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Where can you look when the trail goes cold?

Kempy

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Windermere
#1
Though I'm very much a novice at all this, I'm guessing everyone gets to a point in their tree when they don't seem to be able to go further back - I've gotten back as far as 1610 on some branches of my family tree - but then things just seem to stop dead - I was obviously wondering why/how is it that various relatives seem to appear/disappear out of thin air - I'm guessing there are social history type reasons e.g. legal requirements of registering life events etc - but also - are there other places to look in that case?
I know for instance that for the ancestors that go all the way back to 1610 they never really moved out of the same parish I grew up in and that my parents still live in - so where could I look to double check if that really is the end of the road?

Thanks Claire
 

ptjw7

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#2
The problem I have found is just where do you start!
At some point they must have arrived in the area and from where is the real problem, in that you may have the wrong person or different spelling of name seeing as most of the records then would be in some form of Latin scribble.
I say scribble as I've tried in the past to transcribe some of this scribble and I just had to give up.
The next fly in the ointment so to speak is a map of the area for villages that were there at the time of your ancestors.
It is also possible that any information as in baptisms tend to name the father and most leave out the mother which if the name is common to the area can be a minefield.
Best advice I can offer is to write out concise records of the information that you do have and go over it again, it is not uncommon for things to get over looked.

Best of luck.

peter
 

ladybird

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#3
The problem I have found is just where do you start!
At some point they must have arrived in the area and from where is the real problem, in that you may have the wrong person or different spelling of name seeing as most of the records then would be in some form of Latin scribble.
I say scribble as I've tried in the past to transcribe some of this scribble and I just had to give up.
The next fly in the ointment so to speak is a map of the area for villages that were there at the time of your ancestors.
It is also possible that any information as in baptisms tend to name the father and most leave out the mother which if the name is common to the area can be a minefield.
Best advice I can offer is to write out concise records of the information that you do have and go over it again, it is not uncommon for things to get over looked.

Best of luck.

peter
Yes I am afraid this is true , as between myself & cousins 3 x removed we got back to 1693 on my Orriss family, but the same thing latin scribble, some of it almost ink blotches, & no real information, apart from they were still in the same area of Suffolk. But I am now into looking at all the witnesses on marriage certificates ,as the more you look, the more you find, many of them turning out to be cousins of the married couple.
 
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#4
It all depends on the area you are researching but the obvious sources for research are court rolls, deeds, lay subsidies, wills and any books which may exist about the history of the area.

A lot may depend on the wealth, or poverty of your ancestors. Rich, or even simple yeoman ancestors can be much easier to find mention of but even the poor can sometimes be mentioned in court rolls.

Stu
 

Guy

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#6
My suggestion and I hope this is not taken the wrong way, would be start again at the beginning but this time research “properly”.

This may sound facetious but really it is not, though it is based on the assumption you have simply used online transcripts to get back to the seventeenth century, otherwise you would certainly not be a novice.

By “properly” I mean do your research the old fashioned way of consulting the parish registers or facsimiles of the registers rather than transcripts.

The reasons for doing it this laborious way are many fold.
1) It accustomises one to the different styles of handwriting and record keeping of past centuries
2) It trains the mind & eyes to recognise the “Latin scribbles” and instead of being scribbles they turn out to be a type of shorthand or abbreviated script.
3) One realises that registers hold more information than simply baptisms, marriages and burials.
4) By becoming accustomed to archives one finds other sources of information to help build a picture of ones ancestors, rather than a simple pedigree.

On the journey back through time look for clues to where the earlier generations may have come from. For example miners moved to where new mines were opening from areas where mines were closing. Farm labourers may have moved to where the landowning gentry had another holding. Poor law records could hold details of their parish of settlement.
Look at occupations, market towns, hiring fairs, etc to see if they can explain movements.
Records such as Quarter Session records may hold details of ancestors they are held at the County Record Offices.
Manorial records may also hold details of interest but many of these are still the private hands of the landowners.
Apprenticeship books and guild rolls may also help.

