An accessible, modern guide to the hugely popular art of tracing your family tree, Grow Your Own Family Tree offers a concise and comprehensive summary of how to locate and use a range of records and information to track down your own family history. There is information on everything from where to find census information or order a birth certificate, to finding out whether your great-great-uncle committed a disciplinary offence whilst in the army. And unlike other books on the subject, the scope of Grow Your Own Family Tree extends far beyond Britain, to track your migrating relatives.
In twenty-nine clear and helpful chapters, Alan Stewart takes you through every aspect of researching your family history and tells stories about the memorable discoveries that ordinary people have made in their own searches. As an expert on the internet, he also offers a detailed exploration of the very best websites and current Internet resources along the way. With this book to hand, it has never been easier to find out more about our ancestors.
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A keen researcher of family history for the last twenty-five years, Alan Stewart writes a monthly column for Practical Family History and for other family history magazines ( Family History Monthly and Ancestors, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy and Evertonís Genealogical Helper). He has also written for the Financial Times, The Times, Independent and the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He was consultant editor of the fourth edition of the Hutchinson Dictionary of Computing & the Internet and his other books are How to Make it in IT and Gathering the Clans: Tracing Scottish Ancestry on the Internet.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Tip: 'Black sheep' may be lurking in your past
You'll probably find that some of your ancestors were not quite as pure as you'd like them to have been. Perhaps they had an illegitimate child - or maybe three, like my great-great-great-aunt Mary. Your great-great-grandfather may have spent some time in prison. The upside is that there may be a photograph of him somewhere, whereas if he'd never been in trouble, there wouldn't be.
Tip: Family legends are rarely completely true
There may be a story in your family about how you're descended from a famous person, such as William Shakespeare. While such family legends may turn out to be true, unfortunately, it's more often the case that they're just wishful thinking.
You may indeed have an ancestor who lived in Stratford (but maybe Stratford in East London), and someone jokingly suggested they might have been related to Shakespeare. Over time, 'possibly related to Shakespeare' becomes 'descended from Shakespeare'. Unfortunately, although William Shakespeare did have children, his line died out with his grandchildren. (Well, his legitimate line did.)
There is usually some truth in the stories, however. If the legend is that four children were born in a workhouse in Bristol, then the truth may be that two of them were born in a workhouse in Bristol.
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