What do you know?

This guide was last updated in 2009

As with any research project, the first step is to write down everything that you already know about your ancestor and their business, and to question other members of your family to see what information is preserved in the family memory.

It may be that there is a photograph somewhere of your ancestor outside his shop, or that your grandmother remembers helping out there on Saturday mornings. There may be a tale or rumour to be uncovered to do with the business or its clients.

But as well as seeking as much of the flavour of the business as possible, you also need to try and discover as much precise information as you can: who owned the business, and when? Where was the business premises, and for how long was it occupied by members of your family? Did only one generation work there, or was it a concern that passed from father to son, and so on through the family?

Of course, it is unlikely that all of these questions can be answered by you or your family – many of the events may be well beyond living memory. But your questions and any answers that you receive will provide a solid starting point from which to continue and direct your research.

 

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