Family Tree Hints How To's and Tips to Avoid those Genealogy Traps

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry Is that my great grandmother?
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry Is that my great grandmother?

Helping you find your past

Looking back into our past history is something I believe we all love to do.

As we get older we start to wonder who was the uncle who lived in Canada? What about great aunt Bessie and her amazing brood of children and so on.

A few years ago it would have been hard to start the searching process, but these days it couldn't be easier. What with Search my Ancestry and Find my Past you can look for your long lost relatives at the click of a button.


Of course there are many genealogy sites out there, but I find that Find my past is the best, for me at least.

Here's a step by step of How to Use Find My Past. With a few tips that will get you through the confusing links and how to back track if needed.

This is probably the same as other Genealogy sites. So you can apply these ideas to all of them.

Long Crendon High Street http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.
Long Crendon High Street http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.

Build your Tree

Once you are signed in and ready to go, make sure you start from the beginning. This may sound obvious, but trust me when I say if you start wrong then you have to go back to the beginning again.

Its very easy to get excited and started searching for your ancestors. That's not the way to begin though.

The first thing you need to do is start adding your known family to your tree.

Why?

Because if you don't you won't find anybody, or only a few. The great thing about these sites is that there is a point to beginning your own tree.

These are called 'Tips' or 'Hints'. Once you put your own name on the tree, followed by your parents you will notice orange hints pop up. If you click on those you will see this, below:

Source

Check and double check your Hints

Once you have built up your tree with known family members and have seen the orange hint signs, then the next step is click on the hint and you will find yourself taken to the page full of names and families.

This is where you have to be really careful. The hints will tell you that 'We believe this is part of your family'. But that' 'Aint necessarily so' as the song goes.

This is the place where you can find your first hiccup. If you are not careful you will be off on a false trail following the wrong family!

I have done this a number of times and had to delete and back track, and boy can it get confusing so be very careful!

See Below:

http://www.geneamusings.com
http://www.geneamusings.com

Always check Dates

There maybe one or two hints to a person, or possibly up to eight or nine. This is where common sense comes in. If you spot a relative that was born in 1770 and on the above page it shows 1890 but has the same name, then of course its not your relative. Or if it is its probably someone farther up the relative chain.

Once you have decided which one your relative it is likely to be, click on the name and it will take you to a more detailed page, where you can double check that you have the right relative. On this page it will show other relatives, such as the wife, child, and even grandparents.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page it tells you to 'No reject' 'Maybe' or 'Yes, Next step'.

This is self explanatory, so if you have chosen the Next Step, it will show you your profile page. This is where you can sit back and work out if each of your steps have taken you to the right place in your timeline. Photo 2.


Example of Hints page

Find my past
Find my past

photo 2

http://www.geneamusings.com find my past profile page
http://www.geneamusings.com find my past profile page

Be careful on the search page

If you are really stuck and nothing is coming up on the Hints, then you will have to go to the Search Page.

(see below)

This page has a number of ways to search. From Census searches to Newspaper clippings. Births to deaths. Just make sure you fill it in as near to the right date as possible.

If you don't know the dates, they will give you and alternative date to choose. In other words you can add 2/ years, 5/years 10/years and 20/years. Some are even 40/years variance.


findmypast Search page
findmypast Search page

Find Your Past Tips and How Too's.

  • Always tick the alternate name spelling box. Remember the farther back you go everything was written by hand. So spelling names and places will possibly be totally different to what you know or think these days.
  • If you can't find someone, try various place names, or even better, leave out the name of the town in the search. Cities and towns do 'Change Places' over the years. For example one that I was searching for used to be in Berkshire, since the 18th Century its now Buckinghamshire.
  • This is a great tip. And can be used for searching anything or everything on the Internet. If you really want a specific search i.e. names or places, put these in front and behind the word. For example: Thomas Smith from Ohio would be "Thomas Smith" "Ohio" . It totally cuts down the amount that pops up in search. Obviously only use these in Google search, not in Findmypast.
  • Some say its best to search a woman by her married name. But others state going for her single name is best. I have found that if you find her on the Census pages in her married name, use her married name unless just searching for Birth. You can always change her married name back to her single name on the profile afterwards.
  • Try to keep to your main ancestors while searching. Its easy to go off looking for brothers and sisters of your great greats, but remember, if you follow the parents path the siblings and children will automatically appear, okay?
  • I can't reiterate how careful you have to be trying to find your genealogy family. You have to realise that back then many are called the same name. Make sure you get the right ones otherwise you will be backtracking for a month! Mother's and daughters were called the same, the father named his son after him and so on. Phew! It can get very confusing!

