Disclaimer; this article reflects Matt’s personal opinions and experience. He has not received any kind of sponsorship, support, or benefit, from any source, for writing this review.
In October 2017 I upgraded the family tree software on my computer. I had been using “Family Tree Maker” (2005 version) for 10+ years, but this was showing its age and no longer working properly in certain respects; specifically, failing to save reports to PDF. Also modern software can now do so much more than FTM-2005 could!
I spent months during 2017 looking into what new program I should upgrade to. I browsed reviews and downloaded free trial versions of several different software programs to try them out. Then I came to Family Historian 6 (FH6), and my first impressions of it were much better than for any other program that I had tried. I liked its interface and layout on my computer screen, and was drawn into using it in a way which I hadn’t been by the other programs that I’d looked at. So after a free 30 day trial period, I bought a £35.99 licence key to continue using it. See; http://www.family-historian.co.uk/
Although I was able to transfer my main family tree database (containing nearly 4,500 individuals, and 1300+ families) over from ‘Family Tree Maker 2005’, into ‘Family Historian 6’ (via GEDCOM), its sources/citations were in a muddle (partly due to the way in which FTM-2005 handled them!). So I began a fresh family tree ‘project’, entering the details that I know from scratch! This would help me to learn the new program better, and to better cite the evidence that I have. But as I’ve done this, I’ve learnt how complex a subject source citations are themselves, with various methods/formats to choose from. Some of the information around Family Historian 6, has a little advice on a couple of methods to choose between.
Over the last few months I’ve been gradually working back through my family tree using FH6, adding one generation of my ancestry at a time, and their known descendants (this is why AFamilyHistoryBlog has been quiet for a while!). I’m aiming to cover 3 to 5 generations of descent from each ancestor. So far I’ve covered my 3x Gt-grandparents, with 1 gap out of 32 (which I don’t expect to be able to fill!). I’m now about 3/8ths through my 4x Gt-grandparents, thought here there are many more gaps with “unknown” people!. The dates of this generation start to precede the earliest available UK census records. Among their descendants I have many more gaps (which is expected). But by working through my tree systematically in this way, it has led me to new information and new discoveries in various places.
As of the start of April 2018, my new “project” in FH6 has more than half (~60%) of the number of individuals and families that my old database had. But this includes some new additions, and some omissions (due to a lack of original evidence) compared with the old database. So once I’ve gone through it all, I expect the new project to be about 25-50% larger than my old one.
My plan in the medium term is to publish reports onto AFamilyHistoryBlog about the various branches of my family tree, generated with the aid of the Family Historian 6 software. This may begin with those branches where I’ve already gotten back as far as I can, and those where to go any further back would just involve recycling information that has already been made freely available by other people in other places (for instance, the extensive FRY family tree)!
Family Historian 6 can be used very simply to record the basic details of a family tree, which anyone could handle. It becomes more complicated when you want to cite sources properly, and add media records, etc. But that is the nature of the subject and no fault of the program. Making back-ups of your data, to safeguard against your own future errors, or against computer failure, is very important, and in Family Historian 6 this is very easy to do.
For Christmas 2017, I was given the book “Getting the most from FAMILY HISTORIAN 6”(£14.95 from Amazon), which is an extended user guide to the program, containing a series of tutorials to work through, using a sample project contained within the program. I found this really useful in learning about a lot of extra little features which I hadn’t previously realised were in the program. I wish I had had this book at the start. It would be well worth having the book, and to work through its tutorials during the free trial month when you first download the program. But I also learnt from the book that it is well-worth making maximum use of the “Help” menu features within the program, which contain a lot more information about the program.
There is also an active on-line users’ community forum; the “Family Historian User Group” (FHUG), where you can find a lot of help and advice if you need it. This is also where you can find out a lot more about “plugins”; additional code written by program users to add new features and capabilities to Family Historian, which can be freely downloaded by Family Historian users. I’ve only tried one “plugin” to date; “Ancestral Sources” (which is by far the most popular plugin according to the Family Historian website), which makes the entry and citation of information from census records, etc, much quicker and simpler. The only problem I had was with all the media, YouTube clips, etc, that I found explaining this plugin, which were all for a previous version! But they give you the general idea of how to use it. There are currently 81 plugins available on the Family Historian website, to be tried and explored; see FH6-PluginStore
So, I would highly recommend the Family Historian 6 software.
Firstly, I apologise for my lack of posting onto aFamilyHistoryBlog in recent months! Apart from my travels in Scotland, in May (from which I have a lot of information, that I have yet to fully process!), I have continued looking into various parts of my family tree, where in a number of places I have found new information online.
A number of times I have found new things that I thought I should write posts about for aFamilyHistoryBlog, with links to the sites where I’ve found that information. And my Family Tree pages need some updating with new details. But I tend to go on exploring, and don’t get round to writing up about what I’ve found!!!
In recent months I have also been looking into upgrading the genealogy software that I have on my computer. I have a very old version of Family Tree Maker (2005 version), which in some aspects isn’t working properly on my newer computer! Namely; it won’t save reports to PDF, which is annoying!
In looking for a solution (in the form of a new program), I’ve been browsing reviews and have downloaded several free trial versions of software to try out, including RootsMagic, and Heredis. I have also been trying out the use of free apps like OneNote and GoogleSheets (as I’ve previously posted about; here and here).
Its said that first impressions are everything, and while these family tree programmes can look good in the promotional shots and YouTube clips, the impressions that I’ve had of the trial softwares, when first opening them on my own computer, have not been very good! I’ve not been drawn into using them!
This changed last week when I decided to try Family Historian 6, the full version of which can be downloaded and used for free, for a 30 day trial period, before you have to buy a licence key for £35.99 to continue using it. When I first opened the Family Historian program on my computer, I liked the interface and was drawn into using it in a way which I haven’t been with the other programs that I’ve looked at.
Although I have been able to transfer my main family tree database over from ‘Family Tree Maker 2005’, into ‘Family Historian 6’ (via GEDCOM), I’ve decided that I should start a fresh family tree project, entering the details I know from scratch! This is so that I can get to learn the new program better, and to resolve a muddle that I have in the sources/citations in my existing database. By beginning from scratch, I can ensure that everything is properly sourced and cited, making it more presentable and shareable with others. It may also highlight for me, new areas of my tree that particularly need further attention and research.
To give this some scale for you, my old database contains nearly 4,500 individuals, and 1,300 families, which I’ve collected over 10-15 years. And I have a lot more on paper (or that I’ve found on-line) that haven’t even been added to that old database. But I may not be adding ALL of these names! Some come from imported GEDCOMs, created by other people, which include very, very distant relations.
My plan in the new tree project is to include my direct ancestors, working back one generation at a time (as far as I know), equally in all ancestral lines lines, adding my [X]x-Great-grandparents, and their additional descendants (who aren’t already included), up to 3 or 4 generations if possible (i.e. to 2nd or 3rd cousins in subsequent generations). This might stretch to 5 or 6 generations of descent in some cases, but I probably won’t go further that that!
