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Charlotte's blog

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Charlotte's blog

Postby Jon Bauckham » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:34 pm


I hope you've enjoyed reading Charlotte Hodgman's Start Your Family Tree for Free feature in the January issue of the magazine. If you're signed up to our newsletter, you will have seen that Charlotte is writing about her most recent progress on her new weekly blog.

The first two instalments can be found here:

http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine. ... y-part-one
http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine. ... y-part-two

To discuss Charlotte's progress, simply post in the thread below. If there are any questions you would like to ask her I'd be more than happy to pass them on.

I've now left Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. Please contact regarding any forum queries.
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Re: Charlotte's blog

Postby familyNut » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:45 pm

I thought the challenge was to do the research without spending a penny. Sending off for a certificate costs lots of pennies
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Re: Charlotte's blog

Postby junkers » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:37 pm

I enjoy Charlotte's blog but I would suggest she uses Scotland's People (the official Scottish family history site) for her Scottish side as it the only one that have the certificates as the rest just have copies of the indexes and most are online. It is much better than using a transcription as you can't be sure it is right and the cost is just £7 for 30 credits (about five certificates and 1 credit for searching) and much cheaper than English and Welsh certificates at £9.50 a time!, and you can get back to several generations unless you have a common name.
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Re: Charlotte's blog

Postby Editor » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:28 pm

The challenge was for her to see how much she could find out in two weeks without spending any money. We decided she could spend some money after that, but she is keeping a track of it and listing the money she spends at the bottom of each week. I've told her to keep to a tight budget. I'm also hoping that readers will give her some guidance because she really is a total beginner!

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Re: Charlotte's blog

Postby junkers » Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:21 pm

The advantage in using Scotland's People over transcriptions is that for example if the birth is over 100 years ago you can see online the information of where the parents were married and when thereby saving you the need to search and maybe getting the wrong entry. The great thing about Scottish records is that the death certificates for women are indexed under their married, maiden and any other names (i.e. any other married names). There are other differences in Scotlaand is that widowed women sometimes kept the 'Mrs' but reverted to the their maiden name, so Miss Brown marries Mr White and she becomes Mrs White but upon his death she might use the name Mrs Brown.
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Re: Charlotte's blog

Postby Sylcec » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:31 am

Charlotte, you may also find the Scottish Genes blogspot has some helpful advice: . Chris Paton writes and lectures extensively on Scottish genealogy topics, so you may get lots of assistance from reading his postings.

I tend to agree with junkers that you may need to buy at least a minimum set of credits on Scotlands People, but by being carefully selective about which records you download you should be able to get back to pre-civil registration when most of the Old Parochial Records have long been transcribed to FamilySearch. Yes, I do know the dangers of relying on transcribed records and don't recommend it, however, am conscious that your project involves seeing how far you can get on minimal expense.

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Re: Charlotte's blog

Postby junkers » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:57 pm


I have been unable to find the transcription on Isabella, can you please let us know which parish it is in.

The marriage between Isabella McCrorie to Thomas Gibson in 1850 is not available on Scotland's People and you might want to ask them why but what you may have looked at are the banns and the marriage may or may not have taken place!. In the 1841 census, because the relationships are not shown it can be misleading and I think that James McCrorie was dead by 1841 but burials are very patchy in Scotland prior to central registration in 1855 and only the payments for the burial mortcloths are there in some cases. The baptism of Isabella McCrorie is odd in that the mother's maiden name is usually there as the Kirk (Church) elders would chase the mother in the first instance for an explanation and summons before the parishioners to 'admit their sins' if they were not married or were involved in irregular marriages (e.g. in a pub for example), it is odd that Thomas and William McCrorie do not appear to have baptisms wheras Isabella does. The entry on ancestry does have an error in the 1841 census as it is clear that it says Wm for William Monahan and as you have suggested he was probably a lodger on census night.

You may find problems with tracing your ancestors in Ireland as some but not all records were destroyed when the Four Courts building in Dublin caught fire during the Irish Civil War in 1922 but a number of records were not there at the time and most Catholic registers were with the local parish priest and he may still have them. It is possible that if an ancestor was involved in a rebellion then you may find them in a government document, usually at The National Archives in Kew as well as in Dublin.
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Re: Charlotte's blog

Postby avalard » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:56 pm

Just been reading through the blog.
Certainly here in Ireland, many of the early baptism records only list the father's names, and not the mothers - which limits their usefulness somewhat. Its more unusual to see the mother's name detailed and not the father. I had up to now assumed the same was true of Scotland.
With regards tracking down the surname of your Irish born Isabella McCrorie, it may seem obvious, but I'm guessing she died in Scotland? You should search for her death record on ScotlandsPeople. Many of the Scottish death records contain additional information - including name of partner (which can include 1st, 2nd, 3rd marriages etc), and also the name of parents - including mother's maiden name.
You can narrow down searches by area, dates, and husband's first name before taking the plunge. You should be prepared to use a few credits in looking at possibly the wrong record.
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Re: Charlotte's blog

Postby Charlotte Hodgman » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:39 pm

Thank you to everyone who has helped me with my family history research so far - you've come up with some really interesting information, as well as helpful tips! It's becoming a fascinating journey!

Charlotte Hodgman
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Re: Charlotte's blog

Postby Judy456 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:01 pm

Hi Charlotte

My paternal ancestors were coal miners in Ayrshire. It's an interesting occupation to research, as there is a wealth of information. I hope you enjoy finding out all about your mining roots.

I did notice, though, that you said on your blog that in 1861 a coal miner's wife would be down the mine carrying baskets of coal to the surface. That certainly happened in the past, but the Mines Act of 1842 banned women and girls from working in the pits, as well as boys under 10 years old. Prior to that, using women as coal bearers also seemed to have been much less prevalent in Ayrshire than it was in the east coast mines. In any case, by 1861 stair and ladder pits were well out of date, steam driven winding gear being used to bring the coal to the surface, with rails and ponies used to pull the hutches underground.

So your ancestor was most probably described as a coal miner's wife in 1861 because she was a housewife and mother married to a coal miner. They most likely lived in a miners' row, with lots of other coal miners as their neighbours.

Happy ancestor hunting!
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