Thursday 25 February 2010

A morning in the Records Office

Family history is a long and winding road . . . with many potholes and blind alleys in it!
Despite being groggy from 3 very poor nights of sleep, I was keen to try and find out some answers to family history questions which have arisen in recent days. I won't go to into great details because, even 80 years on, some of the events are still incredibly personal and emotional. Suffice it to say, it came to my attention that unbeknownst to me, it appeared that my g. grandfather had remarried. So off I trotted to Carmarthen this morning, and was welcomed back like a lost sheep to the fold as I had scarce shown my face in there since my mum's death two years ago.

I was soon happily settled down at a computer, using Ancestry to look for those answers, and yes, he had remarried. This now gives a better understanding of the people attending his funeral, as several of their names were a total mystery to me. In a few weeks' time, the 1911 census will be up and running on Ancestry and then I will see who is with who, and where. I can't find any further children from my g. grandfather's 2nd marriage, although his wife was young enough.

I also found out who his grand daughters had married, and their offspring too. One even shares a name with one of my daughters although it's her first name and my daughter's middle one. Tracing forward can be difficult, but post 1916 it is easier to trace offspring as the mother's maiden name is given. I am very much hoping I will be able to trace this cousin of mine . . . she is only a few years older. Fortunately they have stayed in much the same area.

Finding definite IDs for some of my Bolt family who went to London (Hampstead and then branching out) is more difficult, but I will persevere. I have a couple of possible deaths which tie up age-wise, so I will go back next week (or maybe even tomorrow, now I have the bit between my teeth!) and see what I can find.

I have just heard from another - more distant - "cousin" and her research puts one branch of my family firmly in Dartmoor - no wonder I am being called back.


  1. How interesting BB. I wonder if the second wife was a younger woman in the mould of Thomas Hardy`s second wife? I think you have the germ of a story there.....

  2. Fortunately my sister and a fairly distant cousin are doing all the leg work on ancestry for me. I don't think I have the patience. And on my husband's side he has a cousin who is doing his part. Nice to have obliging relatives.

  3. Tracing down family history has brought me in contact with a 3rd cousin I'd never met, and who has generously shared family records and pictures, and reconnected me with a 2nd cousin I hadn't seen since I was a teenager. Very rewarding.

  4. DW - she was just 5 years younger, a lass from Barnstaple transplanted to the South Hams.

    ChrisJ - I love it - like being a sleuth, trying to follow leads - but it doesn't pay to make to many quantum leaps as the first hop is often wrong! As I discovered with g. grandad . . .

    Mac nJanet - I have found - and met - some cousins to, several from NZ have been to stay with us, which was lovely. I always find people involved in family history so generous of their time and records.

  5. Tracing the family is very addictive I think, I have been tracing mine and my husbands for some time and got back to the 1600's in my family. A couple of weeks ago, I too spent a pleasant day in Dorchester at the History center looking through the parish records,great fun!
    It's like doing a complicated logic puzzle but with real answers!

  6. What would all we family historians do with out the Ancestry site?
    I have difficulty a few generations back, mainly because it seems our name was wrongly spelt. You are right we just have to persevere. Still it is all good fun and keeps us out of mischief.

  7. WoG - go back to the wretched microfiche!

    Goosey - you have deep Dorset roots then? You're lucky you don't have to travel far to look at original documents.

  8. This was to have been the winter when I sorted my notebooks full of wild scribblings and managed to conquer the Family History PC program. As you know, too many things have intervened. I will at least be on the right side of the continent to possibly sometime do some research in person. [That's rather a lot of possibilites!]
    Still trying to think how I can best follow the leads back to England in the 1840's. You helped me to narrow down the area, but at the moment brain isn't working to remember which county.
    But--its all packed neatly away for when I again have a house and my regular PC!