I began by entering myself, my parents, siblings, and nephews/niece; then grandparents, uncles/aunts, cousins, and their children. When I got on to my Great-grandparents and their descendants, I began to see where I have some gaps; basic details about some of my parents’ cousins, my 2nd cousins, and their families, which I don’t have up-to-date! So I’ll be contacting some relatives, asking for help to fill in those gaps.
It took me about 6 hours (not all at once) to enter all the basic details that I know about my Great-Grandparents and their descendants. That’s 156 individuals, in 50 families, that I have details for. At that rate it’ll take me about 200 hours to copy over everything I’ve got in the old database!!! After those 6 hours, over the last week I’ve been adding in some additional details about people; biographies, photos, documents, and other media sources; none of which were attached to my old database. This will result in being able to output much richer reports about my family history to share with relatives.
I’m pleased with Family Historian 6, so far. So I’m planning to continue using it, and to buy a licence key before my 30 day trial period expires. Then I’ll try to come back onto aFamilyHistoryBlog with a further review of the software in the coming months.
In March I wrote about using note apps for genealogy, and how I was planning to use OneNote to organise my genealogy in preparation for a trip to Scotland where I plan to do some research. I’ve been quiet here on AFamilyHistoryBlog over the last couple of months largely because I’ve been trying to organise my notes, etc, ready for this trip.
Well I haven’t gotten on with OneNote as quickly as I had hoped! I began by creating a few notes about people in my family tree, starting with the earliest known members of my Walker family line, and their relatives, which worked OK. But when it came to creating a “Genealogy Index” (as suggested in the various examples of using note apps for genealogy that I had read about), I found that OneNote struggled to cope with things like copying large spreadsheet indexes of ancestors into it!!!
Alongside OneNote, I had started a spreadsheet (initially in Excel) of my known ancestry, at first to help me work out the Dollarhide reference system (with some tweaks of my own to that system). This spreadsheet has expanded to include details of persons; dates, places, note of sources, etc. After a while I copied the spreadsheet intoGoogle Sheets, which I can save/access on a smartphone/tablet so that I can access it while on my travels. Having done that, I’ve continued to work on the spreadsheet in Google Sheets, and its working very well.
The spreadsheet has let me see clearly where the most recent gaps in my ancestry begin to occur, which prompted me to have a look into some of these, to see if I could fill any of them! Several of these gaps are parts on my family tree which I have not actively looked into before. I soon found clear details, that were new to me, about several lines of my ancestry, which take me back another 2 – 4 generations in those lines. I have already updated the CADZOW tree on the site, with my finds in that branch of the family, and posted some comments onto my Facebook feed. Other parts of my ancestry still need to be updated on the website!
The spreadsheet has also allowed me to analyse how many ancestors I know in each generation and the date-range of each generation (which is something that I’ve thought of trying to do for a while). So below is the present (May 2017) snapshot of what I know about my ancestry.
This shows the number of ancestors in each generation that I have forenames for. I don’t necessarily have women’s maiden names, or dates of birth/death for the oldest generations in any line. Numbers in brackets “(? x)” represent a total which includes possible ancestors that I’m not yet certain of! And “x / x” represents the number of individuals / and the number of places in my ancestry that they occupy (i.e. where cousins married, therefore their grandparents each occupy two places in the ancestry. So “2 / 4” = two grandparents, occupying 4 places in the ancestry, the effect of which doubles each generation further back you go).
SURNAMEs of Matt’s 2x Great-Grandparents;
3x Gt [iii]
4x Gt [iv]
5x Gt [v]
6x Gt [vi]
7x Gt [vii]
8x Gt [viii]
Generation no. > 5
2 (? 4 )
4 (? 6 )
4 (? 8 )
4 / 8
4 / 8
2 / 4
1 (? 4 )
(? 2 )
(? 4 )
Total; Known Individuals / (Places on tree)
46 (? 52)
25(?29)/ 33(? 37)
19 / 23
12 / 16
Total; Possible Individuals;
Total; Places on tree;
Birth Date Range;
1772 – 1832
1731 – 1803
c.1694 – 1779
1683 – 1749
1622 – 1723
1587 – c.1704
Death Date Range;
1840 – 1925
1795 – 1883
1768 – 1854
bef.1728 – 1839
1688 – 1813
1688 – 1780
Mar. Date Range;
1816 – 1856
1766 – 1824
1728 – 1798
1732 – c.1769
1678 – 1746
1615 – 1722
Another thing that I’ve begun to try and do with Google, and the help of the Google Sheets, is to map where my ancestors come from. I’ve created a Google Map, on which I’ve started placing markers for the place of birth of each ancestor (where I know it). Its a good way to visualise where my ancestry is from. Due to my forthcoming trip to Scotland, I’ve begun by focusing on the Scottish branches of my family, and to show an example below, this is what I get for the WALKER and CADZOW sides of my family (my paternal Grandfather’s ancestors); very concentrated in and around West Lothian.
Last week I took up an offer of 1 month’s subscription to Find My Past – for £1 (the usual monthly subscription is about £10.). Once subscribed, I made sure to disable the”auto-renewal” on the site, and I’ll double check this before the month expires – because I don’t want to be charged £10 every month hereafter!
I thought that the Find My Past subscription might come in useful while on my forthcoming Scotland trip. Then having subscribed, I decided to blitz trying to find all the census records that I can for my ancestors. So this is what I’ve spent much of last week doing.
Here the Google Sheets came in useful again. On sheet 2, where I’ve listed all my ancestors in Dollarhide number order, with separate columns for birth, death, and marriage details, notes, and source details, I added columns for each available UK census date. Then against each ancestors I coloured in the relevant cells to indicate which census dates I might find them recorded in. This made it easy to see who to look for and when. I began searching for the census records on Find My Past, working down the Dollarhide list, beginning with one grandfather who was born before 1911.
As I worked my way down the list I found a lot of records, some of which added new details about people, and in one or two cases added new people to my ancestors. I downloaded all the scanned images that I could, and copied transcription texts into word DOCs which I saved on my computer. In the spreadsheet I changed the colour of the relevant cells to indicate where I’d found records, and noted whether I had found images, transcriptions, or both.
There are still gaps where I’ve not found the records. But I’ve now got a good spread of census records, which I’m pleased with. So with that I’m going to have a lot of things to update on my family tree pages on AFamilyHistoryBlog .
After reading about the WIGHAM family (on the WALTON side of my family tree), and discovering how good the Quakers records are, that are now freely available on-line, and a seaming propensity of the Quakers in the 1800’s to publish books about their family histories, I decided to do some web searches to see what else I could turn up in other parts of my ancestry.