It should however be realised that most of these records are not online and may be found and viewed by visiting archives, libraries, both public and private up and down the country.
It is probably best to start with archives like the Public Record Office at Kew or perhaps the County Record Office of the county ones ancestors came from.
This is getting a bit long so I better stop here.
Cheers
Guy
 

Kempy

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Windermere
#7
Have no fear of me taking your advice the wrong way! I want advice! In fact is there an idiots guide to all this?!

I am lucky enough to have had a few relatives that were hoarders or distinguished in certain ways so that tracking them down has been easier than it would have been for others. I'm also lucky enough to have a family bible from the 1800's with a lot of names and dates in.

I will do my best to do as you say - it's frustrating, as my origins on my dad's side are from Thanet in Kent and I lived there my whole life - till a couple of years ago, so now I'm actually doing this and I'm not actually there to go rooting through the archives etc....so I will have to make a list of people and dates etc so that when I visit I can make the most of my time!

I think as a novice in this - and shy as well, the hardest thing is knowing what records actually exist and what the processes are to access them.
 

duckweed

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#8
Sometimes a look through the National Archives online can bring up names. I found a relative by searching using surname and place and found a tennant that fitted with the little we knew. We haven't firmly established the family line yet but it has given a direction to go in. So my advice is look up archive catalogues and see if family name comes up. Even if not wealthy may come up as a witness or a plaintiff in a court record.
 

Foxyloxy

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Moira
#9
I would completely agree with Guy and it is easily done although you need to look and prove each event with a record, you will find even if you did Records office and Parish Church research 10 , 20 years ago more records will now be available to look at and the important thing is that you prove each person has a place in your tree, or they are not 'yours'

I researched using primary records, sitting in records offices, wandering church grave yards, rolling film of newspapers in the library, visits to Kew, writing letters and part of a FHS and everyone hits brick walls....... when home computers became the 'norm' the internet was born, it took me several years to put my paper copies of records into a computer database and scan documents, photos etc then thank goodness boxed up all my many files, note books and scribbles, until my computer was stolen and I lost everything so had to start all over again to research and sorting out my long put away files ( which I hadn't updated with new information I had found)

I have to say it took me a couple of years, the internet is great but ONLY a help, nothing more, broke many brickwalls looking again at records which is also when I saw the enormous number of spurious information online and not just in 'trees' and if this is what people are using ( and I know it is) to 'research' their ancestry then all they have is a collection of unrealted names tree. what the internet is great for is contacting others world wide who are also researching branches of the ancestry, biggest issue is sorting out the real researchers from the 'copy and paste' one and the other is the specialised FH forums like this which does have some genuine researchers who are also very willing to share their knowledge, skills, localised experience as well as use the internet as clues about where to look.
 

ladybird

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Kingswood
#10
Well said Kempy, I totally agree. Unfortunately there are a lot of peopl who just get a reply from another person doing 'their' tree, & they just enter the names in, not looking at whether dates fit, etc.
I had this with my Deering family, as when we got back further there are 2 families marrying a person of the same first name. So hence without checking you can easily go off on the wrong line.

So the answer is check, check & check again even if you have to go right back to the start.
 

Lynn68

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Ipswich
#11
Hi, just wanted to add my two penneth worth of advice about double checking information. Its vital that all info is checked, cross checked then checked again.

My sister-in-law and her mum started researching our side of the family tree for posterity. They started off with a birth certificate of someone she believed to be our paternal grandfather. Huge mistake it was the wrong the person and had nothing to do with our family, we still don't know where the certificate came from!!!

Its only in the last year that ive started a proper search that we realized the mistake. Ive got the right person (I know this because I had the card that was produced for his burial by the funeral home, we had it all along, I did give it to my brother before they started the research as well!!!!. Dates and places match up with his marriage when alive and that has led to finding his parents and the search goes on. Also using the correct information has led to finding out he and our paternal grandmother were both born and married in Eire. No wonder they couldn't find a marriage cert here in the UK...hehe.

Im going to have to bite the bullet and pop over to Eire this year to research more over there and also spend time in London visiting cemeteries and tracking down parish records all in the name of proper research.

Good luck lynn:)
 

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