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Newbury Branch meeting 13th January 2021, conducted on Zoom

Speaker: Chris Broom

Do:

Be methodical;

Use original documents;

Look in more than one place;

Use online research guides;

Revisit online datasets regularly;

Create timelines;

Create plausible scenarios and then set out to disprove them;

Keep your trees private online;

Be a good ancestor: record your own life, including voice recordings.

Don’t:

Make moral judgments on the past;

Be fooled by your own preconceptions;

Do it all online;

Adopt a scattergun approach;

Do it all yourself: get help;

Take other people’s work on trust.

Pitfalls to watch for:

Names wrongly recorded:

         Variations of the same name;

         Casual use of “ditto” on the census;

         Aliases;

         Anglicisation of foreign names;

         Conufsion of births and baptisms;

         Illegitimacy and step-parenthood.

In relationships:

         Late marriages;

         Adoption of step children;

         Multiple marriages and bigamy.

In occupations:

         Multiple jobs;

         Absence from home;

         Migration;

         Exaggeration;

         Social mobility;

         Accident and illness.

In places:

         Duplication of names;

         Similarity;

         Changing parish boundaries;

         Changing street names and numbering;

         Transcription errors, especially with initial letters.

Use:

Lateral thinking;

Card catalogues;

Wild cards in searches;

Idea of brickwall as a haystack;

Surname cluster analysis.

Penny Stokes

Penny Stokes

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