Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Summary 6 Oct 2013 - Transcribing Audio and Scanning Photos

Mystery photo from circa 1890
I have been working on a couple of projects that are a result of a trip I took to England in May of this year.

One involves transcribing the conversations that I recorded of some of my uncles, to capture family stories and family information. It is a slow process, twenty minutes of typing needed for five minutes of recording. I am doing a little at a time.

The other project is to do with copies of photos given to me by my Dad’s family. They include his brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and grandparents. Amongst them are a few mystery photos. One is of a young woman whose clothing puts the photo at around 1890, and another is of a young woman about 1905. I am sure there will be some detective fun trying to identify them.

I scanned the photos this week, so that I can send the printed copies to my Dad, but first I have to finish adding the names to the photos and to the scans.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Carnival of Genealogy - 115 Flash family history

Jasia of Creative Gene is hosting the 115th Carnival of Genealogy. The challenge is to write a "flash family history" in 300 words or less.

Here it is in 300 words - my Crosby line.

All of my Crosby ancestors came from north of the Tyne, between Edinburgh, in Scotland, and Newcastle upon Tyne.

The Crosbys were Presbyterians from the north of Northumberland, only a few miles south of the Scottish border.

Marrying directly into the Crosby line are the Pickens, my Scottish connection, originally from Edinburgh, and the Gilroys, from Rock and Embleton in Northumberland.

These three families arrived in Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1830s, a quarryman/carter, a brass finisher, and a glass flint grinder.

Marrying into the Gilroy line were the Robertsons, who were in Newcastle by 1817. In this line is my only known Irish ancestor Sarah Robertson, maiden name unknown, born Ireland in the 1790s, and that is all I may ever know about my Irish ancestors.

The Marrs married into the Robertsons resulting in my GGgrandmother Eleanor, the tripe shop keeper. Her daughter Elizabeth was a butcher, continuing to run the shop after the suicide of her husband left her with 3 children under 15.

There were bricklayers, a blacksmith, a glassmaker, a ship builder, pitmen, and a keelman (an occupation made famous in the old song “Weel may the keel row”).

There were families where most of the children did not survive, and others that were prolific and more fortunate. There were early deaths of a father to insanity, and his son to suicide; there were young men whose lives were taken in the First World War, and my grandfather who survived it.

Many were named to acknowledge those who came before - some named for grandparents, and some carried surnames as middle names. There was Stoddard Baird, who was only a stepfather to my GGGgrandmother Elizabeth Gilroy (nee Hazon), and yet his name echoes down the generations from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s.

There it is, my first contribution to a Carnival.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Where did I get that? - Keeping records of searches.

In the early days of my search for my ancestors, I heard or read, more than once, how important it was to keep track of my sources, to write down where I found information.

As a beginner I thought it didn’t matter too much. After all, it was only for me, it wasn’t as if anyone else would be looking at it, and I would be all done in about a year, so what was the point?

Well, I was wrong. On many counts.

I did make some notes. Notes that I thought would be adequate for me to know where I got information from. Some were in a notebook, which I quickly realized was not going to work, as I needed to file the information in the ring binders that I had for each main line. I changed to loose sheets of A4 paper, noting all the names I found in a particular session on the same sheet. Which I also eventually realized was not working too well, as I then had to copy out that information to have it filed with the correct person. So then I learnt to have only one surname per page, and that worked much better.

I was also a bit casual about how I recorded the information for the source, or the sort of search I did; I just wanted to hurry on to hunting down the next ancestor, or the next bit of information. I really thought I would remember from my sometimes brief notes – I had no idea how much information I would accumulate; it turned out to be much more than my poor brain can handle.

I did not have any idea of how consumed I would be about my new interest, and how far and for how long I would want to pursue it (probably for the rest of my life). Almost four years on, and there are a number of times that I have not been able to work out from my notes just who and what I searched, and have had to go back and re-do some of the work.

So, write it down, and write it down clearly. I realize now that there is no place for short cuts. It is better to take the extra time to be thorough, than to go back to an ancestor or a family months later and not be able to work out what I did, and what I didn’t do. Re-doing work is no short cut.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What did that really say? Revisiting a transcription

In my time doing my family tree, I have had a number of documents that I have transcribed. Amongst them were copies of two letters written by my mum’s cousin to my cousin some years ago. I had taken care and tried to transcribe them just as they were.