On the ELLIOTT side of my family are the FRYs; a Quaker family, well known for chocolate making and prison reform. The FRY family is very well recorded, and has long been the longest traced line of my ancestry that I know of, going back to my 13x Gt-Grandparents. Several other (perhaps notable) Quaker families married into the FRY line, of whom I have some details, but also an impression that there is a lot more available to find. Among these are CLARENCE, of Sampford, in Essex, and STORRS, of Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
So a few weeks ago, after doing a few Google searches trying different surnames, places, and different combinations of them, I found a book about the STORRS family; THE STORRS FAMILY; Genealogical and other Memoranda, by Charles STORRS, published privately in New York, USA, in 1886. So I’ve been reading this over the last couple of weeks and trying to draw some trees from it!
In my family tree, I have details a couple of generations of the STORRS of Chesterfield. Two sisters; Mary and Martha STORRS, married two FRY brothers; John and Richard FRY, in the 1720’s. I had some details for Mary and Martha STORRS’s parents and grandparents, but no further back! This book; THE STORRS FAMILY; Genealogical and other Memoranda, pushes the details I have back another 4 generations to my 13x Gt-Grandparents, making it as long as the FRY line.
The book begins with a look at the origins of the STORRS family name, and a rather tenuous look at a STORRS family from Lancashire, with connections to Aristocracy, based on details that the author obtained from the College of Arms, in London, in 1879! There seems to be no clear evidence for a connection between this family and the STORRS who are the subject of the rest of the book!
From page 19, a proper family tree begins to emerge, interwoven with the author’s story of his journeys to discover the information. The author identifies the STORRS family as originating from Sutton cum Lound; 3 miles north of Retford, in Nottinghamshire. Charles STORRS (the descendant of Samuel STORRS; an emigrant to America) had been in touch with various members of the STORRS and FRY families in Britain, and describes a visit that he made to Sutton cum Lound in 1867. He had subsequently obtained copies of the wills of a succession of STORRS family members, from a Dr John SYKES, M.D. of Doncaster, the earliest being one by a William STORRS of Sutton cum Lound, dated 1557.
What follows is my attempt to summarise the genealogy of the STORRS family, as described in the book, focusing on my direct ancestral line. Much of this comes straight from the book, but with some comments of my own. I try to distinguish between the “facts” derived directly from the transcribed wills, the assumptions/interpretations of the book’s author, Charles STORRS, and my own assumptions/interpretations. My own assumptions, and those of Charles STORRS, should be treated with caution!
The will of William STORRS [xiii](1), “of Lound of the parish of Sutton” was dated 3rd August 1557, and was proved at York on 6th October 1557. It names his wife, Dorothe, and 5 children; 2 sons;
and 3 daughters;
William’s will also mentions a Thomas STIRROPP (associated with his daughter, Elizabeth); John and William STIRROPP, and Robert HAWMONDE as witnesses, and John, Thomas, and X’ofer (? Christopher?) RAYNE as “supervisors” of his will.
The will of Robert STORRS [xii](2) “of Lounde in the parish of Sutton and in the County of Nottingham, Husbandman” was dated 16th May 1588, and was proved at York on 5th February 1588-9. It appears that Robert had been married twice (this is the suggestion of the book’s author, Charles STORRS; though it is not entirely clear from the transcribed will!). The son of the first wife was Cordall STORRS [xi](3). The book’s author suggests that the name “Cordall” may have come from his mother’s maiden surname, being “an old surname in Devonshire”.
Robert’s will goes on to name his (2nd) wife as Mabbell, and her 4 children;
It also mentions John and Thomas HAMOND as “supervisors” of his will, and Thomas STIRROPE, Thomas PYE, and John WILKINSON as witnesses.
The will of Cordall STORRS [xi](3) “of Lound in the county of Nottingham” was dated 23rd February 1615-16, and proved at York on 10th October 1616. Cordall names his wife Isabell(a), his mother, Mabel (presumably his step-mother!), his brothers, Robert and John, and sisters, Dorothy and Anne. He names the following children:
Cordall also names two uncles; John and Nicholas HAMOND, making them supervisors of his will. From this comes an assumption that his (step-)mother’s maiden name may have been HAMOND. Also mentioned are Robarte and Thomas HAMOND, and “Thomas STIRROPP of Lincoln, Gent.”
The next will is that of Robert STORRS [xi](4), (half-)brother of Cordall (3), “of Lound in the parish of Sutton upon Lound in the county of Nottingham, Yeoman”, dated 12th July 1658, and proved at York, 29 March 1662. He was buried in Sutton on 23rd Dec. 1661. He appears to have been a bachelor as he names no descendants of his own. He mentions his deceased brother Cordall STORRS (3), his nephew Thomas (5), son of Cordall, and Thomas’s children; Thomas, Cordall (7) (who Robert makes his executor), Samuel, Joseph, Elizabeth and Mary.
Also named in this list are a Robert, and Sara STORRS, who do not fit with the baptism records for the children of Thomas STORRS (5) (see below)! The book’s author suggests that Sara may be the daughter of William STORRS (6). But by my reading of this will, I wonder if these are grandchildren of Thomas (5), by his son, Thomas!
Robert also names the children of a Thomas HAMOND (deceased) as; Jervis HAMOND, Marie HAMOND, and Elizabeth SCOTT (I suspect these were his cousins, or the children of a cousin!), and the unnamed “children of William REYNES”.
No will of Thomas Storrs [x](5) has been found. He was baptised on 25th April 1605, in the parish of Sutton cum Lound, and married Mary —— . Their children were baptised in the parish church of Sutton as follows:
Thomas; bapt. 27th Jan. 1632-3.
Cordall (7); bapt. 21st Sept. 1635.
George; bapt. 29th April 1638; d. April 1653.
Samuel; bapt. 7th Dec. 1640; the emigrant to America.
Joseph; bapt. 20th Aug. 1643.
Elizabeth; bapt. 8th Feb. 1648-9.
Mary; bapt. 2nd Nov. 1650
William STORRS [x](6) was baptised on 24th Feb. 1610. His will, dated 29th March 1643, was proved at York on 17th October 1643. He died aged just thirty-three. In his will, William “of Sutton upon Lound in the county of Nottingham, Yeoman” makes his wife, Mary, executrix, and names his mother as “Isabell Greene, widow”, which makes it appear that she married a second time. He names his children;
William mentions the children of his brother, Thomas (5) (unnamed, except for Cordall (7).), those of his sister, Mary, who was bapt. 20th Dec. 1607 (her children are also unnamed), and his uncle, John STORRS (brother of Robert (4).). William makes his “uncle John STORRS”, and a Robert CRUMWELL “supvisors” of his will.
The will of Cordall STORRS [ix](7), son of Thomas (5), “of Lound in the parish of Sutton in the county of Nottingham, Yeoman”, is dated 1st November 1698, and was proved at York, 10th April 1699. In it he mentions his wife, Anne, whom he makes executrix; his three sons;
and his daughters;
Dorothy (m. MARRIOTT).
Mary (m. PERKINS).
He also mentions “two grandchildren, daughters of Dorothy MARRIOTT”.
