Conversation The Common Room
Helper icon Helpers: Chris2mates , LLstill , PrincessFruitBat

About us

Midsummer's Eve is a free online dating community - based around friendship, real meetups, real people, and real relationships. We've been online since 1999 and have twice won Radio 2's Web Site of the Day award. So why not join us for free and join in the discussion?

Are you researching your family tree?

A bit of advice

Aely  Female  Hampshire
7-Sep-2020 15:04 Message #4791670
Ancestry is a very popular site for family history researchers. People put their family trees on there and other people copy chunks into their own trees thinking it will save them time and effort. A word of warning. Don't. My daughter recently joined Ancestry and had a DNA test, resulting in several hundred matches of varying degree. She has got me going through those from my side of the family while she concentrates on her dad's side, about which we know little.

I have been doing my own family research for about 25 years. I started with a tree of one part of the family compiled by someone else, checking his findings with original records through the local LDS (Mormon) Family History Centre scanned records. I found a big mistake. One of my supposed direct ancestors had actually died at the age of 3! So believe nothing if you haven't checked the research.

Looking at the trees on Ancestry I am finding so many errors, some minor, some huge. I can often tell what has been copied from which tree. I would swear that some of the earlier trees contain little more than guesswork. Find somebody in the online records with the same name and it must be the right person! I won't say I am perfect. Double checking has led me to correct minor mistakes of my own - but it can take me hours of research to confirm. or reject.

Also, one of my "found" cousins asked me how private is Private on Ancestry. Not very, it seems. You can hide the details of living people by marking them Living. I think this may no longer apply if they die and you enter a death date. Having a Private tree doesn't seem to be very private. If you have a DNA match there seems to be no barrier.

Another point to be aware of if you use Ancestry is that once on there, your tree cannot be deleted in its entirety. The best you can do is remove the details of every individual on it, individually.

Some sites have links to other site's records, which they don't themselves hold. Genes Connected will send you through to Findmypast for censuses but then you must pay FMP for access - but see below - you might not need to check the actual record for what you want.

In general, it is best to use more than one source for information. Different sites have different benefits. I have found Findmypast is the best for UK newspaper archives, for instance. Genes Connected (a development from Friends Reunited) lets you see a lot of basic info for free. This can save you money. They, like some other sites, allow PAYG so you "buy" access to a certain number of records without paying a monthly subscription. Very useful if you don't have a lot of lookups.
brisinger-the-beekeeper  Male  Lancashire
8-Sep-2020 15:40 Message #4791792
I find Geni a good free one. I think MyHeritage own it but you can get access to photographic evidence that others have uploaded and basic access to BMD records to cross check. It grades cross-checks on likelihood based on a number of variables including trawling the various family tree companies for you to clarify. I find on familysearch census records need to be cross checked over a period because literacy and ability to read hand writing can get names wrong. Billiongraves can help to cross check as well because gravestones usually carry generations.
I guess my surname is less common than most but the spelling consistency is not always reliable probably partially people aren't reading it correctly and literacy not being as good centuries ago. I know members of my family were considered 'pillars of the community' owning brick making businesses going back centuries and getting the contract for making the bricks for RAF Cranwell so there's background data to go with it for me to cross check.
Aely  Female  Hampshire
10-Sep-2020 22:44 Message #4791987
There were so many transcription errors in the 1901 census it was ridiculous. It was put out to a company in India. On just one family I found 3 errors. A daughter was older than her mother and two names had been misread to the extent that a boy had become a girl. I always go for the scans if I can.

 Back to top

 Help with conversations