Pro's and Con's

The pro's are pretty good to be honest. I have found at least 100 relatives that I didn't know anything about, and I still haven't looked into my grandmother's side, my dad's mum, yet! The layout is really good, its easy to find relatives and match them up.

The best way to do this is find the relative then go for the census records, these will match up the brother's and sister's etc, then you will know whether they are the right family.


The Con's are not actually the Findmypast websites fault. The main things to look out for are dates. Back then before typewriters and computers everything was hand written. And this is where the mistakes start.

The main confusion starts with peoples birth dates. On one screen it will say for example:

Mary Thomas was born in 1845.

On another it will say Mary Thomas was born in 1847.

Back then it was trial and error and mainly based on other members of the family telling the census who was born when and how. You will get used to this, but it is a pain especially when you are searching for them.

That's why its a good idea to put the variant age tick in the search box. i.e. 1845 Variant 10 years/2 years/5 years.

The one thing I must say about Findmypast that I suppose annoyed me was the fact that, as I was paying monthly, I presumed they would send me an email stating:

'Your subscription is up, do you want to renew it'?

But no, they didn't! They just took the money straight out of my bank! So either put a stop to it before the end of the month, renew without saying anything or phone them. If they really don't listen, then stop the payments from your bank.

So far I do't mind, but we will see.

Apart from that, enjoy the site! And find all those ancestors that you didn't know you had!

Sleepy Cottage Turville

Sleepy Cottage Turville, home of the Sleeping girl of Turville, my aunt, Ellen Sadler, and used for filming the Vicar of Dibley TV series
Sleepy Cottage Turville, home of the Sleeping girl of Turville, my aunt, Ellen Sadler, and used for filming the Vicar of Dibley TV series
Lace Makers of Long Crendon. Is one of them a member of my family?
Lace Makers of Long Crendon. Is one of them a member of my family?

Shrimpton's of Long Crendon. And Ellen Sadler, Turville

One of the most fascinating I have found so far in my family tree are the Shrimpton's of Long Crendon.

Long Crendon is a village near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. It is 2 miles away from Thame which used to be in Oxford, but is now part of Buckinghamshire.

I was intrigued to discover my family were possibly needle makers. Evidently it was a cottage industry. Literally! The houses had holes in the walls to pass the needles through to the next house to carry on with the next part of making or changing the needles.

My great grandmother may not have made needles like her family, but she had a fascinating job.

Rebecca Shrimpton, born 1822 in Long Crendon was a lacemaker.

The men all worked on a farm with the very strange name of Starvehall Farm, the first photo above is the cottages near the farms. You never know, one of the ladies could be my great great grandmother!


All photos courtesy of http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com and the Blincoe family who were neighbors of the Shrimpton's.

I also found my connection the Ellen Sadler the Sleeping Girl of Turville. She was my great grandmother's sister. My great gran was Georgena Smith nee Sadler!

To read the amazing story of Ellen Sadler click Here.

Or see below.

Its fun, why not have a go? You never know who you are going to find!

© 2015 Nell Rose

More by this Author


64 comments

Buildreps profile image

Buildreps 10 months ago from Europe

Very nice hub about this interesting subject. I think you might touch a sensitive button in many people with this article, since almost anyone is interested in their ancestors. You've found wonderful pictures.

We can't vote up anymore, just imagine a great thumb up for you!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 10 months ago from San Diego California

This looks interesting. I think I will go there now and check it out. Wonderful hub!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 10 months ago from Taos, NM

Very interesting Nell. I have searched my on family on ancestry.com and your tips are good ones. It can get confusing. I was fortunate to have dates given to me from my grandparents, great-grandparents and even great-aunts and uncles, so doing my family tree was not that hard. You have an interesting and vivid family, Nell.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 10 months ago from The Beautiful South

Oh I love the photos Nell and this was so interesting. I may even give it a try. If I could get to know the story I would probably have to turn it into a book!!

