News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. Brick walls in your family tree?

    Have you come across any of those proverbial “brickwalls” in your family tree?  Have you found a stumbling block that you just can’t get over?

    Then why not come and chat to our experts at Who Do You Think You Are? Live next week at the NEC in Birmingham.  Running from 7th-9th April, our genealogists will be at the stand of our sister organisation, the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, and would be happy to discuss any genealogical mysteries in your family tree.

  2. How to start tracing your family history

    Most people are interested in some way about their family history, but to the uninitiated knowing where to begin can be difficult.

    Always start by talking to elder family members, who may be able to remember details back to the nineteenth century.  If they are vague on dates, ask about what time of year they remember particular events, which can help jog memories.

    From there, either progress to General Registration records of birth, marriage and death, or if possible, to the 1911 census.  There is currently a one hundred year confidentiality ruling regarding census access, so the returns of 1911 are the most recently available to the public.  Once a family has been found within census records, it should be possible to trace backwards using BMD certificates and census returns, back until 1841, which was the first census enumerated.

    Hit a brick wall with your research? Not sure where to start?  Why not contact us for a free quote to investigate your genealogy.

  3. It’s all in the signature . . .

    Sometimes in genealogical research, a brickwall can be reached in all sorts of circumstances.  This week our searchers were initially stumped by one George Jackson, waterproofer.  He was named as the father on the marriage certificate of Joseph Jackson.

    However, there was simply no Joseph Jackson, son of George a waterproofer in census returns or General Registration records.  A likely family was found however, with the father named Charles.  He was sometimes recorded as a waterproofer, but also as a labourer or french polisher.

    In order to prove this was the relevant family, it was necessary to think outside the genealogical box!  In fact, when one of the daughters of this Charles married, one Joseph Jackson was a witness.  His signature was recorded as follows:

    joseph jackson witness

    When comparing this to the signature on the ancestral Joseph’s own marriage record, they were certainly extremely similar:

    joseph jackson wedding

    But the final icing on the cake?  Joseph’s sister married one Sylvanus Musgrove: Joseph’s youngest child was named Sylvanus, clearly in honour of his uncle.  Thus some clever detective work helped identify the relevant family, despite a discrepancy on a marriage record.

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