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Imagine tracing our family tree 30 years ago?

benny1982

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#1
It must have been a lot harder in those days. No internet, no censuses online, only the 1871 census available as yet and having to travel to endless record offices such as Somerset House and CROs.

Now we can do a lot of it in front of our computer screen. Times have changed I tell you.
 

leefer

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#2
I tracked my parents down about twenty years ago...all done by visits to Somerset House and the county records of mine that were in Trowbridge Wilts in those days....it was a nightmare,ironicaly a phone call to an old phone number proved to be the pinnacle moment.
 

benny1982

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#3
When I started in 2004 FreeBMD was only partially complete, the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891 censuses were not online, only partially indexes on FHS websites and half the parish records on today were still not online then and that was only 5 years ago.
 

Ellie

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#4
I would have thought 30 years ago that genealogy would have been quite difficult.It can be now!!. I think though, that the more recently available census returns 1901, 1911 have helped to knock down a few brick walls for some people. I think the 1921 will be even more helpful!:) well in theory! :eek: :biggrin:
 
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#5
My brother began research about 20 years ago. It was pure hard slog then. Many archives looked upon family researchers with scorn. Internet research is much more recent with the advent of more sources online and faster broadband. But if you are looking for someone pre 1837 it is still hard slog round archives.
 
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#7
I think they thought researchers should be people with qualifications not the general public. Archivists in my local archive now get caught up in the research and seem to relish the challenge, coming up with all sorts of sources I wouldn't have thought of. I think really family researchers have actually made things more interesting for the archivists.
 

p.risboy

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#8
It must have been a lot harder in those days. No internet, no censuses online, only the 1871 census available as yet and having to travel to endless record offices such as Somerset House and CROs.

Now we can do a lot of it in front of our computer screen. Times have changed I tell you.
Hey Ben, it would have been really hard for you 30yrs ago, for obvious reasons.:biggrin: :biggrin:

But yes you are right, I would have been totally lost.

Steve.:)
 
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#9
Having done both sorts of research many years apart, in some ways it was easier the old way.

You had the Parish Records in front of you, the Census was on film and people about you willing to help. St Catherine's House was a nightmare having to pull the GRO index out for each quarter and they were written on vellum in neat handwriting. You had to make sure that you also kept a tally of which year and quarter you had looked at.

The disadvantage was the expense of travelling to the various Record offices, and having to pay hotel or Bed and Breakfast on top.

I was very lucky when I started as the first visit to Caernarfon I met 2 of the famous maritime historians, who also pointed me to the archives of the local shipping registers that they had saved from being thrown away in London, and found the details of the boats that my great grandfather had been on , before he was drowned at sea.

Another time the registrar locked up the office and showed me my grandfather's handwriting. Beautiful copper plate writing. I would not dream of telling you where this happened as they were not allowed to show you the originals. Only told me that they had never seen such writing in the area. I was very lucky.

Now for the Internet. Yes some has been very easy, but even now 1837 is still a stumbling block. You need the original parish records. Scotland is excellent. That was a doddle !

There is a long way to go before everything is perfect and by that time they will most probably stop us from seeing them . It won't be PC or data protection act or something equally stupid.

Maddie
 

Guy

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#12
Thirty years ago hardly any of the Family History Societies existed.

There were advantages in earlier years; census books, register books, etc could be searched instead of having to rely on badly filmed microfilm.
The joy of reading the register an ancestor had written in cannot be replaced.
We did not have to worry about mis-transcriptions as we were reading original records not transcripts. Yes, it took a bit longer to find ancestors but so much more was gleaned from the register or census that gave an insight into how they lived, who their neighbours were etc.etc.

Archives and record offices were quiet relaxed places to work in. Yes archivists thought family historians were simply name gatherers but after a few visits one was accepted as a true researcher.

It was however far more expensive to research as this entailed trips to record offices, archives and churches. There was no chance to simply photocopy the record every entry had to be copied by hand, but even that helped to memorise the entry.
Cheers
Guy
 
#13
It must have been a lot harder in those days. No internet, no censuses online, only the 1871 census available as yet and having to travel to endless record offices such as Somerset House and CROs.

Now we can do a lot of it in front of our computer screen. Times have changed I tell you.
Times will keep changing Benny.

Imagine if we could bring an ancestor back to life from say 1830, how shocked they would be of the advancements we have made, they'd drop dead [again]at the thought of riding in a motor car or flying to the moon.
 
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joaning

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#15
I've been doing genealogy for 29 years,I feel it was more social back then.
B.C.(before computer), I would set off early in the morning, to the library or government record office,Genealogy/Family history group,cemetery walking or visiting a historical society in a country town, I met plenty of people with the same object in mind "doing their tree".It was such a pleasant day,finding a lost rellie or even having a chat to the librarian or another genie, about searching the records. A coffee and a smoke,(before I quit).redf) at an outdoor cafe nearby. I would do that several days a week.
I tend to be seated on my chair nowadays, trying to make my brickwall fall down before my very eyes. I love computing and the internet, and it's easier.
I have met some really terrific people online as well. The records are also easier to access. So there are 2 ways of looking at it. Joan:)
 

Guy

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#16
Just outside the 30 year limit

It may interest some to know that here in the UK researchers did not even have access to the IGI until Fred Filby negotiated with the LDS.
The first copy of the IGI (The Computer File Index as it was then called) to reach the UK was the 1976 edition on microfiche.
Cheers
Guy
 

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