Rockborne38 on Family Tree Circles
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Many years ago, before the Internet was even a dream for family history researchers, and we all had to rely on library collections and membership of genealogical societies, my daughter and I used to join our local society wherever we lived, and spend hours there every week looking at the microfilm records they held, and our eyes would be sore at the end of a long day from trying to find information we wanted on those microfilm and microfische records held
we were often amused when we would hear a comment, and it was usually from a professional researcher who was being paid to research a family history for somebody, they would be looking for a name, and would say, this is the same name, so that will do, and when people took a break for a cuppa in the tea room at one particular genealogical society to which we belongs, we once asked one of the researchers on a day when she had made a comment similar to that above, and she told us she was looking for the marriage of a person and the birth of the children for that marriage, and could not find the marriage in the county in England in which she had expected to find it, but found a marriage for a person with the same name, but in a different registration district to that which she expected, so added that to the file she was building for a person who was paying her to do the research. I asked how she would explain the differences, and she told me that the person employing her would not know it was not the correct member of her family, and would accept what she gave them. I was flabbergasted, to say the least, and wondered how could she be so dishonest in putting together such a family tree with info she knew was not correct, but she said if she could not make that link by using the record (the wrong record) that she found, then she would not be able to complete the job and could not be paid till she did so.
We found a similar thing recently in a family connected by marriage to one of our families. A researcher to whom we have given info about parts of our family to add to theirs (because a member of their family married a member of one of our families) and we were given a draft of the file by that person, and on it is shown the death of one of the family members some years ago, and that person (who was supposed to have died years ago) recently visited our home and spent the day with us, and the citation given in the draft file we have shows as the evidence for that death just a death notice and a funeral in a newspaper We have checked, and although the person has the same name, the spouse and family members of the person who died have no similarity to the family of the family member who visited us, but when we sent the info to the researcher and mentioned that the person is not dead, visited us recently, and sent a photo of the person with myself, we have heard nothing since. Maybe I was not very diplomatic in pointing out that the "dead person" in the tree they sent to us is very much alive, and that info is not wanted, as it does put a suspicion that other of their research may also be based on false information, but is so disappointing that although we know family history research can be frustrating, short cuts to find info, and facts without proof, should not be taken. - in other words, if it cant be proven with a proper document, then dont add it, or if you do, leave a note with it that it needs more checking.
I hope so much that others do not have this problem that I will now mention
My husband and I have so much info on both of our families, and one of the many things we try to do is to make contact with other family members who are researching the same families that we are researching, those of both our parents and as far back among our ancestors as we are able to find
we recently found a person who had a public member tree on my maternal great great grandfather, and we contacted him, thinking he was related, and offered to share info with him about the family, as he had so many things wrong, some wrong names, incorrect dates, people in families missing all together and so much other info that we have found over our more than 50 years of research
when he did contact us, and we asked how he was related, we were amazed at his relationship, his grand mother was the second cousin of a lady who married a man who was the older brother of a member of the family of my great grandmother, not the great grandmother in that particular family, the great grandmother in the other side of the family, the paternal side of my father, in fact, not related at all except by the marriages that took place.
Go figure, why would somebody want to have a family tree for somebody who was so distantly related by marriage, no blood relationship at all, and we just wonder if the person had spent that time researching his own bloodline, he would not have the errors he also has in his own bloodline, and we only know that as we looked at his public tree, and found from our own knowledge and a couple quick checks on FreeBMD and the England census that he had errors in his own family for his grandparents
what a waste of time, we surely hope others havent found the same problems, if so, we wish you luck in sorting any errors you may have copied from other people.
The other thing we have found amazing about the years we have spent researching the history of the families on both of our sides, is the secretive attitude of some family members, they just will not give us info when we ask questions, even about their own branch of the family, and especially about their close family in current generations
we have no trees on any site which is open for view by others, we just keep our family history files on our own computer, back the files up regularly onto an external hard drive, and happy to share all the info we have with any other family member, provided they will give us info about their own branch to fill in holes in our trees
Last year (2012) we wrote a book, all about the family of John James Shufflebottom who came to Australian in 1829 at a convict, we wrote the book in conjunction with a cousin in the family who is also a serious researcher, and it covers the generations as far down as his great grandchildren, and not further, as that would involve details of so many living family members. Because of the cost of printing being so expensive, we only put it on a disk, and then told all the family members with whom we were in contact that it was finished, and would cost them the price of registered postage to send them a copy, so they got more than 50 years of research for a very small cost.
