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Writing up your Family Tree?

Genealogy, Local, General
stevensfo
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Writing up your Family Tree?

#227363

Postby stevensfo » June 6th, 2019, 8:58 am

The first item on my list of 'Things to do' when I retire is to sort out all my family tree stuff – photos, census copies, letters, scribbled notes going back decades, follow up leads on the Ancestry website etc. The idea is to put everything together in a document/book/folder for our kids, grandchildren etc.
But how best to do it? Since discovering my Dad's long-lost cousin thirty years ago, it all mushroomed and my tree on Ancestry has got to the point where I'd need a large wall to display everyone. Along the way I've solved a few family mysteries and uncovered some amazing stories.
My idea is to start with a diagram of the bare bones of the tree, i.e. 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8… etc , then to have a section for each person with their siblings and their relations.
Am I being too ambitious? Has anyone put together something like this?

Or should I just forget it and go straight to the second item on the list, which involves expanding my collection of Malt whiskies? :-)


Steve

tjh290633
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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#227404

Postby tjh290633 » June 6th, 2019, 10:47 am

Presumably you have a copy of your tree as a GED file? You should be able to configure trees from that to suit your need.

I use Legacy as the program for that job. Previously I had a freebie from the Times, but it doesn't work with 64 bit systems.

You also have the problem of descendants and ancestors. Both are differerent trees.

TJH

Dod101
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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#227419

Postby Dod101 » June 6th, 2019, 11:08 am

I do not know what a GED file is but I have wrestled with exactly the question that stevensfo has raised as well. I have all of my direct ancestors going back to the 1700s for everyone except my maternal grandfather's family who seem to have wandered all over the place. It is in the form of a chart with me and my sister at the bottom.

I was going to try to write up my discoveries by a different section for each of the four grandparents but even then each great grandparent could actually have his/her own section. then there are other aspects. For instance several different branches of my family have connections with Canada so I can have 'The Canada Connection' bringing different bits of the family together. I conclude that various chapters need to be more or less standalone, with some repetition so that anyone in the future wanting to know about someone or some subject does not have to read the lot to find out.

More fun and less harm in doing the family history.

Dod

stevensfo
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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#227454

Postby stevensfo » June 6th, 2019, 12:20 pm

Dod, a Gedcom file is a small text file that can be (should be!) produced, imported and recognised by all Family Tree software. It only saves text, so no photos, but once the tree gets beyond a certain size, it's very important to back it up as a Gedcom file occasionally. Oh, and save it somewhere safe, not just on your PC! :-)

I learned this the hard way about 20 years ago when I had a really nice program on my PC. The PC went 'phut' and I lost everything. So now I have a subscription to online Ancestry. The advantage here is that names, places, deaths, marriages and DOBs are automatically cross-referenced among millions of users and you often discover other people researching the same family. Then you have the arduous task of checking the data to see whose is more correct, but very often, those other researchers have lots more info, photos of graves, certificates etc that you can add to your own tree.

I have a similar problem to you, but with my paternal grandfather. Coming from Wales with a very common name, most attempts at research have me banging my head on the desk.

Steve

Dod101
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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#227457

Postby Dod101 » June 6th, 2019, 12:29 pm

Thanks for the info stevensfo. I keep my stuff on a standard back up file as well as being on Onedrive.

My father's family on both sides lived in rural Scotland for all of the 19th century and did not move very far so that made his history quite straightforward, but my mother's side is much more challenging. I have made various attempts to get it down formally on paper so to speak but I always get side tracked and anyway cannot quite decide what would be best. I have taken all my records from original sources so am quite confident that it is correct and I have seen some Ancestry stuff that is either plain wrong or to my mind speculation rather than fact.

Good luck

Dod

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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#227460

Postby PhaseThree » June 6th, 2019, 12:33 pm

Ancestry provide a book and poster service alongside their online offerings. They seem to use mycanvas.com
From the Ancestry main page select "Extras/Photo books and Posters"

stevensfo
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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#227488

Postby stevensfo » June 6th, 2019, 2:12 pm

Thanks. I haven't logged on for ages so will have a look at what Ancestry are doing now. In fact there are a few new additions I have to record!

