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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Tuesday's Tip - Be brave and change your plans!

You might have noticed that it's been a bit quiet here at the Full Circle Family History blog recently and now that things are confirmed I thought I'd share a bit about my plans and the different direction I'm heading in.



Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you need to go with the flow. As  you may know my youngest goes to school in the autumn and my plan was to make Full Circle my full time job but then an opportunity came my way which was too good to turn down - a part-time job that fits in perfectly with our family life - so my plans need to change. I've decided that it's an opportunity to take stock of where I'm likely to go with Full Circle Family History.

I'm going to continue with genealogy as much as possible but not in a full time capacity.

I think my first priority will be to finish the Pharos Family History Skills & Strategies (Intermediate) with Certificate course which I am just under half way through, having completed 4 courses since January. I think that by slowing down and taking a bit more time between courses I will actually get more out of them. So far I have enjoyed them and my writing and analysis skills are much improved already.

Also, I will be able to focus more on family history rather than trying to build up a business. I have been surprised at the amount of time during the week that you really need to spend on admin/marketing/PR/socialmedia/IT rather than actual genealogy and this part will now take a back seat.

I'm definitely going to continue with the heir hunting side as it's a great way to keep my hand in and I'm discovering new records all the time in different parts of the country. It's also improved my searching on websites such as Ancestry and Findmypast.

My TILLIN One Name Study has taken a bit of a back seat recently and I'd like to take some more time on this and establish some of the main lines. I think I'm going to use part of the Full Circle website to publicise my one name study by including details of the families. Have you seen any great one name study websites recently? What did you like about them?

I'm intending to keep the blog going but may not be so consistent with the posts. What sort of posts would you like to see? I'm going to do some more organising of my personal genealogy and thought I'd share this along with any new discoveries I make. I'm behind on the 52 ancestors challenge and would love to get back up to speed with this - maybe I'll find a whole family to write about! The postcard book is an ongoing project which I don't have a deadline for so I'm hoping to do this in batches and then schedule the posts. Does anyone have any tips for scheduling posts in blogger?

So that's a little bit about where I am at the moment. It's also coming up to the school holidays which means lots of time with the children and out and about so the blog will be a bit sporadic but I won't have gone very far! I'll still be on twitter and facebook as they are easier to update - have you popped over to say hi?


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Friday, 27 June 2014

5 on a Friday - Genealogy Books

This week for 5 on a Friday I've decided to share 5 genealogy books that I find really useful.



As we've seen with the recent Ancestry problems sometimes you can't do everything on the internet. These books are all on my shelves and some I dip in and out of while others I have read cover to cover. If you are just starting out on British family history research I would definitely recommend some of these to help you get going.

Full Circle Family History Blog: 5 on a Friday - Genealogy Books Genealogy:Essential Research Methods by Helen Osborn




My first book is Genealogy: Essential Research Methods by Helen Osborn - this is one of the few "methodology" books that focuses on British research and I highly recommend it. There are tips for beginners and more advanced genealogists. Typically I can't find my copy today so here's the stock photo from Amazon.




Full Circle Family History Blog: 5 on a Friday - Genealogy Books  Tracing Your Northern Irish Ancestors by Ian Maxwell




My second book is Tracing Your Northern Irish Ancestors by Ian Maxwell. If you are like me and have ancestors from Northern Ireland this book helps explain a bit of the history and the reasons why some documents are not where you might expect them to be. I have the paperback but it is also available for kindle.

Full Circle Family History Blog: 5 on a Friday - Genealogy Books The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers.



The third book on this weeks list is The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers. A useful book of county maps showing parishes, diocese etc all in one place. The index is useful if you know the parish and want to find out what records exist and where they could be. My copy is second hand and I managed to get it from ebay for less then £10 so I would recommend having a look there. Amazon have the more recent version available. Ancestry have recently added it to their databases so you can always look at it online too.

Full Circle Family History Blog: 5 on a Friday - Genealogy Books Ancestral Trails by Mark D Herber


Number four on the list is Ancestral Trails by Mark D Herber. An all round guide to British Genealogy so a useful reference book to have on standby. Again my version is second hand from ebay for less than £5 but you can also get new copies from Amazon.

