Just like riding a bike…

OK – so it’s been a while since I last posted, mostly due to everyday life taking priority. My new partner and I have been spending a lot of time on the house, decorating and more major work like a new bathroom with walls being knocked down and new walls built. We also had a wonderful long weekend away in Rome in February (and have one planned for Paris in September too!) Did some charity fundraising at my day job (raised £300 for Comic Relief), took a work related training course and exam (which I passed with flying colours) Got my lovely cat Sam back living with me in April too. Oh and been learning to drive…. eeek!


The fabulous Colosseum



Sam settling in after 45 mins in his new home – note the holes in the plaster work – the house is a work in progress!

Although now that I am more settled again I have begun to get back into things a little more with my own research and work for clients too.

It’s been good to get back into things, looking into newly available record sets, be a little annoyed with the delay in the release of FTM 2017 from MacKiev but most of all just getting my hands dirty again (in a good way!)

It’s good to know that the sleuthing skills haven’t deteriorated, and that as the weeks go by, more and more fabulous sources become available online that can help me further with my research. Although sadly, some things don’t change, like the amount of people still blindly accepting every single Ancestry Hint into their tree, copying vast amounts of information without checking it and introducing error after error to their research which of course is then dutifully copied by someone else and so on and so on until after a while the original correct genealogy looks incorrect – because it is in the minority.

In more recent months I’ve been dealing a fair bit with untangling pedigrees from Herald’s Visitations and online trees in order to work backwards on my partner’s tree. There are times I have to step away from it all, it can be hard work trying to fathom the fact from the fiction (or at least the misinformed or mistaken information) to work out what is correct. It’s been a good challenge – and one that will no doubt continue for some time, but it is always fascinating to discover connections with people of considerable importance in periods in history that you have always been interested in. For example, my partner is really into the Tudor and Stuart periods of English history, and I’ve been able to trace his ancestry back beyond that period, but in doing so, found connections to events and people he has long held a keen interest in.


Example pedigree from hebblethwaites.net

This week – and indeed last week has seen me feeling frustrated though. In doing some research for a very valued returning client (well all my clients are valued – but she is also a good close friend) being stumped at every turn has been a little soul destroying. While I’ve been able to eliminate certain things – which is of course helpful – I’ve still not located what I’m after. Back to the drawing board, but I love my partner’s faith in me when he says “I’m sure you will do it, you are amazing.” After I’ve spent a good 20 minutes explaining the ins and outs of the brickwall and no doubt some of it whizzing over his head, but he listens and supports and that is great.

I’ve also had a trial in terms of something alluded to earlier – someone on Ancestry has saved a lot of information from my tree to theirs. Most of the time I don’t have a problem with this, my tree is public and I like to share my research. When I see someone is saving a lot of info I get excited as I think – “Oooh a new relative!” and then go to their tree to see where our connection is. Sometimes I make contact, sometimes I don’t – depends on the connection. Last week I had a look at this guy’s tree – and from the word go I was seeing all kinds of errors. I’m talking duplicate entries, people born in another country a few months before their actual birth (both births entered on the tree), people still living somewhere in 1901 despite having died 17 years previously, a man marrying a second wife and having a child born 10 years before he was…  And all of this was weirdly not even properly connected to him. Somehow he had accepted hints which had created alternative parents to his 2x great grandmother, so if you travelled up his tree you wouldn’t see the family who were harvested from my tree, but if you searched for a person and worked down it would appear this lady was descended from that family. Not so. It looked like he had accepted every Ancestry Hint – be it a record hint or a hint from another tree, and never looked at any of it. I contacted him last week about it – I was polite, I explained I understood how the errors came about but that I wanted him to ensure his tree was right, to prevent people copying wrong info, especially when my research was a large basis of this. I offered to help him untangle it all and ensure it was right, but just got a quick reply thanking me and said he would sort it all out…

Jump to today when I noticed he had continued to save info from my tree to his – for the family that he isn’t related to, again introducing error after error to his tree. I messaged him again to explain that he really needed to delete the incorrect family from his tree – that it would help him focus his research on the ancestry that mattered – rather than adding more and more info to the family he wasn’t related to at all. I noticed that he had a tree of over 15,000 people and I came to think that he isn’t interested in whether it is right or not, more about how many people he can get on his tree. Sadly things like that make me want to set my tree to private. I won’t – at least not yet anyway. I won’t let the few spoil it for the many!

I plan to get back into this blogging lark properly soon – with some more tales of ancestors and areas of research. Thanks for sticking with me!


Yep – it’s me!


7 thoughts on “Just like riding a bike…

    • Thanks! I’ll be interested to see what he has to say from my last message to him… although will probably either be the same as last time “Thanks I’ll sort it out” and then won’t or not reply at all (and won’t do anything) or get snotty with me (and not do anything.) But it would be nice if he would sort it out properly and be polite back to me. Who knows!

      • I had a similar type experience with someone and finally I just put a note on their tree and all of the other trees who copied her very false claim that these were not the correct parents with an explanation of why it was impossible. It stopped spreading after that. Lucky for me it was only one generation of faulty work but because I had worked SO hard for so long to figure it out, I was really frustrated with this super lazy and false claim. The tree owner explained it with a, “Yeah, I know the child in this baptism record died 7 days later but I just figured the parents had another child and gave her the same name and I just haven’t found the baptism record yet.” Insert major eye-roll here. Especially since the “father” died after his infant daughter and didn’t have another child before (or after) his death.

      • I just don’t get people like that, but yes, down to laziness. But it is the sort of thing that isn’t open to interpretation, it is fact!

  1. Hey, Alex—glad to see you back in the blogosphere! I’ve been traveling the last two weeks and am slowly catching up. Hope to see more from you! (And I keep my tree on Ancestry private for lots of reasons, including tree hoarders.)

    • Thanks Amy! Yes I am contemplating setting it to private. Will keep an eye on things and if they continue like that, then I might just have to do that.

      • Frankly, I see no downside. People contact me frequently and ask to see the tree; I always say yes if it seems like a legitimate request. But otherwise I am more comfortable keeping it private. I share, but I also protect.

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