The book’s author, Charles STORRS, suggests that Cordall STORRS (7) “was married twice”, citing a record from the Sutton parish registers of a marriage on 9th July 1655, “between Cordall STORRS, Yeoman, and Elizabeth CRUMWELL, spinster”. A “Robert CROMWELL” (or CRUMWELL) was a witness to Cordall’s will, along with a James MASON, and Thomas PYE. One other name that appears in Cordall’s will is his “Brother Henry HEADLEY, Gent”. I wonder if this is a brother of Cordall’s wife, Anne! But its not clear.
There is a stone in the floor of the aisle of St Bartholomew’s Church, in Sutton cum Lound, to the memory of this Cordall STORRS who died in 1698, aged 63, and to his wife, Anne, who died on 4th July 1711.
William STORRS [ix](8), the eldest son of William (6) and his wife, Mary, was baptised on 30th June 1638. He joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) and settled at Chesterfield. “The family which he founded was well known, his descendants having intermarried with many distinguished families among the Society of Friends”. The book’s author, Charles STORRS, writes that he has “received genealogical charts from several of these descendants, in some of which he (William (8)) is named as “Storrs of Lound”.”.
One family tree (which I copy below), is printed in Charles STORRS’ book, showing William STORRS (8), and four generations of his descendants. My 5x Gt-grandfather, Henry FRY is in the bottom left-hand corner of this tree.
Please click on the image below to view at full resolution.
William STORRS [ix](8) married Sarah SYKES (born in 1638), the daughter of William SYKES, “Lord of the Manor of Leeds in Yorkshire, Mayor of that town”, and his wife, Grace JENKINSON. George Poulson’s “History of Holderness, Part II”, page 92 is cited as a reference for more details about the SYKES family line. I’ve found several other publications that also describe the SYKES family line. See;
The children of William STORRS and Sarah SYKES were;
Joseph (9), b. 1670
John, b. 1671
Esther, b. 1673
Sarah, b. 1675
Caleb, b. 1680
Joshua, b. 1683
Mary, b. 1686
William and Sarah’s eldest son, Joseph STORRS [viii](9), married in 1702, to Katharine FROST, daughter of Henry FROST of Bridlington, Yorkshire. The book cites records kept by the Quakers, and by the FRY family, which tell something of the lives and ministry of Joseph and Katharine.
Two of Joseph and Katharine’s daughters, Mary and Martha, married brothers, John and Richard FRY.
John and Mary’s eldest son, Joseph FRY, became a type-founder and chocolate maker based in Bristol. For the remainder of my family line, you can see my ELLIOTT tree page.
The book, THE STORRS FAMILY Genealogy goes on to talk a little about some other branches of the STORRS family in Britain, before focusing particularly on the descendants of Samuel STORRS (a son of Thomas Storrs (5)) who emigrated to America.
I would be interested to hear from anyone who knows more about the people named above; particularly regarding the nature of some of the relationships which are unclear from the details available here. Please leave a comment below, or use the Contact Page to get in touch.
A few weekends ago I spent quite some time on FindMyPast, trying to make best use of their weekend of free access to birth, marriage, death, and census records. I posted on Facebook about it at the time. I downloaded and saved a lot of images from censuses and parish registers. But most of what I found was only to confirm details I already had. There were no big new finds. But there were a few small tweaks to some details that I previously had!
These “tweaks” made me look back at what I’ve previously included on the pages of aFamilyHistoryBlog, and I realised that I needed to do a big update to some of the material that I’ve shared here; to incorporate all of the new things that I’ve found over the last year or two, and an accumulation of other small tweaks. So I’ve been busy working on that over the last 2 or 3 weeks, and I’ve just finished updating the main details of my Family Trees pages.
I have also been rewriting my Surnames of Interest list, tweaking dates, adding details of some individuals with each surname, and expanding the list to include many more surnames – like those where I only know of one or two generations of the family with that surname.
You can see aFamilyHistoryBlog – SURNAMES of Interest page, or look below for a copy of my February 2017 version of the list. You might also be interested to look back to my previous “Names of Interest” posts to compare. See; January 2016, and January 2014. There will be some further refinements made the the SURNAMES page, adding hyperlinks to tagged names, etc.
Note; I have not yet touched the “locations” of interest in this Feb 2017 update. It is another thing that I need to look at!
I have also created 8 sub-pages; one for the surnames of interest in each of the 8 branches of my family tree that I present on this blog (from each of my Great Grandparents);
BARKER. [HUTCHISON]; from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1650 – 1800. Two BARKER sisters married two brothers in the OLIPHANT family (see OLIPHANT and BARKER family papers). Mary BARKER [v] (1733 – 1775), m. 1763 – to William OLIPHANT. Christian BARKER [v] (1741 – 1777), m. 1776 – to Henry OLIPHANT. [FP] [TR]
BARR. [WALTON]; Renfrewshire (REW); 1700 – 1850. Mary BARR [v] (Y? – Y?), m. James HENDERSON. Son John HENDERSON [iv], b. 1797, Houston, REW. [TR]
BARRON.(or BARON) [WALKER]; from Corstorphine, Mid Lothian (MLN); 1650 – 1800. Elizabeth BARRON [v], b. ???, d. ???, m. 1728, in Corstorphine (MLN)/Kirkliston (WLN) – to William WALKER. The BARRONs lived at “Clay-Walls” (or Kershall) near Gogar in Corstorphine parish, Mid Lothian, during the 1700s. They may be related to the BARONs of Preston (near Linlithgow), who’s details you can find HERE. [FP][PCR]
BASSETT. [EYRE]; from Gloucestershire (GLS); 1800 – 1900. Elizabeth BASSETT [iii], b.1829, d.???, m.1848 – to John BUCKNALL (1822 – 1887). [TR]
BAXTER. [TWITE]; from Sibsey, Lincolnshire (LIN); 1750 – 1900. Sarah BAXTER [iv] was born in Sibsey, circa 1789-90 (ref. Censuses), d. 1878. She married Joseph MAWER in 1822. But because there were two “Sarah BAXTER”s christened at the right date in Sibsey, I’m not sure which is her, or who her parents were! [PCR]
BELL. (or BETT / BUTT / BEATT). [HUTCHISON]; from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1700 – 1800. The surname BELL (and spelling variations) relate to several different individuals from the same geographical area, who all married into the OLIPHANT and BARKER families. It is not clear whether these individuals all come from the same “BELL” family, or from several unrelated families with the same/similar surnames! Janet BELL (or BUTT) [vi] (Y? – Y?) m. Robert OLIPHANT (cir.1696 – 1772), and Christian BELL (or BETT) [vi] (Y? – Y?) m.1733, George BARKER (1704 – Y?). [FP] [TR]