Dod, yes, you have to be careful with other people's records. Very often, the person you're researching is just a very distant relative of someone else, and they're not too bothered, and have probably copied them from somewhere else. It is incredible just how time-consuming it is and how easy it is, with a large family tree, to get completely lost and start drowning in information. But there are rewards. I discovered a diary from a school in Wales from the 1800s, published online that mentioned my G Grandmother, a student teacher at the time and a clue that led to finally solving a family mystery. Then there are the disappointments. I was overjoyed to find someone who knew descendants of my paternal grandfather's siblings, the biggest gap in the tree. After an initial exchange of emails, they just stopped replying. Who knows. Maybe to protect me from an embarrassing family secret? ;)

Steve

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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#227516

Postby jackdaww » June 6th, 2019, 3:38 pm

stevensfo wrote:Thanks. I haven't logged on for ages so will have a look at what Ancestry are doing now. In fact there are a few new additions I have to record!

Dod, yes, you have to be careful with other people's records. Very often, the person you're researching is just a very distant relative of someone else, and they're not too bothered, and have probably copied them from somewhere else. It is incredible just how time-consuming it is and how easy it is, with a large family tree, to get completely lost and start drowning in information. But there are rewards. I discovered a diary from a school in Wales from the 1800s, published online that mentioned my G Grandmother, a student teacher at the time and a clue that led to finally solving a family mystery. Then there are the disappointments. I was overjoyed to find someone who knew descendants of my paternal grandfather's siblings, the biggest gap in the tree.
After an initial exchange of emails, they just stopped replying.
Who knows. Maybe to protect me from an embarrassing family secret? ;)

Steve


=============================

this happens to me a lot.

must be something ive said......

;)

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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#228182

Postby Slarti » June 9th, 2019, 7:00 pm

Another Legacy user for printing family trees, here.

A cousin organised a family gathering for that line of the family, my paternal, and I created 5 trees, and ancestor tree for my Dad )which was the same as for his brothers and sisters, of course) and 4 descendant trees for his grandparents which showed nearly everybody at the gathering. If I'd got things wrong, mainly with the current 3 generations, I asked people to write any corrections or additions on the trees. Gave me an additional 20 people, mainly kids, that I was unaware of and corrected a couple of spelling mistakes in middle names.

It all took a lot of printing and sticking, but was well worth while.

But, as to putting it in book form, sounds like way to much work, and I've only got 1750 people in my tree.

I have everything in electronic format with scans of photographs, certificates, church register pages censuses, electoral registers, the England & Wales National Probate Calendar stuff, etc organised so that if you search by name, you'll find it or if you search by church or census you'll still find it if I have it. This does mean multiple copies of things on my R for Roots drive, but it is well worth the space. Also, having things like that I've been able to copy chunks and pass them on to other researchers in the family.

Slarti

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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#229449

Postby Charlottesquare » June 14th, 2019, 11:51 am

I have two versions re my father's family on the male line.

Version one was created by my uncle who started the work in the 1960s, this is a handwritten collection of sheets with boxes/ a grid which takes a little getting used to but works as a quick reference, the catch is he did not detail his sources (he pored through parish records) so I have had to treat everything with a little caution. However he did hoard everything he could, so I inherited five ring binders full of data, photos, army records, newspaper clippings etc which does help to flesh out from a bald list of names and dates.

The second is Family Tree Maker- gradually, as I check each of my uncle's entries I post them in, nothing goes in until I am certain it is correct, hastening slowly, from experience, is essential to avoid errors. The idea is to input everything my Uncle had, photos, news articles etc and then distribute copies to sisters and cousins, but it has been a slow process with flurries of activity followed by months when little gets done.

As a warning to others, to avoid some of my errors, from experience trees found online need to be treated with real caution, a lot of them I have found have errors, a lot of the errors are common to lots of different trees as the errors get copied from Tree A to Tree B etc found online and get cemented into place- blindly relying on the research of others I have found is the easiest way to introduce errors.

I am fortunate that there is now a One Name Study re this surname which has a really well researched history with circa 9,000 names in it, notwithstanding that caution is needed as for at least one ancestor we cannot be definite which of two individuals ,with the same christian name born in the same year within the parish records, is the one to follow backwards, we have had to work on balance of probability (occupation) rather than certainty- on the plus side, researching independently, we both match back to circa 1720, it is a birth in 1677 that is causing the issue, so decent progress has been made and I just need to accept there is the possibility of being from one of two different lines before that. (On the plus side we think we likely all originally descend from four brothers circa 1600)

So now, apart from data input, I think this tree is mainly as complete as I am going to make it.