Sharing.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks so much Buildreps, I have been meaning to do it for years, and now its so easy! thanks for reading, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Mel, thanks so much, yes it really is fascinating! thanks for reading, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi suzette, lol! yeah they are a bit strange aren't they? haven't finished yet! I am sure yours are as interesting too, I would love to read about them, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Yes that's what I am going to do! lol! especially the needle makers! it will be fun! thanks as always, and great to see you, nell


billybuc profile image

billybuc 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

I'm happy you are learning so much about your family, and thanks for sharing your tips with us all. Very nice summary of dos and don'ts.


drbj profile image

drbj 10 months ago from south Florida

Excellent tips, Nell - thank you so much for sharing them. I plan on doing this ... one day.


Snowsprite profile image

Snowsprite 10 months ago from Cornwall, UK

A great hub and very useful to those starting out on searching for their ancestors. My sister did this a few years ago and found our long lost grandfather still alive in the US! It is all much easier now as when I tried I had to take a bus to a special building held by, I think it was Mormons, and search via microfiche. Needless to say I didn't get very far.


DDE profile image

DDE 10 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting and useful. I have discovered in Europe most families find the need to search for their ancestors.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Bill, glad you liked it, its fun and really interesting too!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks drbj, you never know who you will find! lol!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Snowsprite, Wow! alive? that is amazing! and yes it is far easier these days, glad you liked it, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Yes we love it DDE, I have no idea why! LOL! thanks as always, nell


MsDora profile image

MsDora 10 months ago from The Caribbean

Some interesting finds on your part, Nell. Thanks for sharing the how to's and the finds. I've never been interested until I read your article.


savvydating profile image

savvydating 10 months ago

I've not heard of this site. The hints section sounds very helpful, indeed!

You've also provided some interesting clues (and specifics) on how to navigate the site. Hmmm. Seems to me there was a general in my family tree way back when. I may have to look him up. Ha!

Also, I am not surprised to hear you have interesting ancestors. There's no way you could come from "ordinary" stock---only extraordinary ancestors make sense for our unique Nell!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi MsDora, its a fascinating thing to look into, and full of surprises! lol! thanks so much for reading, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Savvy, lol! well there you go then, go find your general! I bet it will be really interesting, and this site is really easy to use, thanks so much for reading, nell


always exploring profile image

always exploring 10 months ago from Southern Illinois

Nell, I have often thought about doing this. Your detailed account makes it much easier. Thanks for all the work you put into this. Well done.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Ruby, thanks so much, its so much fun too, and the further you go back, the better it seems! lol!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 10 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This sounds like a great way to investigate our ancestors. Thanks for sharing the interesting and very useful information, Nell.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Alicia, to be honest if I had known it was that easy I would have done it years ago! lol! thanks for reading, nell


lilyfly profile image

lilyfly 10 months ago from Wasilla, Alaska

Always the best read Nell! Love yaz, lil


delia-delia profile image

delia-delia 10 months ago

Some great hints and suggestions...I'm at the end of a search and hit a BRICK wall...hope these suggestions help how to find more...thanks for sharing!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 10 months ago from Shelton

just wanted to thank you because of these past family tree hubs I read I got to doing it.. haven't found anything I didn't already know, but I am waiting for surprises!! LOL have a good Holiday weekend :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 10 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

What a great hub, Nell; thank you. I have often toyed with the idea of using a genealogy service to learn more about my father's side of the family. (My mother's family has been in the US for centuries, and was researched before.) Thank you for these helpful words of advice in navigating the search.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

My gosh, Nell - this is a very helpful article. For several years, off and on, I have been trying to find a particular great Aunt. I realize now, after reading your tips, that I have been doing it wrong. Now I will start from the beginning and go backwards till I find her. It is so important for me to find her for I had a remarkable dream (actually a few) where she visited me during a difficult time in my life and that was over 50 years or so after she died. Maybe now I can find her, thanks to your hub.

