When someone says hello

One thing I do love about using family tree websites is being able to contact someone who may be a relation through the same connections through research. Usually it is me who does the messaging and chasing, but for once someone contacted me.

Over a course of one weekend it went to elation to annoyance. I was contacted about a twice great uncle I had in my tree that they also had. They wanted to know my connection to them. After an exchange in messages and explanations I decided to let them look at my tree because as many of you know it is easier to show someone then to explain people. I was happy to let them look as it saved me an explanation or two and them to have a little mooch around.

So after allowing them to have a look at my tree I received an email saying how we were not related and that I was wrong. The reason for it was based on a death certificate they had (that could or could not be the same person), they wished me the best of luck in my research. With that I was happy that I thought there was a connection to a family I had little connections to, to being annoyed that I was contacted by them to be told I am wrong.

Has anyone had this experience?

What annoyed me was the amount of time and effort everyone goes into researching a branch of a family tree to then be told I am wrong because they have different research and outcomes. To be honest I thought it was a little rude and rushed on their behalf. In a way it did knock my confidence as I do doubt myself at times with my research, but for a stranger to say you are wrong does make you question yourself even more. Then it makes me question is there anything else wrong? Or am I even wrong in the first place?

I wish people would be careful in how they approach people when asking if there is a connection. Remember be kind and be polite.

A review: Who do you think you are

Now that the latest series of who do you think you are has finished, ten more celebrities let us into their historical lives. For me it is a factual series I look forward to because as someone who does their own genealogy, it inspires me to look into areas I would not normally in my own tree. I find that some of the stories resonate in my own tree and I think this is the similar situation for others that do their own genealogy.

The celebrities for this season were in the order of appearance:

  1. Danny Dyer
  2. Amanda Holden
  3. Liz Bonnin
  4. Cheryl
  5. Ricky Tomlinson
  6. Sir Ian McKellen
  7. Greg Davies
  8. Warwick Davis
  9. Sunetra Sarker
  10. Sophie Raworth

I did find most of the stories fascinating. Especially Amanda Holden, Liz Bonnin and Sunetra Sarker because of their ancestors having their stories that took them to other countries. I loved Amanda’s enthusiasm for the vineyard. What really stood out was Liz’s journey to the Caribbean and the links and history I personally learnt about life in the Caribbean at that time. Former series have had celebrities trace their ancestry to India, but it is always a story I love to hear and that was the case with Sunetra. I loved the story of how she was the first to return to a village where her ancestors lived.

I think those that stood out was the enthusiasm and passion they had which for home-grown stories, I adored Sir Ian McKellen, mainly because it was based in Manchester and the North West of England which is where I am from. It was nice to see a piece of my own local history that I was not fully aware of.

One that did have twists and turns was Greg Davies’ episode. For me he is a comedian who I have never really watched or taken to. However I thought I would give it a go and I was not disappointed. With the twists of village life in rural north Wales and how everyone talks and it showed the social importance of life back then. It showed how reputation mattered and the taboo’s that were not accepted that are now. I found Greg’s immersion of getting to know these ancestors of his, really brought the story of his ancestors to life.

I had the same impression for Danny Dyer as I did with Greg Davies. Again I was not disappointed. His humour and shock was value enough for me. When finding out his connections to royalty and his facial and verbal reactions were great. As I have had those moments myself where you have an OH MY WORD!!! gasp of excitement and unbelievable shock. That is what I really caught my attention with this episode.

As an aspiring journalist and a fan of Sophie Raworth was someone I was looking forward to. I loved that she was already going in with a lot of knowledge already and those photographs were beautiful. Like many of us we have gone down the wrong route, as did she but found out they were a relation to her but not directly. Which for us who research lines it can happen a few times. As it has with me when I thought I had relations in Australia. I do, just from a completely different family unit and side of the family.