Recently my mum was wondering about her cousins, who she had not had a lot of contact with, and whether they had any children.

I looked again at my transcription to see if there were any clues, and not only were there clues, my mum’s cousin had named her children and also those of her brother. I had typed a question mark next to the name of her brother’s wife. Wondering why I had done that, I revisited my copy of the original letter.

I had put a question mark because I couldn’t quite make out the name. Then I noticed that there were some numbers in brackets next to each of the children’s names that were not on the transcription at all. What were they? Only the ages of the children at the time the letter was written! When I did the transcription I had completely overlooked these numbers; I was looking for specific information, and was so focused on looking for anything about earlier generations that I skipped straight past those numbers.

That’s why it is a good idea to go back once in a while and revisit the information and documents we have gathered. Seen from a fresh perspective, we may pick up on details that did not seem significant at the time.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday Summary, 20 Nov 2011

These are my recent genealogy related activities


I used Find A Grave’s cemetery search to find cemeteries in Newcastle upon Tyne, and then browsed through the names. I had used Find A Grave a long time ago, but had never tried the cemetery search – I got the idea from watching the Legacy Webinar Watch Geoff live: Cemeteries. I noticed that many were military people. They had been uploaded by the International Wargraves Photography Project (although there were no images for the people I looked at on Find A Grave).

Found two Gilroy names, John Soulsby GILROY and John Robertson GILROY. I recognized both middle names, checked my database, and sure enough they were mine. John Robertson was the brother of my great grandmother Elizabeth Robertson CROSBY (nee GILROY), and the other was the son of her cousin, also named John Soulsby GILROY.

Next stop was the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. I was aware of this site but had never used it, as I wasn’t sure I had ancestors who died in war. Both my grandfathers served in WWI, and both survived it. I was able to find both of these Gilroys there, as well as William GILROY, another of my Great Grandmother’s brothers.

Finally on to Ancestry taking advantage of the free access to WWI records. I did not find the service record for John Robertson GILROY, but did find one for John Soulsby GILROY, cousin of my great grandmother.

In remembrance of my Grandad Harold Harrison Berry who served in and survived WWI, I completed the transcription of his WWI service record that I started a while back. Reading every line as I transcribed, I was able to make much more sense of it. The next step will be to get a better understanding of what was going on in the places he served.

Through the military board at Rootschat, I found a link to the Long trail website, which has a great deal of information on lots of aspects of the First World War and the soldiers who fought.


I watched 3 of the webinars at Legacy Family Tree.

Watch Geoff live: Cemeteries, by Geoff Rasmussen. It was his examples using Find a Grave of searching for a cemetery that led me to the discoveries of Gilroy ancestors.

Cracking the Case of Nathan Brown’s Parents, by Marian Pierre-Louis.

Marian demonstrated how she tracked down the parents of Nathan Brown using indirect evidence. I thought this was excellent, presented clearly and very interesting to follow. It felt like a detective on a case.

She followed up, beginning with this post at her blog Marian’s Roots and Rambles.

It Is Well With My Soul: Finding Ancestors Amid the Rubble of Disaster and Misfortune, by Thomas MacEntee. Thomas looked at the sort of records that are available for searching for people who were involved in disasters of various sorts.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tips for census searching

I recently listened to a podcast from The National Archives, Solving Census Problems by David Annal, which was worth a listen.

It contains useful tips about census searching including

  • Spelling variants
  • Use of wildcards
  • Searching using the more unusual names in the family to produce more relevant results
  • Searching for children as their ages may be more exact than adults

Happy searching.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Summary, 6 Nov 2011

Recent genealogy related activities:

I am reviewing my research beginning with my grandparents and working backwards, in preparation for beginning to write the stories of my ancestors. I had the wedding certificates for both couples, but only one birth certificate, so I sent for and received the other three. I have yet to transcribe them and enter them into my database.

I had some notes that I made when visiting my Mum and Dad a while back, they are now mostly transcribed.

Watched the Legacy Webinar The three Cs of Irish Research:
Civil Registration, Church Records, and Census. I haven’t done any Irish research yet, and I found this a good overview and I will use the information when I am ready to start with Irish research.

I listened to two podcasts on blogging from Lisa Louise Cooke. They were from her series Family History: Genealogy Made Easy, episodes 40 and 42. They contain some useful information on setting up a blog, and adding gadgets. Some of them I have done, and some I have yet to try.