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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.

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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DNA and other musings

DNA and other musings

Ever since I first started my website in 2006, I had intended to include a sort of blog. Setting up the site while researching my family history, getting involved with FamilyTreeForum, relocating from Belgium to West Sussex and the incredibly fast moving world of...

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Am I a name collector?

Am I a name collector?

It's my tree and that is how I like it. ​The other day I saw somebody commenting that they would never bother to even look at a tree with fewer than 2000 people. This was in a Facebook group where the central theme was DNA. Others won't look at a tree with high...

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AncestryDNA changes

​In March (2019), things began to go awry on the Ancestry site to the accompaniment of much wailing and gnashing of teeth on social media as new features appeared and disappeared, worked and then stopped working on some browsers. A good sign that we are about to gain...

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Test the siblings if you can.

The world of DNA testing for genealogy has been moving rapidly and I have been trying to keep up! Strong marketing by Ancestry with regular reductions in the cost of tests means that they now have over 14 million kits so I am gradually adding to my list of matches. It...

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First thoughts and experience ( or lack of ….) with DNA

First thoughts and experience ( or lack of ….) with DNA

In October 2015 I finally decided to see what an Ancestry DNA test might show. I had vaguely started a one name study of my maiden name as we have been trying to join all the isolated pockets of the name together. I had a little luck and identified a match who from...

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