Although there were some that did disappoint me. I found that the Cheryl episode was okay in looking at mariners as an occupation as well as looking at World War One (which are stories I always love to hear). But personally I could not take to her as I felt she lacked something, whether it was the enthusiasm or that I had been spoilt beforehand with previous episodes, unfortunately I tried but I could not get into it.

Ricky Tomlinson for me came across as rather aggressive and I was angry at him for being so angry. Then again we all act in different ways to history especially when it is personal. I loved the social history to Liverpool and how life was with it being a busy port outside of London.

Warwick Davis I don’t know, I enjoyed it in a way with the musical aspects as I have a theatre musician in my family tree. But it was Warwick’s humour that really came into it all. For me I did not enjoy it compared to the others. Although for others they could have been their favourite.

One thing I did learn to go forward in my research is how I undervalued newspaper articles and how they give valuable information, especially with obituaries. I have used them a little before, but in the future more of newspapers will be used.

It was a series I thoroughly enjoyed and it is the names that attract the numbers to watch the programme. For me I find is useful for inspiration to look in new places for information.





What is in a name?

Our name is never our own. It is something that was decided for us at birth. Unless you change your name by deed poll. More often than not we keep out first names. But when it comes to our surnames it is something that is centuries old. The interesting question is where did surnames come from?

Surnames really became prominent when people started to move geographically from the small village a family had been for generations to a new town or area. This was where surnames really came into use.

Surnames are a sign of identification, even more so back then. They originate from an occupation, the son of their father, a specific place they lived as well.

Names like Smith, Cooper, Miller originate from the job they did of blacksmith, cooper and a miller.

Names like Williamson, Johnson, Harrison are sons of William, John and Harry.

Names like Markham and Leatherbarrow are based on where someone lived. Markham is meaning a boundary + ham as a homestead. Leatherbarrow is lair by the wood, that is done by breaking down the word from Old English and Norse combined.

Like a lot of surnames they originate from Old English, Norse. Welsh, Irish, Scottish and Gaelic have their own translations and variations. Other languages may have different reasons for surnames in translation.

For example my surname is Parry, which originates from North Wales and means son of Harry (Henry). Similar to the Harris and Harrison in English.

For all the reasons mentioned above, it is why two people could have the surname Smith and not ever be related due to the centuries ancestral reasons of having a blacksmith in a particular village way back in history.

Always essential in researching family trees is to double-check the location.

Solving the riddle of Sarah

On my last post about trying to find the missing pieces I discussed on trying to figure out who Sarah Pritchard was on an 1871 census I had found.

Well I finally figured out who she was. Whilst looking on a family research website of Find My Past, I was browsing newspaper articles to see if there were any references to a Frederick Pritchard, or any Pritchard in the Stalybridge/Dukinfield area where the Pritchard family resided. With a bit of luck I noticed a Frederick Pritchard mentioned as part of a marriage announcement with a Sarah Clayton. The article had a date of 23rd March 1876.

I decided to double-check the information date wise through another research website I use looking at Cheshire’s birth, marriages and deaths. As Ashton, Stalybridge and Dukinfield come under Tameside, the records for this area are on the Cheshire website.

Furthermore I looked into the dates of 1876 with Frederick Pritchard without putting Sarah’s name into the search box. Once pressing search there was a result of Frederick Pritchard marrying Sarah Clayton in 1876. Just like the article had said!

I was happy! The reason was that this information fitted into the 1871 census, as well as his second wife my twice great-grandmother died the same year. So therefore all the pieces seemed to fit into place.

Through a bit of luck and double checking I found out where the pieces fitted into this big jigsaw of my family tree.

Trying to find the missing pieces

Do you remember trying to fit a jigsaw together and struggling to find which pieces go where? The reason I use this analogy is because that is how I feel with my family tree right now. Some pieces fit together and there are some which seem to fit the puzzle but I am unsure to where they go yet.

