I was nearing the end of my stint as an Ancestry Advocate on the stand at WDYTYA 2013, when a lady asked me to ‘help her find out where she had gone wrong’. … Let’s face it, we’ve all been there, haven’t we?
She had obviously spent a great deal of time and money tracing her ancestors. She had all the birth certificates and census printouts for the family and had taken the trouble to go and visit what she thought was her ‘ancestral village’. Imagine her disappointment when a local researcher told her that he had already researched the family and she was not a descendant of that particular person.
Together we tracked back through the certificates and census entries – we confirmed we were looking for a gentleman born in Lyme Regis, Dorset in 1795, I think it was. The person she had found, on the IGI (International Genealogical Index) had the right name and was baptised in the right year but in a different, albeit close, village in Dorset.
We only had 15 minutes and time was running out. But there, on the right-hand side of our screen, were the ‘Suggested Records’ – a list of extra records that related to our initial search. One in particular grabbed my attention, a baptism in Dorset.
With bated breath we clicked on the link – would we simply be back with the person she had already found? No, it was a baptism for the same name and year but this time in Lyme Regis and with different parents.
She was delighted and so was I. Of course there’s no guarantee that this is the right man – her first check is the burial records to ensure that he was not a victim of the high rates of infant mortality. But it’s a great start!
Authored by Gill Grocott. Gill has been researching her family history for more than 10 years, having taken over from her mother. Her research has been almost exclusively in the British Isles, one of the many surprises she has received is to find out that she is almost 100% ‘made in England.’
Emma Pulman is a Social Media and digital Marketing Executive for Ancestry.co.uk. Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Emma regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page.