Search for content in message boards

Where To Start

Where To Start

Posted: 1343761776000
Classification: Query

I have long had an interest in researching my family tree, but the problem is I do not have much to begin with as it is not an interest which my family wish to discuss.

I have filled out the basic details on my family tree on, and I have been able to enter the names and estimated years of birth of my great grand parents on my mother grandmothers side of the family, but where do I begin to go back further?

Any help and advice for a beginner would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks,

Re: Where To Start

Posted: 1345018842000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Smith, Knight, Barratt
Hi James,

The first step to moving backwards is obtaining your gt.grandparents' marriage certificate. This will give you their ages and their fathers' names and occupations.

I checked out your tree and found what appears to be their marriage details:
Harold P SMITH & Vera KNIGHT AMJ (April/May/June quarter)1946 Repton Derbyshire v.7b p.1434
Using this information you can order the certificate online from
Certificates cost £9.25 and usually take about ten working days to arrive.

I searched for a birth registration for Harold Percy SMITH b.1925 Derbyshire but couldn't find one but had better luck with Vera KNIGHT.
Vera KNIGHT JAS 1924 Burton v.6b p.614 mother's m/name BARRATT.
Obtaining her birth certificate (from same website as above) will provide you with her parents' full names.

I've found a marriage for a male KNIGHT & female BARRATT which looks promising as Vera's parents':
George KNIGHT & Florence A M BARRATT JAS 1923 Burton v.6b p.761 but before ordering that certificate you should wait to see whether the names match the birth certificate.

Once you have the additional information from the certificates you should be able to move backwards but if you get stuck or aren't sure how to progress just shout.

Hope this helps

Re: Where To Start

Posted: 1345275352000
Classification: Query
I agree with everything Linda has told you. In actual fact, I tried tracing Vera Knight and found exactly the same information as she did.

To make sure you are on the right track, you really need to buy some certificates now and then, otherwise you have no proof of anything.

When you are researching on Ancestry, try using the search column as much as you can. There, you can search for births, deaths and marriages - and census returns are also a great way of finding out information. For instance, now that you know that Florence A.M. Barratt is very likely your ancestor, and you know that she probably married George Knight 3rd qu 1923, this means that she might be on a census for 1911 as a young girl, and if you found that census, it may well give the names of the family she was born into.

You might also care to go to Search and look up Family Trees. Type in a name and see if anyone else has them on their tree. Often, you can find out heaps of info from a public tree.

Good luck!

Re: Where To Start

Posted: 1345276408000
Classification: Query
"Often, you can find out heaps of info from a public tree."

Well yes and no. Sadly, a vast number of public trees are little more than the end product of a game of Chinese Whispers. In other words, one person somewhere has decided that Person A is the son of Person B and has uploaded this information into their tree with no source citation. This then gets taken as gospel by others who simply copy the "fact" and place it on their own trees.

Public trees should be taken with a massive pinch of salt - they are not reliable sources, only potential clues.

Re: Where To Start

Posted: 1345280728000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1345280899000
I couldn't agree more with you. It disgusts me when I look for some information on someone's tree, hoping that I have found a solution to some tricky problem - and suddenly I notice that their tree has something like THIRTY THOUSAND people on it!!!

I then immediately realise that they have been adding EVERYTHING they have found without checking it out in any way at all. ...I check out a few things on their tree and sure enough the mistakes are GLARINGLY OBVIOUS.

They usually have duplications galore; they have obviously added every single "hint" that Ancestry has ever offered them.

What this means is that others copy their mistakes and these mistakes are copied for years onto other trees until the truth becomes completely buried. ...One tree had my grandfather as having died in Chile, and he had never even been out of the UK in his life. I was at his funeral here in Scotland and emailed the owner of the tree. They didn't even respond!

I NEVER copy automatically, and assume that the majority don't either. To keep a tree right, you definitely need to spend money, and I have done that. In fact, folk are always dipping into my tree to take the images of actual certificates I have attached to my tree as proof.

Glad you pointed this out.


P.S. On the other hand, there are also some trees with similar ancestors to my own which have been trendously helpful. But these are the ones that have copies of certificates or sources of each bit of information, usually attached to profiles on their trees, which can easily be checked out. PROOF is what it is all about.

Sorry for going on a bit...

per page

Find a board about a specific topic