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Backburner times in genealogy?


Staff member
Not a request or anything but to me backburner's are times where my genealogy searching has hit a quiet period due to me exhausting all the available databases online. I am on Anc, FMP and use FamilySearch.org a lot but for a couple of months very few new records have been published that will assist me further in unsolved genealogy mysteries so I hit a sort of quiet patch in my genealogy. Maybe I am hitting a point where visits to record offices may be in mind again.

Anyone else get times in their ongoing genealogy quest they hit a quiet patch?
Most definitely Ben. Then you stumble onto something and away you go again. Tho i havent stumbled across William Gibson yet :biggrin:

Off the track a little .. i've been helping my Aunt find some answers to some family stories and the family stories appear to have been "altered" over the years. Its surprising how much a story can change in 100 years or less :rolleyes:
Yes Ben all the time, except the quiet patches seem to last for a couple of years or more. The bits in between, are usually bits that just confirm what I have suspected all along.
I recently had a surprise when the London England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1828-1930 became available on Ancestry. I put right a death for my 4x g grandfather, and found he had another family after his first wife died. Little snippets like that are very useful. Can't wait for other records similar to that to appear, it may help with some of these quiet moments.

Actually, I noticed you are in Norwich, would it be naughty if I asked you, if you are ever in your local records office, to keep your eyes peeled for Jeremiah Abbott/Habbett b @1794 please?? Census say he was born in NK Norfolk, although I have found a Jeremiah born in Suffolk. But because of the Norfolk reference, I'm not sure.

Thank you in advance
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Most of the time.
I then take the advice I got from somewhere, to go over the information I already have and have another look.
You never know if you have missed an important point, I know I have and realised I had the wrong end of the stick as it were!

Just keep plugging away.

Good piece of advice Peter, and another thought......don't expect your ancestors to be where YOU think they are....they often turn up in some unlikely places.....sometimes where you least expect them to be :)
All the time - it's being blessed with names like Davies, Evans and thousands of those with the same first names. Added to that is the long standing mystery - which all you good folk on here tried to help me with - the lack of a birth certificate. Perhaps I should change my nickname from 'celticbard' to master of the backburner? There again if 'perfection' existed, what would we chat about?:biggrin::biggrin:
I hope Anc start publishing Essex PRs and poor law documents soon. This may help assist me in finding several ancestor siblings who I suspect may have emigrated. And they have the surname Taylor. :(
As yet the London poor law records are browse only, not electronically indexed as far as I know so you never know what may be there if they do ever index them.

Yes I have hit a quiet period in my genealogy of late, maybe the summer months see less records transcribed.

For 5 years I suspected a lady was an ancestor and then a banns record confirmed she was.

Makes you think, with so many records yet to be transcribed you dont know what info they may have on ancestors.
My genealogy research has always been a matter of fits and starts, mostly because there wasn't much interest in family history, there weren't even many bits of oral history to give a clue for anyone who tried.

It's getting easier now, with so many resources on line, but I still have one family line that is at an absolute standstill at the moment. Combination of common name and trying to find records pre-1800.
If times are quiet then why not put something back into genealogy and transcribe some records for the genealogical community at large?

Time and time again I hear of people blaming the fact that this record or that record is not on the internet for their lack of progress, if all those who complained transcribed some records then very soon there would be a range of sources available free of charge.

In addition if such transcribers worked on the more obscure or limited records i.e. those that the large companies will never digitise as they are of a limited demand, then the range of available resources would be extended.

Time to stop asking what others may do for you and start asking what you can do for others.

In other words time to get back to the roots of genealogy.
Nice idea, Guy. Because I've never been 'computer-literate' and just about cope with the basics like doing this, I do not have the confidence to even consider trying. Having got rid of Windows 8 and back to Windows 7, I'm even struggling to get the files saved on CD back on to this now, it all takes time.
Having said that, I spend a lot of time looking for the unusual details from Regimental History so that it can be put into articles for the current Regimental Journal issues for the current members of the Regiment (if they bother) to learn a bit about the past.
However, you virtually quoted what JFK said all those years ago:-
"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"! Thanks for that bit! :biggrin:
Sometimes location necessitates the use of on-line resources exclusively, at least for a time. I live in northern Virginia but am trying to trace a family line that started in New England and went to Michigan by way of New York, all before 1840. One ancestor gave his birthplace as New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont in different censuses (censi?). I haven't even found any of them in New York yet. Except for this New England line my ancestors were immigrant from the UK and various countries in Europe after 1855 and on-line are the only resources I can access.

Other times the lack of records means I wait until something from individual sources shows up. The New England families were in Michigan by 1835 but Michigan didn't enter the Union until 1837, and in 1852 their county courthouse burned to the ground. No way to tell what still exists from that period, unless something shows up on line from individuals. Courthouse fires here before 1900 are not uncommon in the US! Even national records are not immune--in 1973 the national military archives had a fire, and the army records back to 1912 are mostly gone.

Transcription by private individuals can be a bit tricky, as many of the early records are church records rather than government. I tried looking for those with one family and found the church they belonged to in the 1890's had changed hands several times and no one knows where the early records are, same problem with the families in Michigan even earlier, sometimes access to those records are limited to members of the denomination. Local and state governments don't seem to allow general access for transcription of what official records they hold. Cemetery walking is another resource, but that again is location restricted.

Records for northern Virginia seem well covered, I do belong to a New England historical society, but given the location restrictions and spotty records sometimes the only thing that can be done is wait for clues to show up on line
I went to the SOG and the Westminster Archives the other day and found out a few things but it can take a few hours looking through transcribed ledgers to find info on ancestors or their siblings. I do have a good collection of marriage records for Sussex and Oxon and several parish registers for Oxon and Huguenot churches in London. I have the Huguenot hospital registers transcripts. I could always see if I could start typing up a list online of these records. But to transcribe many records online you'd have to visit may record offices and even get permission to transcribe some records.