Full Circle Family History Blog: 5 on a Friday - Genealogy Books  The Parish Chest by W. E.Tait


The final book on the list is another second hand purchase - The Parish Chest by W. E.Tait - I have the third edition. If you think that you can only find out about births, marriages and deaths in parish registers then you are only reaching the tip of the iceberg of records available in the parish chest. This is well worth reading once you are trying to get past 1837 or want to add more flesh to the bones of your ancestors.









With all these books I would recommend trying to order them from your library first to see if they are of interest to you before you spend money on them. Also, try ebay/abebbooks etc for second hand copies as apart from internet/software updates the majority of the information is still valid and no book is ever going to be 100% up to date.

So, do you have any family history books you would recommend?

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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday : Postcard Book Page 18 - Bournemouth, Isle of Man and Clacton


This is page 18 of the postcard book series I write for Treasure Chest Thursday. Please click on postcards in the tag cloud on the right to see more posts in this series.


The first postcard shows Boscombe Beach in Bournemouth



The second postcard on the page depicts Glen Helen on the Isle of Man. It was posted in 1907.



The final postcard was posted in 1905 and shows East Sands beach, Clacton-on-Sea.



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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Tuesday's Tip - How I use.... Spreadsheets for Genealogy

As an accountant I have spent many years using spreadsheets so as a genealogist I haven't changed very much as I use Microsoft Excel all the time. This week I've decide to share a few of the ways I use Spreadsheets for Genealogy




Spreadsheets are more than just a way to add up a column of numbers. They can be used for a wealth of other purposes from simple lists to complex databases.

Anyone who worked with me will know that I spent many years complaining that people used spreadsheets for everything and they shouldn't always try to shoehorn all problems into a spreadsheet. My main reason for this was that spreadsheets do not have inherent controls. Unless you build in controls and checks to a spreadsheet you are likely to double up on things or make mistakes in calculations. Another problem I have with spreadsheets is that there is no universal process associated with them - everyone has their own way of using a spreadsheet which can make it difficult for someone else to understand it. Both of these points can be addressed within the spreadsheet but it's always good to remember them when working with spreadsheet software.

There are many types of spreadsheet software with the most popular probably being Microsoft Excel. It's definitely the one that I'm the most familiar with so I will be referencing it in this blog post. Other spreadsheet programmes include Quicksheet and Numbers.

My main use is to keep track of internet searches.

I have a main website index where I add links to databases as I find them and try to categorise them geographically and by subject. This is really useful if I find a new webpage but I don't have time to investigate fully.


Behind this I have started to keep track of searches on each individual database on an individual sheet per database.


I keep a Research Log in Excel for each couple (and familym that I am researching.  The database log cross references the research log for a particular family where I find valid results.


My research log also includes sheets for the husband and the wife to record their life events. I usually have a summary page at the front listing any files I have on the couple. I have a sheet full of source citation templates so that I can be consistent with my citations and filenames.


If I am using a timeline I like to create them in Excel - I wrote a post on this back at the beginning of the year as part of the 52Ancestors series..


I use Excel to create data uploads to Custodian, to keep track of the Bona Vacantia list, figure out workflows for processes, keep track of finances for the business, plan out training, submitting data to online indexes and all sorts of other purposes.

I try to always keep some sort of notes page on the front which explains what each sheet in the spreadsheet is for - this means if I send it on to someone else then they have a chance of understanding it.

On Pinterest I have a Genealogy and Spreadsheets board where I pin tips for people to follow and relevant articles or blog posts.



Do you use spreadsheets for Genealogy? Are there any spreadsheet functions you'd like to use but don't know how? Is there anything you'd like to see me write a Tuesday's Tips blogpost on? Please leave a comment or get in touch to let me know.


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Friday, 20 June 2014

5 on a Friday - More Facebook Genealogy Groups

Following on from last week's 5 on a Friday post here are another 5 Facebook groups.

