52 Ancestors: Good Deeds

I am of an age that I began my serious family history research at the cusp of the digital revoution of the mid 90s. That was the time when the internet was becoming more pevalent in our homes and every day lives, and also the digitisation of family records was in its relative infancy.

I remember hte early days of Ancestry and FamilySearch (and it’s associated IGI – International Genealoigical Index – which was always viewed with suspicion by ‘real researchers’ as it was so driven by normal people and a lack of proofed sources. There were message boards and email groups, small, specialised websites dedicated to family names, specific record sets or localities. then there were the sites that served as aggregators of all these sites, like Cyndi’s List which is still around today.

What they all had in common were the people. Friendly, like-minded people who shared a passion for genealogy and welcomed us newbies, especially us youngsters and shared not only tips but often their own research (Yes, a risky business…)

As I said, I started on the cusp so alongside discovering the above online, visiting archives was required. I have mentioned my local archives here in WIltshire before, in their new, state of the art, premises with open, light-filled reading rooms and plenty of space to spread yourself out. However, their precursor, based in Trowbridge, were quite the opposite, a pair of pokey rooms in what felt like a concrete bunker with staff who made you feel less than welcome. No wonder people flock to sites that have transcriptions available

Of course, all those transcribed records, the census pages, the parish registers, the wills, the apprentice records, the criminal registers, all those names and dates are only available because of the good deeds of others, of scores of people giving up their evenings, their weekends to provide information not for themselves but for us, unknown strangers to call up at a moments notice. and all for free.

I say “them”, but I should say “us” as I am part of that number, I have taken part in transcription exercises for Ancestry and FamilySearch. I have recorded memorial inscriptions and been asked to photograph tombs and graveyards and I did so happily and with gusto because we are all a community. We all want to share our discoveries and our researches. And we all build off those who went before us. In genelaogy that is quite literally what we prove, but by how we prove it and the methods by which we search are all based on the good deeds of others.

SO to those people, those unsung heroes, I say this.

And it is why I will always endeavour to help other people. If I know something that might help you and keep it to myself, then I’m spitting in the eye of everyone who has helped me in the past and continues to help me today or will in the future.

(And sorry for missing another few weeks of 52 Ancestors, I suffered a small stroke a couple of weeks ago which necessitated a short stay in hospital and despite being home almost a week, its only now that I can really face being sat in front of my laptop!

52 Ancestors: Bearded

Sadly this post is not about the marvel that is Justin Trudeau’s beard, but the latest in this year’s 52 Ancestors series. That’s not to say I couldn’t do a whole post dedicated to that beard. Because I could.

But looking at my family photos, one thing strikes me. Beards didn’t feature large in my family, with a few exceptions here and there …


Holborow Research Puzzle

As I’ve said a few times, I’ve taken the opportunity that this year has given me to go over old research and re-evaluate old assumptions that have perhaps niggled the back of my brain over the years but have been ignored due to being low risk. (And so speaks the Project Management Professional in me.)

All I’m saying to that is … oh boy. I might have made a bit of an error. I’ll set it out below and perhaps anyone could let me know their thoughts. I’d be grateful!


52 Ancestors: Scary Stuff

In aid of Hallowe’en this weekend, the prompt this time around is “Scary Stuff”. Obviously this can be interpreted in a few different ways, but I feel like its time to be a bit light-hearted.

And … if you have one, please press your Tenuous Link Klaxon now …


52 Ancestors: Proud

It’s been a long three months since I last contributed to 52 Ancestors and it feels that momentous changes have happened this summer. Slow and inevitable, like continental drift. But that isn’t the conversation for this post.

This is about bring proud. Having pride. In my family? My ancestors? Myself?


Holborow in Australia 4: A Tale of Two Brothers

Cain and Abel. Romulus and Remus. Groucho and Zeppo. We all love a story about brothers. Although, presumably with fewer beatings. This post is about two such brothers – Daniel and James Holborow – who both left England and made two very different lives for themselves in Australia.

Warning: long read ahead!



Before I get back to something that may approach situation normal around here, I thought that I would offer up something close to an explanation for my … 6 week absence.


52 Ancestors: Newsworthy

The parish and village of Easton Royal is close to my heart as it is where I was born (well, actually I was born in Swindon, but I think you know what I’m saying …) and where I spent the first seven years of my life. So when looking for newsworthy events for this week’s 52 Ancestors post I thought I’d take a look through the British Newspaper Archive for Easton Royal events.

And I found one from 1894 (admittedly quite a long time before my family was living there) which made me smile.


Angells In The Outfield

I’m sticking with the changeable surname theme with this post, although I’m swapping my husband’s tree for my own, and Surrey for the comfortable, green-leaved familiarity of Wiltshire.


52 Ancestors: Multiple

This week’s 52 Ancestors post is, as you might have guessed, on the theme of multiple. As opposed to last week’s solo post. But multiple what…? Multiple children? Multiple births (although twins seem to be a pretty rare circumstance in my family)? Multiple marriages (definitely less rare!)?

How about … multiple identities …?