We sent out 156 copies of the disk and refused to send a disk to only two family members, and we would not send them a copy because they would not even tell us the names and details of their own children and grandchildren, told us it was a privacy issue, and that the Privacy Act prevented them from telling us. That is just so much rubbish, the Privacy Act does not cover family members giving family information to other family members. The Privacy Act does cover the release of information to professional researchers who are being paid to do the research, but NOT family members sharing information
Have others had this same thing happen to them, it is the cause of so much frustration to us.
You will note from my profile that I am researching many families, my husband and I are researching both sides of our family, so we have researched the familes of our parents, our grandparents, our great grandparents, and our great great grandparents, and in some of the families, we have been lucky enough to find information even in earlier generations than those, for example, because the mother of one of my g/g/grandparents had lived in the same village in England for more than 500 years, and all family members had been baptised in the same church, then married there, then their burial service was also held there and they were buried in the church cemetery, we were able to trace that branch back to 1496, we were just lucky that the priest was astute enough to hide the church record books when the King threw all the Catholic priests out and either burned churches or placed ministers there who were receptive to his idea of how churches should obey his rules
the one thing that has struck us in our research is the number of people who place trees on Ancestry and similar sites, and just copy info from other trees without doing any research themselves, and we found some public trees on one site that shows the parents of a family member being born about 25 or more years before their son, another where they show a man married at the age of 4, another where a man is shown married in NSW in the mid 1800s, yet they then show him as being present at the 1851 census in England even though he had been transported for life to Australia and died here in the mid 1800s. We have found so many errors like that, and we commend to all researchers, if you cant find a document that proves your information is correct, then dont add it to your tree, as chances are, it may not be correct, and dont just accept info from trees of others unless they can provide a citation to prove the information is correct. Our own family history files have now grown to just in excess of 15Gb, backed up weekly to two external hard drives.
good luck with your research, and if you are researching any of the same families that we are, then we are happy to share info with any family member.
We have been very lucky over our more than 50 years of research into the families of both myself and my husband, and we have so many family members who send us a message, phone us or write to us, as soon as there is a new birth, marriage or death in the family, with all the details needed to add to our family history files, and in return for their trust, we never publish the names or any details of any family member on any website, for fear of the horrid identity theft taking place
But of course, just as other family history researchers have found, there are those family members who believe in the old adage that "Knowledge is Power" and think that by keeping information to themselves, it makes them powerful. For anybody who thinks that, in relation to family history, you do need to think again, because if you have the info and wont give it to other family researchers, they will find the info in some other way in any case, but you may find that you will not benefit from all the other info they also find, as by being secretive about family history issues, you will just find that the serious researchers will not bother to keep contact with you. We have a few in our family who fit this description exactly, and they really do lose by their attitude, so to all family history researchers out there, family history should be for all family members, share what you have, and believe instead that the other adage of "What goes around comes around" is just as true, and share your knowledge of your family generously with other members of your family, write a book about them, add the history to a disk or USB stick and send a copy to other family members, arrange Family Reunions, visit family members who you have never personally met before, it is so much fun and so rewarding.
This is probably in the wrong place, but we have just read the article by ngairedith, about the value of family photos, and it reminded us of a man who served in the army with my husband. Most of us lived a great distance from our own families, and when our children went to the local school, it was only the "Army kids" who did not have grandparents to attend their school sports, fetes and similar things, but most of us, at some time, had our parents come to visit us, and thus the kids had their grandparents with them at least on some occasion when they visited and stayed with us in the many far flung places at which we were posted over the years. A friend of ours, another solider, had been brought up in an orphanage, he had no idea of who his parents were, and stayed in the orphanage till he was 17 then enlisted in the Army, and his children used to ask him when they would have their grandparents visit, and he told them that his parent were dead. One day he noticed two big picture frames in a second hand shop, the old fashioned semi circular ones, with a photo of a distinguished gentleman in one, and a well dressed lady in the other, so he purchased them, they were about two pounds each (this happened in 1962) and took them home, cleaned them, and hung them on the wall in the hallway of the family home, and when the children asked who they were, he told them they were his parents, and his children were so excited, and when their friends came to visit, they used to say to the friends, "Look, Dad got us some photos of my grandpa and grandma" and as far as we can recall, those photos took pride of place in their home wherever they lived. It was a fib he told them, but it made those three children so happy to know that they did have grandparents, even though they could not meet them, and we have no idea if he told them the truth when they grew older, but it certainly made three young children (aged in 1962 at 6, 8 and almost 10) so happy that they had "roots" and a set of grandparents they could see, even if only in a picture frame.
When I was a small child my mother used to tell me about an Uncle who reacted badly to lots of noise, and my Mother, who only remembered this from when she was a child, said that the adults used to say to her and her sisters and brothers "Stay away from Uncle Harry, and don't make too much noise near him". My mother told me they never understood why it was they had to stay away from him and not make noise.
