The research was a hard slog at times, but was great and really addictive – just like being a detective! Digging through hundreds, if not thousands of microfilms, searching for that missing name – Hallam, Wilson et all. Then back home realising that I should of looked at such and such census or parish record. I have at times ended up chasing a line of ancestors which I believed to by mine, only to find out 6 months, yes 6 hard months later, that they were nothing to do with my family. All because I was inexperienced and hasty and believed I did not need THAT birth certificate to prove the link. That person was mine. I was sure! Oh no he wasn’t!

Then there are the ups, where you have got that little envelope on the entrance mat, to open and find that YES it is my ancestor. Confirmed. Then rush to update your records, dig through all the old information, update the Family Tree Maker program and update the family trees on the internet to share with everyone. Little things like knowing which way the census auditor went around his route to each house, as you have no home address number. Sad, but I have actually walked the way of the census guy, just to find the right house! Even sadder is that I have done this numerous times!

But the most enjoyable bit for me, was as we say “putting flesh on the bones” really finding out how your ancestors lived. I loved visiting the many cities, towns, villages and hamlets, the wonderful and sad places my ancestors lived worked and played (and buried). Particularly so in the 1800 and 1900 hundreds. I have been amazed and enlightened on how they lived and survived – and not just my ancestors! I have visited the Somme in France and tracked where some of my ancestors fought and died. We visited numerous graves and was really physically and emotionally upset – over someone we never knew! But they were our family.

This is more than genealogy research or family history, to me it has made me understand where I am from and made me appreciate where I am now.

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