Day 1 RootsTech 2022

Any links will take you directly to a recommended website.

My playlist is ready and I have now started checking out some sessions, series and keynotes. Some are of interest to me personally and others might be helpful information for those people I help at the local library doing their family history.

UK Ancestors on a budget by Karen Evans

Three sessions – first one about census

  • Irish census 1901 and 1911 can be found at the National Archives of Ireland.
  • English and Welsh returns for 1841-1911 found at Family Search. Scroll down the page to specify which collection you want to check by typing in England census then choose from the options.
  • England, Wales and Scotland records transcribed by volunteers at FreeCen. Note not all places have been transcribed.

Second session – BMD

Civil registration was different for each country.

  • England 1837 but compulsory only from 1875
  • Ireland from 1864 but non Catholic marriages from 1845
  • Scotland from 1855

Places to find civil and church records:

  • ScotlandsPeople – search for free but pay for documents at reasonable price – incudes both civil and church records
  • IrishGenealogy – has both civil records and church records
  • General Register Office – has index for BMD and you can order certificates here more cheaply than from a large database like Ancestry
  • FreeBMD – shows indexes for BMD – all volunteers
  • UKBMD – again a volunteer based group which shows parishes or counties looking at BMD in their area specifically. Also includes lists of counties with Online Parish Clerk websites (OPC). Also has one place studies and census info – so great site for lots of free information and indexes to use.
  • National Library Ireland – Catholic parish registers
  • Family search – lots of registers for particular counties and parishes. Find them through Records and narrow further with Collections
  • FreeReg – similar to FreeBMD and FreeCen – run by volunteers

Third session – hidden treasures

After having looked at the censuses and BMDs, where else can you look for information while on a budget?

  • Find a grave – often includes images, basic info on the person being searched and maybe family info as well
  • Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC) – for those who have died in war – variety of ways to search
  • County councils – some councils have their own archives of things like dog licences, canal boats, gaols
  • GENUKI – great site, breaks down to country then county and parish and what records are available at each level
  • Cyndi’s list – world wide links to thousands of websites
  • Also check out specials and free trials of the big databases. Often family history societies and local libraries have more resources as well.
  • Help online from rootschat, facebook groups and other social media.

Latest DNA Painter releases by Jonny Perl

I love using some of the tools on DNA Painter especially What are the odds (WATO) and the shared cM page. But I have also tried to paint chromosome maps but have found it very tedious adding in one person at a time. But there are now ways to import more than one persons DNA chromosome segments which I might have to start using.

I also learnt about using phased kits at GEDmatch to import just my mum’s data or just my dad’s data. This makes it easier to work out if segments are maternal or paternal on the chromosome map when importing from GEDmatch cluster groups. (Tier 1)

Another new tool was looking at adding dimensions such as birth/death year on your family tree instead of just names. Also colour coding on family trees as well as on WATO.

Main stage events

Many of these sessions are very early in the morning in Australia so I will have to watch them at another time once the recordings are up on the website. But I did listen to Maysoon Zayid and Matthew Modine talking about their family history and how memories make connections through oral history as well as movies and photos.

I did look at some other sessions but will not be writing about them all.

I am disappointed though that I only have 13 relatives at RootsTech – maybe my relatives are not into family history as much as I am.

Readers: What were your takeaways from day 1 at RootsTech?

Can you help solve these brickwalls?

Couleur / Pixabay

Tonight’s twitterchat for #ANZAncestryTime was about helping to solve brickwalls.

Many participants had written blogposts or biographies on wikitree including the information known about their person who is a brickwall.

Other participants gave us details so we could help solve them

Sharn: I have traced my Campbell ancestors back to Neil Campbell and Christian Buchanan who had children 1761-1773 in Callender Perthshire but I can’t find a marriage or their births

Margaret: It is my father’s family that is so difficult. For his maternal gmother wikitree.com/wiki/McKinnon-…, we know her father is John. We assume her mother is Isabella from Naming Pattern, possibly Jamison. NO PROOF.

