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Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List.

As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets longer and longer and duplicated and eventually becomes a complete mess, or mine was, and I have no doubt it is the same for everyone else. Organised folk will put them into folders which in turn become more and more confused. The result is that you forget what is there and wander round adding to lists which become even longer and thus even less useful especially as you inadvertently add a link in the wrong folder! For example, I seem to have a Wikipedia page about the 15th King’s Hussars alongside Peter Crouch’s Podcast and a free Crochet pattern for a poppy.

(This was the point where I stopped to sort out my own bookmarks – the Chrome extension Bookmarks clean-up helped to speed things up here, finding and deleting duplicates and identifying broken links.)

Various people in the early online genealogical community quickly realised that they needed centralising and so sites like Cyndi’s List were born – now probably the longest list of genealogical links in existence. There are many other valuable collections of lists, and magazines and bloggers often publish their top personal top ten sites and periodically collect them up to a helpfully categorised round 100. However, I am not going to reinvent the wheel by listing my own favourite sites. Generally, I tend to collect links which are specific to my own research rather than the general collections of records, so they make for an eclectic mix gleaned from google searches over many years.

Happy Birthday to the Family Tree Forum Reference Library.

While writing this article, I took a different direction as I realised that exactly 10 years ago , we were busy remodelling the Family Tree Forum Reference Library.

In September 2006, Family Tree Forum “opened its doors” and the boards quickly became crowded with recommendations for websites on a wide variety of topics as well as a rapidly growing accumulation of advice and wisdom from the old hands at genealogical research.

A group of likely victims was approached to help with the organisation of these threads and in March 2007, the first faltering steps were taken in programming the pages in Mediawiki. None of the people who began creating the pages had ever used this method of coding before, but it soon became second nature for them, others joined them and eventually the reference threads were all transferred to their new home.

The Wiki system worked well until the software no longer maintained a link to the forum software. As vBulletin had just brought out a CMS system it was decided that FTF would make use of it and so, almost exactly 10 years ago, every link on every page of the Wiki was being checked and gradually transferred to the new set up which was then launched on 18th February 2010.

We do our best to keep the links current and occasionally will check the pages for broken links, but with 4500 pages we tend to wait for somebody to let us know about broken links and add new ones as we or the members come across them. The Reference Library is open to everyone on the internet, not just members, and we hope that even if they do not join us, people find what they are looking for. If you have come across this post then please, have a look at the library and maybe you will want to stay and join the forum too.

Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

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Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

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Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

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Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

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Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

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Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

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Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

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Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

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Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

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Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

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Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

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Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

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Procrastination … again

I am procrastinating,  yet again, and experimenting with Scrivener.  I think recent vet's bills (a Cocker Spaniel with Pseudomonas, spaniel owners will understand) will mean I won't be paying for it until just before the trial runs out, but I can already see it will...

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RootsTech is coming back but postponed until 2021

  We all hoped and yesterday it was confirmed, that RootsTech is coming back to the ExCel next November. It's not clashing with Comic Con this year so hopefully food will be more accessible during the day. I felt that I had missed a great deal last time so I have...

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Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

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Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

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Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

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Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

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Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

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The tickets have arrived

Last year I missed out on Family Tree Live but this year I got myself organised in good time. I like "real" tickets so had to wait a bit,  but they have arrived this week. I'm just going up for the day (and avoiding Saturday having looked to see who is playing at home...

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

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I’m very glad I went … now for the next time!

I’m very glad I went … now for the next time!

As the exhibition hall wasn't going to open until 9.45 I had worked out that either I needed to go at sparrow's crack, get a lift to the station, brave the rush hour and be able to get to a 9 a.m. session or leave later and have to pay for a taxi. Early start won....

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My first genealogical conference

My first genealogical conference

Generally the hobby of genealogy can be rather solitary and you spend much of your time hunting down dead people and the live people you meet up with are cyber acquaintances with strange usernames. Apart from a small local family history fair and a U3A talk in the...

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Surprise match

Surprise match

Since ThruLines appeared, a small group of descendants of James Budden and Mary Littlefield, my great x5 grandparents, has been building up. The Buddens are a West Sussex family and if I have the right marriage, Mary is from Hambledon just over the border into...

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Genetic memories …. or just coincidence?

Genetic memories …. or just coincidence?

The picture above is taken looking west from fields in Yapton. The spire in the distance is Chichester Cathedral and if you stand in exactly the right place the spire can be seen on a clear day. It is about 12 miles as the crow flies. At least one of my ancestors must...

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