The other issue can be family misconceptions /misunderstandings blinding research. I have one individual on my mother's side, my great great grandfather, born in 1796. My grandfather (who I never met, he died before I was born) had written in some notes I inherited that the individual "returned to Achnacarry where he died"- He was a Cameron. For twenty years this had me chasing the Achnacarry/Fort William records for his birth to no avail until finally I found his birth north of Perth, miles away. He had been a travelling shepherd and the "return to Achnacarry" was not a return to where he was from (my assumption) it was a return to where he habitually had gone to work each season- it is so easy to get misled and follow the wrong interpretation once back into the parish record periods.

Re this latter tree, where I did not inherit as much data so started more from scratch, I have found that completing an A4 sheet for each individual detailing both the information found and its source is really helpful with the record keeping, once happy to enter the data into software the identifying tree entry number can be added to the sheet and if each sheet is held in a clear wallet it is a useful way of also storing other paperwork/ photos/ certificates re the individual to complement the electronic record. (though still not fully sorted the correct way to file family group photos by this system)

Dod101
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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#229462

Postby Dod101 » June 14th, 2019, 12:14 pm

I have not got any further back than marriages around 1780/90. I do not know how I can identify the correct Fred McTavish say, around 1765/75. I am certain of the marriages because a death certificate in say 1861 after statutory registration was introduced gives me the names of parents, and I can make a reasonable guess about the ages of the parents and so find the marriage. I would love to get further back. Ancestry tells me the names of the parents of one such couple but I am not convinced they are correct. They may be but I do not know, and I really do not want to start adding probabilities to what is a 'for certain' chart which I currently have. I have though proved that I am Scottish at least as far back as the 1790 on both sides of my family except possibly for my maternal grandfather. His family is extremely elusive.

Dod

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Re: Writing up your Family Tree?

#229969

Postby Charlottesquare » June 16th, 2019, 5:05 pm

Dod101 wrote:I have not got any further back than marriages around 1780/90. I do not know how I can identify the correct Fred McTavish say, around 1765/75. I am certain of the marriages because a death certificate in say 1861 after statutory registration was introduced gives me the names of parents, and I can make a reasonable guess about the ages of the parents and so find the marriage. I would love to get further back. Ancestry tells me the names of the parents of one such couple but I am not convinced they are correct. They may be but I do not know, and I really do not want to start adding probabilities to what is a 'for certain' chart which I currently have. I have though proved that I am Scottish at least as far back as the 1790 on both sides of my family except possibly for my maternal grandfather. His family is extremely elusive.

Dod


Re your first point if names are common it is pretty tricky, you may from the death record know age at death and hence year of birth but if lots born with the same name in the same year it can be really tricky- it can help if they do not move around too much but even that is not certain; I have Donald Camerons coming out of my ears on my Mum's side. Years ago I used to chase through the Mormon fiches at the library and try to eliminate those that were obviously not the correct one based on subsequent events I could track ,but care was needed as the Mormon records were never spot on, they did have errors, however as a free source they were better than nothing re bulk eliminations rather than spending lots of money on copy certificates; one can burn through a fair amount on Scotland's People really quickly these days.

In Scotland if a line becomes elusive prior to national registration of BMD sometimes taking a peek down non Church of Scotland record routes can assist, whilst I have yet to come across this issue my wife has spent a couple of days chasing through Catholic records in Edinburgh re her family, though to tell the truth I am unsure how successful this has been as she does her lot and I do mine; just an idea as obviously non conformists etc do not get into parish records.

I have tended to do more work chasing in Wiltshire than up here as my father's side were Liddiards from Aldbourne, Wiltshire (the records I inherited) and a chap called John Dymond has created a very useful searchable database of all the Aldbourne Births,Marriages and Deaths (Treelines) that has proved invaluable, but getting back to the late 17th century has more been due to inheriting records, a not that common surname and a fairly static set of ancestors staying reasonably close to one location rather than my skills, or lack thereof. I also benefit from a lot of research re the surname by the one name study organiser and even a worldwide reunion back in 2016 which I attended.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-w ... e-37069447


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