BETT. [HUTCHISON]; from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1700 – 1800. See note on “BELL”, above. Isabel BETT (or BEATT) [v] (Y? – Y?), m. 1773, in Kirkcaldy – to John HUTCHISON (or HUTCHESON). [TR] [PCR]
BINNIE. [HUTCHISON]; from Cramond, Mid Lothian (MLN); 1700 – 1800. Robert BINNIE [v] (Y? – Y?), m. 1768, at Cramond, MLN – to Janet GEDDES. Their daughter, Joanna BINNIE [iv] (1782, Cramond – Y?), m. 1804 – to Alexander HUTCHISON. [TR] [PCR]
BLACK. [CADZOW]; from Carnwath, Lanark (LKS); 1750 – 1900. David BLACK [iii], b.cir. 1802, Carnwath, LKS, d. ???, m. Agnes MANN. Their daughter, Helen BLACK [ii], b. 1838, Carluke, Lanark, d. 1923, m. 1862, at Livingston, WLN – to James CADZOW of Lesmahagow. [TR][PCR]
BROWN. [ELLIOTT]; from ??? Croydon, Hertfordshire (HRT); 1750 – 1900. Mary BROWN [iii], b.?, d.cir. 1869, m. John (Jack) ELLIOTT. Their son, Joseph John ELLIOTT [ii], b. 1835, in Croydon, HRT, m. Lucy Elizabeth FRY. [TR] [PP]
BUCK. [ELLIOTT]; from Exeter, Devon (DEV); 1700 – 1900. Elizabeth BUCK [iv] (1775, Exeter – 1852, Exeter), m. 1801, – to Richard CLARENCE. Their daughter, Caroline Mary CLARENCE [iii] (1809, Bermondsey, LND – 1874), m. 1837, in Gurnsey – to Edmund FRY. [TR]
BUCKNALL. [EYRE]; from Stroud, Gloucestershire (GLS); 1700 – 1900. The BUCKNALL family is traced back to Samuel BUCKNALL [v] (1763 – 1821), m. 1790 – to Ann CLISSOLD (1765 – 1827). Margaret BUCKNALL [ii] (1857, Rodborough, Stroud, GLS – 1935, Upper Norwood, London), m. 1880 – to Alfred James EYRE. [TR]
CADZOW. (or CAGOW / KADZOW); from Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire (LKS); 1700 – 1900. William CAIGOW [vi], b.?, d.?, m. Janet WILSON. Their son, William CAGOW [v], b. 1760, Carnwarth, LKS, d. 1858, Hallhill, Lesmahagow, m. Jean MANUEL. Download a CADZOW ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [TR]
CLARENCE. [ELLIOTT]; from Sampford, Essex (ESS); 1700 – 1900. The CLARENCE family is traced back to about 1500, around Great Sampford, in Essex. Caroline Mary CLARENCE [iii] (1809, Bermondsey, LND – 1874), m. 1837, in Gurnsey – to Edmund FRY. See; http://studymore.org.uk/quasho.htm#Fryfamily . [TR] [PP]
CLISSOLD. [EYRE]; from Stroud, Gloucestershire (GLS); 1700 – 1850. Stephen CLISSOLD [vi] (Y? – Y?), m. Mary WATT (???? – 1789). Their daughter Ann CLISSOLD [v] (1765 – 1827), m. 1790 – to Samuel BUCKNALL (1763 – 1821). [TR]
DAVIE. [WALKER]; from West Lothian (WLN) / Lanarkshire (LKS); 1650 – 1750. Marion DAVIE married Thomas JOHNSTON (a farmer at East Mains of Ballencrieff, near Bathgate, West Lothian), and had 3 children, born in 1723, 1724, and 1728. It has been suggested in documents about the JOHNSTON family, that Marion DAVIE was related to the Covenanter, James DAVIE, who was killed while attending a conventicle at Blackdub, in about 1673, by a party of dragoons, and was buried in the secluded old churchyard of Bathgate, where there is a stone to his memory. I have no documentation as yet to verify this claim. See; https://afamilyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/mair-and-johnston-part1/ [PP] [TR] [TBC]
DOUNS. [WALKER]; from Uphall, West Lothian (WLN); 1750 – 1850. Barbara DOUNS [iv], b.?, d.?, m. George NEIL. Their daughter, Isobel NEIL [iii], b. 1788, Uphall, WLN, d. 1860, m. 1816 – to John WALKER. [FP][PCR]
ELLIOTT. (or ELLETT); from Croydon, Hertfordshire (HRT); 1750 – 1900. John (Jack) ELLIOTT [iii], b. 1793, d. 1864, m. Mary BROWN. Their son, Joseph John ELLIOTT [ii], b. 1835, in Croydon, HRT, m. 1864, in Brighton – to Lucy Elizabeth FRY. Download an ELLIOTT ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [TR] [PP]
EYRE.; from Lambeth/Sydenham, London (LND / KEN); 1800 – 1900. Edward EYRE [iv], b. 1800, d.?. His son, Alfred George EYRE [iii], b. 1832, d.?, m. Emily SMITH. Their son, Alfred James EYRE [ii] (1853 – 1919) was Organist at the Crystal Palace, and Master of Music at St John’s Church, Upper Norwood. Download an EYRE ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [TR] [PP]
FLINT. [WALKER]; from West Lothian (WLN); 1700 – 1800. John FLINT [vi], b.?, d.?, m. Marian MURKEL. Their daughter, Janet FLINT [v], b. 1739, d. 1817, m. 1766, at Kirkliston / Mid Calder (WLN) – to James WALKER. [FP][PCR][MI]
FRY. [ELLIOTT]; from Bristol / Wiltshire (WIL); All dates. A well known family of Quakers originating from Sutton Benger in Wiltshire, who became chocolate makers and type-founders in Bristol. Also related by marriage to Elizabeth FRY (nee GURNEY), the famous campaigner for prison reform in the early 1800′s. See; http://studymore.org.uk/quasho.htm#Fryfamily . Lucy Elizabeth FRY [ii], b. 1844, Plymouth, DEV, d. 1931, m. 1864, in Brighton – to Joseph John ELLIOTT. [TR] [PP]
GANDY. [WALTON]; from Fallowfield, Lancashire (LAN); pre 1850. Mary GANDY [iv], (Y? – Y?), m. ??? – to John WALTON, of Longsight Hall, Fallowfield, Manchester [TBC] [TR]
GEDDES. [HUTCHISON]; Mid Lothian (MLN); 1700 – 1800. Janet GEDDES [v] (Y? – Y?), m. 1768, at Cramond, MLN – to Robert BINNIE. Their daughter, Joanna BINNIE [iv] (1782, Cramond – Y?), m. 1804 – to Alexander HUTCHISON. [TR] [PCR]
GREEN. [TWITE]; from Boston, Lincolnshire / Lewisham/Holborn, London (LIN/LND); 1800 – 1900. Susannah GREEN [iii], b.cir.1825, Boston (LIN), d. 1893, m. 1851, in Lewisham (LND) – to George TWITE. Susannah’s father, Thomas GREEN [iv] was a wheelwright from Boston (LIN). [TR][PCR]
HART. (or HEART) [SWAIN]; from Staffordshire (STS); 1800 – 1900. Ellen HART [ii] (or HEART), b. 1846, Castle Church, Stafford (STS), d. 1938, Western Park, Leicester (LEI), m. 1870, at Whittington, Worcester (WOR) – to James Christopher SWAIN. [TR]
HENDERSON. [CADZOW]; from Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire (LKS); 1700 – 1900. Elizabeth HENDERSON, b. ???, d. 1795, m. William MUIR. Their daughter, Margaret MUIR, b. 1795, d. 1857, m. 1816, at Dalserf (LKS) – to William KADZOW (CADZOW). (n.b. as of January 2017, all tags for “HENDERSON” on aFamilyHistoryBlog relate to those on the WALTON branch of Matt’s family, who are not related to those on the CADZOW branch!). [TR]
HENDERSON. [WALTON]; from Paisley, Renfrewshire (REW); 1700 – 1900. Helen Urie HENDERSON [ii], (1859, Paisley, REW – 1945), m. 1890 – to Edward Arthur WALTON. (n.b. these are not related to the “HENDERSON”s on the CADZOW branch of Matt’s family!). [TR]
HUTCHISON.; from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1700 – 1900. John HUTCHISON (or HUTCHESON) [v] (Y? – Y?), m. 1773, in Kirkcaldy – to Isabel BETT (or BEATT). Robert HUTCHISON [iii] (1806 – 1883) was a wheat & grain merchant in Kirkcaldy. Download a HUTCHISON ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [FP][TR][PCR]
JAMES. [SWAIN]; from Birmingham, (Staffordshire/Warwickshire?) (STS / WAR); 1750 – 1900. Ann JAMES [iv], m. 1813, at St Martin, Birmingham (WAR) – to Christopher JOHNSON.
