Footprints in the sand

20 September 2015

In the nineteenth century, what would our ancestor’s footprints have looked like? Probably not so different to our physical footprints today. However, our ancestors left a very different footprint in history.

Do you have any photographs of your family in the early nineteenth century? Highly unlikely, I would say. Our ancestors certainly didn’t have email, Facebook accounts, Twitter, etc. There weren’t CCTV cameras, speed cameras and other methods of tracking their day-to-day life either! [Some would say, that’s a good thing!]

Our distant ancestors often left minimal information to help us to track them and sometimes the information they left was not all that accurate! Even death certificates of today state ‘Birth place: England‘ – well, that’s not all that useful! It’s a fairly large place, you know….

Searching for people now – living ones that is – is much easier. People leave a trail without even knowing and it’s much easier to follow than Hansel and Gretel‘s breadcrumbs. We are often asked to find people at FWL – because that’s what we do! Sometimes the search can take months but occasionally, we can do it very quickly because the footprints are clear and easy to follow. In this country, individuals can opt out of the Electoral Roll. They must complete it but they can request that their details are not made available to the public. OK, so that makes our challenge a little harder but not if you have a Facebook page where you are connected with your siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, children etc.!!

Are you leaving footprints for the future and/or the current generation to see? Do you want anyone in the world to be able to see those footprints? Are you sure you want those footprints to be available forever more on the Internet? Consider carefully the footprints you leave …. they might come back to bite you on the backside.

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