handy a list of the known surname variants for your ancestor’s name. For example in my family I have names that could be spelt as Thorn, Thorne, Stephens, Stevens and all manner of spelling of Sissill.
  • think about what common first-name nicknames may apply and also any regularly used shortened forms of names. For example Thomas may be written as Thos. Elizabeth as Eliz. or Eliza. and I have found a John as Jono.
  • have written down some of the capital letters that can easily be confused like J and I, for example
  • remember that place names can be confused – in my Devon branch there are two Galmptons very near each other and I jumped to the conclusion that my great grandmother came from the one near to where they lived. Wrong!
  • think about the length of normal life-spans and don’t chase someone with a similar name thinking they are one and the same. What about the date ranges for their marriages, deaths and births of their children?
  • keep notes, or research logs for your family searches so that you keep track of what you have already done.
  • remain aware of the gaps that there are in any particular record collections. If you are searching a particular period and can’t find an ancestor and this time frame also matches a known gap in the data, then this will stop you wasting more time than necessary looking.

So just remember these seven ways to avoid family research pitfalls and don’t make the mistakes that I did in the past!

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Vive La Différence! Revealed: Brits Love to Hate the French

Research reveals Brits think the French are arrogant, unhelpful and rude – but wouldn’t change a thing about them!

Research published to celebrate an archive of 16.3 million Parisian births, marriages and deaths launched online by Ancestry.co.uk in April 2010 (Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate.)

Records detail 200 years of French history

Three million Brits have French ancestry

In a world first, one of the UK’s top family history websites, Ancestry.co.uk has launched online 16.3 million historic French birth, marriage and death records – a collection of huge significance to the estimated three million Britons with French ancestry.

After Irish blood, French ancestry is the most common in the UK with 1 in 20 Brits having French ancestors, including TV presenters Davina McCall and Louis Theroux, comedian Noel Fielding and Harry Potter star Emma Watson and myself!Ancestry.co.uk

I found that my Scottish line surnamed Hay were actually descended from a Norman called De la Haye. I also have a grandfather, on my mother’s side, whose surname is Renaux and so is assumed to be from French stock.

Yet despite these close links with France, we’re unlikely to be donning berets on this side of the channel just yet. According to an online survey of 9,357 adults, conducted in October 2009 by Zoomerang research, and covering tourists from the UK, Germany, Canada, the USA and France, nearly half of Brits think Parisians are arrogant, aloof and unhelpful (45 per cent), whilst 41 per cent suspect Parisians avoided helping tourists by pretending not to speak English on their last visit to the city.

Other unappealing experiences include extortionate food and drink prices, appalling driving and excessive dog excrement on the streets.

Yet, this negative view doesn’t stop us from loving ‘belle Paris’ and in particular the French culture, with 7 in 10 visitors saying would recommend the city to a friend and a third (33 per cent) saying the rude behaviour of residents is all part of the experience.

This research has been released to celebrate the online launch of over 200 years of Parisian history in the Paris, France & Vicinity Vitals, 1700-1907 on Ancestry.co.uk, which features 16.3 million records of births, marriages and deaths from the dawn of the 18th century.

The collection contains in-depth information about the individuals featured; including their name, details of their spouse and parents, birth place, occupation, residence, age, details of marriage and date and place of death.

These ‘vital records’, so called because of their immense genealogical value, will provide the building blocks for Brits to discover their French roots, enabling them to trace the birth, marriage or death of an ancestor living in Paris and the capital’s vicinity, from the 18th to 20th centuries.

Among these historic Parisians are some of the city’s greatest artists and famous historical figures listed, including:

Edgar Degas – the French artist, regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, appears in the birth records on the 19th July 1834

Baron Gaspard Gourgaud – the burial of the Napoleonic general Gourgaud, who once saved the life of the emperor from a gunpowder plot, is listed on the 25th July 1852

Gustave Moreau – the birth of the Symbolist painter, known for his works depicting biblical and mythological figures, is recorded on the 6th April 1826

Many of these records were compiled by the prominent genealogist Maurice Coutot in 1924. He used parish church records to fill the void that was left by the destruction of all of the pre-1860 civil registration records for Paris, which were burnt in a fire during the French Revolution.

Ancestry.co.uk International Content Director Dan Jones comments: “Paris is an enchanting city with a rich history that Brits have been drawn to for centuries, so for many it will be a thrill to discover that they may have close ancestral ties to France.

“Making these Parisian records available will help many British people out there with French heritage trace their continental roots.”

Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate.

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