JOHNSON. [SWAIN]; from Birmingham, (Staffordshire/Warwickshire?) (STS / WAR); 1750 – 1900. Isabella JOHNSON [iii], b.cir. 1817, Birmingham?, d. 1882, Stafford, m. 1837, at St Martin, Birmingham (WAR) – to James SWAIN. [TR]
JOHNSTON [WALKER]; from Bathgate, West Lothian (WLN); 1650 – 1900. The earliest generations (traced back to 1692) were farmers at East Mains of Ballencrieff, Dykeside, and Nethermuir, near Bathgate. Subsequent generations of the JOHNSTON family were involved in banking in Bathgate, and in printing & publishing in Falkirk. I have a printed family tree “of the JOHNSTON family, Bathgate” – compiled by Alexander A. CUTHBERT. I believe this tree dates from about 1906 (the last date on the tree). See this tree on the blog page, HERE. [FP] [TR] [PCR] [PP] [MI]
KADZOW. (see CADZOW)
KEY. [HUTCHISON]; from West Lothian (WLN); 1800 – 1900. John KEY [iii], (Y? – Y?), m. 1845 – to Sarah WHITE (or WHYTE). Their daughter, Sarah “Hannah” KEY [ii] (1850 – 1938), m. Henry William HUTCHISON. [TR]
KING. [EYRE]; from Gloucestershire (GLS); 1750 – 1900. Mary KING [iv] (???? – 1874), m. 1822 – to Edwin BUCKNALL (1791 – 1869). [TR]
MANN. [CADZOW]; from Carnwath, Lanark (LKS); 1750 – 1900. Agnes MANN [iii], b.cir. 1803, Carnwath, LKS, d. ???, m. David BLACK. Their daughter, Helen BLACK [ii], b. 1838, Carluke, Lanark, d. 1923, m. 1862, at Livingston, WLN – to James CADZOW of Lesmahagow. [TR][PCR]
MANUEL. [CADZOW]; from Lanark (LKS); 1700 – 1850. Jean MANUEL [iv], b. ?, d. ?, m. William CAGOW (or CADZOW). Children born in 1786 and 1788, in Lesmahagow, LKS. [TR]
MAWER [TWITE]; lived at Sibsey, Lincolnshire (LIN); 1750 – 1900. Census records identify Joseph MAWER [iv] as a “wheelwright” and “carpenter” who was born circa 1800, at Walsoken, Wisbech, on the Lincolnshire/Norfolk border. But he appears to have lived most of his life in Sibsey, and I suspect that he had earlier family ties to this village. He married Sarah BAXTER, in Sibsey, in 1822. She was about 10 years older than him! Joseph died in 1883. Their granddaughter, Annie MAWER [ii] married Charles TWITE. [TR][PCR]
MUIR. [CADZOW]; from Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire (LKS); 1700 – 1850. William MUIR [iv], b. 1750, d. 1796, m. Elizabeth HENDERSON. Their daughter, Margaret MUIR [iii], b. 1795, d. 1857, m. 1816, at Dalserf (LKS) – to William KADZOW (CADZOW). [TR]
MURKEL. [WALKER]; from West Lothian (WLN); 1700 – 1800. Marian MURKEL [v], b.?, d.?, m. John FLINT. Their daughter, Janet FLINT [iv], b. 1739, d. 1817, m. 1766, at Kirkliston / Mid Calder (WLN) – to James WALKER. [FP][PCR][MI]
NEIL. [WALKER]; from Uphall, West Lothian (WLN); 1750 – 1850. George NEIL [iv], b.?, d.?, m. Barbara DOUNS. Their daughter, Isobel NEIL [iii], b. 1788, Uphall, WLN, d. 1860, m. 1816 – to John WALKER. [FP][PCR]
OLIPHANT. [HUTCHISON] from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1600 – 1900. Mary OLIPHANT [iii] (1808 – 1852), m. 1837, in Kirkcaldy – to Robert HUTCHISON. Mary OLIPHANT’s parents were 1st Cousins x2 – sharing the same 4 grandparents; Robert OLIPHANT [vi] (cir.1696 – 1772) m. Janet BELL (Y? – Y?), and George BARKER [vi] (1704 – Y?) m.1733, Christian BELL (Y? – Y?). I have posted onto aFamilyHistoryBlog, details of a collection of original OLIPHANT and BARKER family papers – wills, etc. [FP] [TR]
PATRICK. [HUTCHISON] from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1650 – 1750. Lucras (or Lucretia) PATRICK [vii], (Y? – Y?) m.1691 – to John BARKER. [TR]
PORTSMOUTH. [ELLIOTT] from Basingstoke, Berkshire (BRK) / Shoreditch, London (LND); 1700 – 1800. Anna PORTSMOUTH [vi] (1732, Basingstoke, BKS – 1803, Bristol), m. 1755, to Joseph FRY, type-founder, printer, and chocolate maker, based in Bristol. See; http://studymore.org.uk/quasho.htm#Fryfamily . [TR] [PP]
RUSSELL. [HUTCHISON]; from Kirkcaldy, Fife (FIF); 1650 – 1750. Jannet RUSSELL [vii] (Y? – Y?), m. James OLIPHANT. Children born circa 1696 – 1710. [TR]
SCOTT. [WALTON]; from Renfrewshire (REW); 1700 – 1850. Elizabeth SCOT [v], (Y? – Y?), m. 1790, at Paisley, REW – to John URIE. Their daughter, Helen URIE [iv], (1798, Ferguslie, REW – 1878, Pollockshields), m. 1818, at High Paisley – to John HENDERSON. [TR]
SMITH. [EYRE]; from London (LND); 1800 – 1900. Emily SMITH [iii] (Y? – Y?), m. Alfred George EYRE. Their son, Alfred James EYRE [ii] (1853 – 1919) was Organist at the Crystal Palace, and Master of Music at St John’s Church, Upper Norwood. (Unconnected to the two SMITH families in the WALKER branch – below).