FullCircleFamilyHistory - 5 on a Friday


The first group is for members of the Guild of One Name Studies but they also have a Facebook page which is open to all.
"The Guild of One-Name Studies is the world's leading genealogical organisation for One-Name studies. The Guild welcomes as members anyone who has an interest in the subject. Members who are carrying out a One-Name study may register their study with the Guild."

This week has seen the creation of a brand new group for Geneabloggers with lots of hints and tips.
 "GeneaBloggers is an online community of over 3,000 genealogy and family history bloggers committed to learning more about their ancestors and themselves"
FullCircleFamilyHistory - 5 on a Friday


Another group I check regularly is the Technology for Genealogy group.
"Discussion of technology used for genealogy purposes. Includes: software, apps, tablets, computers, gadgets, news, web sites. Topics must be related to technology and have applicability as a genealogy tool."
FullCircleFamilyHistory - 5 on a Friday

The Social Media for Genealogy group was highlighted to me on twitter by @geneaalacarte after last week's post.
"A resource for learning more about social media tools and practices. This group is open to all with an interest in genealogy and who want to leverage the power of social media to expand their genealogy research as well as promote their genealogy business."
FullCircleFamilyHistory - 5 on a Friday

My final group today is based on family history in Northern Ireland - the Coleraine Branch of The North of Ireland Family History Society - they are a very friendly and well informed group.
"An information page for the activities of The Coleraine Branch of The North of Ireland Family History Society"

As usual if you think I've missed some good groups please let me know.

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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday : Postcard Book Page 17 - Winchester, Gosport and Heysham


This is page 17 of the postcard book series I write for Treasure Chest Thursday. Please click on postcards in the tag cloud on the right to see more posts in this series.

Full Circle Family History Postcard Book Page 17


The first postcard shows The Close in Winchester.

Full Circle Family History Postcard Book Page 17 Winchester

I think this picture is actually of the Priory Gate  as shown on the Winchester Cathedral website



The second postcards depicts Gosport in Hampshire.

Full Circle Family History Postcard Book Page 17 Gosport

The final postcard on the page is a picture of Heysham village in Lancashire.There are other views of Heysham on the Heysham Heritage website.

Full Circle Family History Postcard Book Page 17 Heysham



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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Tuesday's Tip - How I use... Facebook for Genealogy

I think I should own up that it's very rare if I have a day where I don't visit Facebook - I use it to find out what's happening, organise events, catch up on reading, keep in contact with friends and family - the list is endless. So, this week I've decided to share how I use Facebook for genealogy following on from last week's post about how I use Twitter for genealogy.
 

Facebook is a social networking service where you have a personal profile, connect with friends and receive updates on all sorts of interests.

I have been using Facebook since 2007 and it's changed quite a lot in the last 7 years and now it seems odd to think about not using it everyday.

The most obvious way to use it for Genealogy is the groups - I have listed some of my favourite groups in my 5 on a Friday list last week. Groups are a great source of information and a way to communicate with like-minded people all over the world. There's an interesting post about using Facebook groups at the Young and Savvy Genealogists blog. They can be specific to a place or country or topic or anything!. There is a list of genealogy groups here - just download the file and follow the links.

You can follow the different providers such as Ancestry or FindMyPast on their pages. This is how I find out the latest record set updates or offers on subsciptions. Or find pages on places that you'd like to visit or where your ancestors lived.

Many blogs have facebook pages too  - including my own - often this is just a place to keep track of blog posts but sometimes they have different content and you can get in touch with the blogger directly if you want to. 

You can also find people on Facebook. This is not an area I have tried out but I know that other people have found this useful. Using the search function you can look for people with a particular surname, for example, which may be useful for your one name study or to find long lost cousins.

You could set up your own page or group for your family history - they can be restricted to the people you want to see it - and then use Facebook as a place to share stories and photos with your friends and family.

It's a useful way to put out a call for help or advice too. If you've hit a brickwall in your research why not post a question on a group or just on your timeline -  you never know who might be able to help.


On Pinterest I have a Genealogy and Facebook board where I pin tips.

Are you on Facebook? How do you use it? Why not pop over, say hello and like my page?


Come back next Tuesday when I'll be looking at how I use spreadsheets for Genealogy.


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