I decided to revisit my great grandmother’s family on my paternal side. Minnie Pritchard was her name before she married. I have photographs of her and her parents as well and their names. Her father was a man who intrigued me and I kept returning to this particular family unit. His name was Napoleon.

Looking through census records I found a trail of his life and who his father was. The problem came when I was trying to figure out Napoleon’s mother. From looking at the Cheshire database on birth, marriage and deaths I saw a maiden name, the same maiden name for his two brothers. In comparing this to the census records I had found there was a woman called Sarah, so I assumed Sarah was the first name of the mother. To be honest I had a feeling of not being sure Sarah was correct as I had no other paper evidence apart from a census of 1871. Therefore I took a decision to order a copy of the birth certificate. When it came in the post I found out that my assumption was inaccurate. The maiden name was the same as the Cheshire database, but the first name was different. It did not say Sarah but Elizabeth.

The birth record stated Elizabeth Pritchard with the important of formerly and her maiden name. This proved there was a marriage at some point between the two. It is just now trying to find the documentation to prove a marriage existed rather than it just being a lie (which I doubt). Now I know that is the next place for me to look into is marriage records of these two people.

Also I would like to know more about Elizabeth. Such as where was she from? What year was she born? Who were her parents? Did she have siblings?

But the more questions I have is to who is Sarah? Is she someone who Frederic remarried after Elizabeth? Then where did Elizabeth go, did she die? So many questions about the women surrounding Frederic’s life. Then again there are a lot I have for the father of Napoleon, Frederic Pritchard. Sometimes his name was spelt without a K and sometimes with. He seemed to have disappeared on two census records of 1851 and 1861. From what I know Frederic’s children lived with his parents on the 1861 where Napoleon was 11. The strange thing is there are no parents. Frederic and whoever he was with Elizabeth or Sarah are not on the census. So where they are in the world is a mystery I want to solve.

With all these questions you can see why I was referencing it being like a jigsaw puzzle. Right now it is somewhat confusing. In the end I am sure I will get the answers needed, but at the end of the day it is all very fascinating and intriguing. Especially to go back onto my genealogy journey once again in finding out where my roots are and what sort of people I am related to.

Doing my family tree taps into the interest in history and even more so when you have something or someone tangible to place in that time period in history. I know I am enjoying being back on that rollercoaster once more.

New Year Resolutions

First of all happy new year to everyone and I hope it was a good celebration into 2017.

My blog post today will be looking at new year resolutions. Many of us make them and there are those who will roll their eyes just at seeing the title. Don’t worry it is not forcing you to make them, but just my opinion on them.

I like every year make resolutions, but I never keep them. This time however I have a slightly different mind-set to them. I hope you do to! Instead of seeing it as a resolution, something to fix as that is what a resolution is, to resolve something. Instead see it as a goal.

I decided to put these goals into something to do, learn and keep.

Something to do could be anything from loosing weight, stop smoking, get more active to trying to get up and be a morning person.

Something to learn is as it says whether you want to learn a new skill like a language or to dance to even reading a book in a subject area you would have never done before. Do it!

Something to keep is taking something in 2016 you were proud of and continuing in the next year, for me that is to keep writing whether it is in a journal or on this blog. For me it is something I was proud to get back into. So what achievement are your proud to continue?

As well know they are all ways to improve us mentally and physically as well as emotionally. But if you have a bad day where you feel like you failed. Do not worry, it happens we are all human after all. If you have a day where you go off-balance then take the next day as a new day and keep going. As most resolutions/goals we make are not going to be finished by the 31st January, it is a journey throughout the year. Take each day as it comes, rather than each month.

Take care and good luck with what you have chosen to achieve.


I just want to say…

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has viewed, commented, liked and shared my blog.

When I started it I did not expect much as I wrote for me and hopefully if it interested someone then that would be a bonus! Many of you were and for that I am grateful.

I hope everyone has a good and merry Christmas to you all.

Keep being creative and continue reading in 2017.