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Practical Pagan > Genealogy

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm wondering how many of you have researched your family's genealogy, and how you went about it.

I would love to hear your stories. Any secrets unearthed? Any surprises? Feel free to share.


message 2: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I researched for about a year, mainly to find out what was going on with two surname changes. I used Ancestry.co.uk, which is expensive and does have problems associated with usage - a site to both love and hate.

I got to the bottom of one surname change, although I can only give an inspired guess as to why they changed again. One gains a real feeling of what people were like by very small details - sometimes a signature on a birth certificate or by entries on census forms. And yes, secrets were unearthed, one of which was not known by an aunt, who could have been expected to know and should have been told.

As for actual genealogy, although I could only trace my Scots/Irish ancestors back to 1811 (a large number of Irish records were destroyed in a fire in the (1920s), I used a DNA lab to analyze my mitochrondrial DNA and found that that there are two haplogroup matches, one in the Highlands of Scotland and another on the West coast - not a surprise, but very satisfying.


message 3: by Nancy (new)

Nancy I have been researching my family history for about 15 years. My specialties are Scotland and early New England. It think Georgina ask for some stories, secrets and surprises. The first one which I am not sure you all want to hear is that I am descended from THE Samuel Parris (How traumatic, my and apologies to all of you). Also, I have found a murder, a shotgun wedding (ca. 1870 and very cleverly hidden), a court case in Scotland regarding an irregular marriage and a huge string of illegitimate children (one man, 7 women and 13 children) . I have written one family history and have the most of notes for two more. I am now addicted.


message 4: by Alison (new)

Alison (faerychaos) | 9 comments I've been lucky, my grandmother did research for close to 30 years and publish a book. My mother did research for 15-20 years, but left everything in notebooks and boxes before she passed.

Once I actually have a free moment in life, I plan on finishing what my mother started. I was raised Mormon, and they LOVE to research genealogy...as for resources, with the amount of information on ancestry.com and the internet, the ability to find people on facebook and then email, a lot can be done.

I know my mother and grandmother would have to go through a census and then request birth/death certificates. If you have a family bible, you might be in luck since many used that to track those births,marriages and deaths as well.


message 5: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Nancy wrote: "I have been researching my family history for about 15 years. My specialties are Scotland and early New England. It think Georgina ask for some stories, secrets and surprises. The first one which I..."

I'd share the secrets and the stories, but my aunt is still alive, and although she probably wouldn't know, I'm not sure she'd be happy if she did. On the other side of the family, my mother would be most unhappy if she knew I'd posted anything at all - we once had words about the actual research itself, even though she knew nothing of what I eventually found out (which wasn't really that much anyway by today's yardstick).

Samuel Parris - did you know he was an ancestor before you began researching, Nancy? It must have been a bit of a shock if not...


message 6: by Ancestral (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal (gaidheal) I research, on and off, using Ancestry. I've gotten back to the 1200s Somerset on one side of the family, and 900s on another, but mostly that has been because I was able to confirm connections with others researching the same families. It's an expensive business getting certificates to confirm, etc. so every now and then I have to take a break, until the next connection. Fun though.

As to secrets: Found one or two in relation to a witness to a murder, who had to change their identity and nationality to hide from those who wished to silence them, which has led to all sorts of wild speculations over the years about family origins.


message 7: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne | 4 comments I love it. I'm a total addict and try to link all the branches together and do other peoples too :)


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Samuel Parris, Nancy! Eeck! Yes, a shock indeed.

My Opa was a Nazi. Literally. Just after he died his sister found documents that revealed our Jewish heritage. Unfortunately I don't think he was aware of it during his life, and so I still find it hard to forgive him. I love having Jewish ancestry though, and one day will research it further.

My German side of the family left Sweden for Germany during the Thirty Years War (1600s). Not sure why they headed for Germany, perhaps my distant relative was a mercenary soldier. I need to look into to it.

Loving these stories! Keep them coming please.:)


message 9: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Suzanne wrote: "I love it. I'm a total addict and try to link all the branches together and do other peoples too :)"
I am glad I am not the only addict. Yes, I have spent a good deal of money, but it was heaps of fun. I have been working on that with my Cape Cod ancestors. I gets very tricky as they married cousins (all except for first cousins), if a child died the gave the next child the same name, and in the case of a spouse dying young they sometimes married their sibling's ex.spouse. It gets to the point where if you go back far enough in an old timer's history. You find that most of the locals are all related!


message 10: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I found with my Irish ancestors that sons were often given their mother's maiden surname as a second Christian name, which could give a clue to the identity of the mother if her surname was unknown.

The difficulty with that side of the family (apart from the loss of Irish records) is that not only were surnames often the same as, (like Nancy's ancestors), there was a marriage of second cousins, but Christian names were the same too, (sons being named after the father and daughters after the mother). The dominant surname not being uncommon meant that the potential number of birth and marriage certificates I'd have had to buy to identify the right person/people would have been excessive. I have to admit to being addicted for a while too, and will probably go back to researching when I've more time.


message 11: by Nancy (last edited Mar 15, 2013 09:38AM) (new)

Nancy I have included a link here for anyone who is interested in further genealogical research. It is a list I have compiled of some online free or mostly free websites. To check out before you invest money into something you may not want. Also many pay sites give you a free trial. I have been known to make a list of everything I might need from the site and then leave after the trail period. Just don't try to subscribe for a while! Also, if you use the site, you may decide it is worth the money. At any rate here is the link.
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3xCp...


message 12: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Thanks Nancy :)


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you Nancy! :)


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