We often wondered why it was that my Mother was told that story by other adults in the family, and then, as part of our research into the family of my maternal grandmother, we found out exactly why
We knew the names of the parents of my grandmother, and the names of the parents of her mother. We researched and found the arrival in Australia of my great grandmother and her mother and siblings, but for quite few years could find no record of the birth of Uncle Harry. We knew he was born in Gloucestershire England in about the period 1866-1868, because we found his record on the Australian National Archives of his enlistment in the Army for WW1 and that gave his age, but not his birthdate. After many years of research, and a few incorrect birth certificates obtained from England, we found his proper birth record, showing he was born in September 1866.
From his military record we found he had enlisted in November 1914 and was blown up at Gallipoli in June 1915, spent time in hospital in Malta, then in England, then was returned to Australia and discharged as "no longer medically fit for active service" and was paid a pension for "shell shock" so obviously whatever other wounds he suffered were well healed by then
We found a record of his death in 1929 in Armidale NSW, but the local Council told us they had no record of his place of burial, so we searched in all the other cemeteries in that part of NSW, with negative results
We looked for quite a few years, even walked around the cemetery in Armidale a few times, just in case we could find a headstone, even though no record was included on the Cemetery register, so every few years, while visiting or travelling through Armidale, we looked, but no result.
We contacted the diocesan office in Armidale for the church whose Minister conducted the burial service for Harry, negative results, they have no burial records at all, they told us the records are maintained by the Council. In 2011 we decided to try the Funeral Director who conducted the burial service, as shown on the death certificate, and they told us they also have no records of actual burial locations, but they did provide us with a copy of their original ledger from 1929, and the record is marked "police job" and the burial cost seven pounds, and they told us that indicated that Harry was buried in a pauper grave, and it would be unmarked. The funeral director, who is the grandson of the man who actually arranged the burial in 1929, told us that each church had maintained their own records of burials till about 1940, then a Cemetery Trust was established, and the churches all handed their burial records to the Cemetery Trust. Then in the late 1950s or early 1960 a fire went through the Armidale Cemetery, and the caretaker cottage and the Trust Office were burned down, and most of the records were burned and lost, so the local Council then took over the recording for the Cemetery, so we thought then that we had hit a brick wall that we would never be able to knock down
We had been in contact with the Curator of the Heritage Centre at the University of New England for some time on other family history research issues, and mentioned the matter of the fire destroying burial records in Armidale, and he told us that at the time of the establishment of the Cemetery Trust, the Church of England made copies of their burial records to give to the Trust, but gave the original records to the Heritage Centre, so he found the records in their Archives, and then found the actual map with the burial place of Harry marked on it. We passed a copy of that map to the Council, and they were able to add about another 200 names to their burial records in a part of the cemetery they had marked as "Vacant - not used", but in fact, it has so many people buried there, but they had no record till we passed them that copy of the map with all the names and burial plot numbers - so now we knew the exact spot where Harry was buried.
We then contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Office of Australian War Graves have now installed a proper memorial for Harry on his burial place, a concrete surround with gravel and a bronze plaque, with his army number, rank and name, his Regiment, the Rising Sun badge and a short inscription, "Gone but not Forgotten".
A Dedication Ceremony is to be held on Remembrance Day 2012 at the Gravesite of Harry, with the 12/16 Hunter River Lancers providing a Guard of Honour, their Regimental Chaplain will conduct the service, Eulogy will be delivered by an officer of the Regiment, and the grandson of the funeral director, a representative of the church of the original Minister will attend, family members, including myself, will travel to Armidale for the Dedication, and finally poor old Harry will be put to rest properly, and we even know know why my Mum was told to stay away from Harry and keep quiet - like all shell shocked soldiers, loud noises alarmed him, and reminded him so much of the day he was blown up at Gallipoli, these days shell shock is called PTSD and sufferers are given so much help, but veterans of WW1 were not so lucky - but our 30 plus years of research into the life of one Great Uncle have resulted in another piece of our family history puzzle being put into place.
My g/g/grandfather John James Shufflebottom or Shufflebotham was sentenced to transportation for life at the Derby Assizes in March 1829, his partner in crime was John Hawley aged 18 and I wonder if anybody is a descendant of that John and researching his family history, as we could share information on their crime and other details of their life if known in england before they were caught and punished.
We are hoping that Glenyse W will contact us by PM on this site so we can share much info about the Wise family of my g/g/grandmother Eunice Wise from Ellington in Huntingdonshire England who came to Australia with her brother William in August 1856, married in Geelong and lived for many years in Linton Victoria.