Ancestry Websites

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lumpy2

Guest
Yep, I know there are other threads on this subject, before J chips in, but they are mostly related to military service when some details of service are known.

I'm interested in a more general way, as I've just started a 14 day trial of Ancestry UK - but has anyone found anything interesting by this method or do they just tell you what you already know (dates of births/deaths etc.)?
 
I used one to see if i could bring anything up on my grandads service . All it come up with is a place he had served and regiment .

Waste of money .
 
I had a sub for a while. Thought it was well worth it and got useful info. The principle of the UK farming out its vital statistics and census data to the Mormons makes my teeth itch, though.
 
I used ancestry for a while but it was mostly lists of nominal roles whereas find my past seemed to have more in the way of military records and rent roles etc . The best I've used is Scotland's people as although you have to pay per doc most documents have been scanned so you get to see the originals. Ancestry was easy to cancel and findmypast was an offer of a fiver through fb for the first month.
 
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lumpy2

Guest
Thanks for the helpful replies so far, this was sparked off by idly googling the name of my paternal grandfather, who died before I was born, and I was rewarded by finding his name on the IWM Lives of the First World War site, listing him as a seaman in the RN. (At least I'm pretty sure it was him, year and place of birth seem correct - but I would love to know more about him).
 

Dennis48

War Hero
Ancestry.co.uk is one of the best sites for tracing family and facts. Have found two Great uncles one died at the Battle of Arras in 1917 and another went down on HMS Hampshire when she struck a mine on the way back from Russia. Also aboard was Lord Kitchener. The military side is beginning to get updated and more and more info is coming online.
 
Yep, I know there are other threads on this subject, before J chips in, but they are mostly related to military service when some details of service are known.

I'm interested in a more general way, as I've just started a 14 day trial of Ancestry UK - but has anyone found anything interesting by this method or do they just tell you what you already know (dates of births/deaths etc.)?

Yes. I found my great uncle's US Passport application from 1922 (including a photo) and his Draft Registration Card from 1917. Since I have never seen a photo of my grandfather, his brother, I now have some idea what he looked like.
 
J

JWBenett

Guest
Libraries have subscriptions to Ancestry type resources, just on their IP so not accessible at home on your library card. They really are a good launch pad and portals for research; tracing service personnel, numbers and units for instance.

If used with the CWGC, published unit diaries (day by day plus names) and official histories, and associations, one can build fairly good histories with dates and unit deployments. Even perhaps pinging dates of death , cause, and where. Surprising how many people are missing off local war memorials but traceable even if their WW1 records went up in smoke at Kew.

In summary cross reference with multiple records and reliable information. Museums and researchers usually charge but you can save yourself costs while learning.
 
I have been a member for 3 years.I have found lost family members and traced both my and my wife's family back to before the Norman Conquest.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
I find Ancestry invaluable. This weekend I have been using the findmypast freebie, and it has added some useful info to tidy up odds and ends, but I find it less use-friendly, but it does have good coverage of old newspapers. The key for going back is access to actual parish register marriage entries, which from 1837 onwards show the fathers of the happy pair, perhaps matchable with census records. However coverage on both sites depends on somebody having collated the individual parish, and very many are still only available in hardcopy in County records offices. Online the whole process is bedevilled by transcription errors. Have fun!

NB WW1 army records got hit in the Blitz and what Goering didn't burn the firemen soaked. So only a small percentage survive. If a pension record does survive it can be a data goldmine - NoK, dependents, postings, hospitalisation etc etc. WW1 medal cards are reasonably complete and a good starter.
 

vale

Old-Salt
I've not done too bad with it if I'm being honest, back to the 18th Century in some cases. That said, unless I'm really confident about a 'find' on there, I tend to be quite sceptical before I add the information to my tree. Ancestry does tend to bombard you with information that isn't at all relevant so you need to sift through it quite carefully.

If you do have a go, I'd advise you to be wary of matches with other public family trees. Double check their information yourself, just to be on the safe side.

I subscribe for a while and then cancel it for a few months to allow for them to add a few more collections that might be useful. If you're lucky, you might be surprised at just how much you can find out for nowt on your 2 week freebie. If you know the maiden names of grandmothers/great grandmothers that will really give you a decent head start.

I've really enjoyed doing it although I'd be the first to admit it can be hugely frustrating when you hit a dead end like I did when an ancestor of mine on a census form was described as being from Witchford in Northamptonshire - which doesn't exist.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
Lots of people are invisible to the census, not only because they wish to be, but because the original set of census books may have been incomplete when they were microfilmed (and later digitised).

The 1911 census was transcribed by prisoners which may have been therapeutic but the result is shot through with spelling mistakes and other errors which foul up in a search facility. This was criticised at the time (2009 ish) but it was presumabky a cheap way of doing things.

Two examples:
The whole of the 1851 census for the Newmarket are long lost
One of my ggggfathers was in Brighton in 1861. I eventually worked out that the individual census book for his street and others round it was completely missing and therefore not just his family but all his neighbours.
 
I've used Ancestry for both sides of my and the Begum's families and taken them all back to at least the 1760s, in one case the 1650s. And helped out friends etc with military ancestors. It's not perfect but works well enough for me.
 

Sympathetic_Reaction

LE
Book Reviewer
I've used it for years, it has gotten a lot better in the past few, lots more data being digitized and available. You need to start playing round the subject a bit, spellings of names, adjacent locations, jump in at marriages and then find their parent's, then you find their birth and their death.....don't always approach it linearly....I've jumped 2 generations on a hunch and filled in the blanks afterwards....doesn't always work but sometimes you need to take a leap of faith..;)
 
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lumpy2

Guest
Well, I've had reasonable success recently. I've now identified all great grandparents, found a decent photo of a great uncle, found facsimiles of marriage certificates and Census reports confirming where my forbears lived.

Also confirmed that Robert J Woodward (one of the founders of Mander Portman Woodward Sixth Form Colleges - sadly he died at the age of 61) was a second cousin.
 
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lumpy2

Guest
Really happy tonight, as I've had a response from the Woodward family and they want to get in touch. The only living connection with my late father - so Ancestry UK has been good for me :)
 

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