I really enjoyed reading this and bookmarked it so I can come back and listen to the videos and follow your tips. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this information.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 10 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

PS: I shared on H+, Pinterest and G+

I love your photos and your ancestor's info is very interesting. Passing needles through the walls - very interesting.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Aw thanks lily! always great to hear from you, hugs from across the very huge pond! lol!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

HI delia, isn't that annoying? I know the feeling! I have been stuck on both sides of the family since we hit the 1700s! its driving me nuts! best bet is to check out the census, try different years and match up the relatives, good luck! and thanks, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Frank, that's wonderful! I am sure you are going to find some fascinating relatives in there somewhere! even if they are just pretty normal their jobs and way of life are always interesting, good luck!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Genna, it really is interesting. I found names that i have stood back and said, wow, didn't know they were in the family! lol! thanks, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Oh that's great Phyllis! yes I did it wrong the first time too, didn't realise that you had to do it this way, good luck! and let me know how you are getting on!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Phyllis, I am writing an indepth one about them at the moment, thanks so much for the share too, have a wonderful weekend, nell


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 10 months ago from Central Florida

Thanks for the tips, Nell. One of these days I may try this myself. Good to know the subscription is ongoing if you don't stop it. I hate those auto renew sites!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Hi Shauna, yes its fun, but really annoying when you get stuck! lol! I am trying to find my mums side at the moment, and going nuts! thanks for reading, nell


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 10 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Sounds like you're having a blast, Nell. I had a friend from Maine that was doing her search the old-fashioned long way. I'm sure that it was easier to run in to snags that way without any guidance, but any way you look at it, it is still quite a process.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Thanks Deb, yes, phew! lol! I have got well and truly stuck! the trouble is everyone got married at least twice back then! so finding the right connection is a pain, but fun though, thanks for reading, nell


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 9 months ago from South Africa

It took my father 10 years to build our family tree - and that was before Internet. Thanks to the research of another relative, we - the Coetser/Coetzer family) now have a quite complete tree, but only from 1709, when one Jacob Kützer arrived from Germany in the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa). One day I would like to take the time to look for his roots in Germany. At present our tree contains 2000 names. With Jacob as our South African ancestor, the 11th generation is now realizing. It is hard work to keep track of all relatives!

Thanks for the tips, Nell :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 9 months ago from England Author

Hi Martie, German, wow! that will be really interesting to follow his route! and yes on my tree I seem to be finding tons of people! its amazing! thanks for reading, nell


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 9 months ago from the Ether

This is awesome, Nell! I too have used a similar site....ancestry.com to build a good portion of my family tree. Found that I'm related to Henry VIII through an illegitimate son of his. He was my great (x15) grandfather! And yes, it can get really confusing with the changes in peoples' names, married names/single names, dates being different etc. Thanks for sharing your tips!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 9 months ago from England Author

Hi Kitty, Wow! that is awesome! lol! so are you on the divorces yet or the guillotine for your husbands yet? LOL! thanks for reading, nell


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Nell

I've played around a little with researching my family tree (we used to hear some great tales from Dad about various ancestors that I'd like to find the truth about, and I've a good idea that Mum's side is just as fascinating!) but not really done a lot with just yet.

So far I've got a free membership of Ancestry.com but not having a lot of time kind of baulked at paying a monthly fee!

This hub gives some really good pointers that I'll bear in mind.

Lawrence


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 9 months ago from England Author

It really is worth doing it, I have found some amazing people and trades since I wrote this, I would never have known if I hadn't given it a try. To be honest Ancestry puts me off with their layout. Findmypast is so darn easy! go on, have a go! lol! and thanks for reading, nell


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 8 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

I love it this is so interesting and lots of fun. I have the photos of my grandmother,great grandmother, and know most of the names. It is a wonderful journey. Glad you are doing so good on your past . lol stella


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 8 months ago from England Author

Thanks stella, yes its great fun! I have found lots of new relatives, and a few surprises! thanks for reading, nell