SWAIN.; from Bristol (WIL) / Birmingham / Staffordshire (STS) / Leicester (LEI); 1750 – 1900. The SWAIN family lived in various locations around the English Midlands. Many of them were involved in Shoe and Boot making. From the latter 1800’s the direct family were settled around Leicester. Earlier generations had connections to the Stafford and Worcester (WOR) areas. James SWAIN [iii], b.cir. 1800 – 1801, Bristol (WIL), d. 1883, Stafford (STS), m. 1837, at St Martin, Birmingham (WAR) – to Isabella JOHNSON. Download a SWAIN ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [TR]
TABRUM. [ELLIOTT]; from Sampford, Essex (ESS); 1650 – 1800. Ann TABRUM [v] (1717, Old Sampford, ESS – ????), m. 1740 – to John CLARENCE. [TR]
THOMAS. [TWITE]; from Carew, Pembrokeshire (PEM); 1750 – 1850. Mary Ann THOMAS [iv], b.cir. 1796, Carew, Pembrokeshire (PEM), d. 1872, Edmonton, Middlesex (MDX), m. 1819 at Walcot, Bath, Somerset (SOM) – to Joseph TWITE. [TR][PCR]
TWITE.; from Bath, Somerset (SOM), then London (LND); 1750 – 1850. Joseph TWITE [iv] was a shoemaker, b. 1781, d. 1845, at Philip Street, Bath, m. 1819 at Walcot, Bath, Somerset (SOM) – to Mary Ann THOMAS. Their son, George TWITE [iii], b. 1824, became a Butcher at 46 Fetter Lane, Holborn, LND. Download a TWITE ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [TR][PCR]
URIE. [WALTON]; from Renfrewshire (REW); 1700 – 1900. John URIE [v], (Y? – Y?), m. 1790, at Paisley, REW – to Elizabeth SCOT. Their daughter, Helen URIE [iv], (1798, Ferguslie, REW – 1878, Pollockshields), m. 1818, at High Paisley – to John HENDERSON, who was Provost of Paisley; 1841 – 1844. [TR]
WALKER.; from Kirkliston, West Lothian (WLN); 1650 – 1900. The WALKER family lived and farmed in Kirkliston parish, West Lothian. The first records place them at “Puncheonlaw“, N.E. of Kirkliston village, towards Carlowrie, from 1728. In 1745 they moved S.W. to Hiddlefaulds(or Hiddlefolds). They also had connections at this time to Overtoun farm (or Overton), in Kirknewton, Mid Lothian. During the 1800s they combined the farm at Hiddlefaulds with its neighbour, Kilpunt(or Kilpont), which the family moved to in the 1840s. From here the family moved down to Hertfordshire in 1898. William WALKER [v], b.cir. 1694, d. 1768, m. 1728, in Corstorphine (MLN)/Kirkliston (WLN) – to Elizabeth BARRON.
I am working on a series of blog posts about various old WALKER family papers. Download a WALKER ancestor “pedigree” file (.pdf) HERE. [FP][PCR][MI]
WALTON.; from Fallowfield, Lancashire (LAN); pre 1850. John WALTON [iv], of Longsight Hall, Fallowfield, Manchester, married Mary GANDY (dates unknown!) [TBC]. Their son, Jackson WALTON [iii] (1809 – 1873), moved to Aberdeen and then Glasgow. Download a WALTON ancestor “pedigree”file (.pdf) HERE. (details to be checked. Some vague details, and differing sources which may be contradictory!). [MI] [TR] [PP]
WARD. [SWAIN]; from Staffordshire (STS); 1800 – 1900. Ann WARD [iii], m. 1830 at St Mary’s Church, Stafford (STS) – to Charles HART (or HEART). [TR]
WATT. [EYRE]; from Gloucestershire (GLS); 1700 – 1800. Mary WATT (???? – 1789), m. Stephen CLISSOLD (Y? – Y?). Their daughter Ann CLISSOLD (1765 – 1827), m. 1790 – to Samuel BUCKNALL (1763 – 1821). [TR]
WHITE. (or WHYTE). [HUTCHISON]; from West Lothian (WLN); 1800 – 1900. Sarah WHITE (or WHYTE) [iii], (Y? – Y?), m. 1845 – to John KEY. Their daughter, Sarah “Hannah” KEY [ii] (1850 – 1938), m. Henry William HUTCHISON. [TR]
Counties are abbreviated using the Chapman codes. All locations should be read as being located within the British Isles, unless another country is clearly stated. I have set the “dates of interest” quite broad, to try and cover one or more generations on either side of those that I already know of.
[i] [ii] [iii] [iv] [v] [vi] [vii] [viii] – represents the generation of my family tree that the person named belongs to, counting backwards. [i] = my Great Grandparents. [v] = my 5x Gt Grandparents.
At the end of each entry is a note about the kinds of sources that I have for that branch family;
[FP] = Family Papers, original documents, etc. I generally have high confidence in the accuracy of information from such original sources!
I’ve not yet found anything particularly useful in that respect! But as I looked through the Covenanter records list, I noticed one or two surnames from completely the other side of my family cropping up repeatedly. “URIE” was the surname that caught my attention. I know that there is some Quaker influence on this side of my family (see my WALTON tree), so it made me think that there could be a connection!
A book that a friend gave me for Christmas; “The Glasgow Boys, In Your Pocket”, (one of the “Glasgow Boys” – Edward Arthur WALTON, being my 2x Gt-grandfather), also influenced me when I began by doing a web search for ““Helen Urie HENDERSON”” (wife of E.A. WALTON); “URIE” was her paternal grandmother’s maiden name. At the moment when I did the search, Helen’s was the one full name that came to mind! My thought was; could I find anything that might link Helen’s URIE ancestors to those Covenanter records?
Given that Helen was the wife of a well-known artist, I was surprised to find only 4 links in the search results! Two of these were to AFamilyHistoryBlog, which means that this site is doing it’s job (I guess that this post will be added to that list in future). The other two links were to other people’s family trees; one of Helen Urie HENDERSON’s material line, and the other covering the family of Edward Arthur WALTON’s maternal grandparents.
Both of these trees give me quite a lot of new material; names, dates, etc. I can’t yet confirm what they claim. I would like to go through these trees, and their sources carefully, for myself, to check their records. I have e-mailed the authors of both sites, hoping to obtain more details. But I don’t have a lot of hope for a reply from the WIGHAM site (Helen’s maternal line), due to the page having last been updated in October 2002 (another page of this site was last updated in July 2005)!
