Today’s blog is brought to you by our MD, Kirsty. She is normally super busy and so has too many distractions to sit down and write a blog, however on New Year’s Day, she took some time out to write (the first article she had written in a long, long time!).
Kirsty also took the opportunity to reflect on her genealogical achievements for the year. Jill Ball from GeniAus invites us each year to reflect. You can read Kirsty’s fabulous account of 2019 below:
As a professional genealogist, I (including my team) find lots of elusive people every week! That’s our job. However, for me personally, 2019 hasn’t brought down any massive brick walls as, sadly, I haven’t had an enormous amount of time for my own family history! Maybe 2020 will change that?
On a case we are working on, we were (oddly) unable to locate a birth record for the deceased. However, we located a newspaper article in 1942 regarding the deceased’s mother being imprisoned for child neglect. The article specified that the five children were illegitimate and were “being neglected” when they were found along in the house in 1940 when one of the children “was crying because she had a burst arm. The children and the conditions were dirty. They were badly clothed and shod.” Whilst we knew the parentage and siblings of the deceased, this article (along with first-hand accounts from his siblings) nailed the case.
Organising THE Genealogy Show! This was a separate venture to the busy world of FWL and one I took on with much support from geneacolleagues around the world. A crazy idea perceived en route back from RT2018, which turned into a massive event at The NEC this year and what an event it was! Many thousands of genealogists from professional to beginner from Australasia to America, Canada, the UK and many European countries in between, the event was a massive success with the green carpet, camaraderie, learning and networking experience proving a hit with attendees.
Oh, I could wax lyrical on this one! I am ever grateful for the new resources made available online (thanks to Ancestry, FindmyPast, transcription projects such as Free UK Genealogy, Family History Societies, local/regional/national projects and way more besides) and a regular squeal of excitement is let out in the FWL Offices when we crack a case due to a new record collection. We love the archival research too but having some things available so easily at our fingertips makes our job a lot easier than in past decades.
I was also lucky enough to locate my grandfather’s WW2 records at RTLondon 2019 and have the records produced on the day. A fantastic service which (I hope) might be offered at TGS2020 too!
I received a message from a fifth cousin via Facebook this year. I do a surname study on the Sillifant surname and rarely have any interest from others. To be honest, not many people have ever held the name so it’s not surprising that there are not many people who care so much about it! However, an unexpected message came earlier this year and whilst digging into the lady’s roots, it transpired her father was on own Sillifant tree (even rarer!). So, I have begun sharing her ancestry story with her, step-by-step.
I was lucky enough to be asked to deal with the estate of a half cousin a billion times removed. I am not an heir but was so lucky to be given the opportunity to clear her house which was the house my 2x great-grandmother had also lived (and indeed died) in. There were photographs, autographs, newspapers and other various family ephemera which would, if I had not have been the one clearing the place, have been thrown in a skip. Very good geneasurprise!
I am not sure there is a favourite or most proud post of the year. However, #MiniTGS and #MiniFWL have enjoyed their travels and ‘enjoyed’ their kidnappings by many genies during 2019. They will be taking to the sky again in February 2020 to attend RT2020 and we (Minis, me and James Green) will be looking forward to working with Trace during the event.
I am lucky to have various and numerous genimates the world over, having attended conferences in three continents over the last few years since I took on the life of a full-time genealogist and business owner. I am also surprised at the generosity of genimates and recently had a message from someone who had located some Sillifants in PEI and wanted to know the best way to get the information to me!
Where on earth should I start on this one?! I look back on my research of yesteryear and marvel at how far I have come and the different and wonderfully successful methods I now use to crack people’s research enquiries. I think the greatest skill I have mastered this year is to delegate and trust in that delegation. Perhaps not genealogical as such, but a massive step forward on a genealogy business level.
Devon Family History Society. I had been a member for many years and in fact, I used to Secretary some years ago. As one of the societies I didn’t have one direct debit renewal, my membership lapsed BUT I attended the AGM where Nathan Dylan Goodwin was speaking (amongst others) and I have now renewed my membership with an annual renewal so it won’t fall off the cliff edge again.
Unfortunately, I have had little time to attend other sessions or events during this year… something I hope to change in 2020. I seem to spend most of my time educating others rather than educating myself! Not a bad thing… but, as a Legacy Webinar speaker, I know how many gazillions of webinars they have in their library and how amazing so many of the webinar speakers are. 2020 will be the year I dabble in the library myself and learn more from my geneacolleagues.
I am not a great blog writer, nor writer, these days. Research takes up so much time as does all the wrangling (which ain’t so much fun). But I do keep up to date via DearMyrtle and Randy Seaver’s webpages, Facebook groups and such like. I’d love to do more, but I have to leave that to our social media wizard, Rhianna.
The LivingDNA kit I bought at RT2018 which I still haven’t taken out of my drawer and actually done! I don’t do resolutions, but I will do it this year!
…find the spouse on a marriage record on FreeBMD by clicking on the page button to uncover everyone on the page! I thought this was a known thing but apparently, it’s not so commonly known. Check it out if you didn’t know that already.
I wish! When you are a long-standing researcher, the brick walls are much further back in history and indeed, much more solid. A lot of my brick walls are due to lack of available records. I have all my 64 of my 4x great-grandparents surnames and I am well over the 100 mark on my 128 5 x great-grandparents. That’s an aim for 2020 – to complete the blank spaces.
I have always known about the Deceased Online website but it has broken down a few brick walls this year. I love the ‘who is in the same plot’ option.
No contest. ALL of Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s books!
It would be rude to mention just one person over others, but I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of you who have been on my genealogy journey this year. It’s been a roller coaster and a challenging year in many facets. However, a very successful year overall for me, FWL and the wider FWL and #TGSfamily.
It’s another year in the life of FWL! The squad are stronger than ever this year so #watchoutgeneaworld.
The world of genealogy is a wonderful world to work in. As Geoff Rasmussen says, “Life is Short. Do Genealogy First.”