Besarien profile image

Besarien 8 months ago

I have lurked at those sites and found out a little here and there without signing up. My family was talked about on Ancestry by a family apparently related to us on my father's side. One of the comments was that they think we might be black! Oh no, I hope we are not related then! I very nearly responded but didn't want to ruin their day. Maybe some cousin on that side will eventually get curious and it will be- I think they are black! Isn't that a surprise! Then I will say hi. The thing that gives me the most pause is putting so much information out there. I wonder if those sites aren't used by people trying to pull off identity theft or worse- there is certainly a wealth of info that can be misused. Do be careful with that, Nell Rose.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 8 months ago from England Author

Thanks Besarien, well if I found out I was black back then I would just yell, 'Cool'! LOL! I am bored silly just finding English in my Tree, I would love something else, but yes I am being careful with my info, its purely Findmypast, so its pretty safe site, and its only me getting the information, thanks again, and just remember, don't worry about others in your tree, especially distant ones, yours are the most important, thanks again, nell


sujaya venkatesh profile image

sujaya venkatesh 8 months ago

a very interesting hub for all


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 8 months ago from England Author

Thank you sujaya, glad you liked it, nell


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 8 months ago from Oakley, CA

Interesting and useful. Goodness knows, I've been down a wrong path or two..or ten... LOL

My main issue is that I don't have the budget to afford a subscription, and the "free" parts are virtually worthless. Luckily, for now, I am piggybacking onto a cousin's account on Ancestry. However, he is at least 5 years older than I, so when he's gone...so will be my access. :(

I had one heck of a time a while back with one family alternating the names of their first born sons, every other generation, between "Nicholas," and "Hugh." Dates were either missing or wrong. It took a long time to sort out which belonged to which generation!

My current brick wall is on my Reed line--talk about a common name in the New England area!!!

Shared and pinned!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 8 months ago from England Author

Ouch! Lizzy! I am stuck on James Sadler, from Oxford, I just cannot get his birth parents names! lol! its driving me totally insane! lol! in fact its getting a bit OCD now, I have to find him! good luck with your Reed line, thanks, nell


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 8 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Thanks for a super hub on genealogy, Nell. I have been trying to trace my ancestors using free sites like the Mormon one with not very much success. Whenever I want to dig, I get referred to Ancestry.com where you have to pay after a brief free use. I guess there aren't any free sites that are good, and you have to pay if you want to build your family tree. I am sharing this on Hubpages and on my Facebook page.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 8 months ago from England Author

Thanks so much Paul, yes Findmypast is probably the best one I think, I have found so many its enough to write a book! lol! thanks for reading, nell


moonlake profile image

moonlake 8 months ago from America

Very interesting hub. So much information. I have been on Ancestry.com for a long time. Found so many relatives. They have changed Ancestry.com recently and it's very hard to read I think. Genealogy can be so much fun.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 8 months ago from England Author

Hi moonlake, I am not sure why I went for findmypast, the same reason I think, Ancestry looked a bit confusing, but its fun isn't it? thanks so much for reading, nell


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 7 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Nell

Just reading the comment by Besarian reminded me of a story my uncle once told.

He used to travel a lot for work and when he did he'd look up the phone book for 'Hebbs', give them a call and see if he could meet them as a 'distant relative'

One time he was in Los Angeles (We're British and as white Anglo Saxon as they come!)

When they met the family were African American (bear in mind he'd told them he was a 'relative')

I've started doing a bit of my family tree as various parts of our family have done some before now but my quandry is which scandal to investigate first as it seems in times past our family were rather interesting!

Just thought I'd add that

Lawrence


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 months ago from South Africa

Oh Nell, in the meanwhile I've learned that Jacob Kutzer did not come from Germany, but from Zakupy (Reichstadt), Bohemia. Today it is a town of the Česká Lípa District, in the Liberec Region of the Czech Republic. Difficult to get a grip on Europe - too many countries in there!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 months ago from England Author

Sorry lawrence, your comment came up as spam! lol! and how funny! love your story! sounds like the kind of thing mine would do!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 months ago from England Author

Hi Martie, I could never figure out where Bohemia is either! lol! that's wonderful! and funny how our relatives got around more back then that we do now! thanks as always, nell


lilyfly profile image

lilyfly 6 months ago from Wasilla, Alaska

Nell, you are here, as earth as to fire. You are special...


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 months ago from England Author

Aw thanks lily, always great to see you!

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