Alex: I had a go at crafting a more focused research question this afternoon. Here it is. Where and when did Robert Forfar die. He married Lucy Swait on 30 Jan 1842 at St James Westminster London UK and had a son George born 23 Oct 1848 and baptised Bannockburn? Lucy Forfar nee Swait died a widow in 1866. I surmise that Robert died some time between 1861 and 1866 as he was paying for George to go to school in Ealing in 1861. Did he die in England? Did he die in Scotland? Did he die somewhere else entirely? Robert was described as a mason on George’s marriage certificate. His family were weavers in Scotland. Forfar as a name presents a whole bunch of problems – spelling and that it is a place name as well. I need to keep rigorous records of my searches.

Kerri-Anne: I’m grateful for how much I know but I’d like to find out more information on my convicts in England Scotland Ireland – Thomas Power Jean MacDonald James Bradley Sarah Barnes Mary Parker Charles Watson Waters Ann Daley Richard Hicks Margaret Howe

Sharn: My g g g grandmother was Mary Williams said to be born in Singleton NSW c 1840 to parents named as Joseph Williams and Mary Kelly. I can’t find this couple or Mary’s birth

Sharn: Would really love to know what became of my g g g uncle Lawrence Frayne, convict who left a wonderful diary from his time on Norfolk Island after he received a Cert of Freedom in 1846

Margaret: I found most of the family for my 2xggfather William Dickson – again DNA matches and lots of research. Now I have to find his parents’ siblings – and his wife – and their missing children.

Hilary: I partially broke a brickwall when I discovered who my 3xgt grandmother married then found a DNA match with her descendants from that marriage My ancestor was illegitimate so I need to confirm the father with another DNA match

KerrieAnne: I am trying to find the origins of my direct maternal line ancestry from Ann MacLean to Robertson and further back – mt dna suggests Viking origins which is no surprise as she was from the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides

Tara: I think of them as learning opportunities and, as 3/4 of my ancestry is Irish, I’ve multiple 19C brick walls. The other 1/4 are English/Welsh origins and I can take most lines back quite far although my Welsh 3GGM is a challenge of her own

Jennifer: My 2x great grandparents John Taylor & Martha Lloyd are my brickwall. They arrived in Aust betw September 1841 and October 1842. They don’t appear on any passenger list. I’ve searched Taylor, Tailor, Tyler

KerrieAnne: Brickwalls – my husband’s direct paternal line challenge – finding Edward Tiearney & Catherine Colligan in Ireland before their emigration to US. Done ydna & got a good match but no real progress to go further back in Connacht Ireland, probably around Carracastle

Claire: my brickwall is probably not solvable. Can’t find marriage of 2x g-grandparents who had 2 kids in 1880s Dublin. No death of man recorded but dead by 1901. I’ve checked every marriage of right names countrywide church/civil & every death in Dublin from year before last kid born to 1901. Not helped by names involved: Reilly/Murphy

Sharn: I would love to know more about the family of my two convict brothers Michael and Lawrence Frayne both born in Dublin c 1809 and 1821 with children between

Suggestions of where to look for information

  • Prison hulks for convicts
  • Scottish kirk session on Scottish Indexes
  • Colonial Secretary letters
  • Occupation records such as Masons
  • National library of Ireland parish registers
  • Census records
  • Newspaper and archives for British and Irish

Try more than one site for your records – GRO, FreeBMD, ScotlandsPeople. With a missing name, I look for another person – then you find the name is mistranscribed, and that’s why it hasn’t come up on the index.

I really think spelling is key. My New Year’s resolution is to write up lists of spelling variations for each surname I am researching and make sure my searches cover all and any more I find.

A tip for breaking down brick walls is to re-examine any certificates or other documents you have. You never know what you might have missed in the past

look at the names of witnesses as sometimes their surnames might be a clue to a real surname after a name change

From Judy

I can’t join #ANZAncestryTime but my Brick Wall tips are (1) Research all relatives; (2) Try neglected sources (bit.ly/3GkDiLv); (3) ’13 Tips to Try’ (tidd.ly/3I1yiwT); (4) ‘Break Through the 1837 Brick Wall’ (tidd.ly/3rHona5).