But for my own record, and for the interests of others, I’m posting the website links below.
I was tempted last week by the offer of a weekend of free on-line access to “billions of historical records” at FindMyPast.co.uk. And after a great talk at my local Family History Society meeting, by Myko Clelland from FindMyPast, I decided to sign up, give it a go, and see what new things I could find. So I registered, and uploaded a GEDCOM file, with nearly 4,500 people in it. Then I had an initial explore of the site, and waited for the free access weekend to start.
The FindMyPast website was not as good as I had hoped! I’ll explain how I got on as a new user, and in particular the things that frustrated me about the site.
The first thing I found disappointing with the site was that the “Hints” system which FindMyPast advertises as a great way to find new, relevant records to help build up your family tree, only works (currently) when you edit entries, or manually enter new ones. It doesn’t provide hints for the people that you’ve added from a GEDCOM file! FindMyPast should make it clearer before you start that when uploading a GEDCOM file you won’t get “hints” for the individuals in that file.
My next frustration was that when I did start getting “Hints” (after adding details from paper notes that were missing from the GEDCOM file) – although at first sight many hinted records looked to be relevant, digging deeper revealed that they really weren’t relevant to my tree. A couple of times I added facts to my tree using the hints provided by FindMyPast, but then deleted them again after looking much more closely and checking back on my paper notes of details I’ve previously found! (this largely related to parish registers from the 1700’s).
It appears to me that FindMyPast‘s threshold for matching the information to provide its “Hints” may be set too low! Many of its hints can be very quickly screened out. But the difficulty comes with the ones that you have to dig into much more deeply to detect the inconsistencies. It is so easy to see something that seems to match, and add it to your tree. This could so easily lead to many false paths in numerous family trees.
AFamilyHistoryBlog is (in part) my attempt to counter some of these “false” trees that appear on-line, where people have assumed connections to exist between separate records, but without any clear evidence for the connection. I hope that by posting the real evidence that I have from original family documents and other reliable sources, I can help to challenge and correct some of those “false” trees which can so easily develop. I also hope that if and when I follow a false path, my blog will allow others to contact me with any evidence they have, to put me back on the right path.
I had hoped to find many more images of original documents to be available to view on the FindMyPast website. But while it does have images of things like census records (which is useful), it doesn’t seem to have images of the parish registers which I had hoped for! Only the transcriptions of them!
Very often seeing images of the original parish registers (which I have done in the past on microfilm) provides additional clues/evidence that is too often missing from the transcriptions; for instance names of witnesses (who often may have been relatives), or names of places (houses/farms) where the people lived, which can confirm a continuity between different records. Without establishing such continuity between records you often can’t be certain if the name appearing several times in a parish register relates to one person, or to several different people with the same name. It was very common in the past, when extended families often lived geographically close together, to find cousins or second cousins, or uncles/aunts & nephews/nieces, who shared the same names, living in the same parish. So in the records (and more-so in their partial transcriptions) it can be very difficult to tell these individuals apart!
After these initial frustrations with the FindMyPast system, where I was largely trying to find more about earlier ancestors through parish registers, etc – largely the Walkers of Kirkliston (whom I’m currently posting documents about), I decided to change track. I began to have a look at the lines of my ancestry that I can trace least far back. From my 3x Gt-grandparents back, some gaps begin to appear. So I began looking to see if FindMyPast could help fill any of these gaps.
That generation of my tree typically features individuals born in the late 1700’s and particularly the early 1800’s – people who often had their families at the time of the early censuses. So it proved easy to find out some more about some of these ancestors from the UK censuses. In one case I have been able to obtain the maiden name of a 3x Gt-grandmother, where before I only had her married surname.
Elsewhere I was able to work out sideways, adding children and other details in the next generation. But this also produced one more frustration with the FindMyPast system. FindMyPast would try to use the census data about a household to identify everyone in the family and use that to update or add individuals in your family tree. But too often it risked duplicating individuals because slight differences in name spelling meant that it didn’t link the person in the census to the person in your tree! And you couldn’t easily compare the full household list in the census with the whole family group in your tree, to check who was there and who was missing.
In one case I added a “son-in-law” from the census to my tree. I already had the son-in-law in my tree, but FindMyPast didn’t connect the two together, or connect the son-in-law from the census to his wife in my tree (who was also in that census entry), but only to his parents-in-law! So “Henry” then appeared twice in my tree – a duplicate! I tried to find out how I could merge the two entries into one! But I couldn’t!
The best help I could find was on a blog by Phil Moir, who is “technical lead for the Family Tree team” at FindMyPast. That helped a little, but wasn’t exactly what I wanted! In the end I had to resort to copying the new details provided by the census, from the “new” Henry, and pasting them into the profile of the “old” Henry, then delete the “new” Henry from my tree. Not very satisfactory! It should be much easier to merge two “profiles” into one.
Another example of the problem with FindMyPast‘s handling of census records is where a child in a family had died. Then a new child was given the same name, which was common when child mortality was high – in this example “William”. The 1891 census records the younger William (b.1886). But the FindMyPast system picks up on the older “William” in the family tree (b.1867), who had died (1871) before the 1891 census, and attempts to persuade you to change his date of birth to that of the younger James, who is in the census and on your tree. If you were to follow through on FindMyPast‘s advice and update “William’s” details based on the census record, then you would have two “William”s with the same approximate date of birth in the family group. This would then look like a duplicate of one individual (similar to what I described above), when in fact they were two different individuals, with a wide gap between dates of birth.
You really need to be able to compare the census records, and what FindMyPast is hinting you to change in your tree, side-by-side with the WHOLE family group that you currently have in your tree. You need to be better able to see the context of the wider family into which you’re being prompted to add new details of an individual. As far as I can see at the moment the best that you can do is to switch between the “merge” page and the “family view”, in separate browser tabs. This isn’t satisfactory. You should be able to view them side-by-side, in the same tab, in order to fully check how the details in the hinted record compare to the family group that you already have in your tree.
So, to summerise my experience; while FindMyPast could be very useful as a research tool, the frustrations that I’ve had as a new user trying it out for the first time, mean that I can only give it 2 stars! ★★☆☆☆
The free Family Tree Builder app is great and I’ll probably continue to play with it, adding material that I’ve got elsewhere. It looks great. I just wish it was a bit easier to navigate between different branches of my tree. A tab at the top of the “family view” that would let you get quickly to an index of all the individuals in your tree would be great for that.
The available records that you can search is also good. But I think that the systems of “Hinting” records, and of merging record details into your own family tree needs improvement (I realise that this is sure to be a very technically challenging thing to get right!).
So I think that I am unlikely to take out any kind of subscription to FindMyPast until I can see them ironing out many of the frustrations that I’ve mentioned above. Once they do, it’ll be a really great tool.