Our August speaker, Joanne Larner gave the U3A audience an introduction to the process of tracing one’s family history. Speaking from over 35 years experience, Joanne explained the various routes open to the novice genealogist.
Her own research traced her forebears back as the 1790s, turning up some fascinating characters including protestant Huguenots fleeing persecution in France, and more than one noble ancestor. She suggests a good place to start is with family members, listening to stories, looking at photos and collecting names and places. From here one can easily gain access to certificates of births, marriages and deaths.
Census records, old Newspaper reports, and military records are also sources of information.
The Internet has proved to be a boon for the study of Genealogy. In Joanne’s case she found it took her only 90 minutes to trace a family member back to 1526 – as opposed to following the trail for 35 years.
DNA samples offer a further route to tracing ancestors and Joanne discovered she originated from the tribe of Oetzi, whose 5,300-year-old remains were discovered buried deep inside a glacier.
On a note of caution, Joanne stressed the importance of carefully checking dates and cross-referencing information wherever possible as simple clerical errors are common in early records.
Our September speaker is Photographer Liz Huxley, showing Winter Wildlife on the Essex Marshes.