Writing my Family History

I have now completed draft mini biographies of maternal grandfather and his direct ancestors back to my great (x3) grandfather, which put together form the beginnings of my family history. I say ‘drafts’ as these are by no means the final article! There is further information and documentation to obtain and I am sure there is more out their to be found on the lives of those individuals. I will blog some extracts  to provide taster.

You may be wondering how I started out with my research; what documents I had and how I came about them in order to be able to even start to write an ancestors mini biography.

Well I began researching my family tree a number of years ago and found my great, great grandparents with relative ease, particularly on my paternal side and maternal grandfathers’ side. My maternal grandmothers’ side was not so easy. Initially my research was conducted by speaking to family members and subscribing to ancestry.co.uk. I have since also subscribed to findmypast.co.uk and the Genealogist as well. I have also used MyHeritage.com (trial version) and familysearch.org.

I started by setting out myself and my parents who are both still living and all their essential information (birth, marriage) are within my own knowledge. I was also lucky enough to know both my maternal grandparents and my paternal grandmother until I was into my late 20’s. I therefore knew their essential information in terms of birth and death. My paternal grandfather died the year before I was born, however his grave is in the local churchyard where I grew up and I knew his date of birth and death. What I did not know, were the dates of my grandparents respective marriages. I don’t ever remember enquiring about my paternal grandparents’ marriage but I do remember enquiring about my maternal grandparents’ marriage which they were always elusive about. That intrigued me. I also knew that my maternal great grandfather never knew his father and this was a mystery which I wanted to pursue.

Save for my maternal grandmothers family, I have managed to trace my direct ancestors back for several generations, potentially in some lines back to the 13th century although I have not gone about corroborating any of that information as yet, it is largely information gained from other ancestry trees so is very questionable at this stage.

There are some dates of births, marriage and deaths for which I only have the details from the indexes. Some of those gaps were filled in from the 1939 Register (dates of birth) although these should of course be used with some caution and where I have been unable to find copies of documents online the next step would be to purchase copy documents from the General Register Office. At this stage I have not gone that far due to the number of dates I have missing and therefore the cost.

My maternal family required more research. What I knew before starting my research, from my grandfather, was that his family originated from Cambridgeshire, it was his grandfather who moved to Yorkshire, closely followed by all but two of his siblings and his mother. I knew something of the life of my great grandfather who was a publican. My mother and particularly my Aunt and great maternal Aunt, have able to provide some details of my great grandfather’s life although he died before either my mum or aunt were born.

As less was known about my maternal ancestors in some cases I used wider search details, such as searching siblings which often provided more information for my pedigree ancestors. I will detail these searches when I come to those ancestors below.

I knew my grandfather’s basic details save for his date of marriage to my grandmother, Mary. It was only when my maternal grandmother died and my mother was looking through her papers that their marriage certificate was found. It must have caused a bit of a scandal at the time and now we know why it was never mentioned, my grandmother was six months pregnant with my maternal aunt when they were married!
We also found my maternal grandparents birth certificates amongst the papers. There was also the birth certificate, death certificate and marriage certificate for my maternal grandmothers’ father. At this stage the rest of my research has been conducted and information gathered online from a variety of websites.

One thing I have learnt is that research into your ancestry will never be complete. There is always more to find. New records are being released all the time, new resources are made available and who know what I will when I get the time to attend the various record offices and search physical archives. Its exciting!

So my research continues, my family history writing continues as I expand on the Huddlestone ancestors and start write about my other ancestors – the Oldfield family (my maternal grandmother); the Richardson family (my paternal grandfather) and the Sayner family (my paternal grandmother); and I am sure one day my writings will expand beyond these direct ancestors! You never know it may all even end up in a book one day!


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