Alan Crosby: My 2016 family history resolutions

By Jon Bauckham, 7 January 2016 - 5:37pm

Columnist Alan Crosby looks ahead to the next 12 months and decides on some New Year's resolutions that he hopes will make him a better genealogist

Dr Alan Crosby is the editor of the Local Historian and a columnist for WDYTYA? MagazineThursday 7 January 2016
Alan Crosby
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Alan Crosby New Year's resolutions

Last Friday, I decided to think about what my family history resolutions for 2016 should be.

There are the ones that crop up year after year – keep my notes tidier, don’t write things on scraps of paper which get lost... you know the sort of thing.

But I suppose my most important resolution is to be more systematic. I tend to flit around from ancestral line to ancestral line, doing a little bit here and a little bit there. It would be much more efficient and more likely to produce results if I were to choose a particular branch of the family and then explore all its ramifications, filling in plenty of factual detail and building up a really rounded picture.

I began to doing this a while ago with my Spencer, Francis and Woodley forebears in Essex, and got very excited when I came across a pretty good online family tree that linked in with my own research.

It worked well, so I think I need to follow the same procedure – probably focusing on the Hyde family (4 x great grandfather) who came from Hatfield in Hertfordshire. I’d never got anywhere but online resources (what else!) recently led me to what I’m sure is the correct baptism and I’d like to explore further back.

It’s not a part of the country I know especially well, so there’s the additional interest of finding new places for the family tree, as well as new names. And that in turn means looking at old maps, trade directories, published histories and other accessible sources to get a ‘sense of place’ about what the world of these particular ancestors was like.

My second resolution is to ‘actually find the time to do all of this’. That’s much harder to keep!

What are your family resolutions for 2016? Post them in the comments below!
 

Alan Crosby lives in Lancashire and is editor of The Local Historian. He is an honorary research fellow at Lancashire and Liverpool universities

 

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