Since my fiance bought me an Ancestry subscription as an early birthday present in December, I’ve been hooked.
So far I’ve found a history of Sheffield plane makers, Durham shipbuilders, painters, rag and bone men and so much more. I’m loving the DIY connections, I must say!
And as soon as I learnt how to use the app, I was hunting for ancestors in one hand, while a DIY tool was in the other. Multitasking… that old chestnut! Or, I’d be playing continuous episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? in the background while I converted our new camper van.
But the cost of a subscription had put me off for years and quite a few occasions, I’d tried to do some digging through free resources, such as Freebmd, the General Register Office, but only got as far as my great grandparents. And that’s because my living relatives knew some names.
It’s the access to the documents that I like with a paid service. Without census data, it’s incredibly difficult to try and add pieces of the puzzle. However, I’ve learnt recently that Ancestry doesn’t have access to all the files, whereas FindMyPast does, so I’ve been focusing on the 1800’s and older.
But I do love their tree builder and the ability to see if anyone else who is researching the same path as you. I’ve even found a couple of distant relatives I never knew about and now share photos and any future findings with each other.
I’ve also found some tragedies which are sad yet fascinating at the same time. My Great Great Great aunt Catherine Middlemiss Richmond was one of them. She was Sunderland based and died aged 7 in the Victoria Hall Disaster Stampede with 182 other child victims while attending a children’s variety show.
She must have been on the upper balcony where all the children raced downstairs to grab one of the many free toys that were being thrown in to the crowd. But, a part bolted doorway was only big enough for one child at a time and died of asphyxiation.
This then resulted in the push bar was invented. It’s sad, yet fascinating.
But there’s another connection I’m trying to hunt down, too. My Italian great great great grandfather, John George Felice who ditched what he may have considered his “bit of fluff”, (Sara Ann Sanger) when he’d got her pregnant while working in London as a house servant.
So next month, I’ve managed to get a free ticket from my fiance’s colleague to attend the Who Do You Think You Are LIVE show at the Birmingham NEC. I’ve heard everyone has access to the international records for free which I’m looking forward to.
If you want to find out about your own family tree, then Ancestry offer a free 14 day trial to access all of the records, so set some time aside and make the most of it. P.S, once the trial’s up, you can still access your tree!
If you want to follow my DIY & life journey, then why not subscribe for free updates?