Archive for August, 2010
Feuds and creating fantasy families with genealogy
Posted on: August 13th, 2010 by pj
What made you embark on a genealogical journey.  Was it a love of history?  Maybe the hope of finding a famous ancestor? Is it because you need to know ‘who you think you are?’  Do you view it as a ‘collecting’ hobby like stamps, gathering all that data to safely store away for future generations, or are there more complex reasons?
For me it certainly wasn’t a love of history, not initially anyway.  Over the years, as I’ve learnt about the lives of my forebears, I’ve gained an appreciation of social history if only to put their stories into some kind of context, but it wasn’t my primary interest.  Nor am I collector of dates or famous people.  I realised early on that if we go back far enough most of us will be able to find someone ‘of note’ that we are related to, just by virtue of simple maths.  As our ancestors double with every generation so, for example, going back only sixteen generations we each have 65,535 ancestors so the chances of someone amongst them being famous or royal are pretty good.
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Who left what to who and why? More questions than answers with today’s research..
Posted on: August 11th, 2010 by pj
I have to admit to getting a little rush of excitement when new record collections appear online and today was no exception with the release of the National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941 over at ancestry.co.uk.  As usual I dived in with little forward planning, cherry picking the ancestors I thought would have the most interesting wills, expecting that very few would actually have the resources to make a last will and testament.  I was surprised to find that even with modest estates many had made formal plans to pass on their effects to loved ones.  Apart from the obvious information about legacies the probate calendar was able to confirm birth dates and in some cases it named relatives such as nephews that I hadn't known about.  However, it wasn't long before the questions popped up.  Why did the apparently wealthy businessman have only a few pounds to share out between his children?  Why did William Rainbow leave everything to his son and nothing to his wife?   I'm hoping that ordering the actual copies of the wills might prove more enlightening but I've been researching long enough to know that for every answer we're often left with two questions and that's probably why we like genealogy so much.

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